One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition)

November 13, 2012

Someone in Texas, I swear, sells do-it-yourself-at-home lobotomy kits.  Worse, about 50,000 Texans buy the kits every year, and give themselves a self-lobotomy.  Then, when something happens in national politics or something else that doesn’t please them, having put an ice pick through that part of the brain that carries reason and self-control, and scrambled it, they start spouting nonsense about “Texas ought to secede.”

Texas splits from union, trespasses on Mexico

If Texas seceded from the U.S., would it be trespassing on Mexico?

This issue heated up last just after President Barack Obama took office and stopped the national slide into recession; Texans got ticked off that Obama hadn’t let them slip down the bung hole, and the Tea Party was born to push and make sure no one stopped such a slide in the future.  Rick Perry, our peripatetic occasional governor and head coyote persecutor, threw gasoline on the fire.  I posted this explanation back then.

Comes the 2012 election, Democrats and other supporters of Obama rise up and re-elect him.  One of the previously mentioned fools found a feature President Obama’s team added to the White House website, whereby anyone can start a petition on a subject; Obama being the fair-minded man these fools claim he is not, Obama and his team said they’d answer any petition that got more than 25,000 signatures.  Several people started petitions asking for secession.

Think about that for a moment.  They’re appealing to President Obama to let the secede, because they don’t like Obama’s reelection.  Compounding the irony, they’re using a citizen-feedback system designed by Obama’s team.

But then the pro-secession, anti-Obama people threw all sense to the wind.  This process is almost outside official channels.  While Congress will accept petitions, there’s no guarantee that these petitions will go to Congress — only that the Obama White House will answer the petition in some form.

More than a few of the signers are convinced that if they hit the magic number of 25,000 signatures, the action becomes semi-0fficial and will get real consideration.  Here’s news:  You might get a letter from President Obama.  Won’t that please them no end?

Gov. Perry already disowned the current round of zaniness.  It interferes with the zaniness in the run-up to the bi-annual Texas State Legislature meeting, for which “prefiling” of bills started this week.  Even and perhaps especially political zanies can handle only so much zaniness at one time — they’ve hit their zenith of zaniness for 2012.

But the bloggers and Facebookers still jump up and down.  Now, Dear Reader, you are a person of some intelligence:  You don’t think evolution is “from the pit of Hell,” you vaccinate your children and get an annual flu shot, you haven’t been abducted by alien spaceships recently, you worry that your home insurance will continue to climb until we act as a nation to stop air pollution that causes climate change, you understand Hawaii has been a state since 1960 and so a man born there after that, or at any time after annexation in 1898, is a U.S. citizen eligible to be U.S. president, and you don’t fear the UN is going to come take your golf course away (especially since golf-loving Barack Obama is our president); so I warn you, those yahoos who forgot entirely about the Civil War and think they might get a chance to secede from the U.S. and NASCAR just by putting their name on an internet petition, are not going to believe you, nor will they grant any credence to the facts outlined below, as to just why Texas cannot and will not secede.

But, here’s the explanation, anyway:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rick Perry put his foot into something during one of the Astro-turf “tea parties” on April 15 [2009].  Someone asked him about whether Texas should secede from the United States, as a protest against high taxes, or something.

The answer to the question is “No, secession is not legal.  Did you sleep through all of your U.S. history courses?  Remember the Civil War?”

Alas, Perry didn’t say that.

Instead, Perry said it’s not in the offing this week, but ‘Washington had better watch out.’

He qualified his statement by saying the U.S. is a “great union,” but he said Texans are thinking about seceding, and he trotted out a hoary old Texas tale that Texas had reserved that right in the treaty that ceded Texas lands to the U.S. in the switch from being an independent republic after winning independence from Mexico, to statehood in the U.S.

So, rational people want to know:  Does Perry know what he’s talking about?

No, he doesn’t.  Bud Kennedy, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (still one of America’s great newspapers despite the efforts of its corporate owners to whittle it down), noted the error and checked with Gov. Perry’s history instructors at Texas A&M and his old high school, both of which said that Perry didn’t get the tale from them.  (Score one for Texas history teachers; rethink the idea about letting people run for state office without having to pass the high school exit history exam.)

A&M professor Walter L. Buenger is a fifth-generation Texan and author of a textbook on Texas’ last secession attempt. (The federal occupation lasted eight years after the Civil War.)

“It was a mistake then, and it’s an even bigger mistake now,” Buenger said by phone from College Station, where he has taught almost since Perry was an Aggie yell leader.

“And you can put this in the paper: To even bring it up shows a profound lack of patriotism,” Buenger said.

The 1845 joint merger agreement with Congress didn’t give Texas an option clause. The idea of leaving “was settled long ago,” he said.

“This is simple rabble-rousing and political posturing,” he said. “That’s all it is.  . . .  Our governor is now identifying himself with the far-right lunatic fringe.”

Three false beliefs about Texas history keep bubbling up, and need to be debunked every time.  The first is that Texas had a right to secede; the second is that Texas can divide itself into five states; and the third is that the Texas flag gets special rights over all other state flags in the nation.

Under Abraham Lincoln’s view the Union is almost sacred, and once a state joins it, the union expands to welcome that state, but never can the state get out.  Lincoln’s view prevailed in the Civil War, and in re-admittance of the 11 Confederate states after the war.

The second idea also died with Texas’s readmission.  The original enabling act (not treaty) said Texas could be divided, but under the Constitution’s powers delegated to Congress on statehood, the admission of Texas probably vitiated that clause.  In any case, the readmission legislation left it out.  Texas will remain the Lone Star State, and not become a Five Star Federation. (We dealt with this issue in an earlier post you probably should click over to see.)

Texas’s flag also gets no special treatment.  I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard Texans explain to Boy Scouts that the Texas flag — and only the Texas flag — may fly at the same level as the U.S. flag on adjacent flag poles.  Under the flag code, any flag may fly at the same level; the requirement is that the U.S. flag be on its own right.

Gov. Perry is behind Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in polling of a head-to-head contest between the two to see who will be the Republican nominee for governor in 2010 — Hutchison is gunning to unseat Perry.  He was trying to throw some red meat to far-right conservative partisans who, he hopes, will stick by him in that primary election.

Alas, he came off throwing out half-baked ideas instead.  It’s going to be a long, nasty election campaign.  [Yeah, those two paragraphs are dated; they are here as historical footnote.]

_____________

Update [2009]: A commenter named Bill Brock (the Bill Brock?) found the New York Times article from 1921 detailing John Nance Garner’s proposal to split Texas into five.  Nice find!

Another update: How much fuss should be made over the occasional wild hare move for some state to secede?  Probably not much.  A few years ago Alaska actually got a referendum on the ballot to study secession.  The drive to secede got nowhere, of course.  I was tracking it at the time to see whether anyone cared.  To the best of my knowledge, the New York Times never mentioned the controversy in Alaska, and the Washington Post gave it barely three paragraphs at the bottom of an inside page.

Texas has a slightly grandiose view of itself. TM Daily Post image

Texas has a slightly grandiose view of itself. TM Daily Post image

More and Related Information:


Vote Irish for the presidency in 2012: O’Bama it is!

March 17, 2012

I’d forgotten about the birthers’ greatest nightmare — Obama’s got Irish blood in him!

Democratic Underground features a series of photos of President Obama with an Irish cousin at one of my favorite old haunts in Washington, the Dubliner.

President Obama at the Dubliner, March 17, 2012 - Democratic Underground image

President Barack Obama drinks a Guinness with his ancestral cousin from Moneygall Ireland Henry Healy, center, and the owner of the pub in Moneygall Ireland, Ollie Hayes, right, at The Dubliner Restaurant and Pub and Restaurant on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in Washington

Many great memories of the Dubliner.

In 1974, when I interned at the Senate, it was just a small bar on the first floor of the Commodore Hotel.  Rocky Johnson of Sen. Mike Gravel‘s office, one of my roommates, introduced me to Guiness.  The Dubliner was the most reliable source in D.C. at the time.  The bartender was a guy named Paddy.  It was never crowded — and they had good fish and chips with a fine, imported malt vinegar. I wasn’t exactly a regular, but I made several visits.

Ironically, for my summer job that year with the Louis August Jonas Foundation, we had a trip to D.C. planned with about 16 “boys from abroad” and the designated hotel was the Commodore — it was cheap and met our needs, being close to the Capitol.  I was asked to chaperone, and happily went.   So Freddy Jonas, the great benefactor of the foundation and Camp Rising Sun, and I could sneak down to the Dubliner for a nightcap.  Michael Greene, the foundation’s executive director, warned me that Freddy would always ask if you wanted a second drink, but Freddy would not take one himself — and so, of course, neither should staffers.

One night while Freddy and I were capping off the evening we ran into a friend from interning, Avis Ortner, a rodeo barrel rider who had starred in a Kodak commercial series, and who worked in a Washington law firm.  She and Freddy struck it off very nicely.  I was surprised at how much Freddy knew about horses, and the questions he had about rodeo riding.  At some point in the evening he asked me if I were going to have a second drink, and of course I declined.  “Well, you only live once.  Avis and I are having a second one, and you should join us.”  People who knew Freddy well still don’t believe me when I tell them the story.  But it’s true.  It’s the magic of the Dubliner.  [Is Avis still cleaning up at bridge in D.C.?]

I was back in D.C. in 1975, again with the Jonas Foundation bunch, and again at the Commodore.  The Dubliner had a successful year, and had taken over the small cafe/dining room next door to bar.

In 1976 I visited again, and after a very successful year the Dubliner kicked out the gift shop of the hotel and opened a second bar there.  It was crowded on weekends.

In 1979 I moved to D.C.  Within a couple of years the Dubliner bought out the Commodore.  You couldn’t get a seat at the bar most nights.  St. Patrick’s Day 1980 the line wrapped around the block, and though the place never had a great stage, the live act was the Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, if I recall correctly.

Reconstruction and massive redecorating made the hotel into a great stop.  Eventually the bar company sold the hotel, but kept the location.  After Kathryn and I got married, we’d walk over to the Dubliner for lunch at least a couple of times a month, and the fish and chips at the Dubliner got better.  I may have done in half the cod from the Grand Banks all by myself.

We’ve been in Texas now since 1987.  I miss the Dubliner.  Obama’s lucky he could get in, on St. Patrick’s Day.  I hope he appreciates his luck.

(Kenny’s in Baltimore tonight — more irony.  Girl Talk on Federal Hill (I think it’s an outdoor concert performance).  Better than waiting in line at the Dubliner.  Go when the crowds aren’t there, and you can savor the place.)


Goldie Taylor at TheGrio.com: Why Obama shouldn’t have to “show his papers”

May 1, 2011

More, Resources: 


Are Trump and the birthers hypocrites? Racists?

April 28, 2011

You will love this post from Day Riffer:

Looks Like Trump’s Right: How the Hell Did This President Get Into Those Ivy League Schools?

Politics

- “The dean looked over Barack’s transcript and college boards and then suggested in a kindly way that he apply to some less competitive colleges in addition to Columbia.”

- “There were no class rankings at his high school, but Barack never made honor roll even one term, unlike 110 boys in his class.”

- “His SAT scores were 566 for the verbal part and 640 for math. Those were far below the median scores for students admitted to his class at Columbia: 668 verbal and 718 math.”

- “At Columbia, Barack Obama distinguished himself primarily as a hard partier, and he managed to be detained by police twice during his university years: once for stealing a Christmas wreath as a fraternity prank and once for trying to tear down the goalposts during a football game at Princeton.”

- “Obama’s transcript at Columbia shows that he was a solid C student. Although a history major, he sampled widely in the social sciences and did poorly in political science and economics while achieving some of his best grades (the equivalent of a B+) in philosophy and anthropology. The transcript indicates that in Obama’s freshman year, the only year for which rankings were available, he was in the twenty-first percentile of his class—meaning that four-fifths of the students were above him. Yet at the same time that he was earning Cs at Columbia, Obama displayed a formidable intelligence in another way. At his induction into the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity, he and others were asked to name all fifty-four pledges in the room. Most were were able to name only five or six. When it was Obama’s turn, he named every single one. Later he rose to become president of DKE, and he was also tapped into Skull and Bones, an elite secret society to which his father had also belonged.”

And then he somehow got into Harvard for graduate school.

Oh, wait.

My bad.

I made a mistake.

Please replace the reference to “high school” with “Andover.”

Please replace “Columbia” with “Yale.”

Please replace “Barack Obama” with “George W. Bush.”

Thanks.

(PresidentProfiles.com)

Read more: http://dayriffer.com/category/28/l/2056/looks-like-trump-s-right-how-the-hell-em-did-em-this-president-get-into-those-ivy-league-schools#ixzz1Kr8k1xVN

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kenny, back from China and “digging deep” in his new studies.


Obama’s birth certificate: Putting the sideshow freaks and carnival barkers on the hot seat

April 27, 2011

No, it’s not particularly important, especially since we knew from so many other sources that Obama was, indeed, Honolulu born.

The White House pried the old birth certificate out of the records of the State of Hawaii, and released copies to the world today.

The White House video:

ABC Television’s report:

View a .pdf of the form here:  President Obama\’s original Hawaiian birth certificate

I predict Orly Taitz, Donald Trump, and all the other sideshow freaks and carnival barkers, will continue to bark away.  Remember, when P. T. Barnum made a copy of the hoax “Cardiff Giant,” people paid a premium to see the fake of the hoax.  P. T. Barnum’s ghost stalks and stomps on Republican and birther grounds now.

More:

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Boy, looking at this, you gotta know that Obama planned this all out, as Morgan claimed in comments below — just so he could get this story from Juan Williams and Shepard Smith at Fox News:

Oh, For Goodness Sake posted that video, without any other comment, as “National Mirror Moment.”  Birthers, Palinistas and Republicans must be choking on their dinners from that report.  Has the Fox turned on ‘em?

Always a good site to expose the inanity and insanity of Obama’s critics, especially on the issues of Obama’s history, Oh, For Goodness Sake has a particular bead on the hypocrisy of those same critics:

How many times have you heard the promise: The president could end this today if he’d just release his long form birth certificate? So now they’ve got the f—ing long form birth certificate, is it done for the Birthers?

No. No. No. No. No. No. And Nope.

Bigots.  Probably no small amount of racism in there, too.  Plus, they’ve exposed themselves as genuinely opposed to America’s good health.  David Gardner and Milton Goldstein pegged it, even if we have to paraphrase them a bit:  Had a foreign government tried to do what the birthers are doing, we’d have considered it an act of war.  History is not kind to idlers, those who fail to call out injustice, nor idiots.


Scary idea: Obama is now the greatest tax cutter in history

April 24, 2011

Why is that scary?  Because cutting taxes as a policy to fix our ills, doesn’t work.

Politicususa explains:

According to the Orange County Register, “For the past two years, a family of four earning the median income has paid less in federal income taxes than at any time since at least 1955, according to the Tax Policy Center. All federal, state and local taxes combined are a lower percentage of per-capita income than at any time since the 1960s, according to the Tax Foundation. The highest income-tax bracket is its lowest since 1992. At 35 percent, it’s well below the 50 percent mark of much of the 1980s and the 70 percent bracket of the 1970s.”

The problem is that the tax cuts have not promoted economic growth and have caused the federal deficit to explode, “Those lower taxes have helped give the U.S. government the lowest revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product of seven industrialized countries surveyed in 2010 by the Congressional Research Services. (The other countries were Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France.) The U.S. also had the lowest spending as a percentage of the GDP. But with the biggest gap between revenues (31.6 percent of GDP) and expenditures (42.2 percent of GDP), the U.S. also posted the largest deficit as a percentage of GDP – 10.5 percent.”

No conservative would dare give Obama credit.  Is Obama a noble enough leader to decline ownership of the tax cutting title?


Benson courts controversy: Obama’s political resurrection

April 17, 2010

When he interned for our office, he was such a clean-cut, return-missionary sort of guy.  Steve Benson’s cartoons continually push the envelope for what is acceptable in an editorial cartoon, not exactly what I had come to expect from his early work with conservatives.  A welcome surprise.

This one was probably quite controversial in Phoenix, don’t you think?

Obama's political resurrection in health care debate, Steve Benson in Arizona Republic, 4-2-2010

Steven Benson in the Arizona Republic, April 2, 2010


Thoughts on Waterloo

August 6, 2009

Republicans and Sen. Jim Demint look forward to meeting Obama at Waterloo.

Obama Wellington at Waterloo, by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Obama Wellington at Waterloo, by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Napoleon looked forward to meeting Wellington at Waterloo, too.

It’s important to remember that at history’s great turning points, there are generally at least two sides.  The British don’t celebrate the Fourth of July, either.

Be careful what you hope for, Republicans.


Media bias, Palin vs. Obama

July 13, 2009

You saw the photo?  The one where Obama and Sarkozy are, um, “admiring” the rear end of a 17-year old girl?  Shame on Obama, right?

I’ll wager that all the radical right-wing blogs that feature the still photo won’t bother to check out the video.  Palin’s woes are nothing compared to Obama’s.

Of course, Obama ain’t whinin’ and he ain’t quittin’.

Cassie at Political Teen shows her reportorial chops; go see the video there.


FDR’s First 100 Days – tailored for the classroom

April 4, 2009

The FDR Library in Hyde Park has an exhibit on FDR’s legendary First 100 Days.  Accompanying the exhibit is a flyer, available on-line in .pdf, that is tailor made for a quick PowerPoint on the events.

Cover of the .pdf flyer on the FDR Librarays exhibit on the First 100 Days

Cover of the .pdf flyer on the FDR Libraray's exhibit on the First 100 Days

A 24-page guide to the exhibit is also available, with even more details — though a lot of the images would be more difficult to put into a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

For government classes, these guides might offer a project on comparing Roosevelt’s first three or four months to Obama’s first months in office.

I’m wondering about printing at least a class set of the guide . . .

Resources:


Tell ‘em up front it’s a hoax – they still buy it

January 31, 2009

Orson Welles was on to something with his “War of the Worlds” broadcast.  In fact, after that first night of panic, the same script was used on other occasions, and people still got suckered in.  (Listen to the RadioLab feature on this phenomenon — it’s wonderful.)

It’s almost as if people were going around with signs on their backs that say “Lie to me, baby!”  Only, the people put the signs on their shirts and blouses themselves.

For whatever ill-thought, malicious reason, somebody invented an absolutely unbelievable hoax that President Obama asked the Pentagon to have military people swear allegiance to him, instead of the nation. Jumping in Pools posted it.

Jumping in Pools also listed it as satire, in tags.

But the hoax sucked in the gullible all over the web.

Let me repeat:  It’s a hoax.

It’s a nasty hoax.  It’s a stupid hoax.  It’s a malicious hoax.  But it’s still a hoax.

The author(s) added this at the top of the article:

NOTE: This article is, in fact, a satire piece. While you’re here, read other articles, like Obama going on the quarter, how he’s genetically superior, and how he took down Blago. And you can also check out Joe’s Babe of the Week, which comes out every Friday. And become a fan and return and tell your friends. Word up.

Still the gullible fall.

A Google search produces references to the hoax claims all across the internet — most failing to appreciate that the claim is a hoax.  Snopes.com has it right — but who bothers to check the facts?

Americans can be sore losers, and Americans can be awfully stupid.  If you wonder why it is that good sense prevails in public affairs so seldom, it is because Americans too often fight against good sense, sometimes even when they know better.

Creationists make wild and clearly erroneous claims?  No problem!  Some hundreds of preachers will still use the falsehoods in sermons and church newsletter editorials.  Worse, some people with More Power Than They Ought To Have will decide to mess up science curricula on the issue.  Badly informed parents read the research backwards, and claim that vaccines hurt children, and thousands flock to their websites, stop vaccinating their kids, even when the kids get sick and die.  People will make bad financial decisions.

Generally we hope to educate people out of these problems, over time.

How much hope can we hold that education will work when people are hoaxed by things that are clearly labeled as “not fact?”

Another Wall of Shame, bloggers and others who got suckered by the Obama-taking-over-the-military hoax; some of the suckers are:

Doesn’t this make you question anything you read on the blogs on this list?

Wall of Honor:  Blogs that yelled “HOAX!”:


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Baltimore Sun: Obama eligibility challenge likely to be refused

December 7, 2008

Responsible media, generally called in denigrating styel “mainstream media” by many of our more nutty nut cases, have held off in commenting on the Supreme Court’s position on the case against Obama’s election discussed in conference last Friday, December 5.

Except the Baltimore Sun, which notes as the Bathtub did, that the appeal is likely to go no further.

We won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Eric Zorn at The Chicago Tribune says “enough already,” and calls for the conservative moonbats to give up the nasty, fruitless calumny.  (Also see this Tribune story.)


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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George C. Wallace, and Barack Obama

November 5, 2008

Would George Wallace, the late segregationist Governor of Alabama and one-time threat to win the presidency, have voted for Barack Obama?

Ask George Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy.  You might be surprised.

Wallace’s politics were a southern response to what was perceived as Washington’s abandoning of the southern states.  Bush’s policies, especially in the wake of hurricanes that destroyed New Orleans and many other communities in the south, look the same to many southerners.

So, which way would Wallace have voted?


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