Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Believe me, I know what a paranoid extremist crackpot looks like.

By a cruel twist of fate, I happened to be sentenced to an extended period of rehab (cardio, not substance abuse) that was dominated by women. They controlled the TV set. This is how it was that I was forced to be on a treadmill facing a bank of TVs, all carrying The View, as Rosie O'Donnell explained that there had to have been bombs in the World Trade Center on 9/11 because "everyone knows that steel doesn't burn".

Yes, I know what a paranoid extremist crackpot looks like. And it's not a pretty sight.

So when I heard reports that Barack Obama's full-form birth certificate was counterfeit, I was naturally skeptical. I certainly didn't want anyone thinking I was a paranoid extremist crackpot. But, also subscribing to the wisdom of "Trust but verify", and having a fair acquaintance with electronic imaging technology, I decided to check it out for myself.

Downloading it directly from the White House website, I began to examine it. Sure enough, it had layers. Copy machines don't make layers. Scanners don't make layers. Graphics programs like Illustrator, that are used to create and modify images, do make layers. Similarly, there were areas where the type was anti-aliased, and others where it wasn't. That can only mean it was created by two different methods. Again, proof it was neither a scan nor a copy.

The document had been artificially created. Period. Plain and simple. And it certainly didn't prove that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Of course, it doesn't prove that he wasn't, either.

What exactly does it prove?

It proves that someone connected in some way to the White House went to the trouble of creating a fraudulent birth certificate for the President of the United States. Now, I can only think of two reasons why anyone would do that. Either there is no valid original birth certificate, or there is something on the original that the White House didn't want the public to see. And I have no way of knowing which or, in the latter case, what.

But then, I shouldn't have been surprised. There are so many things we don't know about Barrack Obama. We don't know how he got into some of the most expensive and prestigious schools in America, who paid for his education, or what kind of grades he got, because all kinds of records like that have been sealed.

Which, to a paranoid extremist crackpot, would seem to indicate that there's something there that has to be hidden.

On the other hand, however, there are many things about Barrack Obama we do know. We know that his mother and his grandparents were leftist, if not Marxist. We know that his father and stepfather were both Muslim, and that his father was fiercely anti-colonial. We know that his childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was an actual card-carrying  Communist.  We know that Obama started his political career under the auspices of a 1960's radical terrorist, and for over 20 years attended a church founded on Black Liberation Theology, a virulently anti-American and pro-Marxist philosophy.

And we also know that since he became President just a little over three years ago, his quest to fundamentally transform America has shown a marked disinterest in individual liberties or constitutional limits on authority, and that he has repeatedly expressed sentiments that capitalism has failed, that the rich should be willing to "fairly" share their wealth, and that it is the government (rather than a woman) that is really behind every successful man.

But these are all things that we're not allowed to discuss without wearing that extremist crackpot mantle.

Who says so?

Why, the media does. Those brave defenders of truth, justice and the America way.

After all, we've been authoritatively told, only a paranoid extremist crackpot could believe such things.

Yet, despite this thought control by intimidation, I can't help wondering: if Obama really were committed to the destruction of the United States as a world power, to bringing down American ideals and our republican form of government, would he really have behaved differently in his first term in office? And even more frightening, once he has the "flexibility" of a second term, without the need to stand for re-election, what else would he do that he hasn't felt free to do so far?

Of course, these are the ruminations of conspiracy theorists, and

as the intellectual elite constantly inform us, not worthy of open discussion. But I can't help being reminded of a cartoon by A.F. Branco I saw a while back. It portrayed two lobsters in a restaurant tank. When the first says they're going to be thrown into a pot of boiling water and then eaten, the second replies, "Seriously, Dude, you need to lay off the Glenn Beck."

Maybe there is something worse than being a paranoid extremist crackpot.

Like being oblivious to what's happening right before our eyes.

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