Eligibility dispute story spreads
Now National Press Club event scheduled on challenge to Oval Office occupant
Questions raised over Barack Obama's citizenship are reaching into the National Press Club now, with an event scheduled Monday at which an activist group will call for the release of documentation proving his eligibility to occupy the Oval Office. Already, at least one legal advocacy group is promising to raise legal challenges to whatever Obama would do as president, until and unless his eligibility is established.
Now the group that has aired and published a number of ads challenging Obama based on charges that he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and doesn't meet the U.S. Constitution's requirement that all presidents be "natural-born" citizens has scheduled a news conference in Washington. Among those scheduled to be present are attorneys handling a Pennsylvania case brought by Philip Berg, a New Jersey case brought by Leo Donofrio and a California case brought by Orly Taitz. The U.S. Supreme Court justices were scheduled to have a conference today on whether to accept arguments on the issue, but no immediate announcement was made. WeThePeopleFoundation.org, which is scheduling the event, will talk about Obama's response to the publication of an open letter last week in the Chicago Tribune.
The letter sought Obama's authorization for access to his original birth certificate, which state officials in Hawaii report having seen. "Under our Constitution, no one is eligible to assume the office of the president unless he or she is a 'natural born citizen,'" Bob Schulz of WeThePeople said. "To date, Mr. Obama has refused all requests to release his original birth certificate or other documents that would definitively establish his citizenship status and thus his constitutional eligibility." ]
More than a dozen legal challenges have been initiated over Obama's citizenship, all citing Obama's clouded history and the U.S. Constitution's requirement that a president be a natural born citizen. There have been allegations Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as his campaign has reported, that he could be considered a British subject because of his father's residency in what then was a British protectorate that later became Kenya, and that the "Certification of Live Birth" posted on his website simply shows his mother registered his birth in Hawaii after he was born, but does not document a location of birth.
There also have been questions raised about his travels as a youth, including the years he spent registered as a Muslim in an Indonesian school, and his later travels to Pakistan at a time when U.S. passports weren't welcome in that nation.
WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi traveled to Kenya and Hawaii prior to the election to investigate issues surrounding Obama's birth. But his research and discoveries only raised more questions. The biggest question remains why Obama, if a Hawaii birth certificate exists, simply hasn't ordered it made available to settle the rumors. The dispute has been covered mostly by online news sources, but in recent days, Washington and Philadelphia newspapers have begun following, CNN and Fox have commented and even the American Bar Association Journal has noted the dispute.
The governor's office in Hawaii said there is a valid certificate but rejected requests for access and left ambiguous its origin. Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro, has named two different Hawaii hospitals where Obama could have been born, while a video posted on YouTube features Obama's Kenyan grandmother Sarah claiming to have witnessed Obama's birth in Kenya.
Schulz' open letter asked that Obama have delivered to the National Press Club a certified copy of the original birth certificate, including any under the names Barack Husssein Obama, Barry Soetoro, Barry Obama, Barack Dunham and Barry Dunham, a certificate of his citizenship and admission forms for his attendance at Occidental College, Columbia and Harvard.
The dispute is facing an immediate deadline, because members of the U.S. Electoral College are scheduled to vote Dec. 15 formally to make Obama the next president. "Should the state members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Mr. Obama in the face of such overwhelming evidence, and without verification of Mr. Obama's eligibility, they would be committing treason to the Constitution," Schultz said.
And in an analysis in the Philadelphia Bulletin, constitutional lawyer Edwin Vieira, suggested there would be major problems should Obama not be eligible, and assume the office anyway. "Let's assume he wasn't born in the U.S.," Vieira told the Bulletin. "What's the consequence? He will not be eligible. That means he cannot be elected validly. The people and the Electoral College cannot overcome this and the House of Representatives can't make him president. So what's the next step? He takes the oath of office, and assuming he's aware he's not a citizen, then it's a perjured oath."
The result would be any appointments made an ineligible president, and all the appointees' decisions, would be invalid, he said. Vieira suggested Obama supporters should be the ones raising the questions, because of the discredit that would follow a revelation of ineligibility. "Let's say we go a year into this process, and it all turns out to be a flim-flam," Vieira told the newspaper. "What's the nation's reaction to that? What's going to be the reaction in the next U.S. election? God knows. It has almost revolutionary consequences, if you think about it."
He also suggested Obama's silence on the issue, itself, is a concern. Vieira told the newspaper the question is significant because it involves the man who could have his finger next to a nuclear button. He also said the question would remain whether any laws he signs would be valid. Even after Obama takes the oath of office, the questions will remain, he suggested.
Wes Pruden, editor emeritus of the Washington Times, said Obama's refusal to authorize release of his birth certificate has fueled the dispute. "This has led to furious speculation on the Internet that Mr. Obama's parents returned to Hawaii with him shortly after his birth and simply registered his Kenyan birth certificate, certified by the doctor who delivered him and by the hospital where he was born, with the Hawaii Department of Health. Why, these skeptics ask, won't the president-elect authorize release of the original Hawaii certificate and squelch speculation once and for all?" he said. "It's a good question, though lack of his asking doesn't prove anything."
A democratic Iraq within reach
By Charles Krauthammer
The barbarism in Mumbai and the economic crisis at home have largely overshadowed an otherwise singular event: the ratification of military and strategic cooperation agreements between Iraq and the United States.
They must not pass unnoted. They were certainly noted by Iran, which fought fiercely to undermine the agreements. Tehran understood how a formal U.S.-Iraqi alliance endorsed by a broad Iraqi consensus expressed in a freely elected parliament changes the strategic balance in the region.
For the United States, this represents the single most important geopolitical advance in the region since Henry Kissinger turned Egypt from a Soviet client into an American ally. If we don't blow it with too hasty a withdrawal from Iraq, we will have turned a chronically destabilizing enemy state at the epicenter of the Arab Middle East into an ally.
Also largely overlooked at home was the sheer wonder of the procedure that produced Iraq's consent: classic legislative maneuvering with no more than a tussle or two - tame by international standards (see YouTube: "Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights of All Time!") - over the most fundamental issues of national identity and direction.
The only significant opposition bloc was the Sadrists, a mere 30 seats out of 275. The ostensibly pro-Iranian religious Shiite parties resisted Tehran's pressure and championed the agreement. As did the Kurds. The Sunnis put up the greatest fight. But their concern was that America would be withdrawing too soon, leaving them subject to overbearing and perhaps even vengeful Shiite dominance.
The Sunnis, who only a few years ago had boycotted provincial elections, bargained with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, trying to exploit his personal stake in agreements he himself had negotiated. They did not achieve their maximum objectives. But they did get formal legislative commitments for future consideration of their grievances, from amnesty to further relaxation of the de-Baathification laws.
That any of this democratic give-and-take should be happening in a peaceful parliament just two years after Iraq's descent into sectarian hell is in itself astonishing. Nor is the setting of a withdrawal date terribly troubling. The deadline is almost entirely symbolic. U.S. troops must be out by Dec. 31, 2011 - the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, which, because G-d is merciful, will arrive again only in the very fullness of time. Moreover, that date is not just distant but flexible. By treaty, it can be amended. If conditions on the ground warrant, it will be.
True, the war is not over. As Gen. David Petraeus repeatedly insists, our (belated) successes in Iraq are still fragile. There has already been an uptick in terror bombings, which will undoubtedly continue as what's left of al-Qaeda, the Sadrist militias and the Iranian-controlled "special groups" try to disrupt January's provincial elections.
The more long-term danger is that Iraq's reborn central government becomes too strong and, by military or parliamentary coup, the current democratic arrangements are dismantled by a renewed dictatorship that abrogates the alliance with the United States.
Such disasters are possible. But if our drawdown is conducted with the same acumen as was the surge, not probable. A self-sustaining, democratic and pro-American Iraq is within our reach. It would have two hugely important effects in the region.
First, it would constitute a major defeat for Tehran, the putative winner of the Iraq war, according to the smart set. Iran's client, Moqtada al-Sadr, still hiding in Iran, was visibly marginalized in parliament - after being militarily humiliated in Basra and Baghdad by the new Iraqi security forces. Moreover, the major religious Shiite parties were the ones that negotiated, promoted and assured passage of the strategic alliance with the United States, against the most determined Iranian opposition.
Second is the regional effect of the new political entity on display in Baghdad - a flawed yet functioning democratic polity with unprecedented free speech, free elections and freely competing parliamentary factions. For this to happen in the most important Arab country besides Egypt can, over time (over generational time, the time scale of the war on terror), alter the evolution of Arab society. It constitutes our best hope for the kind of fundamental political-cultural change in the Arab sphere that alone will bring about the defeat of Islamic extremism. After all, newly sovereign Iraq is today more engaged in the fight against Arab radicalism than any country on earth, save the United States - with which, mirabile dictum, it has now thrown in its lot.
"Cold Cash" Jefferson Ousted!... Republican Cao Wins! : "There's going to be one less Corruptocrat in Congress next year. Rep. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson lost his Congressional seat to Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao in Louisiana. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Vietnamese-American and a Republican, will be the first Vietnamese-American in Congress from a predominantly black and heavily Democratic district. Republicans made an aggressive push to get rid of the 61-year-old incumbent, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, laundering money and misusing his congressional office. Cao came to the U.S. as a child after the fall of Saigon in 1975. He went on to earn degrees in philosophy, physics and law." [Natch!]
With help from Congress, homeowners could rescue themselves : "The U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve may need more than $700 billion to shore up bank balance sheets and restart the economy. So far, the ideas from Congress are doing nothing to improve the current dismal economic outlook. Instead of pouring capital into banks and trying to rescue homeowners who cannot meet their mortgage obligations, Congress can make a simple change to the tax code and let homeowners come to the rescue. . Homeowners held $11.2 trillion in mortgage debt at the end of June. They also held about $17 trillion in retirement assets . at the end of March. Unfortunately, these retirement assets are smaller now, but more unfortunate is that these assets cannot be used without penalty before reaching age 59-1/2, excepting hardship cases, first-time home buyers, and specific educational purposes. Congress should change these rules."
India - the other side of glory : "It has been said - and Chile, South Korea and Taiwan seemed to play into that narrative - that only autocracies could enable the painful process of opening up an economy to competition because democracies, with their conflicting demands and political divisions, tend to reverse free-market reform before it reaches a critical mass of people. India, with a 60-year-old democracy, throws cold water on that premise. But for many Indians, development is still an elusive goal. The country is socially stratified and millions of citizens, led by wily politicians, define their identity in religious or ethnic - i.e., collectivist - terms. This holds India back from catching up with modern liberal democracies in which rights are by and large based on the individual."
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