Jesurgislac’s Journal

July 25, 2008

How is this not a good thing?

Filed under: Internet — jesurgislac @ 10:16 am
Tags: , ,

Some people are tying themselves up in knots trying to “prove” that Barack Obama is not an American citizen/not entitled to run for President, because his birth certificate is forged.

Obviously, these people are doing it because they are fanatically anti-Democrat or fanatically racist.

But they’re focussing all their time and energy on a point that’s never going to move: Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4 1961. Hawaii became a U.S. Territory in 1896, and the 50th state of the union on August 21, 1959. These are all basic, simple, incontrovertible facts.

There could be no more harmless way for these fanatics to waste their time than by poring over Obama’s birth certificate trying to find a flaw. The success of the Bush administration in claiming that the Killian memos were faked seems to have given these mad bloggers the idea that they can prove any document of sufficient age to be a “fake”, if only they look at it closely enough.


  1. “Hawaii became a U.S. Territory in 1896, and the 51st state of the union on August 21, 1959.”

    Don’t you mean 57th?

    There are legitimate questions about John Sidney McCain’s eligibility given his Panamanian birth…

    Comment by Scott H — July 28, 2008 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  2. Don’t you mean

    Fixed that, thank you.

    There are legitimate questions about John Sidney McCain’s eligibility given his Panamanian birth…

    No, there are not: none that make sense, given that both his parents were US citizens (mother born in Oklahoma, father born in Iowa) and in any case McCain himself was born on a US army base while his father was on active service.

    The question is answered directly by Title 8, Section 1401, of the U.S. Code, which specifies what people are “citizens of the United States at birth”, aka “natural-born citizens”: “a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;”

    So as both of McCain’s parents are citizens of the US, he could have been born in Baghdad and he would still count as a natural-born citizen. It’s silly.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 28, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  3. Well, perhaps I should have said ‘pedantic’ instead of ‘legitimate’. The Title and Section of the US Code you reference don’t actually use the phrase ‘natural born’ and it is the lack of specific legislative or historical precedence to define that phrase that raises this issue.

    So I’d say it’s not necessarily cut-and-dried, but I agree that it’s also not particularly relevant.

    Funny, I’d always thought the founding fathers had it all sewn up. Turns out, not so much.

    regards, Scott H

    Comment by Scott H — July 29, 2008 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

  4. Scott, I think in over two hundred years, if there were any legal tradition that a person born to two US citizens outside the United States was not a natural-born citizen of the US, someone would have noticed by now. You’re an insular nation, but not that insular.

    The oddity that male US citizens cannot transmit citizenship to their children born outside wedlock is weird, I admit, but wouldn’t seem to apply where the parents were married and were both US citizens.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 30, 2008 @ 8:03 am | Reply

  5. To reiterate the pedantic nature of this, the question is not whether they are citizens (they certainly are) but whether they are ‘natural-born’ citizens and therefore qualified to be President.

    This has come up before, but it has never been directly addressed. As that NY Times article noted, there have been two previous candidates who had ‘questionable’ natural-born status. Both were assured that they qualified, but neither won the presidency and the question was never definitively answered.
    Barry Goldwater, born in Arizona before it was a state
    George Romney, born in Paris

    regards, Scott H

    Comment by Scott H — July 30, 2008 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  6. Where do you get this nonsense from, Scott? Are you a McCain supporter who feels it’s better to have people focus on challenging the one aspect of his ability to be President that is unchallengeable?

    A “natural-born citizen” is one who had citizenship by right of birth, not by naturalization. It has no directly relationship with where you’re born.

    A person can have citizenship by right of birth either by jus solis, being born on the country’s soil, or by jus sanguinis, by right of your parents’ citizenship. A person can be born on US soil without having jus solis citizenship (the children of diplomatic families stationed in the US do not become US citizens).

    There is no argument, not legitimate and not pedantic, that can make McCain’s mother not a US citizen. Her marriage to McCain’s father, also a US citizen, has not been called in doubt. John McCain is a natural-born citizen of the US because his mother was a US citizen and because his mother was married to his father when he was born and his father was a US citizen.

    Now, it’s possible you’re just very stupidly incurious and function purely as a conduit for vaguely-comprehended Internet rumours, which you never bother to fact-check. Or it’s possible you’re a fervent McCain supporter trying to direct attention away from all the other failings which make McCain so unfit for the Presidency.

    Got another explanation why you keep being so moronic about this?

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 30, 2008 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  7. Wow, name-calling already. It was all fine, up to that last line.

    Anyway, I get this from the New York Times. You see, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t really enjoy browsing US Code in my spare time, so I actually look to journalists who seem to have talked to constitutional lawyers and presumably studied up on the matter.

    If it were as simple and straight-forward as you propose, then it would have been a really short article. But apparently the people who study this minutiae for a living seem to think that particular phrase has some specific meaning that has not been adequately defined. Maybe you should get in touch with “Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively” and tell her how simple it really is.

    So, on one hand, I have Sarah Helene Duggin, the Director of the Law and Public Policy Program of the Columbus School of Law, saying it’s complicated.

    On the other hand, I have you, saying it’s easy. What do I know about you? You wander around at night, wearing headphones, listening to Jethro Tull {that was the first post of yours I read – I followed a link from The Sideshow) and that you have a rather well-thought-out explication of the morality of the pro-choice position. Oh, and you know more latin than I do (which is easy, given that I’m a moron).

    Anyway, call me a credentialist, but I’m gonna stick with Ms Duggin on this one.

    Best, Scott

    Comment by Scott H — July 30, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  8. Anyway, call me a [moran], but I’m gonna stick with Ms Duggin on this one.

    Fine. Sarah Duggins says: “There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent.”

    In short, the law – which is neither difficult to look up nor difficult to understand – says that McCain can run for President, because he’s a natural-born citizen. But, there have only been 44 Presidents since 1776, and it just so happens that none of them who were born since 1776 became natural-born citizens solely by jus sanguinis. When you have a pool of only 44 individuals, it’s very easy to have situations without precedent – especially as prior to the 20th century, it would be a fairly damn unusual situation in the first place.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 30, 2008 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for the new sobriquet – I like it.

    At risk of tweaking you further, I hesitate to point out that I’m unaware of any statute placing limits on who can run for President. The Constitution (Article II, Section 1 – it was surprisingly easy to look up and understand) simply lays out requirements for who is eligible to hold the office of President.

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

    I’m sure that reasonable people can disagree about even that, since the Founding Fathers didn’t bother to insert the word ‘hold’ in the actual text.

    I appreciate that you’ve agreed with me, and with all the grace and poise I’ve come to expect from random blogs on the internet. And, I suppose I should apologize for coming into your (metaphorical) house and wasting your time with my quotidian commentary. But, then again, you must enjoy this at some level or you wouldn’t have a blog, or wouldn’t allow comments, or wouldn’t respond to [morans] like me.

    Sincerely, Scott

    Comment by [moran] — July 30, 2008 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  10. Scott, if you’re in the habit of coming into other people’s blogs, citing a single news article, ignoring the facts they cite in response, and moronically repeating “But it says right here in the newspaper!” I don’t wonder that by this time you’ve come to expect that people will treat you with the grace and poise your behaviour merits.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 31, 2008 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  11. Well gosh, I sense just the slightest bit of projection there.

    If you’re in the habit of responding to comments without reading articles they cite and moronically repeating “But jus solis this!” and “By jus sanguinis that!” I don’t wonder that you automatically disdain and dismiss guests to your blog.

    Tautologically, Scott

    Comment by [moran] — July 31, 2008 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  12. Well gosh, I sense just the slightest bit of projection there.


    I guess you would think that, since it’s evidently your own problem. I don’t wonder WordPress keeps identifying your comments as spam.

    Comment by jesurgislac — July 31, 2008 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  13. It’s one thing for people to believe this NONSENSE, but when an Independent candiate for President jumps on the bandwagon it’s totally crazy.

    Comment by pvdugas — November 20, 2008 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  14. Hm. Gun. Foot. Bullet. Problem.


    Comment by jesurgislac — November 20, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  15. I was under the impression that McCain was NOT born on the military base (his name is obviously absent from births listed on his birth day at the base hospital). His supposed authentic BC shows that he was born in Colon, Panama and was, at birth, just as Obama, a dual citizen; thus, not a NBC and not eligible to be POTUS.

    Are you in possession of a different BC or a different copy of the list of births at the military base that bears his name or shows he was not born in Colon? What I’m specifically asking for is proof of your claim that he was born on the military base.

    I have a friend whose child was born in Germany while she (US Citizen) and her husband (US Citizen Military Personel) were there on active duty. He was born in a military hospital on a military base and she was told, at that time, to consider returning to the states to have her baby as he/she would NOT be a NBC and would never be able to be POTUS. Yes, this is just heresay and of course not legally binding, but the fact that there are questions surrounding such a birth, seem obvious that there are questions surrounding McCains eligibility.

    I agree with all your ‘facts’ about Obama, other than the one FACT that you omitted. The FACT that he was also governed by British Law at birth – according to Obama. Like McCain, he was born with dual-loyalities / dual-citizneships and thus not a NBC. Did you omit this FACT due to oversight, or because you think Obama is lying about his birth status?

    Comment by Sally HIll — November 5, 2009 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

    • Sally – “Like McCain, he was born with dual-loyalities / dual-citizneships and thus not a NBC.”

      If the United States government allowed other countries to decide whether or not US citizens could become President, you would be right.

      A natural-born citizen is a person who never had to be naturalised – a citizen who holds citizenship either by right of birth (Barack Obama) or right of descent (Obama and John McCain). Both are natural-born citizens of the US.

      You may think other countries governments and legislatures should determine whether a natural-born citizen of the US should get to be President, as you assert here, but you have neither common sense nor the facts of the law on your side.

      Comment by jesurgislac — November 5, 2009 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  16. And I too agree with poster #1 – Obama thinks Hawaii was the 57th state, didn’t he?

    I’m not tying myself in knots. I believe he was born in Hawaii although I have my doubts about the birth date (as it seems DOH is now denying access to records which show the DOB was amended – meaning they have them, but won’t share them). While this is in questions – I know what I know.

    Obama said he was born in Hawaii – and I believe him.

    Obama said he was a dual citizen at birth – and I believe him.

    How can a dual-citizen at birth be a NBC? He can’t.

    I believe Obama – do you?

    Comment by Sally HIll — November 5, 2009 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

    • “I’m not tying myself in knots.”

      …says the commenter who has twisted herself up in a thorough tangle of illogic and birther received wisdom.

      Comment by jesurgislac — November 5, 2009 @ 8:06 pm | Reply

    • How can a dual-citizen at birth be a NBC? He can’t.


      You do realize that with this, you’re declaring that governments of other countries get to decide who is a US citizen and who isn’t?

      Why do you feel that the US is inferior to every other nation in the world in that it, alone of all countries in the world, cannot decide whether or not a person is a citizen?

      (Obviously this is not legally true: the US does, and Obama is. But I’m just intrigued at your presumption of American subordination and inferiority.)

      Comment by jesurgislac — June 15, 2010 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  17. You are so pitifully incorrect that internet routers should drop all your packets. And what kind of a name is that? Regurgalistic??? what .. ?

    Comment by IT Guy — November 5, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

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