Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Birther Posse Probes President Obama's Birth Certificate

In a bizarre new stab at courting conspiracy nuts who believe President Barack Obama is a Kenyan, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has empowered a "birther posse" to look into claims by wackadoodles such as World Net Daily's Jerome Corsi that Obama's birth certificate from Hawaii is a forgery.

Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but even after the president made the unprecedented move earlier this year of having his original, long form birth certificate from Hawaii released to the public, there is still a stubborn passel of flat-Earther lunatics who refuse to accept that Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, and thus qualified to hold the highest office in the land.

Ironically, as CNN has reported at length, it's actually the computer-generated short form certification of live birth which is a legal document, and Obama's people made that document public during the 2008 campaign, in hopes of quashing the kookery. 

But, of course, that wasn't enough for the crazies. Neither were public statements made by Republican Chiyome Fukino, the now-former Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, that Obama's original, long form birth certificate was in the state's possession, that she had examined it, and that, yes indeed, Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961.

So earlier this year, Obama petitioned to have his long form certificate of live birth released, thus shutting up pseudo-birthers such as Donald Trump who'd been using the issue as political fodder to cast doubt on Obama's legitimacy.

But as with the 9/11 "truth" movement, which believed that the 9/11 terror attacks were an "inside job" by the George W. Bush White House, there's no amount of evidence that can convince a devoted conspiracy nut. So now the birthers claim that the long form is a fake, a claim that is thoroughly dealt with by the birther-debunking Web site the Fogbow.

Ever attuned to new ways of garnering media, even if it makes his office and by extension all of Arizona a laughingstock, Sheriff Joe played host last month to birther king Corsi and members of the Surprise Tea Party. That meeting has now borne fruit, as Arpaio has promised that his until-recently-defunct Cold Case Posse will take on the birther cause and do its own investigation.

The online wingnut rag World Net Daily recently reported that "five elite" investigators had been assigned this snark hunt, would report back to Arpaio their findings.

This from WND:

"The Cold Case Posse is a good place to put this investigation," Arpaio said. "The individuals on this posse have been sworn in by me and I have granted them the authority required to conduct this investigation."

Arpaio explained to WND that in the final analysis, all decisions stop with him.

"I will have the ultimate authority to decide," he emphasized. "I gave the Cold Case Posse the authority to investigate, but the results of their investigation ultimately come to me and I will then decide how best to proceed from there."

He also stressed that the Cold Case Posse he authorized to investigate the Surprise Tea Party allegations regarding the Obama birth certificate will not cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County anything.

None of the Cold Case Posse members assigned the Obama investigation will receive any personal compensation, and all expenses incurred in their investigation will have to be derived from funds raised through contributions from the public received by the Cold Case Posse 501(c)3 organization.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jesse Spurgin confirmed WND's report.

"The Sheriff has asked his "Cold Case Posse" to examine the information that was provided to make a determination as to the veracity of this claim," he wrote to me via e-mail. "A new posse HAS NOT been created to investigate the birth certificate claim."

Um, okay. Thing is, even if the cost is not coming out of county, taxpayers do ultimately foot the bill. Tax-exempt contributions are those folks can deduct on their income tax returns, which means the government loses whatever tax money it would have scored otherwise.

Arpaio's foray into birtherdom has scored him the recent cover of Globe magazine, and if there's anything the sheriff loves, it's attention, no matter what the source.

Which is why I'm suggesting Arpaio have his crack birther posse team look into UFO and chupacabra sightings, hunt for the Lost Dutchman Mine, examine casts of Sasquatch's footprints, and find out if the Illuminati really do run the world. By the time that posse's finished, Arpaio will own flippin' Globe magazine.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons