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Work in progress. Notes gathered in research.

The English Common Law and the American Revolution

I was particularly stunned by a comment by birther litigant and frequent Internet commenter David Farrar:

I have no aversion to common law. English common law was never American colonial common law. The English Parliament did not make common law for the American colonies. It was this lack of representation in Parliament that, indeed, lead to the American Revolution.

— David Farrar
Comment at Augusta Free Press (2015)

Not only is this not true, it is the opposite of the truth. The American Revolution was justified in part by the refusal of the English to allow the Americans the rights that would have been afforded them under the English Common Law. I have known this for some time from my reading on the topic of citizenship. Justice Joseph Story wrote about the expectations Americans had for the English Common Law:

§  78 … In the charters, under which all these colonies were settled, with a single exception, there is, an express declaration, that all subjects and their children inhabiting therein shall be deemed natural-born subjects, and shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities thereof; and that the laws of England, so far as they are applicable, shall be in force there; and no laws shall be made, which are repugnant to, but as near as may be conveniently, shall conform to the laws of England.  Now this declaration, even if the crown previously possessed a right to establish what laws it pleased over the territory, as a conquest from the natives, being a fundamental rule of the original settlement of the colonies, and before the emigrations thither, was conclusive, and could not afterwards be abrogated by the crown.  It was an irrevocable annexation of the colonies to the mother country, as dependencies governed by the same laws, and entitled to the same rights.

§  79.    And so has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies.  The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation.  The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.

§  80.    We thus see in a very clear light the mode, in which the common law was first introduced into the colonies; as well as the true reason of the exceptions to it to be found in our colonial usages and laws.  It was not introduced, as of original and universal obligation in its utmost latitude; but the limitations contained in the bosom of the common law itself, and indeed constituting a part of the law of nations, were affirmatively settled and recognized in the respective charters of settlement.  Thus limited and defined, it has become the guardian of our political and civil rights; it has protected our infant liberties; it has watched over our maturer growth; it has expanded with our wants; it has nurtured that spirit of independence, which checked the first approaches of arbitrary power; it has enabled us to triumph in the midst of difficulties and dangers threatening our political existence; and by the goodness of God, we are now enjoying, under its bold and manly principles, the blessings of a free, independent, and united government.

Chapter XVI. Justice Joseph Story on Common Law and Constitutional Origins of the United States Constitution

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Johnson’s Dictionary on native and natural

Samuel Johnson wrote a famous English dictionary published in 1755. Below is a transcription I made of the words “native” and “natural,” omitting the usage examples. You can view the text here.

NATIVE. adj. [nativus, Latin; natif-ve, Fr.]

[1.] Produced by nature; natural, not artificial.

2. Natural; such as is according to nature.

3. Conferred by birth.

4. Relating to birth, pertaining to the time or place of birth.

5. Original; natural.

NATIVE. n. s.

1. One born in any place; original inhabitant.

2. Offspring.

NATURAL. adj. [naturel, French, from nature.]

1. Produced or effected by nature.

2. Illegitimate

3. Bestowed by nature.

4. Not forced; not farfetched; dictated by nature.

5. Consonant to natural notions.

6. Tender; affectionate by nature.

7. Unaffected; according to truth and reality.

8. Opposed to violent; as a natural death.

NATURAL n.s. [from nature.]

1. An idiot; one whom nature debars for understanding; a fool.

2. Native; original inhabitant.

3. Gift of nature; nature ; quality.


I note that some of the definitions are shared between the two words.

Are you blogging more… But enjoying it less?

Borrowing an advertising slogan from Camel cigarettes, I introduce this research article about the Orly Taitz web site. I have never fully trusted poll numbers on birthers because a poll respondent does not necessarily tell the truth, nor do polls measure birther enthusiasm. One other source for information comes from the public participation on birther blogs.

I have published site statistics from this blog covering the past 3 years, and at the present time interest measured in page views on this blog is on the decline. What about birther sites? Generally birther web sites do not publish their activity statistics. Orly Taitz has a page hit counter2 of dubious value, and as of last month, verified numbers from her site are available at Alexa.com, but there is no historical data.

One way to value site engagement is to look at comments1, and while it is tedious to do, it is possible to count comments on a WordPress blog by crawling the entire site, and this is what I have done for Orly’s blog. Here’s the result  from March of 2010 to the present:

TaitzComments

The high point is January of 2013, the month Barack Obama began his second term as president. Of course any measure of comments at the Taitz site is affected by her moderation policy and the fact that she deletes comments and articles. Also this doesn’t account for any technical errors in my data-gathering software, or historical data loss.

Just for comparison, here are the comment numbers for my site added for the same period:

WebComments

Given statistics that suggest Taitz has twice the number of page views than here, the relatively small number of comments is really striking.


1Most blog visitors do not comment, so comment numbers don’t equal visits, but comment numbers can be studied over time. One thing of note is that visitors here have more to say about the articles than they do at Orly’s site. While the average article here has about 65 comments, the number there is around 4. Of course Taitz has many times the number of articles that I do.

2The Taitz hit counter first appeared in November of 2011 with an initial value around 22,518,751. Here is a chart roughly showing monthly values over the prior month using historical values from the Wayback Machine:

TaitzHits

While her comment totals are tapering off the past few months, her hit counter seems to be trending up.

Kapi’olani digging

So Rambo Ike asked me over at Birther Report (before I gave it up for Lent) just when was the earliest reference to Obama being born at Kapi’olani hospital. Of course I wasn’t going to kick over a hornet’s nest and mention the birth certificate, which in all fairness didn’t see the light of day until 2011. I had to do a little digging, and here’s my reply:

The earliest Kapi’olani reference is a really good challenge. Most of my interest started with the birthers, and my knowledge of pre-birther history is pretty light. But let’s see what I can do.

The earliest Kapi’olani reference I know of without looking is the one in the Honolulu Advertiser from November 9, 2008, citing “family sources.” You can read about that here:

That’s the interview that contains Tong’s comment;

“We don’t have plans to do anything,” said Kapiolani Medical Center spokeswoman, Claire Tong, when asked how the center plans to commemorate the soon-to-be 44th U.S. president, who, according to Obama’s family and other sources, was born at that hospital on Aug. 4, 1961.

“We can’t confirm or deny it — even though all the information out there says he was born at Kapiolani Hospital. And that’s because of the HIPA (sic) law.”

Tong acknowledged that the center has received daily inquiries from news agencies far and wide asking for confirmation of Obama’s birthplace. Much as she wishes she could do it, Tong said it’s not possible.

“Our hands are tied,” she said.

David Maraniss, who would later write a Biography of Obama, wrote of Obama’s birth at Kapiolani in an article in the Washington Post August 24, 2008. Maraniss doesn’t give a source

The Honolulu Star Bulletin article: “Punahou left lasting impression on Obama” from February 8, 2007 says Kapiolani.

Another article from the Star Bulletin from March 21, 2004 also lists Kapiolani as Obama’s place of birth. That article was copied, mentioning Kapiolani, at the Free Republic forum also in 2004, so we can be pretty sure it wasn’t changed.

FR - Kapiolani 2004

That’s as far back as I can find.

When did Greg Hollister check Obama’s SSN?

On February 9, 2011, Greg Hollister (litigant in the Hollister v. Soetoro lawsuit) sent a private email to Orly Taitz, and copied John Hemenway (Hollister’s attorney in the lawsuit), Larry Elgin (Hollister appellate attorney), Susan Daniels (a private investigator assisting Orly Taitz) and Linda Bent (a writer) stating that he had  a web printout from the Social Security Administration indicating that Barack Obama’s social-security number did not pass the Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS). For background on what that meant, see my March, 2011 article, “More social-security troubles for the President?

Taitz recently published an image of Hollister’s email, but rather than redacting the addresses, I’ll just present the text, making it accessible to search engines at the same time:

Dear Ms. Taitz.

I have been monitoring your efforts at a distance reference the eligibility of Barack Obama to serve as POTUS. I see that you are now filing suit reference his many SSNs.

I have a copy of Obama’s selective service card with the SSN affixed. I, as a small business owner have access to the Social Security Number Verification System. As a result, I checked the SSNVS for the SSN Obama used for registering with Selective Service. The SSNVS search resulted in a report sheet that states that number Obama used to register for Selective Service was never issued.

Let me be direct – i have not agreed with many of your tactics in this endeavor. However, I have continued to follow your efforts to see where there may be synergy and this is one.

Therefore if you think the documents will be helpful, please let me know and I will send you the PDF files for both the Selective Service Card and the SSNVS report that states that SSN was never issued.1

Sincerely
Greg Hollister

Gregory S. Hollister, Colonel, USAF, Retired
President, Hollister Enterprises, LLC2

Hollister doesn’t say when he ran the SSNVS check, but the letter suggests a sequence of events.

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Defend our Freedoms Foundation update

While it sounds dodgy, the term “fictitious business” is a normal classification in California. Taitz’ DOFF fictitious business registration with Orange County expired at the end of last year. This may be intentional because the significance of a “fictitious business” is that the name of the business is not reflected in its articles of incorporation. The Defend Our Freedoms Foundations (sic) was registered as a corporation after the fictitious business filing.

image

Taitz has (at least) two corporations in California. The earlier one (entity number C1871559) is from 1994.

imageThe second, for DOFF (entity number C3189036), is from 2009:

image

It appears that Taitz did not follow through with her registration of the DOFF as a California charity (screen shot taken today):

image

The 3189036 number appears to be a Secretary of State or Franchise Tax Board Number.

According to the Second Notice to Register (dated December 19, 2011):

PLEASE REPLY WITHIN 30 DAYS TO AVOID LOSING YOUR TAX-EXEMPT STATUS WITH THE CALIFORNIA FRANCHISE TAX BOARD.

I had reported in my prior article that some reports appeared on the Internet that the DOFF had a federal employer ID number (FEIN) of 26-4328440. The charities registration site used to retrieve the record preceding also allows for a search by FEIN, and that number did not return a record.

A search of charitable organizations with the IRS does not list the DOFF, neither by name nor EIN. (I suggest searching for the word “Defend” within the state of California to return a manageable number of results.)

The Defend our Freedoms Foundation web domains are owned owned by a Taitz detractor (who I presume is Lisa Ostella, Taitz’ former webmaster).

The lack of a determination by the IRS that the DOFF is tax exempt does not necessarily mean that the organization is not tax exempt; however, anyone taking a tax deduction for an organization for a donation to an organization without a determination is taking a risk. Charitable organizations, whether recognized or not, are required to file IRS Form 990 or one of its variants.