How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap


blind_chanceThere’s an amazing film by the brilliant Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski called BLIND CHANCE. BLIND CHANCE was the film that inspired the lesser-but-still-interesting film, SLIDING DOORS. The difference between the two was that Kieślowski’s cinematic meditation focused on political ideals and personal happiness and how they might change based on different sets of experiences. BLIND CHANCE explored several different possibilities of one man’s life when chance alterations are introduced, the different paths and belief systems that unfold and are adopted, ways of seeing and interpreting the world, that can be contained in the same person based not just on choice, but on chance.

There but for the grace of god, some might say.

For me, a threat to both our country and our world even greater than Donald Trump is that of intolerance and limited perspective in any form. From wherever it derives and however it manifests. Bigotry, rage, fear, shaming, demonizing, condescension, devaluing, blaming. These are greater threats for me because I believe they are the very things that serve to create and legitimize men who think and act like Donald Trump and the people who respond positively to him. I would add to that horrible picture a political system that favors and rewards corporations over people and places financial success and gain over humanitarian causes and concerns. Trump is not an aberration. He is a culmination.

I, like many liberals, want to see Hillary Clinton win this election so that Donald Trump doesn’t become our next president. Unlike some, I do not share many of Clinton’s voting choices or her approach to governing. I cannot see into her heart, but I am able to give her the benefit of the doubt that she does come from a good place and a desire to make life better for most people. It’s not her motivation that concerns me most. It’s that I believe she is mired in a style of politicking – the one she and her husband helped solidify into the Democratic Party – that favors a particular relationship with corporations, conglomerates and banks, the big-moneyed powers in our country. This is matched by an equal and active cynicism of the kind of Progressive approaches that I deeply believe are not only possible, but crucial to changing not just the course, but the mindset of this country. Continue reading “How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap”

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How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap

Linda Tirado is Long Overdue on Overtime


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It feels so odd, so rare and so right when someone calls it like it is. Linda Tirado, who recently rose to fame (and climbed out of poverty as a result) after Penguin convinced her to write her book HAND TO MOUTH: LIVING IN BOOTSTRAP AMERICA, speaks her mind and thoughts on Bill Maher’s REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER and again in the web-only follow-up OVERTIME.

818Nt-CU4eLNo matter what you might feel about Maher, Tirado is probably the most straightforward spokesperson for the disenfranchised in this country. Mostly because she knows of what she speaks from a lifetime of experience. Intelligent, articulate and unafraid, Tirado calls it as it is, something I am unaccustomed to seeing as the large percentage of people who make it onto TV talk shows or the news usually seem to be weighted down by an alternate agenda that completely whitewashes –or at least diminishes– the impact of their statements and arguments.

Tirado’s agenda seems pretty clear and it feels like a swim in a cool pond on a boiling hot day. I actually felt myself breathing easier just listening to her; to have someone articulate these thoughts and feelings in such a straightforward, no-nonsense manner. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been yearning for a voice that matches my own. And the choices out there usually run from cautious to misguided.

I’m also becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Bernie Sanders, who is also quite outspoken here on Maher’s show.

I don’t know if this country has strayed so far from the path that healing and repairing the damage is too late or not, but these two give me hope. I know, hope is a dangerous thing to have since it was the tagline of Obama’s campaign and he turned out to be, well, a Republican in Democrats clothing. But just to hear these things voiced from a place of seeming sincerity, awareness AND understanding… It’s a great potential start.

Now let’s hope some corporate heavyweights with personal agendas and the money to back them don’t come in and usurp it all and turn it into some liberal version of the Tea Party, hence suppressing those rare voices of sincerity.

Linda Tirado is Long Overdue on Overtime

Jesus Was Not A Jew! Good Ol’ Fashioned American Common Sense


JesusUSAI can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to argue with acquaintances to convince them that Jesus was a Jew. “Jesus was not a Jew! He was a Christian!” is the answer I most often get. It takes me a full 3 to 4 seconds before I recompose myself, lift my jaw back into a closed-mouth position, and explain how all this actually works.

But no matter how often I find myself in this strange predicament, I’m always just as horrified and saddened by the lack of education and basic intelligence so often flaunted by some of my fellow Americans. And I’m no genius, mind you! Just some dude with a basic education who’s trying to keep up and always feeling one step behind. Sometimes two! But, man-o-man, the ignorance I’ve bumped up against on my own little journeys.

I remember taking a poll once on how many people believed in god and, if they did, what their personal definition of god was. I remember there was a significant number of responders who, when asked if they believed, answered unequivocally “Yes!”. When asked as to their definition, I was often repelled with the angry response, “I don’t know! Who the hell thinks about that kind of stuff?!”

So maybe it’s not stupidity, but a lack of thinking that so many suffer from. Maybe it’s just laziness. I don’t know. But whatever the cause, the symptoms terrify me. Especially when faced with life or death decisions like war and health care.

So when I question the intelligence of some Americans and get the occasional angry response, I simply have to shrug. If you want me to think more Americans are smart, stop acting so stupid. When people I know vote for McCain because they believe Obama’s gonna take away their guns even though they don’t have the proper medical coverage, barely earn enough to buy the food they need, own a home that is in a mortgage crisis, complain about their kids’ education, can’t afford private school, have two family members with disabilities, live just above the poverty level, and want the right to have an abortion if need be, I have to wonder if they have a clue what they’re actually voting for.

Then add the fact that Obama’s a Muslim, was born in Kenya, hates whites, is a Nazi, and eats babies for breakfast… I start praying (and I’m technically an atheist) that some of the smarter individuals I know start spreading some facts around. I’m not saying you have to believe what I believe, but at least understand what YOU claim to believe!

Perhaps this is why I enjoyed Bill Maher’s rant SMART PRESIDENT ≠ SMART COUNTRY in The Huffington Post today. Here’s an excerpt:

headshot…On the eve of the Iraq War, 69% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Four years later, 34% still did. Or take the health care debate we’re presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and “listen to their constituents.” An urge they should resist because their constituents don’t know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.

I’m the bad guy for saying it’s a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don’t know what’s in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don’t know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don’t know that states have two senators and more than half can’t name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife’s name right on the first try.

Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll says 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they’re not stupid. They’re interplanetary mavericks. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen, and a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence because it contains the words “Bush” and “knowledge.”

People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes 24% of our federal budget. It’s actually less than 1%. And don’t even ask about cabinet members: seven in ten think Napolitano is a kind of three-flavored ice cream. And last election, a full one-third of voters forgot why they were in the booth, handed out their pants, and asked, “Do you have these in a relaxed-fit?”

And I haven’t even brought up America’s religious beliefs. But here’s one fun fact you can take away: did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That’s right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which one came first.

And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy? Please, this country is like a college chick after two Long Island Iced Teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. There’s a lot of populist anger directed towards Washington, but you know who concerned citizens should be most angry at? Their fellow citizens. “Inside the beltway” thinking may be wrong, but at least it’s thinking, which is more than you can say for what’s going on outside the beltway.

And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin.

And just to put the proper tag on all of this, Sarah Palin brought my point (and Mr. Maher’s) home beautifully today on her Facebook account by writing:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Yes, Sarah, not only is the moon made of cheese, but so is the space between your ears. I’m not sure which is more terrifying, the notion that Sarah Palin, like her protege Joe The Plumber, really has no clue what she is talking about, or that she knows very well what she is talking about and is purposefully misleading her brand of “followers” and other Americans for reasons other than their own best interests.

Ignorance or greed? Both are extremely dangerous and can lead to the same destructive end. And when lives are lost, they are not brought back. Not even by Jesus.

Jesus Was Not A Jew! Good Ol’ Fashioned American Common Sense

Obama Birth Certificate History Lesson 101


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According to the right-leaning World Net Daily:

If Lolo Soetoro [Obama’s step-father] adopted Obama at age five or younger, then Obama would automatically have become an Indonesian citizen according to the country’s laws in the 1960’s, which stipulated any child aged five or younger adopted by an Indonesian father is immediately granted Indonesian citizenship upon completion of the adoption process.

Lolo Soetoro could have adopted Obama in Hawaii, although such an adoption would not have necessarily been recognized by Indonesia.

Indonesian law at the time also did not recognize dual citizenship, meaning if Obama became Indonesian, then as far as that country was concerned, his U.S. citizenship was no longer recognized by Indonesia. But U.S. law would still recognize Obama as an American citizen.

If Obama indeed possessed Indonesian citizenship as a child, it is unlikely he retains such citizenship. The country’s bylaws require any Indonesian citizen living abroad for more than five years to formally declare his intention to return, otherwise risk losing his citizenship status.

Indonesian school registration for "Barry Soetoro" (AP photo)

According to CNN:

Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971.

According to MSNBC:

Obama, who was born in Hawaii, moved to Indonesia at age 6 to live with his mother and stepfather, attending schools in the country until age 10, when he returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents.

According to WikiAnswers:

Starting at age 6, Obama attended a Catholic school in Indonesia. At age 8, he attended a public school in Indonesia, nominally a Muslim school, which is where the “Muslim” tempest in a teapot comes form.

According to the Washington Post:

Birthers who commented on our Thursday posting generally continued to claim that Obama has not produced a true birth certificate, and that the document he produced last year is a fake.

They’re also fixated on the type of birth document issued by the Hawaiian government, which is called a “certification of live birth.” They refuse for some reason to believe that a certification is the same as a birth certificate.

By all rational accounts, the two documents are most certainly one and the same, only with different titles…

A certification of live birth is the “official birth certificate” of Hawaii, according to the state’s Department of Health spokeswoman, Janice Okubo. And the nonpartisan, nonprofit Factcheck.org, which examined Obama’s original birth certificate last year at the president’s campaign headquarters in Chicago, concluded, “It meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.”

To those who continue to speculate Obama’s birth certificate was destroyed, Hawaiian health department officials answered that point of hysteria as well this week.

We don’t destroy vital records,” Okubo said. “That’s our whole job, to maintain and retain vital records.” State health officials said the original birth certificate, the same one reviewed by Factcheck.org, is back in storage in Hawaii.

But still, the birthers ask, why won’t President Obama release his original birth certificate and possibly bury the issue once and for all?

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent answer to this question: “Why should he? The demand has no basis in principle and would have no practical benefit.”

James Taranto writes in his “Best of the Web” column, “Obama has already provided a legal birth certificate demonstrating that he was born in Hawaii. No one has produced any serious evidence to the contrary. Absent such evidence, it is unreasonable to deny that Obama has met the burden of proof. We know that he was born in Honolulu as surely as we know that Bill Clinton was born in Hope, Ark., or George W. Bush in New Haven, Conn.

“The release of the obsolete birth certificate would not ‘resolve the issue’ to those for whom it is not already resolved. They claim without basis that today’s birth certificate is a fake; there is nothing to stop them from claiming without basis that yesterday’s is as well.”

According to the Los Angeles Times:

CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein told staffers of “Lou Dobbs Tonight”… that CNN researchers had determined that Hawaiian officials discarded paper documents in 2001. Because of that, Obama’s long-form birth certificate no longer exists and a shorter certificate of live birth that has been made public is the official record, they reported.

“It seems to definitively answer the question,” Klein wrote in the e-mail, first reported by the website TVNewser. “Since the show’s mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite. And then it seems this story is dead — because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.”

According to World Net Daily:

Directly contradicting CNN chief Jon Klein – who ordered host Lou Dobbs to quit discussing President Obama’s birth certificate – the Hawaii Department of Health affirmed that no paper birth certificates were destroyed when the department moved to electronic record-keeping.

“I am not aware of any birth certificate records that have been destroyed by the department,” Janice Okubo, public information officer for the Hawaii DOH, told WND. “When the department went electronic in 2001, vital records, whether in paper form or any other form, [were] maintained. We don’t destroy records.”

Okubo affirmed that beginning in 2001, all vital records, including birth records, moved to electronic formats.

“Any records that we had in paper or any other form before 2001 are still in file within the department,” she insisted. “We have not destroyed any vital statistics records that we have.”

According to USA Today:

Hawaii‘s health director reiterated Monday afternoon that she has personally seen Obama’s birth certificate in the Health Department’s archives:

“I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago….”

According to Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Miami Herald:

My daughter was born in Los Angeles County on Sept. 4, 1990. I know this because I was there. Should that not be proof enough, I also have her birth certificate.

We requested it years ago and received a document that looks nothing like the ones I have for my folks, with names and parentage typed in tiny boxes. By contrast, this was a computer-generated abstract with my daughter’s data neatly printed on it. We asked why we couldn’t get a “real” birth certificate and were told this one “is” real; this is how they do it now. Indeed, the inscription on the certificate proclaims: “This certified document is a true abstract of the official record filed with the Registrar-Recorder.”

We used that document to get my daughter’s Social Security card, so I figure a “true abstract” is good enough for the federal government. But evidently, it’s not good enough for Stefan Cook, Orly Taitz, Rush Limbaugh, Philip Berg and Lou Dobbs.

Barack Obama, you see, has a birth certificate much like my daughter’s, documenting his birth in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. He’s made it available online, just a Google search away.

According to the right-leaning National Review:

The mission of National Review has always included keeping the Right honest, which includes debunking crackpot conspiracy theories. The theory that Obama was born in Kenya, that he was smuggled into the U.S., and that his parents somehow hoodwinked Hawaiian authorities into falsely certifying his birth in Oahu, is crazy stuff. Even Obama’s dual Kenyan citizenship is of dubious materiality: It is a function of foreign law, involving no action on his part (to think otherwise, you’d have to conclude that if Yemen passed a law tomorrow saying, “All Americans except, of course, Jews are hereby awarded Yemeni citizenship,” only Jewish Americans could henceforth run for president).

In any event, even if you were of a mind to indulge the Kenyan-birth fantasy, stop, count to ten, and think: Hillary Clinton. Is there any chance on God’s green earth that, if Obama were not qualified to be president, the Clinton machine would have failed to get that information out?…

The fundamental fiction is that Obama has refused to release his “real” birth certificate. This is untrue. The document that Obama has made available is the document that Hawaiian authorities issue when they are asked for a birth certificate. There is no secondary document cloaked in darkness, only the state records that are used to generate birth certificates when they are requested…

What Obama has made available is a Hawaiian “certification of live birth” (emphasis added), not a birth certificate (or what the state calls a “certificate of live birth”). The certification form provides a short, very general attestation of a few facts about the person’s birth: name and sex of the newborn; date and time of birth; city or town of birth, along with the name of the Hawaiian island and the county; the mother’s maiden name and race; the father’s name and race; and the date the certification was filed. This certification is not the same thing as the certificate, which is what I believe we were referring to in the editorial as “the state records that are used to generate birth certificates [sic] when they are requested.”

To the contrary, “the state records” are the certificate. They are used to generate the more limited birth certifications on request. …these state records are far more detailed. They include, for example, the name of the hospital, institution, or street address where the birth occurred; the full name, age, birthplace, race, and occupation of each parent; the mother’s residential address (and whether that address is within the city or town of birth); the signature of at least one parent (or “informant”) attesting to the accuracy of the information provided; the identity and signature of an attending physician (or other “attendant”) who certifies the occurrence of a live birth at the time and place specified; and the identity and signature of the local registrar who filed the birth record…

There’s speculation out there from the former CIA officer Larry Johnson who is no right-winger and is convinced the president was born in Hawaii that the full state records would probably show Obama was adopted by the Indonesian Muslim Lolo Soetoro and became formally known as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama may have wanted that suppressed for a host of reasons: issues about his citizenship, questions about his name (it’s been claimed that Obama represented in his application to the Illinois bar that he had never been known by any name other than Barack Obama).

According to Politifact:

On Oct. 31, 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii Department of Health, issued this statement: “There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.

 
 
“Therefore I, as director of health for the state of Hawaii, along with the registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.

 
“No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the state of Hawaii.”

 
Even the governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, a Republican who at the time was stumping for John McCain, said it was on the up-and-up…
The new argument goes like this: Obama never published his “Birth Certificate” (a “Certificate of Live Birth”) on the Internet; what he posted was a “Certification of Live Birth,” what WorldNetDaily describes as “a ‘short-form’ document that is generated on-the-spot and based on what is contained in a computer database at the time it was printed out.”

 
 
Some on the Internet speculate that the original “long form” — which might include the hospital where he was born as well as the attending physician — might show Obama was foreign-born and ineligible to be president, but that that wouldn’t show up on the “short form.”

 
 
Moreover, WorldNetDaily claims even the state of Hawaii doesn’t accept “Certification of Live Birth” as proof that an individual was physically born in Hawaii.

 
 
They point to a policy from the Hawaii Department of Home Lands, which stated on its Web site:

 
 
“In order to process your application, DHHL utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL.”

 
 
That’s actually a misnomer, said Lloyd Yonenaka, a spokesman for DHLL. In order to be eligible for their program, you must prove that your ancestry is at least 50 percent native Hawaiian. And when he says native, he means indigenous. They don’t even care if you were born in Hawaii. They use birth certificates as a starting point to look into a person’s ancestry. Very different.

 
 
Here’s what the DHLL site says now: “The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands accepts both Certificates of Live Birth (original birth certificate) and Certifications of Live Birth because they are official government records documenting an individual’s birth. The Certificate of Live Birth generally has more information which is useful for genealogical purposes as compared to the Certification of Live Birth which is a computer-generated printout that provides specific details of a person’s birth. Although original birth certificates (Certificates of Live Birth) are preferred for their greater detail, the State Department of Health (DOH) no longer issues Certificates of Live Birth. When a request is made for a copy of a birth certificate, the DOH issues a Certification of Live Birth.”
 
When we spoke to a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Health, she said too much was being made of the difference between the so-called “long” and “short” forms.

 
 
“They’re just words,” said spokeswoman Janice Okubo. “That (what was posted on the Internet) is considered a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii.”

 
 
“There’s only one form of birth certificate,” she said, and it’s been the same since the 1980s. Birth certificates evolve over the decades, she said, and there are no doubt differences between the way birth certificates looked when Obama was born and now.

 
 
“When you request a birth certificate, the one you get looks exactly like the one posted on his site,” she said. “That’s the birth certificate.”

 
 
As for the theory that Obama’s original birth certificate might show he was foreign-born, Okubo said the “Certification of Live Birth” would say so. Obama’s does not. Again, it says he was born in Honolulu.

We have one more thing. We talked to reporter Will Hoover, who wrote a well-researched story for theHonolulu Advertiser on Nov. 9, 2008, about Obama’s childhood years in the the Aloha State. It ran under the headline “Obama Slept Here.”

 
 
In researching the story, he went to the microfilm archives and found the birth announcement for Obama. Actually, he found two of them, one in his Honululu Advertiser on Aug. 13 , 1961, and in theHonolulu Star-Bulletin the next day . They both said the same thing: “Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, son, Aug. 4.”

 
 
But here’s the thing. Newspaper officials he checked with confirmed those notices came from the state Department of Health.

 
“That’s not the kind of stuff a family member calls in and says, ‘Hey, can you put this in?'” Hoover explained.

 
 
Take a second and think about that. In order to phony those notices up, it would have required the complicity of the state Health Department and two independent newspapers — on the off chance this unnamed child might want to one day be president of the United States.

According to U.S. News And World Report:

Dixie may once have been the so-called land of cotton, but it has become the cradle of creeping Birtherism. According to a new poll from Research 2000 (commissioned by Daily Kos), a majority of Southerners either believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States (23 percent) or are not sure (30 percent). Only 47 percent of Southern respondents believe Obama was born in the USA. By contrast, 93 percent of Northeasterns said yes, he was born here, 90 percent of Midwesterners did and 87 percent of Westerners.

Wow.

And while 93 percent of Democrats say he was born in the country and 83 percent of Independents, the figure is only 42 percent for Republicans. A majority of Republicans either believe he was born abroad (28 percent) or don’t know (30 percent).

According to Politico:

In short, the problem faced by today’s conservatives is that there is no one of sufficient stature, and no group of serious political operatives, to tell the “birthers” to cut it out — to disown them as they deserve to be disowned. It’s a sad state of affairs. The entire political process suffers as a result.

According to Bill Maher:

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve all been laughing heartily at the wacky antics of the “birthers” — the far-right goofballs who claim Barack Obama wasn’t really born in Hawaii and therefore the job of president goes to the runner-up, former Miss California Carrie Prejean.

 
 
Also, when Obama was sworn in as president, he forgot to give his answer in the form of a question.

 
 
And yet, every week, the chorus of conservatives demanding to see his birth certificate grows. It’s like they’re the Cambridge police, Obama’s in his house — the White House — and they need to see some ID.

 
 
And there’s nothing anyone can do to convince these folks. You could hand them, in person, the original birth certificate and have a video of Obama emerging from the womb with Don Ho singing in the background … and they still wouldn’t believe it.

 
 
This isn’t a case of Democrats versus Republicans. It’s sentient beings versus the lizard people, and it is to them I offer this deal: I’ll show you Obama’s birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin’s high school diploma.

Sorry, couldn’t resist that last one.

Draw your own conclusions.

Obama Birth Certificate History Lesson 101