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Archive | August, 2015

Discussing birthright citizenship objectively

A new article has been published at The American Thinker titled, “An Objective Guide to Birthright Citizenship.” The article is by Rob Natelson, described as:

senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver and author of The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant.  His research is cited frequently in Supreme Court opinions and arguments.

The American Thinker has no discussion forum, and that is why I have opened up a place to discuss the article, should anyone want to.

After reading the title, and considering the publication where it appears, I expected to see nothing even remotely approaching objectivity in the article. I didn’t find what I expected. There is bias, but it is subtle.

The question discussed in the article is whether children born to persons without legal residence in the United States become citizens. Under current policy, they are citizens and [spoiler alert] the article says that should the Supreme Court address the question of the children of non-legal residents, it would decide that they are citizens.

I have some issues with the objectivity of the article as it seems to warm up to some ideas and brush off others, for example, saying that a footnote in Plyler v. Doe (1982) was inserted by the “liberal majority” and had “little or no persuasive power.”

Probably the one thing I might take issue with is the following statement regarding why the 14th Amendment is endless fodder for discussion.

This is partly because we know less than we should about the amendment’s ratification by the state legislatures.  It is partly because the amendment’s congressional drafters were not very competent.  They sometimes were ignorant of existing constitutional law.  They invented terms without defining them.  And they ascribed meanings to terms different from established legal meanings.  The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction" is a good example.  We have only a few clues as to its intended meaning.

Additionally, none of the proposers discussed how the amendment would impact the children of illegal aliens – even though (contrary to modern assertion) everyone knew that such children were in the country.  They were the offspring of Africans illegally imported as slaves after the ban on the slave trade (1808) and before the end of slavery (1866).

The negative assertions about the framers of the 14th Amendment are not supported by examples. My main problem is calling these illegally imported slaves “illegal aliens” because an “illegal alien” is someone who is not a legal resident of the country, and I know of no statute that prevented those slaves from residing in the country, however they got here. There were no immigration statutes in existence prior to 1866 and the situation of those slaves is not analogous to today’s non-legal residents.

The article slips in some rather subtle manipulation of opinion, but it makes some attempt to represent both sides of the discussion and in that it’s far above the usual birther nonsense.

The Irey letters

Irey says that he’s caring for a sick person, and only has access to email. So here is his latest missive (grammar errors in the original) with my replies in hyperlinked footnotes:

One thing I forgot to mention.

I never ever said or even implied that I was an expert in anything.1

You could compare me to a garage mechanic that knows you can’t put a Mercedes carborator into a ford. 2

That is what my evidence is all about.

Just common sense things.

Show me where I ever implied that I was an expert.

In Indiana I was accepted simply because I explained that I had 52 years experience in graphics and I typed for the Air Force for 4 years.

Just common experience … enough to know for example that all the letters on a typewriter match in size … etc.3

The Obama birth certificate is so bad that it does not take an expert to see that it was done in Adobe Photoshop and it was done badly.4

My understanding is that the majority of Photoshop users would see what I saw and not claim that they are experts.

They all know “unsharp mask” when they see it.

No two birth certificates should have the similarities that the forgers and Obama’s have.7

I hope to get the forger arrested to save her life.  Her testimony to reduce her own sentance would be the end for Obama … and I doubt she will live to tell it as Doug and I worried could happen to Fuddy if he revealed his financial evidence that she provided herself. 8

Remember Fuddy was also in a bad situation with excess … unexplainable income for the year she officiated the bc.5

Everybody lived in that plane accident but her … but it’s still possible that her death was faked … when they failed to kill her and they pulled her out of the water alive and made a deal … or are you certain she is dead?

She reported she paid off her mortgage that year.6

Isn’t that the first thing anyone would do if they had a windfall?

And you have to admit … Savanna Guthrie shot to a big job very soon after her pic of the bc and her claim that she felt the raised seal.

The CEO of GE owned NBC and he was also doing something with Obama who got his company off some big debt … I understand.

I could go on all day.9

I think your little soldiers all go overboard with the insults … and I see collusion in that.

Paul Irey


1OK, then, we are all in agreement. Indeed you repeated Orly’s theme in your comments: “you don’t have to be an expert” to agree with my evidence. But there you are wrong. The kind of argument you make is an expert’s argument. It basically says that “a legitimate document would look this way, but Obama’s is different.” In order to say that, you have to be an expert on all the different ways that legitimate documents look and you don’t come close, nor does anyone on the birther side. “Common sense”  is another label  for “typical ignorance,” and in your case and you are completely inexperienced in the wide range of what normal documents look like.  You know about “unsharp mask” but you DON’T know about MRC compression which does the same thing. Your lack of expertise led to a mistake.

2 You are more like the guy who works on his own car and thinks he knows about all cars. Did you read this article: “Mercedes-Benz Turns to Ford for Help on Three-Cylinder Engine”? Mercedes uses a Mitsubishi engine in its Smart. Mercedes supplied engines for Chrysler in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. You, however, can’t even spell carburetor.

3But you weren’t allowed to testify about electronic documents because you don’t have a clue what scanners and compression algorithms do. You didn’t approach the problem objectively and scientifically comparing results on the Obama document with results with unquestioned documents. Your biggest problem in 2011-2012 is that you had no clue what process made the Obama certificate, so you couldn’t say what was normal, without knowing all possible versions of normal from different hardware and software combinations. You just relied on common sense (i.e. ignorance) and let your bias make the conclusions.

4But it really challenges credulity to say that the President of the United States (where the CIA, the Secret Service, the Courts and the media are ALL in on the conspiracy) would release a badly done Photoshop birth certificate. If you weren’t so biased you would see how crazy that sounds. Birthers fantasize scenarios to explain that absurd idea; however, what we see in the White House PDF is precisely what one gets by scanning a real document to PDF, rotating it in Mac Preview and saving. All of those “common sense” things that to you say Photoshop (that really make no sense in Photoshop—no birther has ever been able to make a credible Obama PDF using Photoshop or explain why someone would past individual letters instead of words or phrases, or even use the unsharp mask in the first place) are exactly what is normal in a Xerox scan. The publicly available Xerox results demolish your early results, and prove that “common sense” leads to the wrong answer.

5The facts in Fuddy’s financial disclosure statement show no inconsistencies, and no unexplained income. All it shows is that her property increased in value over several years, and that she refinanced it. In this case, even “common sense” is thrown aside to make the absurd claim that she had unexplained income. I have an article on this (read the Update at the end).

And yes, I an certain that Fuddy is dead. There was a autopsy!

6You’re spreading false rumors. There was no windfall and she didn’t pay off her mortgage. She had two mortgages, one of which she refinanced. She used her Home Equity Line of Credit to pay off credit card debt, thereby increasing her HELOC balance by the same amount. Now, are you going to keep repeating this lie now that it has been explained to you?

7You know about “unsharp mask” but you DON’T know about MRC compression which does the same thing. Your ignorance led to a mistake. You’re making arguments that say “two certificates are different” therefore one is a forgery; and at the same time you are arguing “two certificates are the same” therefore both are forgeries. Both statements require expert skill to make, and you admit that you are not an expert. The fact that you’re taking contradictory positions doesn’t phase you.

8I forgot to mention that your conspiracy world includes the “Birther Princess.” You are so consumed with conspiracy theories that EVERYBODY pretty much is in on it. That’s an insane way to look at the world. The paranoid thinks the whole world is out to get them; the paranoid style conspiracy theorist believes the whole world is in on the conspiracy.

You believe you have iron-clad evidence that Obama is a usurper. Why are you still alive? You can’t explain that, can you? You’re an old guy. Old guys die all the time. Yet you seem to be just fine.

9 And you would be wrong all day.

Mystery black man invades photos

You saw it first in Hawaii. A mysterious black man, apparently invisible except for his hand, invaded a family photo of Ann Dunham and her son Barack Obama. You’ve seen it before:

Now he’s back, only with Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush in this official campaign photo!


For the benefit of posterity, I ought to explain why this tongue-in-cheek article was written. Birthers pick up anything about Obama that seems odd to them, and jump to the conclusions that it’s a fake, eventually concluding that everything about Obama’s life is fake. That’s the case with the photo of Obama and his mother above; birthers say it’s a fake (and that the black hand belongs to Frank Marshall Davis, a black man who also knuckles). The second image just goes to show that the results of photography aren’t always intuitive, and that inexpert observers can easily misunderstand what they see.

H/t to gorefan.

The legal significance of Obama’s birth certificate PDF

Computer scientist David Kriesel concludes that using the PDF file of Obama’s birth certificate in court is problematic because the Xerox 7655 does pattern matching to replace parts of the image with similar things from other parts of the image, thereby not creating a 100% true copy. In fact, these machines have been known to replace one character with another!

Birthers, of course, conclude that human forgery is the cause of the quirks in the PDF document rather than an algorithmic process.

This fascinating story of how a corporate giant deals with errors in its software is seasoned with actual images from Obama’s birth certificate (and even a shout out to Reality Check’s blog).

Joshua Bender has never been to Florida, or so he says

Joshua Bender is an attorney for the ACLU who is one of the attorneys who is prosecuting the case of Melendres v. Arpaio in Arizona. Dennis Montgomery is suing Joshua Bender, the ACLU, et al. for defamation; the lawsuit is filed in Florida where Montgomery lives, along with his attorney Larry Klayman (presumably not together), or so the suit alleges.

This article’s title was inspired by the declaration of Mr. Bender in the Dennis Montgomery v. ACLU lawsuit, which seems intended to provide support for a claim that the Florida court lacks jurisdiction over him. Mr. Bender’s declaration was filed along with a motion to dismiss for “lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim.”1 The ACLU has requested that oral arguments be heard.

The defamation claim rests on the fact that an ACLU attorney (not Bender) used the phrase “con man” referring to Montgomery to a New York Times reporter who subsequently published it. The ACLU plays the opening Google/Wikipedia defense, saying:

The very first hit on a Google search for the plaintiff “Dennis Montgomery” is a Wikipedia entry quoting his own attorney as calling him a “con artist” and “habitual liar engaged in fraud” …

In the meantime, Joshua Bender has petitioned the Court in Phoenix to withdraw from the Melendres case.

For background on the lawsuit, see my article: “Montgomery sues ACLU.”

1We learn in the ACLU motion that Michael German is not an attorney, a point in question in the discussion of my previous article.