Main Menu

Archive | December, 2015

Paige v. Condos (did I already use that?)

H. Brook Paige (pictured right) is back with another eligibility challenge in Vermont, this time against Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Readers may recall that Paige’s suit against Obama went all the way to the US Supreme Court. The lower court in that lawsuit made it clear that Emerich de Vattel is not where US citizenship gets its definition, concluding:

…the expression “natural born Citizen” is not dependent on the nationality of the parents but reflects the status of a person born into citizenship instead of having citizenship subsequently bestowed. The distinction is eminently logical.

The new challenge filed in Vermont Superior Court states that in 2012 no fewer than 4 ineligible candidates appeared on the ballot in Vermont (and in fact, 2 of them were unarguably ineligible due to their age). Today he is challenging Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Despite the rebuff shown above, Paige once again claims that the definition of “natural born citizen” comes from a work of a Swiss jurist, Emerich de Vattel, and despite numerous Supreme Court precedents that the terms in the US Constitution are understood in the context of the English Common Law (Smith v. Alabama, Ex parte Grossman), he says that citizenship terms come from writers of “natural law.” Paige says that the Vattelian definition was imported into the American Common Law, again despite Supreme Court precedent that says there is no American Common Law.

Interested readers can read the whole complaint, but it’s pretty familiar ground. This action is:

Read more:

Birther Trump to honor birther Farah

Joseph Farah, publisher of WorldNetDaily, was caught on tape claiming to have created the birther movement, and certainly his paper and its writers like Jerome Corsi carry much of the blame for the irrational craze. Corsi ignited the Arpaio investigation of the Birth Certificate in Arizona, and WND posted billboards across the country that said “Where’s the Birth Certificate?”

Donald Trump did a great deal to popularize the birther conspiracy theories  in 2011 with his claims to have sent investigators to Hawaii. Ultimately Trump got so much publicity that President Obama responded by releasing his birth certificate, an event Trump immediately took credit for.

Now the two of them will come together next March, reports Right Wing Watch and WorldNetDaily, as Trump is slated to speak at an even honoring Farah. The Western Center for Journalism, an organization Farah founded, is honoring Farah with its “Hero of Freedom” award, and Donald Trump is slated to deliver the keynote address.

Mike Huckabee and Joe Arpaio are also slated to appear.

Mainstream media ignores boy who cried wolf

Fairyland December 29, 2015 – Despite repeated entreaties from a young boy who had several times in the past cried “wolf” when there was no wolf, both local and national news media failed to carry his latest claims.

That’s what came to mind when I read Sharon Rondeau’s latest article at the Post & Email that included:

The Washington Post, as with the mainstream media at large, has not investigated the Cold Case Posse’s findings nor sought to interview Arpaio or posse lead investigator Mike Zullo directly following either of two 2012 press conferences in which their conclusions were detailed.

On those two occasions when Mike Zullo and Sheriff Arpaio indeed did cry “wolf,” there was some media reaction, including an in-studio interview with Mike Zullo on ABC TV News 13:

CBS 5 in Phoenix gave it over 9 minutes, including another interview with Mr. Zullo1:

But Zullo sowed the seeds of his own loss of credibility in that interview when he said:

You can take the document apart out of the same file released by the White House. You can’t just do that if you scan in a birth certificate.

Anyone with a high-end office machine, or a copy of Adobe Acrobat standard, can scan in a birth certificate and get something that can be taken apart. Zullo hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, and anybody who bothered to check his claim could see that. In the best of all worlds, Zullo had one chance, and he blew it.

CNN put it rather well by tearing up the sheet of paper from which they were reading about the Arpaio birth certificate investigation, and saying “this is what it deserves.”

Law enforcement saw through it:

The so called arpaios investigation deal is complete bullshit! Just Like arpaios and his clown squad … Arpaio , zullo ect are a joke

– Chief Mark Kessler

The Arpaio/Zullo press conferences came following a long line of crackpot image analysis of Obama’s birth certificate that fell apart under scrutiny. No wonder the media was averse to one more “wolf” story, again by someone with a history of spurious attacks against political opponents, and an axe to grind against the Obama administration.

Following those fateful press conferences containing direct lies, deliberately misleading statements, and sheer incompetence, Zullo kept promising some real evidence, month after month for years, acknowledging that skeptics were not convinced by what came before. Zullo even lost credibility among many birthers who correctly observed that he was just stringing them along. William said at Birther Report earlier this month:

I have watched Zullo and Carl as much as I have paid attention to the growth of my back yard forests.

If something cracks and falls, someone else would have to inform me of it.

So yes, the mainstream media has largely ignored Mike Zullo and his one-man struggle to do the impossible with nothing. There is no reason for the media nor anyone else to take him seriously. For the right-wing nut jobs, there has been ample coverage by outlets such as InfoWars and WorldNetDaily in addition to the blogs like Birther Report and The Post & Email.

“Boy cries wolf” is not news for the rest of us.

1See also multiple news reports documented by the Huffington Post.

SFW: Obama Conspiracy Theories Public Statement Regarding American News Media and Obama’s Article II Eligibility

The recent article “NSFW: Birther Report Public Statement Regarding American News Media And Obama’s Article II Ineligibility” at Birther Report warns: “NOTE: if you are easily offended do not read beyond this point,” But readers with any sense of decency would have been offended already by the graphic that preceded the warning. I have chosen a less-offensive leading graphic for my differently-toned article.

If anything, the news media and social media have all too many kittens, and I am genuinely concerned about the lack of independence in the media due to conglomeration and ownership by large corporations. (See the book “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity” on the decline of investigative journalism.) That said, I cannot fault the big picture coverage by the media of the topic of Obama’s Article II eligibility.

Obama’s eligibility itself was no story at all. A few journalists probed the issue, for example CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 program went to Hawaii and did some reports. Dr. Fukino’s statements on Obama’s documentation were enough to satisfy reasonable doubters, and there was never any justification to follow birthers down the rabbit hole of suspicions and conspiracy theories. Their “evidence” fell apart under scrutiny, so there was no reason to report it. The media also, from time to time, consulted legal experts on the “natural born citizen” question and received answers in line with a longstanding legal consensus. Obama was eligible, and if there was any question, it was quickly settled.

The Birthers complained bitterly about the lack of media coverage, but as I documented early on at this blog, there were multiple media reports almost every day for years on Birthers. AC 360 gave Terry Lakin and his attorney the opportunity to make their case on CNN. What Birthers really objected to was that the media didn’t agree with them. That disagreement is inherent in the system because news organization have standards of verifiability, while Birthers run off bias and belief. What a birther believes is not news, and what somebody on the Internet surmises is not an expert opinion. Birther opinion does not qualify as news and what little novelty they represented did not warrant in-depth coverage.

What the media did not, I think, come to terms with was the Birther Movement itself. They reported that it was big, but few tried to answer the critical question of “why.” They didn’t try to trace the money to see whether Birtherism was a well-funded smear campaign or a loose grass roots movement motivated by bias against people like Barack Obama. I cannot think of any media reports that could be titled “who are the Birthers”?

So while I would have liked to have seem more targeted coverage of the Birther Movement, overall I think the American media got it about right, and gave the m enough airtime. Obama was elected twice, so apparently the truth was out there.

The Golden Age

I open with words from the Jewish prophet Isaiah:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Isa 11:6 – 9 ESV

A vision of universal peace and justice is beautiful to think about, but the reality of the present time, and probably most times in the past is starkly different. I think whether it is the Golden Age of Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire, or the Pax Romana, or the “Leave it to Beaver” household of the early 1960’s, these prosperous or peaceful seeming times were at least in part built on slavery, exploitation and subjugation. (I consider a worker who works full time for wages that put him below the poverty level as being exploited.)

An international Gallup-Healthways Well-Being poll rated 5 quality of life measures in 165 countries:

  • Sense of purpose
  • Social relationships
  • Financial situations
  • Community involvement
  • Physical health

The responses were rated: “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” in each area. Only one country in the world had more than half of its population thriving in 3 or more areas; that country was Panama (see table of results). Metaphorically, the glass is a little more than half empty.

I’m with the Dalai Lama whose goal is to reduce suffering, because I think that while suffering begets suffering, kindness also begets kindness and even wolves have been bred to be man’s best friend. I do not see the situation as hopeless, but whether it is or not, I choose to try.

Here is to a hopeful future for us all.

Joy, Love, Hope, Peace Holiday Tree