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White House 'dialogue' site scrubbed of eligibility posts
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 06/02/2009 @ 8:43 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
One ‘top-rated’ listing features more than 550 ‘looks promising’ votes on the Obama eligibility issue
With more than 200 individual threads and thousands of comments on the eligibility issue alone, moderators of the White House website on “open government dialogue” have been working tirelessly to edit the dialogue about Barack Obama’s elusive “long-form” birth certificate.
Many of the top-rated threads are from citizens calling on Obama to release his birth certificate. The postings in the “top rated” category have received the most “looks promising” votes from users. New threads on the topic of Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president are appearing by the minute.
WND observed the “Making Data More Accessible” section for several hours as more suggestions appeared and at least 60 were subsequently deleted on the first page alone – all requests for the president to submit proof of citizenship.
One deleted post echoed many others in asking President Obama to “Prove that you are a U.S. citizen and valid president.”
The post asks why Obama doesn’t simply release his “real birth certificate and end all of this controversy.”
“Are you a fraud?” it asks. “Is your election to the highest office in the land the largest scam ever pulled on the American people? Are you really not eligible for office? End the speculation and prove who you are.”
Another removed thread titled, “Where is the Obama legal documentation to prove who he actually is?” asked the president to provide the following documents: original, vault copy birth certificate, records of attorney fees, marriage and divorce records for Obama’s parents, passport, adoption records, school records and various other documents.
One displeased user who had his post deleted wrote, “I posted a comment about the lack of transparency in President Obama’s administration and history, and down it came in minutes. So much for a open dialogue or, for that matter, freedom of speech.”
Another man suggested U.S. citizens consider a class-action lawsuit against President Obama until he surrenders his documents. His post stated, in part:
Dear President, If only you would show us your long form birth certificate that shows location (hospital) of birth as well as attending physician info.
Be it duly noted that We the People of this constitutional republic do hereby note many of the abuses of power that you and your administration’s representatives are currently engaged in.
We the People do hereby certify that we are considering all legal options available to restrict your audacity to run roughshod over the Constitution, abuse of power and office, as well as spending too much friggin’ money when we are, as a nation, broke. …
His post was subsequently deleted.
“Who would have thought that even contemplating such action would be required against a sitting president and administration? A class-action approach may be the only viable way to force reporting in the mainstream press,” he told WND.
Meanwhile, a thread titled “Contact the media to get it out in the open that the ‘birthers’ are a racist terrorist organization practicing electronic espionage” remained in place for much of the day while messages from the so-called “birthers” were removed. It has now been flagged. A link for providing news tips to CNN accompanied the message.
However, at least 200 threads urging Obama to prove his eligibility still remain.
The website dialogue is hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration. Its website says it operates a moderation policy “to ensure that your comments are appropriate and not harmful to others.” Comments on the Open Government website may be deleted if they include the following:
“Moreover, while we invite open participation and diverse viewpoints to be shared, the main goal of this dialogue is to answer the overarching question: How can we strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative?” the National Academy of Public Administration website states. “Moderators therefore reserve the right to remove posts which are not ‘on topic’ or do not address some aspect of that question. Our desire is to remove as few posts as possible while ensuring that a focused, constructive discussion takes place.”
The “brainstorming” phase of public engagement in policymaking is coming to a close at midnight tonight as the suggestions are compiled for a “discussion” phase.
But despite the resounding popularity of the subject of Obama’s eligibility, it is still undetermined whether the topic will be included in the next phase.
“Our goal is to use the ideas from this first phase of the process as well as other input to inform deeper discussion on the Open Government blog in the Discussion phase,” a message posted on the White House website states. “While the voting on the brainstorming submissions will be instructive, it will not determine which topics are discussed in the second phase. Rather, the Discussion is designed to dig in on harder topics that require greater exploration or refinement.”
The website will keep the “brainstorming” portion active and open to public participation through June 19, but new posts may not feed into further discussion.
As WND reported, on Sunday night only 30 percent of respondents in one of the 200 forums demanded the president release the document. But that number exploded to nearly 80 percent the following day after WND alerted the public to the White House resource.
The entire transparency portion of the website has been overrun with citizens demanding presentation of the long-form birth certificate. Every one of more than 200 threads features dozens – and even hundreds – of people in agreement that Obama should release the document.
Meanwhile, the visibility of the Obama birth certificate issue has also been raised by a new national billboard campaign initiated by Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND. Launched just over a week ago, the campaign has raised about $65,000 and begun erecting billboards that ask the question, “Where’s the birth certificate?”
That campaign followed one launched months earlier to collect names on an electronic petition demanding accountability and transparency on the issue. So far, that petition has gathered nearly 400,000 names.
In his questioning of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving specifically made reference to the WND petition.
“Are you looking for the president’s birth certificate?” he asked incredulously. “Lester, this question in many ways continues to astound me. The state of Hawaii provided a copy with the seal of the president’s birth. I know there are apparently at least 400,000 people – (laughter) – that continue to doubt the existence of and the certification by the state of Hawaii of the president’s birth there, but it’s on the Internet because we put it on the Internet for each of those 400,000 to download. I certainly hope by the fourth year of our administration that we’ll have dealt with this burgeoning birth controversy.”
It was the first time any member of the press corps has publicly asked a member of the administration a question directly related to Obama’s constitutional eligibility for office as a “natural born citizen.”
Politico has video of the exchange, which is embedded below:
Farah announced the billboard campaign to raise public awareness of the fact that Obama has never released the standard, “long-form” birth certificate that would show which hospital he was born in, the attending physician and establish that he truly was born in Hawaii, as his autobiography maintains.
The “Certification of Live Birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information like the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” but no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.
Both the petition and the billboard campaign are part of what Farah calls an independent “truth and transparency campaign.”
Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs bends over laughing at a question over Obama’s eligibility
The first sign to be posted under the week-old campaign, a digital, electronic one, is up and online on Highway 165 in Ball, La. In addition, based on the heavy volume of financial donations in the first two days of the campaign, WND was able to commit to leasing two more standard billboards – one in Los Angeles and the other in Pennsylvania. It will take several weeks to get those billboards up because of the vinyl printing and shipping involved. Yesterday, WND agreed to lease another electronic billboard in Orange County, Calif.
While the campaign is off to a robust start, many viewers have asked why Obama’s name is not included in the billboard. Farah said the matter was carefully considered.
“There are several reasons we chose the message: ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’” he explained. “There is only one birth certificate controversy in this country today – despite the near-total absence of this issue from coverage in the non-WND media. This is a grass-roots issue that resonates around the country, as our own online petition with nearly 400,000 signers suggests. In addition, I like the simplicity of the message. I like the fact that the message will cause some people to ask themselves or others about the meaning of the message. It will stir curiosity. It will create a buzz. I’m assuming when these billboards are springing up all over the country, it might even make some in the news media curious. And there’s one more factor that persuaded me this was the way to go.
Birth certificate question being raised in Ball, La.
“Come 2012, campaign laws will pose restrictions on political advertising mentioning the names of presidential candidates. This one clearly doesn’t. I would like to see the federal government make the case that this is somehow a political ad,” he said.
Farah said the campaign was born of frustration with timid elected officials in Washington, corrupt judges around the country and a news media that show a stunning lack of curiosity about the most basic facts of Obama’s background – especially how it relates to constitutional eligibility for the highest office in the land.
“As Obama transforms this country from self-governing constitutional republic to one governed by a central ruling elite, the simple fact remains that no controlling legal authority has established that he is indeed a ‘natural born citizen’ as the Constitution requires,” Farah said. “Obama’s promises of transparency have become a bad joke as he continues to hide simple, innocuous documents like his birth certificate and his student records.”
The idea behind the billboard campaign is to make sure Obama cannot avoid this question any longer. He must be asked to produce it at every turn, Farah says. Billboard space is currently being hunted in Houston, Dallas, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and other metro areas.
“Is it unusual for a news agency to launch such a campaign?” asks Farah. “Yes it is. But we live in very unusual times. The founding fathers built special protections into the First Amendment for the free press. The reason they did that is because they understood a vibrant ‘Fourth Estate’ was necessary as an independent watchdog on government. It is in that tradition that WND assumes this role – since nobody else in the press will do it.”
WND previously launched a petition campaign that has collected more than 375,000 names demanding Obama’s eligibility be verified and demonstrated publicly. That campaign continues. That list has been shared with members of the Electoral College and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I wish such a campaign were not absolutely necessary,” said Farah. “I wish there were checks and balances in our political and electoral systems to ensure that constitutional eligibility of presidential candidates was established before politicians could assume the highest office in the land. I wish my colleagues in the news media believed the Constitution really means what it says and pressed this issue as hard as we have pressed it at WND. I wish radio talk-show hosts were bold enough to ask this question. But wishing is not enough. It’s time to raise the visibility of this issue vital to the rule of law in America. I ask everyone to pitch in and help WND make a simple yet profound statement: The Constitution still matters.”
Your donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made online at the WND SuperStore. (Donations are not tax-deductible. Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling either 541-474-1776 or 1-800-4WND.COM. If you would prefer to mail in your contributions, they should be directed to WND, P.O. Box 1627, Medford, Oregon, 97501. Be sure to specify the purpose of the donation by writing “billboard” on the check. In addition, donations of billboard space will be accepted, as will significant contributions specifically targeted for geographic locations.)
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