Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Obama suffering from demobilisation blues as he goes through his dead duck quacking routine

December 30, 2016

Of course Barack Obama does not have to live with the consequences of his last few weeks of hectic, rather childish and vindictive flailing around. A not untypical example of demobilisation blues.

This transition is turning out to be particularly graceless with a peevish, petulant Obama intent on “getting his own back”. His legacy, such little as it is, stands to be further tarnished by his dead duck quacking routine. It seems that Obama cannot bear to see Putin succeeding in Syria where he and Kerry so spectacularly failed. The Russian hacking – if you believe the speculation with little evidence by the US intelligence agencies – has apparently been going on for a decade. So exactly why Obama had to wait to the last gasps of his administration to act is difficult to explain as anything other than a childish desire to make trouble for his successor. I put it down to simple, vindictive s**t stirring. (It reminds me during my professional life of how we used to be rather wary of vindictive s**t stirring by unsuccessful CEO’s or project managers as they were being replaced. As a rule such exiting project managers were removed from authority as quickly as possible to avoid “graceless” transitions).

He has 3 more weeks for further s**t stirring.

The Russians reacted to his expulsion of 35 diplomats with this tweet from the Russian Embassy in the UK.

russian-reaction


 

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Putin/Lavrov are running rings around Obama/Kerry in the the Middle East

October 5, 2016

Putin takes risks but Obama does not. But whereas Russia’s risk taking is based on some hard calculation of the probability of success, Obama and Kerry are obsessed with risk avoidance. So much so that US policy in Syria and against ISIS could be said to be “paralysis by analysis”. But the Russian risk-taking seems to be paying off.

analysis-paralysis

analysis-paralysis

  1. The Russian intervention started the decline of ISIS
  2. Putin has allied with Iran and Shi’ite interests while remaining on good terms with Netanyahu and Israel,
  3. Putin’s support of Assad, has forced the US supported rebel groups to ally themselves with terroris groups (Al-Nusra front),
  4. While the West has been criticising Erdogan’s purge of his opposition, a remarkable detente has developed between Russia and Turkey (which after the downing of the Russian fighter plane hardly seemed feasible),
  5. Sunni Arab states are so disillusioned with Washington and Russian influence has grown so much in the region, that they are now making overtures to Putin in spite of his support for the Shi’ites.
  6. Saudi Arabia has paused its oil war against Iran and Russia.

An insightful commentary in Reuters:

Putin’s Middle East gamble is paying dividends

Vladimir Putin has made an art of turning weakness into strength.  As Russian and Syrian forces pound Aleppo in the biggest assault of Syria’s five-year civil war, the Russian president clearly has emerged as a dominant force in the Middle East. ……..

…….. Over the last year, Putin has inserted Russia into the Syrian conflict and shored up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad as it was on the verge of collapse. The Russian leader has forged a quasi-military alliance with Iran that has allowed him to project power in the Persian Gulf – something that has evaded Moscow since the end of World War Two.

If that wasn’t enough, Putin’s relationship with Turkey, which seemed to be on a collision course after Ankara downed a Russian fighter jet last year, has now warmed to the point where Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are about to restore full diplomatic relations. All the while Putin has maintained a close and productive relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

…………. 

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the United States has aligned its interest in the Persian Gulf with Sunni monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. In turn, these countries have invested heavily in the United States – from buying U.S. debt, to investing in real estate and buying billions of dollars in American military hardware.

Arab states have also invested heavily in Washington, buying influence in the corridors of power, funding think tanks and hiring public relations firms to help spread a narrative about why their countries are essential to America’s interest in the Middle East. The relationship between Riyadh and Washington remains particularly strong even as the American public questions the logic behind an alliance with a country whose actions often run counter to Washington’s interests. 

These countries feel that Washington is obligated to share their view of the Middle East, which means backing them regardless of whether any conflict they engage in is against the interest of the United States. They have no such influence in Moscow. Even as Moscow backs Shi’ite powerhouse Iran and the Assad regime in Syria, Sunni Arab leaders continue to court Putin and look for ways to collaborate with him. Saudi Arabia, for example is currently trying to coordinate with Moscow on how best to stabilize oil markets and want Putin to pressure Iran to do the same.

Russia’s partnerships are based on cold, hard realism. Putin’s sole aim is to further Moscow’s interest. He’s unburdened by a legacy of alliances that do not serve Russia’s strategic aims. He supports Damascus, Tehran and the Shi’ite government of Iraq because he views Sunni extremism as a long-term threat that has destabilized countries in the Middle East, and which he fears could wreak havoc in countries close to Russia’s borders. Yet this coordination and collaboration with Shi’ite Iran doesn’t preclude him from working with Sunni Arab states to promote trade for Russian industry and its atomic energy program. 

Putin is doing all of this while remaining close to Netanyahu. Even though Putin is working with Syria and Iran – Israel’s mortal enemies – he has convinced Netanyahu that these alliances are not meant to threaten Israel’s existence, but rather serve a larger purpose of defeating Sunni extremism. Russia continues to cooperate with Israel in diverse fields such as energy, agriculture and arms. Russia and Israel also maintain close military contacts and Putin is careful not to transfer offensive weapons to Israel’s foes.

Juxtapose this with how Netanyahu treated Obama and interferes in U.S. domestic politics. In the run-up to the Iran deal, Netanyahu used the influence of AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbying organizations to try and undermine a sitting president and scuttle his signature foreign policy achievement.

If Israel or another U.S. ally tried to interfere or challenge Putin in such a manner, it’s difficult to imagine that he would reward them with $38 billion in aid for ten years, as Obama has done with Israel, or continue to support them militarily with advanced weapons and intelligence – as Washington has done with Saudi Arabia. …….

……….


 

Trump accepts Obama’s birth was in the US, but the original birther theory was started by Clinton supporters in 2008

September 16, 2016

Someone in Trump’s campaign just said that he accepts that Obama was, in fact, born in the US. That seems to have got a lot of media attention, but it is conveniently forgotten that it was Clinton’s supporters who started the whole Obama “birther movement” in 2008.

Clinton supporters started the Obama “birther” movement

The level of ridiculous rhetoric is now going to rise in the US and it will be difficult for Clinton to match Trump. Yesterday he proclaimed (again) to the electorate that she had started the Obama “birther” movement. We can expect much more from Trump and Clinton’s staff may be hard put to keep up. In battles of exaggerated rhetoric, tempo is of critical importance. The person who makes the first claim always has an advantage. It is having the white pieces in a chess game.

But on the birther story, this certainly originated during the Clinton / Obama battle. There is still not much love lost between Clinton and Obama. The birther story was started, if not by Clinton, certainly by one or more of her supporters, and it was in 2008 during her primary battle with Obama. ….

  1. More than a full year before anyone would hear of Orly Taitz, the Birther strategy was first laid out in the Penn memo.

  2. The “othering” foundation was built subliminally by the Clinton campaign itself.

  3. Democrats and Clinton campaign surrogates did the dirtiest of the dirty work: openly spread the Birther lies.

  4. Staffers in Hillary’s actual campaign used email to spread the lies among other 0225_obamaturban_460x276Democrats (this was a Democrat primary after all — so that is the only well you needed to poison a month before a primary).

  5. The campaign released the turban photo. Hillary herself used 60 Minutes to further stoke these lies.

The article reblogged below was published by FactCheck in July 2015, just after Trump had announced his intention to run for President.

Was Hillary Clinton the Original ‘Birther’?

by , Posted on July 2, 2015

Two Republican presidential candidates claim the so-called “birther” movement originated with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008. While it’s true that some of her ardent supporters pushed the theory, there is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with it.

In an interview on June 29, Sen. Ted Cruz said “the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008,” and earlier this year, Donald Trump claimed “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther.”

Neither Cruz nor Trump presented any evidence that Clinton or anyone on her campaign ever questioned Obama’s birthplace, demanded to see his birth certificate, or otherwise suggested that Obama was not a “natural born citizen” eligible to serve as president.

For those unfamiliar with the controversy over Obama’s birthplace, it refers to those who contend that Obama was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

At FactCheck.org, we have written about the issue of Obama’s birthplace on multiple occasions — indeed we were the first media organization to hold his birth certificate in our hot little hands and vouch for the authenticity of it. But facts have done little to squelch the conspiracy theories that continue to bounce around online.

The issue arose again this week in an interview with Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Yahoo News’ Katie Couric asked Cruz if he thought that was going to be an issue for voters.

“It’s interesting, the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama,” Cruz said (at about the 25:25 mark). Cruz then went on to say that he believes he clearly meets the constitutional requirement for a president to be a “natural born citizen.”

The claim about Clinton’s tie to “birthers” was made earlier by Donald Trump in February at the CPAC event (at 24:20 mark). Trump — who has a history of pushing bogus theories about Obama’s birth —  said, “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther. She wanted … but she was unable to get it.”

We asked the Cruz campaign for backup, and it pointed us to two articles. The first ran in Politico on April 22, 2011, under the headline, “Birtherism: Where it all began.”

Politico, April 22, 2011: The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama.

According to the article, the theory that Obama was born in Kenya “first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.”

The second article, which ran several days after the Politico piece, was published by the Telegraph, a British paper, which stated: “An anonymous email circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama’s main rival for the party’s nomination, thrust a new allegation into the national spotlight — that he had not been born in Hawaii.”

Both of those stories comport with what we here atFactCheck.org wrote  two-and-a-half years earlier, on Nov. 8, 2008: “This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain’s partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls.”

Claims about Obama’s birthplace appeared in chain emails bouncing around the Web, and one of the first lawsuits over Obama’s birth certificate was filed by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and a self-described “moderate to liberal” who supported Clinton.

But none of those stories suggests any link between the Clinton campaign, let alone Clinton herself, and the advocacy of theories questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii.

One of the authors of the Politico story, Byron Tau, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told FactCheck.org via email that “we never found any links between the Clinton campaign and the rumors in 2008.”

The other coauthor of the Politico story, Ben Smith, now the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, said in a May 2013 interview on MSNBC that the conspiracy theories traced back to “some of [Hillary Clinton’s] passionate supporters,” during the final throes of Clinton’s 2008 campaign. But he said they did not come from “Clinton herself or her staff.”

Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said Cruz’s claim is false. “The Clinton campaign never suggested that President Obama was not born here,” Schwerin wrote to us in an email.

It is certainly interesting, and perhaps historically and politically relevant, that “birther” advocacy may have originated with supporters of Hillary Clinton — especially since many view it as an exclusively right-wing movement. But whether those theories were advocated by Clinton and/or her campaign or simply by Clinton “supporters” is an important distinction. Candidates are expected to be held accountable for the actions of their campaigns. Neither Cruz nor Trump, whose campaign did not respond to our request for backup material, provides any compelling evidence that either Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with starting the so-called birther movement.

— Robert Farley


 

In Syria, the Obama non-strategy: US supported groups fight US supported groups

September 3, 2016

Eric Margolis has this post in The Unz Review and it only confirms for me that Obama’s lasting legacy will be of his “paralysis by analysis”. Obama’s actions are dominated by his fears. He has good intentions and then gets bogged down as soon as the risk analysis gets under way. His Iraq/ Syria/ Turkey/ Iran strategy – if it can be credited with the label of a “strategy” – has been one of avoiding risks as they appear. His actions are all short-term reactions to the appearance of new, perceived risks. His “red lines in the sand” have proven to be shifting lines. Obama’s misguided actions and his inactions allowed the ISIS expansion to flourish. The containing of ISIS expansion has only been made possible by the Russian intervention and the propping-up of Assad.

Obama’s predecessor, Bush Jr., distinguished himself by not thinking anything through. He rushed to conclusions and to actions without too much thought or analysis. In my definitions of behaviour he comes across, not necessarily as without courage, but as foolhardy. Obama, on the other hand, will be remembered, no doubt, for being intelligent and analytical but without courage.

As Margolis points out, the actions from diverse groups within the US have been chaotic and often opposed to one another.

U.S. vs. U.S. in Syria

 

pentagon-cia

What a mess! In the crazy Syrian war, US-backed and armed groups are fighting other US-backed rebel groups. How can this be?

It is so because the Obama White House had stirred up the war in Syria but then lost control of the process. When the US has a strong president, he can usually keep the military and intelligence agencies on a tight leash.

But the Obama administration has had a weak secretary of defense and a bunch of lady strategists who are the worst military commanders since Louis XV, who put his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, in charge of French military forces during the Seven Year’s War. The French were routed by the Prussians. France’s foe, Frederick the Great of Prussia, named one of his dogs, “la Pompadour.”

As a result, the two arms of offensive US strategic power, the Pentagon, and CIA, went separate ways in Syria. Growing competition between the US military and militarized CIA broke into the open in Syria.

Fed up with the astounding incompetence of the White House, the US military launched and supported its own rebel groups in Syria, while CIA did the same.

Fighting soon after erupted in Syria and Iraq between the US-backed groups. US Special Forces joined the fighting in Syria, Iraq and most lately, Libya.

The well-publicized atrocities, like mass murders and decapitations, greatly embarrassed Washington, making it harder to portray their jihadi wildmen as liberators. The only thing exceptional about US policy in Syria was its astounding incompetence.

Few can keep track of the 1,000 groups of jihadis that keep changing their names and shifting alliances. Throw in Turkomans, Yazidis, Armenians, Nestorians, Druze, Circassians, Alawis, Assyrians and Palestinians. Oh yes, and the Alevis.

Meanwhile, ISIS was inflicting mayhem in Syria and Iraq. But who really is ISIS? A few thousand twenty-something hooligans with little knowledge of Islam but a burning desire to dynamite the existing order and a sharp media sense. The leadership of these turbaned anarchists appears to have formed in US prison camps in Afghanistan.

The US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey armed and financed ISIS as a weapon to unleash on Syria, which was an ally of Iran that refused to take orders from the Western powers. The west bears a heavy responsibility for the deaths of 450,000 Syrians, at least half the nation of 23 million becoming refugees, and destruction of this once lovely country.

At some point, ISIS shook off its western tutors and literally ran amok. But the US has not yet made a concerted attempt to crush ISIS because of its continuing usefulness in Syria and in the US, where ISIS has become the favorite whipping boy of politicians.

Next, come the Kurds, an ancient Indo-European stateless people spread across Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. They have been denied a national state by the western powers since WWI. Kurdish rebels in Iraq have been armed and financed by Israel since the 1970’s.

When America’s Arab jihadists proved militarily feeble, the US turned to the Kurds, who are renowned fighters, arming and financing the Kurdish Syrian YPG which is part of the well-known PKK rebel group that fights Turkey.

I covered the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in eastern Anatolia in the 1980’s in which some 40,000 died.

Turkey is now again battling a rising wave of Kurdish attacks that caused the Turks to probe into northern Syria to prevent a link-up of advancing Kurdish rebel forces.

So, Turkey, a key American ally, is now battling CIA-backed Kurdish groups in Syria. Eighty percent of Turks believe the recent failed coup in Turkey was mounted by the US – not the White House, but by the Pentagon which has always been joined at the hip to Turkey’s military.

This major Turkish-Kurdish crisis was perfectly predictable, but the obtuse junior warriors of the Obama administration failed to grasp this point.

Now the Russians have entered the fray in an effort to prevent their ally, Bashar Assad, from being overthrow by western powers. Also perfectly predictable. Russia claimed to be bombing ISIS but in fact, is targeting US-backed groups. Washington is outraged that the wicked Russians are doing in the Mideast what the US has done for decades.

The US and Russia now both claim to have killed a senior ISIS commander in an air strike. Their warplanes are dodging one another, creating a perfect scenario for a head-on clash at a time when neocons in the US are agitating for war with Russia.

Does anyone think poor, demolished Syria is worth the price? Hatred for the US is now seething in Turkey and across the Mideast. Hundreds of millions of US tax dollars have been wasted in this cruel, pointless war.

Time for the US to stop stirring this witch’s brew.

“No ransom policy” but Obama paid $400 million cash for release of 4 prisoners from Iran

August 3, 2016

The Obama/Clinton followed by the Obama/Kerry foreign policy legacy will come to be seen as a low point in US history. It has been a foreign policy dominated by their own fears and devoid of courage. Paralysis by analysis.

The much publicised US policy of not paying ransom for the release of US prisoners in foreign countries is not quite all what it seems. It would seem that secretly paid ransoms are OK.

MarketWatch:

The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. 

The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17 — without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.

Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo. ……. But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible.

Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”

“This break with longstanding U.S. policy [not to] put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said.

Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. Tehran has also detained dual-nationals from France, Canada and the U.K. in recent months.

To claim that it was coincidence is a little ingenuous and there seems little doubt it was a ransom:

IndependentSentinel:  January 22, 2016

Obama Paid Out A Ransom to Iran

The U.S. Treasury Department wired the money to Iran around the same time its theocratic government allowed three American prisoners to fly out of Tehran on Sunday aboard a Dassault Falcon jet owned by the Swiss air force. The prisoner swap also involved freedom for two other Americans held in Iran as well as for seven Iranians charged or convicted by the U.S. and another 21 under investigation.

“Based on an approval of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and the overall interests of the Islamic Republic, four Iranian prisoners with dual-nationality were freed today within the framework of a prisoner swap deal,” the office of the Tehran prosecutor said.

Brigadier General Hassan Naqdi, the head of the Iranian regime’s notorious Basij militia, claimed on Wednesday that Iran had received $1.7 billion from the U.S. in exchange for the release of imprisoned Americans.

kerry-inshallah

image – Independent Sentinel


 

Obama, Clinton, media slam Trump, and Trump support will probably rise

June 2, 2016

This week has seen a concerted, seemingly coordinated, attack by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the establishment press on Trump and Trump University. If my theory, that Trump is riding an anti-establishment wave which feeds on attacks from the establishment, is correct, this will lead to an increase in Trump’s numbers. This will show up in next week’s polls.

The anti-establishment wave could, if fed enough energy by the media attacks on Trump, turn into an anti-establishment tsunami. I find it amazing that the NYT, WaPo, LA Times, HuffPo …. have not picked up on the reality that it is their “over the top” attacks on Trump which are energising and feeding his support. The content of their attacks has become irrelevant. It is their contempt which is creating a magnified reaction. The more the establishment seem to be “ganging up” on him, the greater the reaction. I see an analogy with the vibrational collapse of a bridge when troops march across in step and cause a resonance failure. As media attacks on Trump seem more coordinated, the anti-establishment reaction could reach resonance and become an uncontrollable tsunami.

Obama’s stuttering attack was particularly unconvincing and gives some backing to the suggestion that “Barack Obama as your enemy is equivalent to having a thousand friends”. 

(ISIS might agree. I note that the Iraqi (with US air support) assault on Fallujah has stalled. Massive advance publicity was released about the assault but it has been somewhat less effective than when Syria (with Russian air support) has taken back ISIS strongholds.)

In the meantime Clinton does not seem able to finally kill off Sanders. In line-ups against Trump, Sanders consistently does much better than Clinton. I take this as being consistent with the angry, anti-establishment wave which transcends “left” or “right”.


 

In defense of walls – where human security is rooted

May 16, 2016

The wall that Donald Trump talks about to keep out illegal immigrants and the ridicule that it attracts has become a political football in the US presidential election. Barack Obama talks about no good coming from any wall. Yet, he also talks about increasing the height of the wall around the White House. “Knocking down walls” is a phrase loved by the shallow of mind and is supposed to always be a good thing. But it is the building of walls which has provided the fundamental human security – and privacy – which in turn has enabled human development.

The demonisation of walls is dishonourable and puerile.

Human security is rooted in and depends upon the building of walls. Whereas the control of fire is what distinguishes the species of homo, it is the building of walls which is one of the distinguishing features of homo sapiens. The origins of wall building probably go back to the very origins of AMH (anatomically modern humans) and that that takes us back at least 100,000 years.

Probably the very first walls, in the very first human enclosures, were boundary barriers. Initially there were probably nothing more than sticks and stones piled together to keep unwanted predators out. They enabled settlements. Without walls there would probably be no roofs. They developed in sophistication and in use of materials to keep unwanted weather out.

And the rest is history.

Without the security that walls provide there would be no settlements. Without boundary walls, cities would not have developed. Without settlements the agricultural revolution would not have taken place. Without cities and the specialisation they allow (and require), specialised buildings would not have appeared. Human technological and social development would not have occurred in the manner that it has. Walls were originally to keep unwanted things out. It was only later that they came to be used to keep things in.

Section of Hadrians wall near Carlisle

Section of Hadrians wall near Carlisle

In history walls have provided more “good” than “bad”.

The oldest walls found in existence so far are those of the temple of Gobekli Tepe in Urfa, southeast Turkey which date to 11,500 years ago. City walls, which became common for purposes of defense, are first seen around the city of Jericho (now in the West Bank) around the 10th century BCE and the Sumerian city of Uruk which was founded somewhat later (though both cities lay claim to the honor of `first city in the world’). The walls of Uruk were thought to have been built by the great king Gilgamesh upon which he inscribed his heroic deeds which formed the basis for the later epic he is most famous for. 


 

Clinton supporters started the Obama “birther” movement

May 5, 2016

The level of ridiculous rhetoric is now going to rise in the US and it will be difficult for Clinton to match Trump. Yesterday he proclaimed (again) to the electorate that she had started the Obama “birther” movement. We can expect much more from Trump and Clinton’s staff may be hard put to keep up. In battles of exaggerated rhetoric, tempo is of critical importance. The person who makes the first claim always has an advantage. It is having the white pieces in a chess game.

But on the birther story, this certainly originated during the Clinton / Obama battle. There is still not much love lost between Clinton and Obama. The birther story was started, if not by Clinton, certainly by one or more of her supporters, and it was in 2008 during her primary battle with Obama.

The right wing is quick to point this out.

Hillary Team Started Birther Movement

  1. More than a full year before anyone would hear of Orly Taitz, the Birther strategy was first laid out in the Penn memo.

  2. The “othering” foundation was built subliminally by the Clinton campaign itself.

  3. Democrats and Clinton campaign surrogates did the dirtiest of the dirty work: openly spread the Birther lies.

  4. Staffers in Hillary’s actual campaign used email to spread the lies among other 0225_obamaturban_460x276Democrats (this was a Democrat primary after all — so that is the only well you needed to poison a month before a primary).

  5. The campaign released the turban photo.

  6. Hillary herself used 60 Minutes to further stoke these lies.

But even an objective review of the history does show that this narrative is essentially correct. The article reblogged below was published by FactCheck in July 2015, just after Trump had announced his intention to run for President.

Was Hillary Clinton the Original ‘Birther’?

 by , Posted on July 2, 2015

Two Republican presidential candidates claim the so-called “birther” movement originated with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008. While it’s true that some of her ardent supporters pushed the theory, there is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with it.

In an interview on June 29, Sen. Ted Cruz said “the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008,” and earlier this year, Donald Trump claimed “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther.”

Neither Cruz nor Trump presented any evidence that Clinton or anyone on her campaign ever questioned Obama’s birthplace, demanded to see his birth certificate, or otherwise suggested that Obama was not a “natural born citizen” eligible to serve as president.

For those unfamiliar with the controversy over Obama’s birthplace, it refers to those who contend that Obama was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

At FactCheck.org, we have written about the issue of Obama’s birthplace on multiple occasions — indeed we were the first media organization to hold his birth certificate in our hot little hands and vouch for the authenticity of it. But facts have done little to squelch the conspiracy theories that continue to bounce around online.

The issue arose again this week in an interview with Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Yahoo News’ Katie Couric asked Cruz if he thought that was going to be an issue for voters.

“It’s interesting, the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama,” Cruz said (at about the 25:25 mark). Cruz then went on to say that he believes he clearly meets the constitutional requirement for a president to be a “natural born citizen.”

The claim about Clinton’s tie to “birthers” was made earlier by Donald Trump in February at the CPAC event (at 24:20 mark). Trump — who has a history of pushing bogus theories about Obama’s birth —  said, “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther. She wanted … but she was unable to get it.”

We asked the Cruz campaign for backup, and it pointed us to two articles. The first ran in Politico on April 22, 2011, under the headline, Birtherism: Where it all began.”

Politico, April 22, 2011: The answer lies in Democratic, not Republican politics, and in the bitter, exhausting spring of 2008. At the time, the Democratic presidential primary was slipping away from Hillary Clinton and some of her most passionate supporters grasped for something, anything that would deal a final reversal to Barack Obama.

According to the article, the theory that Obama was born in Kenya “first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.”

The second article, which ran several days after the Politico piece, was published by the Telegraph, a British paper, which stated: “An anonymous email circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama’s main rival for the party’s nomination, thrust a new allegation into the national spotlight — that he had not been born in Hawaii.”

Both of those stories comport with what we here at FactCheck.org wrote  two-and-a-half years earlier, on Nov. 8, 2008: “This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain’s partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls.”

Claims about Obama’s birthplace appeared in chain emails bouncing around the Web, and one of the first lawsuits over Obama’s birth certificate was filed by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and a self-described “moderate to liberal” who supported Clinton.

But none of those stories suggests any link between the Clinton campaign, let alone Clinton herself, and the advocacy of theories questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii.

One of the authors of the Politico story, Byron Tau, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told FactCheck.org via email that “we never found any links between the Clinton campaign and the rumors in 2008.”

The other coauthor of the Politico story, Ben Smith, now the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, said in a May 2013 interview on MSNBC that the conspiracy theories traced back to “some of [Hillary Clinton’s] passionate supporters,” during the final throes of Clinton’s 2008 campaign. But he said they did not come from “Clinton herself or her staff.”

Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said Cruz’s claim is false. “The Clinton campaign never suggested that President Obama was not born here,” Schwerin wrote to us in an email.

It is certainly interesting, and perhaps historically and politically relevant, that “birther” advocacy may have originated with supporters of Hillary Clinton — especially since many view it as an exclusively right-wing movement. But whether those theories were advocated by Clinton and/or her campaign or simply by Clinton “supporters” is an important distinction. Candidates are expected to be held accountable for the actions of their campaigns. Neither Cruz nor Trump, whose campaign did not respond to our request for backup material, provides any compelling evidence that either Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with starting the so-called birther movement.

— Robert Farley

With Obama as a declared “friend”, the UK better watch it’s back

April 22, 2016

Barack Obama has not distinguished himself regarding strategy or actions in 8 years of trying.

Now he has inserted himself into the UK Brexit process. Since he has selected to support the anti-Brexit camp, it gives the Brexit campaigners a real boost to their credibility.

David Cameron must have asked for the support from his special friend, but he may well find that this is the most counterproductive move he could have made.

Brexit Obama

“I have no strategy” Obama on Brexit


 

Obama “has been the world’s best gun salesman”

April 19, 2016

The US gun industry has prospered as never before under Barack Obama’s watch. With Obama as their enemy they have needed no friends. The industry has added 120,000 jobs while he has been in office.

On Obama's watch

On Obama’s watch

Infowars:

Record-breaking gun sales under Obama’s watch have created tens of thousands of jobs with good wages.

Jobs related to the manufacturing and sale of guns increased 73% since 2008 to a nationwide total of 287,986, the National Shooting Sports Foundation revealed.

“These are good jobs, paying an average of $50,180 in wages and benefits, and today every job is important,” the foundation reported. “Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create good jobs in the United States but the industry also contributes to the economy as a whole.”

“In fact, in 2015 the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $49.29 billion in total economic activity in the country.”

Ironically, California is second only to Texas in firearm job growth, and another anti-gun state, Illinois, is also in the top 10.

And considering that the surge in gun sales resulted from President Obama’s war on the Second Amendment, the president can finally claim he has indirectly created jobs in the U.S. – although that wasn’t his intent.

“He’s been the world’s best gun salesman,” said Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works. “Everything’s up compared to last year due to the threats of executive actions President Obama has made.”

“When he steps up to the microphone to talk about gun control and the legislation he thinks Congress should approve, gun sales actually soar.”


 


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