Why The Republican Party Is What It Is

“A reactionary is a person who holds political viewpoints that favor a return to a previous state (the status quo ante) in a society.”

Wikipedia

I often use the term “reactionaries” to describe those folks on the right who have a problem living in the 21st century, a problem coming to grips with present reality. I sometimes differentiate between reactionaries and conservatives because conservatism doesn’t necessarily involve reactionary politics, though it often does, especially as we watch conservative behavior today. Most of the conservatives we see dominating the Republican Party these days are—without the slightest doubt—reactionaries.

As most of you know, I was born and raised in Kansas. I lived there until I was about 30 years old. I worked there. I played there. I became a conservative there. I was baptized into an evangelical faith there. The political Kansas I knew was mostly a right-of-center place, with pockets of leftish resistance here and there, and for the most part its politics was not radical or reactionary. Today, though, like a lot of red states Kansas has been radicalized and has turned into one of the most reactionary places in the country.

Nothing could better demonstrate the change from a mild, if not moldy, conservatism into a radical and fiery reactionaryism than what emerged in Kansas recently. Last week, as nearly everyone knows by now, the Kansas House passed a bill that, according to Time,

would permit businesses and government employees to deny service to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious principles. 

That Jim Crowish bill, which has been condemned far and wide by progressives, passed 72-49 and is now being considered by the state senate, which is expected to either water it down significantly or kill it. Apparently there are some Kansas Republicans left who haven’t been completely radicalized by religious zealots in the state. But the fact that such a reactionary piece of legislation passed one side of the legislature in 2014—2014 for God’s sake—says a lot about not only about the Republican Party, but it speaks to why it is that our national government is so profoundly, if not dangerously, divided.

At the heart of this ascendance of a rabid reactionary politics in Kansas and elsewhere—there is an anti-gay bill in Idaho that is even worse than the one in Kansas—is the anxiety that (mostly but not entirely white) evangelical and fundamentalist Christians feel deep in their bones over the loss of cultural dominance they and their Iron Age theology once enjoyed. Most of the theological angst started with the Supreme Court ruling in 1962 (Engel v. Vitale) that government-composed prayers could not be used in public schools, then just after that blow came atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s victorious lawsuit in 1963 (consolidated with Abington School District v. Schempp) in which the Supreme Court put the kibosh on the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading in government schools.

If I heard it once, I heard it a gazillion times from the conservative church folk I knew back home: “They kicked God out of the schools! Why do you think things are so bad!”

So, it started with those two court rulings, but other rulings followed that were specifically related to Bible-based anxiety over a rapidly changing culture. There was Griswold v. Connecticut (which found that because of the Constitution’s now strangely controversial “right to privacy” states could not prohibit the use of contraceptives by married people; later this freedom was extended to all couples via Eisenstadt. V. Baird; and now we are fighting over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate). Skipping over the landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade case (which isn’t necessarily—even though it has mostly become—a case involving evangelical theology), we come to Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case that effectively struck down all sodomy laws in the country and paved the way for the eventual legitimation of same-sex marriage, which is now driving right-wing Christians into convulsions not seen since the Gadarene Demoniac.

Along with—perhaps partly because of—these culturally significant court cases, public opinion has evolved in the direction of progress and against the forces of Bible-inspired conservatism. Holy Book-believing Christians have essentially lost the fight over whether the Bible or a secular Constitution will be the ultimate law of the land. This has led to a backlash, a serious and divisive backlash, among folks who take the Bible seriously and who genuinely—I repeat: genuinely— believe that America is going straight to hell because it has turned its back on God and his Word.

More important, though, than all the talk of cultural anxiety and ancient theology is what these Bible-believing folks have been up to lately. In order to turn their biblical notions and reactionary tendencies into public policies like the one proposed last week in Kansas, they have increasingly and fanatically turned to grassroots politics.

These religious reactionaries have educated themselves and essentially taken over the Republican Party’s organizational structure. One such reactionary lives right here in Southwest Missouri. I used to go to the same evangelical church he did and used to believe a lot of the same things he believes. His name is John Putnam. He’s from Carthage and he is the Chairman of the Jasper County Republican Party.

Mr. Putnam has essentially written his own bible on how to take over and transform the Republican Party from the ground up. He notes that there are some “183,000 precincts in the 50 states” and he outlines how the system works:

putnam's patriotsThe voters of each precinct, according to their state’s laws, can elect or appoint one man and one woman to represent the people of that precinct in their political party’s organizational structure (sometimes called the party “machine”).  The precinct chairs/executives become members of their county committee and elect their county committee’s Chair and Vice-Chair who, in turn, help elect their Party’s State Committee; plus, they largely influence which candidates will run (and most likely be elected) in their party’s primary election and who, subsequently, will carry their party’s banner in the November General Elections. 

All of this represents the nuts and bolts of party organization. It is how a political party can be commandeered by a zealous minority and how such zealotry can come to represent the face of the party. It it why the Republican Party is so schizophrenic. It is why its national leaders are so afraid to actually lead. It is why Washington is suffering from legislative paralysis. You think I am exaggerating? Putnam goes on to point out that,

Nationwide, half of these positions sit empty and most voters no longer even know they exist.  If Constitutional conservatives will fulfill the precinct leader’s role and elect Constitutional conservative chairs and vice-chairs to their county committees, we can cleanse our representative form of government in very short order.  This is assuming the men and women who fill the precinct position have the wisdom of  Cleon Skousen gleaned from The Five Thousand Year Leap and the virtue of George Washington (see Glenn Beck’s Being George Washington).

If that stuff about cleansing doesn’t scare you, then you don’t know who Cleon Skousen and Glenn Beck are. Perhaps now you can see why the Republican Party looks the way it does. This kind of tactical action is going on, has been going on, all over the country. Mr. Putnam provides local zealots everywhere, those who have a biblical ax to grind, with essential knowledge of how to go about that grinding. Become “party officials” at the local level, he says. Why? Because:

…party officials have a strong influence on who wins the Primary because of their influence in recruiting and endorsing candidates. They also influence whether the Party stays philosophically true to its platform. There is no reason why YOU cannot become a Precinct Patriot and be one who influences these decisions. 

If you ever wondered why a disturbed and disturbing man named Todd Akin became the Missouri GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate in 2012, now you know why. Even after Akin was disgraced, even after his horrific views on women and rape were revealed, even after the Republican establishment abandoned him, John Putnam came to his defense and supported him. And even with that robust defense of a man clearly out of touch with reality, perhaps because of that robust defense, John Putnam remains in charge—in charge!—of the Jasper County Republican Party.

That tells you all you need to know about what is wrong with the GOP. At the ground level, where it often matters most, the reactionaries are running the asylum.

Todd Akin Is The Legitimate Candidate, No Matter What The Joplin Globe Says

I’m not sure why the Joplin Globe would say this in its Tuesday editorial:

If it were up to us, Mr. Akin would reach deep into his soul and do the honorable thing. He should drop out of the race and open the door for a legitimate candidate.

Legitimate” candidate? Huh? Todd Akin is about as legitimate a candidate as the Republican Party can offer in this part of the country. As the Globe’s news story on Akin’s rape remarks pointed out:

Akin won every county in the Joplin region in the primary.

Get that? Every bleeping county. And the head of the Jasper County Republican Party, our old friend and evangelical Christian John Putnam—who was just reelected as county committeeman with 70% of the vote!—is not only standing by Akin, he is doubling down on Akin’s stupidity:

Akin’s response “was poorly worded,” Putnam said. “He has apologized for not speaking more clearly and compassionately.

“What he was talking about is forcible rape. There are established studies that show in cases of forcible rape, pregnancy is rare.” Putnam cited an article titled “Rape Pregnancies are Rare,” by John C. Wilke, M.D., from an April 1999 publication called Christian Life Resources.

In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Wilke, The New York Times described him as,

a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee.

Well, that last bit gives him away, doesn’t it? He’s a fanatic that won’t let facts and science get in the way of his extremism. He said on Monday:

This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.

“Spastic”? I’ll resist the temptation to say what you all are thinking.

The Times quoted a couple of real experts regarding Dr. Wilke’s claims about rape and pregnancy:

“There are no words for this — it is just nuts,” said Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, said, that “to suggest that there’s some biological reason why women couldn’t get pregnant during a rape is absurd.”

Nuts and absurd. That pretty much sums it up. But that doesn’t stop evangelical zealots like our local John Putnam or the fanatics at Missouri Right to Life or the insanely conservative American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer from embracing such nonsense.

Local bidnessman David Humphreys, who the Globe described in its online story accurately as “a heavy-hitter GOP contributor,” but in its print edition less accurately as merely a man “known as a GOP contributor“—wonder why they’d do that?—told the paper via “a one-line statement sent to the Globe by an adviser” that,

Akin is a moron.

Wow. Besides being an awesome bidnessman and a “heavy-hitter GOP contributor,” Humphreys is also a great judge of mental acuity. It’s just too bad he didn’t tell his fellow Republicans that before Akin won the primary.

Thus, moron or not, Akin is the only legitimate candidate the GOP has to offer voters in November, notwithstanding what the Globe may claim. He won the race fair and square and he isn’t any nuttier today than he was when he won it.  People like “heavy-hitter GOP contributor” David Humphreys use evangelical creepiness to win elections, and they should have to live with it when it is on full display.

And now that his nuttiness is out there for all to see and appreciate, it’s about time voters make up their own minds whether crazy evangelical fanatics like Todd Akin are fit to represent them or whether they will soundly reject such people—and the extremists who support them.

“Citizens For A Republican Environment”

Citizens for a Decent Environment.”  That sounds like a group of left-wing tree-huggers, no?

Except it’s not.

The identity of the organizer of the group gives it away: John Putnam, Chairman of the Jasper County Republican Party and a local cheerleader for a right-wing nanny state. 

Mr. Putnam is galloping giddy over a ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court upholding a 2010 law restricting sexually oriented businesses. In a Joplin Globe article today on the court ruling, Putnam is quoted as saying:

“We’ve largely stopped adult businesses from coming to Missouri,” he said. “In Jasper County, no more have come in, and one has closed. One that stayed open has closed its video viewing operation.”

Imagine that.  A right-winger’s right-winger, John Putnam, is boasting that his efforts—along with area legislators including a possible candidate for Lt. Gov., Joplin’s Ron Richard—have “stopped” businesses “from coming to Missouri.” 

Reporter Susan Redden, who wrote the front-page story, described how Putnam and his legislator friends pulled off this big-government caper:

Part of the law targets operations that market adult videos shown in viewing booths. Putnam said the key to the measure is not trying to regulate what is being shown, but the manner in which the showing takes place.

Get that?  The key is to “regulate” the businesses out of business.  Now, I happen to know, because I’ve attended all three Joplin Tea Party rallies—organized by John Putnam—that Mr. Putnam is no fan of regulation.  He’s a small-government kind of guy.  Except when he isn’t.

You see, Putnam is all too typical of the kind of Republican in vogue today. These Republicans pledge fealty to the Constitution, pledge to rein in the reach of government, pledge to get government off the backs of the people and businesses. But they don’t mean a word of it, when it comes to their own moralistic goals or their own vision of the Great Society. 

This stuff is nothing but big-government bullying, whatever one thinks of the morality of the sex business.  I want to be clear: I don’t necessarily dislike the use of government to clean up our environment. In fact, I could today join Mr. Putnam’s “Citizens for a Decent Environment,” if it now, after its great victory, focused its efforts on other things that would make for a decent environment.

How about our tax laws?  How about making things more decent for the country, John, by insisting that your Republican friends raise taxes on the wealthy, so we can begin to get a grip on all this debt pollution?  Or, surely you can see that the large disparity between the richest Americans and the rest of us is mucking up our national neighborhood—maybe even more than peeking at nekkid women at a sex shop? Let’s do something about that, okay?

Or, how about demanding that the Republican party clean up the dysfunction fungus it has been culturing in Washington, D.C?  Urge them to join President Obama in his modest quest to create jobs, John. How about it?

But, no, Mr. Putnam doesn’t have much time to worry about silly issues like how income inequality is damaging America. He’s fast embarking on more efforts to run businesses out of the state:

Putnam said he has questions about a men’s spa that operates in conjunction with Vegas Video on County Road 100. [Capt. Derek ] Walrod [with the Jasper County Sheriff's Department] said deputies also raised questions, and have been told that the operation does not come under the law because it is being run as a private club.

“Scott (Bergthold) thinks there is a bill that could address that, and it could be passed on a county level,” Putnam said.

Mr. Bergthold is an attorney Putnam’s group enlisted to draft airtight, nanny-state legislation that courts wouldn’t strike down.  So, stay tuned for more big government from our local Republican leaders, even as they attack the “socialist” Barack Obama.

Ozark Billy Snubs The Erstwhile Conservative

On Saturday, I continued my tradition of attending the annual Joplin Tea Party rally.

Unfortunately for organizers, though, there weren’t that many teapartiers who were willing to continue their tradition of attending.  This year’s contingent was much smaller than last year’s, which was much smaller than the year before. 

But the sparse crowd—maybe 150 folks—was nevertheless thrown lots of blood-red meat from the speakers, which besides the usual locals, included would-be senator Rep. Todd Akin, who has never met a Democrat who wasn’t also a socialist, and, of course, Colonel Ozark Billy Long.

Now, I happened to be standing in the back of the crowd, when I spotted Colonel Billy trying to slip away from the area where the speakers were huddled:

Sensing a chance to talk to the Colonel one-on-one, I hurried over to where I thought he was heading, camera in tow.  I was prepared to make and post a newsworthy video for my faithful readers.  As I was walking, I looked up and saw Ozark Billy staring at me as I approached, with an unwelcoming look on his face. Nevertheless,  I pressed on, again, with camera in tow.

As I walked up to my congressman, my representative, I introduced myself and told him I was from Joplin, clearly identifying myself as one of his constituents.  I asked him if he minded if I interviewed him with my camera on.  No, he said.  Really? I asked.  No, he said, I don’t want you to do that.  Well, I protested, why can’t I use it?  He anxiously looked around as if he were waiting on someone, then responded again that he didn’t want me to use the camera. He said, what is it you want to ask me?

Okay, I thought. No camera, thus, no record of our conversation, but I must soldier on.

I told him I wanted to talk about his vote on the Ryan budget plan the previous day, which essentially does away with Medicare while giving tax cuts to the wealthy.  I asked him how he justified that vote.  We have to do something, he said. He told me that what the plan does is merely give people a “cafeteria” plan like he gets as a government employee.  Since Ozark Billy didn’t know I had been a government employee, I suppose he thought that his response would suffice to shut me up.  But, of course, it didn’t.

I hurriedly explained to him—he was getting fidgety waiting— that the Ryan Medicare plan would end Medicare as we know it, and the so-called voucher proposal for those under 55 would not be sufficient to purchase insurance and people would have to pay much more out of their pockets.  I added that those under 55, even while receiving reduced benefits themselves, would be forced to pay for the current Medicare system, the beneficiaries of which will continue to receive the current generous benefits for many, many years.

He didn’t dispute that but merely reiterated that something needed to be done because the system was designed when people only lived to be “48 years old.”  Aghast at that, I responded with a “that’s simply not true,” and was poised to explain why.  Except that a vehicle—the one Ozark Billy had been so anxiously awaiting—pulled up beside us. And without even saying goodbye, in went the Colonel and off went the car. 

I, one of Congressman Long’s constituents, was left standing on the sidewalk, camera in tow.

Long returned a short time later and gave a speech that was mostly a repeat of an interview he gave to local right-wing radio station, KZRG.  He even gave us another rendition of his now-famous “auction chant.”  The small crowd cheered.  I turned red with embarrassment.

But toward the end of his speech, Ozark Billy said the following to the crowd, and to me, the camera-toting constituent he had earlier snubbed:

We’re just having a lot of good success helping people. But it is the House of Representatives. Never forget that. It is the House of Representatives.

I’ve got a Bozo on the front of my truck—a lot of people say how come you got Bozo on the dash?—that’s to remind me—and I’ve had it on there for years—that’s to remind me not to take myself too seriously. I’m doing your work in D.C., and I was standing right down there last year with ya and I’ll be back down there in a minute…

Good! I thought to myself. He’s doing “our” work. And he’s coming down “here” among “us,” the folks. That would give me a chance to continue my conversation with him. What a man of the people!  Colonel Ozark Billy Long, man of the people!

Except that after he finished his speech,  I watched him leave the podium, walk over to his Bozo-guided truck, and get in the passenger side. Then I watched someone drive him away. 

Still holding my camera, all I could think to say was, Bye-bye, Colonel Billy! Thanks for stopping by and chatting with your constituents!

Jasper County Republican Party Pooh Bah Gets The Front Page Of The Joplin Globe

I don’t know what the original conception was relative to the story that appeared on Sunday’s front page of the Joplin Globe, but I do know that it came out as an advertisement for the Jasper County Republican Party and its efforts to get out the vote for Roy Blunt and Tom Schweich. 

It also read as a plea for volunteers from the ranks of uninspired Republicans to help out the party two days away from the election.

The headline of the story could have been:

Help! Local Republicans Looking For Volunteers! Sign Up Now! Hurry! Democrats May Win!

The story, though, had this headline:

Turnout worries GOP

With this subhead:

                                   With low number of voters 

                                   predicted at local polls,

                                   party ratcheting up efforts

And in the spirit of fairness, on this Jon Stewart sanity weekend, without further comment, I shall post the entire story, so readers can judge for themselves:

Jasper County Republicans are trying to ratchet up local voter turnout in the wake of predictions that only 20 percent of the county’s registered voters will show up at the polls on Tuesday.

Republicans need a high voter turnout locally to offset areas around Kansas City and St. Louis where Democrat voter turnout is expected to be high, said John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee.

“The prediction they had for our voter turnout was the lowest in the state,” said Putnam, citing a report issued by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office earlier in the week, based on numbers of absentee ballots cast.

The office was predicting voter turnout statewide would average more than 51 percent.

Workers in the election division of the Jasper County clerk’s office now expect the local turnout will land between 30 and 35 percent, said Doris Moorehouse, a deputy clerk in the office.

She said the 20 percent level was based on numbers of absentee ballots cast earlier, but that those numbers have increased significantly since the report to the state.

“We’ve gotten a lot more absentee voters since then; now we’re up to 1,778. We’ve never been this busy in an off-year election,” she said at midmorning Friday.

The county had more than 7,000 absentee voters two years ago, she said, when voter turnout was 61.5 percent. Jasper County has 76,247 registered voters.

The same report that noted a 20 percent prediction for Jasper County forecast a 54 percent turnout in Jackson County and 55 percent in Cass County, both in the Kansas City area, and 47 percent in St. Louis city and 63 percent in St. Louis County. Among other counties in the region, turnouts are predicted at 45 percent in Newton County, 58 percent in Barton County, 52 percent in Vernon County, and 22 percent in McDonald County.

Putnam cited the results of earlier statewide elections when Jim Talent won the U.S. Senate race and Matt Blunt won the gubernatorial contest.

“In the cases where Republicans have won close statewide races, there has been a high voter turnout in Jasper and Newton counties, and a margin (of victory) for Republicans of about 70 percent,” he said. “It’s not an issue in the congressional race, but we’ll need that for Blunt and Schweich (Roy Blunt, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, and Tom Schweich, for auditor),” he said.

Putnam said he also is concerned because Jasper County has only a single countywide race — the presiding commissioner race between John Bartosh, the GOP incumbent, and Timothy Teed, an independent candidate.

He said the committee is working to sign volunteers to work telephone banks, distribute literature and place candidate yard signs.

“Our volunteer numbers are lower, but it’s hard to compare,” he said. “In the presidential year you have people knocking down your door to volunteer; it’s always lower in the off-years.”

I May Vote For Shelly Dreyer Today

UPDATE, 7:00 pm: I went to the polls today and asked for a Democratic ballot.  There wasn’t enough narcotics in Newton County to medicate me to the point of saying, “A Republican ballot, please.”

First, I must correct and clarify a few points from yesterday’s post on Shelly Dreyer: [See an additional correction below.]

The group who paid for Dreyer’s ad in yesterday’s Joplin Globe, Missouri Freedom, is a political arm of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, whose Vice President (not President, as noted yesterday) is Robert M. N. Palmer of Springfield.  The group contributed $20,000 to Citizens for Shelly Dreyer as late as July 16.

According to the Globe, “as of July 29, Dreyer had received nearly $136,000” in contributions for her 129th District candidacy, compared to $84,000 for Bill White.  And $56,000 of Dreyer’s contributions came from Missouri Freedom, the Missouri trial lawyer PAC, which normally gives its money to Democrats.*

Now, oddly, there seems to be some controversy over whether Dreyer’s candidacy is really an attempt by Democrats to win Joplin’s seat in the Missouri House through false pretenses. It seems Anson Burlingame wasn’t the only one suspicious of her association with typically Democratic trial lawyers.

Remarks submitted by John Putnam, the Jasper County Republican boss, to the Globe website yesterday, reveal an intense doubt about Dreyer’s real political identity:

Why did Shelley Dryer run a radio ad on KZRG saying she would never take money from a lobbyist when she has taken $57,000+ dollars from MO Freedom which is financed by MATA, the lobbying arm of the MO Trial Attys (Sarah Schuett, Treasurer and registered lobyist)?

Why did Ed Hershewe call me last fall and say, ‘I want you to meet the next Attorney General of Missouri.’? He, his family, law firm, and employees have given over $750,000 to Democrat candidates and committees in the last 10 years.

I can’t go on without commenting on the rather odd circumstance that Hershewe, a local trial lawyer, would call John Putnam for anything, much less to introduce him to “the next Attorney General.” Is this the way Joplin politics works? I wonder how Hershewe feels now that Mr. Putnam ratted him out, if the comment is true?

Anyway, Putnam also went after Tim Dollar, who was mentioned in the Globe article on Dreyer and White:

Tim Dollar, a Kansas City attorney who contributed to Dreyer, said trial attorneys are traditionally considered supporters of Democrats. He said at the federal level, 95 to 97 percent of the money the American Association of Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers, gave in the past two election cycles has gone to Democrats, but he said that’s not always the case.

“I am a trial lawyer, and I am a conservative, pro-life.”

He said Dreyer is “conservative, pro-life, pro-gun” and has integrity, and he has known her for years.

“I just want conservative candidates who support everybody’s right to fair access to the courts.”

Putnam shot back:

If Tim Dollar is Pro-life and Conservative, why has he given $86,883 to liberal, Pro-abortion Democrat candidates and committees since 2001 at the Federal level (including John Edwards $2000, Russ Carnahan $500, Jean Carnahan $3500, Robin Carnahan $2400, Claire McCaskill $4200, Al Franken $2300), Barak Obama $2000, ActBlue $4800, & the ShowMe Victory fund $4800)and $195,400 to liberal democrat candidates and committees in Missouri since 2003?

So, it seems there will be a Republican family squabble, if Shelly Dreyer wins the Republican primary today.  It’s clear that some of the local yahoo conservatives simply don’t trust her conservative bona fides, which means I may have to ask for a Republican ballot and vote for her.

What fun it would be until November to cover the insults, accusations, and defections of the local conservative establishment regarding their dubious Republican candidate. Or, conversely, what fun it would be to see them circle the wagons and defend her despite the fact that many of them suspect her of being a RINO.

There is a God.

_____________________

*CORRECTION: NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. I received some misleading information, which unfortunately I didn’t check until today, about the nature of giving by the PAC of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA-PAC).  I found out this morning that the latest filing by MATA-PAC with the Missouri Ethics Commission (dated July 26, 2010) revealed that the PAC’s entire $63,750 in contributions for the month of July went to Republicans.  To Republicans, I repeat.  This amount includes the $20,000 to Shelly Dreyer.

I also looked back to the last election cycle, which revealed  the same thing: MATA-PAC gave a lot of dough to conservative Republicans.  Make of that what you will, but I have my own theory, which will have to wait for another time.

[Hershewe photo from: http://www.mobar.org/21cf254e-dc34-44e2-8f93-63743eb2ccd7.aspx]

The One And Probably Only Shelly Dreyer-Inspired Conservative Challenge

As I was getting to know Shelly Dreyer—Republican candidate for Missouri House District 129—I came across a Questions & Answers page on her campaign website.  

Pedantic by nature, I noticed several, shall we say, teensy-weensy word-use mistakes in some of the questions, something I found surprising for an attorney and former municipal judge.  Perhaps these questions were actually submitted by careless conservatives, but in any case, I have decided to create a contest, using three examples taken from the webpage.

The first 10,000 people who can point out all of the mistakes (warning: the last one is a little tricky) and who also will send me their names and addresses etched on a $20 bill, will have their names tossed in a sweaty Joplin Miners hat for a chance to win one of these fantastic prizes:

1. An afternoon stay for one at Konrad Heid’s Panhandle Paradise, complete with a view of his formerly pristine beach and an autographed, framed print of his latest column in which he trashes our uppity President of the United States for holding a negligent, Gulf-fouling multinational corporation responsible for its actions.

2. A chance to attend a Joplin Globe editorial board meeting and watch the participants arm wrestle Anson Burlingame for space on the Opinion page.  Right now, he is undefeated, but, who knows, you may be on hand to witness Anson’s first loss.

3. Standing-room-only tickets to a four-and-a-half hour seminar on the potential dangers of expressive homophobia in the Age of Obama.  I believe this year’s guest lecturer is Rita Crowell, who, I am told, will give at least some of the lecture in Tiny Tim-like falsetto, while strumming a ukulele and sporting the same 18th-century costume worn by John Putnam at Joplin Tea Party II earlier this year.

4. An invitation to a private book-signing by author and Republican activist Allen Shirley, whose latest gift to area residents, “Plagiarism for Dummies,” received a Buy Now! from the Big Nickel Review of Books and is currently number one on the Flying J Bestseller List.                           

Here they are and good luck!

UPDATE/CORRECTION:  Anson Burlingame wrote in to correct the above:

I am NOT on the Globe Editorial Board. I have NO contact other than Carol with ANY member of that board. My only influence that I might have on the Globe is through the columns that I PROPOSE and Carol then chooses to publish.

[Tiny Tim image by Drew Friedman]

Missouri Now Safe From Pee-wee Herman

I know I feel better now that I have learned that a local Republican operative, who likes to put on wigs and appear at rallies to lament our loss of liberty, finally managed to succeed in tightening the noose of state government around the neck of the adult entertainment industry in Missouri.

I suppose one man’s liberty is another man’s reason to squelch it, even if the squelcher squeals hypocritically about government tyranny at local Tea Parties.  Only in Jasper County  America.

We consider this a tremendous victory for the health and safety of Jasper County residents,” Peeping John Putnam told the Joplin Globe.

As I have pointed out before, among the new law’s restrictions is one I find manifestly weird.

According to Susan Redden’s reporting in the Globe:

Businesses that show films or videos must be configured so to give the manager an unobstructed view of patron areas.

I don’t know which is more strange: people who would pull off I-44 to watch an adult movie in the store and masturbate, or those who demand that the government tell the business owner to keep an eye on such folks.

Too much for my liberal mind to comprehend.

But I do wish that Republicans like Putnam, now that Missouri is relatively safe from premature ejaculators the porn industry, would be willing to tighten the noose of government around the necks of Wall Street and Big Oil, which, like the porn business, needs someone to watch what’s going on.

Because some of that stuff is much more worrisome than Pee-wee Herman types who have trouble waiting until they get home.

Joplin Tea Party A Dud

Last year, the crowd “estimate” for the April 15 Tea Party in Joplin was 1000, which, of course, wasn’t really close to the actual number. I estimated that crowd at about 500 to 600 folks.

This year, there was about half that number, probably less than 300.  So, by any standards, the Tea Party this year was a little lame.

But I did have a good time attending the event.

I talked with many people, some holding strange signs and some just standing, listening, and applauding whatever it was that John Putnam was saying.  And, honestly, some of the people holding ridiculous and blatantly false signs were actually nice to talk to.

I talked to one pleasant couple who didn’t seem like they really belonged at the event, since they didn’t sound as extreme as their signs would indicate.  In fact, after talking to them, I found that the health care reform law that upset them so much really contained a lot of stuff they liked.  The nice lady actually admitted that her views were “to the left” of her husband’s, especially on the health care issue. 

Another lady, who attended with her mother, said she thought all our representatives, Republicans and Democrats, should only get one term and then come home.  If they stay longer, she urged, they will just get corrupted. There is, of course, some truth to that.

But not all of the people I talked to were as nice.

One guy I was photographing took offense at a question I ask him about his sign. Here is the sign in question, which should look familiar because I have posted about it before:

I tried to ask him what his sign meant, which set him off.  At one point, he walked up and got in my face and threatened me, and I had to gently push him back.  After that, he seemed to calm down a little bit, so I decided to crank up the video:

Although I disagree with the guy, he had every right to tote his sign to the event and display it, but apparently the organizer, John Putnam, didn’t think so.  According to this guy and an independent witness I talked to, Mr. Putnam tried to get him removed from the sidewalk.  Presumably because the sign sent a message contrary to what Mr. Putnam envisioned for his rally.

As for other signs—messages—here are a few I saw:

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I found something rather disturbing as I read through the messages written on a long  “scroll,” provided, presumably, for folks to express their grievances against the government. Notice the “regime” reference, straight from the lips of Rush Limbaugh:

I took the time to interview a gentleman who was holding a sign that cried out for explanation.  Here’s the interview:

Finally, what is a Joplin Tea Party without a new costume gracing the body of John Putnam?  Incidentally, on KZRG this morning (an event sponsor), before the event got underway I heard Kara Marxer interview Mr. Putnam and she remarked about his nifty uniform, saying something about his “Hessian boots.” 

Gently, the head of the Jasper County Republicans reminded her that they were not Hessian boots, since the Hessians were on the other side of the fight in the Revolutionary War.  Whoops! 

[All photos and videos by The Erstwhile Conservative, so whoever borrowed one of last year’s photos and put it on John Putnam’s Southwest Missouri Conservative Network, please credit TEC in the future. It’s the Christian thing to do.]

“Peeping Putnam” And “Faith-based Tyranny”

John Putnam, local Tea Party organizer and the Christian conscience of Jasper County, made the news again yesterday.  In a story in the Joplin Globe, “Adult store bill backers optimistic,” the moral crusader is reportedly “pleased” with the Missouri Senate’s passage—by a 32-2 vote—of a bill to further regulate sexually oriented businesses in our Christian state.

Leaving aside for a moment the propriety of a teabagging, free-market espousing, Founder-quoting advocate for liberty supporting government regulation of a business solely on moral grounds, let’s look at what the bill, and its companion bill in the Missouri House, might do:

Among other things, both measures require sexually oriented businesses to be set back at least 1,000 feet from sites including homes, schools, churches, day cares, libraries and public parks; bar a person from appearing nude in the business; and set visibility and monitoring requirements on booths where films and videos are shown.

That last one is interesting: It would, “set visibility and monitoring requirements on booths where films and videos are shown.”

The only purpose for such a “peeping Putnam” provision would be to prohibit potential purchasers from prematurely pleasuring themselves before entering the sanctuary (for now) of their homes.

Now, why would a teabagging, free-market espousing, Founder-quoting advocate for liberty care about that and support what Harvey Wasserman called, “faith-based tyranny“?

Beats me.

Next Time Try Free Wings And Beer

I will be the first to admit that getting 600 people to come to your event is pretty impressive.  I mean, if at your last birthday party you had 600 celebrants, I would say you were pretty damn popular—or you were giving away free wings and beer.

But it seems to me that if the teabagging phenomenon is more than just worried white folks blowing off a little cultural steam, then the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville would have attracted more costume-laden fans than a mere 600. 

Heck, I like dressing up in 18th-century drapery as much as the next guy, but if I were courageous enough to parade around in public in such attire I would want more support than that.  In fact, our own Joplin Tea Party last April drew more folks, of course that was because most of them gathered to see Thomas Jefferson’s fantastic impersonation of local Republican activist, John Putnam.

←Pretty good, isn’t it?

In any case, I think it’s may be a good sign that more people didn’t show up or weren’t invited.  It may mean the organizers suspected that a substantial number of sincere teapartiers would refuse to be exploited and would refuse to pay the steep fee to see Sarah Palin accept her $100,000 check.

Or it may mean that Obama’s strategy of trying to put as many teabaggers out of work as possible—through his Socialist economic policies—is working, thus the culture warriors couldn’t afford to pay the steep fees associated with teabagging on the national level.

I’m fairly sure it’s the former, but I’m hoping it’s the latter. 

Because I’d like to think Obama could do something to help the country.

Born-Again Christians Shouldn’t Drive

Globebloggers Johnny Kaje and Anson Burlingame have had a dispute over the issue of “faith is crap,” culminating in Anson blogging about it and Kaje writing a humorous piece about her trip to Springfield to the Skepticon II event.

All of which has made me think about one of the most bizarre beliefs in the fundamentalist world.  There are some weird and disturbing interpretations of the Bible, and then there is the doctrine of the Rapture.

For those of you out of tune with modern fundamentalism and evangelicalism, here is the Rapture in one sentence:  At some point in the future—usually in “our lifetime“—Jesus is going to return to the Earth to “gather” his born-again followers, who will be “taken up” into the air to be with him, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves in the dark days ahead, which Christians call the Tribulation.

Now, as bizarre as this seems, apparently more than 40% of all Americans believe in some version of it.  I don’t mean they believe in Jesus’ return in general (most Christians so believe), but in the specific idea of the Rapture, the one in which a car on I-44, full of people, could have its driver raptured into heavenly bliss while its other, less saintly passengers, would end up smashed against an oncoming big rig, the driver of which was also the recipient of a ticket to ride. 

So, what does this have to do with politics?  Well, I have suggested that some Republican candidates, like Mike Huckabee for instance, sometimes appear to be unable to make a distinction between American foreign policy and Israeli foreign policy, as when the Huckster visited Israel recently and criticized Obama’s position on Jewish settlements in occupied territory.

Since Huckabee is a born-again Christian who believes in the Bible as the Word of God, his biblical views obviously have some impact on his political views and thus on his political decisions, particularly involving the Middle East.  And so do the biblical views of millions upon millions of other Americans.

As Sam Harris put it:

It really is not an exaggeration to say that some significant percentage of the American electorate, which if they turned on their television today and saw that a mushroom cloud had replaced Jerusalem, they would see a silver lining in that cloud.  In so far as people like that elect our presidents and congressmen and in so far as they get elected as presidents and congressmen, that’s a terribly dangerous state of affairs.

Dangerous, indeed. 

Just to remind you of how dangerous, here is a clip of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson—just two days after 9/11—discussing their religious view of America—again, one with which many Americans concur:

Now, that is why these bizarre beliefs must be challenged and ridiculed. 

Faith in a “higher being” is one thing, but specific beliefs that lead to the kind of reasoning employed by wildly popular evangelists like the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson is another.

UPDATE: 

Fox 31 TV in Denver posted a story on yet another right-wing Christian, this time a car dealer just outside of Denver, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, who posted this billboard:  

A reporter for Fox 31 interviewed the car dealer:

“Since Fort Hood, I’ve had it,” owner Phil West* told FOX 31 News Friday. “You can’t suggest things. You can’t profile. You gotta call a spade a spade.”

“Everything I have read about Mr. Obama points right to the fact that he is a Muslim. And that is the agenda of what Muslim is all about. It’s about anti-American, it’s about anti-Christianity,” West said.

As I said, there are political implications of bizarre religious beliefs.  In fact, I’m surprised John Putnam, local birther, born-again Christian, and Captain of the Jasper County Morality Police, hasn’t erected such a sign on I-44.

*I believe the gentleman’s name is Phil Wolf.

Play It, John

You’ll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.

Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

Prayerfully, and purely for the good of the Carthage License Office, John Putnam has decided to withdraw his bid to continue as boss-man of the office:

I am concerned that politics has not been completely removed from the process and would not want my desire to continue as agent to cost Carthage what I believe to be the best Fee Office staff in the state.

I, for one, am shocked, shocked that politics is going on in state government.

At least Mr. Putnam can now devote more of his time to hunting for Obama’s birth certificate. It’s a long way to Kenya.

__________________________

Kaje wrote:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 06:11 PM

Why do politicans always say stuff like “I’m not here to play politics”?

That’s your friggin’ job description, so you’d better be playing politics.

The Age Of Reason

Just a few comments about the Joplin Tea Party:

First, John Putnam, who was introduced as an “organizer” of the event, shared with the crowd approximately 50,000 principles (actually, I think it was 10) he believed the Founding Fathers would want us to follow to maintain our freedom. One of those principles happened to have something to do with Obama’s birth certificate. A prescient bunch, those founders.

In any case, the crowd cheered loudly when Putnam bravely broached the birth certificate “issue.” He explained again that, “as a Fee Agent for the Carthage License Office,” (just how did he get the job and how long will he keep it ?) he was well positioned to understand that if the rabble had to show a birth certificate to get a driver’s license, it wasn’t too much to ask a presidential candidate to show one to prove he wasn’t beamed here from Tralfamadore. Well, he didn’t use the Vonnegut reference, probably because Kurt is not on his approved reading list, but his point was the same. That, he said, is why he asked Sen. McCaskill about it because as a member of Congress she might have some authority to get to the bottom of it.

Notwithstanding the nuttiness of Putnam’s mentioning this nonsense as some kind of oblique threat to our liberty, it is more than disingenuous to assert that he only asked Sen. McCaskill the question so she could somehow try to resolve the issue. He knew what her position would be. She was one of Obama’s first and most ardent supporters in the Congress. I suspect the real point of bringing it up the night she was here, and at the Tea Party, was to arouse suspicion in those who were only vaguely familiar with it, and to stoke the hostility among those who knew it inordinately well, all of which serves to keep the phony issue alive to undermine the president’s policies, if not the president himself.

In an attempt to sound “fair and balanced,” Putnam tried to qualify his remarks about the birth certificate with this:

I don’t say that to disparage Barack Obama. He might be a fine man, I’m not sure.

Now, that bit of dancing around the puddle he made simply isn’t enough to excuse his public infatuation with Obama’s alleged illegitimacy as president. After the 2000 election, when extremists on the left were upset with the Bush victory via the Supreme Court, I recall conservatives hammering those extremists for their lack of respect for the “courts” and the “process.” If Putnam really isn’t trying to disparage Barack Obama, he should do what conservatives told liberals to do in 2000: Get over it and move on. You lost.

_______________________

The second curious thing about the Tea Party was the use of children as props for reinforcing political points. Some of these children were holding signs saying things like, “USA not USSR.” Given the ages of many of these children, it is highly unlikely they knew much if anything about the Soviet Union, not to mention the implication that what is going on in our country somehow resembles that former totalitarian giant.

Sadly, these children were deemed useful props because one of the themes of the rally was that we are passing on a tremendous debt to our children and grandchildren. Well, we may be, if the debt is never repaid; that is, we may be, if future Republicans–who want to spend, spend, spend and simultaneously cut the taxes of the wealthy– get another opportunity to squander the surplus handed to them by future Democrats.

__________________________

Which leads me to another “theme” of the party. A populist rally that essentially and aggressively promotes lower taxes for our wealthiest citizens is a very strange populist rally. Having previously doubted the liberal critique of the whole Tea Party idea as simply rich conservatives manipulating gullible citizens, I now have to wonder. There were many loyal bubbabots in the audience who actually cheered when someone from the podium protested the high tax rate on the wealthy. Now, that is a fine piece of elitist workmanship that would have William Jennings Bryan rolling in his Fundamentalist grave.

__________________________

Finally, many of the speeches were liberally peppered with quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Now, I suspect many, if not all, of those who spoke are committed Christians. And to quote Jefferson and Paine like they were Jesus and Paul is a little disconcerting.

I have in my library a copy of the Jefferson Bible, a handy little volume because it doesn’t take up much shelf space, since the Founding Father cut out the parts of the New Testament that didn’t suit his fancy. I also have a copy of The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine’s commentary on the Bible, which contains many reasons for not believing the Good Book, useful for those after-church picnic discussions or Wednesday-night Bible studies.

So, I was a little offended that the pious defenders of our contemporary liberty have resorted to quoting deists and atheists (I thought I heard a Ben Franklin reference during the proceedings).

Anyway, given the revolutionary implications of the Tea Party, I thought I would pass on a friendly Biblical reminder to those whose thoughts might be turning, Texas-like, toward an insurrection:

For rebellion as is the sin of witchcraft.” 1 Samuel, 15:23

_________________________________________________________

COMMENTS:

Anson Burlingame writes:
Thursday, April 16, 2009, 01:48 PM

Duane,

I did not attend the Joplin Tea Party. If it was dominated by issues that you mention above I would write in opposition. I did watch the media coverage on Fox. I ignore Hannity as I said in my blog. But the message I heard promoting the Fair Tax and “live within our means” struck a chord with me.

I saw (maybe because I wanted it to be there) a middle class American protest over issues that I care about such as too much debt, pushing multiple programs too far and too fast with little or no debate, etc. Where is our thoughtfulness and deliberation?

I heard loud roars of protest throughout the Bush administration. It was in no way muted or respectful. I hear the same now in the Obama administration. Both administrations were and are now polarizing. The extent of polarization is of concern to me, great concern. And neither of the two administrations has gotten it right or come even close, in my view.

Joplin Tea Party Pix

The man on the right is famous local radio personality Mark Kinsley. The man on the left is Thomas Jefferson imitating John Putnam.

 

Obviously, spell-check was unavailable at the placard painting parties.

 

Thankfully, this was a “non-partisan” event.

Understandably, some people wanted to remain anonymous.

A Wide Birth

Last Friday, the Globe published a column I wrote about the McCaskill visit last week. The following is an unedited version (the parts deleted for publication are here bracketed and in bold), along with most of the comments from anonymous readers, which demonstrate the enormous separation of opinion on this “issue”:

Tuesday night, Claire McCaskill came all the way to Joplin to answer questions from the public.

The second question of the night came from John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee and our local moral environmentalist, who wasted Senator McCaskill’s time with a question about Obama’s allegedly phantom birth certificate, a phony controversy existing only in the minds of confused conspiracists.

[Surely, a man who is contemplating a run for congress would have something more pressing to ask, like, say, whether the government will continue denying the existence of Roswell aliens or whether Glenn Beck will ever regain his sanity. But, no,] Mr. Putnam chose his moment with Sen. McCaskill to embarrass not only himself, but the entire thinking population of Southwest Missouri.

David Horowitz, a conservative writing about people like Mr. Putnam on Townhall.com, said:

The continuing efforts of a fringe group of conservatives to deny Obama his victory and to lay the basis for the claim that he is not a legitimate president is embarrassing and destructive. The fact that these efforts are being led by Alan Keyes, an unhinged demagogue on the political fringe who lost a senate election to the then unknown Obama by 42 points should be a warning in itself.

Now, Alan Keyes, based on the birth certificate issue, does not think Obama is really the president, referring to him as only an “alleged president.” He also said recently:

Obama is a radical communist. He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.

Whether John Putnam agrees with Mr. Keyes about Obama being a radical communist we don’t know, but we do know now that he agrees with him about the “conspiracy” surrounding Obama’s citizenship,[certifying Mr. Putnam as a member of Horowitz's "fringe group of conservatives."]

Senator McCaskill, to her immense credit, tried to be diplomatic, but she eventually and cleverly turned the question around and asked Mr. Putnam in effect: So what would you suggest be done about it, if we found out the birth certificate issue were legitimate?

Which is a good question. What would people who think Obama is not a lawful president do if it could be definitively proven that his fatherland was fictionalized [by farsighted Manchurians? Would they march on the White House and burn a cross on his lawn? Would they kidnap Sasha and Malia and hold them hostage until Barack and Michelle turned over the keys to the presidential limousine?] Would they demand that Obama apologize and allow John McCain to be president on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays?

Michael Shermer, a writer for Scientific American and publisher of Skeptic magazine, said this about people who are infected with conspiracy disease:

There’s no amount of evidence or data that will change somebody’s mind. The more data you present a person, the more they doubt it … Once you’re committed, especially behaviorally committed or financially committed, the more impossible it becomes to change your mind.

WorldNetDaily, a “Christian” news outlet, has been a major instigator of those seeking additional proof that Obama was actually born in Hawaii. On Wednesday, the top four stories on its website were related to the issue, and there was an advertisement for a “Where’s the Birth Certificate” bumper sticker. Ironically and hypocritically there was also an advertisement for a book titled, “Heard Any Gossip?” in which the author claims gossip is a grave sin.

And in a perverse case of loving the sin and hating the sinner, Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily said:

I’m also calling on all my colleagues, from coast to coast and around the world, not to let this matter drop. Apparently it is a point of real sensitivity with Obama people. Good. Let’s rub it in. Let’s demand he produce the birth certificate at every turn – at every press conference, at every appearance, on every talk show.

John Putnam is obviously practicing what Mr. Farah is preaching,[and regrettably, exposing himself as a fringe conservative makes him a viable candidate in next year's race for the 7th congressional district.]

Meanwhile and miraculously , despite unrelenting attacks from the right, the alleged president’s approval ratings remain high.

COMMENTS (in order of last to first)

________________________________________
Achilles writes:
President Barack Obama is more of an American than John Putnam and the conservative Republican rift-raft harassing Senator McCaskill at MOSO that night!
________________________________________
oldman writes:
“John” : John, I have to ask you Sir why didn’t you spend time on the real issues, that being pinning Senator McCaskill down on illegal immigration. John, there are none so blind as those that will not see, I wish you would stop following all the bull plop that some of these so called christian society groups put out and go to work in helping fixing things that need fixing right now. I am so sorry you choose to believe the crap that fear mongers spread creating anarchy and division, this old Republic will not get saved by the likes of you if you continue on this dead end path.
________________________________________
Ollie writes:
Why and Oh for pity’s sake, you both have asked interesting questions. What I don’t understand is why you don’t seem to be the least bit interested in having them answered. And as for you, Sour grapes, please explain how President Biden is going to advance the Republican agenda.
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Obviously writes:
Dr. Rev. Alan, Well obviously the Federal Elections Committee is just another co-conspirator. Buncha commies!
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writes:
Sour grapes, nothing but sour grapes from the loosing side! I really fear for us as a society when people cling to cow flop like this!
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Rev Dr Alan writes:
Those of you who say there is no birth certificate are missing the point. There is a federal elections commission which investigates every ones paper work before they are allowed to run for president. JoplinFreethinkers.org
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Oh for pity’s sake writes:
So let’s say that for reasons of my own, I want to falsely claim that I was born in Hawaii, when in fact I was not. How on earth, why in the world would the Hawaii State Health Department collude with me in such a fraud? They wouldn’t. They would not even go so far as to say, “We have it but we won’t release it without Oh for pity’s sake authorization.” The State of Hawaii holds Mr. Obama’s birth certificate because that is where he was born. Mr. Obama is eligible for the office of President of the United States. He won the election fair and square. By continuing to shrilly insist that there is a vast conspiracy to place an ineligible person in office, the proponents of this half-baked theory continue to alienate mainstream Americans.
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Why? writes:
I was not born in Missouri, I was born in Indiana while my father served there in the Air Force. The Vital Statistics office of the State of Indiana has the original of my birth certificate. Neither the State of Missouri nor any other state has so much as a copy of my birth certificate. Why would the State of Hawaii maintain a copy of anyone’s birth certificate who was not born there?
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Ollie writes:
David, you were told this once, but apparently it didn’t take. I hate having to repeat myself, so please read this carefully. The document to which you refer, the Certification of Live Birth, is not a legal birth certificate. It does not contain the name or signature of the attending physician or the name of the hospital. Look for yourself: tinyurl.com/csx827 . A REAL Hawaiian birth certificate looks like this: tinyurl.com/68ce9q . The state of Hawaii has acknowledged that they have Obama’s legal birth certificate on file, but it is SEALED pending Obama’s authorization for its release which he has so far refused. No one from the state of Hawaii has said what is on that document — only that they have it. As to your “authoritative sources,” factcheck.org is run by the Annenberg Foundation. That’s the same Annenberg Foundation that gave Bill Ayers $50 million to turn Chicago public schools into communist indoctrination centers with the assistance of none other than Barack Obama. And snopes.com is one guy and his wife, David and Barbara Mikkelson, working out of their house, and they’re both liberal Democrats. Their “exhaustive investigations” amount to nothing more than parroting the spin from Obama’s website. You might as well cite moveon.org and democrats.com as your sources. What’s wrong with America today is gullible people like you who believe whatever they’re told if it comes from someone they think is “cool.” As to you, Andrew, it’s not up to us to prove he is not eligible; it’s up to him to prove that he is. We have pointed out that he has failed to do that. He could put this all to rest Monday by simply authorizing the release of his REAL birth certificate, but he won’t do that. Have you ever even wondered why? Do you even care? Aren’t you the same people who bashed Bush for being “incurious?”
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Maite writes:
While hunting Obama’s Birth certificate, who’s keeping an eye on the Black Helicopters?
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Uncle Jed writes:
This all reminds me of the 8 long years that the libs attacked Bush. His military record, his DRUG USE, he stole the election (twice) his party animal background, his intelligence (even after he graduated with higher grades than Kerry),,, it went on and on and on for 8 years. NOW, they wonder why their NON-AMERICAN Communist president is being attacked. The liberal conspiracy idiots are now reformed,,,, one would guess. (He did NOT have sex with intern, he would not do something like that, you conservative conspiracy person,,, oooopps,, i was wrong,,,, he did)
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Obviously writes:
There has been an elaborate conspiracy and cover-up orchestrated by Obama’s parents, grandparents, various foreigners, state and federal officials, and any number of foreign and domestic bureaucrats to create the superficial appearance that Barack Obama is an American citizen when actually he is not. Having succeeded in their scheme, the conspirators sat back and waited for Obama to decide to run for president. Perfect genius is shown in giving the baby an obviously foreign name. For added giggles, they gave Obama the middle name “Hussein” – betting that the United States would install a dictator in Iraq by that name and then, even later, go to war with that guy, twice! I tell you, it’s genius.
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Andrew Maddock writes:
You people who believe that Obama was not born in the US are just plain stupid. For one thing, if it were true I am sure that the republicain party would have been able to have found out about it well before the election. They spent millions of dollars trying to prove it and failed. So if they could not prove it, why do you people keep trying? I mean, if it were actually true and the republians could not prove it, what does that tell you? They are a bunch of dumbasses and is that the kind of people you want to run the country?
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Lauren Eastman writes:
The birth certificate controversy has been exasperated by Obama’s own Kenyan grandmother. I saw a newsclip of her on TV, where she said, “I was in the room when he was delivered”. Well this lady has never left Kenya. There has never been explanation by the news media if she is deranged or just telling the truth. To further investigate this factual event would finalize this controversy one way or the other.
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JPS writes:
My friends, the day Obama opens (is forced to open) the safe to show his BC is probably the day he can no longer be president, the great scandal of 2009 is approaching….
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David Smith writes:
People, where do you get the idea that his birth certificate is sealed away somewhere? Snopes.com and factcheck.org have both investigated this issue exhaustively, seen the proof, the NOT SEALED AWAY proof, it has been reported on ad nauseum, and people still want to cling to their conspiracy? And people wonder what is wrong with America today.
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Savvy writes:
The COLB produced by factcheck.org has neither a doctor’s signature or the name of a hospital. No one has come forward as witness they were present at Obama’s birth in HI … Obama’s Kenyan grandmother HAS come forward. She claims to have witnessed Obama’s birth in Kenya. If Obama was born overseas, he is not a citizen of the U.S.A., as his mother (18) was not old enough to pass citizenship to a child born overseas, and Obama’s father was not himself a U.S. citizen. If Obama produced his long-form birth certificate, which he claims is in his possession, the matter could be resolved. But Obama has multiple lawfirms fighting the release of his long-form birth certificate and Occidental College records … which might indicate whether Obama applied for admissions or student aid as a foreign student.
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writes:
Duh; Obamas records were sealed for the same reason that George Bush’s records were sealed(D.U.I. records, records of military service, prior financial dealings etc. etc. Oh, and yes even Georges birth records.). Chief Justice of the supreme court John Roberts, a staunch conservative, administered the oath of office to Obama twice. Do you think if there was a way out he would have done this? John McCain was the only candidate not born in this country, and under the original wording of the constitution, he would not have been eligible to run! All of this is just crybaby sour grapes, and as adults you should get over it!
________________________________________
the informer writes:
Graham is still in La La Land. He doesn’t believe his own eyes.
________________________________________
Ollie writes:
“Shut up!” they explained.
________________________________________
James writes:
Citizen grand jury indicts Obama!!!!! Groups in 20 more states reviewing eligibility claims The indictment delivered to state and federal prosecutors yesterday is one of the developments in the dispute over Obama’s eligibility to be president under the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that presidents be “natural born” citizens. http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=93481 http://americangrandjury.org/
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old1writes:
Keep calling us names & trying to make us look foolish. We will save America in spite of your attacks. “O” is not a Natural Born American so Keys is right. “O” is not President. He can’t be. His dad was a British Citizen, that makes “O” a British Citizen under British Common Law. This deals with British Law, “O” Sr. and “O” Jr. It has nothing to do with American Law, place of birth, or any paper Hawaii has locked up for what ever reason the have open records sealed. Now “O” being a British Citizen goes against Article 2. Section 1. paragraph 5. of our great Constitution. For further information read the letter John Jay wrote George Washington about adding the Natural Born requirement during the framing of the Constitution. This is all you need to prove “O” is not President. How did Howard Dean overlook this? Where’s Howard today? Anybody seen him?
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Realityis writes:
I agree, you have provided no reason or proof why we shouldnt question his elgibility. Obama is hiding somthing, be careful, if this story pops, your career will be in question.
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writes:
And the crackpots keep on raving, like shar and duh.
________________________________________
shar writes:
Your article sounds ridiculous to me. “There’s no amount of evidence or data that will change somebody’s mind. The more data you present a person, the more they doubt it.” The fact is that, other than a COLB which is not proof of Obama’s eligibility, no other pertinent data has been offered. All records are sealed up tight so nobody can get any resolve on this issue at all. If Obamba was transparent enough and respectful enough of the American people and its Constitution, he would open up about his past, instead of hiding any evidence that could potentially prove he IS eligible. It is embarassing our country that Obama is do disrespectful of it.
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DUH writes:
If there is nothing to hide, then why is the birth certificate sealed away? Why was the term “African” listed on the birth certificate copy shown the press when the term was negro or black at the time. Why did Obama’s mouthpieces say he did not bow to the Muslim king? The truth is the truth. “The truth shall set you free” is apparently alien to the Obama administration. Same old Chicago thug politics which warmly received the Globe’s ringing endorsement.
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Rev Dr Alan writes:
John Putnam is not representative of this county we should make that very clear. His, and his groups, idea’s are certainly off the wall.

Remarks And Asides

Geoff’s World is growing darker by the hour. On Tuesday he wrote:

40 years of social engineering has not helped a soul in this great nation except for the politicians dishing out the dough.

On Wednesday, Mr. Caldwell popped open his Joplin Globe and found a message from God. In a font fit for such divine decrees, the headline screamed:

Food for thought

Accompanying the article on the WIC program–indisputable social engineering–were pictures of Madison Hembree and her infant son, Charles, as well as four-year-old Donavin Pena. Freeloaders all.

If Geoff’s conservative dreams came true, the nearly 4000 women and children benefiting from the government program each month would have to find other means to supplement their nutritional needs or–more likely–go without.

You gotta love that compassionate conservatism.
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Speaking of social engineering, the Right, of course, has its own version. John Putnam, a local environmentalist wacko, is still pressing for severe restrictions on “sexually oriented” businesses through his group, Citizens for a Decent Environment. The group apparently has no plans to restrict sexually oriented churches, some of which have made headlines around here the last few years.

Mr. Putnam and his group may really be concerned that allowing unfettered access to adult entertainment so close to home will endanger the fiscal health of area churches. Dropping twenty bucks on a porn video tends to make one more likely to short-arm the collection plate on Sunday.
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It took John Cragin all the way until the last paragraph, but he managed to make his point today , which not surprisingly was to bash Democrats. He referred to Obama not as “our” president, but as “your” president. Apparently, there is property on Snob Hill outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
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First it was CPAC, now the Senate-House Dinner. Sarah Palin will be a no-show for the GOP’s beg-fest in June. To demonstrate that the Republican Party is still a fresh and vibrant player in our politics, it has booked…Newt?

There is a God.
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COMMENTS:

Anson writes:
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 02:50 PM
Duane, check out Carol’s latest blog. You may want to add a comment as well
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