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Fox News is pretty rapidly becoming the Conspiracy Nutcase Network, what with Glenn Beck going all-in as a John Bircher, along with Sean Hannity's headfirst dive into the swamps of Birtherism.
After Hannity's initial foray into Birtherism in defense of Donald Trump on Wednesday, he devoted both of his subsequent "All American Panel" segments to defending Birtherism again. On Thursday, the panelists included former Maryland Gov. Rob Ehrlich, poli-sci prof Caroline Heldman, and ex-Imus producer Bernard McGuirk. It went like pretty much like the first foray:
HANNITY: First of all. What's the deal? Produce the birth certificate it is over and done with. Chris Matthews wants it.
MCGUIRK: This is why Donald Trump should throw his hair into the ring. He legitimized this issue. People say why not just show it. The other thing it took away is that Joy Behar was conspicuously silent. She is a bully she will go over -- she will go after Sharron Angle, Donald Trump she has nothing to say.
HANNITY: If I asked for the birth certificate, can I get it?
HELDMAN: I assume that you could, Sean.
HANNITY: Is it go all the way back to 1975?
HANNITY: Could you get your birth certificate?
MCGUIRK: In a heartbeat.
HANNITY: Look, what I like about this, every pejorative, birthers and this and that. Chris Matthews was the guy -- why don't we get rid of it and move the issue aside so it never comes up again?
HELDMAN: How about common sense takes over and it never comes up again.
HANNITY: Wait a minute, but he did talk in his book prayers and he went to a Muslim school and he talk all about all these and he studied the Koran and prayers at sunset were most beautiful things he saw in life. He spent a lot of his youth in Indonesia.
MCGUIRK: Show the birth certificate and get it over with.
HELDMAN: Wait, what does - have to do with being born in the United States? How is that material to whether or not he was in the United States? What is the logic?
HANNITY: Why won't they release the birth -
HELDMAN: What is the logic?
HANNITY: Why don't they just release it and get it over with. The only reason they don't release it is because it insults him.
Last night, it was more of the same, with a different panel, including civil-rights activist Ron Daniels, Fox contributor Peter Johnson, and Republican "strategist" Dee Dee Benkie. Daniels tried pointing out, repeatedly, that Obama has in fact produced his birth certificate -- but that seemed to fly right over everyone else's head:
HANNITY: Do I think he was [born in America]? Yes. Do I think this is odd that they won't produce the birth certificate? It's beginning to get odd to me.
BENKIE: Yeah, but why not produce it? It's so easy. Here it is -- on TV, on billboards, whatever. Why not just bring it out? Why not show it?
DANIELS: It's shown time and time again. Do we trust the Hawaiian authorities or not? I don't understand this. There is a problem here. There's something going on here, that people keep talking about this birth certificate, and there's a significant amount of people believe in it.
HANNITY: Why haven't they just produced the certificate?
DANIELS: They have! They've shown it! You can go see it -- anybody can go see it, just like you can go see a copy of --
HANNITY: That's not true!
BENKIE: That's not true. It's never been out.
HANNITY: Because they've never allowed anybody to see it. That's the point.
BENKIE: It's never been out.
HANNITY: It's never -- see, you're agreeing with me that it's odd.
BENKIE: It is odd. It's very odd.
Yes, very odd, very odd indeed. Odd that no matter how plainly the evidence is given to people like Hannity, they keep insisting that it hasn't been presented.
OK, I'm going to write this verrrrry slooooowwly, just so Hannity and his panelists and the likeminded Trump fans don't miss anything:
1. President Obama has in fact presented for public viewing his legal birth certificate from the State of Hawaii. It was released in 2008. Here it is.
2. A lot of people have in fact examined this birth certificate, including the fact-checkers at Fact Check.org:
FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.
3. This birth certificate is the same birth certificate anyone born in Hawaii would present as proof of citizenship.
"Our Certificate of Live Birth is the standard form, which was modeled after national standards that are acceptable by federal agencies and organizations," Okubo said. "With that form, you can get your passport or your soccer registration or your driver's license."
4. The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed that Obama was born in Honolulu.
“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawaii Revised Statutes §338-18) 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 Governor 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.”
The continued dispute that Hannity and Trump seem to think is so significant is so important, in fact, is over the privacy-protected medical records of Obama's birth -- what the Birthers are calling his "long form birth certificate," but are in fact the private medical records of his birth kept at the hospital, containing large amounts of personal medical information about Obama's mother, including gynecological data.
And as Hawaii officials have explained numerous times, these records are protected by privacy laws, and for perfectly sound reasons:
Hawai'i's disclosure law (Hawai'i Revised Statutes 338-18) states that "it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part on any such record ... "
The law further states that the Health Department "shall not permit inspection of public health statistics records, or issue a certified copy of any such record or part thereof, unless it is satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the record."
Those who have "direct and tangible interest" are generally limited to the person named in the record, the spouse, parent, descendant, or personal representative, or by someone who is involved in marital, parental or death litigation involving the named person's vital record or other legal reason established by a court order, and various official agency or organization representatives, including the state director of health, according to the law.
Here are a coupla questions for Sean Hannity and Donald Trump and their acolytes:
Is a birth certificate acceptable to every known authority for every other citizen of that state somehow unacceptable proof of citizenship for presidential candidates?
Or do they believe that every candidate for president should have to release for public review the private medical records, including personal medical information about their late mothers, of their own births?
If the answer to either of these is "no," then why are they demanding it only of Barack Obama -- while simultaneously talking about his five years spent in Indonesia?
And they wonder why the rest of us consider Birtherism, at its core, profoundly racist.