Yesterday, after a long day of jousting with lunatic birthers on Twitter – the full-on crazies who are still convinced Barack Obama is not eligible to be president even after he produced the “long form” birth certificate they’ve been demanding for two years or so – I switched on our local NBC affiliate (NBC5 in Chicago) to catch the 10:00 p.m. news. It was no great surprise to see that the top story was … that Pres. Obama had released his “long form” birth certificate. And to their credit, the producers at NBC5 saw fit to play a clip from yesterday morning’s press conference – a clip that included Pres. Obama’s dead-on remark that essentially won the day: “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.” Indeed.
But it was what followed that clip that was mind-numbingly aggravating.
Because after running that clip, reporter Jeff Goldblatt (who recently came over to NBC5 from Fox’s Chicago affiliate, WFLD-TV), presented what I can only describe as a mercifully brief but utterly bizarre interview with birther radio host Rick Biesada (pictured above) of WJJG-AM 1530, an obscure outfit that broadcasts out of Elmhurst, Illinois, in west suburban DuPage County. In the interview with NBC5’s Goldblatt, Biesada, who looks like an unemployed biker (not that there’s anything wrong with that), provided his keen legal analysis of Pres. Obama’s eligibility, to-wit: Despite the fact that the President has now produced conclusive evidence of his citizenship, he remains ineligible because his father was not an American citizen, and, per radio talker Biesada, the framers of our Constitution intended that only a person whose mother and father were both citizens of the United States could qualify as a “natural born Citizen” within the meaning of Article II.
Note that that is, of course, utter nonsense. What Article II says is:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Article II says nothing about a president’s parents; it only says that any “natural born Citizen” of the United States (over age 35 and residing in the country for at least fourteen years) is eligible to be president. And while the Constitution, as originally drafted, did not define the term “Citizen,” the Fourteenth Amendment does:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
So it’s really pretty straight forward: If you were born in the United States – and the President manifestly was – you were born a citizen of the United States and are eligible to be president once you’ve reached the age of 35 and resided in the country for at least fourteen years. Period. To the extent these crazy birthers are trying to impose any other restrictions on presidential eligibility, they’re simply making up rules as they go along. But those rules are nowhere in the Constitution itself; they exist only in the overheated imaginations of crazy racist birthers.
But here’s the thing. This Rick Biesada – the guy Jeff Goldblatt chose to interview as an “expert” on the constitutional requirements for the presidency – is a real creep. He’s more than just a birther; he’s a contributor to the right-wing extremist site The Federal Observer, which describes his curriculum vitae this way:
Federal Observer contributing columnist Rick Biesada hosts Perspectives On Our Heritage – The Angry White Male Hour over Radio Station WJJG 1530 AM, Chicago’s Hometown station, Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 PM Central Time, which can now be heard LIVE on the net at http://www.wjjgam1530.com. Rick is the co-founder of The Chicago Minuteman Project.
That’s right – Biesada’s radio show on WJJG is called “Perspectives on Our Heritage – The Angry White Male Hour.” Gee, no racial overtones there, eh?
So, what does the self-proclaimed “Angry White Male” think of the duly elected President of the United States? Well, aside from being a delusional birther, there’s this:
President Obama, the more that I see this guy, the more he reminds me of Chicken Little.
Chicken Little disdains America, it is written all over his face every time that he opens up his arrogant mouth, preaching hysterics, intimidation, or fear, instead of loving thy neighbor, or pursuing happiness.
If he’s not race baiting, he’s protecting the enemy whom he sent our children to fight over seas, in a profiteer war.
He can’t have it both ways, you are either with America, or you are against it, so he, Chicken Little, better decide which side he wants to ride with.
Obama seems hell bent on creating a civil war in our country, for the global slave masters that he represents.
And that’s just a small taste of it. I’ll spare you the rest; but if you’re really interested you can fined Biesada’s collected works on The Federal Observer here. Ugh.
So, anyway, as soon as I saw Goldblatt’s interview with Biesada on NBC5 last night, I Googled “Rick Biesada” and found all of the foregoing information literally within a minute or two. Imagine my surprise when I found out, after a few short minutes, that our local NBC affiliate had put a race-baiting, knuckle-dragging semi-literate jackass on television to discuss constitutional law, of all things.
Of course, being a lawyer I’m not inclined to take gross misrepresentations of constitutional law lightly, and so I did what anyone with a sense of obligation to the legal profession would do. I contacted NBC5 straightaway. First, I e-mailed the station using its online e-mail form, demanding to know why thy put this unqualified racist birther on the air in the first place. Then, I tweeted them (at @nbcchicago; feel free to send them some love) – in fact, I tweeted NBC5 repeatedly, and several of my followers re-tweeted those tweets – asking the same question, over and over again. Having heard nothing from NBC5 by late morning today, I e-mailed the station again, followed by a few more tweets to the station and an additional tweet to Goldblatt himself (@jeff_goldblatt). Still, no word.
Here’s a curious thing, though. I hoped to include a video clip of the Goldblatt/Biesada interview in this post … but apparently, it’s been scrubbed from the NBC5 website. Below is a screenshot of the “Top Stories” page on the NBC5 site, and you can see what appears to be a link for the story, titled “Obama Releases Full Birth Certificate, Derides ‘Carnival Barkers’,” near the bottom of the page:
Here’s a close-up image of that link:
But the problem is this: Even if NBC5 scrubbed that report from its website, they ran it last night and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people saw it. I hold out little hope that they will run any sort of retraction (despite my demanding they do so), let alone air an interview with a legal expert who actually knows what he or she is talking about to refute Biesada’s legally frivolous claims.
So once again, racist birther nonsense goes unchallenged. Just another day in America – a country that’s not quite mature enough to handle its first African American president.
© David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.