A few days ago, I had reported that Hawaii State Senator Will Espero had introduced two bills in his State’s legislature designed to deal with questions regarding Mr. Obama’s vital documentation. I also referenced a HonoluluAdvertiser.com article wherein the Department of Health’s spokeswoman, Janice Okubo, seemed exasperated over having to deal with approximately a “dozen” persistent requests for departmental records.
Apparently her job is about to get even more interesting.
The Post & Email today announced that they have begun sending out petitions demanding full disclosure of Mr. Obama’s background documentation, including all “government documents pertaining to the preparation of the public statements made” by the Hawaiian Director of Public Health.
As writer Sharon Rondeau posted:
On July 27, 2009, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, made an unprovoked public statement about Barack Hussein Obama’s birth and citizenship status. Since that time, neither she nor the Health Department has released any meaningful “index data” to substantiate the claim that Obama is a “natural born American citizen.”
While birth certificates are protected by privacy laws in the state of Hawaii, the Uniform Information Practices Act, Section 92-F12, mandates that “(15) Information collected and maintained for the purpose of making information available to the general public” must be released upon request. Therefore, when Dr. Fukino voluntarily made her public statement regarding Obama’s status, her department became obligated to release the backup information used to prepare it. To date, Hawaiian officials have refused to provide any correlating evidence used to craft Dr. Fukino’s public statement.
Obama himself has acknowledged that many have questioned his citizenship. However, on his first full day in office, he signed an Executive Order barring the release of his personal records. Never in American history has this been done by a sitting president.
According to the donation page for the petition, the site is intending to send a copy “to Hawaii Governor Linga Lingle (R), to the HI Lt. Gov. James Aiona (R), to the HI Director of the Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino (R); and to each member of the HI State legislature: in all, more than 90 governmental officials.”
In part, the petition claims the following:
Barack Obama, however, claims as his father, Barrack Obama, Sr., a man who was a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies in 1961. He makes this claim in his book, Dreams from My Father, and via the release of an electronic image of a Hawaii Certification of Live Birth. If such is the case, he cannot legitimately hold the U.S. Presidency.
As I am sure you will readily admit, it is patently absurd for the United States of America and its citizens to rely upon electronic images of alleged government documents, while the general public is refused an opportunity to inspect such documents. Such a manner of acting violates all that America represents and everything which our Founding Fathers fought and died for in the American Revolution. We are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our government by nature must be open and transparent.
The State of Hawai’i echoes this long tradition of freedom when in its Uniform Information Practices Act it states (92F-2):
…the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power. Government agencies exist to aid the people in the formation and conduct of public policy. Opening up the government processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public’s interest. Therefore the legislature declares that it is the policy of this State that the formation and conduct of public policy—the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of government agencies—shall be conducted as openly as possible. [emphases original]
As I had mentioned in my previous posting, there currently is no Hawaiian State law that bars any individual (or groups of individuals) from petitioning the State government for records, despite whatever statements that officials make in an attempt to quell such questions.
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In fact, as I’ve been promulgating for over a year, it is the responsibility and obligation of the common citizen to petition their governing authorities by any means legally allowed to ascertain data and information they deem required to fulfill the obligation of citizenship.
To this end, an absolutely fantastic and exhaustive “eligibility primer” has recently been updated by Stephen Tonchen. Aside from bringing the update to your attention and in light of the above-referenced State-bound petition, I think it would be worthwhile to pull a few small excerpts from the lengthy primer update:
1. What is a “Birther”?
News commentators and Internet bloggers sometimes use the word “Birther” as a term of derision and contempt towards people who question Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “birther” as:
a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s U.S. birth certificate.
Despite the word’s demeaning connotation, some Obama eligibility questioners have adopted the “Birther” label. See, for example, birthers.org.
This Primer defines “Birther” as anyone who has a fact-based reason to suspect that the circumstances of Barack Obama’s birth — for example, his British/Kenyan citizenship at birth — are not consistent with the presidential eligibility requirements set forth in the U.S. Constitution. This definition of “Birther” is based, in part, on a commentary, titled A Constitutional Crisis is Brewing, published on the Birther website.
As the Birthers, we are pointing out that the conditions of Barack Hussein Obama, II’s birth is [sic] not only important, but critical to the constitutional order of our Nation. (A Constitutional Crisis is Brewing)
Birthers are people who are aware of facts — not mere conjecture or speculation — indicating that Barack Obama’s legal status at birth might disqualify him from serving as president. The President’s circumstances and activities after his birth — his purported adoption and citizenship in Indonesia, his alleged use of a foreign passport, etc. — are of interest, but are not the issues which define who the Birthers are .
5. In a nutshell, what is the Obama eligibility controversy?
The following information comes directly from Barack Obama’s “Fight the Smears” website:
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. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4, 1982. (FactCheck.org, as quoted in Obama’s “Fight the Smears” webpage regarding his birth certificate, emphasis added).
The above information raises this question:
If Barack Obama was born in the United States but, at the time of his birth, his father was a citizen of a foreign country and not a U.S. citizen, does Barack Obama meet the Constitutional “natural born citizen” requirement for presidency?In other words, even if Barack Obama were a U.S. citizen at birth, can he be a U.S. natural born citizen if his citizenship status at birth was “governed”, even if only partially, by the laws of a foreign country?
Obama eligibility supports say “Yes”. They believe there are only two kinds of American citizens: naturalized and natural born. A naturalized citizen is someone who becomes a citizen after his or her birth, through a legal process called “naturalization”. A natural born citizen is anyone who is a U.S. citizen at birth. Since President Obama was born in the United States and was therefore a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth, he is a natural born citizen, regardless of his parents’ citizenship.
Birthers say “No”. They believe that, when the Constitution was written, the term “natural born citizen” referred to individuals who were, at birth, citizens of the United States only and were not citizens at birth of any other country. Some children are born with dual nationality. They acquire U.S. citizenship at birth; they also acquire foreign citizenship at birth, either from their birthplace or by descent from their parents. Birthers say that, while these children are U.S. citizens, they are not natural born citizens. In order to be a natural born citizen of the United States, you must not be a citizen, at birth, of any foreign country; which means, you must be born in the United States, of parents who were exclusively U.S. citizens at the time of your birth.
Thus we have two opposing viewpoints regarding the meaning of “natural born citizen”. Which one is correct? So far, the Supreme Court has not answered this question because, until now, there was no reason to. Now, the Supreme Court needs to do its job and answer the question.
22. Didn’t the State of Hawaii recently verify that President Obama was born in Hawaii?
On October 31, 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of Health for the State of Hawaii, released this public statement regarding (then Senator) Barack Obama’s birth certificate:
There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai’i Revised Statutes 338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai’i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai’i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.
No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai’i. (Statement by Dr. Chiyome Fukino, October 31, 2008).
On July 27, 2009, Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued a second statement:
I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai’i and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago. (Statement by Dr. Chiyome Fukino, July 27, 2009)
Based on these two statements, we can safely assume that President Obama’s original birth records, which are on file in Hawaii, say that he was born in Hawaii.
Under the laws that were in effect in Hawaii when Barack Obama was born, the State of Hawaii would not have knowingly issued an original Hawaiian birth certificate to anyone born outside of Hawaii. Act 96 of Laws of the Territory of Hawaii was adopted in 1911. Under this Act, Hawaiian birth certificates were issued only to individuals who were believed to be born in Hawaii:
The Secretary of Hawaii may, whenever satisfied that any person was born within the Hawaiian Islands, cause to be issued to such person a certificate showing such fact. (pp 127-128, Laws of the Territory of Hawaii)
A subsequent law, enacted in 1955, reaffirmed the fact that Hawaiian birth certificates were given only to individuals who were believed to be born in Hawaii. But the 1955 law allowed Hawaii to issue a birth certificate to a child whose actual place of birth was not independently confirmed by a non-family member.
In 1961, if a person was born in Hawaii but not attended by a physician or midwife, then all that was required was that one of the parents send in a birth certificate to be filed. The birth certificate could be filed by mail. There appears to have been no requirement for the parent to actually physically appear before “the local registrar of the district.” It would have been very easy for a relative to forge an absent parent’s signature to a form and mail it in. In addition, if a claim was made that “neither parent of the newborn child whose birth is unattended as above provided is able to prepare a birth certificate, the local registrar shall secure the necessary information from any person having knowledge of the birth and prepare and file the certificate.” (Section 57-8&9)I asked the Dept of Health what they currently ask for (in 2008) to back up a parent’s claim that a child was born in Hawaii. I was told that all they required was a proof of residence in Hawaii (e.g. a driver’s license [We know from interviews with her friends on Mercer Island in Washington State that Ann Dunham had acquired a driver’s license by the summer of 1961 at the age of 17] or telephone bill) and pre-natal (statement or report that a woman was pregnant) and post-natal (statement or report that a new-born baby has been examined) certification by a physician. On further enquiry, the employee that I spoke to informed me that the pre-natal and post-natal certifications had probably not been in force in the ’60s. Even if they had been, there is and was no requirement for a physician or midwife to witness, state or report that the baby was born in Hawaii. (Western Journalism, Investigator’s June 10 Report)
If a birth certificate is based solely on a parent’s or relative’s uncorroborated statement, and such a birth certificate is presented as evidence to a court or agency, the court or agency must determine, for itself, the birth certificate’s probative value:
In 1961, if a person was born in Hawaii but not attended by a physician or mid wife, then, up to the first birthday of the child, an adult could, upon testimony, file a “Delayed Certificate”, which required endorsement on the Delayed Certificate of a summary statement of the evidence submitted in support of the acceptance for delayed filing, which evidence must be kept in a special permanent file. The statute provided that the probative value of the Delayed Certificate must be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence. (See Section 57-18, 19 & 20 of the Territorial Public Health Statistics Act in the 1955 Revised Laws of Hawaii which was in effect in 1961). (Hawaii Birth Records Law)
At the time of this writing, we are not aware of any law that was in effect in Hawaii in 1961, which allowed the Hawaii Department of Health to knowingly issue Hawaiian birth certificates to babies born outside of Hawaii. Hawaiian Statute 338-17.8, Certificates for children born out of State, allowed Hawaiian birth certificates to be issued to foreign-born children of Hawaii-resident parents. But Statute 338-17.8 was not enacted until 1982, well after Barack Obama was born.
During the early ’60s, whenever a birth was registered in Hawaii, the Department of Vital Statistics automatically generated a birth announcement and sent it to the local newspapers for publication. Obama’s birth announcement appeared in both:
- The Honolulu Advertiser, August 13, 1961, page B-6, and
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin, August 14, 1961.
This birth announcement indicates that Obama’s birth was registered in Hawaii in August of 1961.
Nevertheless, a question remains. When Barack Obama’s birth was registered in Hawaii, who or what was the source of Obama’s birth information? Was it a hospital? A doctor? A midwife? Or was it based solely on a parent’s or relative’s statement?
If Obama’s birth registration was based solely on a parent’s or relative’s statement, and such statement was not independently corroborated by someone other than an immediate family member, we must do some further research before we can say anything for sure, one way or the other, about the circumstances of the President’s birth.
23. Doesn’t the mere existence of Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth registration prove that he was born in Hawaii?
Barack Obama’s birth registration, by its mere existence, indicates that the State of Hawaii believed (or at least did not disbelieve) that he was born in Hawaii. His birth registration wouldprove that he was born in Hawaii only if his birth in Hawaii was witnessed or confirmed by someone other than an immediate family member. For example:
- If Barack Obama was born in a hospital in Hawaii, his birth certificate would indicate that a hospital had confirmed his birth in that hospital. Such confirmation would show, beyond reasonable doubt, that President Obama was born in Hawaii.
- If Barack Obama was born at home, his birth certificate would show the name of the professional (presumably, a doctor, midwife or paramedic) who assisted with the delivery. The professional’s name and signature would confirm, and thus remove any reasonable doubt, that Obama’s birth took place in Hawaii.
- If Barack Obama was born at home and his birth was not attended by a doctor or midwife, his birth certificate would show the name of the doctor who examined the baby shortly after its birth. The name and signature of the doctor who did the postnatal examination would confirm that Obama was born in Hawaii.
But consider this hypothetical scenario: Suppose Stanley Ann Obama (President Obama’s mother) had been a resident of Hawaii since June 1960. Suppose that, in November or December 1960, upon learning of her pregnancy, she received prenatal care from a local doctor in Hawaii. Suppose that, on Tuesday August 8, 1961, Madelyn Dunham (Stanley Ann’s mother, also President Obama’s maternal grandmother) walked into the Hawaii Department of Health office, and registered the “unattended” birth of her teenage daughter’s son. (A birth is “unattended” if it did not take place in a hospital, and was not attended by a doctor or midwife). Supposed Madelyn told a health department worker that her daughter, Stanley Ann, had given birth, at home, on Friday evening, August 4, 1961. Suppose Madelyn also said that only she and Stanley Ann were present during the delivery.
Suppose Madelyn was able to provide the Department of Health with the following documentation:
- Madelyn’s written statement saying that Barack Obama II was born in Hawaii
- Proof that she (Madelyn) had been a resident of Hawaii for more than a year
- Proof that her daughter (Stanley Ann) had been a Hawaii resident for more than a year
- Proof that Stanley Ann had received prenatal care while in Hawaii
- Proof that the baby’s mother (Stanley Ann) and father (Barack Obama Sr.) were married at the time of the baby’s birth
- An acknowledgment by Barack Obama Sr. that he was the biological father of the child
Given the above information, the Hawaii Department of Health — under the laws in effect in 1961 — might have issued a Hawaiian birth certificate to Barack Obama II, even though no one outside of his immediate family had actually witnessed or confirmed his birth in Hawaii. (Western Journalism, June 10 Report).
If the above scenario had actually occurred, it is possible that Barack Obama might have been born outside of Hawaii, and Madelyn Dunham merely registered Barack Obama’s birth in Hawaii, as an “unattended” birth .
In the absence of an original long-form birth certificate, such a possibility, however implausible or far fetched, cannot be entirely ruled out. Until President Obama releases an original birth certificate showing independent corroboration of his birth in Hawaii, no one can say for sure whether the President meets the first requirement of natural born citizenship — birth within the United States.
25. If President Obama’s birth certificate shows conclusively that he was born in Hawaii, would it end the eligibility controversy?
Definitely not! President Obama has stated publicly that his father was not a U.S. citizen. According to the Birthers’ understanding of American history, if his father was not a U.S. citizen, President Obama cannot be a Constitutional natural born citizen, regardless of where he was born. If President Obama was born in Hawaii, he could be regarded as a statutory natural born citizen, but he would not necessarily be a Constitutional natural born citizen (See Question 8).
Regardless of what his birth certificate says, Obama’s presidential eligibility will never be settled or resolved, until the Supreme Court decides whether the U.S.-born children of non-U.S.-citizen parents are Constitutional natural born citizens.
26. Aren’t Obama eligibility challenges merely partisan attacks by Republicans against a Democratic president?
The first eligibility lawsuit against Barack Obama was filed by Phil Berg, a lifelong Democrat.
Five days before the Republican National Convention, John McCain’s eligibility was challenged in court (California lawsuit questions McCain’s Eligibility for Presidency).
In Donofrio v. Wells (October 2008), the plaintiff sought to remove three presidential candidates from the New Jersey ballot during the 2008 presidential election: Democratic candidate Barack Obama, Republican candidate John McCain, and Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero. All three had acquired foreign citizenship at birth.
John McCain was born in the Colon Hospital, in Colon, Panama. He was not born in the Panama Canal Zone as widely believed. (See John McCain’s short-form Certificate of Live Birth, and long-form birth certificate). McCain was a U.S. citizen at birth, due to the fact that his parents were U.S. citizens. He was also a Panamanian citizen at birth, due to the fact that he was born in Panama. (Why For McCain But Not For Obama?).
Roger Calero was born in Nicaragua. At the time of his presidential candidacy, he was not a U.S. citizen.
The Republican Party has a history of accommodating presidential candidates whose Constitutional eligibility is uncertain.
- Chester Arthur — America’s first post-1787-born president whose parents were not both U.S. citizens — was a Republican.
- George Romney ran for the Republican party nomination in 1968. He was born in Mexico.
- Barry Goldwater was born (in 1909) in Phoenix, when Arizona was still territory, not yet a state.
- Lowell Weicker entered the race for the Republican party nomination of 1980 but dropped out before voting in the primaries began. He was born in Paris, France.
- John McCain was born in Panama, not the Panama Canal Zone as is widely believed. But regardless of whether he was born in the Panama Canal Zone or in Panama itself, he was, in either case, a Panamanian citizen at birth.
- Bobby Jindal is a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012. He was born in the United States, but at the time of his birth, his parents were not U.S. citizens. (In a Southern U.S. state, immigrants’ son takes over)
Given its history of eligibility-questionable presidential candidates, the Republican Party would be accused of hypocrisy if it were to challenge President Obama’s eligibility.
Again, there’s so much more to read over at Mr. Tonchen’s page; the above once again provides the rationale for why individuals such as myself continue to question this President’s eligibility.
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- The background:
- Obama’s Presidential Eligibility: What You Need to Know
- Stephen Tonchen’s “primer” updated
- Obama’s Presidential Eligibility: What You Need to Know
- The questions:
- The State Department and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Natural Born Citizen Resolution (April 10, 2008)
Photo courtesy WND.com