Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keeping the White House White

FreeRepublic poster El Gato writes:
We're not talking about citizen at birth, but rather Natural Born Citizen, which remains what it was in the late 1780s when the Constitution was written and ratified. No meer [sic] law, which is what the US code is, can modify the meaning of a Constitution term.
Another relevant quote from El Gato is "Congress has no other power to confer citizenship, except via naturalization."

As one might expect, Gato is a Birther who subscribes to the standard Birther belief that natural-born citizenship requires birth to two citizen parents. (I disagree with this belief, but all that matters in this post is that El Gato holds this opinion, whether or not it's based in fact.)

These two beliefs taken together, however, create a rather unfortunate, and perhaps telling, consequence.

The Constitution did not establish any rules or guidelines regarding naturalization, instead stating in Article I, Section 8 that Congress shall have the power "To establish a uniform rule of naturalization." Pursuant to this authority, the United States' first law governing the granting of U.S. citizenship was the Naturalization Act of 1790. For the first time, the United States provided a means for persons other than those born on U.S. soil to become U.S. citizens. To quote from the Naturalization Act of 1790:
An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term for two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof...
This same language, "any alien, being a free white person," was repeated and reiterated in the Naturalization Act of 1795.

Thus, during the decade following the passage of the Constitution, the time specified by "El Gato" as strictly defining the meaning of "natural born citizen," only immigrants with white skin could become naturalized U.S. citizens. Asian immigrants could not be naturalized citizens. African immigrants could not be naturalized citizens. Arab immigrants could not be naturalized citizens. Naturalization was an institution strictly limited to whites, and only whites.

It follows then that if non-white immigrants could not become naturalized citizens, then their native born children could never be born to two citizen parents. Such would be a legal impossibility. Thus, according to "El Gato," if "Natural Born Citizen...remains what it was in the late 1780s when the Constitution was written and ratified," and if he believes that the Founders intended natural-born citizenship to require two citizen parents, then he is categorically proposing that no child of a non-white immigrant is eligible to be President.

Children of white immigrants? Sure. That's fine. But children of non-white immigrants need not apply. According to El Gato, that is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Polarik's Newest Conspiracy Theory

So Polarik gave an unduly long "interview" to the Birther press the other day. And in addition to referring to yours truly as "the most clueless, irresponsible, deceitful, egotistical, and flat-out fraudulent person in the history of the Internet," Ron also introduced a brand-new conspiracy theory of his to a wider audience.

Specifically, towards the interview's end, this wild claim is advanced:

First of all, one of my two biggest discoveries that I made in the two years that I have been researching this birth certificate controversy has nothing to do with the birth certificate. It was discovering that Politifact had started the false rumor that Obama's middle name is Muhammed, and used it to endlessly "debunk" it in conjuction with facts about Obama.

This is a rather specific allegation, and since it's called a "discovery," that implies there's some kind of evidence to support it. (As opposed to it being just random speculation.) But no supporting evidence is identified; just the conclusion.

In fact, and contrary to the claim as made, the "Obama's middle name is Muhammed' rumor did not originate with Politifact. As far as I can tell, it started with this e-mail forward in December 2007. It started hitting a lot of websites in early January 2008 (for instance, it was posted at FreeRepublic on January 4), and got relatively major exposure via Bill Cunningham on January 6.

Politifact did indeed move to debunk the rumor quickly, but their article about it came on January 11, 2008, five days after Cunningham's usage on the radio, and nearly three weeks after the e-mail forward that was submitted to

So unless the allegation is that Politifact created the email forward in mid-December 2007, filling it with talk about Trinity Church, and using it to introduce a fake rumor that it would then shoot down a month later, this conspiracy theory simply has no legs to stand on.

And if the allegation IS that Politifact secretly created an email rumor about a Presidential candidate just to debunk it a month later, well, it's hard to imagine what secret evidence could have possibly been "discovered" to validate such a hypothesis.