It seems the outer fringes of wingnuttia are still clinging to a last little acorn of a conspiracy theory as their last hope for stopping Barack Oba
December 5, 2008

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It seems the outer fringes of wingnuttia are still clinging to a last little acorn of a conspiracy theory as their last hope for stopping Barack Obama from becoming president. It comes down to this:

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Friday whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama's election.

The meeting of justices will coincide with a vigil by the filer's supporters in Washington on the steps of the nation's highest court.

The suit originally sought to stay the election, and was filed on behalf of Leo Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.

Legal experts say the appeal has little chance of succeeding, despite appearing on the court's schedule. Legal records show it is only the tip of an iceberg of nationwide efforts seeking to derail Obama's election over accusations that he either wasn't born a U.S. citizen or that he later renounced his citizenship in Indonesia.

David Weigel at Slate has a rundown on how widespread this has gotten, from the Donofrio case now before the court, to 9/11 troofer Philip Berg's lawsuit, to WorldNetDaily's ongoing fundraiser, to the peculiar case of one Bob Schulz:

That's the same argument made by Bob Schultz, the founder of the paleoconservative We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education. On Monday and Wednesday, Schultz gave the Obama conspiracy its biggest burst of attention—at least since Rush Limbaugh speculated that this was the real reason Obama visited his dying grandmother—by purchasing full-page ads in the Chicago Tribune. In the "open letters" to Obama, Schultz asserts that Obama's certificate of live birth is "forged," that his "grandmother is record[ed] on tape saying she attended your birth in Kenya," and that Obama would have lost his citizenship anyway when Ann Dunham married her second, Indonesian husband, Lolo Soetoro. (Lou Dobbs would be delighted to discover that the 14th Amendment can be nullified so easily.)

Schultz has asked Obama to allow forensic investigators to inspect Obama's files in Hawaii's Department of State. "Have one guy go in and do his thing," explains Schultz. "Have another guy go in, do his thing, put the certificate back in the envelope. These are scientists. They should all come to the same conclusion."

Stephen Piggott observes that the Schulz campaign is being touted heavily by the white-nationalist crowd. That's unsurprising: Schulz has been selling far-right tax theories to gullible suckers for awhile now, and as Ward observes, this is a crowd that has been a major seedbed for far-right organizing for a considerable time.

Schulz has been running an outfit called We the People Foundation for a number of years that sells these schemes. He has been featured on Fox News a couple of times -- Brit Hume interviewed him once propounding a tax scheme that is built upon a hash of groundless conspiracy theories that have their origins in the far-right Posse Comitatus and other extremist tax protest schemes. It was, in fact, also remarkably similar to the Montana Freemen's theories. And for the duration of the interviews, Hume listened intently and evidenced no skepticism whatsoever about the fantastic claims regarding federal taxes Schulz was making.

This wasn't the only time Fox interviewed Schulz. When he staged a "hunger strike" (there's no evidence he actually went without food) later that year, Fox's Hannity and Colmes interviewed him and were only a little less credulous than Hume.

Schulz eventually gave up his "hunger strike" after the intervention of Republican representative Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland. He offered to give Schulz's group a briefing on tax laws with IRS officials, but called that off when Schulz announced the meeting would be "putting the IRS on trial." Later that November, he was threatening the federal government with a "final warning" to all branches of government to "obey the Constitution, or else." The courts later issued an injunction preventing Schulz from pawning his tax-theory scams. They concluded that he had not only engaged in illegal activity but he had also exposed a large number of ordinary citizens to criminal liability for misfiling their federal income taxes. When he ignored the injunction, he was cited for contempt of court. Finally, in April 2007, the Justice Department sued to prevent Schulz from marketing his scam.

Now he's found another scam to sell the suckers. Though it seems that (to their credit) not even a lot of regular right-wingers are biting. That, of course, will drive the nutcases even nuttier.

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