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7/22/2009
IT’S PAST TIME TO INOCULATE CONSERVATISM AGAINST THE BIRTHERS

It is sometimes easy when you live in the virtual world of the internet to look at people like the Birthers or Truthers and dismiss them out of hand as a small minority of lunatics who are best left alone to wallow in their paranoid kookiness.

Such might be good advice for dealing with those who believe we never landed on the moon, or who think that we have dead aliens on ice at Area 51. But, as I warned my fellow conservatives in this post about the Founding Freeper’s call for “revolution” and removal of all elected representatives from the president on down, we ignore some of these groups, including the Birthers, at the peril of having conservatism severely damaged by having their ideas associated with the mainstream right.

Yes, there numbers may be small relative to the whole. But they are actively committed to spreading their lunacy far and wide and are gaining converts and cash as I write this.

The question then becomes do we try and isolate, chastise, and ultimately drive out the paranoid purveyors of utterly fantastical notions of Obama’s origins while they are still a small enough group that a concerted effort could succeed? Or do we wait and see how big they get before acting, thus risking a backlash against the right from the voter?

To prevent many diseases from harming our health, we inoculate ourselves so that an illness will not develop. I propose something similar in dealing with the Birthers. For my part, anyone who leaves a comment on this site, on any post, that advances any birther “theory” will be banned from accessing my writings.

Some might think this a bad idea in that I will forgo “debate” or perhaps not allow a Birther to be convinced otherwise. That’s nonsense. My experience with Birthers has been that they don’t want to hear any contrary evidence, that they have closed their mind so completely to the truth that arguing with a brick wall would be easy by comparison.

Besides, for most Birthers, it’s not about discovering the truth. It is about delegitimizing the president. For months they demanded to see the president’s birth certificate. When the state of Hawaii released a “Certificate of Live Birth,” we heard from the Birthers that it wasn’t good enough, or it was a fake. “All we want is to see the president’s birth certificate,” they innocently ask. And they take the president’s reluctance to do so - indeed, his fight in the courts to prevent the release of it - as “evidence” that there is something amiss.

I don’t blame Obama for fighting it. It is an insult to the presidency, to begin with. And the fact that no other president or presidential candidate in history has been asked to “prove” they are citizens is a personal insult to Obama.

I have little doubt that racism plays a role in this for some, but for most, it is a continuation of a streak of radical paranoia that has afflicted a subset of modern conservatism in the post-World War II era. The anti-Masons, the bugaboos associated with the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Breton Woods, the Jews, the Catholics — it is a long, inglorious list of people and organizations around which has grown paranoid conspiracies of the most outrageous sort.

I’ve quoted Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” several times on this site. The opening paragraph of that essay applies to our current situation:

American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.

Hofstadter misread the Goldwater movement entirely, but so did most liberals at the time who failed to appreciate what energies had been released as a result of the Arizona senator’s candidacy. To ascribe Goldwater’s success to the paranoids was an extreme oversimplification but typical of the blindness demonstrated by the left to what was happening to conservatism below the surface. (I wonder what Hofstadter would have made of the unhinged, paranoid and radical nature of opposition to Bush by many lefty bloggers over the previous 8 years?)

The point is that Hofstadter’s description of the Birthers (and others who believe everything from Obama being a communist to his desire to “destroy” America) is spot on. “Heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” are the hallmarks of the Birthers, and even if Obama were to release his birth certificate, they would find it a fake or demand something equally idiotic as “proof” of his citizenship.

You cannot debate them without legitimizing their arguments. They are not rational so logic and reason have no effect on their thinking. Like the 9/11 Truthers who are a cross cultural, equal opportunity fraternity of both left and right nutcases, they must be denounced in as strong language that we can muster. They must be belittled, humiliated, laughed at, raged against, and verbally hammered unmercifully until they are beaten back into the shadows and dark places from which their fantasies emerged.

And now, Rush Limbaugh has joined the Birthers in asking to see the president’s “long form” birth certificate. The “news” site World News Daily - one of the biggest boosters of the Birther movement - reports on Limbaugh’s conversion:

On his show today, Limbaugh told listeners, “As you know, I’m in the midst of another harassing audit from New York State and New York City for the last three years. We’re up to 16 different ways I have to prove to New York City and state tax authorities where I have been every day – not just work week – but every day, for the past three years.”

He continued, “Barack Obama has yet to have to prove that he’s a citizen. All he has to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he’s a citizen. I have to show them 14 different ways where the h— I am every day of the year for three years.”

Do my fellow righties still think this is just a fringe group of paranoids? Whenever I criticize Limbaugh on this site, I get an army of conservatives telling me he is the heart and soul of the conservative movement. If so, what does that say to the rest of us who utterly reject the Birther nonsense? Are we out of step with the mainstream? Or has Limbaugh proved once again that he is a clown, an oaf, and a shallow panderer to the fears and anger of his listeners?

Mark Ambinder offers this in his post, “Should the GOP Take the Birther Threat Seriously?”

That’s the thesis of the First Readers of NBC News, after viewing this astonishing clip from a town hall meeting that Rep. Mike Castle held in Delaware for his constituents. What’s most notable, to me, at least, is not how scared Castle looked or how passionately the woman argued for Barack Obama’s foreign birth. It was the reaction of the audience, a good portion of which erupted into cheers and youbetchas.

[...]

To the extent that one can conclusively prove such things in our postmodern age, this claim has been extremely thoroughly debunked. The birther movement may be premised on a fictional belief, but it is savvy: birthers now wear the term “birther” as badge of honor, as if they were a persecuted minority — which, come to think of it, is one mechanism for solidarity in the face of evidence to the contrary.

[...]

This is, at once, a fringe movement and something greater. It’s fringe because no important Republicans believe it, and most are offended by it. It’s greater because some fairly prominent local lawmakers are beginning to sign birther petitions.

At least nine members of Congress have cosponsored a birther bill that would require prospective presidents to affirm their U.S. citizenship. What we don’t know is how widespread the belief is among Republicans — and even if the belief is confined to a narrow minority, whether the belief will spread as Republicans begin to pay closer attention to electoral politics in 2010 and 2012.

Now that Rush has picked up the Birther standard, expect other Pop-Cons like Hannity, Beck, Coulter, and more to start pushing it. If they do, they are playing with fire. Pandering to paranoids has the historically nasty habit of having their delusions stick to you like glue. Charles Lindbergh found that out to his detriment when he embraced the “America First Committee” before World War II. When the war broke out, he was ignored by Roosevelt and his fame took a permanent hit.

I am open to any and all ideas on how to marginalize these kooks before conservatism itself becomes a victim of the Birthers unbalanced lunacy. We can no longer turn the other way when confronted with Birther blather. Since they won’t listen to reason , shame and humiliation would seem to me to be the best way to closet them with the other nutcases of American politics.

UPDATE

I was right to compare Birtherism with a disease. It seems to be spreading.

First Limbaugh, now Liz Cheney who refused to denounce the Birthers on Larry King:

After King showed video of the crazy birther who disrupted a meeting with poor GOP Rep. Mike Castle, demanding he acknowledge Obama was born in Kenya (that’s one birther claim); and after Carville denounced them as a “poor, pathetic” fringe group, King gave Cheney a chance to distance herself from them. But Cheney demurred, telling King the Birther movement exists because “People are uncomfortable with a president who is reluctant to defend the nation overseas.”

The rarely shocked Carville seemed briefly speechless, and even King, not known to be the most combative interviewer, tried a second time to get an honest reaction from Cheney — which I read as expecting her to separate herself from the crazies. But Cheney repeated her talking point about Obama inadequately defending the nation overseas. Unbelievable. Carville called her on it, accurately: “She refuses to say, ‘This is ludicrous,’ because she actually wants to encourage these people to believe this.”

Absolutely nuts.

By: Rick Moran at 9:53 am
59 Responses to “IT’S PAST TIME TO INOCULATE CONSERVATISM AGAINST THE BIRTHERS”
  1. 1
    Ryan Garns Said:
    10:55 am 

    I agree wholeheartedly with you, Rick.

    Then again, I have to, don’t I? Otherwise, I’ll get banned from commenting here.

    Not exactly. You can disagree with me tactically on the best way to marginalize Birthers. But even those who “just want to ask a simple question” about Obama’s birth certificate gets tossed.

    ed.

  2. 2
    Conservosnemesis Said:
    11:04 am 

    Nice article Rick, I admire your courage in taking on the nutcases in your own party. As for the banning part. It is your website. Last time I was by the post office there was an American flag on the pole. If you want to ban someone it is your right. If you don’t ban nutcases they have a way of taking over. Self preservation is a good reason to ban.

  3. 3
    Arthur Said:
    11:11 am 

    What’s the problem with requiring all future Presidential candidates to prove they meet the Constitutional requirements?

  4. 4
    Pat Curley Said:
    11:30 am 

    I don’t know what you’re going to accomplish by banning them from seeing your site; seems to me it would make more sense to ban them from posting in the comments, but to let them see your mockery.

    I am appalled by the rise of the Birthers; it really gives me cause to wonder how big the 9-11 “Truth” movement would have been on the right if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000.

  5. 5
    smitty Said:
    11:34 am 

    Is there a middle ground, where one says: “I’ll not bother me pretty head about the birth certificate, if you’ll man up and open those educational records”?
    While I can warm to the idea of accepting Chief Justice Roberts’ swearing in as sufficient endorsement of birth validity, it seems that holding Mr. Transparency to the idea of transparency seems very, very reasonable.

    I have little doubt that racism plays a role in this for some, but for most, it is a continuation of a streak of radical paranoia that has afflicted a subset of modern conservatism in the post-World War II era.

    Racism may never die entirely, but I hardly think it worth mentioning in this context. So let’s not.

  6. 6
    michael reynolds Said:
    11:39 am 

    You have quite a dilemma Rick. You’re the rational Republican, trying to salvage something from the wreck of your party while still coloring within the lines.

    The birthers aren’t a fringe of the GOP. They’re a fringe of American politics, but they are the heart, mind and soul of the GOP.

    I don’t think you’re going to win this fight. I don’t think it’s not worth fighting, I don’t know, maybe it is. But I think the crazies are driving the bus and you’re the interloper, the one sane guy at the asylum.

    Keep it up and Pajamas will drop you. Crazy is the new Conservative, and PJM will have no choice but to pander to them.

  7. 7
    Gayle Miller Said:
    11:41 am 

    Why do you consider the people who doubt Zero’s fitness and legal ability to hold the office as nutcases? Or racists? It’s really damned easy to just demonize or minimize the honest concerns of these people. It’s difficult indeed to listen to their concerns and understand the reasons behind them. The time to finally put these concerns to rest will be AFTER he has served his one and only failed term in office. Until then, he is CiC of the armed forces and they have the right to depend on his fitness to command them.

    The bottom line is that Zero is without a doubt the most absolutely horrendous choice to be president of the United States. He has no knowledge of history, less knowledge (or respect) for the U.S. Constitution (and there is no proof that he EVER taught constitutional law) and to cap the whole mess, he is arrogant and condescending to his “subjects” - not realizing that WE are his EMPLOYERS.

  8. 8
    Foobarista Said:
    11:41 am 

    The problem is that conspiracies are fun. They allow people to worry about trivia.

    As for the “birther” charge, suppose it’s actually true. Still, it’s hard to argue that Obama didn’t spend much of his youth in the US, and all his adult life. And in any case, the “native birth” part of the Constitution is one of its more silly parts nowadays, goes against the idea that you can make yourself a complete American even without native roots, and has prevented many excellent politicians from running for President.

    Whatever you may think of Obama’s politics and policies, there’s clearly numerous native-born Americans who agree with them - enough for him to win an election fair and square.

    And do we want Joe Biden as President, and have Nancy Pelosi one heartbeat away?

  9. 9
    Foobarista Said:
    11:45 am 

    And the other issue is the “birther” charge will paint conservatives as closet racists and nativists. If conservatives ever want to gain credibility with anyone other than middle-aged white guys, we’d do well to go after Obama on the issues, not on something that questions “who he is”.

  10. 10
    Mark J. Goluskin Said:
    11:51 am 

    I agree that the so-called “birther” movement is potentially dangerous. But, just as the “truther” movement, it makes NO SENSE. Really, 47 years ago, a man named Barack H. Obama, Sr. entered with a cabal that would make his son president of the United States some day. Only problem. Jr. was not really born in the United States. So these conspirators came up with “faking” a birth certificate that showed Jr. was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Unsually, a good conspiracy theory makes a modicum of sense. This just does not. I also agree that all of this talk is to discredit President Obama. Hey, I think his POLICIES are doing that job all on their own, thank you.

  11. 11
    24AheadDotCom Said:
    12:04 pm 

    If, unlike many, you trust Rick Moran, consider his sloppy thinking above. For instance, he says that “the state of Hawaii released” BHO’s cert. In actual fact, the BHO campaign put on their website a picture of something they say they got from the state of HI. To people like Moran that doesn’t matter. However, when dealing with legal issues it’s the difference between night and day. The cert wasn’t “released” by the issuing agency to the public, it went through the BHO campaign. Imagine, for instance, in a criminal trial that someone left evidence sitting out in the open overnight; that would be tainted.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that BHO tampered with the cert. However, there is that possibility. And, the state of HI has *never* verified that what’s shown on BHO’s sites (one of which has since disappeared off the web) matches what’s on file. They’ve *never* verified where he was born.

    There are so many holes in all the many tales told by BHO supporters that it’s difficult to know where to begin. For instance, even BHO isn’t clear on which hospital he was born in: he’s given different locations. Snopes and WP did the same.

    For the *facts* about this matter - not speculation, no tinfoil hat theories - see my coverage here:

    http://24ahead.com/s/obama-citizenship

    Simply by telling the truth about this issue we can discredit dozens of MSM reporters. To do that you have to tell the truth. And, you have to ignore those like Moran who don’t want you to tell the truth.

    Buh-Bye.

    ed.

  12. 12
    Jim Said:
    12:10 pm 

    Uh, Rick

    Goldwater, Romney and McCain were all sued in federal court on eligibility grounds. They all responded to the charges. Essentially stating the facts and asking that they be dismissed. They were. Goldwater was sued because he was born in Arizona when it was a territory, George Romney was sued because he was born in Mexico (but both parents were United States Citizens) and McCain was sued because he was born in Panama (to serving personnel on a military base). McCain actually went to the trouble of having a senate resolution passed acknowledging his eligibility. Obama has never directly responded, simply claiming the plaintiffs “lack standing.” His response has until now been through his website.

    So don’t say this has never happened before….

    I find it ironic that Obama has, by not responding, created his own “Florida 2000.” I ask you, did “Florida 2000 destroy the Democrats, or help lead to Obama?

    You are correct in that virtually everyone seems to believe in some sort of conspiracy, big or small. You are also correct in stating that there is fever, exaggeration and silliness involved. But even non-consevatives like Camille Paglia acknowledge “ambiguities” (I think that is the word she used) in his birth history.

    And, by the way, since when is posting a facsimile of a birth certificate the same as bringing it in to court?

    Seeya.

    ed.

  13. 13
    KingShamus Said:
    12:18 pm 

    “Foobarista Said: 11:41 am
    The problem is that conspiracies are fun. They allow people to worry about trivia.”

    Exactly right. Maybe we should be ‘conservative’ about thisand deny ourselves the fun of going full-speed into Tinfoil-Hatville

    The Bush Derangement Syndrome Left had paranoid conspiracy theories baked into the cake. After 8 years of that ridiculous nonsense, I’d say the right should do anything it can to NOT be that retarded.

  14. 14
    busboy33 Said:
    12:22 pm 

    @Gayle Miller:

    “Why do you consider the people who doubt Zero’s fitness and legal ability to hold the office as nutcases?”

    Because the Certificate has been available for years, and the fact that ell evidence clearly proves his birth are ignored. It’s like saying “why do you think the flat-earthers are crazy?”

    Here’s a link to the second release of the birth certificate — Hi-res, obvious raised seal, cert. number visible, the whole enchilada:
    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

    Notice that this has been posted since August 2008 . . . since before the election.

    Birthers for the most part jumped on the first release (explained in the article linked above) for what could be suspicious matters (like the cert number being blacked out). Nothing made the cert bogus, but if you’re convinced its bogus then ambiguous things can be seen as “supporting” the paranoia. The Obama team addressed all those issues, new photos have been provided . . . and the birthers ignore the new facts. That’s one literal definition of crazy.

  15. 15
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    12:35 pm 

    Right on busboy, right on.

  16. 16
    24AheadDotCom Said:
    12:50 pm 

    For some reason, my IP address - one used by many people - now returns a 403 when I access this page or RWN’s front page. Did Moran block it, or is that a technical glitch? If the former, he’s cutting off a lot of people. Now I’m using my web host’s IP, hopefully that won’t suffer the same fate if it’s been blocked. Perhaps he could let us know.

    In any case, if anyone thinks FactCheck is credible, see the comment I left over at the Atlantic:

    http://peekURL.com/zvfislx

    Note that that takes you to a specific comment; if it doesn’t, do a find for “Round Two”. Compare what HI said to FactCheck’s take on it, and you won’t trust FactCheck any more.

    Maybe if you read the goddamned article you’d know you were banned, idiot. And banned again.

    ed.

  17. 17
    Drongo Said:
    12:53 pm 

    Out of interest, do you also get banned for;

    1) Claiming that Obama is a Muslim?

    Or

    2) Claiming that he is a Communist?

  18. 18
    ML Said:
    1:10 pm 

    I am really glad to see a right wing site debunk the birthers. Good for you.
    A lot of this lunacy comes from the initial emails that circulated soon after Obama announced his run for the Presidency. Many of these right wingers never investigated beyond those emails. Then other crazy right wingers picked up these urban legends and further expanded on them in the most nonsensical way so as to scare voters into thinking that Obama was maybe a Muslim and maybe not really a citizen and maybe [fill in the blank]. Now, after the election, some of these Republicans do not want to believe that Obama could be President. And so in their mind he isn’t.
    I think there is a racial element and/or fear of Muslim element to this - but I won’t expand on that.
    It is truly odd to see it invade some quarters of the Republican party. Unfortunately it will only further alienate them from most other Americans who are smart enough to know that Obama’s birth is not an issue and never has been.

  19. 19
    nikkolai Said:
    1:26 pm 

    Seems to me some of the people who have brought suit against Obama are military, both active and retired. I don’t know why anyone would want to denigrate them. Plus, there is enough “smoke” out there that points to his birth in Kenya. If the Constitution matters…..

    Arrivederci!

    ed.

  20. 20
    muffler Said:
    2:19 pm 

    The whole “birther” logic is tragic at best. This has been debunked over and over again. You might not like his politics and I will assume if you don’t then you didn’t vote for him, but more people did vote for him than didn’t. That makes him president.

    There are a few issues here. If you complained about “left wingers” not accepting Bush’s win in 2000 or calling him names and then labeled the left wingers traitors for not supporting the President - it’s time to walk the walk. You can’t have it both ways.

    If you are unhappy with Obama’s 6 months in office then state your reasons without resorting to names, talking points or unresearched innuendo. Contribute to the debate and not start an argument. Do some research and use all the facts.. not just the ones that suit the point you want to support.

    America will be healthier for it. Strong debate and researched options are what makes things work.

  21. 21
    busboy33 Said:
    2:50 pm 

    . . . and 24ahead proves the point.

    For those of you that didn’t link to his comment attacking the credibility of FactCheck, his argument claims to discredit Factcheck. the factcheck link above has an article and pictures, and in that article, in an update, it says:

    “Update, Nov. 1: The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed Oct. 31 that Obama was born in Honolulu.”

    He quotes Factcheck summarizing that the director confirmed that Obama was born in Honolulu. His take on the statement (and therefore on the entire article and pictures):

    “I say they’re lying, and doing it outrageously.”

    A serious charge. How does he draw that conclusion? he links to the Director’s statement that they have “personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”

    So where’s the lie? The Director did NOT state that the birth took place in Honolulu, as Factcheck claims they confirmed. Therefore, Factcheck is lying. About everything. Implicitly, this proves how phony the birth cert is.

    FactCheck cites two sources for their “claim”. Here’s a link to the AP story:
    http://www.kxma.com/News/Politics/291624.asp

    They made the same “lie” as well.
    Of course, they did confirm that the birth cert is legit. The birth cert says Honolulu. Did she “confirm” Honolulu? 100% literally? arguably not. Seems like it’s a bit of an assumption on the AP’s part (a reasonable assumption), and that FactCheck included it. Neither source claimed that the word “Honolulu” was a direct quote. Both sources make clear that’s a summation of the exact quote.

    Also, regardless of whether or not that statement is in fact a deliberate lie (*see below) doesn’t change the photos. Doesn’t change the contemporaneous birth announcement in the newspaper (pretty sneaky a plot that plants evidence 4 decades in advance — them’s some smart terrorists). Doesn’t change the issue that the overwhelming evidence , both legal and “common sense”, says he was born in the US.

    Birthers don’t care. No evidence will suffice. Any evidence that supports Obama is doctored and/or a lie. That is insanity. Don’t like his policies? Fine. It’s the apocalypse? You need serious psychotherapy.

    *”pssst! Let’s lie and say the Director said Hololulu!” — why? As long as it is a State, debate’s over, right? if they didn’t say the word that doesn’t change the point that if the Director verified a legit birth certificate, that makes him a citizen, which settles the “can he be president” question . . . unless you now shift to “is he really old enough” which proves the real issue isn’t determining where he was born, its trying to remove that specific person. You know, the black one? the “magic negro”? “curious george”?
    This (combined with the MooslimFascistCommunistAntichristEnemyspyTerroristArab paranoia) doesn’t make it easy for people to come to any conclusion other than its about race. Repubs hated Clinton. He was called a murderer. Repubs practically gave him a reach-around when compared to the personal hatred against Obama.
    The question of the birth cert can certainly be raised without the spectre of racism. But when it gets advances alongside and co-mingled with “. . .he’s an Arab (no, he’s a good person)” and other such gems , how can resonable people not think the speaker (and therefore the argument) is tinged with racism?

  22. 22
    Eddie Said:
    2:50 pm 

    I have little doubt Obama and his team realize the negative impact this obsession will have on the GOP, especially as popular mainstream conservative figures take up the banner. They’ll hold on to the birth certificate for a few more months and then release it after the majority of the damage has been done.

    This is some sort of false hope some conservatives have that somehow Obama can just be put away with one great (grander than Chicago politrix) scandal. Its similar to the liberals believing they were one big scandal away from impeaching Bush.

    They would perhaps be better served going after Geithner & Paulson for high crimes, or widening the rift btwn President Pelosi and Obama to the extent he has to try to dump her in a power play. That would probably be more possible than him being punted out of office for being born in Kenya.

  23. 23
    obamathered Said:
    3:08 pm 

    Sorry, Rick, but even the Birthers won’t be able to keep Obama and the Democrats from being crushed like bugs in the next few election cycles. You know, just as the Truthers and the Bush “Service-Evaders” were unable to save his presidency and the GOP for a few cycles.

    And I’ll not get too taxed at Rush Limbaugh until he fabricates documents like Dan Rather did, because that might have indeed helped Rather’s and the Lunatic Left’s adversaries.

  24. 24
    aric Said:
    3:13 pm 

    Over at Red State there is a 200 plus comment thread on this subject and it is hilarious….the article was posted by one of the directors(?) who wants to put an end to this non-sense. A few of the regular contributors are birthers, the funny part is watching the rational posters try to reason with thier friends only to meet with non-stop crazy arguments.

  25. 25
    michael reynolds Said:
    3:14 pm 

    They would perhaps be better served. . .

    Or maybe, just maybe, Republicans could actually engage on the issues. Make their case in a rational way. Get over their racist panic, accept the fact that yes indeedy, we have a black guy in the White House and yep, he’s a Democrat.

    Then maybe we could talk about the line between government and free market, or between group rights and individual rights, or about questions of taxation or environment. The stuff non-crazy people think of as the essence of political debate.

    And I have an even wilder idea: what if after we debated the issues we allowed that the other side might have some good ideas, or at least some valid questions, or that at very least they had a genuine desire to strengthen our country?

    Why is the GOP doing this? You lost one election and it’s like someone opened the gates of the psych ward. Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, now Cheney, all endorsing this stupidity?

    I’ll tell you something: the GOP’s problems have nothing to do with Democrats. We couldn’t possibly hurt you as badly as you’ve hurt yourselves.

  26. 26
    Earl T Said:
    3:17 pm 

    To: ML

    “Lunacy”? How is it lunacy to demand a simple answer to a simple question? “Never Investigated” these “urban legends”?

    No, these so-called “urban legends” have been investigated in depth and have been proven to be true! There is no detailed “Certification of Live Birth” for BHO of public record; e.g. one which states where BHO was born, who the attending physician was, what the parents’ street address was, et al. Why not?

    And further, why did candidate BHO spend upwards of a cool million dollars to block any direct inquiry into the actual status and location of his birth—for which even he now claims took place at two different hospitals???

    As with the Paula Jones issue for WJ Clinton (which you libs all screamed was only about sex—when it was truly about lying under oath)this is an issue of veracity, truth and Constitutional-level fraud upon the electorate; something basic to lawfully holding the office of POTUS.

    I just want the best evidence of what the truth is: the long form Certification of Live Birth, not its truncated, computer-generated little brother!

  27. 27
    Wramblin' Wreck Said:
    3:31 pm 

    Rick,

    Thanks for a good article and such a good comment section. The best thing I have read all day!! You tell people over and over that the stove is hot. You even emphasize the point but there will always be those few who place their hands on the stove and grin foolishly.

    I suspect that the Democrats feel just as embarrassed (in private) by their loony netroot wingnuts as the Republicans do over the birthers and the truthers.

  28. 28
    Wramblin' Wreck Said:
    3:33 pm 

    Rick,

    One further comment. A comment edit function would sure be helpful.

    Thanks!

  29. 29
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:11 pm 

    Rick:
    First, bravo for standing up on this.
    We have far too dangerous of an Obama agenda to get diverted by nonsensical fairy tales like claims that Obama wasnt born in Honolulu and/or isnt eligible.

    Second, Rush is in some ways the heartbeat of conservative movement and sometimes you are wrong to critique him, but in this case he is playing with fire.

    Third, I think it might be better to lance the boil of birther-ism but not excluding those who have these questions but letting them post and hash it out in a specific thread like this. The true innoculation is th e light of truth. Unfortunately, censoring this only keeps it alive.

    You say- “You cannot debate them without legitimizing their arguments.” - wrong. Debate can at least expose and shape the form of the complaint. If you assert he was born on Aug 4, 1961, in Honolulu like the official bio says, the published COLB from state of Hawaii says, newspaper announcements say, etc., you have a set of facts and evidence to be referenced or refuted. The REAL problem is that the movement is fueled not by paranoia, but by DOUBTS. The Factcheck COLB picture is pretty convincing to most but is not ‘proof’ to those who desperately want to doubt.

    This is even moreso valid on the Federal court level. These suits got tossed, but I dont understand why the judges didnt recognize that citizens have standing to ensure elected official satisfy eligibility requirements and rule on the merits. How hard would it be, if its open-and-shut, to go through the facts, get a judge to look at the COLB and Hawaii records and declare them valid and declare Obama eligible on the basis of birth in Honolulu and say ‘case closed’?

    I believe the boil can be lanced with a “Case Closed” case for Obama’s eligibility. I urge you to consider writing/posting it.

    To #27: Excuse me but the 911 truthers were NEVER on the right per se. We dont own them, they are/were assorted nuts. Think Rosie ODonnell. And Alex Jones.

  30. 30
    Foobarista Said:
    4:16 pm 

    Earl, Obama will simply let the birther charge twist in the wind. He *doesn’t* want it to go away; the longer it’s there, the more marginalized conservatives get. Obama isn’t showing a whole lot of skill when it comes to actual governing, but he knows politics, and he knows a lunatic fringe charge when he sees one.

    He knows that the weird-right will hang itself and take a lot of the non-weird right with it.

  31. 31
    ML Said:
    4:21 pm 

    Earl T

    The short form is an official government document that Hawaii releases and accepts as legit. So do many other states. Have you EVER asked to see a long form for a politician? Has anyone?

    Why should Obama attempt to only please the far right loons when everyone else who accepted his ability to actually run for President [including the Bush Administration] were fine with what was legally issued and required by Hawaii? Considering you hate Obama you sure give him a lot of credit for pulling an amazing coverup.

    Obama never confused the hospital he was born in. Some lefty bloggers did and it was reported by righty bloggers that Obama confused it. He didn’t.
    There is no actual evidence I could find that Obama has spend millions in legal fees on this. Where do you get your info?

    Also how do you explain the TWO birth announcements in the paper announcing his birth in 1961? They were placed by the Dept of Health. Do you think they conspired 48 years ago on the off chance that this young boy might one day be president?

    The only thing I have to ask is WHY do you believe what you believe? Let me answer for you; Because you don’t like Obama and you can’t accept the fact that he is President. And therefore anything that says he isn’t legit gets you excited. Look, many on the Left believed that Bush was not President after 2000 because of what happened in Florida. They were wrong. So are you.

  32. 32
    busboy33 Said:
    4:44 pm 

    Earl:
    you DID go to the FactCheck page and look at the photos, right? You want to know why you haven’t seen them? Because whenever they are placed directly in front of your eyes you close them.

  33. 33
    Pecos Pete Meyers Said:
    5:01 pm 

    Alright Rick, now you’ve done it.

    I admire your bullocks, but this may be your Waterloo.

    What difference does all this matter, what’s being overlooked is that Obama, as well as every politician, celebrity, academician and blogger is a Reptilian!

    see for yourself http://educate-yourself.org/cn/baracksoetorofamilyphoto16sep08.shtml

  34. 34
    Pecos Pete Meyers Said:
    5:13 pm 

    the WHOLE thruth: http://www.archangel-michael.us/article_reptilians.htm

  35. 35
    buckblog Said:
    5:31 pm 

    I was initially skeptical of the “birthers” as you put it but his inability to simply produce a legit birth certificate fuels this. People have different reasons for wondering about his citizenship. Undoubtably some are motivated by race but many are motivated by the loose ends in the story of his birth.

    I said I was initially skeptical, until a few days ago when I looked at my birth certificate and my wife’s. Mine is what you would expect from a birth certificate. My wife’s is a Certificate of Live Birth. Why the difference? She was adopted immediately after birth. A normal birth certificate was not issued so the birth parent’s name would be hid. Makes me believe something is being hid in his.

  36. 36
    Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » How To Deal With The Birthers Pinged With:
    5:35 pm 

    [...] Moran is one conservative who’s had it with the people pushing the Obama-is-not-eligible argument: It is sometimes easy when you live in the virtual world of the internet to look at people like the [...]

  37. 37
    Pat Curley Said:
    5:49 pm 

    #29, there are right-wing “Truthers”; check out Devvy Kidd sometime. Many of the younger 9-11 “Truthers” are extreme libertarians, almost survivalists, including Alex Jones. The older “Truthers” do tend to be from the old paranoid left of the 1970s. The folks who used to think that Kennedy was assassinated because the CIA didn’t think he would continue the war in Vietnam.

    Of course, the main thing that all “Truthers” have in common, right or left, is that they are crackpots.

  38. 38
    Eddie Said:
    5:49 pm 

    #33.
    Thanks for a good laugh in a darkly depressing conversation. It really ties in well with Rick’s point about how absurd this “evidence” of his illicit birth is getting.

  39. 39
    ML Said:
    7:22 pm 

    buckblog
    Please note that there is no Federal standard set for birth certificates. Each state does it a little differently. The one that Hawaii uses for everyone who requests one is the exact form you can see on PolitiFact and FactCheck.
    Also the ‘loose ends’ are simply based on urban legend chain emails that ciculated last year, when Obama was still a candidate, that claimed he was a secret Muslim with a middle name of Mohammed. So they wanted to see his birth cirtificate to see his name.
    The problem is on the internet anyone can say anything and unfortunately someone will begin to believe it without investigating.
    I am sure you have received chain emails from family or friends that were too good to be true and which you found out later indeed were sheer bunk. Like the one about how a bunch of cell phones placed in a circle can pop popcorn.

    Eddie
    The word ‘illicit’ means illegal. How can someone have an illegal birth? I am not sure why non-experts on birth certificates are getting preference to actual experts on birth certificates. Wait, I do know…it’s motivated by politics. Such is life. [sigh].

  40. 40
    busboy33 Said:
    7:22 pm 

    @ Freedoms Truth:

    “If you assert he was born on Aug 4, 1961, in Honolulu like the official bio says, the published COLB from state of Hawaii says, newspaper announcements say, etc., you have a set of facts and evidence to be referenced or refuted.”

    Agreed.

    Look through this thread. Poster makes claim no birth cert produced. As you said, pretty compelling evidence supporting his birth is presented. The next step is to either discredit or adopt that evidence. YES! Discussion is good, so here comes the discussion.

    24Ahead at least to attack ther veracity of the evidence (comment #16), so I argued that the attack on credibility was not sufficient to reject the evidence (#21).
    EarlT afterwards declares that no birth cert has been produced (#26). Not “the evidence is not credible” but rather “there is no evidence at all”. Discussion stops dead. Evidence is re-referenced (#31 and #32), so again we’re at the “what’s wrong with these pictures of the birth certificate?” Again, the call goes “where is the proof” and the other side again says “here is proof”.
    buckblog notes in #36 there’s something that’s being hid. There’s something hidden, hiding a discrepancy in the proof. AGAIN, the argument is “there is no evidence”.

    Where is the discussion? The Birthers request proof. Credible evidence is produced. The next step is to examine the evidence, weigh it, test it, judge it. The Birther argument seems pretty sparce after you PRODUCE THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE and instead of saying “that’s fake” or “the lighting is questionable” they argue “there is no birth certificate”. That’s not a discussion, that’s denial.

    I apologize for the caps hissy fit above. I respect your opinion enough that I’m not trying to just rant while trying to talk to you. I’m just mystified at the “flow” of the debate and discussion. I’m both fascinated and horrified at the same time. I’m getting a very Twilight Zone vibe:

    “There is no Birth Certificate”
    “Here you go. Your Welcome.”
    ” . . . There is no birth Certificate. Why can’t I see it?”
    “Sorry? . . . uh, I don’t know why you can’t see it . . . it’s right here . . . you’re touching it now. Can you feel it? It’s right here.”
    ” . . . why won’t you show me the Birth Certificate?”
    “Can you hear me? IT’S RIGHT HERE!!! Hello? Bueller? . . . Bueller . . .”

    Am I missing the debate and discussion? Like I said, the only person I saw that even tried to address the evidense was #16. Do you think his argument is credible? I’m often wrong. If I’m missing something educate my ass. My ideas get more of a workout (and often walk away with a black eye) in here than on any other site I visit. I honestly like finding out I was wrong about something. His argument to me seems logical but far too weak to cast the pictures into doubt. That seems pretty clear, but I’m clearly biased. Should I be giving his critique any credence?

    If I shouldn’t, is anybody actually questioning the evidence presented?

    If nobody is questioning the evidence . . . are we done? Have we resolved any questions? If somebody else posts with “there is no Birth Certificate — I’ve never seen one”, what more can happen for the discussion than re-presenting the same evidence . . . again. If one team won’t get on the field and play, then at some point we have to call the game a forfeit? How long do we keep going “its right here. its right here. its right here.”?

    I wasn’t joking when I said I respect your thoughts. I think you’re wrong about just every word you tipe, but you have statements and opinions that are explained and credibly justified. Wrong . . . but justified. Honest question: what more can be done to have a legitimate discussion?

  41. 41
    bluespapa Said:
    8:00 pm 

    If this is your position, Rick, why choose “Right Wing Nut House” as the title for your blog?

    I’ve studiously avoided the site because I didn’t want to read Birther, Truther, Muslim, Communist, and in earlier times, Swift Boaters, Osama = Saddam, God chose Bush, etc., etc., etc.

    And all this time you’ve been the rational conservatives I’ve been looking for?

  42. 42
    funny man Said:
    9:21 pm 

    How do you marginalize Birthers and other nutcases? Basically, taking the Obama playbook. Let me explain that. I used to live in Detroit for a few years and they have their share of conspiracy nutcases in the black community (and that applies to other cases too). There is no point in talking to those people (Black Muslims, Shrine of the Black Madonna etc) because they are crazy and unproductive. However, they sit on schoolboards, get applause at ‘community gatherings’ etc. So Obama just said I just want to work with the people, black, white, brown who want to get things done. If you want to join us fine if you want to continue your craziness, do what you got to do, just don’t bug me. However, it was a positive message ‘Hope and Change’ (and you can quip all you want, it was a brilliant strategy). Basically, my idea is to have a vigorous debate about the core of conservatism and then go ahead with a positive message like ‘let creativity flow unhindered by red tape’. Anyway, just an example. Once we have our ‘intellectual’ house in order things will fall into place. Elections are never won by the fringes (and if so, the results wouldn’t be good). I think it is good we draw a clear line between fringe groups like the birthers but in the long run they are not going to be relevant. Folks, remember the underground secret Red Army operatives along with the regular “Russian spotting” (and Elvis I guess).

  43. 43
    A Giant Slor Said:
    10:53 pm 

    Studies have shown that when presented with a solid refutation of their views, liberals don’t necessarily change their minds, but conservatives actually double down and become even more convinced of their views. It’s to Rick’s credit that he’s coming out strongly against this. Just don’t expect any of the Birthers to change their minds, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. They are practically foaming at the mouth with hatred of Obama, and their rage will always win out over any logical, truthful arguments.

  44. 44
    Nikolay Said:
    3:36 am 

    Excuse me but the 911 truthers were NEVER on the right per se. We dont own them, they are/were assorted nuts. Think Rosie ODonnell. And Alex Jones.

    Alex Jones started with Black Helicopters movement in 90-ies, and his Obama derangement is already much more severe than was his Bush derangement. He’s now a full-blown birther, of course. There were some attempts to paint Alex Jones as “left”, but no evidence for this whatsoever. Even on the other issues (abortion, gun rights), he’s an obvious far-right character.

  45. 45
    Gayle Miller Said:
    8:46 am 

    The year 2000. The candidate John McCain. The action? He had to PROVE he was native born in order to run for the nomination against George W. Bush.

    Check your facts, Rick. Don’t be casual about them the way Zero was when he told the Apollo 11 astronauts about witnessing the splashdown of returning space capsules off Hawaii - during the time he was living in Indonesia!

  46. 46
    jackson1234 Said:
    9:30 am 

    I don’t agree with you here:

    “I don’t blame Obama for fighting it. It is an insult to the presidency, to begin with. And the fact that no other president or presidential candidate in history has been asked to “prove” they are citizens is a personal insult to Obama.”

    He made a tactical decision not to release it. Maybe it was to try to discredit the right, I don’t know. But these things tend to spin out of control and soon it will be mainstream, as happened with the bogus Bush desertion crapola.

    There is no doubt Obama is a citizen. I would like to know, though, whether Hawaii required religious affiliation back then to be listed as many states did. Obama’s birth certificate very well could list “agnostic” given his parents’ beliefs, which means he sold the American people short. My point here is that there may have been something that he feared other than the citizenship nonsense, or it may have been a tactical decision to try to hurt conservatives. Either way, it has reached critical mass and it is time to put an end to this nonsense, as only the president can do. I’m not in the habit of offering helpful advice to Obama, but it has come time for him to put this one away. The whack jobs always will believe something to the contrary, but who cares? As for the dignity of the office, I fail to see how release of a birth certificate would impact it. That seems absurd, frankly.

    So, yes, I do blame him.

  47. 47
    Earl T Said:
    12:32 pm 

    ML and Busboy:

    An Hawaiian Birth Certificate, circa 1961, has 23 spaces for specific information or signatures to be inserted, including name of attending physician, name of hospital, mother’s occupation prior to birth, AND a parent’s signature. The summary document now issued by the state of Hawaii, which is purportedly BHO’s and posted at Factcheck (which I have looked at) contains none of those spaces and thus NONE of that information and NONE of those signatures.

    That’s why it’s called a “Certification” and bears the legend that is “prima facie” evidence, i.e. the information contained on it, is a rebuttable presumption—NOT FACT– which by law means that the information on that particular document can be challenged, subject to producing the original Birth Certificate!

    All I want to see is the ACTUAL and factual BHO document, you know, the one with 23 information blocks filled in, including the name of the Doc and the name of the hospital and Mom’s signature! Both of you, go look at you own birth certificates–not summary versions many of us possess, the REAL certificates– and tell me yours don’t have that information on their respective faces! Yours probably also have your baby footprints on them! Mine does.

  48. 48
    busboy33 Said:
    2:08 pm 

    @ Earl:

    “That’s why it’s called a “Certification” and bears the legend that is “prima facie” evidence, i.e. the information contained on it, is a rebuttable presumption.”

    Yes, it is a rebuttable presumption . . . but that means unless you rebut it, it is presumed to be correct.

    “I don’t believe it” isn’t rebutting the evidence. “I want to see something else” isn’t rebutting the evidence. Its denying the prima facie evidence.

    Lets go with your distinction. The Birth Cert does contain a space for the doctor’s name, the Live Birth Statement does not. The Live Birth Announcement is valid without the Doctor’s name, isn’t it? The Live Birth Statement is still prima facie evidence that he was born in America. You’re not attacking the legitimacy of the Live Birth Cert, you’re ignoring it.

    Why would you want to know the Doctor’s name? The only reason I can imagine is to find the doctor (presuming he’s still alive) and ask them if they remember delivering Obama . . . four decades ago. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast last week — do you think they are going to remember every baby they delivered decades later?

    As you said, the evidence release so far is prima facie evidence, meaning unless someone can discredit that evidence the debate is (legally, at least) over. You said you’ve seen the FactCheck photos — what about them do you doubt?

    you said you just want to see the Dr.’s name and the hospital. But when the first document was released, the Birthers said all they wanted to see was the raised seal, the cert. number, and the absence of a watermark. They got all that . . . and now they want to see something else. If the doctor’s name and the hospital are provided, why should I think that the Birthers will be satisfied?

    There is no evidence that Obama WASN’T born in America. There is substantial and pursuasive evidence that he WAS born in America. At this point, the question seems to be one of faith, not fact. If the Birther belief is faith-based, then no amount of evidence will satisfy it.

  49. 49
    mannning Said:
    10:46 pm 

    Enormous energy seems to be being expended on this issue of Obama’s birth. That energy would better be spent on defeating him and his congressional spend,spend,spend,and tax partners in 2010 and 2012.

    A solid fiscal and social conservative message needs to be created and propagated real soon now instead of pouring words and thoughts at tweedy and specious issues such as where Obama was born.

  50. 50
    Quiddity Said:
    11:05 pm 

    What are the statistics regarding Birthers? What percentage of adult voters? And what percentage of registered Republicans? I know they show up at events and have some talking heads, but is this something small, like only 3%?

  51. 51
    pirano Said:
    8:59 am 

    Yes, do yourselves and everyone else a favor and definitely ignore these folks. I voted for Obama, but want to see a strong multi-party system. These fringe nutjobs only weaken what’s currently left of the GOP.

  52. 52
    sharprightturn Said:
    12:29 pm 

    Bush was hounded endlessly about his military service and records….did that make the members of the Democrat party nutjobs in your mind?
    (In my mind, they are nutjobs for other reasons, but I digress)

    While I am not convinced either way, I see no reason why Obama himself can’t ask for the long form release of the birth certificate and his extended package of college and school records that have NEVER been revealed.

    At best, he is playing a game with your so-called “birthers” to humiliate them….at worst, he is not qualified to lead our country constitutionally because his birth is not in line with the requirements of our Constitution.

    And when you factor Obama’s history of radicalism, anti-Americanism, and lack of respect for the Constitution, it is hardly fair to label as nutjobs those who simply want extra proof from a man who clearly hasn’t shown immense respect for our Constitution.

  53. 53
    funny man Said:
    3:50 pm 

    Sharprightturn,
    you are right about Obama playing games with the Birthers. If I was him, I’d do the same because they are nutcases.

  54. 54
    angulimala Said:
    7:07 pm 

    All I want to see is the ACTUAL and factual BHO document, you know, the one with 23 information blocks filled in, including the name of the Doc and the name of the hospital and Mom’s signature!

    And which of those magic 23 pieces of information can birthers not claim to be forged in the event that he does produce it?

    Seriously, don’t half-ass this stuff.

    It’s not like he’s going to hand you the actual certificate in person. Anything you will see is going to be, at best, a reproduced copy. In reality, the best you personally will ever get is a digital picture of a reproduced copy. You still won’t have “proof” that the picture, or the underlying reproduced copy, hasn’t been tampered with.

    If you already believe his parents (handlers?) can fake announcements from across the Atlantic, destroy all documentary evidence of his supposed Kenyan birth, forge a certificate of live birth that lists his birthplace as Honolulu, and get Hawaiian officials to vouch for having seen the actual, long-form, certificate, then you can also believe that he faked whatever long-form certificate you actually get to see.

  55. 55
    Noblesse Oblige » Blog Archive » Obama & The Real Story Pinged With:
    9:19 am 

    [...] probably not a coincidence that nirtherism is front and center in the news again, even though left, right, and center are all calling birth certificate conspiracists marginal and [...]

  56. 56
    Mick Said:
    7:22 am 

    You all are TOTALLY MISSING the true LEGAL QUESTION that is not Conspiracy theory. If Obama has admited that his citizenship AT BIRTH was “Governed” (His own words from Fight the Smears) by the British Nationality Act of 1948, how could he be a Natural Born Citizen? Dual Citizens at Birth can NEVER be Natural Born citizens. Natural Born Citizens (the requirement for POTUS and VP set forth in Article 2 Section 1) are those born on US SOIL to 2 CITIZEN PARENTS. The term was only seen at the time of the writing of the Constitution in Vattel’s Law of Nations (1763), A Treatise on Natural Law that was a huge inspiration for the document and is a required methodology of International relations as put forth in Article 1 Section 8 clause 10 USC. Obama is using the BC issue to hide the other fact that he has already admitted, He was a British Citizen at birth due to his father’s Kenyan Citizenship. Why do you think that Fight the Smears has been scrubbed from the internet? This is the final set up before he springs the BC, but the fact is that he can NEVER be Natural Born due to his Dual Citizenship at Birth. You are all being played, and I will be happy to write a collumn for you on this subject.

  57. 57
    Mick Said:
    7:29 am 

    And just so you know, John McCain (born in Colon, Panama to 2 US Citizen Parents) and Bobby Jindal (born in La. to Indian Immigrant non citizen parents) are NOT Natural Born Citizens either. The investigation of Resolution 511 nand acknowledgement of Jindal as a viable candidate for POTUS are all designed to clear the way for Obama. This is a LEGAL ELIGIBILITY ISSUE Not Conspiracy theory. Natural Born Citizen = Born in the US to 2 US Citizen Parents.

  58. 58
    JustIce Said:
    4:55 pm 

    Rick, What a shame that you feel the necessity of leaning on the tried and true censorship method to control the discussion. I am beginning to believe, in an effort to be more “mainstream”, you are becoming less conservative and more centrist. But then again, I have yet to see a concise and yet accurate description of what a “conservative” really is.

    I hope you will reconsider your “ban the book” mentality. Birthers may be wrong but I don’t think they are not idiots, idealogues, or nutcases (I happen to live with one and she is an intelligent, thoughtful person). They are, for the most part, people looking for a way off this Obama-nation of a train. They see Obama as illegitimate and thus cannot hold the office of POTUS. They may not be right, but they are definitely scared. To shut them off, is kind of like sticking your head in the sand and humming at the same time. See no evil, hear no evil, there must not be evil.

    Should you desire an intelligent discussion on this topic I would be most willing to oblige.

  59. 59
    mrcatbert Said:
    9:07 am 

    While the birthers are certainly lunatic fringe, your statement

    “And the fact that no other president or presidential candidate in history has been asked to “prove” they are citizens is a personal insult to Obama.”

    is incorrect. McCain went through the exact same thing in early 2008 - lawsuits over his eligibility to serve as president due to his birth in the (then) Panama Canal Zone, demands to see his birth certificate (because there was no record of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone Health Department’s bound birth registers), etc. All of this was carried by the MSM including the WaPo, and the NY Times.

    Had McCain won the presidency rather than Obama, I have no doubt that the Birthers would still exist. They would simply be associated with the other party.

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