Main Menu

Archive | August, 2012

The Obots ate my homework

The issue of Obot judicial bias has been raised just recently in the wake of two decisions that went against the birthers. The first was Jordan v. Reed in Washington state about which John, a commenter here, wrote:

Wow! This is by far the most biased and ridiculing court decision to date. The decision should be appealed and completely tossed out as it contains so much bias and ridicule and slander as to lack any real legal credibility. Is this judge a member of the Fogbow or something?

Tracy Fair, writing about her dismissal on August 23 wrote something similar:

WHAT A TOTALLY BOGUS DECISION
(IT’S LOOKS LIKE THE OBOTS WROTE THIS DECISION!)

Conspiracy theorists have a hard time understanding people who disagree with them. They are so certain about their conclusions that they believe they should be obvious to anyone, and therefore anyone who disagrees must be willfully ignoring the facts, or worse, in on the conspiracy. In these two instances, birthers blame judicial bias for the birther losses.

What birthers do not understand is that there’s no requirement for a presidential candidate to prove eligibility in Washington or Maryland. The burden of proof, assuming for a moment that the court had jurisdiction and could decide eligibility, is on the plaintiffs to show that the candidate’s not eligible. Even if birthers could prove Obama’s birth certificate a forgery (which it isn’t) and his social-security number stolen (which it isn’t) and his Selective Service registration a fake (which it isn’t), they still have absolutely no proof that Obama was born outside of the United States. For birthers, “questionable documents” = “born in Kenya” but that’s not how a legal argument works. When it comes to positive evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, all the birthers have is hearsay and a recording of Obama’s step grandmother that really says he was born in Hawaii. That gets the birthers nowhere.

So birthers, it’s not the Obots’ fault that you lost and the problem is not with the judge. The problem is your lack of supporting law and evidence. Stop blaming the Obots and take responsibility for your own failures. Stop whining.

The blind leading the blind

I was thinking about birther image analysis after reading Linda Jordan’s dismissed complaint in Washington. Part of her “evidence” was a report from Mara Zebest. Zebest contributed to three editions of a book, Inside Photoshop,  by Gary Bouton. The only other things I can find by Zebest are some nasty remarks about Barack Obama on the Internet, and later her report on Obama’s long-form birth certificate PDF for WorldNetDaily and the Cold Case Posse, calling the PDF a fake.

While Zebest’s report has been roundly debunked by John Woodman in his book, Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud?, in the birther mind, Zebest is a qualified forensic document examiner, never mind that she has no training in the field, never taught a course on it, is not recognized as an authority by forensic document examiners and has never been qualified by a court as an expert. In my mind, she is the blind leading the blind.

I’ve also spent a good deal more time than usual the last few days reading birther comments on the Internet. What I have found are arguments premised on bad information, for example: the fake travel ban for US citizens to Pakistan in 1981, the April Fools joke about Obama attending Occidental college as a foreign student on a Fulbright scholarship, and that every member of the Federal Convention of 1787 owned a copy of Vattel’s Law of Nations. People who publish comments on the Internet are attempting to lead the readers, and these are just another example of the blind leading the blind.

Suppose I didn’t know that someone was physically blind, and they said to me “come on across the street; I don’t see any traffic.” The point is not that disability disqualifies someone, but it does mean that both leaders and followers need to understand their limitations. As it is, much of birtherism is just the blind leading the blind.

Note the qualification at the end of the last paragraph: “much of.” I wrote that because I think other things are going on as well. Perhaps I will write a companion article, “When the wolf’s in charge of the hen house.”

Blogosphere v. Jordan

Reading the decision of judge Thomas McPhee dismissing the Linda Jordan lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s inclusion on the Washington state ballot, I couldn’t help remembering the words of US District Judge James Robertson dismissing Hollister v. Soetoro way back in 2009:

The issue of the President’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court.

Judge Robertson concluded that the frivolous suit was brought for an “improper cause.” Now a judge in Washington state chides plaintiff Linda Jordan for arguing what she must know is untrue in her lawsuit, Jordan v. Secretary of State Reed. Judge McPhee wrote:

… all the so-called evidence offered by plaintiff has been in the blogosphere for years, in one form or another, so too has all the law rejecting plaintiffs allegations. I can conceive of no reason why this lawsuit was brought, except to join the chorus of noise in that blogosphere. The case is dismissed.

I think both judges recognize that this is an Internet controversy, and not one involving real law and real evidence, and not one that should be resolved by a court.

Apart from the Internet remarks, Judge McPhee affirmed (citing Robinson v. Bowen and Keyes v. Bowen appellate decisions) an important principle that has emerged from the ashes of crashed birther lawsuits: the courts have no constitutional role in judging the eligibility of candidates for President and Vice President, that role being reserved for the Congress. He said:

I conclude that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The primacy of congress to resolve issues of a candidate’s qualifications to serve as president is established in the U.S. Constitution, in the passages cited by the Secretary of State.

The decision exhibits much knife twisting as it sarcastically dismisses Jordan and the rest of the birthers:

Continue Reading →

Burning in the bosom v. Shaking in the boots

Orly Taitz reports in a mass emailing that her case challenging the Patient Protection and Accordable Health Care Act has been re-filed, this time to the Northern District of Texas. The California court said the venue was wrong.

Taitz v. Sebelius boils down to two points:

  1. PPACA denies equal protection because it (like Medicare) has a religious exemption, therefore since it is a tax, it falls unequally on people who don’t get the religious exemption.
  2. Obama is a foreigner with a Connecticut social-security number and can’t sign legislation.

Taitz, who seems to be fueled by anti-Muslim fervor, claims that it is the Muslims that would benefit from the religious exemption because their religion speaks against insurance; however, Muslims don’t opt out of Medicare, so this particular argument seems to be bogus.

What does bring a couple of milliseconds of anxiety is the fact that the case will be heard by a Texas judge, and one cannot help but remember the character of crazy Texas judge Quinn in the novel,  A Natural Born Citizen by Don Rosebrock. (Judge Quinn was modeled on a real-life crazy judge, but not one from Texas.) The judge assigned to Taitz’ case is Jorge A. Solis. According to the Dallas Bar Association, one of Judge Solis’ pet peeves is lawyers who are “not professional.”

I’m feeling better already.

MittFlop v. The Obummer

Harry Potter called Voldemort by his name, and I thought that was cool. I can appreciate the entertainment value of calling someone a funny name, but I try to resist the temptation because it’s a distraction and a barrier to being taken seriously.

Not my party

I watched the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Republican National Convention live on Monday (I think that was about 4 minutes total) and that pretty much met all my Republican needs for the week. I’m not a news junkie and I don’t think watching the RNC just in case someone releases a flight of “Where’s the microfilm birth certificate?” balloons is worth the time.

Slow news day

Birther things are really dull. Mitt Romney is so wooden that even his “birther joke” was a flop. It’s hard to get excited about the birthers losing cases number 143 and 144. I’ve been arguing with David Farrar (same old same old) over at Foreign Policy magazine, where I wrote up and dumped the “seven cases” on natural born citizenship since 2008:

Hollander v. McCain (New Hampshire 2008) ruling: "Those born “in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” U.S. Const., amend. XIV, have been considered American citizens under American law in effect since the time of the founding, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 674-75 (1898), and thus eligible for the presidency,

Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana (Indiana 2008 – Appellate Court) ruling: "Based upon the language of Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 and the guidance provided by Wong Kim Ark, we conclude that persons born within the borders of the United States are "natural born Citizens" for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents."

Tisdale v. Obama (Virginia federal court 2012) ruling: "It is well settled that those born in the United States are considered natural born citizens."

Purpura v. Obama (New Jersey 2012) ruling: "No court, federal, state or administrative, has accepted the challengers’ position that Mr. Obama is not a “natural born Citizen” due to the acknowledged fact that his father was born in Kenya and was a British citizen by virtue of the then applicable British Nationality Act. Nor has the fact that Obama had, or may have had, dual citizenship at the time of his birth and thereafter been held to deny him the status of natural born. It is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel here. … The petitioners’ legal position on this issue, however well intentioned, has no merit in law. Thus, accepting for the point of this issue that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii, he is a ‘natural born Citizen’ regardless of the status of his father."

Voeltz v. Obama (Florida 2012) ruling: "However, the United States Supreme Court has concluded that ‘[e]very person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, becomes at once a citizen of the United States. ‘Other courts that have considered the issue in the context of challenges to the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States have come to the same conclusion. [The judge cites Hollander and Ankeny]

Allen v. Obama (Arizona 2012) ruling: "Most importantly, Arizona courts are bound by United States Supreme Court precedent in construing the United States Constitution, Arizona v. Jay J. Garfield Bldg. Co. , 39 Ariz. 45, 54, 3 P.2d 983, 986(1931), and this precedent fully supports that President Obama is a natural born citizen under the Constitution and thus qualified to hold the office of President. … Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), does not hold otherwise"

Farrar (et al.) v. Obama (Georgia 2012) ruling: "In 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals (“Indiana Court”) addressed facts and issues similar to those before this court. [Ankeny] v. Governor, 916 N.E.2d (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). … The Indiana Court rejected the argument that Mr. Obama was ineligible, stating that children born within the United States are natural born citizens, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. … This Court finds the decision and analysis of [Ankeny] persuasive."

Mostly I’ve been watching old episodes of Warehouse 13.

Joke’s got legs

I am frankly surprised at how much press Mitt Romney’s “birther joke” (assuming it was birther and that it was a joke) has gotten. Even today, there are many articles on the subject:

  • “Chris Christie, a Republican who was rumored to be on the shortlist for the vice presidential nod, said Tuesday that he suspects GOP candidate Mitt Romney "wishes he could take" his birther joke back.” Huffington Post.
  • So is Romney a Birther? That isn’t clear; nor does it matter. The Root.
  • “Wagner: Romney’s birther joke ‘irresponsible,’ ‘truly pathetic’.” NBCNews.com
  • “This weekend, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus complained that the media is taking Mitt Romney’s “birther” joke far too seriously, saying, “Nobody seems to have a sense of humor anymore.” United Liberty.
  • “Why blacks aren’t laughing at Romney’s birther “humor.” The Grio.
  • “Move beyond the ‘birther’ jokes.” Lexington Herald Leader.
  • “Mitt Romney Makes Birther Joke.”Midweek Politics
  • “Romney’s ‘birther’ joke obviously just a joke.” CBS Baltimore
  • “Falsehood takes the funny out of the ‘birther joke.’” Washington Post.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy