Thursday, March 27, 2008

I don't pretend to be a political wonk. I can't pull specifics about when senate bills were enacted, or which senators introduced them, out of my ass at a moment's notice. I can't tell you what, exactly, Herbert Hoover did, or didn't do, that makes his name synonymous with "lousy president," although I do know that comparing a politician to Hoover is not a compliment. But I am opinionated and I can write a fairly cohesive blog post ... soooooo ... since politics is taking up a lot of my time and attention these days (and, what the hell, everyone else is blogging about it whether they're qualified or not) ...

I read yet another comment on yet another political blog today that said:

Obama still gets a pass no matter what he has hidden in his past, nor what he says and does today. The hatchet men are out in full force against Sen. Clinton. I am becoming firmly convinced that all these so-called Liberals, are neocons in disguise. They are rooting for Obama, because they know in the upcoming debates, even McCain will make mince meat out of him. Good bye my once wonderful country.

A pass??

What other candidate has had such a thorough geneology vetting, or had every DNA strand dissected under the media microscope? When did you last read a news article speculating about why Hillary Clinton's elderly and infirm relatives aren't stumping for her or whether she has distant relatives in other countries? Has anyone questioned the legitimacy of McCain's parents' marriage or interviewed the girl he dated in high school (assuming she's still alive and coherent)?

Hell's bells, I know more about Barack Obama's family tree than I do my own. I know how his grandparents on both sides felt about the inter-racial marriage of their children. I know who his second or third cousin once or twiced removed is, and what his politics are from halfway around the globe. I know every school he ever attended, who his high school friends were, what freakin' brand of cigarettes he used to smoke and what flavor ice cream he bought Michelle on their first date. The man barely knew his father, but I know all the sordid details even he didn't know about Barack Sr.'s drinking problem and domestic abuse issues. I don't know that shit about Clinton or McCain, nor do I want or need to. If it has any relevance at all, it's that it took a lot of self-discipline for him not to end up just one more fucked up victim of his childhood, boozing away his identity crisis and taking out his abandonment and anger management issues on his wife and kids. He ought to win the presidency by virtue of his ability to rise above his circumstances if nothing else.

And, by the way, when did Hawaii's legitimacy as a state of this union become questionable?

Numerous actions and admissions by the U.S. government since 1893 indicate that Hawaii is not a lawful territory or state of the U.S. and that Hawaii is actually a foreign country under hostile occupation by the U.S. Therefore, the claim that Hawaii is a state of the U.S. is fraudulent.
I'm beginning to think that before they can vote (or leave their homes unattended) natural-born citizens ought to have to take the same basic civics test naturalized citizens take. Here's another specious explanation of Obama's non-citizenship, culled from that soiree of sophistry we call, ironically, the Women Who Enjoy Thinking forum on AOL. The circuitous reasoning here is really pretty heady stuff. All buckled in? Okay, here goes:

Sen. Obama's biological father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., was a native of Kenya and returned to his own country (via Harvard) after Barack Jr. was born in Hawaii. Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Muslim and member of the Luo tribe with political aspirations in Kenya, was not a citizen of the United States and was not a descendant of American slaves, as some people seem to believe. So one can't say that Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was an African-American or even a Kenyan-American. He was 100% Kenyan, plain and simple, and abandoned his half-American son when he went home to the wife and family he already had in Kenya.

Sen. Obama's biological mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was the descendant of an old American family. She was the only child of Stanley and Madelyn (Payne) Dunham. I read somewhere that Madelyn Dunham, Barack's white grandmother whom he dissed in his speech, was vice president of a bank and financed his education. Apparently, Barack Obama Jr. had no white siblings. His half-siblings are Kenyan and Indonesian, born to Muslim fathers.

It's not clear whether Barack's biological father and mother were ever actually married and then divorced, even though some articles refer to them that way. Two genealogists who did Obama family trees gave no date or reference to marriage / divorce records, which professional genealogists would normally do; and I saw Barack himself quoted as saying something to the effect that he was reluctant to look into it too carefully because of what he might find.

Barack's mother thereafter married a Muslim man from Indonesia, Lolo Soetoro, and moved there with him, where she had a baby, Barack's younger half-white sister. Barack attended Muslim school in Indonesia as "Barry" Soetoro, but it's not clear whether his mother's husband adopted him. At any rate, she sent him back to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents, and I read that he took the name Barack Hussein Obama Jr. sometime after returning to Hawaii.

Barack Hussein Obama Jr. claims U.S. citizenship by virtue of being born in Hawaii (although there are those who dispute that claim). I read that he also has Kenyan
citizenship under a Constitution adopted in 1963 and that he has never renounced
his Kenyan citizenship.

So Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is half American and half Kenyan by birth and also by citizenship.

Well, as a matter of fact, Obama does have dual-citizenship. Many people do, including Hizzoner the Governator. However, natural-born US citizenship trumps foreign citizenship if you live in the US and have US citizenship by birthright. Here's a refresher course for anyone who's forgotten their junior high civics class. I realize it's not as interesting as the rant above, but here's what the 14th amendment to the US Constitution says about the citizenship of children:

Birthright citizenship in the United States of America follows from the rule of jus soli whereby any person born within the United States and subject to its jurisdiction is automatically granted US citizenship. This status is unaffected by the legal status or the citizenship of that individuals mother or father. Children born to foreign diplomats or to hostile enemy forces or born on U.S. territory while it is under the control of a foreign power are not considered subject to U.S. jurisdiction and therefore are not citizens at birth.

Birthright citizenship of individuals born outside of the United States is passed from mother to child following from the rule of jus sanguinis (right of blood). Jus sanguinis is not conveyed to individuals born out side the US where only the father is a US citizen.

In addition, birthright citizenship is conveyed to children adopted from foreign countries and brought to the United States by US citizens, and to children of "unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years, until shown, prior to attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the United States."

Following are the requirements for the office of US President:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Since there's not enough time to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (or for Hawaii to secede from the Union) before November, I think we can safely assume that Barack Obama's "claim" to citizenship is going to hold up. His birth certificate proves he's over the age of thirty-five. He's been spotted on various occasions over the past fourteen years hanging around voting and drafting legislation in the Illinois and US Senate, engaging in suspicious home-buying schemes with Tony Rezko and getting his weekly dose of anti-American indoctrination by Rev. Jeremiah Wright on Sunday's. Eligibility case closed ... find another loophole, assholes.

Speaking of Rev. Wright, Obama certainly hasn't been given a pass on his religious affiliations, unlike McCain and Clinton. One of the inalienable rights holding up the foundation of this country is Freedom of Religion, and yet everyone from major news affiliates to the outer fringes of the blogosphere have weighed in on Senator Obama's choice of church and pastor.

Up there in the requirements for the office of President you can clearly see that those
dunder-headed framers of the Constitution completely forgot to include a requirement for (or against) any religious affiliation. They treated the office of President as if it were a secular office! You think they intended for the President to fairly govern the entire population, whether that President is Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Unitarian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Quaker, Hindu, Shinto, Zoroastrian, Church of Satan, Wiccan, snake-handlin' Church of God with Signs Following or atheist. Well, okay ... Obama is fully prepared to do that. If you listen to the keynote address he gave before the Sojourner's group in Washington, DC, he clearly states that one's personal religious practice and beliefs have no place in forming public policy. He is perfectly capable of separating the way he chooses to practice his freedom of religion on Sunday from his job in the government. I doubt most of us know as much about the Sunday habits of our neighbors, our co-workers, or the CEO's we work for as we do now about Obama's ... nor do we need to in order to live our lives, do our jobs and let others live and do theirs. You'd hardly know it, but we still claim to separate church and state in this country.

Still, the media and the true patriots and the white folks are hammering away at the "pastor problem" on the basis that they wouldn't choose that church or that pastor. Well, hell, I wouldn't choose any of their pastors, either. I don't do church ... but if I did I'd be more likely to frequent a black church than a white one ... they're just a ton less boring. Nevertheless, after cherry-picking a few out-of-context statements from a handful of sermons Wright gave in his thirty-five years of sermonizing, stringing them together to give the worst possible impression of Rev. Wright, and handing Obama as much flak as he's been taking for them, you'd think he wrote the motherfuckers. Did he hear them? Maybe. Maybe not. He probably takes some Sundays off.

I did hear them. I've listened to the "offending" sermons in their entirety, and I didn't find them remotely as offensive as the hate-filled rantings of Jerry Falwell (may he slowly roast in hell like a pig on a spit), James Dobson, Pat Robertson or that lunatic, Fred Phelps. How in the hell is Rev. Wright's call for god to damn America any more inflammatory than the Crispy Coalition and Pocus in the Fanny's declaration that he already has?

Every jot and tittle of Obama's personal life -- including the name he inherited and had nothing to do with -- is being dragged through the muck because he has no real scandals, no real political blunders, no extramarital sexual improprieties with hookers or staffers or queers (oh my), no shady past and no real dishonor to attack. If that's being "given a pass" then by all means, let's stop doing it right this minute, and let's start treating him like Hillary Clinton ... the entitled heir to the White House who can "mis-speak," flip-flop like a trout in a skillet all day long and then hop into bed with Richard Scaife for a little "no hard feelings" editorial board reunion:

This alone has to amount to some sort cosmic encounter like
something out of a Wagner opera. Remember, this is the guy who spent millions of
dollars puffing up wingnut fantasies about Hillary's having Vince Foster whacked
and lots of other curdled and ugly nonsense. Scaife was the nerve center of the
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Perhaps the reason the original commenter (waaaay up at the top of this post) didn't feel Obama's being raked over the coals enough is that he just keeps on smiling that big infectious smile and doesn't appear to be suffering. It's not his style. His style is to respond rather than react, to understand that attacks come from fear, and to give those attacks exactly the measure of response they deserve, knowing full well that most of them say more about the people who launch them than they do about him.

My earnest belief is that, if Obama goes down in defeat, it's not because he doesn't deserve the office ... it's because this country doesn't deserve him. And in that event, we will most surely get what we do deserve ... another unending round of fraud and deception, broken promises, White House drama, pandering to the military-industrial complex and special interests, self-serving politics, increased poverty for the middle and lower class, increased wealth for the wealthy, escalating war, global enmity, recession and impotent hopelessness.

There's an upside to our chickens coming home to roost ... we're gonna need the eggs.



Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Thank you for taking the time to think all that through and then write coherently about it --- I totally agree but I tend to just throw up my hands in despair at the continued and amazing ignorance that people in this country both dish out and accept.

I cannot tell you how elated I am that after more than thirty-five years of mostly voting against candidates rather than for them, I can finally say I support someone for whom I have some respect. That he is a person of color is a bonus. And I can't tell you how ironic it is, and how sad I am, that after all these years of hoping and praying for a viable Democratic woman candidate for president, the one that finally arrives is somebody I can't support.


Pat said...

Thanks for working so hard to comprehend who the candidates are. Because of you, I have decided to vote Obama. I hate politics because I seldom know what is really going on. I respect your opinions. BTW, I read your blog every day and just wish that you and Ev would write EVERY day, (heh). Pat

Kwach said...

<< Because of you, I have decided to vote Obama. I hate politics because I seldom know what is really going on. >>

First and foremost, thank you!

I was exactly you eight years ago. I was apathetic and disinterested in politics and certainly not an informed voter. Like Jessie said, I usually spent my vote opposing someone.

I worry that I, and people like me, were probably somewhat responsible for Bush. I didn't vote for him, but I didn't take the threat of him seriously either. when Bush was running for his second term, I paid attention. By then I'd seen the result of the political apathy in this country, and the price for not paying attention.

While we're not paying attention we're handing over the country to people who are not looking out for us or doing things in our best interest. While we're not looking, they're raiding the coffers, line-vetoing the Constitution and destroying the country.

One of the best things about Obama is that he's got people excited --and paying attention. People are invested in this election who haven't been invested in politics before ... or who've become jaded and given up.

I know Clinton has a strong following, but her following is in large measure people who won't be here to mop up the mess and pay the bill when it's all over. The old guard is in the homestretch and headed for pasture, and since Bush has run up a bill the next generation will have to pay, I'm inclined to hand over the reins of leadership, too. We've botched it. Bunch of old cold-war veterans, atom-bomb droppers, racist segregationists and economic boom time spendthrifts. We're out of step in this new global culture.

If the generation behind us is going to have to pay the check, the least we can do is let them drive. I feel good about it, because I know who taught them to drive ... we did ... the liberal hippie fags! Wooohooo!

Cedar said...

Ah, will there be a friggen Test on this? I think I pulled an eyeball muscle. MEDIC!!!!