Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama Born in Kenya?

There are several pending cases in various states, trying to hold up the Electoral College completion of the election of President-elect Obama. There is one case in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. All are based on nebulous, undocumented information presented by those, who, for various reasons can't accept the fact that Obama, a mixed race man, was elected by the voters of this country.

One complainant is Phillip Berg, a Democrat (This is supposed to mean something.) and former Attorney General of PA. Mr. Berg claims to have a recording of Obama's paternal grandmother, stating her claim that Obama was born in Kenya. She isn't his biological grandmother. Apparently, his grandfather had more than one wife. According to Berg, the grandmother in this supposed tape, taken from a phone call, says that she was present in the "delivery room" in Kenya, when Obama was born. One has to wonder how many children were born in delivery rooms in Kenya in 1961, especially in this family, given its current status. On October 23, Berg said he would be releasing the "tape" in a few days. So far, that hasn't happened. He has a website, where he presents his argument and has a forum for comments. So far, there are just over 20 comments. There is video on the website of Berg addressing a "rally" held in front of the Supreme Court after his delivery of a Writ of Certiorari to the Court. Interestingly, the 30 minute video only shows Berg addressing someone without amplification. When the "crowd" responds with applause, there are at least three or four people clapping. Questions posed come from one or two different voices. A groundswell of support.

Another complainant is Alan Keyes, a former opponent of Obama's in Illinois, and a former presidential candidate. Keyes is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist and former member of the Reagan Administration. He and his VP Candidate from the American Independent Party have filed suit in California to invalidate the election there and prohibit the casting of the Electoral Votes from that state.

Yet another suit has been filed in New Jersey by a gentleman named, Leo C. Donofrio. Donofrio also includes McCain and Roger Calero, the VP candidate from the Socialist Workers Party. McCain's birth in Panama is questioned along with Obama's. Donofrio uses Berg's arguments against the Obama birth. His suit has been placed on the U.S. Supreme Court's conference list for December 5, having already been turned down once by Justice Souter.

There is even a book on this subject by a fellow named Jerome Corsi. It sells these days on Worldnet Daily for an "amazing" 4.95, down from its original price of 27.95. It appears that you can find this one at your local book sale benefit, if anyone has actually purchased it. Corsi claims to have visited Kenya and interviewed all concerned. He claims that Obama's mother visited Kenya shortly before his birth, and because her time was so short, she wasn't allowed to travel back to Hawaii until after the birth. According to Corsi, the birth was registered in Hawaii after her return as the law at that time allowed. Corsi also notes that Obama's sister has identified a different hospital of birth than that given by Obama. I might note here that someone researched the Hawaii newspapers and found a birth announcement about Obama's birth.

Then there is the fact that Obama's mother took him to Indonesia, when she remarried. The claim here is that he enrolled in school, which. it is claimed, was difficult at that time for non-citizens. The inferral is that he became an Indonesian citizen, and, therefore, relinquished his American citizenship. As a result, these people say that Obama is no longer a "natural born" American. Actually, under U.S. law he would still be an American citizen. Then there is his school record, which someone found, which lists him as a "hated" Muslim. He was enrolled by his stepfather under the name of Barry Soetoro. Obama was probably six or seven years old at that time. At the age of 10 he returned to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents. According to some, his Muslim ties would affect his loyalty today. Exactly how being enrolled as a Muslim in a school at six years old would affect his loyalty forty years later isn't explained by these people.

Much of this seemingly contrived controversy appears to be a result of the fact that today's privacy laws do not allow the release of personal medical information. The privacy laws have allowed these people to develop a sense of mystery surrounding the refusal of the State of Hawaii and the local hospital there to release Obama's birth information. Since the records haven't been released, it follows that there is a cover-up being undertaken by the Obama group. Comedian Rush Limbaugh stated his opinion that Obama went to Hawaii, not to see his dying grandmother, but to work on the cover-up. Some have even suggested that the grandmother died "conveniently" before she could be called to testify. This brings to mind accused "assassins" Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom some of these same people were involved in slandering over the suicide of an associate.

In response to these questions the Obama campaign posted a copy of Obama's birth certificate on line. Since it is only a certified copy, confirming the birth and not a copy of the hospital certificate of live birth, it has been used to fuel the mystery. The mystery writers claim that the hospital certificate should be posted. Since that didn't happen, they claim there isn't one. One investigator claimed he was turned away from the hospital by armed guards. Of course he wouldn't have gotten any information had there been no guards, but that wouldn't add to the mystery. My guess is that hospital security asked him to leave after he became a problem, while insisting upon the release of private information.

When Al Gore was "beaten" by Katherine Harris and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000, the Republicans laughed and made remarks about the Democrats "getting over it." Now, in 2008, the extreme right wing of the party can't seem to accept that Obama has won. They continue to try to manufacture excuses to discredit him. It appears to be the fundamentalist Christian and extremist racist wings of the party, who are pushing this birth issue. They raise red flags about the impending Constitutional crisis that the U.S. faces as soon as the courts rule in their favor.

Since I am not a lawyer I won't pretend to address legal issues. However, I can't believe the U.S. Supreme Court or any other court will allow these suits to progress very much further. I haven't seen a shred of admissible evidence to support their claims. A telephone recorded tape of someone claiming to be a grandmother isn't viable. The fact that the State of Hawaii won't release Obama's hospital birth certificate to the public due to privacy laws isn't a viable reason to hear a case.

Obama's mother was an American citizen. No matter where he was born, he would still be an American citizen. If he had been born in Kenya, he would have held dual citizenship, but his British, Kenyan citizenship would have eventually expired. As far as I am concerned, this issue died several months ago, but it is the only hope that these fringe elements have to hold onto. They tried to drag the American people into the mud with them, but they didn't succeed. Now, they hope to use the courts and waste taxpayers money to try to stay in the public eye. In truth the fact that Obama doesn't portray himself as a fundamentalist Christian and is part African-American is eating away at them. The hate continues to fester and will not dry up.

American politics have changed, and abortion, gay marriage, and race suddenly have taken a far back seat to ethics, economics, diplomacy, and the Constitution. The far right has found itself marginalized by the American voter. When a mad dog is cornered, he lashes out. The right is lashing out in the only way it knows, by manufacturing issues, and pushing a hateful agenda. Fortunately, the American voter has seen through it all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Time's A-Comin'

It isn't Thanksgiving yet and stores have their Christmas decorations up. The Home Depot in my town has had Christmas decorations out for sale for about a month. I even saw a house yesterday that already has a nativity scene and Santa and his reindeer out. Now that's a bit too soon.

Nevertheless, downtown Blairsville, my home town, has been planning our "Christmas on the Square" for a few weeks now. The Downtown Development Authority Promotional Committee, of which I am a member at least for those events involving the Union County Historical Society, is working hard to bring another extravaganza to our citizens. We will begin on Friday night, December 5, with a Christmas concert in the old courthouse by the North Georgia Chamber Orchestra. Saturday will bring the annual Christmas parade, presented by the Chamber of Commerce. On Sunday the old courthouse will be the scene of the Historical Society's annual Christmas concert made of of the groups, who have performed over the course of our concert season.

The Historical Society will present Santa Claus in the Old Courthouse courtroom for pictures with his young Christmas eve clients. We will take them with a digital camera, download them to a printer and give the families their quality picture on the spot...we hope. Children will also have fun with cookies, cider, Christmas "tatoos" and other equally exciting activities.

I am the chairman of the Society's parade float committee this year. The theme is "sounds of Christmas." We have a reputation for winning parade awards, but Christmas was not one of our strong suits last year. We put a 100+ year old wagon on a trailer, decorated it with live garland, and my wife and I, dressed in period clothes, strung popcorn as we rode along. That float was planned and put together in a couple of days. It was a crowd pleaser, but not a winner. We don't do it to win, we just like to participate.

This year we may put another of our wagons, more brightly painted in green, on the trailer and fill it with bagpipers and fiddlers doing Christmas music in the Scottish tradition. It will be fun, if I don't dump them somewhere along the route. It will also be fun if it is warmer than today's upper 30's with a 15-20 mph wind.

Holidays in small towns are such fun. Everyone turns out for the parades, and businesses and organizations get involved in the fun and holiday cheer. The floats, antique cars, horses, and who knows what are creative and the result of so many people working together. This year we will also be collecting items for the Mayor's Motorcade, a Georgia tradition for providing patients in the state's mental institutions with some Christmas fun. We will also continue to collect for the less fortunate families and for the area food pantry. We cannot keep the pantry stocked these days and there are more and more families, who are unable to provide for themselves.

At the end of the day, we will have the annual Christmas tree lighting on the town square. At the same time all of the businesses and the street decorations will be lighted. Our town will take on the warmth of Christmas, this year, at a time when so many are in need of cheer. At least for a few hours, everyone can forget their personal difficulties and join together for fun and fellowship.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The End of an Era?

Today the Senate committee sent the Big 3 Automaker CEO's back to Michigan empty-handed. Unless something happens soon, these last vestiges of American manufacturing may be disappearing. Some, Republicans in particular, say that they should be forced into bankruptcy to make them reorganize into more efficient operations and create more fuel efficient vehicles. To them this is the absolute answer. No government bailout.

There is a danger in this route. First and foremost is the ripple effect it may have on the U.S. economy. Untold numbers of businesses and jobs may very well be lost, sending the already major economic mess into a deepening spiral. There there is the ultimate disgrace. In their restructuring the Big 3 may very well decide to sell. Who is licking its chops waiting for the opportunity? China. China desperately needs the technology to produce better vehicles, and where best to get it, but from the good old U.S. of A. They already hold billions in outstanding debt paper, so they might very well be able to pull it off.

Then, of course, the Japanese produce vehicles in this country only because they can't compete as well, if they only produce them in Japan. If the Big 3 go under or are gobbled up by the Chinese, there is nothing left to keep the Japanese plants here. Like the Chinese, Mexico is circling the campfire waiting for it to burn down so they can come in and lap up those Japanese plants.

If this scenario takes place, this country will have taken a big step toward further denigration of its world economic status. As it is right now, the world no longer sees us in the same light it did 3O years ago. We are no longer a world leader in so many areas. The last eight years under the Bush Regime has seen our status as a world diplomatic leader tank. Just as the English world empire faded into the past, the U.S. as a true world leader may very well become a shadow of its former self much faster than anyone imagined.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Do We Need to Determine It to Get Along?

"The SBC is standing against today's culture in ways that upset liberals. We will find out in eternity who is wrong, but in the present time it seems like Satan is having a hey day stirring up folks against their brothers and sisters in Christ. That takes time away from presenting the gospel to a lost world. If we wish to compromise and get along in the world, it becomes difficult to determine who belongs to the Lord."

This is a comment about my recent post about the SBC and its determined effort to outlaw women pastors. Everyone has an opinion and certainly the right to voice that opinion. What bothers me most about this comment is the last sentence. "If we wish to compromise and get along in the world, it becomes difficult to determine who belongs to the Lord." I have known a number of pastors, who could get a good sermon out of that sentence.

Is it up to us to have to determine who belongs to the Lord before we interact with them? Isn't that His job, not ours? Are Christians supposed to "get along" and "compromise" only with Christians? If I spent my days worrying about whether the person I am working or dealing with "belongs to the Lord," I probably wouldn't be able to function.

I once worked with a young man, who became a slave to a fundamentalist church. At meetings he would eat alone. He never smiled at a joke. He would rarely interact with his fellow workers, socially, because his church told him that he should not be friends with "non-believers," i.e. non church members. He and his family lived a miserable life for a period, until they finally broke away. After much therapy he is now a happy man and a great friend to his co-workers, who stood by him even in his dark times, when he rejected them. He and his family are now active members of a Baptist church in his community.

As this person says, we will only find out in eternity who "belongs to the Lord." That is between each person and his God. As the Bible says, judge not... I often make comments about people who seem to hate so much, yet they profess to be Christians. Jesus taught us to love our fellow man. He put his arms around those who were different. He didn't run from them or push them away.

The emails that I have received over the last few months spewing lies and outright hatred against the President elect, came in several instances from professed Christians. I haven't judged them, but I have sure asked exactly how it is that they speak of prayer and thanksgiving out of one side of their mouth, while spewing hatred and lies out of the other.

Focus on the Family, the Morman Church and other Christian organizations spent millions to effect the defeat of Proposition 8 in California. Focus on the Family spent so much, they are having to lay off employees. My community food bank could sure have used some of that money. Our local drug counseling organizations could have used it to fight the meth problem in our area. So many people are hurting right now and that church money went to a political campaign. Tax free, I might add.

All of this sure makes me wonder... As the comment says, we will find out in eternity.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

California's Prop 8

I guess I am considered pretty mixed up by some folks, but I can't for the life of me see why the Mormon Church would spend millions to defeat the gay marriage proposition in California. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but I have also known many gay Americans. I can't for the life of me, understand the hatred and bigotry directed toward them by people who are supposed to love their neighbors. I also know that no one does the institution of marriage any more damage than heterosexuals, who are determined to run from it every chance they get. They also find many, many ways to subvert it.

This country faces so many issues right now, not the least of which are people going hungry, losing their homes and jobs, and dumping their children. Yet, the Mormon Church, and I'm sure many other churches, found time to spend millions and energize hundreds to stump for votes, when they could have directed their energies toward doing something really Christ-like. They could have put their arms around their fellow man and helped him get his mule out the ditch.

Instead, they spent precious time and money to help him push his mule farther into the ditch. I continue to be amazed at the hatred that spews from the mouths of those, who purport to be Christian. I think my thought for the week from Gandhi says it all: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

SNL Does Biden