As Susan Daniels recounts in her brash new book, "The Rubbish Hauler's Wife versus Barack Obama," two headlines bookend her extraordinary life.
The first appeared above the fold in a November 1971 edition of the Cleveland Plains Dealer: "Rubbish Hauler Leaves Three Wives, Fourteen Children." It was one of many comparable headlines that Christmas season.
The second occurred more than 40 years later, not in the Cleveland Plains Dealer or any other mainstream publication, but rather in a PI blog: "Private Investigator Susan Daniels Filed Suit to Remove Obama's Name From Ballot."
It was through the second headline that I got to know Susan. In 2009, a client asked Daniels to run a background check on Barack Obama. Daniels had run checks on thousands of individuals without anxiety or incident. This was different.
What Daniels planned to do was perfectly legal. That said, she had a generalized fear of retaliation. Had any of her seven children still depended on her, she probably would have punted. But with her 67th birthday looming, she figured, if not now, when?
The Social Security Number (SSN) she found attached to Obama immediately struck her as fishy. She knew the prefix "042" had to have an East Coast provenance. Inquiring further, she traced its issuance to Connecticut somewhere in the years between 1977 and 1979.
In March 1977, however, Obama was a 15-year-old living in Hawaii. Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro, was about that age when she received her SSN in 1985 or 1986 with a standard Hawaiian prefix of "576."
There was no getting around the obvious: President Barack Obama had been using an anomalous and possibly fraudulent SSN for more than 20 years.
This is one charge the media did not even try to refute. When WND reporter Les Kinsolving raised the question at a White House press briefing—"Do you know of any record that the president ever had a mailing address in Connecticut?"—Press Secretary Gibbs mockingly linked the question to the birth certificate issue and dropped it quick.
Like others in alternative media, I was intrigued. When passing through the Cleveland area some summers ago, I grabbed a lunch with Susan to get her take on things.
It was then that I learned the other dramatic event in her eventful life – the murder of her "rubbish hauler" husband, Mike Frato, by notorious Cleveland gangster Danny Greene.
Some time after that lunch I stumbled across the 2011 movie "Kill the Irishman," starring Christopher Walken, Irish actor Ray Stevenson as Danny Greene and Steve Schirripa of "Soprano" fame as Frato.
Upon seeing it, I called Susan and asked how faithful the film was to real life. It took liberties, of course, but the one liberty that bugged Susan most was the image of a trash truck parked in front of their home. That one got her Irish up.
That "Irish" gave her the moxie to take on Obama. This Sisyphean struggle culminated with Susan running for president in 2012 to get the standing needed to challenge Obama's presence on the Ohio ballot.
That "Irish" also gives juice to this often comic, free-wheeling, boldly told saga of a life well and deeply lived. In true Irish tradition, Susan does not forget the grudges.
Particularly memorable was Susan's theft of a headstone from the grave site of her late husband, a headstone she thought had been placed by her bete noire, Beverly, the mother of five of Frato's children.
Some years later, Susan recounts the incident with her co-conspirator: "On that day in her dining room, we laughed at the things we had done, like how I stole a gravestone and she helped me put it back. It was an understandable mistake."
Susan writes the hard-boiled way we imagine private eyes like Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe would have if they were widows with seven children. Some samples:
"The doctor was encouraging. He said don't worry. I worried. A positive biopsy would leave my seven kids orphans and with a stepfather who didn't like them."
"There was no place to hide. I got stared at when I grocery shopped, or went to the bank. I carried Mike's transgressions everywhere I went. And so did my children."
"Bob's mother committed suicide on Tuesday of that week. He told me it was because she was so upset that he was going to marry me. Twenty years later he laughed at me and said he just told me that to screw with me. I had believed it all those years."
"I could feel my hair being pulled out with both his hands. He finally let go and rolled away. I went to the bathroom. My face was red and shiny from the tears. As I brushed my hair, large tufts stuck to the brush. I still have two quarter-sized bald spots on the back of my head fifty years later. It is a constant reminder about cowardice, his and mine."
"I was at the Headliner when the news came on TV showing Kevin [her beau, a big time college basketball coach] being led away in handcuffs. Someone had alerted the police he was at a crack house, and the police were waiting. A camera crew just happened to be there, too. If my heart was made of crystal, it would have shattered."
In the book, Susan recounts many of her adventures as a private investigator. In fact, the book serves as a primer on how to be a good one.
For all its virtues, I must caution the reader that the book's organization is borderline random, and I cannot vouch for any of Susan's theories about Obama other than the SSN.
That said, there's no denying that Susan Daniels has lived a hell of a life, and "The Rubbish Hauler's Wife versus Barack Obama" is one hell of a read.
Jack Cashill's new book, "Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America's Cities," is available in all formats,
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