He's Not My President?

Thoreau: "Government is Best Which Governs Least"

Archive for December 2008

Give Them an Inch and They’ll Take a Mile

Now I remember why I hate liberals (and for the most part politicians) so much.  If you give them an inch they’ll take a mile.  Unfortunately, the inch started with President Bush and maybe it was a mile to begin with and it turned into the largest governmental interference into the free market system this country has ever seen.  And taking his cue from President Bush, President-elect Obama plans a trillion dollars in economic stimulus next year.  But it doesn’t stop just there.  Think of all of the negative press that has come out since Obama was elected.  Here is just a small but significant sample:

  • Blagojevich attempts to sell Obama’s senate seat and other pay to play scandals.
  • Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff may be part of the pay to play scandal.
  • Russia sends ships to Cuba, meets with Castro and is generally becoming increasingly disagreeable to American interests.
  • Obama upsets the far left liberals with his invitation to have Pastor Rick Warren give the invocation at the inauguration.
  • Clintonistas getting appointed to many President-elect Obama’s Cabinet and White House positions.

And the list goes on and on.  The problem is anytime you give a political party even an inch of power, they’ll take a proverbial mile, and that is exactly the problem with this country.

The economic crisis isn’t going to be solved by government bailouts and government faux economic stimuli.  We as Americans have to bite the bullet and let the housing market correct itself.  The more government interferes the worse it will get.  Sure free markets need some regulation, but any time government gets too involved in the affairs of individuals and the market as a whole, things get much worse not better.

The only thing that can help us now is going back to our Constitutional promises of limited government.  Until we take our Constitutional Republic back, we will be stuck with the idiots in Washington dictating our economics and how we should live our lives.  Republican and Democrat alike should know by now that Washington isn’t the answer to our problems.

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Written by KJ Kaufman

December 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Obama’s Education Secretary Choice Average at Best

So here we go, why aspire to the best and brightest when you can accept average at best?  Arne Duncan is Barack Obama’schoice for Secretary of Education, yet why choose Mr. Duncan when the reports coming from Illinois are that the educational system is average at best and for those whom live there, they might even argue with you that it is actually quite below average. 

What are Arne Duncan’s qualifications?  Did Mr. Obama choose Arne Duncan because his jump shot is far superior to Mr. Obama’s?  Did he choose him because he is a fellow Harvard alumn?  Or was it because Arne Duncan and Mayor Daley are so tight?  Did Duncan actually call Daley his mentor in the news conference?  I’d have to go back and check the video.

With all that is going on with Blagojevich, it seems silly appointing another Chicago crony to the national political scene.  Is this just a Daley machine political appointment?  Or was it a payoff to the Unions to keep them happy since Chicago ranks 7th in teacher’s salaries and around the same ranking in student to teacher ratio.

I mean wasn’t there someone else in the nation, maybe from a State where statistics showed that the State was excelling in educational reform, for this appointment?  Wouldn’t that be the new fresh change Obama supporter were looking for?  Why just settle for average. 

The following is statistical information for Illinois’ average school system.

 

Illinois

 
ilc
 
Contact Information
Testing Director: Joyce Zurkowski
NAEP Coordinator: Andy Metcalf
IL State Dept. of Education

 


Student, School/District Characteristics for Public Schools
 
Student Characteristics
Number enrolled: 2,111,706
Percent in Title I schools: 54.4%
With Individualized Education Programs (IEP): 15.3%
Percent in limited-English proficiency programs:
Percent eligible for free/reduced lunch: 37.2%
 
Racial/Ethnic Background
White: 56.4%
Black: 20.6%
Hispanic: 19.0%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.8%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.2%
School/District Characteristics
Number of school districts: 875*
Number of schools: 4,434
Number of charter schools: 29
Per-pupil expenditures: $9,175
Pupil/teacher ratio: 15.8
Number of FTE teachers: 133,857
 
‘–‘ : data unavailable
* Local school districts only (type 1, 2)
Source: Common Core of Data, 2005-2006 school year (non-adjudicated)
<!– (except per-pupil expenditures, 1998-99)
–>
 


History of NAEP Participation and Performance
 
      Scale Score


Achievement Level


 
      State [Nat. Percent at or Above  
Subject Grade  Year  Avg. Avg.]*  Basic  Proficient Advanced Graphics

Mathematics
(scale: 0-500)
4 2000 223 [224] 63 20 2
2003 233 [234] 73 32 5
2005 233 [237] 74 32 5
2007 237 [239] 79 36 6
 
8 1990n 261 [262] 50 15 2
2000 275 [272] 67 26 4
2003 277 [276] 66 29 6
2005 278 [278] 68 29 5
2007 280 [280] 70 31 7

Reading
(scale: 0-500)
4 2003 216 [216] 61 31 8
2005 216 [217] 62 29 7
2007 219 [220] 65 32 8
 
8 2003 266 [261] 77 35 3
2005 264 [260] 75 31 3
2007 263 [261] 75 30 2

Science
(scale: 0-300)
4 2000 150 [145] 68 31 3
2005 148 [149] 64 27 2
 
8 2000 148 [148] 59 29 3
2005 148 [147] 58 27 3

Writing
(scale: 0-300)
8 2007 160 [154] 90 37 2
* Includes public schools only
n Accommodations were not permitted for this assessment

Source

For more information Arne Duncan’s record you can find it here.

Written by KJ Kaufman

December 16, 2008 at 11:21 am

The Purported Facts About Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship Issue

I have read a plethora of blog posts (including their associated comment sections), a few newspaper articles and even, as recently as today, main stream media coverage on the Obama citizenship issue, and it never ceases to amaze me how much inaccurate information is out there regarding this topic; therefore, I decided to provide a simple bullet point list of the facts surrounding this controversy.  Please note that when I use the term facts, I am claiming that these are the facts of those making the claims, not the veracity of the conclusions these claims make.  It is left for those far more educated than I in the laws of this land to come to the legal conclusions of the claims.

First we must detail that the one thing the lawsuits and claims have in common, i.e., they allege that Barack Obama is not eligible to be President because he does not meet the Natural Born Citizen requirement to hold the office of President of the United States.  Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states:

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. 

 

The Purported Facts

With respect to this requirement, here are the purported facts as argued by the lawyers filing the cases, lawyers analyzing the cases, and the general Internet public at large:

  • Some argue, to be a natural born citizen, you must have two parents that were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth and be born on U.S. soil.  Since Barack Obama admits that his father was a British Subject/Citizen of Kenya at the time of Barack Obama’s birth, Barack Obama is not a “natural born citizen.”  One of the comments on this post by “RightWinger” provides a thoughtful link to this argument that can be found at The Heritage Foundation.  This is the crux of Leo Donofrio’s case and he argues in part that even Obama’s own website substantiates his claim.
  • On Barack Obama’s website Fight the Smears, they quote FactCheck.org as verifying his citizenship: 

    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    Since Sen. Obamahas neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

  • Obama has not produced a long form Birth Certificate.   Obama has produced a Certification of Live Birth.  These two documents are not synonymous.  A Certification of Live Birth is often used in place of a long form Birth Certificate; however, it lacks pertinent additional information found on a long form Birth Certificate.
  • Some argue that the Certification of Live Birth found on Barack Obama’s Fight the Smears website and other sites is a forgery.  This topic is obviously debatable; however, for more information on the veracity of the claim, you can view this video.
  • Many have cited that Hawaiian officials have stated that they have seen Barack Obama’s original Birth Certificate, so therefore, he was in fact born in Hawaii.  What’s curious about these reports is that even though the reporters claim the officials state that he was born in Hawaii, they make no such statement, rather they state that they have seen his original Birth Certificate.  Some argue that at the time Barack Obama was born, Hawaii allowed foregin born individuals to receive Hawaiian Birth Certificates.
  • Some have argued that many of the early Presidents weren’t Natural Born Citizens and they became President.  Those who argue this point have missed the part of the clause that states “or a citizen of the U.S. at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.”  The founding fathers knew that they would not qualify under the Natural Born Citizen clause so they included this additional verbiage to ensure their own eligibility.
  • Many reporters have lumped in Leo Donofrio’s case with others that question where Barack Obama was born.  Leo Donofrio’s case does not rely on Obama’s birthplace nor his BirthCertificate, long form, or Certification of Live Birth in his case regarding Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status.
  • Another requirement often cited as to whether or not a person is a Natural Born Citizen is that they must have been born on U.S. soil, and some argue that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii.  They argue that he was born in Kenya.  This requirement is often argued to be not quite this simple, and further states that at least one of the two parents must be a U.S. Citizen for 5 years following his or her 14th birthday when the child is born if that child was not born on U.S. soil.  In this instance they argue, Obama’s mother was only 18 years of age and therefore unless Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil he is not a Natural Born Citizen.  This is one of the two primary arguments in Phil Berg’s lawsuit.
  • Phil J. Berg’s case is very much concerned about where Obama was born; however, it is not his sole requirement for Obama’s lack of  Natural Born Citizenship status.  Berg’s lawsuit makes two claims against Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status: 1)he claims that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii and therefore lacks eligibility based on the arguments made in the previous bullet point, 2)he claims that even if he was born in Hawaii during his time when he lived in Indonesia, he would have been a citizen of Indonesia which did not allow dual citizenship and therefore he lost his Natural Born Citizenship status.  He could have regained U.S. Citizenship when he returned to the U.S., but this would make him a Naturalized U.S. Citizen which is not the equivalent of a Natural Born Citizen.
  • Some argue that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for Barack Obama’s eligibility, while others argue that the 14th Amendment doesn’t have baring on Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
  • There are those who argue that the only requirement for Natural Born Citizenship is to be born on U.S. soil, and Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, so he is, therefore, a Natural Born Citizen.  This argument may very well be valid, but I’m not qualified to judge its veracity.
  • Some argue the above bullet point is not valid primarily based on Barack Obama’s Father’s citizenship status.  They make a similar argument to Leo Donofrio (and to some degree Berg’s second point above) by expanding the argument.  For example Dr. Kate in her article “Stand By Me” on TexasDarling’s Word Press blog states:  “One universal point most all early publicists agreed on was natural-born citizen must mean one who is a citizen by no act of law. If a person owes their citizenship to some act of law (naturalization for example) they cannot be considered a natural-born citizen.”  I encourage you to read Dr. Kate’s rather long but thoughtful article on the entire subject of Barack Obama’s citizenship status.
  • One of the reasons that many argue Obama’s Father’s citizenship is important is because it makes him a dual citizen at birth.  They argue the framers of the U.S. Constitution were adamant that the President not have dual loyalties and Obama’s dual citizenship at birth provides him with at least the potential of dual loyalty and disqualifies him from Natural Born Citizenship status and the Presidency.

Again, the above bullet points are the crux of the arguments surrounding Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status.  I make no claims as to reporting the validity of the conclusions of those making the assertions.  I simply wished to provide you with a bullet list of the facts regarding the claims being made and not the veracity of the conclusions drawn by these claims.

Why is any of this important?  It may or may not be important to you, but as is the case of most posts made on this website, I like to look at the issues through the lens of the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution is often viewed in two ways: 1)as an Original Intent Document or  2)as a Living Document.  These two schools of thought can be summarized as:

Original Intent— Remove as much as possible interpretation application of the law from political controversy.  Set up basic principles that are going to apply and the legislatures and courts have to abide by those principles.  Typically historical legal standards as opposed to present day political policies and desires.  To Constitutionally deal with political questions, you would use the amendment process.  In other words, view the constitution as a contract and to change any of the original terms of that contract you must utilize the amendment process.

Living Document — The opposite of original intent.  It believes that the Constitution changes its meaning in some automatic fashion according to the political or economic or social problems of the time.  There are basically three rationalizations for this view:  1)we can’t really know original intent, 2)the language is a living entity and changes over time, and/or 3)the document doesn’t speak to present day society, so we’re going to interpret under modern day terms.

To view a thorough discussion on this topic, you can view this YouTube Video.

Acknowledging my bias, I prefer original intent over living document.  In my opinion, the Natural Born Citizenship status of Barack Obama is paramount to preserving our Constitutional Law.  If it is determined that Barack Obama is not a Natural Born Citizen, he is not eligible to be President, and, therefore, cannot be sworn in as President.  If it is determined that Barack is a Natural Born Citizen, then his eligibility is certain, he was elected by the people, and will become the legitimate 44th President of the United States.  It is not for me to determine his eligibility, but the determination of his eligibility is paramount in protecting and preserving the United States Constitution.

A Liberal in a Centrist’s Clothing

When Barack Obama ran in the primaries against Hillary Clinton, he sported his liberalism.  While running against John McCain in the general election, as most candidates do, he moved toward the center.  Those who reviewed his record in the Illinois State Senate and in the U.S. Senate typically concluded that he is pretty far left of center and left of most Democrats in general.

Now that he has begun to pick his Cabinet and White House Staff, many are finding him to be pragmatic and are claiming that he is the centrist they had hoped he would be.  Others on the liberal left, have been concerned about this supposed centrist attitude.  I have found myself pleasantly surprised by some (certainly not all) of his picks.  But there is a new theory of thought abounding in the Internet News Media and Blogosphere that puts a bit of a different spin on his appointments, i.e., they are an overt cover for his truly liberal agenda.  Here are just a few of the articles that deal with this perspective:

There’s a method to Obama’s madness of continuing Bush’s policies that are designed to bring the war to a peaceful and honorable conclusion, even if Obama is revealing his campaign deceit in the process. This will help create the climate for him to usher in his radical domestic agenda, from a new New Deal (on steroids) to nationalized healthcare to the Fairness Doctrine…      What the Obama Cult Factor Portends

So, while the nation is lulled into thinking that Barack is moving to the center, his minions who are actually carrying the water will be hard-core “progressives” moving the leftist agenda forward largely out of the public’s sight in the mid-level management positions of the government’s sprawling bureaucracy.  Much of the real action will happen behind the scenes in thousands of small decisions and initiatives that will remain nearly invisible until — like the explosion in the number of mother-only families that followed from Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty — the transformation of their cumulative effects begins to emerge…  Buyer’s Remorse on the Left

Peter Beinart, one of the smarter and saner liberals, assuresthose to his left, pulling their hair out that Obama is putting all these “hawks” into national security /foreign policy/defense roles, that they should not worry. Beinart argues that Clinton, and Gates and General Jones will give Obama cover on the right, when he shifts policy on Iraq, Iran and Israel and the Palestinians…    Liberal Tells Liberals not to be Fooled by Obama Appointments

I think it is probably far too early to tell how Obama will actually govern.  It seems likely to me, based on all of the information available regarding his political ideologies prior to being elected President, that his potential pragmatism when faced with the reality of holding the job of the Presidency will not outweigh his liberal leanings.  Of course, given the state of the current economy and increasing tensions throughout the world, we must reserve judgement until the man actually takes office and we see an agenda actually implemented.

Update 3/11/2009

It is clear now that Barack Obama is no pragmatist and that his liberal voting record reflecting his ideologies has come to fruition in exactly how he will govern.   He is a far left ideologue who is taking this country in the exact opposite direction of where the majority of Americans regardless of political affiliation believe she should be headed.  This will lead to the downfall of President Obama, and the fall will be long and hard.

Written by KJ Kaufman

December 5, 2008 at 5:54 pm