Friday, September 04, 2009

Donofrio Takes Down FactCheck.Org In First Round

I told you earlier this week about how fellow blogger and New Jersey attorney Leo Donofrio debunked a claim made during last year's presidential campaign by Factcheck.org that Barack Hussein Obama had dual citizenship with his father's native country of Kenya upon his birth, but that he lost his Kenyan citizenship when he turned 21 on August 4, 1982. Donofrio cited Kenya's constitution as providing a 2-year window upon Obama reaching the age of 21 before his Kenyan citizenship would lapse by operation of law. That meant that his Kenyan citizenship would not have lapsed until August 4, 1984 at the soonest, assuming he took no formal steps to renounce that citizenship, something Obama has never publicly claimed he did. Donofrio then explained the operation of the British Nationality Act on citizenship since Kenya was a part of the British Commonwealth at the time of Obama's birth. Specifically, Donofrio analyzed how Obama's British citizenship could have survived the lapsing of his Kenyan citizenship, notwithstanding Kenyan law, suggesting Obama could still be a British citizen if he had not taken affirmative steps to renounce that citizenship.

The mainstream media relied on Factcheck.org like the Bible when it came to truth-telling on any debated issue during last year's presidential election. Yesterday, as Donofrio discusses today on his blog, Factcheck.org's Joe Miller admitted that the organization had been in error when it claimed Obama's Kenyan citizenship lapsed upon his reaching the age of 21. Miller wrote:

Our Aug. 29, 2008, Ask FactCheck item asking whether Obama has Kenyan citizenship… stated that Obama did have dual citizenship as a child but that it expired as an adult. But Leo Donofrio, a former lawyer, argues that we got the year wrong. He’s right about that, and we have corrected the item.

Initially, we said that Obama’s citizenship expired in 1982, on Obama’s 21st birthday. In fact, however, the Kenyan Constitution provides a two-year window during which one can decide which citizenship to keep. So, President Obama’s Kenyan citizenship expired on Aug. 4, 1984, not 1982, as we had initially reported.

We regret the error.
Not satisfied with a simple correction, Miller went on to suggest that Donofrio was a "former lawyer" and a part of the so-called "birther conpiracists" who claim Obama's birth actually took place in Kenya and not in Hawaii. Factcheck wrote:

That hasn’t kept Donofrio from arguing otherwise, with the usual conspiracy-theorist mix of twisted logic and misreading of the law. If you really want to get into the weeds with his argument (or, really, with any other birth certificate related question), we suggest that you head over to Obama Conspiracy Theories, where a blogger who uses the pseudonym "Dr. Conspiracy" has taken on the Herculean (or is that Sisyphean?) task of debunking birth certificate related conspiracies. We agree with his take on Donofrio’s argument.
Donofrio has in fact been a big critic of people who make the claim that Obama was not born in Hawaii because they are distracting from the real issue: "Since Obama admits he was a dual citizen governed by British law at birth, how can he be considered a natural born citizen of the US?" Donofrio has consistently maintained the legal view that a "natural born citizen" includes only children of U.S. citizens born on U.S. soil. His study and analysis of the term contained in the U.S. Constitution as an eligibility requirement for being President of the United States leads him to conclude that a person who holds dual citizenship at birth, regardless of whether the other citizenship is renounced or lapsed by operation of law, is not a natural born citizen. That status is determined at birth and cannot magically spring into existence when one reaches age 21 or 23 as some have suggested. Donofrio concedes the issue is an open question. The Constitution doesn't define natural born citizen, the Supreme Court has never rendered an opinion on its meaning and Congress has chosen not to define the term.

The Factcheck.org correction completely ignored Donofrio's analysis of the British Nationality Act and how it played into Obama's dual citizenship status. Instead, Factcheck's Miller adopted the analysis conducted by an anonymous blogger and partisan Obama supporter who publishes the site, "Obama Conspiracy Theories." “We agree with his take on Donofrio’s argument,” Miller writes. Donofrio dissects the anonymous blogger's analysis, who we have no way of knowing is a bona fide attorney or just a partisan political hack, and picks apart the fallacies of his conclusion that the Kenyan Constitution precluded dual citizenship with Great Britain. It affirmatively does the opposite as Donofrio points out. Reacting to the Factcheck.org's anonymous bloggers' take on Obama's dual citizenship status, Donofrio writes:

Factcheck.org was publicly humbled by the complexity of the statute they misconstrued, and so they should be referencing attorneys who will stake their public reputation upon interpretation of these laws. If not, then how can Factcheck.org be a genuine “factchecking” resource? Their proxy blogger has never provided evidence he is an attorney with professional qualifications to proffer accurate analysis of these difficult legal issues . . .

The legal analysis provided via proxy to their readers is juvenile, uneducated and wrong . . .

Factcheck.org has endorsed an opinion which argues the Kenyan constitution prevents Commonwealth citizenship while it specifically provides for it.
Factcheck's admission and revision exposes the fact that the source of its legal analysis on this issue has been a partisan, anonymous blogger who has made it his job to label anyone who has anything negative to say about Obama as a wacko conspiracy theorist. The blogger has sought to smear by association any Internet site that Larry Sinclair, the gay man who claims he once shared cocaine and had sex with Obama while he was still a state senator in Chicago, has linked to on his blog, including NoQuarter, Michelle Malkin, American Thinker, America's Right and this blog.

After Donofrio thoroughly discredited Factcheck's and their anonymous blogger's analysis, the anonymous blogger scrubbed the original entry and removed some of the false information he included in his original entry. Donofrio's sparring this week with Factcheck.org has truly exposed this organization for what it is--a shill for Barack Hussein Obama. Despite its contention that it had no ties to Obama, the Annenburg Foundation-funded organization carries with it all of the baggage of its chief benefactor. The Annenburg Foundation poured millions of dollars into the "education reform" endeavors of Obama and his terrorist pal, Bill Ayers. This provided a platform for Obama to promote himself politically in Chicago and in Springfield and helped boost his political career. Factcheck cannot be relied upon as an independent, objective authority on any matter related to Obama. Hats off to Donofrio for his work in exposing Factcheck.org for what it truly is, or as he calls the organization, Factrefer.org.

2 comments:

Joel said...

Ouch.

Dr. Conspiracy said...

I am Dr. Conspiracy, the anonymous blogger behind the Obama Conspiracy Theories web site (obamaconspiracy.org).

Anyone visiting there can quickly read that I am not, nor have ever pretended to be a lawyer. I am not a "political hack" either. I am a blogger who got fed up with crank theories about Barack Obama, and decided to try to spread some real information (a largely futile task).

Donofrio blew out of all proportion a small error made by Factcheck.org. As soon as Factcheck was made aware of the obscure provision in the Kenyan Constitution that allowed Obama a couple of extra years to claim Kenyan citizenship, they admitted the mistake and corrected it publicly. That is the mark of integrity in a news organization.

Donofrio, however, have continued to push disproven conspiracy theories, and has not owned up to his own mistakes and cast unfounded and false hints of connections between Obama and Factcheck.

Donofrio also whined (using the word "defamation") when Factcheck called him a "former lawyer", when Donofrio himself admitted months ago on his blog that he no longer practices law (although he is still licensed to do so).

While Factcheck, perhaps in haste, made a mistake in one of its reports, Donofrio wrote a major article in response that is fundamentally flawed, relying on a portion of a law that has been repealed. He apologetically continues to peddle misinformation.