Birthers: Still crazy after all these months

March 1, 2010

The New Mexico paralegal who claims to know more about the law than any federal judge including the Supreme Court has resurfaced here, at this post.  He seems bent on making a case against President Obama’s eligibility for the presidency no matter how many fables he has to invent.

Don’t birthers eventually get a good night’s sleep and wake up and wonder why they waste their time on such a loser issue?

No, no, I guess not.

Previous posts at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Special kind of birther crazy:


Birther control

July 27, 2009

Our local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, endorsed Ronald Reagan for president twice, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush for governor, twice, and for president twice, and John McCain.  When we moved here, the “liberal” columnist for the paper was a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon.  In short, over the past 30 years, there are few conservative causes the paper hasn’t liked and promoted if not outright endorsed.

For years they ran Doonsebury on the opposite editorial page.  Sadly, they got rid of their full-time editorial cartoonist, who was very conservative — but those editorial cartoonists they do feature rarely come from left of John C. Calhoun.

Overall it’s a pretty good newspaper, but it has a conservative streak that just won’t quit.  Friends of Barack Obama do not live in the Belo Building, so far as I can tell.

Got the idea yet?  The Dallas Morning News does nothing to favor Barack Obama, especially gratuitously.

So my jaw hit the floor this morning when I opened the paper and saw this headline on an editorial — not an op-ed, but an honest-to-publisher editorial:

Birther Control

This conspiratorial nonsense needs to stop

The online headline isn’t as clever, nor as clear, but the content of the editorial is there.

A year after then-candidate Barack Obama released a birth record showing he was born in Hawaii, the president-isn’t-a-natural-born-citizen mythology is gaining a troubling second wind.

Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, a conservative Republican, recently was booed loudly for defending Obama’s citizenship and his right to be president during a town hall meeting. Several conservative politicians are now coyly perpetuating the fake-citizenship myth. And Florida Rep. Bill Posey has gone so far as to sponsor a bill with several Republican co-signers that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate.

Maybe this is the way political disputes play out in the Internet Age, but we think it is disgusting and dangerous. Someone flings a charge, then lets word of mouth, e-mail blasts and talk-show chatter turn an easily debunked allegation into a full-fledged circus of conspiratorial cover-up theories. Americans deserve better and need to demand some responsibility – especially from elected officials who seem most interested in playing to the worst instincts the political fringe has to offer.

Absolutely.  Time to call it a day, birthers.

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Full Dallas Morning News editorial, below the fold.

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Birthers: “We choose to wallow in the gutter”

July 25, 2009

It’s a stark contrast to the matter-of-fact, good-for-America views of John Kennedy.

One of the Birth-Certificate-Obsessed (BCO), blogging at I Took the Red Pill, lays out the hoax-induced hysteria in a comment at his blog; I’ll take a few minutes and explain the problems.  Maybe one or more of the BCOs will come to their senses.  [This guy at least allows contrary views on his blog; he’s a regular at Texas Darlin’, which means his views are certifiably nuts on issues he posts about at Texas Darlin’.  But I digress.]

Heh.  Maybe pigs will fly to the Moon.

I Took the Red Pill (Pill) said:

This issue will not go away.

Only because of defects in the actions of BCOs.  As Woody Allen’s script once noted, nothing wrong here that couldn’t be cured with Prozac and a polo mallet.

This issue is pathological in every regard.

Quite to the contrary, every day more and more people are realizing that the document produced at the Obama Camapaign Headquarters in Chicago is merely a hardcopy of the photoshopped forgery that first appeared on Daily KOS.

Wow.  Where to begin, when the force of denial is so strong in the BCOs?

You can view the document’s images here, and here.  It is a certified document from the State of Hawaii.  It bears the Seal of the State of Hawaii as authentic.  No one has produced any scintilla of evidence to suggest that the document is false. or not exactly what Hawaii swears it is with the attachment of the State Seal.

That’s a powerful attestation from the State of Hawaii — as the law sees it.  If a certified document under seal is not acceptable to the BCOs, one wonders what sort of documentation would be — there isn’t anything more trustworthy under the law.

Check the Federal Rules of Evidence, for example:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

(1) Domestic public documents under seal. A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the United States, or of any State, district, Commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or of a political subdivision, department, officer, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be an attestation or execution.

. . . (4) Certified copies of public records. A copy of an official record or report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed in a public office, including data compilations in any form, certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, by certificate complying with paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this rule or complying with any Act of Congress or rule prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority.[courtesy of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University’s Library]

Got that?  Under federal evidence rules, that document is self-proving, self-authenticating.  What evidence have the BCOs to contradict it?  Absolutely nothing.

The State of Hawaii has never verified that authenticity of that forgery.

The governor and the head of vital records said it’s NOT a forgery, if that’s what you mean.  In other words, they said the document is accurate in what it says:  Barack Obama, Jr., was born in Honolulu in 1961.

The State of Hawaii has never released any documentation of Obama’s birth.

Well, yeah, they did.  They sent to Barack Obama the certified document you claim is a forgery.

Moreover, in 1961, when Barack Obama was just a few days old and, we might assume, both physically and mentally unable to start a conspiracy to cover up the facts of his birth, the State of Hawaii released to the Hawaiian newspapers the records of births in Hawaii, including Obama’s — and those records were published in the newspaper.  Such documentation, contemporary with the events and extremely unlikely to be falsified, are valid in court.

Oh, and remember those Federal Rules of Evidence?  Look at what they say about such newspaper records:

Rule 902. Self-authentication

Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:

. . . (6) Newspapers and periodicals. Printed materials purporting to be newspapers or periodicals.

So we have two releases of documentation from the State of Hawaii, vouched for by the Republican governor. What gives you the right that every state of the union is denied, to claim this documentation doesn’t exist?  These are legal documents that make legal statements.  You can’t just handwave them away.  Pixie dust can’t cover them up, and the pixie dust of the BCOs isn’t all that powerful anyway.  The courts cannot wave away this sort of evidence, nor can the BCOs.

The mere existence of the newspaper account is legal evidence vouching for Obama’s claim. BCOs must produce extraordinary evidence of fraud or mistake in order to overcome the legal presumption that newspaper account provides.  BCOs have no extraordinary evidence to counter the documents.  BCOs have no evidence at all.

The State of Hawaii has never claimed that Obama was “born in Honolulu”, even though the Associated Press and Fact Check.org lied and claimed that Dr. Fukino had said that.

The State of Hawaii put its seal on such a statement, and it states Obama was born in Honolulu (see “place of birth”).  BCOs’ completely unevidenced and off-the-wall claim that the document was forged is evidence of BCO insanity, not Hawaii’s failure to act.

A newspaper announcement is circumstantial evidence that is not admissible as “proof” of his birth in Hawaii. Can you imagine a new employee trying to use a newspaper clipping as proof of their U.S. citizenship? It’s laughable. If that won’t work to get you a job at McDonalds, it’s certainly not acceptable for the highest office in this country.

It’s a business record, actually.  When you get to your law school class on evidence, you’ll learn that contemporary accounts from unbiased sources which are difficult to fake and easy to corroborate are, indeed, acceptable in a court of law.  In this case, the published account of the vital records entries corroborates exactly the information provided by the State of Hawaii under seal.

And, as I noted above, it’s a self-authenticating piece of evidence under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Pill is simply dead wrong on the acceptability of newspaper accounts.

So we have a document certified as authentic and accurate by the State of Hawaii, so solid that the state backs it with their seal, the most sacred authenticating device in a state’s arsenal of authenticating devices, supported by a valid contemporary business record published in a general circulation newspaper where the record cannot be tampered with and which U.S. courts and agencies accept as valid.

But BCOs dismiss all the official, legal evidence, and BCOs claim, without any evidence or corroboration, without ever having looked at the documents, that the official documents are forgeries.

Liar, pants, fire.

Every Member of Congress swore an Oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution explicitly requires that a President be a Natural Born Citizen. It is the responsibility of Congress to honor their oath and verify the eligibility of the man who would be President.

I’ve sworn that oath myself, four times.  I regard it as a sacred trust.  One is never relieved of that oath, by the way.  That oath requires that we follow the law, the Constitutional law, the Constitution.  Barack Obama has presented clear  and convincing evidence of his eligibility by right of birth on U.S. soil.  The evidence is absolutely uncontradicted, plus it is corroborated by all legally-acceptable accounts.

Every member of Congress has a duty to stand up and tell the BCOs to take a chill pill and shut up. The courts have reviewed these bogus claims from BCOs more than a dozen times.  Not once has any BCO offered any evidence to contradict the legal records.  Not once.

Be careful what you wish for, Pill.  If Congress takes their oath seriously, BCOs are in for a lot of woe.

Every member of Congress failed to uphold their oath of office. They “outsourced” their Constitutional responsibility to an unaccountable, unelected, untrustworthy third party who demonstrably lied.

I’m convinced Pill wouldn’t know a lie if it bit him on the nose.  Here he’s peddling such a lie, instead of standing up for the truth.

Go to the link Pill provides, and you’ll see he claims that the certified, under seal document from the State of Hawaii should be disregarded because all it does is state what the official record is — he wants a hand-written document, as if hand-written provides some legal magic that the State Seal of the Great State of Hawaii cannot.

Look, if he won’t take the word of a self-proving document issued under seal, he’s not going to believe any document at any time.

Hawaii didn’t claim they put the State Seal on the original autograph copy; the State of Hawaii looked at the autograph and swore that the information they provided, all that is required, is accurate, is the same information that is on the original autograph.

For all legal purposes possible for Obama, the document whose image he released is THE document.  The document itself, under seal, swears that the information it presents is accurate:  Obama was born in Honolulu.  That’s it.  The end.

Two things are required to put this to rest:

1) A Supreme Court ruling on the definition of “Natural Born Citizen”. Can someone who was born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits that he was) be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States?

The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a citizen with full rights of citizens, period.  A baby born on U.S. soil is a natural-born citizen of the U.S.  Plus, a baby born to a U.S. citizen (as was Obama’s mother), is a natural-born citizen regardless of place of birth.  Obama qualifies on two separate counts.  There is not an iota of evidence from the BCOs nor any other source to contradict either of those valid claims on eligibility.

But here we see the weasel ways of the BCOs:  ” . . . born with citizenship of another country (as Obama admits he was) . . .”

Obama didn’t say he was a citizen of another country.  He said his father was a citizen of the British Commonwealth, and under British law, he could have claimed dual-citizenship.  Under U.S. law, dual citizenship would not invalidate U.S. citizenship.

In order for this to have been a problem for Obama’s eligibility, Obama would have had to have claimed exclusive British citizenship at some point — which he never did.

So this is not a new question.  There is no new issue here that the courts and the Supreme Court have not looked at in the past.  There is no legal argument, no case in controversy on the issue of Obama’s citizenship.

There is nothing for any court to decide.  And that’s why the challenges to Obama’s eligibility have all failed.

2) If the Supreme Court finds that persons born with foreign citizenship can still be considered a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States, then Congress needs to inspect an officially certified birth certificate for Barack Obama, delivered under seal from the State of Hawaii, just as they did with their inspection of the Certificate from the Hawaiian Secretary of State for the certification of the Electoral College vote.

That document, “delivered under seal form the State of Hawaii,” has been provided.  BCOs claim, without any documentation, it’s a forgery.  BCOs need to get their eyes examined.

And, if they are found to be not blind, they need to get their heads examined.

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NBC on the Obama birth certificate issue

July 23, 2009

Embedding the video from NBC escapes me — but go here to see NBC’s four-minute report on the Obama birth certificate crazies.

Here’s the full video of the BCOs going crazy at a Congressman’s town meeting.

It’s really a form of mass hysteria, isn’t it?

For months the birthers, or Birth Certificate Obsessed (BCOs), have pleaded for mainstream media to take a look at this issue.  NBC did just that.

Is it any surprise that this morning the crazies say “NBC lied?”

BCOs fell hard to the hoax about Obama not being eligible, and now they deny all evidence that they fell for a hoax.

BCOs/birthers?  Can we have our country back, now that you’re done?

Other notes:

Be sure to see earlier material here at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

Here’s a large dose of facts, including David Maraniss’s article in the Washington Post about Obama’s early life.  Note that it describes details that would be impossible to fake, were the story not accurate:

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Anti-Obama blogger indicted for threatening Secret Service agent

April 19, 2009

You think some of those who deny Obama’s eligibility sound a little crazy?

Seems to be an accurate perception.  From The Oregonian (via OregonLive.com):

A Springfield blogger is accused of threatening the life, limbs and lower alimentary canal of a Secret Service agent.

James T. Cuneo, 43, was indicted Thursday on charges of making a series of threats against Special Agent Ronald Brown in the course of his official duties.

This was strange turnabout for Brown, whose job in the agency’s Presidential Protection Division is mainly to thwart threats against the commander in chief. For the first time in his 15-year career, Brown wrote in federal court papers, someone was repeatedly harassing him.

There’s a difference between a dog on a bone and a psychotic; some of the Obama denialists appear to have blurred the difference.  Cuneo’s complaint appears to revolve around the same issue that set off Texas Darlin’ and a few dozen others.  Cuneo escalated the thing; let’s hope no others do the same.

On Oct. 16, Brown and Springfield police detectives dropped in on Cuneo to chat about threats he had allegedly made about Google executives on his Internet blog: walkndude.wordpress.com. (WordPress has taken the site offline for violation of its terms of service.)

“Cuneo was extremely belligerent, refused to answer questions and became increasingly threatening,” Brown wrote in an arrest affidavit. “We left the driveway of Cuneo’s residence without further incident.”

Cuneo then began to phone the Secret Service office in Portland, threatening Brown and others, the government alleges. “Cuneo,” Brown wrote, “seems to think that we are aiding and abetting the ‘illegal U.S. President’ and that he and others need to arrest us for not doing our job.”

Brown says Cuneo phoned him in January and, with a colorful series of expletives, threatened him with physical harm, including execution by hanging, electric chair or firing squad. Those threats — and Cuneo’s history of violence — concerned federal officials, according to Brown’s affidavit.

Time to get back to real issues.  2010 is around the corner, 2012 is not much farther.

And, by the way, a federal judge in the District of Columbia issued an order dismissing one of the many nuisance suits filed by the denialists (styled Hollister v. Soetoro) , stating clearly that the suits are nuisances and asking for a showing of why sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure should not be applied.  In short, the judge has ruled that the case against Obama’s eligibility is so rank and utterly without substance that any lawyer of average intelligence and sound mind should know better than to trouble a court with it.  I think this is from the court’s order:

Because it appears that the complaint in this case may have been presented for an improper purpose such as to harass; and that the interpleader claims and other legal contentions of the plaintiff are not warranted by existing law or by non-frivolous arguments for extending, modifying or reversing existing law or for establishing new law, the accompanying order of dismissal requires Mr. Hemenway [the attorney of record] to show cause why he has not violated Rules 11 (b) (1) and 11 (b) (2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and why he should not be required to pay reasonable attorneys fees and other expenses to counsel for the defendants.

Crazier fringes of the anti-Obama guild claim that a letter from Obama’s attorneys asking that the suit be dropped is “threatening.”  It’s not threatening to tell the schoolyard bully to straighten up.  How much ozone have these people depleted?

Update: Yes to Democracy also carries news on the March 24 action by Judge Robertson.  When do the denialists finally wake up, smell the coffee, smell the stale beer cans, pinch themselves, take a shower and get on with life?  So, to sum up:  A judge in Washington, D.C., has dismissed the suit and called the bluff of the plaintiffs and stealth plaintiffs; Huffington Post revealed the financial stake of WorldNet Daily in continuing to finance the suits, and in pushing the suits improperly; and a federal prosecutor won an indictment of a blogger who started rumbling about taking violent action in favor of the Birthers, and who failed to heed warnings to tone down his vitriol.  Have the birthers figured it out yet?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Micah.

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Hallucinating George Washington, the Birth Certificate Obsessed

January 20, 2009

Some of the Birth Certificate Obsessed (BCOs) are seeing things (that’s Obama’s birth certificate that they are obsessed with).  They claim to see a vision that is attributed to George Washington in a hoax. It’s voodoo history, stuff that never was.

Hallucinations would be bad enough, but what do you have to smoke to see hallucinations other people were supposed to have had, but didn’t?

Looking at the docket of the Supreme Court, I don’t see that any of the anti-Obama suits got an order for certiorari. Will the dismissal of the wingnut lawsuits make the wingnuts go away?


FAIL repeated: Challenges to Obama’s eligibility

December 26, 2008

Some weeks ago we visited six hurdles that the case against Barack Obama’s eligibility for the presidency would have to overcome to disqualify him.

All six hurdles still remain.  No one has made any serious response to any of the six.

Above the West Entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court is engraved Equal Justice Under Law

Above the West Entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court is engraved "Equal Justice Under Law"

But the Birth Certificate Obsessed (BCO) people go on and on.

Let me note that the six hurdles still stand — six reasons why the objections to Obama’s eligibility will fail:

  1. Obama has a U.S. passport (claims that he doesn’t have a passport were put to rest when it was revealed, in March 2008, that State Department workers had illegally accessed his passport records).
  2. Because we know Obama has a U.S. passport, we can be quite sure his draft status was verified before it was issued — which puts to bed any issue about his registering for the draft (which he wouldn’t have been required to do in any case until 1980 — draft registration had been suspended in 1973 until the Afghanistan/Soviet crisis).
  3. Obama’s a lawyer; the National Conference of Bar Examiners, or the Illinois Bar, would have checked on any problems that surfaced when verifying his fitness to practice law.
  4. Obama was a U.S. senator; as a matter of course, the FBI does a background check on every U.S. senator to verify they may view top secret material. Security clearances are absolutely necessary for members of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Armed Services Committee.  Obama was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, chairing the subcommittee that deals with U.S. relations with NATO — a post that requires top secret clearances.
  5. Obama has been getting the full national security briefing every day that the president gets; CIA and Homeland Security would have to verify his top secret clearances, and then some.  There is absolutely no indication that this top, top check was not carried out.
  6. Perhaps most important, Obama posted an image of his birth certificate on-line in June; experts who checked the actual document verify it is real, and therefore authoritative.

Each of these six circumstances creates a rebuttable presumption that Obama is a citizen, and a natural born citizen under the somewhat ambiguous requirements of Article II of the Constitution.  In order to make a case that Obama is ineligible, contestants would need to make a strong showing, with clear evidence, to rebut the presumptions created by by these official actions.

Professional poker player Leo Donofrio has made no such evidentiary showing, anywhere, at any time.  Nor has any other Obama critic presented any evidence to overcome any of these six presumptions.

Recently a poster named Carlyle complained that my previous post had been unknown to him. While I posted trackbacks to his post at Texas Darlin’, that blog censors my posts and trackbacks, and thereby deprived this BCO from knowing about the facts (indeed, trackbacks are automatic, since Texas Darlin’ is also a WordPress blog; the only way the trackbacks and comments don’t show up at TD’s blog is because she censors them).  With some fury, Carlyle and others found that post from November 27 and complained I was unfair to them.  However, none has presented any serious challenge to the six hurdles.

How can I be unfair when they won’t make a case?

Here, below the fold, is an example of the heated and off-target responses I’ve gotten.  Of course, I offer comments as we go.

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Without hysterics, the Obama eligibility issue

December 5, 2008

In a conference today [December 5, 2008] the Supreme Court will reconsider together whether to take on a suit challenging the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president of the United States under a sometimes-arcane  section of Article II of the Constitution.

Is Barack Obama a “natural born” citizen of the U.S.?

In the building where “Equal Justice Under Law” is engraved high over the front door, poker-player Leo Donofrio’s challenge will be examined to see whether at least four of the nine justices of the Court think he has enough of a case to actually merit a hearing.  Justice David Souter rejected Donofrio’s case earlier, so this is a hail-Mary play on the part of Obama’s opponents.

Equal Justice Under Law, the West Pediment of the U.S. Supreme court. AAPF image

Equal Justice Under Law, the West Pediment of the U.S. Supreme court. AAPF image

The Court takes seriously the principle engraved over the door, however.  This is the same Court that ruled earlier this year an accused terrorist and all-around bad guy held at Guantanamo Bay has the right to a writ of habeas corpus over the objections of the Most Power Man in the World, U.S. President George W. Bush.  The humble, gritty, or even unsavory history of litigants does not limit their rights under the law.

Leo Donofrio in his usual office. Leo Donofrio image

Leo Donofrio in his usual office. Leo Donofrio image

So the question is, what sort of case does Donofrio have against Obama’s eligibility?

Would Justice Clarence Thomas have agreed to bring this case to the conference if it doesn’t have a chance to succeed?

I’ve not lunched with Thomas in more than two decades, so I can’t speak with any inside knowledge.  Historically, the Court, and indeed all the federal courts, have agreed to examine cases like this often simply to provide an authoritative close to the issue.  In this case, the outright hysteria of the anti-Obama partisans suggests the issue should be put to bed if possible.

Under usual Court procedures, we won’t learn the results of the conference until Monday.  I would not be surprised if the results are announced today, just to promote the settling of the issue.

Does Donofrio have a case?

I don’t see a case.  It’s clear that Obama is a U.S. citizen now.  Donofrio’s argument is rather strained, and sexist.  He claims that Obama’s father having been a British subject in 1961 (Kenya was not yet independent), Obama had dual citizenship at birth — and, further, Donofrio alleges, this dual citizenship trumps both Obama’s birth on U.S. soil (which should be dispositive) AND Obama’s mother’s U.S. citizenship, conferring a special status that doesn’t meet the intentions of the framers of the Constitution.

Donofrio’s claim is odd in that it would grant a lesser-status to children of legal immigrants than is allowed by law to children of illegal immigrants, or temporary visitors.  It also is bizarre, to me, in the way it dismisses Obama’s mother’s existence as a factor in Obama’s citizenship status — and while equal rights for women were not wholly obtained in 1961, no one has successfully argued that the citizenship of the father trumps that of the mother in citizenship cases.

Donofrio is arguing that Obama’s dual citizenship at birth disqualifies him from holding the presidency, technically, in a very narrow reading — though Obama would have absolutely every other right of a natural born citizen.

A couple of observations:

First, this is not an easy issue to litigate. Standing is the easiest way for a federal court to avoid a decision — what harm can a citizen claim from letting Obama be president?  It’s difficult to find an injury even were Donofrio’s claims valid.  No blood, no foul.  No injury, no standing to sue.  It is upon this basis that most of the cases against Obama’s eligibility have been tossed out, as Donofrio’s has been tossed, twice already.

Second, it is unclear what entity enforces the eligibility clause of the Constitution, or indeed, whether any entity can. For most of the summer Obama’s critics were pressuring the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to do something, even though the FEC lacks a quorum of members to do anything.  More to the point, there is nothing in any law that confers on the FEC the function of checking the citizenship status of any candidate.  Sometime in October they finally figured out that state secretaries of state might have a role, since they set up the ballots in each state.

I admit I thought that, until I reflected on the issue of the electoral college.  In U.S. presidential elections, voters do not vote directly for president and vice president.  Instead, we vote to elect people who will be the electors who decide — electors of the electoral college.  The history of this institution can be found elsewhere.  For the sake of these suits, however, it means that the secretaries of state have no role at all in the eligibility of the candidates.  They rule on the eligibility of the electors, which is an entirely different kettle of fish. Some states even list the electors on the ballot.

But in any case, it means Donofrio is suing the wrong entity, even if we can’t tell him what the correct entity is.

Third and most important, Donofrio is asking for U.S. citizenship law to be overturned in a most inconvenient time and place. Dual citizenship is a bar to very little in American life.  There is an assumption that people who hold that status are fully American citizens, absent a showing of contrary facts.  There are no contrary facts in evidence from Donofrio, nor from anyone else, despite promises of the revelation of conspiracies.

In short, Donofrio is arguing that there is, somewhere, somehow, some information that Barack Obama is not the shining patriot his life story reveals.  Donofrio doesn’t know what that information is, or where it might be found, but he thinks maybe the State of Hawaii is complicit in a conspiracy to hide this information, which is hidden on the hand-written records of Obama’s birth in 1961.  You might think Donofrio has watched “National Treasure” a few too many times, and whether it’s that movie or some other source, you’d be right — paranoid suspicions of conspiracy are not the stuff good court cases are made of.

The dozen or more cases against Obama’s eligibility all suffer from this astounding, dramatic lack of evidence.  Is there an affidavit from someone who alleges that Obama’s citizenship should be called into question?  If so, they’ve not been presented to any court.  (Obama tormentor Corsi claims to have interviewed Obama’s Kenyan grandmother, and he alleges she said through an interpreter that Obama was born in Kenya; oddly, he didn’t bother to get an affidavit from the woman, nor from anyone else — and others who listen to the tape think she thought Corsi was asking about the birth of her son, not grandson.  This is not solid evidence.)

I argued earlier there is a long chain of evidence creating rebuttable presumptions that Obama’s a natural born U.S. citizen.  To contradict this chain of evidence, contestants should provide extraordinary, clear evidence of contradiction.  What is offered by Donofrio is neither extraordinary, nor clear, nor necessarily contradictory to the presumptions.

This is not an issue solely for the hysterical.  Lawyers and scholars have looked at the issue through the years, and intensely this year, and arrived at the conclusion that Obama is perfectly eligible for the presidency.

Will sanity ever prevail?

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Obama’s birth certificate: Astrologers bring sound reason

November 30, 2008

Texas Darlin‘ and the bevy of sites who contest the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate need to come up for air once in a while.  When astrologers start using better science, logic and reason than those obsessed with Obama’s birth certificate, it’s time for those so obsessed to change their ways, don’t you think?

See also the six ways the arguments against Obama’s birth certificate fail.


6 ways challenges to Obama’s citizenship fail

November 27, 2008

Enough already.  Somebody’s putting LSD into the water conservatives and other wackoes are drinking — that’s the only rational explanation for continued complaints about Barack Obama’s birth eligibility for the presidency.

First, here’s the rational view of the issue, from FactCheck.org, “Born in the USA.”

Here are a few of the sites that seem to have lost all touch with reality, and continue to whine that Obama might somehow be ineligible for the presidency:

Conservatives expert advisor Leo C. Denofrio, from his seat at a Caesars Palace poker table

Do you trust your nation's future to this man? - Conservatives' expert advisor Leo C. Denofrio, from his seat at a Caesar's Palace poker table

Weird enough, irrational enough yet?  As odd as these sites are, sometimes the comments get even odder.  It doesn’t help the rationality quotient that so many of these bloggers block out or strike down comments that present an alternative case or rational answers.

And in fact, it’s partly because of Texas Darlin’s anti-rational-comment pose that I put this post up.  Somebody, somewhere, needs to suggest the rational foundations, and inject them into the discussion.

A commenter named Carlyle states the basic case of the birth-certificate-obsessed people (BCOs).  It’s a nutty case, ungrounded in fact or logic, but Texas Darlin’ won’t allow responses.  So, here are some of the things these people are not thinking about as they fold ever-thicker tinfoil hats.

Carlyle said:

But let me back up for a moment and lay out the two great truths. These are the things that are known without doubt and far above speculation.

1. FACT – Obama has never provided admissable auditible citizenship documentation to anybody. No complete birth certificate, no passport, no selective service registration, nothing, zero, nada, zippo. Nobody can produce any of this stuff – not DNC, FEC, DOJ, State SecStates, electors – nobody.

No, actually Carlyle is doing a lot of speculation there (as are other BCOs).  Almost all of these rants are based on speculation, wild speculation far outside of what is known.  The key questions would revolve around what sorts of evidence would be admissible as evidence in a court of law in the U.S.  Very few of these anti-Obama rants ever bother to touch ground on those issues.  The birth certificate issued by the State of Hawaii, posted by the Obama campaign for months, is the legally-admissible document.  The ranters have to ignore that to get on to the rest of their complaints.

Beyond the legally-admissible, there are logical cascades of events to which we can point, which strongly suggest the ranters are truly full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

First, in order to obtain a passport, for one example, one must provide “admissible, auditable citizenship documentation” to the U.S. Department of State. We know Obama has held a passport for many years, so we can be reasonably certain he provided that information originally (Do you have a passport?  How did you get it without a birth certificate?  I got a diplomatic speedy process, and I still had to provide a birth certificate . . .).

Propagandist-and-self-promoter-for-hire Jerome Corsi claims Obama didn’t travel on a U.S. passport, claiming results from an impossible Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. State Department.

Obama’s passport is a matter of record (though privacy laws do not allow release of the passport itself, generally).  Without evidence to the contrary, this presents a rebuttable presumption that Obama is a citizen. Does anyone else have information that the birth certificate Obama gave State was wrong?  Obviously not — the BCOs don’t appear to have been aware such a thing was even required.

Second, one of the things State checked for when I applied for a passport (when I worked in the Senate) was my Selective Service Status.  Hypothetically, they don’t want to grant a passport to someone who is not registered.  Again, under the rules of civil procedure, we have a rebuttable presumption that Obama’s draft registration was fine when he traveled as a student.  If it was fine then, absent a showing from anyone that there was a later event that made the draft registration invalid, we should assume that State did their job.  As a pragmatic matter, the draft ended in the early 1970s, so there could be almost no issue that could have caused Obama’s draft status to change.  It’s pretty clear that his draft registration is valid.

Third, Obama is a lawyer.  In order to get a license to practice law, applicants must provide a certified copy of a birth certificate to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, in order to be eligible to take the bar exam. The National Conference then does a background investigation on all candidates, generally an investigation more thorough than the FBI’s checking for most federal appointees.  In the past, the Conference has reported issues like minor drug use, preventing people from becoming lawyers in several states.  Absent a showing by someone that the National Conference granted special waivers, or a showing of other irregularities, the fact that Obama held a license to practice law presents a rebuttable presumption that his birth certificate is valid exactly as he alleges, and that his draft status is legal. Obviously, the BCOs have no information to indicate any irregularity, since they were unaware of this check.  We should assume, therefore, that Obama has a valid birth certificate and draft registration, since the Illinois Bar got a recommendation from the National Conference of Bar Examiners that Obama was morally fit to be a lawyer.

Fourth, Obama is a U.S. Senator.  As a matter of standard operating procedure, the FBI does a thorough background check on every elected Member of Congress, to certify that they are eligible for top secret clearance, since every member will be seeing national secrets.  Occasionally these checks produce questions, which are usually resolved by the Rules Committee of each house.  There is no record of any proceeding dealing with any irregularity in the background check for Sen. Obama.  This means that there is a rebuttable presumption that the FBI was satisfied with Obama’s citizenship status, as well as his patriotism and ability to keep state secrets.

Furthermore, for members of the Armed Services, Intelligence oversight, and Foreign Relations Committees, there is a more thorough background check by the FBI, since many of these members will be seeing a lot of secrets, and many of them will be talking with foreign dignitaries and visiting foreign nations, and in other ways would have opportunities to pass state secrets to non-allies and even enemies of the U.S.  The simple fact that Obama sat on the Foreign Relations Committee and was, in fact, chairman of the NATO subcommittee (which deals with secrets of many of the allies of the U.S.), creates a fourth rebuttable presumption that Obama’s citizenship status, draft status, patriotism and ability to wave the flag and sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” are above reproach.

Obviously, BCOs don’t have any information to suggest there is any problem with this tougher security clearance, and in fact appear to be wholly unaware that such an investigation had been done, or could be done.

Fifth, since the November 4 election, Sen. Obama has been getting the daily National Security briefiing that President Bush gets.  This briefing includes our nation’s most precious secrets, and cannot be done, even for the president, without the CIA and Homeland Security verifying that the man is who he says he is.

BCOs have no information to overcome the several rebuttable presumptions that Obama’s credentials are in order, evidenced by their total lack of awareness that such procedures even exist.

So, in five ways, we have assurances that Obama is wholly legal and qualified to hold the office of the presidency.  Neither TD’s commenter Carlyle nor any other BCO has any basis to question these federal and state agencies, nor have they suggested any irregularity in any one of these processes which would lead to the irrational conclusion that Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, or not eligible to be president.

Sixth, Obama posted his birth certificate in June, on-line [archived version here]. Are these people Google impaired?

2. FACT – Against numerous attempts by journalists and courts to ask for such information, Obama has uniformaly resisted. One might even say beligerently so.

One might say that, but one would be prevaricating, belligerently.  As noted above, Obama’s birth certificate is available on-line.  So much for resistance.   So far as we know, every reporter who asked was able to view the actual certificate with it’s stamp of authority from the State of Hawaii.  Such analyses have been done, written about, and posted on-line.  Are they Google AND Yahoo impaired?

Do the BCOs have any serious evidence of any problems that the U.S. State Department, the FBI, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the State Bar of Illinois, the FBI again, the Rules Committee of the U.S. Senate, the CIA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security missed?  What is their evidence?

We challenge them to be specific.  If they are claiming something like an aged grandmother’s testimony that Obama was born in Kenya, they should have the good sense not to waste the court’s time about such folderol unless unless have a sworn affidavit from the woman, taken down by a court reporter, and corroborating evidence (Corsi did not even bother to get statements, let alone sworn statements under oath, I understand — he’s asking a Supreme Court hearing for inadmissible hearsay).

And Joseph Farah, here’s my challenge to you:  Provide corroboration for your charges, provide affidavits where they would be required, provide evidence of error on the parts of these federal and state agencies, or shut up about it. Even scandal-sheet journalists have some responsibility to at least try to look like they care about accuracy.  Farah owes it to his readers to get things right.  He’s not living up to the duty he owes.

What do they have?

Why must we entertain cargo cultists in their dances?  We have two wars and a crashing economy to fix.  Can we get on with the transition, please?

Barack Obamas birth certificate, showing the states stamp of authenticity, from FactCheck.org

Barack Obama's birth certificate, showing the state's stamp of authenticity, from FactCheck.org

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