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Meet the Birthers

Who are these people, really?

| Sun Aug. 9, 2009 7:21 PM EDT

Lt. Col. Donald Sullivan
Sullivan, an Air Force veteran, unsuccessfully sued North Carolina's secretary of state and board of elections in an attempt to block the state's electoral college votes, on the grounds that Obama was ineligible to hold office due to questions over his birthplace. This was not Sullivan's first time going up against the government. In 2003, he sued the Bush administration, claiming the Iraq War was illegal. Prior to that, he was enmeshed in a lengthy dispute with federal and state agencies after "carving drainage ditches through a wetland-laced portion of the property in 1999," according to the Wilmington, North Carolina Sunday Star-News. In 2001, the paper reported:

Upon discovering last month that the N.C. Division of Water Quality had taken to the air for inspections, he warned the agency's regional chief, Rick Shiver, to get written permission in the future or fly over his property "AT YOUR OWN RISK!"

Mr. Sullivan's multipage screeds against a "government out of control" have struck some regulators as possible threats. Army Corps of Engineers officials consulted the FBI about him last year. And last month, Water Quality referred his warnings about fly-overs to the State Bureau of Investigation…

Last June, Mr. Sullivan wrote to members of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission as they considered adding some reporting requirements for forestry operations in wetlands. He said he wanted to attend a Wilmington hearing on the matter, "but it has become so personal for me I was afraid I would lose my temper and hurt someone."

"If anyone comes on my private property violating my Constitution, you can be assured he will be required to pay a very high personal price," Mr. Sullivan wrote to the 17 EMC members. "Should he survive, he will be vulnerable" to laws mandating fines and jail time for any public official who abuses his authority.

More recently Sullivan has run afoul of local authorities for engaging in his own brand of anti-government activism—refusing to put license plates on his car. "I can govern myself," he told a local TV station

Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III
Fitzpatrick was once a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, but departed after being court-martialed in 1990 for improper use of Navy funds. (He claimed he was the victim of a vendetta.) Today, he is one of a small group of figures with military ties who have challenged Obama’s authority as commander in chief. (There's also Army reservist Major Stefan Frederick Cook, who, with assistance from Orly Taitz, sought conscientious objector status because he believed that Obama could not legally order his deployment to Afghanistan.)

But Fitzpatrick has attacked the president with more extreme language than most. In March, he wrote to Obama, saying  "you have broken in and entered the White House by force of contrivance, concealment, conceit, dissembling, and deceit." He continued: "We come now to this reckoning. I accuse you and your military-political criminal assistants of TREASON. I name you and your military criminal associates as traitors. Your criminal ascension manifests a clear and present danger… Confident holding your silent agreement and admission, I identify you as a foreign born domestic enemy."

Leo Donofrio
Donofrio is a retired lawyer and professional poker player who, according to Bluff magazine, competes under the moniker "Jet Schizo." A bipartisan birther, he tried to get both Obama and McCain removed from the New Jersey ballot last year. Donofrio is perhaps the closest thing the birther commuity has resembling a cool head. For instance, he denounced the citizen juries on his web site for claiming that they have the ability to enforce their "presentments" by seizing land and property, calling this argument "criminal insanity."

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