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Murder in the SunMorgue
by Denis O'Brien, PhD

Who killed hundreds of Syrian children in Ghouta, Aug21|2013? How, and why?


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LogoPhere's Exclusive Hump-election Coverage
Pissin' on the circus to cool down the clowns, 
election coverage sure to have you scratchin' your head. 

(Daily updates, at least weekly)


The only up-side to this election I can see is that
no matter who loses, it'll be someone I absolutely despise.
--- Denis O'Brien

September 18, 2016

Depends on what your definition of "campaign" is 
Checking the fact-checkers on the Hilton's birtherism denial


In this inaugural edition of LogoPhere's exclusive Hump-election Flame-outs (tm) I want to have a closer look at the present did-she-or-didn't-she sideshow: Donald Trump's claim that the Obama birtherism fiasco was a political stunt by Hiliary Clinton and/or her campaign that was launched as a preemptive, ad hominem attack on Obama when she was diving in the polls of the 2008 Democratic primary

So let's clear this nonsense up once and for all.  And the best way to do that is with Socrates' good ole' FAQWAT (frequently asked questions with answers thereto) technique.

Given how's LogoPhere is pretty much a gratuitously pedantic farce, do you have a recent authoritative summary of the present status of this "controversy?"

Yes, of course.  Do you think I'm makin' this stuff up?  Here's Kyle Cheney's Sep16|16 Politico piece titled No, Clinton didn't start the birther thing. This guy did. 

Is there any evidence of Hillary herself stoking this birther BS?

It depends on what your definition of "stoking" is. 

My definition of "stoking" includes keeping your mouth shut when you should be standing up and calling bullspit "bullspit." That's why I'd answer this one "Definitely."

If you read closely all of the foaming-at-the-mouth MSM and blogosphere articles, including Cheney's, they say there is no evidence that Hilton or her campaign had anything to do with this.  But the absence of evidence is not proof of the absence of the thing itself. Look closely, no one seems to be saying that there is any proof that Hilton was not involved or did not promote the birther meme.

What would such proof look like, you ask.  It's proving a negative.  Very simple, if Hilton had come out in 2008 and taken this issue on publicly and told the public that the allegations are ad hominem bullspit, today we would be in a strong position to conclude that she had nothing to do with it.  But she didn't, and we aren't.  Writer's like Cheney and HuffPo's Paige Lavender are spinning this thing for Hilton by neglecting to tell their readers that Hilton never complained about the birther story; consequently, Trump may be closer to the truth than Hilton is.  

Whilst I can find no birther claims attributed to Hilton, neither can I find a single statement by Hilton during the 2008 primary saying, in effect, "This is nonsense."  That's what an honest and ethical politician (ha, ha, ha, x10) would have done if someone was screwing with the political system by spreading lies.  Recall that at the time Obama was beating the pants-suit off of Hilton and she was diving in the polls, so the possibility certainly exists that she would do whatever was necessary to turn the tide of history around.  Consequently, one could conclude that by not standing up and doing the right thing, she was being  self-serving and expedient. In her silence, she was the one who exploited the whole issue and gained more than anyone else from it. It's a cui bono sort of situation.

I would also note that in 2011 it was no longer expedient or self-serving for the then Secretary of State to keep silent on the matter; after all, someday she might need Obama's support.  So after the Duck attacked Obama's citizenship in 2011, both Hilton and Bilton came out with lines about how disgusting the attack on Obama was. Anyone who went to grade school knows that the one who farts is the first to start pointing at others.   

Was Clinton's campaign involved in starting or spreading the birther attack?

Depends on what your definition of "campaign" is.  

First ya' gotta' recognize that this has all the markings and smell of a classical Rove-style dirty trick; consequently, one has to look closely at whomever was going to benefit the most from it: Hilton & Co. 

Second, there are no denials of the fact that Hilton "supporters" were spouting this nonsense -- that's even admitted by Hilton's own people, like the HuffPo.  Undoubtedly, they are worried about what Emails may be out there and they are not willing to take the risk of denying it. One more serious slip for Hilton and she's gone.  

And so, given these two indisputable facts, it doesn't exactly take a troubled imagination to connect them.  If Hilton's "supporters" gave this nasty rumor legs, then the campaign is the first place I'd look to  find the source of the rumor.  It sure as hell wasn't the Obama campaign.  Moreover, one would have to look at who those particular "supporters" were.  "Supporter" includes individual members of a campaign, for a campaign, almost by definition, is comprised of supporters.

And there are plenty of smoking guns here, which is why this new version of the birther fiasco has legs of its own.

For instance, smoking gun #1 is what Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hilton's campaign manager in 2008, told Wolf Blitzer:

Doyle: So we ó absolutely, the campaign nor Hillary did not start the Birther movement, period, end of story there. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe, in late 2007, I believe, in December, one of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa ó I donít recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.  [Bold added.]

OK, let's check this. Eight years after the fact, Doyle recalls that the only person she identifies as floating this birther claim was one of Hilton's volunteer coordinators; she remembers that person was in Iowa; she remembers they were working at the county level.  But Doyle conveniently forgets whether they were paid, which to my mind amounts to an admission that they were, given the principle that a selective memory equals guilt when the bits "forgotten" would be harmful to the forgetter while the bits remember would not. Either way, we've got one Hilton-staffer sending a birther Email.  To whom and to how many?  And how many of them passed it on?   

The second smoking gun is Mark Penn , who was Hilton's chief strategy guy in the 2008 campaign.  MSNBC   Penn's advice was to throw Obama's "American roots" into question -- man, I mean how tight could the circumstantial evidence get?  Ya' got the tricks and stunts advisor saying throw Obama's roots into question and ya' got a staffer sending birther Emails. Well, the timeline makes it even tighter.  

If Penn's advice came after Hilton's birther supporters got going, then it would be irrelevant to this issue.  But, no . . . it came in an early strategy memo during the planning stages of the campaign. In 2008 Joshua Green writing for The Atlantic dated the memo as Mar19|07, more than a year before the Hilton staffers started passing the birther Email around.  You can read Penn's memo at The Atlantic.  Here is Green's lede:

Penn Strategy Memo, March 19, 2007: More than anything else, this memo captures the full essence of Mark Penn's campaign strategy--its brilliance and its breathtaking attacks. Penn identified with impressive specificity the very coalition of women and blue-collar workers that Clinton ended up winning a year later. But he also called Obama "unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun," and wrote, "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values." Penn proposed targeting Obama's "lack of American roots."

Contemplate this: this nematode advisor to Hilton's losing campaign predicted that Obama was unelectable and then went on to set up a polling firm. Why would anybody listen to him after proving himself capable of going so far off the mark that he ended up in Jupiter's orbit?  

But the point is that in this memo we have hard documentary evidence that compliments Doyle's admission that the Hilton campaign was, if not the originator, then at least an early promoter of the birther movement.   

Third and final smoking gun, at least for now: Sidney Blumenthal, who is Hilton's spooky best (male) bud who got her into a heap 'o trouble when Gufficer hacked his Email account. 

James Asher is a former editor of McClatchy DC's bureau. He claims that Blumenthal raised the birther claims with the newspaper in 2008, and McClatchy has backed up Asher's assertions. They say they actually sent a reporter to Kenya to see what the hell was going on.  The reporter returned with no story.

But this places the birther story not just in the out-box of some Iowian "supporter's" Email client, but in the hands of a top Hilton adviser in D.C. in 2008. A top adviser known for Rovian-style dirty tricks.

According to Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny of the NYT, Blumenthal was just full of wild attacks on Obama during the 2008 campaign, and when Hilton wanted to reward ole' Sid with a job in the State Department, Obama's people, namely Rahm Emanuel, went ballistic -- ergo, no job.  

And so, there is no doubt here that Hilton's 2008 campaign has "birther" scrawled all over it and she had plenty of Rovian characters working for her for whom such a dirty trick would not be beneath their dignity. I mean, there are more smoking guns here than there were in Dodge City at noon. Even if the Hiltonites didn't invent the dufus story, one would have to be incredibly naive to buy Hilton's line that neither she nor her campaign had anything to do with it.  

If truth is relative, my guess is that Trump's accusations are closer to it then Hilton's denials.


More LogoPhere Hump-Election Coverage


Denis R. O'Brien, PhD/Esq.
denis [at-sign] thepatentguy [full stop] net


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