Monthly Archives: January 2010

Birther King and Queen Defend Scott Brown’s Claim That Obama’s Parents Weren’t Married

Leaders of the birther movement which has sought to discredit President Barack Obama’s status as an American citizen are defending Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s suggestion that Obama was born out of wedlock.

Andy Martin, a right-wing polemicist and perennial vanity candidate who claims on the front page of his blog that Obama’s real father was the communist intellectual Frank Marshall Davis, said of Brown’s remarks, “I think this shows Mr. Brown is a lot smarter than I realized and he’s a lot more honest.” Martin told me that he was planning to publish a defense of Brown on his website.

Orly Taitz, the eccentric Orange County-based dental technician who has filed numerous failed lawsuits challenging Obama’s status as an American citizen, told me, “What [Scott] Brown is saying is true, which is that no one has seen a marriage certificate. I think the context in which he was saying this is that a lot of people are asking questions and want answers.”

Brown made his comments immediately after the Republican National Convention in a debate on the now-defunct local CN8 news channel. The key moment, during an exchange in which Brown was defending the honor of Sarah Palin, went as follows:

Brown: Barack’s mom had him when she was, what, 18 years old?

Guest: And married!

Brown: Well, I don’t know about that.

Brown’s suggestion that Obama was born out of wedlock echoes claims Martin made during the 2008 campaign. As Blue Mass pointed out, in July 2008, just before Brown made his notorious remarks, Martin wrote:

Barack Obama, Senior, and Anne Dunham never married. Obama knows this fact. This is also why he keeps his white grandmother a virtual prisoner; she knows too, and she won’t lie.

Through the past several decades Obama has pretended he ‘didn’t know’ the facts about his illegitimate birth. He thought he could get away with the big lie. And he almost did get away with it….

His mother was promiscuous and had a child out of wedlock, in 1961, when that was still scandalous behavior. Is this Obama’s idea of ‘family values?’ Obviously, he has been deceiving the American people and hoping his advertising lies could overcome the truth. He has failed.

Martin, has an extensive history of extreme statements and bizarre behavior, including a series of anti-Semitic rants which he described to me as “thirty five year old rubbish.” When Martin declared his candidacy in the Illinois Republican Senate primary, then attacked frontrunner Mark Kirk as “a defacto pedophile,” Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady dismissed him as “a sick man.”

Nevertheless, Martin is a prolific and popular figure within far-right Tea Party circles, prompting him to entertain the notion that his writings might have influenced Brown. “I’m not trying to say that [Brown] got the idea from me,” he said, “but the fact is my work has had a lot of impact.”

For Martin, Taitz and the movement they represent, Brown’s victory would be a watershed event. Though Brown has portrayed himself as a moderate, Martin views him as a stealth candidate whose success would help move even the most hysterical Birther claims about Obama’s background further into the mainstream.

“I said to Obama himself that either you come clean about the truth or there will come a time when people will unelect you and delegitimize you,” Martin said. “The mainstream media elected Barack Obama by refusing to tell the truth but I think that we might be witnessing a dam burst here.”

How Washington’s Plot Against Haiti Worsened The Earthquake Disaster

The American mainstream media is covering the Haitian earthquake as it always covers natural disasters: by showing graphic footage of wreckage and issuing plaintive calls for donations to aid agencies without any scintilla of political analysis. There is no other phrase for this style of coverage but disaster porn.

Those who have taken even a cursory interest in Haiti know there has been a longstanding campaign by Washington going back to the US Marine occupation that began in 1915 to control the country’s government and maintain it as an outpost for American corporate interests. Of course, the earthquake can’t be blamed on the so-called Washington consensus. However, the Haitian government’s inability to mount even a band-aid relief effort, combined with the fact that the decimated rural economy has overwhelmed Port-au-Prince with new residents, placing enormous stress on its already inadequate infrastructure and leading to the mass casualties we are witnessing, are factors directly linked to American meddling.

In 2004, when the national press corps failed to report the American hand in the coup that overthrew Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, I embarked on a long and exhaustive investigative report on role of right-wing operatives in Washington and Haiti in toppling the government. My report, which I just discussed on the Thom Hartmann Show, is also the story of how lawmakers in Washington — including President Bill Clinton, who forced Aristide to sign free trade agreements that would destroy the rural economy as the condition for returning him to power — undermined Haiti’s capacity to support a viable governing structure. Not surprisingly, we are seeing the corporate sweatshop owners that Clinton and others had posited as the future stewards of Haiti’s economy fire their employees en masse and flee the country for safer environs instead of helping out.

Below the fold I have reprinted my piece for Salon.com, “The Other Regime Change” (which the NY Times’ Walt Bogdanovich basically plagiarized),  in full. A transcript of my Democracy Now discussion of the right-wing plot against Haiti is here.

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