Mainstreaming birtherism

This important piece of legislation was just introduced in the House:

H.R. 1503. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution; to the Committee on House Administration.

The big birther question is this: who will be the first “serious journalist” to embrace birtherism? The obvious candidates are Michael Barone and Fred Barnes, but don’t be shocked if it’s someone with more clout.






180 replies
  1. 1
    John Cole says:

    Halperin or Howie Kurtz. But they are my go to guys for mainstreaming on any right wing bullshit. If it is wingnutty and bubbled up from blogs into the mainstream, you can be guaranteed those two have their fingerprints on it somewhere.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    Halperin or Howie Kurtz.

    I doubt Kurtz will do it. With Halperin, you never know.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    who will be the first “serious journalist” to embrace birtherism?

    Kurtz.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    The culprit for this shit: Rep. Bill Posey, a freshman Republican from Florida

    Another GOP poser.

  5. 5
    Joshua Norton says:

    Not Fair! ! McCain’s stone tablet would break the copy machine.

  6. 6
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    They should also have to file affidavits announcing what kind of holy book they’ll be swearing in on. Then, if they don’t use that holy book, or if they fail to use it in their second, "real" swearing-in ceremony, we can impeach them.

  7. 7
    John PM says:

    Would it be too much to hope that, if this bill passes, a certain governor from the Great State of Alaska is unable to locate her original birth certificate? And as we have constantly been reminded, a certificate of live birth does not count!

  8. 8
    r€nato says:

    a COPY? feh!

    Nothing less than allowing random wingnut bloggers to examine and handle the actual, original birth certificate will do.

    Plus, what about kitchen countertops? And kerning?

  9. 9
    r€nato says:

    They should also have to file affidavits announcing what kind of holy book they’ll be swearing in on. Then, if they don’t use that holy book, or if they fail to use it in their second, "real" swearing-in ceremony, we can impeach them.

    plus, if they fumble even one word in the oath of office, then they aren’t legally the president and the office reverts to the runner-up in the election.

    If it’s a Republican that is.

  10. 10

    Their ‘distraction’ meme just went right out the window.

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    they should also add an amendment requiring a public physical examination, so that all concerned citizens may be allowed to check the candidate for Marks Of The Beast or other Sinister Signs.

  12. 12
    b-psycho says:

    Note that it was an INCOMING Republican congressman that brought up this crap. I dunno which it reflects worse on: the GOPs chances of ever being taken seriously again (if this guy represents their "new blood"…), or the district nutty enough to elect this guy.

    Anyone else here think the birth requirement is outdated anyway? I mean, the logic of it assumes that boundary & timing is the only difference between being Mom/Flag/Apple Pie Super-Patriot & being a member of a fucking sleeper cell.

  13. 13
    amorphous says:

    @John Cole: The Peak Wingnut Theory has become the Heliocentric Universe of the interwebs.

  14. 14
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Oh crap! He’s my new Congresscritter, for whom I did not vote. Guess I wasted my e-mail the other day about the healthcare issue (like I’m shocked!). I was rather hoping he’d be an improvement over Dr. Dave Weldon, but it really wasn’t much of a hope. I liked Dr. Steve Blythe, and was sorely disappointed that this chump won, though this is a pretty Red area.

    It never ceases to amaze, does it? This mythical beast called the Republican mind-set.

    My money’s on Halperin if you’re talking serious attention. Howie might go for a chuckle, but he’s not this ridiculous.

  15. 15
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Sullivan blogged a couple of weeks that that it would be the "sensible" thing for Obama to just produce his birth certificate, just to shut these people up. At least he’s consistent about these things. Wrong, but consistent.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    they should also add an amendment requiring a public physical examination, so that all concerned citizens may be allowed to check the candidate for Marks Of The Beast or other Sinister Signs.

    But if Rush runs, the problem will be what sign can’t they find as the expedition explores the canyons and ass-mountains. Worse, if they get lost they’ll have to make smoke fires of backhair to signal for help.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    r€nato says:

    Obama did produce it.

    He did, and of course the goalposts got moved again. The new standard appears to be, there’s no proof Obama is truly an American citizen unless any random right-wing blogger is allowed to physically inspect and handle the original birth certificate.

  19. 19
    camchuck says:

    who will be the first “serious journalist” to embrace birtherism?

    Whichever dipshit spent the most time wondering if Obama’s stem cell order was a distraction from the economy is guaranteed to be the dipshit pumping up birtherism.

  20. 20
    chuck says:

    You know what? Go for it. Pass it. Sounds like a reasonable way to shut these idiots up forever.

    Meh, what the hell am I thinking, that they could ever shut up..

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    @Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse:

    Sullivan blogged a couple of weeks that that it would be the "sensible" thing for Obama to just produce his birth certificate, just to shut these people up.

    Sullivan says a lot of stupid shit.

  22. 22
    kay says:

    @r€nato:

    "together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution; to the Committee on House Administration."

    You laugh. It’s endless. It’s a litigation engine all wrapped up in two paragraphs. It makes my head hurt.

    I can see the wackadoodle lawsuits now: "may be necessary", "to establish", "documentation", even.

    You know they ran out of "legal theories" to paper federal courts, with, right? They did. They were down to interpleader when the last one got kicked. They wanted to deposit a soldier’s "duty" with the court, instead of money. That was their argument. That’s why the last federal judge got so angry. He did not know how to deposit "duty".

  23. 23
    Woodrowfan says:

    The comments on Politico are, um, interesting. Sort of in a "crazy guy at the bus stop ranting" way…

  24. 24
    Calouste says:

    @Napoleon:

    And the Republican Governor of Hawai’i confirmed it. I guess that makes her a RINO….

  25. 25
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    This could be the start of something big. The birthers weren’t satisfied with the birth certificate that BHO produced, they weren’t satisfied when the governor and the Secy. of State of Hawaii both attested to the validity of the birth certificate. Maybe we should require sworn statements from witnesses to the birth, and then sworn statements from others attesting to the veracity and good character of the witnesses and then sworn statements from still others supporting the sworn statements of…

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    This could be the start of something big.

    This is the start of the GOP contesting every Democratic President to ever come.

    We can’t reason with these idiots anymore.

    It’s either enslave them for the common good or shoot them.

    Anything less risks putting them back in charge some day.

  27. 27
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    This is the start of the GOP contesting every Democratic President to ever come.

    Every which way they can – except at the ballot box. Remember the right’s reaction when it was mentioned that McCain was on shaky ground because he was born in Panama:
    How dare you?

  28. 28
    Paul L. says:

    Time to bring out the favorite excuse of Nanny staters and Law Enforcement apologists,
    If you got nothing to hide, why are you objecting.
    Unless the law results in more transparency of Law Enforcement or our betters in Government.

    This is the start of the GOP contesting every Democratic President to ever come.

    Remember progressives with Diebold and Selected not Elected?

  29. 29
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @amorphous:

    Heliocentrism is an Atheist Doctrine.

  30. 30
    amorphous says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: No one disagrees that his mother was an American citizen, right? See where I’m going here?

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    @Paul L.:

    Time to bring out the favorite excuse of Nanny staters and Law Enforcement apologists

    Yeah, I think they used that reasoning for domestic wiretapping and torture.

    Did we ever get to see John McCain’s birth certificate? Can you link it to me, Paul?

  32. 32
    smiley says:

    They need to include a provision that all 58 states must call them "birth certificates" and not "certificates of live birth"… because it’s all so confusing otherwise.

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @amorphous: Oh! Oh! This goes the Ann Alterhouse thing about Malcolm X being the real father, right?

  34. 34
    Keith says:

    Is Bill Sammon considered "serious"?

  35. 35
    r€nato says:

    It’s either enslave them for the common good or shoot them.

    I vote for option #2. If there’s even a 1% chance that they could get loose, we can’t risk it.

  36. 36
    smiley says:

    @amorphous: The language in the constitution is "natural born citizen" not just "citizen". No one has disputed that he is a citizen (that I know of anyway). It’s the natural born part that’s the sticking point.

  37. 37

    Without knowing the details of the proposed law or regulation, being too lazy to get into them right now, the idea strikes me as a good one.

    If simply having an independent authority get and validate a copy of a birth certificate puts an end to the birther nonsense, then why not? Hell, I have to put up more than that to get the cable company to take my frigging customer service call. They want my family history going back to 1066, and all that. Which I just happen to have, but that’s not the point.

    But anyway, pass the law. It’s pretty easy to comply with, no?

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    It’s the natural born part that’s the sticking point.

    Despair thy charm;
    And let the angel whom thou still hast served
    Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
    Untimely ripp’d

  39. 39
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Without knowing the details of the proposed law or regulation, being too lazy to get into them right now, the idea strikes me as a good one.

    It validates a baseless complaint of the lunatic fringe.

  40. 40
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Heliocentrism is an Atheist Doctrine.

    That post is one of the greatest spoofs ever.

  41. 41
    Incertus says:

    @smiley: So–no c-section babies? No test-tube babies? No babies whose mothers had epidurals? Lots of ways to define "natural-born" after all.

  42. 42
    r€nato says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: No one disagrees that his mother was an American citizen, right? See where I’m going here?

    the "reasoning" behind why Obama is not an American citizen is all over the place. Here’s what I have gleaned so far:

    *Obama was really born in Kenya and the birth announcement did not appear in the newspaper until several days after his birth so of course it was part of the conspiracy because his parents knew he would be president someday.

    *Obama was a student at an Indonesian school ("MADRASSAH!" ZOMG!) when he was 10. Supposedly, Indonesian schools require that one be an Indonesian citizen to attend, so therefore either Obama a) explicitly became an Indonesian citizen or b) implicitly gave up his American citizenship by attending such a school.

    As far as I know, at that time (1960), you were an American if you were born to a woman with American citizenship. If you were born on foreign soil then that merely created the possibility of dual citizenship but it in no way negated one’s American citizenship.

    The only way one can lose one’s American citizenship is to formally renounce it in front of an appropriate government representative. I don’t think one can even be forcibly stripped of citizenship, though IANAL and I could be wrong about that.

    It really makes no sense whatsoever. But, it doesn’t have to, does it?

  43. 43

    That post is one of the greatest spoofs ever.

    That’s why OrganizedTrolls(tm) were advancing the idea several years ago.

  44. 44
    amorphous says:

    @smiley: Aren’t you a "natural born citizen" if your parent is an American citizen who meets a minimal time resided in the U.S. requirement (I think it’s five years) no matter where you are born unless you don’t attempt to claim it? I know a couple in Germany, German mother, American (citizen) father who has only lived in the US for a handful of years. They had a baby, and are using the time that the father and the grandfather(!) lived in the US to prove eligibility.

    I should clarify, I don’t know the ins and outs of the law, but I would think that the fact that his mother was an American who no doubt lived many years in the US before his birth should be enough to make this question moot. (In all honesty, it is moot, but idiots don’t "do" moot.)

  45. 45
    smiley says:

    @MikeJ: Related to Doug? I hear you Js are a tight knit bunch.

    Two hours ’til + time.

  46. 46
    JenJen says:

    @John Cole: Halperin. Seconded.

  47. 47
    Leelee for Obama says:

    It validates a baseless complaint of the lunatic fringe.

    It is troll-feeding to the infinite power. These people need to get stomped on by every court there is, just so it’s in some official record somewhere that they were well and truly stomped. Also.

  48. 48

    It validates a baseless complaint of the lunatic fringe.

    Nah, I really don’t agree. I don’t see what the big whoop is here. Identity and proof of it are ubiquitous in our society now. And the means to provide it, also ubiquitous.

    If asking for documentation puts an end to the baseless complaints of lunatics, and I am certainly aware of all their traditions, then why not ask for it?

    Deciding not to do something sensible because it pleases your enemy is called cutting off the nose to spite the face, a paradigm that is surprisingly popular around here. BJ must lead the world in people without noses.

  49. 49
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    By the way, if you want to see some pretty good debunking research:

    Obama Conspiracy

    What’s Your Evidence

  50. 50
    MikeJ says:

    It validates a baseless complaint of the lunatic fringe.

    It’s a way for them to say, "It happened once and we won’t let it happen again!" It’s simply a way for them to rewrite history.

  51. 51
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    Birtherism is just a form of racism. But I am not quite seeing a problem with candidates having to prove their eligibility, as long as all candidates are required to meet the same standard, & not just brown ones.

    I’m not sure how the current law is written (McCain is eligible. George Romney was eligible.), but if there can be borderline cases, maybe it’s good to have a mechanism for sorting it out before the candidate files.

  52. 52
    gbear says:

    On the lighter side, Coleman and Franken have presented their final arguments and now it’s up to the judges to make their ruling. This may be the last day EVER that we have to officially listen to anything Coleman says.

    Coleman’s lawyers closed by telling the court that perhaps they hadn’t used enough common sense in weighing Norm’s arguments. Way to go.

  53. 53
    TenguPhule says:

    Without knowing the details of the proposed law or regulation, being too lazy to get into them right now, the idea strikes me as a good one.

    This is the same kind of thinking that got McCain Palin.

  54. 54
    TenguPhule says:

    This may be the last day EVER that we have to officially listen to anything Coleman says.

    You poor gulliable fool.

  55. 55
    smiley says:

    @Incertus: I’m no expert but I believe the traditional interpretation is born on American soil. That’s why McCain’s status wasn’t challenged seriously.

    @amorphous: Ditto. The distinction is between eligibility for citizenship vs. eligibility to be president of the United States. Different things. Like you have to be 35 years old to be president but not to be a school teacher or member of congress.

  56. 56

    He did, and of course the goalposts got moved again.

    No, the goalposts haven’t moved. In fact, there actually is no goalpost. But that’s another story.

    Just because a few fools are bitching about something doesn’t mean the goalposts have moved.

    If one didn’t know better, one would think that birthers are just spoofing the spoofers, bitching about this just to rile up the Dems and watch them howl.

    At this point, if that’s the case, I would say the birthers are ahead in this contest. All they have to do is go "peep" and the blogworld goes apeshit. Meanwhile, nothing official or significant is actually changing at all. There’s no actual challenge on the table here.

  57. 57
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Paul L.:

    I’m confused. What does this have to do with Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse Rape case? Besides going better with a side order of pie, that is. And, too, also.

  58. 58
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    If asking for documentation puts an end to the baseless complaints of lunatics, and I am certainly aware of all their traditions, then why not ask for it?

    Because, as we’ve already seen, producing the documentation doesn’t put an end to the baseless complaints of lunatics. It just makes them infer greater conspiracies.

  59. 59
    TenguPhule says:

    But I am not quite seeing a problem with candidates having to prove their eligibility, as long as all candidates are required to meet the same standard, & not just brown ones.

    They ALREADY HAVE TO DO IT. JFCNTZYM, stop getting Rickrolled already!

  60. 60
    4tehlulz says:

    Halperin or David Gregory

    Does Lou Dobbs count as a journalist?

  61. 61

    This is the same kind of thinking that got McCain Palin.

    Sometimes you are really funny, and sometimes you are just bone stupid.

    Today is B.

    No, it’s not. WTF are you talking about? Have you invented a snarkbot? If so, it needs some more WD-40, compadre, it’s stuck.

  62. 62
    kay says:

    @MikeJ:

    I don’t think they’re filing lawsuits because they’re worried about constitutional compliance. I think they’re filing lawsuits to discredit Obama. It’s a political tactic, not a legal issue. The last judge who reviewed it thought so too.

  63. 63
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @ThymeZoneThePlumber:

    "If one didn’t know better, one would think that birthers are just spoofing the spoofers, bitching about this just to rile up the Dems and watch them howl."

    Hey now. Those rats ain’t gonna fuck themselves.

  64. 64

    They ALREADY HAVE TO DO IT. JFCNTZYM,

    JesusMYM asks that you not take his name in vain. Or in vein.

    But anyway, where is this validation handled, what is the protocol, and if it is dispositive, why is it such a secret?

  65. 65

    Most wouldn’t believe it if Obama stapled an original birth certificate to their forehead.

    K

  66. 66
    r€nato says:

    These people need to get stomped on by every court there is

    they were stomped twice by the Supreme Court, which last I checked was safely dominated by conservative nutcases like Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

    zombie right-wing lies never die.

  67. 67
    Ed Drone says:

    I think, if one is going to require this of the presidential candidate, it should be required of all candidates for public office. File you candidacy petition, include your birth certificate, bingo! you’re a candidate. Then, later, when you decide to run for President, you have already qualified as far as citizenship goes.

    Ed

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    I’m no expert but I believe the traditional interpretation is born on American soil. That’s why McCain’s status wasn’t challenged seriously.

    And that’s why you fail. You can’t even take the 30 seconds to look it up:

    The following persons born in the United States are explicitly citizens:
    Children born to U.S. citizens
    Children born to aliens who are lawfully inside the United States (resident or visitor), with the intention of amicably interacting with its people and obeying its laws

    Note the first one doesn’t give any qualification of where they are born.

    And McCain’s status was challenged enough for a court to rule on it and for Congress to pass a resolution on it.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    Does Lou Dobbs count as a journalist?

    Depends on how much you have to drink first.

    Tenguphule-5(Knurd)

  70. 70

    Those rats ain’t gonna fuck themselves.

    Actually, if you listen closely these days, I think that is exactly what they are doing. To an extent unparalleled in my half century of crazed observation.

  71. 71
    AnneLaurie says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: No one disagrees that his mother was an American citizen, right? See where I’m going here?

    Wingnut: "Yes, but she was a teenage slut who did The Bad Thing with a n***** who wasn’t even an American, so her status doesn’t count. Also, what’s important is reminding everyone that his mother was a dirty n*****-lover, because that gives me starbursts. Also, shut up, that’s why."

  72. 72
    Adrienne says:

    Aren’t you a "natural born citizen" if your parent is an American citizen who meets a minimal time resided in the U.S. requirement (I think it’s five years) no matter where you are born unless you don’t attempt to claim it?

    This only applies if said parent was not a natural born citizen him/herself and is naturalized, and it would be that the five years have occurred after the age of 18.

    However, if said parent *is* a natural born citizen who has never relinquished citizenship, his/her child is a citizen automatically, no waiting period, no nothing. Therefore, Obama could have been born on Mars to an alien father and STILL been a "natural born" American citizen because his mother was herself a "natural born" American citizen.

  73. 73
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @ThymeZoneThePlumber:

    I have to wonder exactly what it would put an end to. All the relevant information that appears on the "long form" certificate already appears on the COLB that Obama released:

    Hawaii Birth Certificate

    Obama COLB

  74. 74
    r€nato says:

    where is this validation handled, what is the protocol, and if it is dispositive, why is it such a secret?

    like all the other requirements for one to be president, there is no ‘controlling government authority’ which determines in advance who can and cannot run for president. It is presumed that if one does not meet the qualifications, someone with standing – for instance, a political opponent – would file a suit in federal court which would rule on the matter.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    I think, if one is going to require this of the presidential candidate, it should be required of all candidates for public office. File you candidacy petition, include your birth certificate, bingo! you’re a candidate. Then, later, when you decide to run for President, you have already qualified as far as citizenship goes.

    Birth certificate doesn’t prove citizenship, though, which is precisely the point. You can have a birth certificate and not be a citizen. You can be a natural born citizen and not have a US birth certificate. There is no single document you can request to prove it – and it only applies to the President and Vice President. Other candidates only need to prove citizenship – and can be naturalized, which can be done as easily as a passport.

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I don’t think one can even be forcibly stripped of citizenship, though IANAL and I could be wrong about that.

    IIRC, Trop v. Dulles reached the remarkable conclusion that stripping someone of their citizenship as a punishment for a crime violated the Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but the death penalty didn’t.

  77. 77

    If I have to pee in a cup and swear out a blood oath to borrow a carpet shampoo machine at Safeway, isn’t it okay to ask for a birth certificate if somebody is running for office?

  78. 78
    Incertus says:

    @smiley: I get that–I was just being a smart-ass and pointing out that the simple claim of "natural-born citizen" isn’t as cut and dried as birthers would like it to be. If we want to play the definition game, we can go a long way down that road. Or we can use some sense. Birthers don’t like the latter option.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    The new standard appears to be, there’s no proof Obama is truly an American citizen unless any random right-wing blogger is allowed to physically inspect and handle the original birth certificate.

    I thought the new standard was that Obama had to go door-to-door with the original certificate in hand and personally show it to everyone in the US.

  80. 80
    Martin says:

    Therefore, Obama could have been born on Mars to an alien father and STILL been a "natural born" American citizen because his mother was herself a "natural born" American citizen.

    Oh yeah? Prove it. Where’s her birth certificate? The original please, and how do we know it wasn’t faked?

  81. 81
    TenguPhule says:

    If I have to pee in a cup and swear out a blood oath to borrow a carpet shampoo machine at Safeway, isn’t it okay to ask for a birth certificate if somebody is running for office?

    No. Because we’re doing it to fuck with you.

    SATSQ.

  82. 82
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Adrienne:

    Uhm, I think the residency requirement at the time was five years after age 14, and Obama’s mother was 18 when she had him.

    8 USC 1401(g)

    1986 Amendment

    But I am interested in the idea that the requirement only applies to naturalized citizens. Can you tell me how to find out more about that? It makes sense to me, and I’ve often wondered about the logic of the requirement for an American-born citizen, and whether it could withstand challenge.

  83. 83
    Leelee for Obama says:

    That’s the invisible hand of the market for ya! The carpet machine is private property, so making sure you’re worthy is important. Since we’ve seen how little the success and happiness of most Americans concerns the wingers, the country, no so much!

    It’s not the certificate request that’s a problem Thyme, it’s the fact that the certificate was supplied, and was found wanting by wingnuts.

  84. 84
    MikeJ says:

    If I have to pee in a cup and swear out a blood oath to borrow a carpet shampoo machine at Safeway, isn’t it okay to ask for a birth certificate if somebody is running for office?

    You have a constitutional right to rent carpet shampooers?

  85. 85
    r€nato says:

    McCain’s status was challenged enough for a court to rule on it and for Congress to pass a resolution on it.

    I don’t recall that anyone challenged it in court, but I’ll grant that you are correct.

    In any case, McCain’s status as an American citizen was pre-emptively decided in a Supreme Court case from, I believe, the 1930s which was in regards to what constitutes a ‘natural-born citizen.’

    If you are born on a military base which happens to be on foreign soil, you’re still an American. That was McCain’s circumstance.

    In any case, I think it says something about the two tribes that nobody on the left – not even random nobody commenters on lefty blogs – has ever seriously suggested that McCain was ineligible to be president because of the circumstances of his birth, yet the Bush dead-enders still are pounding their shoes on that particular desk with regards to Obama.

    I think that says a lot about their intellect and racial attitudes. They cannot wrap their minds around the idea of a US president who is bi-racial, born to a black African Muslim father who later became an atheist (ZOMG x 2!!!) and experienced so much of foreign cultures in his childhood and throughout his life.

    In their minds, you’re not a ‘real’ American unless you are a Christian white Republican born to two Christian, white parents and have spent most of your life inside US borders.

  86. 86
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Martin:

    Well said.

  87. 87
    Maus says:

    Nah, I really don’t agree. I don’t see what the big whoop is here. Identity and proof of it are ubiquitous in our society now. And the means to provide it, also ubiquitous.

    If asking for documentation puts an end to the baseless complaints of lunatics, and I am certainly aware of all their traditions, then why not ask for it?

    Deciding not to do something sensible because it pleases your enemy is called cutting off the nose to spite the face, a paradigm that is surprisingly popular around here. BJ must lead the world in people without noses.

    You must not be familiar with the concept of resetting goalposts. This has already been solved. There is literally nothing he could do to put their mind at ease.

    The new standard appears to be, there’s no proof Obama is truly an American citizen unless any random right-wing blogger is allowed to physically inspect and handle the original birth certificate.

    No, it’s unless EVERY single random right-winger is. In addition, they would still find someone to declare it a forgery, regardless of truth. It still would solve nothing.

  88. 88
    r€nato says:

    I’ve often wondered about the logic of the requirement for an American-born citizen, and whether it could withstand challenge.

    If you mean ‘constitutional challenge’, of course it would. It’s in the Constitution.

    As for whether it could withstand a logical challenge, that’s another story. I would not be against repealing that provision with a constitutional amendment, it’s quite archaic borne of a time when the Founding Fathers feared a kind of British-born Manchurian candidate who would convert the nation to a monarchy. Or something.

  89. 89
    smiley says:

    @Martin: Apparently the distinction between citizenship and eligibility to be president is too great for some.

    @Adrienne:

    Therefore, Obama could have been born on Mars to an alien father and STILL been a "natural born" American citizen because his mother was herself a "natural born" American citizen.

    Well, that’s the argument. The birthers take that phrase to mean that you have to be born on US territory to be eligible to be president. If they didn’t, than being born in Kenya wouldn’t matter.

    @Incertus: I realized you were being a smart ass but decided to respond as if you wern’t.

  90. 90
    Adrienne says:

    . There is no single document you can request to prove

    While there is not a single document, all one needs to do is review what the STATE DEPARTMENT uses to get a passport. You must prove citizenship and there are one of three ways to do it depending on your circumstances.

    If you were born here: Provide a certified birth certificate or certification of live birth and you’re done. Current law states that ANYONE born on American soil is an American citizen from birth. Period. Ever hear of an anchor baby?

    If you were born abroad to American parents: Upon your birth, your parents must register your birth with the American consulate in that country. They will issue a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" with all the relevant information that a standard American birth certificate has. You must provide a certified copy of that Report to get an American passport.

    If you are a total foreigner: Either a Naturalization Certificate or a Certificate of Citizenship proving that you have been through the naturalization process and are now an American citizen.

    Obama has a passport. He was issued one as a child and I’m guessing he’s had at least 4-5 issued since then. Therefore, his mother had to prove his citizenship. She MUST have provided a birth certificate. Now, since we KNOW that his State Dept file was improperly viewed, don’t you think we would know if he had be naturalized and his mother got him a passport with a damn Naturalization Certificate?! These people have a basic misunderstanding of the process.

  91. 91
    jibeaux says:

    The problem with the "natural born" thing is that the Constitution doesn’t define it. That’s all it says is "natural born." It is typically interpreted as being "not naturalized", e.g. you could be born abroad to American parents, but it is true that this isn’t a very precise term. This in no way whatsoever justifies the birth certificate beyond the pale stupidity, of course.

    And even though this unfortunately comes up pretty much in the context of the Governator and no one else, it is absolutely true and correct that there is no reason in the 21st century why we should have such a requirement for the presidency. It’s a pretty low priority of mine, but it should be amended. A citizen’s a citizen.

  92. 92
    Max says:

    I dunno. I’m starting to think it might be a good thing the birthers have this bit of nonsense to distract themselves permanently with, instead of focusing their meager little minds on anything that really matters. Plus this makes it so much easier to identify the lunatic fringe.

  93. 93
    poopsybythebay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I’m with you I do not believe there is anyway for them to save themselves or anyway for us to save ourselves from them.

  94. 94
    r€nato says:

    You must not be familiar with the concept of resetting goalposts. This has already been solved. There is literally nothing he could do to put their mind at ease.

    Exactly. This is the real-world equivalent of trolling a blog’s comments thread. They do not really care about the truth of the matter, it’s all part of a way to convince others (and most of all themselves) that Obama is not a legitimate president.

    I mean, really! Just look at his name! Barack Hussein Obama II! Does that sound American to you? And he’s a ni&&er too! And he attended school in Indonesia! And his mother was a ni&&er-lover! And his father was a Muslim, before becoming an atheist!

  95. 95
    amorphous says:

    @Adrienne: Oh ho! This makes sense.

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Uhm, I think the residency requirement at the time was five years after age 14, and Obama’s mother was 18 when she had him.

    But if Adrienne is right, then that doesn’t matter since she was a natural born citizen.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    If I have to pee in a cup and swear out a blood oath to borrow a carpet shampoo machine at Safeway, isn’t it okay to ask for a birth certificate if somebody is running for office?

    It’s the declaring that the same birth certificate that you used to get your passport isn’t sufficient proof of citizenship to be President that’s the problem here.

    Imagine if you presented your pee to Safeway, only to have them say, "Sorry, we can’t really be sure this is your pee." And then you let them follow you into the bathroom and they say, "Okay, it looked like it might have been your pee, but I glanced away for a minute. Try again." "Oh, sorry, I was on my BlackBerry. Here’s a fresh cup."

    And when you finally get it to them, they say, "Did we mention we need your wife’s pee as well? Let us know when she gets here."

    The goalposts move like Birnam Wood.

  97. 97
    r€nato says:

    Well, that’s the argument. The birthers take that phrase to mean that you have to be born on US territory to be eligible to be president. If they didn’t, than being born in Kenya wouldn’t matter.

    McCain was born in Panama, yet they never mention that and when you point this out to them, they mumble to themselves and go right back to what they were saying before you so rudely interrupted them with the truth.

  98. 98
    Adrienne says:

    But I am interested in the idea that the requirement only applies to naturalized citizens. Can you tell me how to find out more about that? It makes sense to me, and I’ve often wondered about the logic of the requirement for an American-born citizen, and whether it could withstand challenge.

    Think about it for a second. If it applied to the children of natural born American parents, then ANY and all children borne to a parent under the age of 19 are not natural born American citizens and would therefore be subject to the naturalization process DESPITE being born IN America to American borne parent(s)! How much more clear of a natural borne citizen can one be than to be born both IN America AND with one or both parents also having been born here?

  99. 99
    Maus says:

    Now, since we KNOW that his State Dept file was improperly viewed, don’t you think we would know if he had be naturalized and his mother got him a passport with a damn Naturalization Certificate?!

    Then the birthers would claim that Obama was groomed by Marxists therefore they must have planted evidence.

    This issue is driven by emotion and kneejerk hatred, not logic.

    McCain was born in Panama, yet they never mention that and when you point this out to them, they mumble to themselves and go right back to what they were saying before you so rudely interrupted them with the truth.

    Many of the truthers/birthers hated McCain as well, and plenty of them made snippy remarks about McCain’s citizenship.

  100. 100
    r€nato says:

    I dunno. I’m starting to think it might be a good thing the birthers have this bit of nonsense to distract themselves permanently with, instead of focusing their meager little minds on anything that really matters. Plus this makes it so much easier to identify the lunatic fringe.

    I am definitely with you on that one. Let them harp about birth certificates and Ayers and all that crap which got no traction in the campaign either. With any luck it will be 20 years before they figure out that the GOP has to purge the wackjobs or at least hide them under a rock, and by then the GOP will be as popular and influential as the Libertarian party.

  101. 101
    smiley says:

    @r€nato:

    McCain was born in Panama

    But at the time, Panama was US territory. Actually, I believe he was born on a US Navy hospital ship that was harbored in Panama. Also US territory.

  102. 102
    valdivia says:

    @Adrienne:

    I am so glad you pointed this out. I juts became an american citizen and got my first passport and I had to bring the certificate which they kept to make a copy and keep in their records. So the conspiracy these people are talking about involves all the branches of local, state and federal govt?

  103. 103
    SLKRR says:

    @Adrienne:

    This only applies if said parent was not a natural born citizen him/herself and is naturalized, and it would be that the five years have occurred after the age of 18.

    Maybe the law has changed since the ’60s, but since I just went through this process with my son last week, I know that the current requirement is 5 years of physical presence in the United States with at least 2 of those years after the age of 14 if only one parent is a citizen. If both parents are citizens, then there is no time requirement at all.

    But, of course, since Hawai’i is AMERICAN SOIL, this is all just blowing smoke anyway.

  104. 104
    Martin says:

    Think about it for a second. If it applied to the children of natural born American parents, then ANY and all children borne to a parent under the age of 19 are not natural born American citizens and would therefore be subject to the naturalization process DESPITE being born IN America to American borne parent(s)! How much more clear of a natural borne citizen can one be than to be born both IN America AND with one or both parents also having been born here?

    Well, actually no. Just being born here would clear them of that. But any 18 year old [cough]Bristol[/cough] giving birth on a cruise ship would have a problem. So, it still makes no sense for it to apply to parents who themselves are natural born.

    And before the morality card gets played, when the statute was written childbirth at 15, 16, 17, etc. was pretty common, and much of what we consider to be the US were territories, so clearly the authors realized this would happen quite frequently. Probably substantially more frequently today.

  105. 105
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @r€nato:

    Nothing less than allowing random wingnut bloggers to examine and handle the actual, original birth certificate will do.

    Ah yes, the Swift Boat slimers’ gift that keeps on giving …

  106. 106
    valdivia says:

    @smiley:
    Panama was never as a whole American territory. The Canal zone was but not the country itself. Just for the record.

  107. 107
    SLKRR says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    But I am interested in the idea that the requirement only applies to naturalized citizens. Can you tell me how to find out more about that? It makes sense to me, and I’ve often wondered about the logic of the requirement for an American-born citizen, and whether it could withstand challenge.

    I’m pretty sure it is not only for naturalized citizens — I am natural born American and my wife is naturalized, but I had to prove physical presence in the States in order to register my son (born abroad) as an American. The only time there are no time requirements is if both parents are natural born.

  108. 108
    amorphous says:

    @smiley: God forbid the Dems ever nominate a Puerto Rican. You think the birthers hate Islamic Kenyans, wait until there’s a Mexican nominated.

  109. 109
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @r€nato:

    I think you misunderstood. The requirement that one’s citizen parent reside in the US for a certain number of years is not in the Constitution.

  110. 110
    SLKRR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I thought the new standard was that Obama had to go door-to-door with the original certificate in hand and personally show it to everyone in the US.

    Well, that won’t work. What’s the point of showing everyone an obvious forgery? No, what Obama has to do is invent a time machine and personally transport every wingnut back in time to witness his birth firsthand.

  111. 111
    smiley says:

    @valdivia: Yes. Thought about that later. I believe the hospital ship, though, was what they claimed was US territory.

  112. 112
    MikeJ says:

    Of course we haven’t discussed one of their dumbest arguments, one that I believe is actually the basis for on the their lawsuits. They claim that US law is secondary to British law.

    Since Kenya was British territory, that made Obama père a British subject, and in wingnut land, where ever Obama fils was born, no matter the nationality of the mother, he would be a British subject. Since the wingnuts prefer British law to American, they claim he’s ineligible.

  113. 113
    r€nato says:

    But at the time, Panama was US territory.

    Panama was never US territory or a US dependency like the Phillippines. Panama was part of Colombia until the US fomented a ‘rebellion’ during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration, in order to streamline the negotiations over building the Panama Canal.

    In 1902 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt decided to take on the abandoned works of the Panama Canal that had been started by the French, but the Colombian government in Bogotá balked at the prospect of a U.S. controlled canal under the terms that Roosevelt’s administration was offering. Roosevelt was unwilling to alter his terms and quickly changed tactics, encouraging a minority of Conservative Panamanian landholding families to demand independence, offering military support. On November 3, 1903, Panama finally separated, and Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, a prominent member of the Conservative political party, became the first constitutional President of the Republic of Panama. The U.S., which had a small naval force in the area, prevented the Colombians from sending reinforcements by sea, aiding the Panamanians.

    McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Interestingly, McCain’s citizenship status seems to be more questionable than that of Obama; apparently McCain was declared to be a ‘natural-born citizen’ after the fact of his birth:

    John McCain (born 1936), who ran for the Republican party nomination in 2000 and was the Republican nominee in 2008, was born in Colón, Panama, in the Panama Canal Zone of two U.S. parents, who were at the time serving at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station. In March 2008 McCain was held eligible for Presidency in an opinion paper by former Solicitor General Ted Olson and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe. In April 2008 the U.S. Senate approved a non-binding resolution recognizing McCain’s status as a natural born citizen. In September 2008 U.S. District Judge William Alsup stated obiter in his ruling that it is "highly probable" that McCain is a natural born citizen, although he acknowledged the possibility that the applicable laws had been enacted after the fact and applied only retroactively. These views have been criticized by Gabriel J. Chin, Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, who argues that McCain was at birth a citizen of Panama and was only retroactively declared a born citizen under 8 U.S.C. § 1403, because at the time of his birth and with regard to the Canal Zone the Supreme Court’s Insular Cases overruled the Naturalization Act of 1795, which would otherwise have declared McCain a U.S. citizen immediately at birth. In any case, the US Foreign Affairs Manual states that "it has never been determined definitively by a court whether a person who acquired U.S. citizenship by birth abroad to U.S. citizens is a natural born citizen […]". In Rogers v. Bellei the Supreme Court only ruled that "children born abroad of Americans are not citizens within the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment", and didn’t elaborate on the natural born status.

    Interestingly, there was a Supreme Court case from 1939 which directly addressed one of the Obama-is-not-an-American conspiracy rationales, the one where supposedly Obama became not-an-American by virtue of attending an Indonesian school at the age of 10:

    Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325 (1939): The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that Marie Elizabeth Elg, who was born in the United States of Swedish parents naturalized in the United States, had not lost her birthright U.S. citizenship because of her removal during minority to Sweden and was entitled to all the rights and privileges of that U.S. citizenship. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decree that declared Elg "to be a natural born citizen of the United States."

  114. 114
    Adrienne says:

    The problem with the "natural born" thing is that the Constitution doesn’t define it. That’s all it says is "natural born." It is typically interpreted as being "not naturalized", e.g. you could be born abroad to American parents, but it is true that this isn’t a very precise term.

    You’re right, BUT what exactly is has meant in practice (WHO is a citizen and how one must prove said citizenship)has always been decided by Congress via legislation – and the legislation, though it has changed many times over the years, is just not that damn murky.

    So the conspiracy these people are talking about involves all the branches of local, state and federal govt?

    This coming from the same crowd who believes that gov’t is useless! The three branches of gov’t could even coordinate an effective response to Hurricane Katrina but these ass-hats want us to believe that the three branches of government (in no less than 5 states – Hawaii, Illinois, New York, California AND Massachusetts in conjunction with Indonesia!, Occidental College, the U.S. State Department, the Department of Defense, Columbia University, and the Harvard School of Law) have been coordinating for over 45+ years or so all in a top secret bid to "cover up" Obama’s alleged non-citizenship so that he could one day be elected the first Black President.

    Yeah. Sure.

  115. 115
    Adrienne says:

    is 5 years of physical presence in the United States with at least 2 of those years after the age of 14 if only one parent is a citizen

    This really is just a failsafe so that people who, say, were automatically given American citizenship at birth but never actually resided in the United States for any extended period of time but never relinquished citizenship didn’t take advantage of that by having a child in their country of residence with another non citizen and claim American citizenship for that child as well and their children and their children, and on and on and on. But, the number of people who fall into that "special" category where they would be denied citizenship are so few as to be nearly null.

  116. 116
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Adrienne:

    Well, but the provision in question applies only to children born outside US territory to a citizen parent and an alien parent.

    8 USC Sec. 1401(g)

    In fact, that same section (at (a)) specifically says a child born in the United States is a "citizen at birth."

  117. 117
    The Populist says:

    Then here’s a trade:

    You can have this stupid thing if you righties give in on new voter reforms that allow for more transparency.

    Oh and if you get this you must give in on the free choice labor bill too.

    See how easy this is?

  118. 118
    jibeaux says:

    WHO is a citizen and how one must prove said citizenship)has always been decided by Congress via legislation – and the legislation, though it has changed many times over the years, is just not that damn murky.

    Yup. But Congress isn’t deciding the issue of whether or not someone is "natural born", only setting requirements of citizenship. To my knowledge, this is the only place you find the phrase, and it really hasn’t come up, ergo no legislation and no caselaw to define what "natural born" means.

    Edit: and of course we’ve got Renato bringing his 1939 caselaw to prove me wrong…"U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decree that declared Elg "to be a natural born citizen of the United States"…so I’ll stand corrected there…

  119. 119
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @SLKRR:

    Thanks for that info.

    Do you have a sense of what the logic behind that requirement might be?

  120. 120
    Adrienne says:

    Well, but the provision in question applies only to children born outside US territory to a citizen parent and an alien parent.

    You’re right, I think I was actually referring to a previous version of the law. They’ve had to update it somewhat frequently. I had this argument on another board months ago and I’d actually looked up all the relevant legislation/changes/additions so I think I got my wires a little crossed – Sorry:-)

  121. 121
    Brian J says:

    One can only hope that there’s a very, very loud demand that Obama submit to this next time, preferably by the Republican nominee him- or herself right after he or she has won the nomination. Unless they’ve stumbled onto something real by accident, which I highly doubt, Obama will either ignore them, which will cause them dial it up a few notches, or release the birth certificate and expose them for the fools they are. Either way, the people embracing this are bound to lose.

  122. 122
    robertdsc says:

    It’s amazing how the wingnuts will go to such efforts to fulfill the Constitution on matters such as this, but the Bush administration’s crimes against the Constitution get no play whatsoever.

    Nice priorities, you fucktards.

  123. 123
    jibeaux says:

    So, wiki’s bringing the info here.

  124. 124
    gex says:

    @ThymeZoneThePlumber: We’ve already had independent authorities confirm the validity of the document. What makes you think that people who disdain the concept of expertise will trust some other group of experts?

  125. 125

    Yes, because those slackers at NSA, CIA, FBI and SS would totally let that sort of thing slide.

    However (and I haven’t read all of the comments so forgive me if I’m echoing), this won’t satisfy the birthers because Pocket full of Poseys allows for a copy of the birth certificate. Original Vault Document with Pictures of Conception and Birth or nothin’!

    such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.

    Such as a permission slip from the Ghost of Reagan. Really, I just checked Thomas and the full text of the bill hasn’t been posted yet. I can’t wait to see if he provided examples of what else would be needed to demonstrate a candidate is:

    a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, … who has attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

  126. 126
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @smiley:

    My brother was born in the Canal Zone just a few years after McCain was. Army hospital, not Navy … otherwise circumstances almost identical. He attended a service academy and served several years active duty military. Never had to prove citizenship or treated as "naturalized" citizen.

  127. 127

    I thought the new standard was that Obama had to go door-to-door with the original certificate in hand and personally show it to everyone in the US.

    And because most of those schmucks would hide behind the sofa if a black guy came to their door, he’d never be able to prove he’s eligible. WOLVERINES!

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    H.R. 1503. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution; to the Committee on House Administration.

    Doesn’t this nonsense collide with anti-abortion wingnuttery? Shouldn’t the Constitution be amended to require that a person be conceived in the United States in order to be recognized as eligible to be president?

    Now that we have cell phone cameras and digital cameras, parents could document the moment of fertilization and attach the document to Conception Certificates.

    Otherwise, all these specks of embryonic "persons" that the wingnuts want to embrace would not be "citizens" until they popped out of the womb.

    Apart from this, all I can add is:

    "This is Madness!"
    "No, this is Wingnuttia!!"

  129. 129
    SLKRR says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I think Adrienne hits on it in #114. If there was no time requirement for children born to one American parent, then my children (born abroad, but citizens at birth) could live their entire lives abroad, marry foreigners, and their children would be American citizens at birth, too. And this could then continue ad infinitum spreading the natural born American virus throughout the length and breadth of South America until one day, somebody named Hugo Fidel Morales da Silva Castro might want to run for President of the US. And that just wouldn’t do.

  130. 130
    Catsy says:

    TZ channels Ataranjuit in what I can only assume is a poor attempt at spoofing a concern troll:

    Nah, I really don’t agree. I don’t see what the big whoop is here. Identity and proof of it are ubiquitous in our society now. And the means to provide it, also ubiquitous.

    Fortunately said proof has already been provided–to the extent that it is physically possible to prove that anyone alive in the United States is truly an American citizen.

    You have a legal document vouched for by the governor of the state in which it was issued, you have newspaper announcements of birth, and you have a mountain of other circumstantial evidence that supports the fact that President Obama is the same Barack Hussein Obama that was born in Honolulu to an American mother in 1961. Short of producing a raft of witnesses to his actual birth, there is no possible way to prove that any more exhaustively than has already been done.

    There is also the fact–demonstrable again, to the extent that it is at all possible to prove such a thing–that his mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth.

    And then you have the Constitution of the United States of America, which requires only that Barack Obama be something he has already proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is.There is no amount of proof that will satisfy these black-helicopter fucktards. This is not a good faith attempt to verify identity. This is an attempt to subvert the Constitution and the last election by demanding a burden of proof that is impossible for any citizen of the United States to meet.

    If I have to pee in a cup and swear out a blood oath to borrow a carpet shampoo machine at Safeway, isn’t it okay to ask for a birth certificate if somebody is running for office?

    For president, you mean. Sure. What is not okay is to have said birth certificate produced and to then say, "that doesn’t count, I don’t believe it’s real" without bringing forth some kind of evidence to support this outlandish claim.

    What the birthers are essentially arguing, when you boil it down, is that 1) the Barack Obama who currently holds the office of President of the United States is not the same American citizen named Barack Hussein Obama who was born in Hawaii, or 2) he is, but his mother was not a citizen of the United States and therefore neither is he.

    You have to be functionally brain dead–or a partisan Republican (but then, to paraphrase Samuel Clemens, I repeat myself)–in order to credibly believe either of these arguments. They would be ludicrous on their face even in the absence of a birth certificate (or certificate of live birth, if you prefer), and with one they enter the realm of drooling pathological dysfunction.

    No, I don’t want to hear it and neither does anyone else, so don’t even try to defend sticking up for their batshit insanity with this kind of pathetic concern trolling. The degree to which it is possible to take you seriously has decreased with every comment you’ve made on this thread. Just slink off somewhere and stop embarrassing yourself until you get your head out of your ass and realize that you’re making 9/11 truthers sound cogent.

  131. 131
    El Cid says:

    Until Barack Obama gives me his original Social Security card, his vault copy certificate of live birth, a blood sample and DNA map, his drivers’ license #, and his ATM card with PIN number, I’m afraid I’ll have to remain skeptical that he is truly Our Preznit.

  132. 132
    Adrienne says:

    Hugo Fidel Morales da Silva Castro

    Or alternatively, someone named " Shah Hussein Mahmoud Allah Saddam Khatani Akbar Ahmadenijad" and all holy la-la-la-la "There is no God but Allah" hell would break loose!

  133. 133
    anonevent says:

    @MikeJ: LOL

    @r€nato: Where did you get all this stuff, especially that last part about McCain’s status?

  134. 134
    Michael says:

    Get it straight, y’all.

    What birthers want is simple – a white person born of 2 white parents with a ‘Murkan sounding name who goes to a ‘Murkan-style church.

    And they’re still not fond o’ them Roman Catholic papist idolaters. Those "know nothing" nativist riots of the 1850s happened for a reason – ‘coz great grandpappy so-n-so said so, and family done passed it down for many a year.

    Yee-haw.

  135. 135
    Farley says:

    @Mnemosyne: I like what you did there.

    And all that is why I just call Stanley Steemer. Because I have a small bladder.

  136. 136
    Michael says:

    What the birthers are essentially arguing, when you boil it down, is that 1) the Barack Obama who currently holds the office of President of the United States is not the same American citizen named Barack Hussein Obama who was born in Hawaii, or 2) he is, but his mother was not a citizen of the United States and therefore neither is he.

    A side argument is now being made that even if he were born in Hawaii:

    1. His father was a citizen of British Kenya, conveying dual nationality, and some philosophies of the mid 1700s would prevent a dually allegient person from being a "naturally born" citizen; or

    2. His stepfather claimed he was a citizen of Indonesia, so it destroyed his US citizenship.

    Teh stupid, it burnz!!!!!!

  137. 137
    The Populist says:

    Catsy,

    It all boils down to this:

    The right make promises to their corporate/moneyed masters. They can’t keep the promises because the riff-raff voted for a black/closeted muslim/foreigner who is a socialist/communist/liberal/nazi/black nationalist/insert more slurs here type.

    You see, these folks are pissed because their redneck followers don’t want to accept that there is a better way to who they support because being told your entire life that liberalism is a threat to our way of life is enough for you. On top of that, the right are power mad. They run for office only to win. They fight to be #1 like this was some kind of sporting season where they have to always be #1.

    They exhibit signs of being big, spoiled babies. They can rip on the dems all they want but they fear that America will finally see the right’s true colors. The right FEAR that if Obama succeeds, he will be the second Dem Prez who has proven he can manage things in Washington while being fair to ALL AMERICANS (even the dumbasses).

    You see, the right lose their moneyed influence because the big corporations just accept things and move onto corrupt the left. The right will only have the whack jobs and Fred Phelps types voting for them out of fear of homos, commies and those who would take their guns and bibles away.

    It’s sad these asshats can’t work with people to find solutions that benefit everybody. Nope, they don’t believe in compromise nor do they believe in watering any of their beliefs down. It’s their way or nothing.

    Yep, it’s all about them and fuck America.

  138. 138
    tavella says:

    @smiley: smiley
    But at the time, Panama was US territory. Actually, I believe he was born on a US Navy hospital ship that was harbored in Panama. Also US territory.

    Nope. It’s an extreme weirdity of the citizenship laws of the time. Panama Zone was not in fact US territory for the purposes of granting citizenship; this was well established law. And the law when McCain was born was that if you were born in the US, you were a citizen, and if you were born beyond US jurisdiction of two citizen parents, you were a citizen — but the PZ was not beyond US jurisdiction.

    In 1937, Congress realized they had fucked up, and wrote a law that fixed it, and made it retroactive. But at the time he was born in 1936, McCain was not a citizen. Can you make someone retroactively natural-born, is the issue?

    Now, it was never going to be seriously considered, because A) the Supremes have always deferred to Congress on defining citizenship, and Congress made it clear they considered him retroactively natural-born and B) most people revolt from the basic unfairness of disenfranchising someone just because their parents were billeted abroad while serving the government.

    And while I was writing that, someone else posted the same thing. Oh, well. Here’s a link, though, for more detail:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07.....ccain.html

  139. 139
    anonevent says:

    @Adrienne:

    blockquote
    Or alternatively, someone named " Shah Hussein Mahmoud Allah Saddam Khatani Akbar Ahmadenijad Obama" and all holy la-la-la-la "There is no God but Allah" hell would break loose!
    /blockquote (Blockquotes and bold don’t work together)

    Fixed to explain this entire discussion.

  140. 140
    Mark in SJ says:

    Who will be the first "serious journalist" (cough cough) to push this?

    Lou "Cranky Fuckstick" Dobbs.

  141. 141
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Adrienne:

    Not to nitpick, but the previous version also applied to a child born outside US territory to a citizen parent and an alien parent:

    History notes, 8 USC Sec. 1401
    (see 1986, 1978 amendments)

  142. 142
    b-psycho says:

    I’ll take that as a "no".

  143. 143
    Dave says:

    I just had this birther argument with someone else on another board, and did a little research myself. Believe it or not, under a specific set of circumstances, there’s an actual argument to be made assuming you give them a very big GIMMIE.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP LAW AND AMERICANS OVERSEAS ( http://www.aca.ch/hisuscit.htm )

    The deal is this:

    In 1790, the Immigration and Naturalization act was passed. It said that children born overseas were declared to be citizens, as long as the father was a US citizen.

    In 1934, the act was amended to allow citizenship for a child born overseas to a US citizen and an alien, as long as the US citizen had resided in the US previous to the birth of the child. (This also specifically allowed for the mother to make the US citizen claim, where previously only the father could.)

    In 1940, it was amended to say that the above circumstances applied only if the US citizen was a resident for 10 years, five of which had to be after the age of 16.

    In 1952, the residence addition was modified to say that the five years had to be after the age of 14.

    These are the rules under which Obama was born.

    The Birther argument hinges entirely on the assumption that Obama was actually born in Kenya, not Hawaii. The argument goes that if he were born overseas to a father who was not a citizen, his mother violated the five-year residence rule because she was 18 when Obama was born.
    This makes Obama ineligible to be considered a natural born citizen, and thus ineligible for the presidency.

    Like I said above, though, the argument only works if you agree that he was born in Kenya. Which, if you do, means you should be brained with a nine iron.

  144. 144
    libarbarian says:

    This is not a good faith attempt to verify identity. This is an attempt to subvert the Constitution and the last election by demanding a burden of proof that is impossible for any citizen of the United States to meet.

    Catsy,

    Come on. This law is stupid, but its hardly any attempt to subvert the Constitution. Its a meaningless gesture that would be essentially impotent even if it were to pass.

    Even if such a law gets passed, in the end any "verification" will be done by career government bureaucrats and not rightwing populist wingnuts, so the fact that wingnuts won’t accept any proof doesn’t really mean much. The government bureaucrats will do what every bureaucrat that has had to check Obamas documents has done since his childhood – verify that he’s a citizen. The wingnuts will do what they have been doing – refuse to accept it and continue to rant.

    The problem with this bill is that it’s a waste of fucking time and just another sign that the GOP is run by fucking jokes.

  145. 145
    Zifnab says:

    And then you have the Constitution of the United States of America, which requires only that Barack Obama be something he has already proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he is.

    Pfff… the Constitution doesn’t say that. Where’s your proof? And don’t try to link me to one of those phoney baloney online Constitutions either. I want to see the real one, as signed by all the Founding Fathers and every President, with Thomas Jefferson, Benijamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington to vouch for it. And don’t try to pawn one of those fake Jeffersons, Franklins, Lincolns, or Washingtons off on me. I know my shit.

  146. 146
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Martin: How do we know it wasn’t faked.

    This is just it. Barring a lack of definition for Natural Born–which is bad enough–what is the procedure for challenging said filings? Lordy, they better not set up a requirement for providing documentation without providing an organized mechanism for challenging said.

    I say we test the process out on McCain and Obama, mostly because I want to see more wingnut heads explode when McCain fails it.

  147. 147
    Catsy says:

    Come on. This law is stupid, but its hardly any attempt to subvert the Constitution. Its a meaningless gesture that would be essentially impotent even if it were to pass.

    You misunderstand. The subject "this" in my sentence was referring to the argument and lawsuits being advanced by the birthers, not the legislation that started this thread. I thought that was overwhelmingly made clear by the part immediately following "subvert the Constitution" that said "and the last election", let alone that the substance of my entire comment that was directed towards birthers and their idiocy.

  148. 148
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Just got back to the computer and greeted with news that the expanding wingnut star has finally gone Supernova. My Flying Bullshit Protection Device is adorned and set for high impact/Badgers!

  149. 149
    MikeJ says:

    mostly because I want to see more wingnut heads explode when McCain fails it.

    But the real wingnuts see JSM as insufficiently pure. They would happy to let his veep take over after voiding the last election.

  150. 150
    burnspbesq says:

    @Martin:

    Well, not exactly. No one disputes that McCain is a citizen. The issue is whether he was native-born.

    Aren’t all true Republicans supposed to be originalists? And if you’re an originalist, doesn’t "native-born" take the meaning it would have had to the Framers, i.e., what it meant in the English common law as of 1787? If that’s the standard, it’s not at all clear that McCain would have been understood to be native-born. Go read Blackstone.

    It’s just another example of Republican opportunistic, hypocriticial legal analysis.

  151. 151
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Interestingly, had this law been in place, George Romney (Mitt’s father) and second in line for the republican nomination behind Nixon, would have been barred from running due to his birth in Mexico.

    Wtf he was doing running when he couldn’t take office, does make one wonder. He couldn’t fall back on military parents (just polygamist colonizers runnin’ from the law) as an out to the constitution, like the birthers are willing to do for Panama John.

  152. 152
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Aaaand, another birther lawsuit bites the dust:

    On March 13, California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney tentatively ruled against Alan Keyes, in the lawsuit concerning whether President Barack Obama meets the constitutional qualifications to be president, and whether the California Secretary of State should have put him on the ballot. The case is Keyes v Bowen, 34-2008-8000096-CU-WM-GDS. . . .

    The decision says, . . . [“]The Court finds that the First Amended Petition fails to state a cause of action against the Secretary of State…Federal law establishes the exclusive means for challenges to the qualifications of the President and Vice President. That procedure is for objections to be presented before the U.S. Congress pursuant to 3 U.S.C. section 15.”

    Ballot Access news

    Well, until Keyes appeals, anyway.

  153. 153
    Joshua Norton says:

    And don’t try to pawn one of those fake Jeffersons, Franklins, Lincolns, or Washingtons off on me. I know my shit.

    You forgot Jesus.

    I’m so NOT kidding. I was trolling through a wingnut chat room a while ago and someone actually said Jesus and Lincoln helped write the Constitution. I’m presuming the writer was about 12, but that seems to be the wingnut go-to demographic for ideological authority and advice now.

  154. 154
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Brachiator:

    Doesn’t this nonsense collide with anti-abortion wingnuttery? Shouldn’t the Constitution be amended to require that a person be conceived in the United States in order to be recognized as eligible to be president?

    I think your on to something. Wingnut logic would of course kick in to claim, if it’s good enough a rule for presnit candidates then it should be good enough for innocent fetus’s as well. After that why not the hordes of Embryos currently on little people death row awaiting execution by dippsy dumpster, or the coming Mengele experiments of death cult democrats. We may even get a tea party out of this.

  155. 155
    Zifnab says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Appeals on what grounds? God, at least now I know why Republicans hate lawyering. They’re so fucking bad at it.

  156. 156
    kay says:

    @Catsy:

    I don’t think the legislation is meaningless. I think it’s intended to pander to lunatics who lost an election and refuse to accept the result.

    I don’t think that’s what Congress is for, and I resent the fact that we’re kowtowing to crazy people. That isn’t a good approach to use with crazy people. They never stop.

  157. 157
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Paul L.:

    Remember progressives with Diebold and Selected not Elected?

    Got any proof that Diebold (and other election vendors’) equipment is secure? No? Well, that’s because there isn’t any. Voting on that equipment is just like swallowing v***ra that you bought from some Russian spammer over the ‘net.

    Oh, and Bush was, in fact, selected by the Supreme Court in 2000 in the Mother of All Illegitimate Decisions. And there’s a good argument that he was also selected in 2004 by manipulating voting equipment availability in Ohio. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2005/08/0080696

  158. 158
    Tonal Crow says:

    Hey, what’s with this "You do not have permission to edit this comment" business?

  159. 159
    sparky says:

    @Leelee for Obama: i was going to say "ha ha!" but then i remembered that my congresscritter is Ileana. ugh.

  160. 160
    gwangung says:

    Got any proof that Diebold (and other election vendors’) equipment is secure? No? Well, that’s because there isn’t any. Voting on that equipment is just like swallowing v***ra that you bought from some Russian spammer over the ‘net.

    Gotta ask…what kind of numbskull would be satisfied with that kind of security?

    And why do some mental defectives think it’s a partisan issue?

  161. 161
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    OK so as far as I can tell this text (I can’t figure out the name of the statute, but it seems to have been passed on 10 February 1855) seems to cover Romney & McCain, unless you subscribe to Chin’s reasoning in the NYT article that the CZ was outside the limits but inside the jurisdiction of the US. (That seems nuts to me, but leaves me agreeing with Ted Olson.)

    All children heretofore born or hereafter born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States whose fathers were or may be at the time of their birth citizens thereof are declared to be citizens of the United States but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to children whose fathers never resided in the United States.

    The Romney case is more easily understood because of the clarity regarding jurisdiction. His parents were citizens born in the Utah Territory, moved to Mexico as teens before their marriage. He was born there & moved back to the US with his family at the age of three. So that would make him a citizen at birth, & hence eligible. Yes? Or have I missed something?

  162. 162

    @Tonal Crow: That article makes me so mad (again) I want to ‘Poon something.

  163. 163
    Tonal Crow says:

    @gwangung:

    Gotta ask…what kind of numbskull would be satisfied with that kind of security?

    You have to wonder. But election systems and procedures are truly a snake (oil)-pit of poor security. And some of the most widely-acclaimed "fixes" — such as "voter-verified" paper trails, ballot printers, and "end-to-end" crypto DREs — do little or nothing to improve things, and, in some cases, create new vulnerabilities.

    And why do some mental defectives think it’s a partisan issue?

    Because, by and large, e-voting systems have been used to cheat Democrats, and Republicans want to keep it that way. Of course, everyone *should* want fair, clean, secure, citizen-supervised elections. But since when do Republicans do what they should do, as opposed to what they think will get them power?

  164. 164
    Will says:

    @camchuck:

    The new standard appears to be, there’s no proof Obama is truly an American citizen unless any random right-wing blogger is allowed to physically inspect and handle the original birth certificate.

    And that wouldn’t work for them either. We all know what they would say: the original isn’t real. That’s the whole point for them, to get to a place where the truth is whatever they say it is.

  165. 165
    Reticulan Party voter says:

    but wait, the bill would only require a "copy" and we all know "copies" can be "faked".

  166. 166
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As has been said it does not matter WHAT Obama did or does the birthers will simply keep moving the goalposts (which they have famously done during this entire debacle)

    1) He wasn’t born in Hawaii – show your birth certificate.

    He does *move goalposts*

    2) Its a forgery show us the long form vault copy!

    Then one of their "investigators" (one of THEIRS mind) digs into the Hawaii newspaper archives and comes up with the birth announcement *move goalposts*

    3) It was planted, see the font is different, it looks like its been cut and pasted and besides you lost your citizenship when you went to School in Indonesia (where the school record says place of Birth Hawaii)

    Turns out you can’t lose your citizenship as a child. *move goalposts*

    4) You were adopted and lost your citizenship then.

    Wrong *move goalposts*

    5) HA HA according to The Law of Nations (written by some Swiss dude in 1758) in order to be a natural born citizen you HAVE to have been born on US Soil from TWO natural born citizen parents, and this 300+ year old treatise trumps the US Constitution, US Law, the Supreme Court and all of you so there HA.

    PS) If Jindal ever runs for president these peoples heads will explode with the force of the irony.

    PPS) A poster called Koyaan over at politjab has the most incredible avatar it basically is a cartoon guy furiously typing on his keyboard until his arms are bloody knubs and then smashes their head into the keyboard until they are dead – those are the birthers.

  167. 167

    For president, you mean. Sure. What is not okay is to have said birth certificate produced and to then say, "that doesn’t count, I don’t believe it’s real" without bringing forth some kind of evidence to support this outlandish claim.

    Yes, I mean for president. And, if there is a process set up for this, which cannot be subverted by either (a) someone who is not eligible trying to fool the process, or (b) someone who has an agenda against an eligible person trying to screw that person, and the thing is decided and done, then … it’s done. And we don’t have to listen to this shit any more.

    What the birthers are essentially arguing, when you boil it down, is that 1) the Barack Obama who currently holds the office of President of the United States is not the same American citizen named Barack Hussein Obama who was born in Hawaii, or 2) he is, but his mother was not a citizen of the United States and therefore neither is he.

    AFAIC, this debate isn’t about Obama. That issue is settled, he’s the President and there is no viable challenge on the table. This is all about going forward, and thwarting the lunatics by taking their "concern" and using it against them.

    Whatever sensible rules are put in place, they will not be retroactive, nor will they apply to a current president who can still run for another term. The rules go into effect in 2016.

  168. 168

    I don’t know if anyone has said it through the thread, so forgive me if it has, but this is awesome! Democrats ought to make sure this is passed before 2012, so that Obama can comply with it when he runs from re-election. It will just make the wingnuts that much crazier, making it that much easier for Democrats in that cycle. Or Malkin’s head will explode. It’s a no lose scenario.

  169. 169

    the birthers will simply keep moving the goalposts

    I’m here all day, and I am going to keep flattening this stupid goalpost meme.

    There is no goalpost. There is no field of play. The issue has been settled, and nothing about the current presidency is going to change WRT to this issue.

    There may be a cartoon somewhere with a goalpost that somebody thinks is moving. But you see, that’s a cartoon. If you will look at the real world, you will see … no game. No field. No goal. No goalpost.

    JHC.

  170. 170
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    "their" = his ”they are” = he is (obviously)

  171. 171
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Please insert your original Birth Certificate into the CD Drive of your computer for verification of your status.

  172. 172
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Dennis-SGMM:

    Please insert your original Birth Certificate into the CD Drive of your computer for verification of your status.

    Thanks. I logged onto my hardened computer, put Bobby Jindal’s birth certificate in, and then I got this:

    General protection fault in module enemycombatant.dll.

    Hmmmmmm. Maybe those presidential-power enthusiasts should have considered that GOPers wouldn’t always hold the presidency….

  173. 173

    Does anyone have a database that crosstabs the people who wanted to amend the Constitution to allow Arnold to become president, who are now birthers?

  174. 174
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @amorphous:

    @smiley: Aren’t you a "natural born citizen" if your parent is an American citizen who meets a minimal time resided in the U.S. requirement (I think it’s five years) no matter where you are born unless you don’t attempt to claim it?

    Scratch the minimal time requirement. It did not exist at the time, nor does it exist now.

    Look, I know this has been done before, but let’s hit the high points, ok?

    If born in the United States, the child is a natural born US citizen regardless of parental nationality. That’s a constitutional issue, and the 14th amendment applies. The question of "what if it’s two non-US citizen parents" was decided by the Supreme court in 1898 (not a typo) in United States v. Wong Kim Ark. There have been attempts to pass laws that modify that decision, but none have succeeded. If he was born in Hawaii, he is a natural born citizen.

    2) If he was born in Kenya, things do get a little stickier. The law that took effect in 1952 does state that among other things,
    "(7) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States, who prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years."

    This is why there is such a push to "prove" the stuff in the state of Hawaii is fraudulent. Here’s the big problem I have with it. I deal regularly with people doing genealogy so as to join certain organizations. (DAR and SoCV in particular.) They are VERY restrictive as to what documentation they will accept in regard to genealogical traces. The material provided by Barack Obama would satisfy that step entirely. The truly ironic part is the people objecting who hold membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Bluntly, if they insist on these standards for Obama, they need to be under the same for their own organization.

    Oh, wait, SoCV isn’t the presidency. (/sarcasm)

  175. 175
    The Cat Who Would Be Tunch says:

    @jibeaux: I highly doubt any politician would be able to advance such an amendment, at least not for a decade or two at the absolute minimum. Can you imagine the rhetoric that would be spewed on this topic? "First they sent all our jobs abroad. Now we’re importing our Presidents?" Right…

    @Paul L.: And just because I feel like piling on (It’s Friday, baby!), in addition to what Tonal Crow said, eat this. I would love to be in charge of this machine if it were made to, say, also collect your health insurance information. "Oops, I accidentally pressed the delete button. According to our records, you never had an account with us, which means you never paid us any premiums, which means that your $1,000,000 surgey will not be covered by us. We apologize for the inconvenience."

  176. 176
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Tonal Crow:
    Heaven help me; that would not be the weirdest Win error message I’ve ever received.

  177. 177
    David says:

    Here is the document that Nancy Pelosi and Boehner signed off on saying Obama is eligible to be POTUS:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/9344.....y-Eligible

    We’ve looked at the matter of whether or not Obama is eligible and we agreed he is. It can’t be revisited now.

  178. 178
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @David:

    Well, according to the California (lower) court that just smacked down Alan Keyes, it could have been revisited had an objection been lodged when the electoral college results were submitted to Congress. And that’s about it.

    See my link @ 152.

  179. 179

    […] It’s not a joke. It’s a bill. […]

  180. 180
    BIGJER says:


    WHY IS IT THAT THOSE WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA ARE SO SCARED TO LET THE TRUTH BE FOUND OUT ?
    IF YOU LOOK AT THE PALM OF YOUR HAND AND THEN TURN IT OVER,ITS STILL A HAND, BUT A DIFFERENT VIEW…..ALL ON HERE SEEM TO SEE "OBAMA" ON THE PALM OF THEIR HAND, AND WHEN TURNED OVER, IT SAYS HERE IS A "DIFFERENT VIEW" OF THE EXACT SAME SITUATION ,
    AND YOU ALL SEEM TO HAVE THE ANSWER THAT HE IS ELIGIBLE…..

    WHY DOES HE SPEND $ 800,000 TO DEFEND HIS ORIGINAL B.C. IN HAWAII, HIS PASSPORTS ARE ALL VAULTED, HIS SCHOOL RECORDS FROM ALL 3 COLLEGES ARE SEALED, WHY? WHAY DOES THIS MAN HAVE TO HIDE …..
    WHAT IS HE SCARED OF …….?
    I AM AN INDEPENDENT AND DIDNT VOTE FOR EITHER THIS TIME, BUT AT LEAST I LOOKED AT THE POSSIBILITIES THAT OBAMA HAS IN TRUTH HAS ALL INFO THAT WAS DEMANDED AS A POTUS CANDIDATE, VAULTED AND SEALED AND WILL PROTECT IT TILL HELL FREEZES OVER….AND NO ONE EVER COMPLETELY "VETTED" HIM…..

    SINCE HE WAS A SENATOR , AGAIN NEVER VETTED, EVERYONE ASSUMES THAT HE WAS ELIGIBLE, UNTIL SOME STARTED QUESTIONING WHERE IS HIS PROOF….HE HAS NONE…!!!!
    SO, UNTIL HE RELEASES ALL OF HIS INFO FROM A TO Z, THERE WILL BE WONDERMENT…..

    THE SUPREME COURT ALREADY KNOWS THE TRUTH AND FEARS ANOTHER RIOT FROM THE "WHITEYS" IF THE TRUTH EVER GETS OUT….I THINK THEY WILL WAIT UNTIL HE SERVES ONE TERM, THEN THE REAL STUFF WILL PREVENT HIM FROM A SECOND TERM AND "WHITEY" CANT BE BLAMED FOR THAT….
    WHATS REALLY FRIGHTENING IS ALL OF THE BILLS THAT HE SIGNED ARE ALL MOOT THEN, PLUS A FORMER MUSLIM IN INDONESIA WILL NOW LEARN ALL OF THE U.S. MILITARY SECRETS, AND THAT IN ITSELF MALKES FOR A TERRIFYING SITUATION.

    HOW DO WE RE-COUP THE 1.3 TRILLION THAT WAS SPEND WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTING FOR IT……ITS LOST, WE ARE BANKRUPT AND WELL, YOU FIGURE OUT WHATS NEXT, ITS THE REAL "CHANGE "THAT YOU ALL VOTED FOR…….

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