Front and Center

Politics, society, and other random randomness

Monthly Archives: April 2011

From Contributor “ODA3”: Why I am less qualified to be President than President Obama! – 10 Red Flags

In the midst of all of the Birther nonsense, I decided to look at my own “Birth Certificate” to see if I would be eligible to run for the Presidency of the United States. To my surprise, with the information I know about our President’s birth certificate I think I might receive even more scrutiny than he has.

First off, there is a lot of controversy over “Birth Certificate” vs. “Certificate of Live Birth”. Well mine says “Copy of Record of Birth” (RED FLAG 1). Oh boy, I get the feeling the Birthers would have a field day just with that alone! The date on this copy is April 1990. I’m sure my mom needed it to get me a passport or something and most likely lost the original somewhere between moving up and down the east coast. It has a raised seal and most of the information seems to be in order.  My full name is spelled out. Date of Birth and Place of Birth as expected. Time of Birth: BLANK (RED FLAG 2). Sex: M. Good. Color: BLANK (RED FLAG 3). Wait, what’s going on here? Surely the people at the hospital knew when I was born and that I was Black. And why haven’t I noticed all of this earlier?

Now here comes the good stuff.

Understand my parents were not married when I was born. They were married 3 days later. But that’s okay. To my knowledge I was born in a hospital. But when I look at the Copy of Record of Birth, I noticed that my mom’s name is written with my father’s last name and her maiden name in parentheses. I would have expected to see her name with her maiden name last or her previous married name (RED FLAG 4). Not so. How did that happen? And what’s this: Date of Original Record July 18. I was born in June (RED FLAG 5)! Date of Amendment: BLANK (RED FLAG 6). So the record was generated a month after I was born. This wouldn’t be likely if I had been born in a hospital. Was I smuggled in from Canada?

Officials in Hawaii have certified that not only does the long form of President Obama’s certificate exist, but there are both typed and hand-written notes in the file from the doctor who birthed him, as would be expected. My Copy of Record of Birth doesn’t say what time I was born, what color I am, and…what’s this? How did I miss this before? THIS IS MY MOTHER’S HANDWRITING!!!!! No doubt about it! The majority of this form was written by my own mother! I’m sure of it (RED FLAG 7). The only think not is the signature of the Registrar of Vital Records and Statistics who official swears by the facts for the Department of Public Health. So maybe the process was: you fill out the document and the registrar verifies and signs it? Yes that’s it. Interestingly, there’s a grease stain right on top of the signature (RED FLAG 8). It must be to cover up the white-out I used on the signature.

I talked to my mom about this Easter Sunday. It turns out I was not born in a hospital as I have been telling people for 30 years. It was a women’s clinic (RED FLAG 9). It wasn’t Planned Parenthood but I’m sure that’s what the GOP do-gooders are thinking. My mom and dad took me and the information to the proper agency to get my birth certificate, and at the same time, they also changed my older sister’s last name (which had been my mother’s previous married name). It all sounds plausible. But where is the proof that I was born in the US? Not that it matters, both of my parents are US citizens. My mom has never left the country in her life.  None of those facts would matter to a Birther though. Facts are simply annoyances to them.

So maybe there’s nothing for a Birther to be worried about. After all, my Copy of Record of Birth was good enough to get me a passport, why not a ticket to the Oval Office. Oh, did I mention that my mom used to work for the US Passport Office? Yep. Didn’t even have to wait in line! And I’m sure that in no way had any effect on the scrutiny that my application received (RED FLAG 10).

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Dear Birthers: The Horse is Dead. Stop Beating It.

When I posted a humorous line as my Facebook status for Easter (“I hear Birthers aren’t celebrating Easter. something about not seeing an authentic copy of his birth certificate…”), I figured my friends and I would share a good laugh and move on.  But of course, my friends who are somewhat in line with the Birther movement jumped in, prompting responses from the other side, and away we went.  I know I’ve posted about this before, but if Birthers must persist, then so should I.  Look at this as an appeal to reason.

Members of what has been labeled the “Birther” movement feel that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, but instead was born in Kenya.  They have offered no proof of this.  They maintain that he has not sufficiently proven that he was born in the US.  No matter what is said or shown, they insist on it.  But let’s give the evidence a look-see, shall we?

Birther’s once maintained that Obama’s grandmother said he was born in Kenya.  This would be a nail to hang their entire argument on.  Even Donald Trump mentioned this in an interview recently.  Unfortunately for Trump and Co., the story was debunked.  Not true.  Didn’t happen.

The biggest Birther argument as to do with Obama’s birth certificate.  For presidential election eligibility purposes. Obama submitted what is called in Hawaii (and many other states) a “Certificate of Live Birth.”  When a copy was made available for the naysayers, they scoffed.  “It can be faked!” they said.  But, my favorite opposition lines were “it’s not good enough–we want to see the long form!” and “its not the same as a Birth Certificate!”  Both of these arguments leave a lot of pertinent info out, most likely on purpose.

First of all, the Birthers purposefully ignore Hawaii law.  In Hawaii, when one requests a copy of their birth certificate, they do NOT get a copy of the original, long form birth certificate.  They get the “Certificate of Live Birth.”  It is a legal document carrying behind it the weight of the issuing state, and it has the necessary seal of authenticity.  Second, government officials in Hawaii have verified that there is an official long form birth certificate on file with the state of Hawaii.  Third, while people are saying that a person could simply walk into a hospital with an already-born baby and get a COLB, there is no proof that this is what happened when Obama was born.

Oh, did I forget to mention the dual birth announcements in the news papers right after he was born?

Birthers won’t accept the notion that in order for their version of events to be true, there would need to be a major conspiracy put together, involving a birth in another country, a very long flight to Hawaii, and convincing state officials, a hospital, and the news papers that Obama was born in Hawaii.  Who would want to go through that much trouble?  And on top of all else, since Obama’s mother was an American citizen, it didn’t matter WHERE he was born!  Her US citizenship made HIM a US citizen.  Period.

Birthers are being allowed to drive this discussion.  The proof is out there that shows that Obama was born in the US.  The question is, why isn’t it on the Birthers to provide evidence that he wasn’t?  Just like in a court trial, let’s see what they have and let the jury decide.

I suspect the verdict would be unanimous.

Clark Howard Nails It: The Country is “Sailing Up Denial” About Taxing Our Way Out of Debt

I happened to hear Clark Howard on the radio while driving back to the office from a business event.  For those that don’t know, Clark Howard (like Dave Ramsey) is a consumer guru known for giving out advice and tips to the masses via his radio and TV programs.  During his program today, he mentioned that the country as a whole was “sailing up denial” when it comes to solutions to fix the country’s long-term debt issues.  While I will still be more of a fan of the saying “denial is a river in Egypt,” Howard definitely nailed the thought process that currently occupies the minds of many Americans–that increasing taxes on the top earners, without making cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is a viable option for debt reduction over the long term.

The fact that a poll was taken on this subject is quite humorous.  There are a couple of ideas that rule the hearts and minds of many Americans.  The first is that they wouldn’t support the reduction of government benefit programs, knowing they would be affected by the reductions.  Seems to be the simple law of self preservation to me.  The second is that people feel if a person is rich (or seems that way) then regardless of whether or not they actually paid into a benefit, they have money and can do without the government entitlements.  These thoughts reflect, as Howard also stated, that in America, we don’t have a notion of shared sacrifice on the issue.  “Don’t change MY stuff, just make the rich fund it.”  Tricky thing is, as Howard explained, you could tax the upper 1%-2% of income earners all the way to destitution, and the debt problem still wouldn’t be solved.  Further–and I thought this was spot on–if the solution used was more taxes with no benefits cuts, eventually there wouldn’t be enough money coming into the government to pay for benefits.  Before long, individuals would find themselves solely responsible for their own welfare and wellbeing, just like in the old days.  One can only imagine the outcry THAT would produce.

Here’s to hoping that Congress gets it right for a change and puts the sacrifice on everyone, not just a few people.

I Said We All Lose With the Budget Deal; It’s Worse Than I Thought

In my last post, I explained why I thought we all lose out in the end when it comes to the budget deal agreed on last week.  Well, now that they put out the details of the agreement, many people are realizing that it’s worse than we thought.  In many cases, “cuts” aren’t cuts at all.

So, what constitutes a “budget cut?”

Many of the cuts appear to have been cuts in name only, because they came from programs that had unspent funds.

For example, $1.7 billion left over from the 2010 census; $3.5 billion in unused children’s health insurance funds; $2.2 billion in subsidies for health insurance co-ops (that’s something the president’s new health care law is going to fund anyway); and $2.5 billion from highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation.

About $10 billion of the cuts comes from targeting appropriations accounts previously used by lawmakers for so-called earmarks – pet projects like highways, water projects, community development grants and new equipment for police and fire departments. Republicans had already engineered a ban on earmarks when taking back the House this year.

Republicans also claimed $5 billion in savings by capping payments from a fund awarding compensation to crime victims. Under an arcane bookkeeping rule — used for years by appropriators — placing a cap on spending from the Justice Department crime victims fund allows lawmakers to claim the entire contents of the fund as “budget savings.” The savings are awarded year after year.

For those keeping count at home, that block of funny money amounts to $24.9 billion of the $38 billion in budget cuts! Yes, the shutdown drama was over about $13 billion in actual cuts, which amounts to a miniscule percentage of the overall budget. Oh, and they managed to find time to tell D.C. how they can and can’t spend their money, too.

This is the type of tomfoolery we have to put up with. Both sides should be ashamed. But we know its just business as usual.

Forget Picking Winners in the Budget Fiasco; We All Lose in the End

Unofficial seal of the United States Congress

Image via Wikipedia

After the absurd theater that was the “oh-my-god-the-government-will-shut-down” nonsense of last week, many news sites were picking “winners” and “losers.”  Frankly, the loser in all of this is clear–the American People.  If it takes this much effort to get Congress to cut a few billion dollars from a 3-plus trillion dollar deficit, what happens going forward, with expected trillion-dollar deficits for the next ten years?

Contrary to the posturing being done by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama, Democrats came out on the losing end of the battle.  At least temporarily (since success can be fleeting in politics), many Americans scratched their heads as Democrats dug in and fought against budget cuts that make up less than one percent of the total budget.  One looks silly fighting to hold on to every penny when nearly everyone knows that the level of debt we are piling up as a country is unsustainable and a threat to national security.

Wait.  I digress.  Based on the number of people who actually supported the Dems position in all of this, either “nearly everyone” is far from accurate, or there are a lot of people in denial.  They are convinced the way to fix this is to maintain the spending and only increase taxes.  But that’s a different story.

Since we’re talking budgets, and in Washington, its always about the baseline, let’s look at the baseline of the budget battle.  If Democrats had passed a budget back in 2010, while controlling Congress and the White House, none of this would’ve happened.  It was the first time in many years that there was no budget submitted.  Even worse, the fact that the Dems punted in June of 2010 in order to go into butt-covering mode for the upcoming elections seems to have been swept under the rug.  I’m very surprised some person within the Democrat machine didn’t point out that if they didn’t get it done, it could possibly be out of their hands in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party, whose focus is and always has been spending cuts (don’t be fooled by accusations to the contrary), powered an election that sent new people to Congress with the mission of reigning in spending.  I’ve actually gotten a kick out of watching how people who were quick to defend the ramming through of Obamacare by saying “that’s what we elected them to do” turn around and actually criticize members of Congress for being beholden to the Tea Party!  It’s more important to demonize the TP than to recognize that their criticism of spending is legit.

But back to the budget fight.  Republicans aren’t without criticism here.  This was no time to inject social issues into the fray.  A fight over funding for Planned Parenthood had no business occupying time and space in this.  Or did it?  One analysis of the battle said the Democrats fell for the okey-doke in that regard; that really, defunding Planned Parenthood wasn’t really the big priority that Democrats thought it was, and when they agreed to give up something in return for a dropping of that issue by Republicans, they were suckered.  Further, as part of the final agreement, Obama and Reid agreed to allow a debate and vote on defunding PP to be brought up in the Senate.  Still, any future fight over defunding Planned Parenthood just because they are an abortion provider is a waste.

There is one upside to the way the deal went down.  Democrats hoped to achieve cuts by simply delaying some projects (which did happen) and/or freezing funding for certain programs and refunding them in the next budget.  Republicans didn’t play ball.   Instead, many programs were terminated in order to get to the nearly $40 billion in cuts.  For the other programs with reduced budgets, they have a new baseline to start from in the 2012 budget.  In other words, even if there is a programmed funding increase, they will still spend less going forward.  This serves to reduce the monsterous deficits already projected for the next 5-10 years out.

So, after all of that, why do I say we all lose?  Because this bears repeating:  we nearly had a government shutdown over cuts amounting to less than 2% of the overall budget!  So much hinged on so little.  In order for the country to win, spending has to come down.   Is that so hard to understand?

Has it been 11 days??

I knew it had been a while since my last article.  But 11 days?  Wow, I’m slacking!  Gotta get on the ball!  Anyone interested in contributing to the blog, let me know!