Friday, December 05, 2008

Concerned citizen is concerned

From the Wingnut Thursday edition of the Newport Daily News, comes, appropriately, the following LTE from Helen F. Flynn of Middletown under the headline "Hillary Clinton and Obama need to answer constitutional questions":

Should we as citizens of the United States be concerned about the questions posed to us daily in the media concerning two constitutional issues? The first question concerns the qualifications under the U.S. Constitution as to who can be president of the United States, namely, "No person except a natural born Citizen, shall be eligible to the Office of President." That is what is clearly stated in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5. Several groups have requested that President-elect Barack Obama produce his original birth certificate (everyone has one) so that everyone can be assured that he is indeed a natural-born citizen, which is different from a naturalized citizen. His original birth certificate showing the place and the physician who signed it would help to end all questions about Obama's natural-born status.

The other question that comes up now and presents a constitutional issue has to do with whether Sen. Hillary Clinton is qualified under constitutional law to be appointed to the job of secretary of state. Article I, Section 6, in regard to compensation, states clearly "No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the emoluments [salary, fees, etc.] whereof shall have been increased during such time." According to information in the press, salaries were increased while Sen. Clinton has been holding office, thus eliminating her candidacy for the post.

These two clauses in the U.S. Constitution were included to protect the country and the candidates. Are Americans supposed to be so stupid that we have to sit back and accept being told that these valid issues raised are so much "garbage"?

My reply will soon be flying through the internets to the waiting inbox of the NDN:

To the editors,

Helen F. Flynn of Middletown raises important questions in her letter of December 4. I hope I may be of assistance in answering them.

To take Ms. Flynn's second constitutional question first: the problem of members of Congress being appointed to cabinet posts which have seen salary increases during their terms is one that has come up before. A workaround known as the Saxbe Fix has been established to deal with the problem, as noted by Wikipedia: "Historically, the solution has been to reduce salaries of Cabinet positions to the level they were before the offending salary increases. Although the method originated in 1909 during the Taft Administration, it is named after Senator William B. Saxbe, who successfully was appointed to be United States Attorney General in 1973 after Congress acted to "fix" the violation of the clause by reducing the Attorney General salary to the previous level. The fix subsequently has become relevant as a successful solution for Presidential appointments to the United States Cabinet of sitting members of the United States Congress." If the Saxbe Fix was good enough for Philander C. Knox, William B. Saxbe, and Edmund Muskie, then it's good enough for Hillary Clinton.

As for Ms. Flynn's first constitutional question concerning Barack Obama's citizenship, I have to confess that Ms. Flynn has a very good point. Obama's actual birth certificate has never been passed around among members of the press, since Hawaii state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest in it, i.e. the individual himself or a close family member. That being so, it could certainly be the case that Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the Director of Hawaii's Department of Health, could have been lying when she said that she and Registrar of Vital Statistics Alvin Onaka personally verified the existence of Obama's State of Hawaii birth certificate. It could also be the case that the Certification of Live Birth that has been available online since June could be a forgery.

What I find particularly troubling about the birth certificate controversy is that fact that Senator Clinton never brought it up during the Democratic primaries, and neither did Senator John McCain or Governor Sarah Palin during the general election campaign, and all of them certainly would have had good reason to do so. I can only conclude that Senator Clinton, Senator McCain, and even Governor Palin are all involved in a massive conspiracy to hide the true facts surrounding Obama's possible disqualification for the presidency.

I think Ms. Flynn's course is clear. She must continue to press the question of Barack Obama's dubious citizenship claims. I would advise her to get together with other likeminded concerned citizens of Rhode Island and demand that the state's political leaders speak up on the issue. In particular, I think that she and her allies ought to confront Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Giovanni Cicione. If Mr. Cicione does not accept the validity of Ms. Flynn's concerns, she and her allies ought to take steps to remove Mr. Cicione from his position as party chairman and replace him with someone with the proper concern for the U.S. Constitution.

I believe that the issue of Barack Obama's birth certificate is just what the Rhode Island Republican Party needs to regain the support of the people of Rhode Island. Ms. Flynn and her allies ought to focus on this issue like a laser -- if necessary, to the exclusion of all else. If they do, and if they succeed in gaining control of the state Republican Party, I think they can make this issue the centerpiece of an Ocean State Republican rennaisance.

Ms. Flynn, your duty as an American is clear: go to it, and good luck!
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