City of Brass

City of Brass


Barack Obama, natural-born citizen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the law of the United States (Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401) on what constitutes a “natural born citizen”:

The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
(a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;
(b) a person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe: Provided, That the granting of citizenship under this subsection shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of such person to tribal or other property;
(c) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;
(d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States;
(e) a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person;
(f) a person of unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years, until shown, prior to his attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the United States;
(g) 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 five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person
(A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or
(B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph. This proviso shall be applicable to persons born on or after December 24, 1952, to the same extent as if it had become effective in its present form on that date; and
(h) a person born before noon (Eastern Standard Time) May 24, 1934, outside the limits and jurisdiction of the United States of an alien father and a mother who is a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, had resided in the United States.

One of hundreds of billboards around the country, funded by right wing groups

President Obama released his “long-form” birth certificate today, which can be downloaded from the White House website. I am also embedding a copy below. Now, no one seriously believes that this will put the issue of the President’s birth (and thus, eligibility to be President) to rest, since the Birthers are far beyond any hope of reason. After all, the portion of the law I bolded above applies to Obama even if he had been born outside the United States – his mother was a US citizen and his father spent 4 years in the United States attending the University of Hawai’i at M?noa and then Harvard.

Of course, since Barack Obama was born in Hawai’i, at the Kapi?olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital, on August 4th 1961, as his short-form certificate of birth, and now his long-form certificate of birth prove, you’d think that the birther movement would now be satisfied, having received everything they ever demanded of President Obama.

Think again. The Republican Party as a whole has been deeply infected with the Birther bug. As Harold Myerson writes,

Republicans are massively distracted by birtherism. A New York Times-CBS News poll last week showed that while 57 percent of Americans believe that President Obama was born in the United States, against 25 percent who didn’t, just 33 percent of Republicans believed him American-born, while 45 percent did not. The Republican level of birtherism was effectively identical to that of self-identified Tea Party supporters, 34 percent of whom thought Obama was U.S.-born, while 45 percent did not.

This is why Donald Trump cannily has risen to become front-runner of the Republican field – on this issue alone, he’s gone farther and than anyone else, and reaped the benefits. Meanwhile, leading Republicans with genuine aspirations to the Presidency like Haley Barbour are deciding to sit the 2012 race out, because they know that they cannot thread a needle between appeasing the Tea Party on one side and the general electorate on the other.

The release of the long form certificate promises to fuel the flames of Birtherism even more. And this works to the President’s advantage.

President Obama’s birth certificate is here (PDF) for downloading or can be viewed online here or here.

Also, here are President Obama’s remarks to the media about releasing the certificate:

YouTube Preview Image

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Now, let me just comment, first of all, on the fact that I can’t get the networks to break in on all kinds of other discussions — (laughter.) I was just back there listening to Chuck — he was saying, it’s amazing that he’s not going to be talking about national security. I would not have the networks breaking in if I was talking about that, Chuck, and you know it.

Q Wrong channel. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: As many of you have been briefed, we provided additional information today about the site of my birth. Now, this issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now. I think it started during the campaign. And I have to say that over the last two and a half years I have watched with bemusement, I’ve been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going. We’ve had every official in Hawaii, Democrat and Republican, every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital.

We’ve posted the certification that is given by the state of Hawaii on the Internet for everybody to see. People have provided affidavits that they, in fact, have seen this birth certificate. And yet this thing just keeps on going.

Now, normally I would not comment on something like this, because obviously there’s a lot of stuff swirling in the press on at any given day and I’ve got other things to do. But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we’re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.

And so I just want to make a larger point here. We’ve got some enormous challenges out there. There are a lot of folks out there who are still looking for work. Everybody is still suffering under high gas prices. We’re going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future but also get a hold of our deficit and our debt — how do we do that in a balanced way.

And this is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates. And there are going to be some fierce disagreements — and that’s good. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. And I am confident that the American people and America’s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have.

But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.

We live in a serious time right now and we have the potential to deal with the issues that we confront in a way that will make our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids proud. And I have every confidence that America in the 21st century is going to be able to come out on top just like we always have. But we’re going to have to get serious to do it.

I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest. But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve. And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them — not on this.

Thanks very much, everybody.



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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    Unfortunately this won’t satisfy the loons because in conspiracy theory world, anything you offer to try to dispel the conspiracy is automatically part of the elaborate cover-up. What’s scary is that the loons have pretty much taken over one of the two major parties in this country. This whole issue boils down to the fact that the “birthers” can’t stomach the fact that a negro became president and to their minds, there’s simply no way that it could have happened legitimately. The fact that Obama has some foreign parentage and a name that doesn’t hail from 1948 Middle America gives them something to construct a theory around. It wouldn’t matter if a photo surfaced of Ronald Reagan attending Obama’s birth. That too would become part of the great cover-up!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Common Sense

    You quoted a law that was in effect when Obama was born – idiot.
    We don’t you look up the law that was in effect in 1961???

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment P E HOPSON

    WHATEVER BRAIN SURGEON PUT–(Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401),
    AS PROOF OF “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN”, OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T READ IT. THE TERM IS NOT IN THERE. NATURAL BORN IS DEFINED AS ONE BEING BORN TO PARENTS OF THE COUNTRY THEY ARE CITIZENS OF WHEN SAID PERSON IS BORN.
    NOTE THE PLURALITY IN THE WORD “PARENTS”.
    FOR THE FOOL WHO STATES A BIRTHER COULDN’T STAND A NEGRO FOR PRESIDENT: YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND ONE FIRST. BEING 6 AND 1/4 PER CENT BLACK, 43 AND 3/4 PER CENT ARAB, AND 50 PER CENT “CAUCASION” DOESN’T QUITE GET YOU THERE, DOES IT? CAN YOU SAY CONDOLEEZA RICE? SHE IS MORE INTELLIGENT THAN PRESIDENT BUSH AND BARRY COMBINED. I AM SURE SOME BIRTHERS WOULD VOTE FOR HER.
    ALL OF YOUR RACIST CRAP GOES BACK TO THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES WHEN DEOMOCRATS STARTED A WAR THAT TOOK 660,000 AMERICAN LIVES. POLL TAX–DEMOCRAT, KKK-DEMOCRAT, JIM CROW–DEMOCRAT, LYNCHING-DEMOCRAT, SOUTHERN CROSS–DEMOCRAT. GOT IT?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment joel

    Meanwhile, let us understand that every media writer who has with unbearable condescension stated that the birthers are whack-jobs because the birth issue was resolved by the release of the certification of live birth in 2008 has been shown to be a despicable liar or at best stone-cold indifferent to the truth. If the birth issue was resolved in 2008, then why did Obama release the birth certificate today? If the birth issue was resolved in 2008, then why did Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a friend and supporter of Obama’s who wanted to resolve the issue once and for all, try to get the birth certificate released in early 2011, and wasn’t able to do so, because Obama was still refusing at that point to allow his birth certificate to be released? The self-evident answer is that the birth issue was NOT resolved in 2008. The people who have been complaining for the last two and half years that the birth certificate has not been released have been proved right, and the people who have been oh-so-knowingly declaring for the last two and a half years that the birth certificate has already been released (a group that includes legions of establishment Republicans) have been shown to be lying apparatchiks.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Derek

    One of the things Obama said yesterday was unintentionally striking. He contended that no one should ever have questioned his birth certificate because credible people who had seen it had described it in affidavits. Naturally, he didn’t mention why they were in the position of having to describe it in affidavits: namely, because Obama had refused to authorize production of the actual birth certificate, which he could have done at any moment over the last three years. Look how easy it would have been.

    When I read in Dan’s post yesterday about how the White House was also releasing the relevant correspondence between Obama’s lawyers and the Hawaii health department regarding the certificate, I said to myself: “Okay, we are finally going to learn that there’s been some bureaucratic complication beneath all this intrigue.” But no: The request for certified copies of the birth certificate was (finally) made last week, on a Friday, in two short letters — including a four-sentence letter signed by the president that obviously took him considerably less time to review than it takes to stretch before teeing off at the first hole. The birth certificate was produced the following business day (Monday) — with the health department expressing hope that its production “will end the numerous inquiries” it had gotten over the years, which “have been disruptive to staff operations and have strained State resources.” And Obama was able to do his dog-and-pony show yesterday morning, only five days after asking the health department to produce the document.

    If George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, or even a Republican the media likes (say, John McCain) had taken purposeful steps to block examination of so basic a document, the media would surely have turned such obstinacy into a scandal. The public might not have leapt to extravagant conclusions about whether they’d really been born in Kenya, or on Mars, or wherever. But they’d have thought it was intolerably strange that campaigns were retaining lawyers and amassing affidavits rather than just producing a seemingly innocuous, readily producible document. The story would never have been about the people asking for the birth certificate; it would have been about the candidate who was moving heaven and earth to prevent people from seeing it.

    And let’s not ignore that Obama did move heaven and earth. This is not just a matter of him thumbing his nose at a fringe collection of nutty “birthers.” There have been several court cases. It is flat out bizarre that one should have to be sued to compel conformance with a routine that millions of Americans comply with every day. Many of these court cases, if not all, could have been short-circuited (indeed, many of the later ones would not have been filed at all) if Obama had just produced the birth certificate. Instead, he not only refused to produce it; he and his campaign paid thousands of dollars in legal fees (in some places it is reported to be well over a million dollars) to fight the lawsuits — and Obama’s lawyers even threatened to seek disciplinary sanctions against lawyers for daring to file the lawsuits. Since Obama has been president, moreover, not just the time of courts and private lawyers has been tied up; government lawyers have had to spend their time — on the public’s dime — on this nonsense.

    There appears to be nothing remarkable about the president’s long-form birth certificate. As I’ve said before, the vast majority of people have long rightly accepted the fact that he was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen, no meaningful evidence to the contrary every having been produced to rebut the short-form certificate and the contemporaneous birth announcements in local newspapers. The constitutional question material to the matter of Obama’s eligibility — and one that is unlikely ever to get serious consideration — is whether Obama is a “natural born” citizen. That question centers on the ramifications, if any, of the fact that Obama’s father was not an American, and of Obama’s status as a dual citizen (of Kenya for a time, and possibly of Indonesia). Obama had to know that he had nothing to fear from production of the long-form certificate on this score — it doesn’t provide any relevant information that wasn’t already known.

    So, assuming as we should the legitimacy of the long-form birth certificate produced yesterday, the only thing that makes sense is that Obama knows the mainstream media is in his hip pocket. That is, he knew that he would not be held to the same standard as other politicians, and that if he acted in an unreasonable manner by withholding basic, easily available information that any other person seeking the presidency would be expected — be compelled — to produce, the media would portray as weirdos those demanding the information, not Obama and his stonewalling accomplices. And he also knows that, having now finally produced the document only because the game was starting to hurt him politically, the media will not focus on how easy it would have been to produce the birth certificate three years ago, or on how much time and money has been wasted by his gamesmanship; they’ll instead portray him as beleaguered and the people who have been seeking the basic information (i.e., doing the media’s job) as discredited whackos.

    It’s hard to say what’s more depressing, Obama’s cynicism or the zeal with which the media does his bidding.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kenny

    The combination of Trump, Obama and the media insured that this week’s story would be the birth certificate issue. Even though there isn’t much of a story there. The birth certificate has been part of the much larger underlying issue which is the lack of transparency by the Obama Administration in even the simplest things. And that may not be a resolvable issue anymore.

    It’s not just that Obama has lied too many times. Most politicians lie or stretch the truth or hold back information. The problem is that the media and too many institutions have been willing to lie for him. Take a simple story like Obama Sr’s time at Harvard.

    The Arizona Independent filed a Freedom of Information Request and turned up INS records that showed Harvard thought Obama Sr was a “slippery character” and wanted him gone. But Harvard today claims their records don’t support any such thing. So whom are you going to believe, period government records or the spokesman for Harvard University?

    This problem repeats itself over and over again. Not only do negative stories on Obama’s background not get reported, but people in high positions continue to cover for him. The contents of Sarah Palin’s personal email account were sprawled over the internet– but the LA Times won’t release Obama’s Rashid Khalidi tape. Yet is there a single person who honestly believes that if the Khalidi tape starred McCain, that it wouldn’t have been out there and on Page 1 of every major newspaper? Or if John McCain had attended a violently racist church or Cindy McCain had a photo op with David Duke’s wife that these wouldn’t have equally been Page 1 stories?

    The perfect storm of Obama’s stonewalling and an establishment willing to cover up and lie for him, means that people legitimately distrust anything that comes out of his mouth or the media. In such an environment, a culture of conspiracy theories may be wrong, but not irrational. And it also means that there’s no real way to prove or disprove anything anymore.

    Is it irrational to believe that the media would like to us about major documents that are a factor in a presidential race? It should be. But in the 2004 election, the highest profile news program around presented a document indicting Bush for draft dodging that turned out to have been written in Microsoft Word.

    Media talking heads complain that the internet has proliferated conspiracy theories so that there is no longer a consensus on what’s true and what isn’t. But who do you blame for that, except a media which has been willing to sell lies in order to achieve political victories. This is no longer just about the big lies, like Walter Duranty insisting that Soviet Russia was a happy worker’s utopia, it’s even about the most ordinary things. Like a birth certificate. The liberal establishment has completely discredited itself. And with liberal ideologues controlling most of the media, a rational consensus can no longer hold up.

    A consensus only works if we agree on some things. We can disagree on taxes and stop signs. But we don’t disagree that blatant lies are wrong and that politicians from all parties should be equally subject to scrutiny. Except we don’t agree on that anymore. Instead we agree that you’ll lie like crazy and we won’t believe a word that comes out of your mouths. What’s truth? Nobody knows anymore.

    What is really disturbing about the birth certificate issue is that Obama never took it seriously as an obligation. Instead he threw it out to counter an opposing candidate who was rising in the polls. And the media narrative is that this is a shameful\triumphant event that humiliates\uplifts Obama. No it doesn’t make any sense. But when you lie all the time, you stop noticing when your news reports follow contradictory, but useful narratives.

    Obama has become an event horizon beyond which truth no longer seems to exist anymore. The birth certificate release no longer has any real meaning. It’s always possible to find more ‘questions’ to ask about it. There’s no objective way to finalize the issue, because the consensus has broken down.

    The left’s unprecedented corruption of government and the media which could have played a watchdog role, means that those institutions can no longer serve as watchdogs, only propagandists.

    When you can no longer trust institutions, then you either drink the kool aid or refuse to drink anything at all. The question isn’t are they lying, it’s how much are they lying. And when you’re dealing with that kind of framework, to ‘trust’ you have to argue that they would lie X amount, but not Y amount. Because lying Y amount would be just crazy. Right?

    The left is free to believe that asking for Obama’s birth certificate is racist. And plenty on the right will believe that the birth certificate is fake. The Racists vs Liars debate of narratives has been going on for a while now and it transcends the birth certificate. It’s the larger story here. The zero sum struggle. And it’s only going to get uglier.

    Are we in a recovery or an economic disaster? If you believe the liars, we’re in a recovery. And the only people denying it hate socialism, which as we all know is code, for race. Is Global Warming a serious problem? The liars say yes and that anyone who disagree is a racist who hates the Third World countries that are suffering from GW. Is ObamaCare… well you get the drill. Ground Zero Mosque, yep. Big government. You know it.

    If you agree with Obama, you’re a liar. And if you disagree with him, you’re a racist. It’s useless to conduct a political debate under these conditions.

    This level of divisiveness is less about Obama, and more about the way the left has used institutions under its control to promote him and silence his critics. And there’s a price to pay for that. Constant propaganda works. And it doesn’t. You end up with two types of people. One type who believes everything the authorities say. The other who wouldn’t believe them if they said the sun was shining.

    The media was meant to be a forum, instead it’s become a propaganda megaphone. And the alternative is a crowdsourced media. Which is exactly what we have on the internet. Crowdsourced media means more mistakes, but it still beats a one note media apparatus which spends all day blaring OBAMA IS GREAT LOOK HOW GREAT OBAMA IS ISN’T HE GREAT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE HIM ARE RACISTS. Of course conspiracy theories flourish in such an environment. How could they not. And how do you disprove them when is no longer a consensus on much of anything anymore.

    The media talking heads like to solemnly blame the internet for this chain of events, but the internet is an outlet. It’s their lies that have gotten us here.

    But let’s turn to Trump for the moment…

    Obama and Trump are now feeding off each other in a successful political relationship. Establishment Republicans are infuriated that Trump continues to drive the narrative. Grass roots enjoy someone landing a few populist punches on the big zero. If the establishment outlets work hard enough, they may convince the grass roots to pull back. Or it may backfire on them.

    Trump polls badly in a national election, no matter how well he polls in GOP primaries. Which means he’s not a viable candidate. Not unless he can change that soon. But in light of Walter Russell Meade pegging Obama as the bet hedger, Trump is the gambler. Or at least appears that way.

    But Trump’s biggest advantage is the lack of viable candidates in the field. Go and look around. There are few conservative bloggers or writers who are really 100 percent enthusiastic about any candidate. Instead you’ll see smears of one candidate or another percolating.

    Romney is a liberal. Huckabee is a slimeball. Gingrich is a lobbyist (whether or not we should have ethanol subsidies, they’re certainly cheaper than fighting three wars fueled by oil money.) On and on. Is it any wonder that few are paying attention to Trump being labeled a “carnival barker” (the barkers object by the way). We have a large group of not very likable candidates tearing each other down. They front runners are all establishment candidates, all more liberal than their grass roots and all dull. If things go on this way. Then we will lose.

    Trump’s entry, whether he’s serious about running or not, is shaking up the race. And that’s a good thing. This race needs shaking up, before we stumble through a series of dull primaries, in which the front runner with the most money and the least objectionable personality makes it through the gate.

    Let’s remember that the Republicans didn’t turn the tide by being nice, but by being loud and in your face. I’m not suggesting that Romney or Pawlenty get up and start cursing, but some populism wouldn’t hurt. It might even make them a little popular beyond the people bussed in to support them.

    Obama’s message is… well he doesn’t really have one anymore. Trump’s message is, I’m going to make America great again with common sense smackdowns. What’s the message of the Republican front runners? Boiled down, it’s “We’re the adults in the room, so let us clean up this mess.” It’s a serious message. But not a very exciting one.

    Right now no one looks good. And we’re wasting time. Trump has been an unexpected splash of cold water. A warning to the front runners to step up their game. It’s not really about the viability of Trump as a candidate, but the viability of his approach.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Draiman Yj

    Obama – Number one this is not a Birth Certificate.
    This is a certificate of live birth This form is given to people who are not born in the United States sometimes.
    I think we should see the real Birth Certificate.
    Number two if this document is correct, than Obama is admitting that his father is not a United States citizen, therefore Obama is not qualified to be the president of the United States under the United States Constitution – that requires both parents to be born naturalized citizens.
    Under the law of nations, to be a “natural born Citizen,” the child needed to be born in the United States (or what may be deemed its equivalent) to two citizen parents. This definition of a “natural born Citizen” is found in and has been confirmed by the following United States Supreme Court cases and other authorities:

    Obama, the Putative President of the U.S., was Born a British Subject
    This essay was originally posted by Atty Mario Apuzzo in this blog on 7 April 2009. An excellent piece by Atty Apuzzo and well worth reading again. And Obama being born subject to a foreign power, he is not Constitutionally eligible to serve as President and Commander-in-Chief of our military.

    In 1982, the vital records law was amended to create a fourth kind of birth certificate for children born outside of the Territory or State of Hawaii. HRS Chapter 338 was amended to add a new section authorizing the Director of the Department of Health to issue a birth certificate for a person NOT born in Hawaii either as a Territory or State, upon sufficient proof that the legal parents of such individual had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth of such child.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Grumpy Old Person

    “One of hundreds of billboards around the country, funded by right wing groups”

    I am so happy to see the coffers of the Koch brothers being depleted on a hopeless ’cause’. Spend all the money you want to, boys. Thinking people know better and are laffing @ you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    George Bush Sr. had a wonderful term for the class of people who now make up most of the “birther” movement. He called them the “extra chromosome crowd”!

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