Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Mother Of The Birthers

Almost as soon as Orly Taitz answered her cellphone, before I could even ask a single question, the leader of the movement determined to disprove President Obama’s American citizenship breathlessly told me the president was “connected” to 39 bogus Social Security numbers, including one for a deceased person born in 1890. “If Obama is not stopped, we will be in Nazi Germany!” Taitz, who has a thick Russian accent, shrieked. “Forgery is a criminal matter and he committed it. Obama should be in the Big House, not the White House!”

Since Taitz’s “birther” campaign began, in the summer of 2008, during the late stages of the Democratic primaries, the dentist, lawyer, and mother of three has begun winning friends in high places. Taitz told me excitedly that since she opened her Facebook account, she has had to hire a staff of five to process the thousands of friend requests she receives each week.

Among those requesting her online friendship, Taitz said, are House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA), and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. She has even received a request, she said, from someone saying they are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I personally checked [the request] and determined that it came from his office,” Taitz said.

Among Taitz’s “biggest supporters,” she said, is CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. “I did Lou’s radio show for half an hour and he was very understanding,” she told me. “He became a supporter and since then he became a supporter of the whole [Obama eligibility] issue.” Indeed, during the July 15 broadcast of Dobbs’ radio show, he praised Taitz’s work, suggested Obama might be “undocumented,” and demanded the president “show the documents” to prove he was born in the United States.

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Why Was Marty’s Boy Suppressed?

Jamie Kirchick, a little guy I’ve never met who seems to really hate me, wrote a post calling me a self-hating Jew. The post was indistinguishable from any of the indignant emails I’ve been receiving from Israeli settlers and Kahanist nutcases. The editors of Commentary promptly removed the post from their website? Why? And what does Marty Peretz have to say about the suppression of his lil’ darling?

Here’s Andrew Sullivan on Marty’s boy (Kirchik, incidentally, is a former guest writer on Sullivan’s blog) and Matt Yglesias responds to being called self-hating. The Economist’s Democracy in Action mustered the most substantial response to Kirchik. Excerpt below the fold:

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Yitzhak Rabin’s Killers Target Obama

In October 1995, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before thousands of right-wing demonstrators in Jerusalem’s Zion Square to deliver a stinging denunciation of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Oslo Accords he had signed two years earlier. “Death to Rabin! Nazis! Judenrat!” the demonstrators chanted. Many waved signs depicting Rabin dressed in Nazi regalia.

Concerned that Netanyahu would inflame an already dangerous climate, Israeli Housing Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned the hyper-ambitious politician, “You’d better restrain your people. Otherwise it will end in murder. They tried to kill me just now… Your people are mad. If someone is murdered, the blood will be on your hands… The settlers have gone crazy, and someone will be murdered here, if not today, then in another week or another month!”

Netanyahu ignored Ben-Eliezer, striding to the podium to chants of “Bibi! Bibi! Bibi!” and an eerily prescient introduction as Israel’s “next prime minister.”

One month later, Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a right-wing radical and student at Bar-Ilan University, the ideological training ground of Israel’s religious-nationalist front. Rabin’s wife, Leah, refused to forgive Netanyahu, insisting he was at least as responsible for her husband’s murder as the extremist who pulled the trigger.

With Netanyahu back in the prime minister’s office, Avigdor Lieberman’s proto-fascist party in control of several top government posts, and the Israeli peace camp Rabin once inspired in a state of near-permanent marginalization, an emboldened settler movement has turned its wrath on Barack Obama. Obama has aroused the setters’ ire by calling for a construction freeze in the West Bank and a halt to Israeli housing projects intended to Judaize Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

7-23, an anti-US hatefest erupts in front of the American consulate in Jerusalem

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What’s in C Streeter Chip Pickering’s Secret Sex Diaries?

While former Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi allegedly carried on an extramarital affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, he recorded details of his exploits in a secret diary, including the dates and locations of his adulterous encounters.

Pickering, a Republican, described several assignations he had with Creekmore Byrd inside the C Street House, a Capitol Hill townhouse inhabited by an all-male group of right-wing Republican congressmen belonging to The Fellowship, an evangelical group.

And according to a divorce filing by Pickering’s estranged wife, Leisha, the former congressman’s diary reveals the identities of several men who enabled his adulterous trysts and helped him cover his tracks.

So who were Pickering’s enablers? Are they or were they ever C Street House residents? And what role did they play, if any, in helping Pickering transform a house that hosted a “Christian men’s accountability group” into his love nest?

Thanks to heavily politicized local courts and an aggressive damage-control campaign waged by Pickering and his powerful Republican allies, the diary, which contains the answers to these questions, is locked away in a courtroom in Mississippi. And if Pickering has his way, it will stay there indefinitely.

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Tablet Profiles Me (and suggests I’m on Obama’s enemies list)

According to Tablet, I am the YouTube Michael Moore. Never heard that one before.

According to Tablet, I am "the YouTube Michael Moore." Never heard that one before.

Allison Hoffman, writer for the new Jewish magazine, Tablet (the Jewish Slate, which is slightly redundant), has just published a profile of me and my video work. Allison leads by claiming I am a liability to my father and may be the real reason why the Obama White House scuttled his State Department appointment. She does not back this claim up with any evidence, probably because there is none to support it. This says as much about her editors as it does about her journalistic acumen. Why didn’t her editors demand that she at least supply one piece of evidence before going to press?

I also am curious about how a new online magazine could run a story focusing on viral videos without even linking to those videos. Indeed, the story contains not one single link. There is no point in publishing an online magazine if it operates on a traditional model. Tablet, are you listening?

Beyond that, the piece is riddled with minor factual errors that I won’t bother to dispute, though anyone who follows baseball knows it was impossible for me to “grow up” rooting for Kevin Youkilis — he was called up in 2004. I actually told Allison my family is the kind of Jewish family that gets excited when a Jewish player makes it in professional sports or in popular culture. I pointed to Youkilis as an example of the kind of player we cheered for. She made a very minor mistake but one that shows why reporters should use voice recorders (or video cameras!) instead of notepads and their memories.

Phil Weiss has more here. The Tablet profile is below the fold:

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