18 November 2008

Obama Isn't a Citizen!

OK, I'm going to try an experiment. I want to see how many wingnuts I can attract by commenting on the claim that Obama is not a natural born citizen, and I'd rather sully my personal blog than the one I share with other (decent) folks. So let me begin by saying, you'd have to be dumber than Paris Hilton's handbag to believe that Barack Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen.

There are two essential claims:
  • Obama is not a natural born citizen because he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.

  • If Obama was born in Hawaii, he lost his citizenship when he lived in Indonesia as a child.
Several lawsuits have been filed, none of them succesful so far, but the legal battle is not yet over. One lawsuit was filed by a lawyer named Phillip Berg, a former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General and Hillary supporter who hasn't yet recovered from the shock of having his favorite candidate get her ass handed to her by that uppity nigra.

This case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for lack of standing, not a surprising result. For those who know nothing about law, and that includes the tens of thousands of asshats who signed this petition, you actually have to be an injured party to bring a lawsuit, simply being a concerned citizen isn't enough to give you standing (unless Congress has statutorily authorized citizen suits). A funny thing happened before the dismissal, though. On October 21 Berg put out a press release titled Obama & DNC admit all allegations in Berg v. Obama. His claim is that Obama's failure to respond in a timely manner to Berg's allegations means Obama "admitted" their veracity, and therefore "Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President" (emphasis added). The "facts" that Obama allegedly admitted are too many to enumerate here, but include:
  • I am a Kenya "natural born" citizen.
  • My father, Barrack Hussein Obama, Sr. admitted Paternity of me.
  • I am a citizen of Indonesia.
  • I am proud of my Kenya heritage.
  • I am an attorney who specializes in Constitutional Law.
  • I went by the name Barry Soetero in Indonesia,
  • I went to a Judge in Hawaii to have my name changed.
But Obama did not admit any of this (although I suppose he would agree that his father admitted paternity, that he's proud of his Kenyan heritage--no bar to being president, Reagan was proud of his Irish heritage--and that as a law prof he specialized in Constitutional law, again, no bar to being president). Instead, on September 24, Obama filed a motion to dismiss this frivolous case--almost a full month before Berg made his claim of Obama's failure to respond. And Obama won his motion to dismiss, meaning he did not have to answer Berg's claims, and consequently--as a legal fact--admitted nothing. (Nevertheless, Berg keeps that fraudulent page up on his website.)

Berg followed up with an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in which he asked for an injunction to stay the presidential election. This is a bit hard to believe, but Berg trumpets it himself, right here. At this point it is hard to avoid suspecting Berg is either just an inveterate attention-seeker or someone who truly has developed a mental problem, as surely nobody in their right mind could actually believe the Supreme Court would seriously consider enjoining the presidential election. And indeed Berg's motion was denied. Because this was an emergency appeal, similar in form to the emergency appeal of a convict about to be executed, for whom there is literally no tomorrow, Berg did not appeal to the full Supreme Court, which generally moves very slowly on appeals, but to a single justice, in this case Justice Souter.

Oddly, however, Souter's order also states that "The defendants are required to respond to the Writ of Certiorari by December first." I am unclear if that is simply pro forma--petitioner filed, so defendant automatically gets to do so to, if they so choose (and the "required" merely means, "must do so by December 1, if they bother") or if it means the case is still tentatively alive. It also says Berg may respond after Obama files his response, so the case doesn't quite sound dead to me, but while I've studied Constitutional Law, I've never dealt much with legal procedure. Assuming it is still open, Berg needs 4 justices to agree to hear the case, and so far he has "perhaps 1," a far cry from 4. Given that Obama has already met the basic legal requirement for demonstrating citizenship, presenting a certificate of live birth, it's likely the course will reject Berg's challenge is unlikely to succeed, unless Berg can produce evidence of Obama's birth certificate being faked, rather than just an allegation. In sum, the odds of Berg's case being heard by the Court is exceptionally slim.

If Berg's appeal of the case's dismissal is dealt with by the Court, and he wins, the Court could simply remand the case to the District Court for an expedited hearing, so a ruling in Berg's favor would not mean he won on the merits. However it would mean the Court thought both that he had standing and that the case had enough merit to proceed, neither of which is likely. My prediction is that Berg is dead in the water, and his case goes exactly nowhere from here.

The other case has more promise, because the plaintiff would, it appears, have standing. This is the case filed by perennial Christo-fascist Alan Keyes. Keyes was the candidate of the American Independent Party on the California ballot, and is asking that the California Secretary of State be enjoined from certifying the electoral results from the state until the factual dispute is resolved. Unlike Berg's suit, this one was filed in a state court, so it will be interesting to see how the Court rules on the issue of standing.

But ultimately it doesn't matter, except for determining how long this idiotic debate gets dragged out. The facts are clearly on Obama's side, and the most amazing thing is that those on the other side (a) actually believe the bullshit they're peddling, and (b) continue to believe it after the truth is pointed out to them. But they are true believers, convinced we're all the victims of a massive conspiracy, ernestly demonstrating the accuracy of Richard Hofstadter's claim that there is a distinct Paranoid Style" in American politics.

So if any of those asshats has made it this far, here's the facts. Here's why you're not just wrong, but why you're sad, deluded, imbecilic cretins.

  • Obama was not born in Hawaii.
Barack Obama has produced evidence that he was born in Hawaii. you can see a photocopy of his birth certificatehere. Opponents make two claims about this. One is that the document is faked. But FactCheck.org had a representative personally handle and review the document. Their statement is:
...we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago. We can assure readers that the certificate does bear a raised seal, and that it's stamped on the back by the Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onakes.
Of course the conspiracy theorists can continue to claim it's faked, but what can't you claim is faked? The point is that they have no evidence of fakery, just allegations, and allegations without evidence don't add up to shit. And when the defense actually does have evidence, then the conspiracy theorists are challening evidence by presenting no evidence--everyone who thinks that's a formula for winning a legal battle, please raise your tinfoil hat.

The other claim is that this certificate of live birth is not enough to prove Obama's citizenship because it's just the "short form," and the "long form," which includes additional information such as length and weight, is necessary. Again, this is a bullshit claim with no legal validity. As FactCheck.org correclty notes
The certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: "your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of records.
Yes, the short form is satisfactory for convincing the U.S. State Department that you are a citizen. The last time I went to Canada, the U.S. border guard complained that I only had a driver's license, so how could he know I was really a U.S. citizen? He made it clear that I should get a passport so I could prove I was a citizen. Because I traveled to the Middle East this year, I finally got around to renewing my long-lapsed passport. What did the State Department ask me to provide? Just a certificate of live birth--the so-called "short form." I did, and they agreed that I had proved my citizenship by issuing my passport. So the claim that Obama somehow has to do more than is legally required, in order to meet the legal requirement, is a perverse non sequitur.

Of course it doesn't matter where on earth Obama was born. He could have been born in a Tijuana whorehouse or Moscow's Lubyanka prison and still have been a natural born citizen because his mother was a U.S. citizen. The basic rule is that if your parent (just one of them) was a U.S. citizen, you are probably a U.S. citizen. If you were born abroad, your parents could simply register you at the local U.S. embassy or consulate, not to gain you citizenship, but to ensure that the U.S. government is aware of it, so it's easier later on for you to demonstrate it. But even if your parent failed to register you, you can still apply to have your citizenship recognized. Not granted, mind you, but recognized, meaning it technically exists prior to the request for recognition, the government just may not be aware of it yet. (See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.)

  • Obama lost his citizenship when he lived in Indonesia/his step dad adopted him/his step dad registered him in an Indonesian school/his parents divorced/because he changed his name.
These claims are so spurious and confused that they make the prior claim look almost compelling. But this smacks of throwing in the kitchen sink, just to make sure no remotely conceivable allegation has been left out. Of course conceivable is not a synoym for plausible. The fact is, if Obama was born as a citizen--and the preponderance of the evidence (the legal standard he must meet if any of these cases are ever heard on the merits) says he was--he could not lose his citzenship before age 18. Very bluntly,
Parents cannot renounce U.S. citizenship on behalf of their minor children.
Don't believe it? That's what our government says. (See here.) So whether Obama's stepfather adopted him, took him to Indonesia, changed his name to Barry Soetoro, and gained Indonesian citizenship for him does not matter. It is common for children to hold dual citizenship. But obviously, by applying for a U.S. passport, Obama accepted his U.S. citizenship, and whether Indonesia recognizes his citizenship is moot--the U.S. doesn't really give a shit whether another country chooses to grant one of our citizens citizenship, we only care which citizenship that individual chooses.

But what is this business about divorce? Here's a snip from Berg's website.
The Docket shows when Stanley Ann Soetoro filed for divorce against Lolo Soetoro. The marriage is important because bases (sic) on the laws at the time, it affects Obama's citizenship and likely caused him to be an Indonesian citizen and no longer an American citizen. The divorce decree proves that the marriage existed.
Apparently Berg is asking the U.S. courts to rule on a matter of Indonesian law. But even assuming, as Berg seems to claim, that Obama's mother's divorce from Soetoro automatically caused the Indonesian government to grant young Barack Indonesian citizenship, the fact remains that the U.S. does not revoke citizenship of a minor just because another country grants that minor citizenship! Berg seems to claim that Obama's mother's divorce stripped her of parental rights by Indonesian law, and so he apparently wants the U.S. courts to enforce Indonesian law and rule that the birth mother, through divorce, lost parental rights over her son to his stepfather, and that the U.S. courts are bound by that Indonesian law.

As imbecilic as this is, the real problem isn't the legal cases. Obama will win those, because the case against him is utter bullshit, and is believe only by people with nothing but bullshit between their ears. The real problem is those demanding that Obama prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's an American citizen. They keep asking why he doesn't release a "real" copy of his birth certificate: OK, where is he supposed to release it to? You can't put a piece of paper on the web, you can only put up a scan, as he has done. And he has let real live people handle the real paper document. The truth, recognized by everyone with more than half a wit, is that not matter what documentatation Obama releases, they will still call it a forgery. Obama cannot win by acceding to their demands, because they will keep moving the goal post, as pathetic losers always do in their desperate attempt to keep the game going.

And Obama should not release any more documentation unless the courts require him to because these are just nuisance lawsuits, designed to intimidate and harass, and by giving his harassers even one bit of evidence without a court order he hands them victory. "We forced him to produce document X," they'll crow. And they'll follow that with endless claims for more documentation. It may seem reasonable to say, "If he has nothing to hide, why doesn't he produce them," but that's not a good response to frivolous claims. What if your neighbors came over and demanded to search your house for child porn? You'd be pissed off and tell them to go find a way to fuck themselves. And then they respond, "Well if you don't have anything to hide, why won't you let us in?" Isn't it clear where that kind of thinking leads? It is the end of liberty and the end of due process. The only proper response to such nuisance suits is to fight them with all one's vigor and to achieve an undisputed victory over the bastards filing them. The only victory is total victory.

So here's the deal, you pus-brained paranoiacs: You are the true enemies of America. This country is founded on democracy and the rule of law. You are undermining both of those right now, and that makes you an enemy of my country. That makes you my sworn enemy as well, because I have in fact taken an oath to defend my country and its Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I for one am sick of your bullshit, and especially your pretense at being "real America" while you relentlessly attack our Constitution's guarantees of freedom, equality, democracy, and the rule of law. So please shut the fuck up right now. About 7 years ago I demanded my money back from a benefit concert I went to because the person in charge felt the need to announce that "George Bush is not my president." I hated it when liberals did it, and I hate it just as much when you conservatives do it. Whether that person liked it or not, Bush was her president. And whether you like it or not, Obama is going to be your president. So shut up, grow up, and deal with it like adults, not like the whiny little bitches we all know you conservatives really are.


E$ said...

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Berg. I was on my way home from work when I noticed a coworker's car stalled on the hill in front of me. We pushed it out of the road and into the parking lot that Mr. Berg's law office shares with a hardware store. After a couple of minutes he came out and asked what we were doing. He didn't have a problem with keeping the broken down car there for a few hours, but then whipped out a business card and handed one to each of us. He said "Do you think 911 was and inside job? I do. I'm suing the government". We both didn't really know what to say, but he went back inside after an awkward silence. So I guess his lunacy is pretty much apparent right away. I don't know how a guy like that gets any clients or makes any money if that's the first thing he says when he meets people. I mean, who hires this guy as their lawyer?

Anonymous said...

Well ranted, James!

Bob Carroll

Tom Chatt said...

Was this nutcase Berg really a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania? To me, that was the most disturbing part of the whole post.

Tom Chatt said...

Speaking of nutcases filing legal briefs, have you seen the letter filed by the Heiress of the Almighty Eternal Creator in the Cal Sup Ct re Prop 8?

James Hanley said...

" He said "Do you think 911 was and inside job? I do. I'm suing the government". "

Wow. That is disturbing.

"Well ranted, James!"

Perhaps the best compliment I have ever recieved.

"Was this nutcase Berg really a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania?" Every report I've seen says so, so I'm assuming it's true. I guess he has, or once upon a time had, friends in the right places. And thanks for the link--kooks abound!

Scott Hanley said...

Of course Obama's documents are forged. I have it on excellent hearsay that they were done by the same people who fake passports for 12-year-old Chinese gymnasts.