Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

Who are you going to believe? A former Solicitor General/former Acting Solicitor General or some random guy on the Internet? /Updated

Posted by Charles II on December 22, 2015

Scott Rohter is a Tea Party guy. His full bio state that his accomplishments in life are: “being a property rights activist since 1995” and writing articles for such noted law journals as Free Republic and Red State. It’s really quite an extraordinary life!  Which, in his own mind, qualifies him to interpret the Constitution.

And so, he states with full conviction:

The United States Constitution says that you have to be a Natural Born Citizen to be the President of the United States.  That means that you have to be born in the United States in order to be the President of the United States.  That just seems like common sense to me…  the kind of common sense that our Founding Fathers had plenty of.  It is also the kind of common sense that makes perfect sense in the dangerous world that we live in today.

There is no definition listed in the Constitution for what it means to be a Natural Born Citizen, but the Founding Fathers knew exactly what it meant.

This is because he personally knew the Founding Fathers, I guess. At any rate, he quotes as his authority The Law of Nations by Emerich [sic; it’s actually Emmerich, and also written Emer] de Vattel. de Vattel is of course the best source to cite because (a) he was Swiss, and (b) he died in 1767, well before the writing of the Constitution. The fact that the American Supreme Court has considered the issue, and despite the fact that in making rulings about the law they reviewed the proceedings of the Founders, it doesn’t count because:

The definition of what it means to be a Natural Born Citizen has been vigorously debated over the centuries and thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions it has been watered down by progressive judges to the point that it means just about anything they want it to mean.

Well, if by “recent,” you mean the Naturalization Act of 1790 and Supreme Court decisions from the 19th century, yeah, I guess if you make “recent” mean anything you want it to, then sure, Mr. Rohter’s ascension to the Higher-than-Supreme Court of the United States makes sense.

On the other hand, you could look at the work of a former Bush Solicitor General and a former Obama Acting Solicitor General, both now distinguished law professors at Georgetown who write in the Harvard Law Review:

All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase “natural born Citizen” has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the Canal Zone, or the continental United States.

The Supreme Court has long recognized that two particularly useful sources in understanding constitutional terms are British common law
and enactments of the First Congress.

Both confirm that the original meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen” includes persons born abroad who are citizens from birth based on the citizenship of a parent.

The Framers, of course, would have been intimately familiar with these statutes and the way they used terms like “natural born,” since the statutes were binding law in the colonies before the Revolutionary War. They were also well documented in Blackstone’s Commentaries, a text widely circulated and read by the Framers and routinely invoked in interpreting the Constitution.

No doubt informed by this longstanding tradition, just three years after the drafting of the Constitution, the First Congress established that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were U.S. citizens at birth, and explicitly recognized that such children were “natural born Citizens.” The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided that “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States . . . .”

The actions and understandings of the First Congress are particularly persuasive because so many of the Framers of the Constitution were also members of the First Congress.

Rohter can’t even be called a liar or a fool, because he clearly inhabits some alternate reality where facts and history and reason bend to fit his prejudices. But of course, he call call people he disagree with liars and fools at will, because nothing matters except his opinion.

Arrogance will destroy this country. As we see in Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the Ukraine and the Bakken, Ferguson and Baltimore, it is already well underway. We’re all so d–ned sure of ourselves that we can’t take the time to look and listen.
Update: It turns out the the case is not cut-and-dried. Mary Brigid McManamon written a piece in the WaPo describing her research on the topic:

First, although Katyal and Clement correctly declare that the Supreme Court has recognized that common law is useful to explain constitutional terms, they ignore that law. Instead, they rely on three radical 18th-century British statutes. While it is understandable for a layperson to make such a mistake, it is unforgivable for two lawyers of such experience to equate the common law with statutory law. The common law was unequivocal: Natural-born subjects had to be born in English territory. The then-new statutes were a revolutionary departure from that law.

Second, the authors appropriately ask the question whether the Constitution includes the common-law definition or the statutory approach. But they fail to examine any U.S. sources for the answer. Instead, Katyal and Clement refer to the brand-new British statutes as part of a “longstanding tradition” and conclude that the framers followed that law because they “would have been intimately familiar with these statutes.” But when one reviews all the relevant American writings of the early period, including congressional debates, well-respected treatises and Supreme Court precedent, it becomes clear that the common-law definition was accepted in the United States, not the newfangled British statutory approach.

Third, Katyal and Clement put much weight on the first U.S. naturalization statute, enacted in 1790. Because it contains the phrase “natural born,” they infer that such citizens must include children born abroad to American parents. The first Congress, however, had no such intent. The debates on the matter reveal that the congressmen were aware that such children were not citizens and had to be naturalized; hence, Congress enacted a statute to provide for them. Moreover, that statute did not say the children were natural born, only that they should “be considered as” such. Finally, as soon as Madison, then a member of Congress, was assigned to redraft the statute in 1795, he deleted the phrase “natural born,” and it has never reappeared in a naturalization statute.

So,it’s not settled law. I don’t think McManamon’s view would prevail simply because it creates complications that the Supreme Court would avoid by defining away “natural born.” Otherwise we have two classes of citizen with different rights. What other rights are to be denied those not “natural born”? On what possible rational basis? But I will have to say: Scott Rohter might be right… even if it’s totally by accident. Only the Supreme Court can say for sure.

Posted in Constitution, Flying Monkey Right, history, libertoonians, propaganda, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Justice is done. Maybe. (Tom DeLay sentenced). Also, Japan’s feminist hero: an American

Posted by Charles II on January 7, 2013

Via Avedon, former House Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay earns himself 3 years in prison, assuming he doesn’t jump his ridiculously low bond, get the sentence overturned, or get a pardon from the Republican Governor. [Oops. My bad. The article is from 2011. Thanks, PW.]

Also via Avedon, we learn of Beate Gordon, who helped write gender equality into Japan’s Constitution. It has never fully become a reality (as it has not in the US), but what she did dramatically improved the lot of people who had been treated as property until then. Quite an accomplishment for a 22 year old.

Posted in Japan, Republicans, women's issues | 1 Comment »

Aptly said, sir

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

Hunter at DK:

Going down the list of numbers from PPP’s post-election poll, there’s quite a bit of encouraging news to be had. David already covered two of the specifics, but here they are again just to review:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

This is outstanding news. Despite not actually existing, ACORN appears to be just as effective at secret conspiracies to steal elections as they were when they did exist.

And these are the people that Obama is supposed to compromise with. What happens when reality and anti-reality collide?

Posted in anti-truth, polls, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 9 Comments »

The Kool-Aid wears off

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2012

Via Greg Sargent, Bruce Bartlett on what it is to realize that being a Republican = being wrong:

After careful research along these lines, I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. But facts were facts and there was no denying my conclusion.

I finished the book just as the economy was collapsing in the fall of 2008. This created another intellectual crisis for me. Having just finished a careful study of the 1930s, it was immediately obvious to me that the economy was suffering from the very same problem, a lack of aggregate demand. We needed Keynesian policies again, which completely ruined my nice rise-and-fall thesis. Keynesian ideas had arisen from the intellectual grave.

On the plus side, I think I had a very clear understanding of the economic crisis from day one. I even wrote another op-ed for the New York Times in December 2008 advocating a Keynesian cure that holds up very well in light of history. Annoyingly, however, I found myself joined at the hip to Paul Krugman…

For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman. The blind hatred for him on the right simply pushed me further away from my old allies and comrades.

The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.

At this point, I lost every last friend I had on the right. Some have been known to pass me in silence at the supermarket or even to cross the street when they see me coming. People who were as close to me as brothers and sisters have disowned me.

Paul Krugman responds

Posted in Good Things, Republicans | 1 Comment »

Republicans briefly discover public interest, quickly abandon it

Posted by Charles II on November 24, 2012

Via Dan Gillmor, The Guardian, staff members of the Republican Study Group discovered that the purpose of copyright law is not the enrichment of copyright owners, but “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts…” as Article I sec. 8 of the Constitution puts it. Sure, if inventors and authors don’t get compensated for their work, they won’t do it. But the motivation for the government to protect their rights is the public interest. New concept!

There’s all kinds of interest points in the brief, such as

* “most legislative discussions on this topic, particularly during the extension of the copyright term, are not premised upon what is in the public good … but rather what the content creators ‘deserve’ or are ‘entitled to’ by virtue of their creation”
* “there are numerous examples of copyright being used … to stifle oversight and hide incriminating information.”
*”Because there is minimal or nearly non-existent punishment for bogus copyright claims today, false takedown requests are common and have a chilling effect upon legitimate speech”
* “Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets.”

Needless to say, once these staffers’ bosses discovered that they had used the idea of the public interest in a Republican document, the document was quickly disappeared and the staffers shot and then sent to Siberia.

Posted in abuse of power, copyright, Republicans | 3 Comments »

Darrell Issa Burns A Few US Agents In Libya, Just So He Can Look Good On The Sunday Talk Shows

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 20, 2012

Remember when Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby burned a high-value CIA agent, Valerie Plame, in revenge for her husband Joe Wilson’s proclaiming that a key Bush-Cheney pretext for the invasion of Iraq — the alleged Niger yellowcake shipments — was bogus?

Now we find that, just so he could score some political points, Darrell Issa, former car thief and now a guy who at $500 million in wealth is the richest member of Congress, just outed a number of currently working CIA operatives, many of whom are in-country Libyans and who were doing some important projects in addition to their CIA work:

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government.

“This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn’t publicly
associated with the U.S. in any other way but she’s now named in this cable. It’s a danger to her life,” the administration official said.

Another cable names a Benghazi port manager who is working with the United States on an infrastructure project.

“When you’re in a situation where Ansar al-Sharia is a risk to Americans, an individual like this guy, who is an innocent civilian
who’s trying to reopen the port and is doing so in conjunction with Americans, could be at risk now because he’s publicly affiliated with America,” the official said, referring to the group thought to have led the Benghazi attack.

One cable names a local militia commander dishing dirt on the inner workings of the Libyan Interior Ministry. Another cable names
a militia commander who claims to control a senior official of the Libyan armed forces. Other cables contain details of conversations between third-party governments, such as the British and the Danes, and their private interactions with the U.S., the U.N., and the Libyan governments over security issues.

“It betrays the trust of people we are trying to maintain contact with on a regular basis, including security officials inside
militias and civil society people as well,” another administration official told The Cable. “It’s a serious betrayal of trust for us and it hurts our ability to maintain these contacts going forward. It has the potential to physically endanger these people. They didn’t sign up for that. Neither did we.”

Again, does this remind you of how Cheney and Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame — and her entire in-country network of Iraqi contacts — just to get back at her hubby Joe Wilson for saying that he didn’t find any WMDs or WMD precursors in Niger?

The main difference here, besides the fact that this information, though sensitive and tightly held, was not classified, is this: Darrell Issa doesn’t even have the excuse of wanting revenge. He did it for cheap political posturing — and because he could do it, and could get away with it.

Posted in CIA, IOKIYAR, Iraq war, Libya, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Valerie Plame | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Which Candidate Would Be Better for America’s Prestige?

Posted by MEC on September 21, 2012

Would our country be more respected with Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the White House?

I think the answer to that is “not the candidate whose party is bluntly criticized by members of other governments”.

The Australian treasurer, Wayne Swan, in an unusually blunt criticism of US politics weeks before the presidential election, said “cranks and crazies” had taken over the Republicans and posed the biggest threat to the world’s largest economy.

Swan, one of few world leaders able to boast his country had avoided recession during the global financial crisis, also labelled the Tea Party wing of the Republicans as “extreme”.

(Emphasis mine.)

I wish more people in the U.S. could see what the people outside our borders can see so clearly. The Republicans are just plain too crazy to be trusted with government.

Posted in 2012, Republicans | 6 Comments »

Where is Culture of Truth when we need him?

Posted by Charles II on August 29, 2012

Republican chant: “We bilked it! We bilked it! USA! USA!”

The Republican National Convention definitely needs to be given the CoT treatment. His comments are here, but I would phrase it more like this:

Ann Romney: Women want to be loved, and Mitt’s a lover!
Chris Christie: Fahgeddabout love! Women want respect! And I respect ’em. Except teechurs.
The Hucksterbee (then): Mitt Romney doesn’t have a soul.
The Hucksterbee (now, donning Clinton mask): We can do better than Barack Obama. Like this Mormon guy.
Rice: Fortunately, you’re so well-indictrinated that you’ve forgotten that my husb…er, boss caused all this wreckage.
Rice: Thank goodness the Canadians are willing to trash their country so that we can trash the world.
Rice: GW Bush? Who’s that?
Rice: I could be president after Mitt loses.
Susana Martinez: Let’s not talk about Mitt. Let’s talk about me! I could be president after Mitt loses.

Please add your own.

Posted in Republican National Convention, Republicans | 3 Comments »

A few Republicans are not trying to blame Obama for what Bush did

Posted by Charles II on August 14, 2012

If all Republicans were like Bartlett and Stockman, I’d have to reconsider which party to vote for. While I disagree heartily with them on many things, they have been honorable in accepting blame for bad policies. Via Ritholtz,

David Stockman, Reagan Director of OMB, in the NYT:

PAUL D. RYAN is the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment, but that doesn’t alter the fact that this earnest congressman from Wisconsin is preaching the same empty conservative sermon.

Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan’s sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to “job creators” (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.

Bruce Bartlett, Reagan and GHWB adviser:

Although it was quickly overshadowed by his choice of Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, Mitt Romney released an important document last week by his principal economic adviser…economists Glenn Hubbard of Columbia, N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard, John B. Taylor of Stanford and Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute….

Much of the Romney paper is taken up with reviewing the poor economic recovery, which is undeniable. Reading it, however, one is left with the impression that the recession occurred on President Obama’s watch because of policies he is responsible for.

Just to be clear, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the private research group that determines the starting and ending points of recessions, says the latest economic downturn began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

The opposition of every Republican to the 2009 stimulus was a major factor in its inadequate size.

… it was Republican policies during the Bush administration that brought on the sickness and Republicans in Congress who have denied the economy an adequate dosage of the cure [i.e., stimulus]. Now they want to implicitly blame President Obama for causing the recession and the failure of stimulus to fix the problem, asserting that fiscal stimulus is per se ineffective.

One only wishes that Democrats would speak this plainly. Instead, some are complicit in why the stimulus is too small–a few are even giving their support to the Republican lie–and not enough are speaking out clearly on what stimulus is and why–of course!–it works (and why taxes have to be raised eventually to pay for it). Stockman and Bartlett, right-wing cranks though they may be, deserve a lot of credit for showing integrity.

Posted in budget, capitalism as cancer, Republicans, speaking truth to power | Comments Off on A few Republicans are not trying to blame Obama for what Bush did

ALEC is not the only “corporate bill mill”

Posted by Charles II on May 16, 2012

Sara Blaskey and Steve Horn, Truthout:

ALEC, though, is not the only “corporate bill mill” playing this game.

“Taxpayer-subsidized stealth lobbyists” have upped the ante and skillfully advanced their agendas through bipartisan “trade associations” for state government officials – in particular, the Council of State Governments (CSG) whose multimillion-dollar budget is mostly funded by taxpayers. …

Upon being sworn into office, all state-level legislators (there are about 7,500 of them total), as well as their respective legislative staffs, automatically become CSG members. The organization’s membership also includes representatives from the executive and judicial branches of state governments.

Between 2009 and 2011, CSG’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 990 forms indicate revenue between $29 and $34 million annually. … $8.4 to $9.9 million of these funds – come from what it describes as “entrepreneurial efforts” which can be loosely interpreted to mean anything from publication sales to a sizable chunk from corporate patronage.

Some perspective is warranted: 990s filed by ALEC in 2010 placed its entire budget at just under $6 million.

To date, CSG is responsible for publishing between 30-40 model bills annually, in a process called Suggested State Legislation (SSL). These bills are distributed to the states as templates of bipartisan “best practices” often promoting the agendas of multinational corporations.

Most recently, the 2013 SSL docket includes legislation written by and for the shale gas industry on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), as well as a corporate-backed, union-busting collective bargaining “reform” bill.
Until now, the virtual charter school agenda has been linked exclusively to ALEC, though this is far from the case. It is common to see corporations and special interests groups use both CSG and ALEC to promote their agenda – a two-pronged attack, if you will.

A little-known fact is that the NRA also played a role in promoting a slightly tamer – and much less controversial – pro-gun model through CSG.

CSG and ALEC have also broken bread over the so-called “tort reform” agenda.

The most damning evidence of [another organization, The National Council of State Legislatures] NCSL’s shenanigans comes from an October 2010 report from ABC News’ “Nightline” on the July 2010 NCSL Legislative Summit, which took place in Louisville, Kentucky.

NCSL – due to ABC’s reporting – was the inspiration for a broader US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation on corruption in state politics. “Nightline” went so far as to describe state governments as the new “ground zero of influence peddling” for corporate lobbyists, using NCSL as a case in point. [Golfing, groping, dancing, drimking, and horse races]

Though not directly responsible for any policy positions, per se, the [And yet anotherorganization] State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF), with an annual budget in the $2.5 to $3 million range, can best be described as a corporate-funded tutelage academy for majority and minority state-level legislative leaders nationwide.
(emphasis added)

I really don’t think that “FFFFFF” is too strong a statement about people who claim to be for private enterprise while using the US Treasury to bribe and indoctrinate public officials into the task of busting up the bedrock of civil society to create a one-party corporate state,

Posted in corporatists, cronies, Democrats, Republicans, The Plunderbund | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: