By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Still, the question remains: Where’s the birth certificate? In fact, there’s an electronic billboard in Buena Park, off Interstate 5 near Beach Boulevard, asking that very question. It’s owned by World Net Daily; one of its reporters, Les Kinsolving, brought the issue up at a White House press briefing on May 27. “It’s on the Internet,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs chuckled. “I certainly hope by the fourth year of our administration that we’ll have dealt with this burgeoning birth controversy.”
Aside from World Net Daily, more traditional conservative media sources—not to mention politicians—have condemned the birth-certificate question as a waste of time. In January, talk-show host Michael Medved classified Taitz and the other eligibility attorneys as “crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitive, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters.” Taitz sent him a letter demanding a retraction.
Even if Obama’s long-form, original birth certificate were to be made public, though, the questions from Taitz and others wouldn’t stop. Because there’s a second argument: that there’s no way that Obama could fit the definition of a “natural-born citizen.” By turning to Swiss philosophy texts read by the Founding Fathers, citing the infamous Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision as precedent (which denied citizenship to former slave Dred Scott and was later overturned) and disqualifying the presidency of Chester A. Arthur, Taitz is able to claim that a baby can only be a natural-born citizen if both parents were American citizens at the time of the baby’s birth. Obama’s Kenyan father was a British subject.
While mainstream news sources such as Politifact and FactCheck.org have tried to debunk the bulk of the eligibility argument, the best place to see all the evidence is at the coterie of “anti-birther” websites that have sprung up. ObamaConspiracy.org, for example, meticulously examines each and every eligibility claim, almost wholly relying on original research and primary documents. NativeBornCitizen.wordpress.com goes through eligibility lawsuits and argues with them, point by point.
It sometimes seems as though the “anti-birther” community is just as obsessed as the people it keeps an eye on. On Politijab.com, there’s an entire forum devoted to Taitz, complete with topics such as “Orly’s Facebook Page” and “How Long Until Orly’s Breakdown?” At YesToDemocracy.com, bloggers provide regular updates on the latest birther activities, with some choice digs at the “nitrous-huffing,” “cavity creep” that is Orly Taitz.
“It’s just fascinating,” says Bob Haggard, a frequent poster on Politijab’s Orly Taitz forum. “She runs around the country doing things that amount to absolutely nothing. She tells her followers that she ‘files’ all sorts of documents, but she never files anything. She drops stuff off.”
Patrick McKinnion of Yes to Democracy puts it a different way: “There’s a certain amount of fascination with unbridled insanity, and that’s what you’re seeing with the birthers: a level of hatred that borders, if not absolutely pole-vaults, into insanity.”
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Orly Taitz owes any fame she has to the Internet, so when her blogs started acting strangely, she got upset. In the first months of 2009, she posted updates about her legal cases on both drorly.blogspot.com and defendourfreedoms.us. But they would become unavailable without notice, and users would face porn pop-ups and warnings that they were entering a site that could damage their computer. Worse, the PayPal account she used to raise donations wouldn’t accept new contributions. Like any law-abiding citizen would, she sent complaints about these “cyber-crimes” to the local police, the FBI and the Supreme Court of the United States.
While Taitz believed she had been hacked—possibly by Obama thugs—her New Jersey-based webmaster, Lisa Ostella, wasn’t so sure. If Taitz’s site had been hacked, that would mean the security of all of Ostella’s clients was compromised. So, in March, she asked Taitz to rescind her complaint to the FBI and stop making unsubstantiated claims about hacking, or else find a new webmaster. Taitz opted for the latter.
It’s not totally clear what happened, but defendourfreedoms.us ended up in Ostella’s hands, and Taitz says that a commenter using the handle “Agent 88” started posting nasty things about her. To Taitz, there was no doubt: This was Lisa Liberi, a paralegal working for Philip Berg, the Pennsylvania eligibility attorney. Weeks earlier, someone had told Taitz that Liberi had a criminal record, so she investigated. She found that a woman named Lisa Liberi had a long rap sheet of fraud, forgery and theft in San Bernardino. Taitz sent Berg a “Ceize and Desist” [sic] letter, telling Berg to investigate Liberi (she also accused him of plagiarizing her legal pleadings, an accusation he has in turn leveled at her). Then she sent out “Dossier #6” (Taitz has a habit of sending out “dossiers” of Obama-related miscellanea to government officials) to, supposedly, 26,000 media outlets. In the dossier: Liberi’s home address, phone number and full Social Security number.
And that’s how Taitz ended up being sued by Berg, Ostella, Liberi and others in federal court in Pennsylvania. On May 17, Berg posted on his website, ObamaCrimes.com: