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Media misunderstands birthers

Forbes magazine logoForbes Magazine published a story about Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and CPAC, covering some of the same ground that I’ve touched on the past few days. Their headline is:

Birther Hypocrisy- Right Wing Has No Problem With Canadian Born Senator Ted Cruz Running For President

It appears to me that Forbes writer Rick Ungar didn’t quite understand the birthers, any more than he understood the context of Sarah Palin’s “background check” comment. The thrust of the article is that conservatives who believed Obama was foreign born and thereby ineligible to be President have no problem with an indisputably foreign-born Ted Cruz. It’s not the same, and I tried to explain that in the following comment I left at Forbes:

I think this article lost its way.

First, Sarah Palin’s remark in context was not a reference to Obama’s eligibility, but to his “associations and intentions”. Some who cheered her remark might have heard her going birther, but that’s clearly not what she said.

Second, there were two streams of eligibility controversy about Obama. There were those who falsely believed that Obama was foreign-born, and while Canadian-born Cruz was born a US citizen, a hypothetical Kenyan-born Obama would not have been born a US citizen due to an obscure technicality that existed at the time related to his US citizen mothers’ age.

The other stream of Obama citizenship deniers holds to a legal theory that only persons born in the United States to two US Citizen parents can be President, and among the activists in that group, neither Cruz nor Obama, nor Bobby Jindal1 for that matter is constitutionally eligible to be President. (Obama’s father was not a US Citizen, nor were Jindal’s parents.) While those folks are wrong, they are not hypocrites.


1In the published comment, I misspelled Jindal.

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60 Responses to Media misunderstands birthers

  1. avatar
    Dave March 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Forbes has a reputation as a serious journal this is, in my view, completely unwarranted. It’s not at all unusual to find sensationalized junk printed there, and this article seems to fit in that category.

  2. avatar
    CCB March 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    “. . .a hypothetical Kenyan-born Obama would not have been born a US citizen due to an obscure technicality that existed at the time related to his US citizen mothers’ age.” This is new to me. I looked, casually I admit, in the Debunker’s Guide but could not find anything relating to this. Could you provide a link to a discussion of this? Thank you.

  3. avatar
    Thinker March 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Yeah, Forbes is definitely off on this. While there might be a smattering of Cruz birthers who are not Obama birthers (because Cruz was not born in the US), I doubt there are any Obama birthers who are not also Cruz birthers.

    Another error that I have seen in the media (though not Forbes AFAIK) is referring to Cruz, Rubio, and Jindal birthers as liberals. *All* Rubio and Jindal birthers are also Obama birthers, and most Cruz birthers are as well.

    I think it’s hilarious and ironic that birfers are now going after the GOP rising stars. It is a joy to watch sane Republicans try to reign in teabagger and birfer loons after spending the last 4 years enabling their hate-filled jihad.

  4. avatar
    ellen March 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Re: “While those folks are wrong, they are not hypocrites.”

    IF the birthers really believed that Obama was born in a foreign country, or that two citizen parents were required to be president, then they would not be hypocrites. But, as I believe, there are many birthers and professional birther sites who publish claims that Obama was born in a foreign country and claims that two citizen parents are required without believing the claims, then their motives are considerably worse than mere hypocrisy. I believe that they are hoping for a nut with a gun who really believes those claims.

  5. avatar
    Kiwiwriter March 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Thinker: Yeah, Forbes is definitely off on this. While there might be a smattering of Cruz birthers who are not Obama birthers (because Cruz was not born in the US), I doubt there are any Obama birthers who are not also Cruz birthers.Another error that I have seen in the media (though not Forbes AFAIK) is referring to Cruz, Rubio, and Jindal birthers as liberals. *All* Rubio and Jindal birthers are also Obama birthers, and most Cruz birthers are as well. I think it’s hilarious and ironic that birfers are now going after the GOP rising stars. It is a joy to watch sane Republicans try to reign in teabagger and birfer loons after spending the last 4 years enabling their hate-filled jihad.

    I think the “birthers” are enraged at the Conservatives, who have “betrayed” them by not embracing “birtherism.” They want people to the right of the right, if that’s possible. Any further to the right, and they’re Hitler and Mussolini.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Happy to assist.

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/04/no-no-no-cnn/

    CCB: “. . .a hypothetical Kenyan-born Obama would not have been born a US citizen due to an obscure technicality that existed at the time related to his US citizen mothers’ age.” This is new to me. I looked, casually I admit, in the Debunker’s Guide but could not find anything relating to this. Could you provide a link to a discussion of this? Thank you.

  7. avatar
    Rickey March 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    The mainstream media have had trouble getting a handle on birtherism because they haven’t followed it as closely as we have. They have always focused on the “birth in Kenya” meme and at times have seemed to be ignorant about the “two citizen parent” argument.

    One thing which I have noticed is that birthers no longer seem to be claiming that they were taught the “two citizen parent” requirement in civics class. They may have given up on that when they couldn’t find a textbook which supported it. Even Bob Gard conceded that it was not taught in his school.

    The Vattelist birthers are in a quandary because they have to argue that Rubio, Jindal and Cruz are not eligible or they will in fact be hypocrites.

  8. avatar
    Kiwiwriter March 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    Not surprised the media can’t figure out birthers…you read their stuff, and like many fanatics, they talk in buzzwords, jargon, and rote phrases.

    If I hadn’t read pages like this one and “Bad Fiction,” I would not be able to decipher the written ravings of Birthers, and I’ve been a journalist for 33 years, and have a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing…I know about writing.

    But they stuff they spout is not only bad, it’s staggeringly incoherent, loaded with inside phraseology. They also don’t practice much economy in their writings and statements, trying to overwhelm their interlocutor with the whole inventory.

    Looking at this stuff, I can see that it’s difficult for a journalist, working on deadline, trying to get a comprehensive and relatively brief quote, from a birther.

    Good reporters can tell when somebody is trying to sell them a load of rubbish. One of the things I learned early in journalism is that everyone you meet as a reporter, is trying to sell you something — usually an idea. Even in obituaries. The descendants of the “corpse du jour” want the late lamented to be memorialized in the obituary as a sterling citizen, a terrific husband and father, a war hero, and an honorable member of the community.

    If you mention the clips in the newspaper’s file about how he got convicted for illegally taking bribes when he was a sewer commissioner, the family starts screaming at you on the phone, usually denying that daddy was a crook, and how dare you defame the dead.

    So when reporters see someone as crazy-looking at Orly Taitz coming at them, lugging piles of bizarre, badly-written paperwork about Obama’s birth certificate, and she starts screeching at them, reporters shut down. They’ll be polite while she’s standing in front of them, but when they’re gone, they’ll shake their heads in amusement.

    Then they take the papers back to the newsroom, and show them to their buddies, for the semi-adolescent gallows humor that professional newsmen use to help them cope with their daily diet of disaster, dishonor, and deception.

  9. avatar
    donna March 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    ORYR: Rick Ungar At Forbes Caught Lying About Obama’s Constitutional Ineligibility

    hitting the “high notes” of cruz, hillary supporters, george romney, and the constitution

    http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2013/03/rick-ungar-at-forbes-is-a-liar.html

    ORYR goes on to post “The Leftist Run Media In All-Out War Against Natural Born Citizen Requirement

    citing:

    ABC News: – Senator Ted Cruz and 7 Other Politicians at the Heart of Birther Conspiracies –

    Washington Post: – Can Ted Cruz run for president? And should he? –

    Forbes Magazine: –

    They are all basically pushing the same debunked crap… That a foreign-born person is eligible to be POTUS.

    Commenter M.B. nails it: I’m beginning to see that Obama was simply the first step in a larger process, a process whose endgame is not yet completely clear, but which seems predicated on destroying the NBC clause in the Constitution in order to have a completely foreign president. It’s quite possible that in twenty years, the POTUS won’t even speak English and will never have lived here, much less have been born on our shores. I imagine their ultimate goal is to take our guns, deprive us of our rights, and steal our wealth.

    http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2013/03/war-leftist-run-media-is-in-all-out-war.html

  10. avatar
    Thomas Brown March 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    I love how nutjobs like MB think the only ones with any wealth are conservative white Americans. Like liberals and non-English-speakers don’t have any money.

    And the flatulent, knee-jerk use of “they want to take our guns” is a fool-proof indicator of stoopid. Nobody– as in “not even Diane Feinstein” nobody– is suggesting such a thing.

    Previous topic: the only evidence you need for Birthers being hypocrites is their immediate acceptance, without question, of Romney’s birth certificate.

  11. avatar
    DaveH March 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Hey Doc – the article at Forbes has been updated based on your comment. This is what was written:

    UPDATE: A reader correctly notes that when Barack Obama was born, his mother was three months shy of her 19th birthday which means that had he been born in Kenya, his mother would not have reached the 5 years after her 14th birthday as required by the law for him to be a natural born American. This is true. However, subsequent acts of Congress relaxed the requirement to a total number of years a parent must live in the U.S. to five years, including just two years after the age of 14 (note that this happened long before Obama entered political life.) This means that Obama’s mother would have still qualified even if the President was born in Kenya and his mother was just 16. What’s more Congress made the law retroactive to 1952. As Obama was born in 1961, he would be a natural born citizen under the same law cited in the article.

    According to the author, President Obama would have still been a NBC even if he had been born in Kenya regardless of the rules at the time of his birth because later laws that were passed made the requirements retroactive.

  12. avatar
    donna March 21, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    DaveH:

    thanks – so is there anything left for the birthers?

    how long will it take ORYR to correct their website?

    i’m not holding my breath

  13. avatar
    Keith March 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Kiwiwriter: … I’ve been a journalist for 33 years, and have a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing…I know about writing.

    But they stuff they spout is not only bad, it’s staggeringly incoherent, …

    😎

    (not screeching, just rubbing it in 😎 )

  14. avatar
    Keith March 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Thomas Brown: I love how nutjobs like MB think the only ones with any wealth are conservative white Americans. Like liberals and non-English-speakers don’t have any money.

    I haven’t had any checks from Mr. Soros bounce on me, so I guess they are wrong.

  15. avatar
    Scientist March 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    donna: a process whose endgame is not yet completely clear, but which seems predicated on destroying the NBC clause in the Constitution in order to have a completely foreign president. It’s quite possible that in twenty years, the POTUS won’t even speak English and will never have lived here, much less have been born on our shores.

    Most countries have no NBC requirement for their President/Prime Minister, yet they don’t elect foreigners. A few have occasionally elected immigrants with many years residency, with no discernible ill effects. Can anyone show me how there would be concrete harm in simply scrapping the NBC clause and letting the voters pick whom they prefer. Why not trust the people? Most likely they will end up voting for a native born person anyway, since they are about 90% of the population. But if they selected a highly accomplished immigrant with deep love for their adopted home, what exactly would be the harm? Supposing Americans had wanted to make Einstein President (as Israel wanted to) or Schwarzenegger or Granholm-why the hell not? They might be a good or a bad President, just as is the case with NBCs, but that would have to do with them as a person, not where they were born.

  16. avatar
    donna March 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Scientist:

    that “commenter” was not MOI

    as i commented earlier on the ted cruz article:

    there have been others, but in 2003, sen orinn hatch sponsored a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc to become president:

    the bill would have changed the Constitution to allow anyone who has lived in America for at least twenty years to run for the Presidency

    sen. granholm, born in canada, said “You can’t choose where you are born, but you can choose where you live and where you swear your allegiance.” and “[i]f the concern is about loyalty to America, which it is, then a requirement that a naturalized citizen have lived in this country for 25 or more years should alleviate that concern, particularly where someone was brought to this country as a child.”

    “25 or more years” was a requirement in another bill sponsored by rep Vic Synder in 2004

  17. avatar
    Deborah March 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    All U.S. voters have a Constitutional right to question and challenge the allegiance and eligibility of their President.

    When leaving the definition of “natural born citizen” vague, the founders may have been calling into question the distinction between “natural vs. supernatural.” I am inclined to think so, given what I know about the controversies of Europe at that time, and the desire of the founding fathers to separate church and state, fact from fiction, and superstition & the supernatural from humane, secular politics

    Although some Cruz supporters may believe his mother’s U.S. citizenship grants him U.S. presidential eligibility, general consensus is that that a natural born citizen is one born within the borders of the United States. Cruz has a right to challenge the definition, but Cruz’s opponents have an equal right to challenge it.

    In the case of Orly Taitz vs. Obama, however, Dr. and attorney Orly Taitz is asking the U.S. citizenry to unite in a criminal prosecution for the execution of the U.S. President. on the basis of treason. In effect, she is asking for a case titled, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES VS. BARACK OBAMA.

    Orly Taitz does not have the authority to bring her criminal case. First, she is not a criminal prosecutor. Second, she has no real evidence that any U.S. criminal prosecutor acknowledges. While challenging the President’s eligibility may be within her rights, charging him as a criminal is not.

  18. avatar
    Deborah March 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    “I was NOT born in a manger,” said Obama.

    *sigh of relief* because conqueror Alexander the Great was a firm believer in the supernatural. He believed that a serpent impregnated his mother and that he was, a “son of a god.”

  19. avatar
    Keith March 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Deborah: When leaving the definition of “natural born citizen” vague,

    It was not vague to the founders. It was a well understood Common Law definition carried over from the British Common Law, which they all understood very well.

    the founders may have been calling into question the distinction between “natural vs. supernatural.”

    No. These were practical men, and they well understood that they were writing a document designed for a secular purpose.

    Although some Cruz supporters may believe his mother’s U.S. citizenship grants him U.S. presidential eligibility, general consensus is that that a natural born citizen is one born within the borders of the United States.

    Not quite complete. General consensus is that a natural born citizen is one who is born a citizen.

    Cruz has a right to challenge the definition, but Cruz’s opponents have an equal right to challenge it.

    Of course they do. However, the ‘definition’ has been challenged many times before. Though I don’t recall Cruz’ exact circumstance being litigated, McCain’s situation comes close (2 citizen parents instead of just 1; U.S. controlled ‘zone’ not foreign country), it has been discussed extensively in the academic legal world, and the consensus is that “Natural Born Citizen” means “BORN A CITIZEN” – no matter what the circumstance that led to ‘citizen at birth’.

    This is certainly a gray area, legally and academically. That is why Congress chose to short-circuit the possibility of arguing against McCain on that basis when they declared that they considered him NBC and would not accept challenges based on that argument if he were to be elected (much to the consternation of the Birthers, Congress felt no such need to ‘clear up’ Obama’s position – for obvious reasons). The McCain Resolution is, of course, non-binding on future Congresses, but it is a significant precedent.

    My own position on this matter has changed over the last couple of years. I used to think that McCain was not eligible, but that that was an intolerable injustice. My opinion was based on the fact that it required a law to specify that children born in the Canal Zone, (with the correct parental circumstance) were indeed U.S. Citizens.

    My opinion changed when I realized that if you looked at it from another angle, McCain was a citizen from birth – not naturalized after birth. Congress has the Constitutional authority to make laws about how people can be naturalized. That implies that they can by implication define those people who are ‘automatically’ Citizens and do not need to be naturalized. Therefore, if the people born in the Canal Zone to citizen parents, or if people born abroad to citizen parents and who meet other specified criteria are considered “Citizens at Birth” and do not need to be naturalized, then they are Natural Born Citizens.

    That gray area is perpetuated by the idea that some still hold that such people are actually ‘naturalized at birth’, but that is not, in fact the case. There is no naturalization ceremony, no naturalization papers, no nothing. Congress has said that they do not need to be naturalized, they are naturally citizens.

    If Cruz was a citizen of the USA from the moment of his birth, then he is a Natural Born Citizen. “Citizen at Birth” = “Natural Born Citizen”. And that is the general consensus, legally, academically, and to the general public.

    Those folks struggling to disenfranchise the U.S. born children of undocumented aliens find this conclusion disconcerting, but it is, never-the-less, the correct conclusion.

  20. avatar
    Sef March 22, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    As has been pointed out many times in the past, even in the birthers’ favorite, MvH, there are but 2 types of citizen: NBC & naturalized. Since citizenship (either type) is required for a Senator, if Cruz is a citizen and if he has not been naturalized, he is NBC.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 22, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    It is certainly not the general consensus of the legal community.

    Deborah: general consensus is that that a natural born citizen is one born within the borders of the United States.

  22. avatar
    Deborah March 22, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    What is a “natural born” citizen?

    My opinion is that a natural born citizen is a citizen who is not a SUPERNATURAL born citizen. The founders of American government, who were European immigrants, tried to create a secular government that rejected supernatural religion. In other words, America would not be governed by the supernatural.

    For example, I would not vote for Alexander the Great as President of the United States because he openly claimed that his mother conceived him when she was impregnated by a serpent, and he was therefore a son-of-a-god. Obama, on the other hand, openly states that he was not born in a manger, and, we may presume, he makes no claim to being supernatural.

    What is a natural born citizen? One who is not a supernatural born citizen.

  23. avatar
    The Magic M March 22, 2013 at 5:07 am #

    Rickey: The Vattelist birthers are in a quandary because they have to argue that Rubio, Jindal and Cruz are not eligible or they will in fact be hypocrites.

    From what I have seen, birthers have no problem throwing them under the bus, too. They have been convinced the GOP is “in on it” for years anyway. Birthers only supported Romney because of their “anyone but Obama” (actually “anyone but a black guy”) stance.
    I don’t think there’s many birthers left who give a rat’s rear end about the GOP and their potential candidates.
    The fact that (mostly) people like Rubio, Jindal and Cruz are being touted as potential 2016 candidates only reinforces their belief that there is some “coordinated effort to destroy the NBC requirement”.

    Deborah: When leaving the definition of “natural born citizen” vague, the founders may have been calling into question the distinction between “natural vs. supernatural.”

    That would be a funny theory. “The founders said ‘natural born’ because they didn’t want another Jesus to be President.” *lol*

    Keith: If Cruz was a citizen of the USA from the moment of his birth, then he is a Natural Born Citizen.

    And it wouldn’t matter squat if he also happened to be a “citizen at birth” of another country by that country’s laws.

    I used to be unsure about McCain’s status as well when I first read about it (and it’s possible this somehow got me sucked into the birther subject), but common sense quickly told me two things:

    1. The Founders could not possibly have wanted to spit in the face of US troops abroad and make the child of two US citizen soldiers who happened to be born while his parents were on service abroad ineligible. Since the Founders never made a specific exception for soldiers, this must logically apply to all US citizens abroad, not just soldiers.

    2. The Founders could not possibly have wanted another country to dictate who could or could not be US citizen simply by bestowing “citizenship at birth” upon a child which was a US citizen at birth by US standards.

    And since there is no law, or SCOTUS ruling, that expressly contradicts this common sense, there is no way one could argue that a different interpretation (that the Founders wanted to screw the military, or to allow foreign countries to overrule the will of the American people) is more plausible.

  24. avatar
    Gabe March 22, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Deborah:
    “I was NOT born in a manger,” said Obama.

    Just like Obama to compare himself to the birth of Christ, showing his narcissistic side as usual! He then went on to say he was born on Krypton , and was sent to earth by his father Jor-El. If Obama does not know where he was born or who his father is, how can anyone else be sure, where he comes from? There it is in black and white in his own words of where he thinks he was born and who daddy is, read into it, spin it as you may but his words are his words.

  25. avatar
    aarrgghh March 22, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Gabe: If Obama does not know where he was born or who his father is, how can anyone else be sure, where he comes from?

    silly silly birfer.

    no one can be sure where they were born or who their father or mother is.

    no one is a witness to their own birth. the only things anyone has is a birth certificate, and only recently, a dna test.

  26. avatar
    Paper March 22, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Cool! Comic books are now history books. It has been written.

    Good thing General Zod never became president, eh?

    Gabe:
    He then went on to say he was born on Krypton , and was sent to earth by his father Jor-El. If Obama does not know where he was born or who his father is, how can anyone else be sure, where he comes from? There it is in black and white in his own words of where he thinks he was born and who daddy is, read into it, spin it as you may but his words are his words.

  27. avatar
    Thomas Brown March 22, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Gabe:

    Boy, how typical. Birthers were apparently born without any discernible sense of humor or ability to parse sarcasm.

    That’s called “humor,” Gabe. And guess who Obama is making fun of? YOU. Birthers and other Obama critics stared calling him “your Messiah,” even when no Obama supporter ever used that term. They, and hence you, are the butt of the joke.

    He knows exactly who his father was, and even wrote a book about it. But some people are so clueless they think his jokes are a glimpse of some hidden conspiracy. Everybody else (including independent voters and sane conservatives) get the joke, and think it’s pretty funny, and at YOUR expense.

    Sane conservatives are laughing at you Birthers, Gabe. Wake up and smell the pathos.

    If he were hiding anything, he would get defensive and angry, deny and attack. But he didn’t; he made a joke. That’s the sign of innocence, good humor, and maturity.

    People who think like you will go down in history as 1) anti-American, 2) cowardly, 3) immature, and 4) incredibly thick.

    Obama, on the other hand, will be remembered as a good or great President. His official portrait will join those of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and JFK. Posterity has a way of sorting these things out. Consider Nixon: at the time, high emotions, anger, vilification, embarrassment, etc. But now scholars say “He got this right, he got this wrong.” Clear-eyed, rational assessment at the remove of time.

    Obama will have aircraft carriers, airports, highways, schools, etc. named after him.

    What are they going to name after you, Gabe? A park bench outside a sewage treatment plant?

  28. avatar
    Paper March 22, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Hey! I have sat on some of those park benches, and they deserve better than such ignominy. Besides, sewage treatment plants have improved a lot technologically. They are not perfect, but never as toxic as the statements by people who continue to argue the President is not eligible.

    See Gabe, don’t have to call anyone the “b” word to point out that their constipated notions about eligibility are crap.

    Thomas Brown:
    A park bench outside a sewage treatment plant?

  29. avatar
    Jim March 22, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Thomas Brown:
    What are they going to name after you, Gabe?A park bench outside a sewage treatment plant?

    The collection tank in an outhouse would be more fitting.

  30. avatar
    SueDB March 22, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Thomas Brown:
    I love how nutjobs like MB think the only ones with any wealth are conservative white Americans.Like liberals and non-English-speakers don’t have any money.

    And the flatulent, knee-jerk use of “they want to take our guns” is a fool-proof indicator of stoopid.Nobody– as in “not even Diane Feinstein” nobody– is suggesting such a thing.

    Previous topic: the only evidence you need for Birthers being hypocrites is their immediate acceptance, without question, of Romney’s birth certificate.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57568069/tense-moments-as-california-agents-confiscate-illegal-guns/

    “The state has a list of about 20,000 such people with 40,000 guns. But because of budget restrictions, there are only 33 agents to find them.”

    And the NRA is whining about Domestic Violence Perps not being able to keep their gunz.

  31. avatar
    Thinker March 22, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Gabe: Since you have clearly discovered important evidence of Obama lying about his birthplace, you should submit an affidavit to Orly Taitz saying that you personally viewed a video of Obama saying he was born somewhere other than Hawaii. This might tip the balance in her favor in one of her moot, frivolous, procedurally unsalvageable, delusion-based kooksuits. She can attach it to the other worthless affidavits written by loons who don’t understand the law, aren’t experts in the topics they claim to be experts in, and have no personal knowledge of the things they claim to have personal knowledge of.

    Gabe Just like Obama to compare himself to the birth of Christ, showing his narcissistic side as usual! He then went on to say he was born on Krypton , and was sent to earth by his father Jor-El. If Obama does not know where he was born or who his father is, how can anyone else be sure, where he comes from? There it is in black and white in his own words of where he thinks he was born and who daddy is, read into it, spin it as you may but his words are his words

  32. avatar
    Majority Will March 22, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Thomas Brown: Boy, how typical.Birthers were apparently born without any discernible sense of humor or ability to parse sarcasm.

    That’s called “humor,” Gabe.And guess who Obama is making fun of?YOU.Birthers and other Obama critics stared calling him “your Messiah,” even when no Obama supporter ever used that term.They, and hence you, are the butt of the joke.

    He knows exactly who his father was, and even wrote a book about it.But some people are so clueless they think his jokes are a glimpse of some hidden conspiracy.Everybody else (including independent voters and sane conservatives) get the joke, and think it’s pretty funny, and at YOUR expense.

    Sane conservatives are laughing at you Birthers, Gabe. Wake up and smell the pathos.

    If he were hiding anything, he would get defensive and angry, deny and attack.But he didn’t; he made a joke.That’s the sign of innocence, good humor, and maturity.

    People who think like you will go down in history as 1) anti-American, 2) cowardly, 3) immature, and 4) incredibly thick.

    Obama, on the other hand, will be remembered as a good or great President. His official portrait will join those of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and JFK.Posterity has a way of sorting these things out.Consider Nixon: at the time, high emotions, anger, vilification, embarrassment, etc.But now scholars say “He got this right, he got this wrong.”Clear-eyed, rational assessment at the remove of time.

    Obama will have aircraft carriers, airports, highways, schools, etc. named after him.

    What are they going to name after you, Gabe?A park bench outside a sewage treatment plant?

    The birther bigot’s drool cup runneth over.

  33. avatar
    Scientist March 22, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    donna: hat “commenter” was not MOI

    I know that. My point is that I see neither a moral/philosophical nor a practical justification to limit the voters’ choice for President. Presumably (one wonders sometimes) Americans are just as smart as the British, French, Canadians, etc., all of whom can select any citizen as their leader. They are even free to select a recent immigrant, though they haven’t done so, which suggests to me that if Americans were given the same freedom, they would be able to handle it.

  34. avatar
    Sef March 22, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I hope everyone has an extra supply of skepticism about their person. We are fast approaching 4/1/2013. What are the odds that some meme will be developed on that day which we will be fighting for years to come?

  35. avatar
    justlw March 22, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Thomas Brown: What are they going to name after you, Gabe? A park bench outside a sewage treatment plant?

    Dave Barry has had a sewage treatment plant named after him. Gabe is no Dave Barry.

  36. avatar
    Sef March 22, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Deborah:
    What is a “natural born” citizen?

    My opinion is that a natural born citizen is a citizen who is not a SUPERNATURAL born citizen. The founders of American government, who were European immigrants, tried to create a secular government that rejected supernatural religion. In other words, America would not be governed by the supernatural.

    For example, I would not vote for Alexander the Great as President of the United States because he openly claimed that his mother conceived him when she was impregnated by a serpent, and he was therefore a son-of-a-god.

    Methinks I detect a forked tongue in that cheek.

  37. avatar
    donna March 22, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Sef: We are fast approaching 4/1/2013. What are the odds that some meme will be developed on that day which we will be fighting for years to come?

    like the 2009 april fool’s joke claiming Obama received a scholarship for foreign students while he attended Occidental College which is still being regurgitated as fact?

  38. avatar
    Sef March 22, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    donna: like the 2009 april fool’s joke claiming Obama received a scholarship for foreign students while he attended Occidental College which is still being regurgitated as fact?

    Yeppers!

  39. avatar
    Kiwiwriter March 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Keith: (not screeching, just rubbing it in )

    Not funny.

    I was changing what I was writing in the middle of that, and missed it.

    The only perfect people I know of are Don Larsen, David Wells, David Cone, and Matt Cain.

    27 up, 27 down, zeroes across.

    Sorry that was so lousy.

    Maybe some day, somewhere, I’ll do something right. But I doubt it. I’ve had 50 years of doing EVERYTHING wrong.

  40. avatar
    Jason March 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    It wasn’t Forbes magazine who wrote this. Forbes “Contributors” are nothing more than bloggers who are hosted by Forbes. Anyone could sign up and become a Forbes blogger. They get paid based on site clicks, so their contributions tend to be more sensationalist than factual.

  41. avatar
    Rickey March 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Deborah:

    When leaving the definition of “natural born citizen” vague, the founders may have been calling into question the distinction between “natural vs. supernatural.”

    The founders didn’t define “natural born citizen” because they saw no need to do so, not because they wanted to leave it vague.

    The founders were well-versed in British common law, so they knew the definition of “natural born subject.” There was no debate during the Constitutional Convention about what “natural born citizen” meant. The phrase does not even appear in The Federalist Papers.

    I believe that we can say with a high degree of confidence that the founders were not concerned about the possibility of a supernatural citizen becoming President.

  42. avatar
    G March 24, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Unfortunately, based on the past several years, the odds are quite high… *sigh*

    Glad you gave us all that reminder.

    As the useless fool Gabe so aptly just demonstrated, *any* intentional joke Birther/Obama reference will be taken out of context, treated as serious gospel and be a source of endless faux-outrage, to recycle mindlessly like an incoherent idiot, for years to come…

    Sef: I hope everyone has an extra supply of skepticism about their person. We are fast approaching 4/1/2013. What are the odds that some meme will be developed on that day which we will be fighting for years to come?

  43. avatar
    justlw March 24, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    Jason:
    It wasn’t Forbes magazine who wrote this. Forbes “Contributors” are nothing more than bloggers who are hosted by Forbes. Anyone could sign up and become a Forbes blogger. They get paid based on site clicks, so their contributions tend to be more sensationalist than factual.

    Are you sure? I think you might be thinking of the Wall Street Journal’s bloggers.

    Rick Ungar looks like he’s got a little more cred than just “anyone can sign up”, as he appears to show up regularly on Fox as Forbes’ “token lefty.”

  44. avatar
    Jason March 24, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    justlw: Are you sure? I think you might be thinking of the Wall Street Journal’s bloggers.

    Yes, Forbes recently started using the model of “incentive-based” journalism, where they host independent bloggers who have no editorial oversight from the parent company and are responsible for their own fact-checking, etc.

    http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/173743/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/

    There are professional journalists who are Forbes contributors, but their pages should be treated like an independent blog rather than a part of Forbes magazine.

  45. avatar
    justlw March 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Jason: Yes, Forbes recently started using the model of “incentive-based” journalism, where they host independent bloggers who have no editorial oversight from the parent company and are responsible for their own fact-checking, etc.

    http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/173743/what-the-forbes-model-of-contributed-content-means-for-journalism/

    There are professional journalists who are Forbes contributors, but their pages should be treated like an independent blog rather than a part of Forbes magazine.

    Wow — very interesting article; thanks for the link.

  46. avatar
    Dave B. March 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    I’ve got to give Mr. Ungar credit for writing the subsequent update to that one, even if he was a bit tentative in what he said. Here’s the text of the e-mail I sent him:

    Rick, I was just reading your article “Birther Hypocrisy- Right Wing Has No Problem With Canadian Born Senator Ted Cruz Running For President”. Would you please review the information I provide, and consider making a correction to that article?

    1) In the “Update” at the end of the article you say “Congress made the law retroactive to 1952.” That’s not entirely true. The only part of the law that was made retroactive was this proviso of Sec. 301(g) of the INA:

    “Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person
    (A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or
    (B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph.”

    The original proviso, as enacted in 1952, read:

    “Provided, that any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States by such citizen parent may be included in computing the physical presence requirements of this paragraph.”
    In 1966, Pub. L. 89-770 amended the proviso to its present form; it is that amendment, and that amendment alone, that was made retroactive to December 24, 1952.

    2) I will refer you to Eugene Volokh’s “Correction About Natural-Born Citizen Law”:
    http://www.volokh.com/posts/1227910730.shtml
    To quote Professor Volokh:

    “I foolishly read the last sentence as applying to the entire provision, 1401(g); but the last sentence refers to the “proviso,” and thus just to the clause that begins with “Provided.” Public Law 89-770 enacted both the “Provided” and the last sentence mentioning the “proviso,” without repeating the first clause — this supports the view that the “proviso” refers only to the “Provided” clause.
    Moreover, the change to “at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years” was made by Public Law 99-653, Nov. 14, 1986, which was enacted after the “Provided” clause and the last sentence were added: “SEC. 12. Section 301(g) (8 U.S.C. 1401(g)) is amended by striking out ‘ten years, at least five’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘five years, at least two.'” Two years later, the Immigration Technical Corrections Act of 1988, Public Law 100-525, Oct. 24, 1988, provided:

    (r) EFFECTIVE DATES. — INAA [the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1986 (Public Law 99-653)] is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:
    “EFFECTIVE DATES
    “SEC. 23….
    “(d) The amendment made by section 12 shall apply to persons born on or after November 14, 1986.

    So, as I now read 8 U.S.C. 1401, “a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States” before Nov. 14, 1986 is a natural-born citizen only if the citizen parent “was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years” — the same rule that was in place in the early 1960s.”

    3) At the Legal Information Institute’s page on 8USC Sec. 1401, Nationals and citizens of United States at birth:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1401
    you can find, by clicking on the “Notes” tab, the amendments to that section of code, with their source legislation and effective dates. Under “Amendments” you will find
    “1986—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 99–653 substituted “five years, at least two” for “ten years, at least five””;
    and under “Effective date of 1986 Amendment” you will find
    “Section 23(d) of Pub. L. 99–653, as added by Pub. L. 100–525, 8(r),Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2619, provided that: “The amendment made by section 12 [amending this section] shall apply to persons born on or after November 14, 1986.””

    4) The State Department’s paragraph on “Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock”, which you cited in your article, accurately reflects the effective dates of the applicable requirement of prior physical presence. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual 7FAM 1130 “Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by Birth Abroad to U.S. Citizen Parent”
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86757.pdf
    contains a great deal of information about the physical presence requirement, including its rationale and how it is calculated. I’ll quote in part from page 15:
    “When enacted in 1952, section 301 required a U.S. citizen married to an alien to have been physically present in the United States for ten years, including five after reaching the age of fourteen, to transmit citizenship to foreign-born children. The ten-year transmission requirement remained in effect from 12:01 a.m. EDT December 24, 1952, through midnight November 13, 1986, and is still applicable to persons born during that period.”

    5) According to Jack Maskell’s Congressional Research Service report on “Qualifications for President and the ‘Natural Born’ Citizenship Eligibility Requirement,
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42097.pdf
    “The importance to some in arguing that President Obama was born outside of the United States is that, given that the President’s father was not a U.S. citizen at the time of the President’s birth, the federal laws then, in 1961, would have required for citizenship “at birth” of one born outside of the United States to only one citizen-parent, that such citizen-parent have resided in the United States for not less than ten years, at least five of which were after the age of fourteen (8 U.S.C. 1401(a)(7)) (1958 ed.), a requirement that the President’s mother, because of her age, would not have met.” (That’s note 172 at the bottom of page 39 (page 42 of the pdf).)

    6) Finally, here’s a 2005 decision from the U.S. Citizenship Administrative Appeals Office denying the claim of U.S. citizenship of a woman, born in Italy in 1975, whose father had failed to satisfy the requirement of prior physical presence:
    http://www.uscis.gov/err/E2%20-%20Applications%20for%20Certification%20of%20Citizenship/Decisions_Issued_in_2011/Mar012011_01E2309.pdf
    I’ll quote from the decision:
    “The record reflects that the applicant’s father was born in Wisconsin on July 14, 1953. See Birth Certificate for (redacted). The applicant’s father testified that he was physically present in the United States from his birth until June 17, 1971, and from September, 1974, until December, 1974. Because the applicant’s father was present in the United States for only four years and three months after his fourteenth birthday and before the applicant’s birth, the applicant cannot establish that her father satisfied the physical presence requirements in former section 301(a)(7) of the Act…
    ORDER: The appeal is dismissed.”
    I have encountered a great many people who “know” that the child of a U.S. citizen is born a U.S. citizen, regardless of the place of birth. Now I realize that that’s not what you’re saying, but the reason I believe it’s very important to quell any misinformation on this subject is that there are real-world consequences to it. For instance, this young woman born in Italy could easily have acquired U.S. citizenship up to her eighteenth birthday, if her father had taken action. Chances are, however, that he presumed she was entitled to U.S. citizenship whether he took action or not.
    I realize this a great deal of material, but I wanted to be thorough. And believe it or not, I was exercising considerable restraint– I didn’t turn to the Supreme Court at all. I sincerely hope you will consider making a correction to your article, and thank you for your attention…

    DaveH: According to the author, President Obama would have still been a NBC even if he had been born in Kenya regardless of the rules at the time of his birth because later laws that were passed made the requirements retroactive.

  47. avatar
    gabe March 25, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Definition of SPIN DOCTOR (Merriam-Webster)
    : a person (as a political aide) responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view.

    Spin doctors are people that put a particular “spin” on what has been said–often, with little concern for its truth. The real concern is whether or not people believe the spin. Sometimes the spin on a message is more important than the message itself.

    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, … Dog-whistle politics; Doublespeak; Euphemism; Framing; Glittering generality:

    Most if not all the the above posters can rightfully claim the esteem title, Doctor of Spin!

  48. avatar
    JoZeppy March 25, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    The Magic M: 1. The Founders could not possibly have wanted to spit in the face of US troops abroad and make the child of two US citizen soldiers who happened to be born while his parents were on service abroad ineligible. Since the Founders never made a specific exception for soldiers, this must logically apply to all US citizens abroad, not just soldiers.

    Would the founders even anticipated a situation where US troops would be abroad? I don’t think they imagined we would turn into the image of the European powers they seemed to have such disdain for. Even more so, that those troops would include females (thus the possibility of giving birth aborad)?

  49. avatar
    Majority Will March 25, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Definition of birther: delusional, hate filled moron.

  50. avatar
    Sef March 25, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    JoZeppy: Even more so, that those troops would include females (thus the possibility of giving birth aborad)?

    Don’t forget the “camp followers” of ye olden times.

  51. avatar
    Rickey March 25, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    gabe:
    Definition of SPIN DOCTOR (Merriam-Webster)
    : a person (as a political aide) responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view.

    Spin doctors are people that put a particular “spin” on what has been said–often, with little concern for its truth. The real concern is whether or not people believe the spin. Sometimes the spin on a message is more important than the message itself.

    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, … Dog-whistle politics; Doublespeak; Euphemism; Framing; Glittering generality:

    Most if not all the the above posters can rightfully claim the esteem title, Doctor of Spin!

    Based upon your definition of “spin doctor,” you do not qualify because you haven’t said a single thing which would cause anybody to accept your point of view about anything.

  52. avatar
    Rickey March 25, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Majority Will:
    Definition of birther: delusional, hate filled moron.

    I suspect that Gabe is the guy whose hate-filled videos are frequently dissected by Patrick at Bad Fiction.

  53. avatar
    Majority Will March 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Rickey: I suspect that Gabe is the guy whose hate-filled videos are frequently dissected by Patrick at Bad Fiction.

    Probably so. And I left out bigoted and paranoid.

  54. avatar
    GLaB March 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Dave B.:
    I’ve got to give Mr. Ungar credit for writing the subsequent update to that one, even if he was a bit tentative in what he said.Here’s the text of the e-mail I sent him:

    Rick, I was just reading your article “Birther Hypocrisy- Right Wing Has No Problem With Canadian Born Senator Ted Cruz Running For President”.Would you please review the information I provide, and consider making a correction to that article?

    … … …

    Whether or not Mr. Ungar ever chooses to re-update his four-day old fishwrap, I want to thank you for this. My head was swimming the last couple days in the waters of ” … but I thought …” and you saved me a great deal of looking up.

    [edit] I just clicked the Forbes link and I see that he did re-update – if a bit squishy -, so congrats.

  55. avatar
    The Magic M March 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    JoZeppy: Would the founders even anticipated a situation where US troops would be abroad?

    Would they have ignored the possibility of a female (if we assume they did not rule that out) US soldier doing border patrol and giving birth while a few feet outside US territory?

    I have my own opinion on the schism between “originalist” and “living breathing Constitution”.
    I have learned that the only thing that matters when looking at a law is its text.
    If the law says “it’s illegal to cheat on your wife”, I cannot argue that from the transcripts of the lawmakers’ meetings, it’s clear they wanted to include cheating on non-married partners. I can only look at the text, and if the text says “wife”, I cannot substitute “female partner”. If the lawmakers hadn’t meant “wife”, they would’ve written otherwise.

    The “original vs. living” issue then only becomes relevant if the meaning of “wife” has changed since 1787. Does it still mean “wife” as it did back then or does it mean “wife” as it does now?
    Both sides have good arguments, and I think it depends on the individual case whether an argument can be made for the one or the other.

    For example, probably everyone agrees “gun” does not mean “gun as it was known in 1787” and does not exclude modern guns. This is a “living Constitution” argument.

    On the other hand, Congress cannot simply change the definition of “high crimes” to “includes shoplifting” and then claim the President could be impeached on that basis because he stole a Mars bar from a Kwik-E-Mart 30 years ago. This is an “originalist” argument.

    Every law that is unspecific/general in a certain way usually is that way because the lawmakers did not want to create loopholes by imposing effective limitations.
    But of course every such generalization will cause an “originalist vs. living” argument somewhere down the road – and the resolution will depend on what interpretation is the “most just” one. Does the originalist interpretation result in rights being taken away, or the law being taken hostage by beliefs outdated for 200+ years? Does the “living document” interpretation pervert the original intent into its opposite, or result in rights being taken away? Etc.

    Oops, that has morphed into some off-topic rant, sorry for that…

  56. avatar
    Gabe March 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Rickey: Based upon your definition of “spindoctor,” you do not qualify because you haven’t said a single thing which would cause anybody to accept your point of view about anything.

    The “Spin Doctor Rickey” knows best! By the way “Doctor” that is not my definition but a Merriam-Webster definition, which was stated, so why are you still practicing when you reek of malpractice?

  57. avatar
    Rickey March 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Gabe:
    The “Spin Doctor Rickey” knows best! By the way “Doctor” that is not my definition but a Merriam-Webster definition, which was stated, so why are you still practicing when you reek of malpractice?

    Why are you unable to figure out how to use the quote function?

  58. avatar
    Northland10 March 26, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Rickey: Why are you unable to figure out how to use the quote function?

    His ability to understand the quote function is the same as is ability to understand the definition of “spin.” Given instructions on how to use the quote function, he still gets it wrong. Given the quoted text of Judge Lind’s ruling where she did not say what Gabe claimed, he calls it spin.

    He is either really bad at reading comprehension, or he is not bothering to really read but only a quick scan. His mind is made up. Why bother reading the actual ruling?

  59. avatar
    The Magic M March 26, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Northland10: He is either really bad at reading comprehension, or he is not bothering to really read but only a quick scan.

    Or he’s turned into a full-time troll now that he knows his thousands of pages on the subject are worth less than toilet paper.

    I think of this guy:

    William Shanks (1812-1882) worked for years by hand to find the first 707 digits of pi. Unfortunately, he made a mistake after the 527th place and, consequently, the following digits were all wrong.

    I assume if somebody told him he wasted several years for the last 180 digits, he’d have gone mad, too.

  60. avatar
    G March 26, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    That is what it all comes down to for him. His mind can’t handle dealing with anything beyond his preconceived delusions, so anything that doesn’t conform to what he already “knows” is beyond his ability to cope with…

    Northland10: He is either really bad at reading comprehension, or he is not bothering to really read but only a quick scan. His mind is made up. Why bother reading the actual ruling?