Saturday, April 30, 2011

For Some, Daniels Presidential Bid Hinged On Signing Anti-Abortion Legislation

On almost any political news-related website you visit on the Internet today you will find a story speculating that Gov. Mitch Daniels intends to run for president because he indicated he would sign an anti-abortion bill that bars pregnant women from getting abortions more than 20 weeks into their pregnancy, and bars government funding for clinics that provide abortion services. Although Daniels said he supported the legislation from the beginning and has generally taken pro-life positions throughout his two terms as governor, the speculation abounded:

  • "Questions about Daniels’ position on the bill had risen to national prominence as politicos speculated whether signing the legislation into law would help or hurt a possible campaign for president, which he is considering. Some thought it could help him among conservatives, who were frustrated that he called for a political “truce” between Republicans and Democrats on social issues while elected officials were dealing with the nation’s economic woes." Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, Courier-Journal
  • "His decision to sign House Bill 1210 added fuel to speculation that he will seek the Republican nomination for president, particularly since it may silence criticism by social conservatives who had objected to Daniels' call for a "truce" on social issues." Mary Beth Schneider, Star
  • "Mitch Daniels, who's set to decide soon whether he's entering the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, said Friday he'll sign a bill that will end Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood for family services — an issue that has attracted national attention . . . A Democratic insider referred to Daniels's past call for a "truce" on social issues and snarked, "Truce broken it appears." Maggie Haberman, Politico
  • "Indiana’s bill comes as Mr. Daniels, a Republican in a state where Republicans last fall gained control of both chambers of the legislature, is expected to announce a decision soon about running for president in 2012 . . . The bill cutting off an expected $2 million in Medicaid financing to Planned Parenthood could have become law without the governor’s signature, and Mr. Daniels’s announcement was viewed by some as a sign that he may be leaning toward running and hoping to increase his appeal among social conservatives. Monica Davey, New York Times
  • "Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday he will sign restrictive abortion legislation, making Indiana the first state to cut off all government funding for Planned Parenthood and boosting Daniels’ credentials among social conservatives as he considers whether to run for president." Associated Press
Before you begin to think the passage of the legislation represents the death knell of Planned Parenthood in Indiana you should realize the organization can easily separate its abortion services from its other family planning services by setting up affiliate organizations, thus avoiding the loss of federal and state funding for its other services. At most, the legislation will slightly reduce the amount of public funds spent on abortion, and it could increase the cost of obtaining an abortion in the absence of any government funding. If the organization is successful in making up the difference through private donations, there will likely be no impact at all on the availability of abortions in Indiana.

Those who've followed Daniels this year would look at his aggressive education reform agenda as the best hint of his plans to run for president. That included:
  • Indiana's first school voucher program to allow students in failing public schools to attend other schools of their choice;
  • Expanding the number of charter schools;
  • Collective bargaining reform that limits contract negotiations to wages and benefits;
  • Providing funding for full-day kindergarten;
  • Revamping teacher pay so it is based more on merit and less on seniority; and
  • Measuring teacher and administrator performance based on student achievement.
You can bet if Gov. Daniels does decide to run for president, which I think he will, his education reform agenda will be near the top of the list of achievements he espouses in any presidential campaign.

UPDATE: The New York Times is featuring a Sunday story discussing Daniels' potential run. It includes this quote from him:

“I’m getting letters from all over the damn country, and some of them are pretty moving,” Mr. Daniels said in an interview last week at the Capitol in Indianapolis, where his friends believe he is inching closer to exploring a candidacy. He added, “It can’t help but affect you.”

His old friend Al Hubbard has this on what separates him from the other candidates:

“What sets Mitch apart from the other candidates who are currently running, he is very, very direct and very open about what needs to be done,” said Al Hubbard, a director of the National Economic Council. “I’m disappointed that the other candidates who are currently talking about running are reluctant to do that.”

Ryerson Continues Lies About Natural Born Citizenship Debate

It's no wonder reporters working for the Indianapolis Star can blatantly lie to their readers about what the debate over President Barack Obama's natural born citizenship fully encompasses. It seems the newspapers's executive editor can lie just as casually as his reporters on the issue. In the Sunday edition, Ryerson's Conversations column laments the fact that President Obama had to be compelled to produce a copy of his original birth certificate. As he describes the cause of the debate:

During the 2008 presidential campaign so-called "birthers" began circulating allegations that Obama wasn't legally entitled to be president because he wasn't born in the United States.
To be sure, there have always been some who have questioned Obama's place of birth, questions which persons could legitimately wonder about given how Obama himself put out a book, "Dreams From My Father," that contained more fiction than fact about his biographical narrative, and his stonewalling the past three years on efforts to get him to release his original birth certificate, which he admitted to possessing in his 1995 autobiography. Yet most of the lawsuits filed against Obama raised a legitimate legal issue: Can a person who is born a dual citizen as a result of the foreign citizenship status of one of his parents be considered a natural born citizen? Obama has always conceded he was a dual citizen at birth by virtue of his father's Kenyan citizenship, which made him a British citizen since Kenya was still a part of the dwindling British empire at the time of his birth. Obama's situation is further complicated by evidence that he later became an Indonesian citizen after he and his mother immigrated there and his Indonesian father adopted him and changed his name to "Barry Soetoro." His own half-sister, Maya, concedes her father, Lolo Soetoro, adopted him.

Ryerson, like virtually every other mainstream reporter in this country, continue to lie to the American public about this bona fide debate. Constitutional scholars disagree on the interpretation of the natural born citizen requirement found only once in the U.S. Constitution, but all constitutional scholars agree the issue has never been resolved by the federal courts. Contrary to what Ryerson may wish to believe, it is not a given that a person is a natural born citizen simply because of his or her birth in the U.S., even if deemed a citizen by virtue of the 14th Amendment. Mainstream media, including the Washington Post and New York Times, thought nothing of writing stories in 2008 questioning Sen. John McCain's eligibility because he was born in Panama while his father was stationed at a naval base there. McCain even produced his original birth certificate acknowledging his birth in a foreign land, further fueling the debate. A law professor in his home state published a law review article declaring he wasn't a natural born citizen. The issue concerned McCain enough that he asked his Senate colleagues to research the issue, which they did, and the Senate ultimately resolved the debate in his favor by a resolution adopted by the full body. The resolution declared McCain a natural born citizen, notably, because both of his parents were U.S. citizens.

As on any issue where persons have differing views from this President, anyone who raises the issue is automatically labeled a racist. Ryerson is no exception when it comes to playing the race card. "Yet the conspiracy theorists hung on, abetted by some individuals who never will accept a black president with a non-mainstream name, by some opposition politicians all too willing to let the issue simmer, and by attention-seekers using the Wild West platform of the Internet to feed those hungry for any information that would fuel their biases," Ryerson writes.

But for the "Wild West" Internet, as Ryerson dubs it, the American people would know nothing but a totally fabricated narrative fit for a "Tail Wagging The Dog" Hollywood-produced movie concerning this man. For an editor who has used his newspaper relentlessly to decry the sad state of our public education system, Ryerson does more to dumb down the people who read his newspaper than any failed public educator could accomplish with their best efforts. And he wonders why his readers are dropping their subscriptions to his newspaper in droves.

IMPD Officer Charged With Stealing From Hispanic Victims

Three years ago, a Westfield police officer was charged with bribery for shaking down Hispanic victims he suspected of being illegal aliens for money in consideration for not arresting them after making traffic stops. Now it appears a veteran IMPD officer went one step further and simply stole property outright from Hispanic victims he pulled over for traffic stops. The Star's Vic Ryckaert reports on the charges filed against Officer David Butler, a 23-year veteran of the department:

A veteran Indianapolis police officer was arrested Friday on accusations that he used his badge to stop Hispanic motorists and clean out their wallets.

Prosecutors charged officer David J. Butler, a 23-year veteran, with robbery and official misconduct, both felonies, after an internal investigation linked him to the robberies of two men on the Northwestside, authorities said. One of the traffic stops was captured by a gas station's surveillance cameras, they said.

Butler was booked in the Marion County Jail on Friday and held on $15,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear Monday in Marion Superior Court for an initial hearing.

Prosecutors say Butler, 52, stole cash from two men during traffic stops in September and January. Investigators think there might be more victims and have urged anyone with information to come forward.

Prosecutor Terry Curry credited the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for discovering Butler's alleged crimes and bringing the evidence to his office.

"Their investigation uncovered a repetitive pattern of behavior by officer Butler, a pattern of behavior which plainly violated the trust the public placed in him," Curry said in a statement.

Mayor Greg Ballard said Butler's arrest shows that officers who tarnish the badge will be held accountable. He stressed that the actions of a single officer "do not diminish the outstanding police work" of the entire department . . .
Ryckaert's story notes Butler's arrest is one of eight police officers with the department to face criminal charges in the last year alone. Butler admitted to taking money from the victims during the traffic stops after initially denying it to detectives according to the report.

On another note, state legislation that would have allowed state and local law enforcement officials to take a greater role in enforcing the nation's immigration laws was altered considerably before its final passage last night. The legislation authored by Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) now focuses on businesses that "knowingly" employ illegal immigrant by denying them tax breaks. Provisions requiring police to question persons about their immigrant status during arrests by requesting proof of their status was removed from the legislation.

Friday, April 29, 2011

INS Records Indicate INS & Harvard Forced Obama's Father To Leave Country

Once described as a "very intelligent" student by his faculty advisor at the University of Hawaii, the father of President Barack Obama would later become negatively viewed by academic officials there and later at Harvard where he was pursuing a Ph.D., who saw him as a womanizer and "slippery character". According to newly-released INS records for Barack Obama, Sr., accessible here, officials at Harvard and the INS together agreed he had over-stayed his welcome in the U.S. and agreed to terminate his student visa and order his return to his native Kenya. Those same INS records also confirm the birth of one of his sons, Barack Obama, II to Stanley Ann Dunham in Honolulu, Hawaii during their very brief marriage.

The 5'11", 185-pound Kenyan native arrived at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on August 9, 1959 at the age of 25. Obama was initially enrolled in the English Language Institute at the university, a preparatory program for foreign students before they began general course work. He relied on $1,500 in his own funds and funds he received from friends to support his living costs while attending school there. A year later, he became enrolled in the school's College of Business Administration with the benefit of scholarships from the university and the African-American Institute.

Immigration officials first became concerned about Obama when they learned he had married Stanley Ann Dunham in Maui, Hawaii during February, 1961 because they were aware he had a wife back in his native Kenya. A faculty advisor told INS officials that Obama had been "running around with several girls" and had been cautioned about his "playboy ways." The official noted in a memo that Obama's advisor said he had told her that in Kenya he did not require a legal divorce from his wife. He told her they were divorced and that was all that was necessary. The official noted Obama couldn't be deported as a non-immigrant due to polygamy; however, if convicted of bigamy, the officer noted he could be deported from the country. The officer noted Obama should be "questioned closely" before being granted any further extensions of his student visa. He suggested inquiry into whether his marriage to Dunham was bona fide in the event she petitioned to make him a permanent resident. Typically, U.S. citizens petition to make their alien spouses lawful permanent residents, particularly when they have children with them, so they don't have to worry about obtaining extensions on their visas to remain in the country legally.

During a subsequent extension of his student visa, officials noted the birth of a son to Dunham, Barack Obama, II, on August, 4, 1961. The documents suggest Dunham and Obama never lived together with their child, which helps explain why Dunham never petitioned to make her husband a permanent resident. According to the INS records, Dunham and her son lived with her parents in Honolulu. Obama told them his wife planned to leave Hawaii to attend classes at "Washington State University" in Seattle in the fall of 1961 shortly after their son was born. She actually began attending classes at the University of Washington within weeks of her son's birth and did not return to Hawaii until after her husband had left the state to pursue further studies at Harvard. Obama was granted permission to accept employment due to changed financial conditions after his marriage to Dunham. According to INS records, Obama was employed by the Dole Corporation as a part-time employee working for $1.33 an hour.

Upon earning his degree from the University of Hawaii in 1962, Obama continued his graduate studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The records, however, suggest he worked in a fellowship program for at least a year in Baltimore, Maryland before starting work on a PhD at Harvard in 1963. Interestingly, when completing his application for an extension of his student visa, Obama mentioned a son Roy Obama from his first wife in Kenya but did not list Barack Obama, II. His application acknowledged he was married but did not specify who his spouse was. A 1964 application to extend his visa omitted any mention of a wife or children, a fact noted by an INS officer on his application.

It became quite apparent that officials at Harvard soured on Obama soon after he began his graduate work there. One memo notes Obama had become involved with a female foreign exchange student from Kenya [name redacted] who abruptly left her studies at her school without completing her exams allegedly to help care for a sick sister in London. The young woman had been warned she would not be permitted to re-enroll at the school she was attending, which appears to be a high school. Officials did not believe she was leaving the country to care for a sick sister; they speculated she went to "London to get [real reason redacted]." Given the relationship the memo mentioned the woman had with Obama, one might speculate she was pregnant and went to London to get an abortion. Abortions were still illegal in most states at that time, including Massachusetts. The memo said Obama had called repeatedly on her behalf seeking a reconsideration of the school's decision not to let her return to her studies. The memo said Obama was thought to be her boyfriend and described him as "a slippery character."

Obama's academic advisors told INS officials that "Harvard was not impressed with him" and wanted to terminate his student visa. In May, 1964, Harvard notified Obama in a letter that his time at the university had come to an end and that he could complete research and work on his thesis after returning to Kenya. On his last request to extend his student visa, Obama finally named Stanley Dunham as his wife and listed Barack Obama, II as his son. He noted, however, that he had been legally separated from his wife for a couple of months. Divorce records uncovered in Hawaii suggest Dunham and Obama were divorced in January, 1964.

Before Obama's status in the U.S. had been officially terminated, a mother [name redacted] contacted INS officials to express her concern that her daughter was going to marry Obama and was concerned because she believed he already had one or two wives. An extension of Obama's student visa was denied. An INS official noted he seemed satisfied with the explanation provided when he asked for reconsideration of his application. Obama departed the U.S. for Kenya in July, 1964 at INS' request.

One of the final notes in Obama's file was a mention of the concerned mother calling again to say her daughter had left the U.S. bound for Kenya in August, 1964 to join Obama there. Officials told the mother there was nothing they could do about the fact that he already had two other wives and a son in Hawaii because her daughter knew of his marital status before she left the country. The woman in question was presumably Ruth Nidesand, a Jewish-American woman who married and lived with Obama in Kenya for several years before divorcing him. The couple had two sons, one of whom is still living. A final letter from November, 1965 noted Obama had still not chosen a title for his thesis or submitted any written information to Harvard for review.

Jack Cashill notes in another story today how Barack Obama had the same problem concluding work on his book, "Dreams From My Father", before eventually passing it off to his buddy Bill Ayers to ghost write on his behalf. Cashill concluded that the newly-released document pertaining to Obama's marriage to Stanley Dunham "thoroughly undermines the Obama nativity story, a story that has been told almost as often as Jesus's but with nowhere near the accuracy." Cashill writes, "As Obama told the story in 2004, his father had grown up in Kenya 'herding goats.'" "His mother he traced to Kansas, as he always did." "My parents shared not only an improbable love," Obama continued, "they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation." Cashill pointed out Obama's father actually grew up speaking English and working as a clerk in Nairobi. As to his parent's marriage, Cashill says "one has to wonder, however, whether it was a marriage in anything but name or whether there was a marriage at all."

UPDATE: Here's a surprise. The AP is running a story about Obama's father getting kicked out of Harvard. because of concern about his womanizing and financial concerns. Less surprising is Harvard's denial of its role in getting him tossed out of the country. “While we cannot verify accounts of conversations that occurred nearly 50 years ago, a review of our existing files did not find any support for either the language or the implied intent described by the U.S. government official in the government documents,” the statement read. Either Harvard is lying or its Obama files have been sanitized. You be the judge. Also not surprising is the attempt of some people in the media to cast these latest disclosures as evidence Obama's father was singled out due to racism because he was "dating white women." We just don't understand their cultural differences about "moving on" after a marriage to a woman.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, only the foreign media would pick up on the point I made that the high school foreign exchange student that Obama's father was preying on who had to abruptly leave her studies to travel to London likely did so to obtain an abortion. The U.K. Telegraph reports:

Mr Obama Sr. and Miss Dunham divorced in January 1964, by which time he had left Hawaii and was studying for a PhD in Economics at Harvard.

The file said two months later, concerns were raised over Mr Obama Sr.’s relationship with a Kenyan high-school student on an exchange scheme in nearby Boston, who abruptly travelled to England.

“The suspicion exists,” the March 1964 document said, “that she may have gone to London for [redacted]”. It is unclear what the next word is. At the time, abortions were illegal in the US.

Harvard was contacted by May 1964, and while Mr Obama Sr. had passed his exams, the university agreed it would “try to cook something up to ease him out”.

Mr Obama Sr., also described as a “slippery character”, was told that funding for his studies had run out and that he must complete his thesis in Kenya.

The file said officials then received a call in July 1964 from a mother distressed that her 27-year-old daughter had agreed to marry Mr Obama Sr.

The woman is presumed to be Ruth Nidesand, who became Mr Obama Sr.'s third wife and was white, like Miss Dunham.

Gloria Allred's Latest Dumb Lawsuit

You have to watch this video clip from Jimmy Kimmel's show last night to grasp the sheer absurdity of this latest lawsuit Gloria Allred has filed in the California courts. She supposedly has filed the lawsuit for the benefit of the two young twin girls who witnessed something little girls shouldn't have to see while watching a Major League Baseball game, but it is even more incredible that Allred would have the two young girls sit through the press conference where she recounts what they witnessed an Atlanta Braves pitching coach saying to the family in lurid detail and using a baseball bat to simulate sex as the pitching coach did while the two young girls look on.

Hat tip to Debbie Schlussel.

Allred demonstrating the obscene gesture made by the pitching coach with the assistance of an associate

Fair Finance Trustee Files Suit Against GIRFCO To Recover Durham Contributions

The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Company has filed a lawsuit against the Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee seeking recovery of more than $52,000 in contributions indicted Ponzi scheme operator Tim Durham made to the political campaign committee. In a letter dated April 13, 2011 to Paul Okeson, GIRFCO treasurer and former Chief of Staff to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, the bankruptcy trustee noted he had sent a demand letter to the organization last June to which there had been no response. The trustee gave Okeson until April 25, 2011 to respond to the trustee's demand for a return of the campaign contributions but received no response. On April 27, the trustee filed suit against GIRFCO alleging the contributions were fraudulent transfers because Fair Finance was effectively insolvent at the time Durham made the contributions to the campaign committee. The timing of the lawsuit is inopportune for Marion Co. Republicans, who are struggling to raise money to maintain the mayor's office and Republican control of the City-County Council in this election year.

UPDATE: Ed Feigenbaum's Indiana Legislative Insight reports five separate lawsuits were filed, including the following: GIRFCO ($52,943); Marion Co. Republican Party ($5,000); Committee To Elect Paul Ricketts ($40,000); House Republican Campaign Committee ($58,580); and Committee To Elect Brian Bosma ($5,000).

UPDATE II: WRTV's Rafael Sanchez is reporting the suit against Bosma's committee has been dropped after he agreed to return $10,000. Negotiations between the bankruptcy trustee and the campaign committees of Gov. Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Greg Zoeller and former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi are ongoing Sanchez says.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Indianapolis Bar Association Responds To Shabazz' Attack On Judge Rosenberg

Fortunately, somebody is finally taking to task the irresponsible pronouncements of controversial radio talk show host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz. Responding to Shabazz' unsubstantiated allegation that Judge Louis Rosenberg had engaged in impermissible ex parte communications with Democratic Party officials concerning the ongoing Charlie White election controversy, the Indianapolis Bar Association released the following statement:

Indianapolis, IN, April 28, 2011: On behalf of over 5,000 lawyers, judges, and legal professionals, the Indianapolis Bar Association on occasion finds it appropriate to speak when the integrity of the legal system or those who administer, support and defend it are unfairly called into question. The April 27, 2011 blog post by Abdul Hakim-Shabazz titled “Treacy v. Parker?”, has made unsubstantiated allegations that call into question the actions of a sitting judge and the integrity of the legal system as a whole. The Marion County Circuit Court judge in the matter involving the case of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is bound by the rules of judicial conduct in that and any other case. While we understand the importance of a free debate in political matters and policy issues of public concern, including those that may take place on the Indiana Barrister blog, parts of this April 27 blog post suggest without evidence that the judge has violated his duties. The legal system, its participants and the public benefit from commentary on politics that is free from baseless allegations of this nature. We also note that since Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney who has chosen a name for his blog that references the legal profession, it would have been our hope that his respect for the legal system would have outweighed any interest in publishing sensationalized, unfounded and unattributed allegations about the judge. The IndyBar reiterates its support for a vigorous public discourse about the legal system and judiciary, but encourages those who comment publicly to do so responsibly.

Shabazz' posted his unsubstantiated allegations against Judge Rosenberg not only on his Indiana Barrister blog but also the Capitol Watch blog of WRTV News where he serves as a political commentator. I still see no reporting there in response to the serious allegations he alleged in his blog posting against Judge Rosenberg. For his part, Shabazz posted the following characteristically flippant response to the IBA's letter:

 I received a copy of the following statement in my e-mail tonight from the Indianapolis Bar Association. The organization took issue with my recent blog post Treacy v. Parker? As a big believer in free speech, I have no problem with the Bar Association criticizing yours truly.

I stand by my blog post. This blog has always been about open debate and respecting honest dissenting opinions and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Like the title says, I’m a big boy and I can take the criticism. It comes with the territory. I’ve always said if you can’t take the heat, find another cook.
I think it's time for Shabazz to put up or shut up. I'm a big believer in the fundamental constitutional right to free speech as he is as a daily blogger, but I think one should tread very lightly when it comes to impugning the professional integrity of one of our judicial officers, particularly when one is an officer of the court. I often have disagreements with the decisions judges make, but I try to restrain my feelings and avoid character assassination, which is essentially what his allegations against Judge Rosenberg amounted to. I don't think he should have made the allegations he made against him unless he was willing, as an officer of the court, to back them up with a complaint to the Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

WRTV Doesn't Take Its Political Commentator Seriously

Yesterday morning, controversial radio talk show host and WRTV News political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz posted on the TV station's Capitol Watch blog serious allegations accusing Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg of engaging in ex parte communications with Democrats concerning their ongoing election contest against Secretary of State Charlie White that wound up in his court. Specifically, Shabazz charged that Judge Rosenberg had been reluctant to hear the suit filed by the Indiana Democratic Party but was "getting a lot of pressure from a group of stalwart Democrats at the state and local level." Shabazz continued, "Rosenberg then reportedly went to Chairman Ed Treacy to get permission to go forward and to also drag Republican Party GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb into all this as well."

Despite the seriousness of the allegations, WRTV had no follow up news report looking into the allegations. As I pointed out yesterday, the allegations Shabazz leveled against Judge Rosenberg constituted judicial misconduct if proven to be true. Shabazz has a long history of throwing out claims against local Democrats and others with whom he has disagreements based on rumor and innuendo. Given WRTV's reaction to his latest claims, we can assume the news station views his latest allegations no differently. If WRTV doesn't take him seriously, why would they expect their viewers to take him seriously? Judge Rosenberg has scheduled a hearing today to determine why the Recount Commission had failed to move quickly in hearing the Democratic Party's petition as he ordered three weeks ago, and to consider a motion by Charlie White's lawyer's to stay the proceeding pending the resolution of his criminal case.

UPDATE: Judge Rosenberg denied the motion by White's attorneys to delay the proceedings pending the resolution of his criminal trial. He will also release a scheduled order for the Recount Commission to conclude its proceedings. White will have to get relief from the Court of Appeals if he wants to either block or delay the proceedings. It also looks like House Republicans aren't going along with Senate legislation that would have allowed Gov. Daniels to appoint White's successor in the event White is declared ineligible to hold the office as a result of the Recount Commission proceedings.

Landske Says Presidential Eligibility Legislation No Longer Necessary Since Obama Released Long-Form Birth Certificate

I'm very confused by Sen. Sue Landske's comments to a reporter for the Northwest Indiana Times. She joined Sen. Mike Delph in offering a resolution asking the legislature to study this summer legislation proposed by Sen. Delph that would require all presidential candidates to provide a birth certificate to state election authorities to establish they meet the age and natural born citizenship constitutional requirements in order to have their name placed on the Indiana ballot. Yesterday, after Obama released his long-form birth certificate after more than three years of stonewalling, Sen. Landske now says there is no need to study the issue:

A region state senator says now that President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate is public, there's no need for the Legislature to consider requiring presidential candidates produce their birth certificates to qualify for the ballot.

"Since that birth certificate has been released, it really is a moot point," said state Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake. "I think we have more important things to spend our time on."
More important things to study? Such as the legalization of marijuana, a proposal the Senate voted earlier this year to study this summer?

I spoke to Sen. Landske about the issue at the hearing on her resolution and came away with the belief she was offering the resolution because she sincerely thought it only made sense to require candidates to produce some proof they were constitutionally eligible. Her explanation yesterday leaves one to conclude she only wanted to pressure Obama to release the long-form birth certificate and isn't concerned about avoiding the same problem in the future with presidential candidates.

Sen. Mike Delph has maintained all along that he believes the legislation is needed to avoid future controversies such as occurred in 2008 with Obama's and McCain's eligibility, and to ensure the constitutional eligibility requirements are being enforced. "It seems to me that we ought to be requiring a certified copy of the birth certificate for those who seek to be commander-in-chief," Delph said. "Especially when you consider we require such for everybody that gets a driver's license in the state of Indiana." Delph plans to deliver a letter signed by 24 senators by tomorrow to Senate President Pro Tem David Long calling for a summer study committee on the issue.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Doctor's Family Surprised To Learn Dad Delivered Obama, So Is Dr. West's Family

The family of Dr. David Sinclair, who is listed as the doctor who delivered President Barack Obama according to the long-form birth certificate, was surprised and honored to learn their father had delivered Obama. Dr. Sinclair's son, Brian Sinclair who also became a doctor, attended the same high school as Obama in Honolulu but did not know him. The AP reports:

The family of a Honolulu doctor whose signature appears on President Barack Obama's birth certificate woke up to the news Wednesday that the late obstetrician had delivered Obama.

Relatives of Dr. David Sinclair told The Associated Press that they were "blown away" and "honored." . . .

Sinclair had an obstetrics and gynecology practice in Honolulu and delivered babies all over Hawaii when Obama was born in 1961, said his son Karl Sinclair, 55, of Kailua. The doctor retired in the late 1990s and died in 2003 at 81.

"What a shocker," said Karl Sinclair, one of six children. "It's amazing. I'm blown away by it, quite honestly."

They found out because one of their relatives was awake at 3 a.m. watching the news and saw the signature, said Dawn Yoshimura-Sinclair, who is married to another Sinclair son, Dr. Brian Sinclair, a neuroradiologist.

"We can attest to the fact that it is indeed dad's signature," Yoshimura-Sinclair said. "It's not a common name over here. There's no confusion that it was dad."

Relatives said while they previously never made the connection, looking back it makes sense because there were few obstetricians in Honolulu at the time.

"He never turned anyone away," said Karl Sinclair's wife, Julie Sinclair. "Whether they could pay or not."

Born in Portland, Ore., Sinclair moved to Hawaii as a child because his father was an engineer who helped build Wilson tunnel on Oahu. The doctor joined the military after the Pearl Harbor bombing, relatives said. He was a military pilot and witnessed so much death during the war that he became a doctor so he could have a career focusing on life, family members said.

He went to the University of Hawaii after the war and then went to medical school at the University of California at San Francisco, where he completed his residency.

Sinclair returned to Honolulu with his wife and children in 1960. He delivered babies mostly at what is now known as Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, just a couple miles from his home and where Obama was born.

Sinclair's widow, Ivalee, still lives in their English tudor which features a view of the Honolulu skyline and where the Sinclairs raised their six children. A shady avocado tree is planted next to plumeria flowers fronting the home that is listed on the state historic registry. A framed black-and-white portrait of the doctor and his family sits over the fireplace in the living room.

The doctor never spoke about his patients, his children said, but they imagine his father would be thrilled one of the babies he delivered grew up to be president.

"I'm just honored and proud of my father," Karl Sinclair said.

"I think it's great," said Dr. Brian Sinclair, who pursued a career in medicine because of his father. "Hawaii was a very small place back then so I guess I'm not surprised."

Brian Sinclair graduated from the same high school as Obama but didn't know him personally. The Sinclair family includes Obama supporters and those who didn't vote for him, they said.

Karl Sinclair said he hopes the birth certificate will end the speculation.

"To me, the birth certificate doesn't lie," he said. "I think that should put everything to bed."
Perhaps the birth certificate doesn't lie, but a former school teacher of Obama's does? Barbara Nelson recounted at the occasion of Obama's inauguration the 10-year-old student of her's at Punahou, his father and the doctor she says delivered him, whose name is not Dr. David Sinclair:

When Barack Hussein Obama places his hand on the Bible today to take the oath of office as 44th president of the United States, Barbara Nelson of Kenmore will undoubtedly think back to the day he was born. It was Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu.

“I may be the only person left who specifically remembers his birth. His parents are gone, his grandmother is gone, the obstetrician who delivered him is gone,” said Nelson, referring to Dr. Rodney T. West, who died in February at the age of 98. Here’s the story: Nelson was having dinner at the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach with Dr. West, the father of her college friend, Jo-Anne. Making conversation, Nelson turned to Dr. West and said: “‘So, tell me something interesting that happened this week,’” she recalls.

His response: “Well, today, Stanley had a baby. Now that’s something to write home about.”

The new mother was Stanley (later referred to by her middle name of Ann) Dunham, and the baby was Barack Hussein Obama.

“I penned the name on a napkin, and I did write home about it,” said Nelson, knowing that her father, Stanley A. Czurles, director of the Art Education Department at Buffalo State College, would be interested in the “Stanley” connection.

She also remembers Dr. West mentioning that the baby’s father was the first black student at the University of Hawaii and how taken he was by the baby’s name.

“I remember Dr. West saying ‘Barack Hussein Obama, now that’s a musical name,’” said Nelson, who grew up in Kenmore and went to Hawaii in 1959 to be in Jo-Anne’s wedding party. When Nelson was offered a job as a newspaper reporter and photographer at her friend’s wedding reception, it led to her living in Hawaii for 47 years. She returned to Kenmore in 2006.

Ten years after that memorable birth announcement, Nelson would hear the Obama name again. This time, the father, now a Kenyan government official, was coming to speak at the Punahou School in Honolulu where Nelson was teaching and where his 10-year-old son was a newly enrolled fifth-grader.

“Dr. Obama had this lovely, attentive manner,” she said. “When he answered the children’s questions, he would do it as a story, which is the way they do it in Kenya.

“His son, whom he hadn’t seen in eight years, seemed as fascinated as we all were,” said Nelson, who went on to be a high school principal, a harpist, a watercolor artist and poet.

A few years later, Nelson encountered “Barry” again, when she watched high school basketball games, where her students played.

“The team came alive when he got on the court,” she said. “He was not only quick and graceful, but he could see the pattern and zero in on the opening. Though he wasn’t a starter, he was a graceful, passionate athlete who played back-up forward. He had a definite presence on the court.
Websites seeking to debunct the so-called "birther" conspiracy theories relied on Nelson's claim that Dr. Rodney T. West recounted to her delivering the the son of the first black student at the University of Hawaii. "In 2009, a teacher at the Honolulu prep school attended by Barack Obama recalled discussing his birth with the obstetrician who had delivered him," Snopes claimed. See also here for confirmation that Dr. West practiced at the hospital at the time of Obama's birth as further proof he delivered Obama. Say it ain't so Barbara? Surely you wouldn't have made up a tall tail about our President just to see your name in print.

UPDATE: Barbara Nelson is now claiming she must have misunderstood what role Dr. West played in Obama's birth. "I don't know in what capacity [West] knew about this particular birth," Nelson told WND.  "Being one of the leaders in obstetrics in Hawaii, he could have had physical or informational access to all of the obstetrics [on the islands]," she told WND. "The discussion centered on the "peculiarity of a woman named Stanley," she said. "I just said tell me something [that has happened]," she said. "And he says Stanley had a baby, and that's something to write home about." Of course, the Obama folks were doing nothing to disabuse people from believing her claims that Dr. West delivered the baby two years ago when they wanted all of the media to interview her about the story she had to tell. Obama had the original birth certificate when he wrote "Dreams From My Father" in 1995, or so he wrote. He never explained what happened to that document. Naturally, the news media wouldn't dare ask that question.

Recount Commission Schedules May 4 Meeting To Hear White Case

The Indiana Recount Commission has scheduled a hearing on May 4 at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room C of Indiana Government Center South to hear the Democratic Party's petition contesting the eligibility of Secretary of State Charlie White. The Commission will meet in executive session at 9:00 a.m. at the same place to discuss the litigation challenging Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg's decision ordering the Commission to hear the Democratic Party's petition. State GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb has appointed Thomas Wheeler, II, an attorney with Frost Brown Todd, to take White's place on the Commission. He formerly served on the Commission. Judge Rosenberg had previously scheduled a hearing for Thursday commanding the appearance of the Commission's executive director, Brad Skolnik, to explain why the Commission had not complied with the Court's previous order in an expeditious manner. White's attorney has filed a motion to stay the Recount Commission proceeding with Judge Rosenberg's court until his criminal case has been concluded.

Obama Finally Releases Long-Form Birth Certificate

President Barack Obama finally after more than three years of debate over whether he was born in Hawaii has released his original, long-form birth certificate establishing his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii, which you can view here. While the birth certificate resolves his place of birth, it does not resolve whether he is a natural born citizen as I've repeatedly pointed out for the past three years. My research and analysis of the eligibility requirements under Article II of the U.S. Constitution has led me to conclude that only children born of U.S. citizen parents are natural born citizens. By his own admission, Obama was born a dual citizen because his father was a Kenyan, which at the time was a British commonwealth. That made Obama both a U.S. citizen and a British citizen at birth. Many people mistakenly conclude that the 14th Amendment altered the natural born citizen analysis, making everyone born on U.S. soil citizens regardless of their parent's citizenship. U.S. Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the author of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment specifically chose the word "citizen" rather than "natural born citizen", a term that is used but once in the U.S. Constitution to define a person's eligibility to serve as president. Prior to the enactment of the 14th Amendment, Bingham said during debate on the floor of the House:

“All from other lands, who by the terms of [congressional] laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States; all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens. Gentleman can find no exception to this statement touching natural-born citizens except what is said in the Constitution relating to Indians.” (Cong. Globe, 37th, 2nd Sess., 1639 (1862)).
He then stated the following a few years later:

“Every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” (Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866)).

To be sure, Bingham later pondered the status of a Dr. Houard who had been incarcerated in Spain. The issue was raised during debate on the floor whether he was a U.S. citizen. Rep. Bingham explained:

“As to the question of citizenship I am willing to resolve all doubts in favor of a citizen of the United States. That Dr. Houard is a natural-born citizen of the United States there is not room for the shadow of a doubt. He was born of naturalized parents within the jurisdiction of the United States, and by the express words of the Constitution, as amended to-day, he is declared to all the world to be a citizen of the United States by birth.” (The term “to-day”, as used by Bingham, means “to date”. Obviously, the Constitution had not been amended on April 25, 1872.).
As Leo Donofrio has explained at his Natural Born Citizen blog, Bingham was an abolitionist who prosecuted Lincoln's assassins. Donofrio notes the Congressional Record does not indicate any disagreement with the views he expressed on the meaning of the term "natural born citizen" both before and after the adoption of the 14th Amendment which he authored.

The debate over whether Obama was born in Hawaii or elsewhere has really been a diversion from the real constitutional issue based on the undisputed fact that Obama was a dual citizen at birth. The matter is further clouded by evidence he and his mother immigrated to Indonesia where he was adopted by an Indonesian citizen, Lolo Soetoro, and became a citizen of Indonesia according to his school records under the adopted name, "Barry Soetoro."

This is not unlike the situation that arose over the eligibility of Chester Arthur to serve as president. Arthur was the Vice-President to President James Garfield who succeeded him as president after Garfield was assassinated in 1881. Some of Arthur's opponents claimed he was not a natural born citizen because he allegedly was born in Canada. His father immigrated from Scotland to Canada and then later to Vermont where family records showed he was born. In recent years, a discovery has been made that Arthur lied about several matters concerning his biographical narrative, a task not easily undertaken because Arthur had ordered all of his personal and official papers burned. As it turned out, Arthur lied about his date of birth and that of his father, who had not yet become a naturalized citizen at the time of his birth, thus calling into doubt his natural born citizenship status. By focusing on the allegation he was born in Canada instead of Vermont, he was able to avoid the issue of not being born to U.S. citizen parents. The distraction over Obama's place of birth has similarly succeeded in diverting attention from the real question: Can a dual citizen at birth by virtue of a parent's foreign citizenship be considered a natural born citizen?

UPDATE: Leo Donofrio offers his reaction to Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate. He bemoans like me the fact that the debate over his place of birth has succeeded in diverting attention away from the legal question of his dual citizenship at birth rendering him ineligible to hold the office:

I predicted multiple times that President Obama would produce the original long form birth certificate when it best served him to do so. Today that prophecy was fulfilled. I have always maintained that the birth certificate issue was a red herring smoke screen protecting Obama from facing the true issue of his ineligibility – dual nationality.

Like Chester Arthur before him, Obama was protected from genuine questions regarding his birth status having been governed, as he admits, by the United Kingdom via the faux BC issue until October 27, 2008 when I instituted my law suit against the New Jersey Secretary of State alleging that neither Obama nor McCain were eligible.

I predicted over and again that when it served Obama best, he would feed you an original birth certificate on national TV. Bon appetit to those who allowed this conspiracy theory to take precedence over the genuine legal issue: how a person born owing certain allegiance to a foreign nation can be a natural born citizen of the United States?. Since the BC was played so perfectly by the Obama team, the genuine legal issue will now be more marginalized than ever.

They simply played a better game of chess. And due to this sick game, Obama now sets a precedent that anyone who hates this country, from Osama Bin Laden to Kim Jong Il, can have a child with an American woman and that child can be President. Obama’s defeat of the dual nationality issue, in both the courts and the media, means that the President’s parents do not have to be US citizens. If that is true, then the natural born citizen requirement in Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution is basically rendered meaningless.

If a person born with dual allegiance can be President, then I don’t see the difference between a citizen and a natural born citizen. To become naturalized as a US citizen, one must at least swear an oath of allegiance to the US by renouncing all other allegiances. But a person such as Obama, who was born with dual allegiance is apparently not even required to renounce all previous allegiances under oath.

The BC was a conspiracy theory. The dual nationality issue is a legal question. Obama always controlled the issue of whether or not he would produce the BC. But the legal issue was never under his control. So he exercised as much control over it as possible by allowing the birth certificate to fester casting a huge shadow over his dual allegiance. Well played, sir.
Donald Trump, who pushed the issue onto the front-burner through his persistent demands in recent weeks that Obama produce his long-form certificate, is taking credit for its release today. "I am so proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," Trump said from Portsmouth, N.H., where he was giving early primary voters a close-up look at a potential presidential campaign. "I feel I've accomplished something really, really important and I'm honored for it," Trump said.

Locally, WISH-TV's State House reporter Jim Shella, never known for objective reporting, is continuing to dog Sen. Mike Delph for his continued pursued of presidential eligibility legislation that would require all presidential candidates to furnish their birth certificates as proof of their eligibility to hold the office in order to gain access to Indiana's ballot.  “Why aren’t we already doing this?,” Delph responded rhetorically to Shella's question.

UPDATE: Document experts are already saying the document is forged. Check out one analysis here. A YouTube illustration here shows layering of the PDF document. I'm not a document expert so I don't know whether their points are legit or just a smoke and mirrors attempt to delegitimize the document. The former health director claims she saw his long-form birth certificate in the archives.

Shabazz Accuses Rosenberg Of Ex Parte Communications With Democrats In Charlie White Case

Controversial radio talk show host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has a history of making unsubstantiated allegations against local Democrats, which are typically dismissed out of hand by Democrats as just another example of his pot-stirring antics to get attention. His latest allegation, however, accuses Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg of serious judicial misconduct. Shabazz claims sources have told him Judge Rosenberg had ex parte communications with Indiana Democrats concerning their ongoing case challenging the eligibility of Secretary of State Charlie White to hold office based on the allegation he violated Indiana law by casting a vote from a precinct in which he did not reside. Shabazz writes at his Indiana Barrister blog:

.  .  . As you know Indiana Democrats have filed suit in Marion County Court to have Charlie White removed from office and Vop Osili declared Secretary of State. They say White wasn’t a legally registered voter when he filed for Secretary of State and his election should be declared null and void. Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg, a strong and loyal partisan from everything I’ve been able to learn about his record, ordered the Indiana Recount Commission to rehear the case it originally dismissed last year. And the public impression regarding Judge Rosenberg is that he has been no-nonsense about the entire matter.

However, from what I’ve been able to piece together, as always from multiple sources which help me draw a composite, is Judge Rosenberg originally did not want to get involved in the matter, however he was getting a lot of pressure from a group of stalwart Democrats at the state and local level. Rosenberg then reportedly went to Chairman Ed Treacy to get permission to go forward and to also drag Republican Party GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb into all this as well . . .

The allegation Shabazz makes against Rosenberg would constitute a serious violation of the code of judicial conduct that could result in disciplinary action against him. Shabazz, who is an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois, arguably would have a duty to report the misconduct he alleges against Rosenberg to the Commisson on Judicial Qualifications, which investigates complaints of alleged judicial misconduct and prosecutes violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, if he truly has credible information supporting the serious allegation he makes. It's a very serious charge for anyone to make against a sitting judge, let alone an attorney.

When the case was first assigned to Judge Rosenberg, I noted the awkward situation he was in from a perception standpoint because his daughter, Erin Rosenberg, had publicly blogged about her belief that White had violated Indiana election law and should be criminally investigated. She also suggested Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp, a Republican, should recuse herself and seek the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the charges, which Leerkamp ultimately did. A special prosecutor earlier this year obtained a 7-count indictment against White stemming from the investigation. Judge Rosenberg would have been permitted under Rule 2.9 of the Code of Judicial Conduct to confer with the Commission on Judicial Qualifications to obtain an advisory opinion or other legal experts on whether he should recuse himself, but he would not have been allowed to have those discussions with Democrats urging him to hear the case as Shabazz alleges. Shabazz claims Rosenberg was reluctant to hear the case and was being pressured by Democrats to do so and went to Marion Co. Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy to get permission to proceed.

The timing of Shabazz' allegation is very convenient. Judge Rosenberg issued an order earlier this week requiring Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb to appoint White's successor to the Recounty Commission and for the Commission's Executive Director Brad Skolnik to appear at a hearing on Thursday in his court to answer why the Commission has not proceeded with hearing the Democrats' election contest petition as he ordered three weeks ago. Shabazz had teased his readers a couple of weeks ago with an item claiming he had some interesting background information concerning Judge Rosenberg's order requiring the Commission to hear the Democrats' petition that he would soon be sharing with them. Charlie White's attorneys also filed a motion this week asking Judge Rosenberg to stay the proceedings until his criminal case has been resolved out of concern the proceedings could require him to provide incriminating evidence against himself that would prejudice his criminal case.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daniels Dodges IBM Lawsuit Depo For Now

Marion Co. Superior Judge David Dreyer has ruled for now that IBM's attorneys cannot depose Gov. Mitch Daniels in its contentious lawsuit with the Family & Social Services Administration arising out of the cancellation of the company's welfare privatization agreement with FSSA. Gov. Daniels' Chief of Staff, Earle Goode, isn't as lucky. Judge Dreyer will allow IBM attorneys to depose him. The ruling suggested Dreyer could change his decision on a Daniels' deposition at a later time. "Dreyer wrote that forcing the governor to give a deposition would be 'at least premature, until such evidence is forthcoming and sufficient,'" the Star reports.

A decision on the timing of the trial for the lawsuit could have implications for Daniels' anticipated presidential campaign in 2012. The trial date has been pushed back from this October to Feb. 6, 2012, just as the presidential primary season is heating up. The failed privatization effort has cost taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars to date according to some estimates. The state is suing IBM to recover $437 million from the company, while IBM has countersued the state for $100 million it claims it is owed. The failed privatization bid is clearly the greatest embarrassment during Daniels' two terms as Indiana governor. Evidence that comes to light during the trial could cloud his message as a cost-cutting, efficient government manager. E-mails obtained from the state during discovery has already depicted Daniels as an active participant in the botched privatization effort undertaken by his former FSSA Secretary, Mitch Roob, who wanted to steer business to his former employer, ACS, which partnered with IBM on the deal. Daniels had told taxpayers the deal promised savings of up to $500 million, while this blog exclusively reported an insider's first-hand account that Roob knew the deal would not produce any savings to the state.

Indiana's Unfunded Public Pensions Getting Worse

Indiana will have to raise taxes, cut benefits or default on its pension obligations. It's the big elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. The Star's Maureen Groppe reports on the latest study of the issue:

A majority of states -- including Indiana -- are not putting away enough money to pay for their public employee retirement costs, a new report concludes.

Indiana was among the 31 states whose pension programs were less than 80 percent funded in 2009, according to a report to be released today by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.

Indiana funded 67 percent of its pension liability, down from 72 percent in 2008 . . .

Pensions are one of the remaining issues before the Indiana General Assembly as it works to complete a new state budget this week. The Senate wants to send extra money to the state's teacher pension plan if reserves hit 12 percent of operating funds at the end of the biennium. Gov. Mitch Daniels and the House want the state to give an automatic tax refund to individual income tax filers if reserves hit 10 percent.

The state and the City of Indianapolis have long short-changed pension contributions as a way of tricking taxpayers into believing they are balancing the budget. An earlier study suggested Indiana's pension system will go bankrupt by 2019 if it continues on its current course of funding and spending.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Indiana Going To Pot

The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate earlier this year approved legislation to study the legalization of marijuana in Indiana to the delight of potheads throughout the Hoosier state. It fell right into line with Gov. Mitch Daniels' proposal to loosen sentencing laws in Indiana in an effort to turn out thousands of prisoners held in Indiana prisons for drug-related offenses. Gov. Daniels was once busted for dealing drugs out of his dorm room at Princeton and maintaining a common nuisance while he was a student there, but he managed to avoid jail time with the help of his rich daddy, a pharmaceutical executive. Gov. Daniels also wants to be our next president.

Sen. Mike Delph had a reasonable proposal this session to require all presidential candidates to furnish their birth certificates to Indiana election authorities to establish they meet the eligibility requirements set out in the U.S. Constitution in order to appear on the Indiana ballot. Gov. Daniels, whose Bureau of Motor Vehicles implemented new regulations requiring all Hoosiers to produce their birth certificates at the local BMV branch before they could be issued a new driver's license, doesn't think Delph's legislation is such a good idea and let that be known. Enough Republican senators agreed with him to block an attempt to do nothing more than study whether it might make sense to verify presidential candidates are actually constitutionally eligible before we let them put their names on the ballot. So your Indiana senators will spend their summer studying the legalization of marijuana but not something that is required by our constitution though not enforced by any state in the country. Re-legalize pot and deep six the constitution. Go Indiana!

Two Reasons Why John Gregg Will Never Be Governor

Democrats are all giddy about the prospect of former House Speaker John Gregg being their candidate for governor in 2012. Gregg should have no problem winning the nomination but he won't stand a chance against Mike Pence, the likely Republican nominee. Why? Before Gregg entered politics, he worked as a State House lobbyist for a coal company. Before he retired from the legislature, he and Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton snuck through the legislature the biggest legislative perk of all time for retired lawmakers--lifetime subsidized health insurance benefits for themselves and their dependents. After the public firestorm and the defeat of several incumbent legislators, including Garton and long-time Senate Finance Chairman Larry Borst, the plan was eventually scrapped. After leaving the legislature, Gregg returned to his former career as a lobbyist--this time working for a big law firm representing an East Chicago casino, an alcohol trade group and big government contractors, among others. Can Mike Pence boil that down to a 30-second campaign spot that will come to define Gregg on terms contrary to the homespun image that he has spent years building for himself? Do voters hold lobbyists and grafting politicians in contempt? You bet.

Rosenberg Orders Hearing On White Recount Commission Proceeding Delay

Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg, who three weeks ago ordered the Indiana Recount Commission to hear a petition filed by the Indiana Democratic Party challenging Secretary of State Charlie White's eligibility to hold office because he allegedly cast a vote from a precinct in which he did not reside, has issued an order granting the Democrats' request for a hearing on the Republican Party's failure to name a replacement for White on the Commission and to proceed with hearing their petition. White's attorney, James Bopp, says the Recount Commission cannot proceed with hearing the petition because he has appealed Judge Rosenberg's order to the Indiana Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, however, has not issued an order granting a stay of those proceedings. Judge Rosenberg's order gives state GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb two days to appoint White's replacement on the Commission, and he has requested the Commission's Director, Brad Skolnick, to appear and explain why the Commission should not be held in contempt of his order for not moving more quickly in scheduling a rehearing of the Democrats' petition.

Hoprah Before Civic Duty

A potential juror in the retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich noted on a jury questionnaire form that she had a conflict in serving because she had tickets to see Oprah Winfrey. Yes, she'll probably wind up on the jury. She's precisely the type of shallow-thinking people Blagojevich is counting on to set him free. The Sun-Times provides the exchange between the potential juror, a member of the local AFSCME union, and Judge Zagel:

“You don’t want to miss Oprah on May 10?” Judge James Zagel asked the woman.

Zagel asked if she had one ticket to attend the Oprah Winfrey Show, whose days in Chicago are numbered.

“Four tickets,” she corrected him.

Zagel didn’t indicate whether he’d suspend proceedings for the day in the event that the woman, who is a member of AFSCME Local 106, made the final cut and ended up on the jury.

She was one of more than half a dozen potential jurors who were questioned this morning, the second day of jury selection for the former governor’s retrial.
At this point, I'm hoping Blagojevich wins a full acquittal on the charges since our goverment has decided to pin all of the blame on him for corruption that included two principal co-conspirators, President Barack Obama and newly-elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who have been given a complete pass by the U.S. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's office for their criminal activity. Blagojevich committed no crimes those two did not also commit, so I'm not interested in seeing him take the rap for the culture of corruption that remains unchecked in the White House, Illinois State House and Chicago City Hall. Blagojevich was a bit player. We've seen enough of this circus act. Let's move along. Wake us all up when federal prosecutors plan to hold those truly responsible for all of the corruption emanating from the Windy City accountable.

New York Times Falls For Tiger Beat Cover Parody With Obama

The Obama chorus at the New York Times is so determined to make Obama a part of America's youth pop culture that its editors included a parody magazine cover for teen gossip rag magazine, "Tiger Beat", showing Obama's smiling face and pearly whites alongside the Jonas brothers. It's an error that pretty much sums up the state of our lousy news media coverage today on all things Obama. Their correction:

A series of pictures last Sunday of covers of the magazine Tiger Beat, with an article about how the original teen-girl tabloid has remained virtually unchanged since its inception in 1965, erroneously included a parody cover, produced by the satiric newspaper The Onion, that featured a picture of President Obama.

When Elitists and Moral Supremacists Rule Our Country

IMPD Handling Of Person In Distress Questioned

A couple on the City's southside are questioning the manner in which police responded to an emergency call at their apartment complex after they discovered a young man, Maxwell Harper, passed out in front of their door. WRTV's Rick Hightower showed video the apartment residents recorded of police and emergency responders mistreating Harper, who they placed in handcuffs, picked up by the throat and then drug him down a flight of stairs like they were dragging trash out to a dumpster to dispose of. The witnesses said police also dropped him several times.

Amber Owens said she heard something outside her door and when she looked out, she found Maxwell Harper, 19, laying unconscious on the ground.

Owens said Harper's brother called 911. When paramedics and police arrived, they treated him "more like a prisoner rather than a patient" by putting handcuffs on him and allegedly dragging him down the stairs, Owens said.

Owens called 6News after recording video of the incident on her cell phone.

"(In the video) you're going to see them pick him up by his throat," said Owens, commenting on the video. "They said the reason why they threw him on his head is that he was resisting, and there was no way he could have done anything. He was laying in front of our apartment complex completely passed out."

Harper's brother and girlfriend said they also think the incident was mishandled by police and paramedics.

"It wasn't a professional way to take care of a sick person. Even though he was underage and drinking, it was a very unprofessional way to take care of the situation," said Nick Harper, Maxwell's brother.

Nick also said his brother was dropped to the ground more than once during the incident.

"They dropped him again while they had the cuffs on him. Then they got him about three feet up off the ground and just dropped him right on his face while his arms were behind his back," said Nick Harper.

"We called for help and they beat him up pretty much," said Kirstin Brand, Maxwell's girlfriend.
Police claimed they handcuffed and treated Harper as they did because he was resisting arrest, but the witnesses say he was completely passed out and incapable of resisting, which seems rather apparent from the video.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Rights Of Muslims Trump The First Amendment In Dearborn

A controversial Florida Christian minister, Terry Jones, planned to publicly demonstrate against jihad and sharia law outside a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to one of the largest Muslim-American communities in the country. A Detroit prosecutor and judge had other plans for Jones. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy filed an emergency petition in court to block Jones' planned demonstration because she said the threat of violence was too great to allow Jones to hold the planned gathering on Friday near the Islamic Center of America, the largest U.S. mosque. Judge Mark Somers ordered Jones to stay away from the mosque for at least three years after a jury found that his planned demonstration would likely disturb the peace, and then ordered him jailed after he refused to post a $1 peace bond before he would release him. The case appears to strike directly at the heart of long-established First Amendment jurisprudence barring prior restraint on the exercise of free speech rights. The Dearborn Free Press reports on the court's decision:

A defiant Terry Jones says he plans to protest next week at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn despite a judge's order that he stay from the mosque for three years. The Quran-burning pastor from Florida said his rights were violated Friday by a judge due to the influence of Islamic law.

"We plan to protest next week in front of the Islamic Center," Pastor Terry Jones said today.

"The arrests, the whole proceedings, were a definite violation of our Constitutional rights," Jones added. "As a matter of fact, we were arrested and had not even committed a crime. It is a complete violation of our First Amendment right of freedom of speech. It was clearly influenced by the mosque. "

Jones had wanted to protest Friday against jihad and sharia outside the Islamic Center on Friday, but was thwarted by authorities. The center is the largest mosque in metro Detroit, a region with a sizable Muslim population.

On Friday, Judge Mark Somers ordered that Jones and Pastor Wayne Sapp be remanded to jail after a jury determined they would be likely to breach the peace. In his decision Judge Somers set a $1 cash bond for Jones and Sapp, and also said Jones and Sapp could not go to the mosque or adjacent property for three years.
One has to wonder where the American Civil Liberties Union was yesterday while Jones' constitutional rights were being trampled upon. It was the ACLU which took up the case of Neo-Nazis who wanted to parade through Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb in 1978, and succeeded in declaring a local ordinance that required the demonstrators to obtain an unreasonable amount of liability insurance as a condition to obtaining their permit to demonstrate in the city as violating the controversial group's First Amendment rights. Judge Somers made quite apparent in his decision barring Jones from demonstrating outside the mosque for 3 years his belief that the rights of the Muslims who would be offended by Jones' demonstration trumped his free speech rights. Somers told Jones the only exception to his ban on visiting the mosque would be if the leadership of the mosque consented to his viist.

"Sharia is much closer than we thought," Jones said. "The judge even made a statement, that if the mosque elders and leadership would have desired the restraints placed on us of not going near the mosque be lifted, then he would have taken that into consideration. Thus proving that this whole thing is a direct violation of freedom of speech and that they are favoring the religion of Islam."
Critics claim that past actions of the city of Dearborn suggests a form of Sharia law is already being enforced in the community. Last year, Christians were arrested for passing out leaflets at a Muslim festival in the city. There have even been claims of police cover ups of murders that were carried out in the form of honor killings that are permitted under Sharia law as practiced in many predominantly Muslim countries throughout the world. The local Muslim community reacted with joy to Jones' arrest. "That's what we wanted," said one man. "He got lucky," yelled another man. I'll let you interpret what was meant by that last comment.

A little more than a month ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a controversial Christian church, Westboro Baptist Church, to hold anti-gay protests outside military funerals. The group carries signs that read "God Hates Fags" and "You're Going To Hell" at military funerals, a display that is very upsetting to grieving family members who are attending the funerals of their loved ones who have died while serving their country. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in an 8-1 opinion:

Simply put, the church members had the right to be where they were. Westboro alerted local authorities to its funeral protest and fully complied with police guidance on where the picketing could be staged. The picketing was conducted under police supervision some 1,000 feet from the church, out of the sight of those at the church. The protest was not unruly; there was no shouting, profanity, or violence.

The record confirms that any distress occasioned by Westboro’s picketing turned on the content and viewpoint of the message conveyed, rather than any interference with the funeral itself. A group of parishioners standing at the very spot where Westboro stood, holding signs that said "God Bless America" and "God Loves You," would not have been subjected to liability. It was what Westboro said that exposed it to tort damages.
Given that Westboro’s speech was at a public place on a matter of public concern, that speech is entitled to “special protection” under the First Amendment. Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt. “If there is a bedrock principle underly-ing the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” . . . . Indeed, “the point of all speech protection . . . is to shield just those choices of content that in someone’s eyes are misguided, or even hurtful.” 
It's hard to argue the facts of Jones' case would have reached any different outcome in the high court. He alerted local officials of his plans to conduct a peaceful demonstration. He was willing to keep a reasonable distance from the mosque. And his speech related to a matter of public concern that should be afforded "special protection" under the First Amendment. The only reason the judge offered for blocking his planned demonstration was his concern that it would lead to a disturbance because of how it might upset or arouse contempt from Muslims who objected to the content of his message. Surely the sensibilities of Muslims should be accorded no greater deference than those of the family members who lost loved ones while in service to their country at the occasion of celebrating their lives on this earth at their funerals.

UPDATE: Hat tip to Indy Student for the heads up on this. The ACLU of Michigan did file an amicus brief with the Michigan court siding with Jones' right to demonstrate. Here are some exerpts from it:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) vehemently disagrees with the content of Pastor Jones’ and Mr. Sapp’s speech. However, if the First Amendment has any meaning, it is that the government cannot suppress the free speech because it – or anyone else – disagrees with the speech. As the Supreme Court recently held, “[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. Indeed, the point of all speech protection ... is to shield just those choices of content that in someone's eyes are misguided, or even hurtful.” Snyder v Phelps, 131 S Ct 1207, 1219 (2011) (citations and quotations omitted). Because these important constitutional concerns have not been adequately raised during the process of these proceedings, we feel it is crucial to provide the court with analysis . . .

On April 9, 2011, a group associated with Pastor Jones submitted a permit request to the City of Dearborn to hold a demonstration “[p]rotest[ing] Sharia and Jihad” in front of the Islamic Center of America, located at 19500 Ford Road in Dearborn, Michigan. The application stated that only two people were anticipated to attend the demonstration and Mr. Jones and Mr. Sapp have said that the demonstration would be peaceful. On April 15, 2011, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy filed a complaint in the 19th District Court of the State of Michigan “To Institute Proceedings To Prevent Crime” under MCL 772.1 et. seq., commonly known as the “peace bond” statute, to compel Pastor Jones and Wayne Sapp (“Mr. Sapp”), the defendants in the case, to appear before the court. Pet Comp, People v Terry Jones, et al, Case Nos 11S0229, 11S0231 (19th Dist Ct, Apr 15, 2011).

The peace bond statute may only be invoked when “a person has threatened to commit an offense against the person or property of another.” MCL 772.2. Ms. Worthy claims that Mr. Jones and Mr. Sapp are planning to incite a riot and therefore the court should set a bond in the amount necessary to cover the amount of money it will cost the City of Dearborn to police the event. A trial is being held today to determine whether defendants are likely “breach the peace.” MCL 772.4(2). If Mr. Jones and Mr. Sapp are found likely to breach the peace, the government will likely ask the court to require them to either pay the peace bond or be placed in the county jail. MCL 772.6.

It is a basic principle of First Amendment jurisprudence that one may not be charged a price to engage in expressive activity because others may react negatively to that expressive activity . . .

Amicus Curiae ACLU Fund of Michigan urges this court to deny the Wayne County’s Prosecutor’s unconstitutional attempt to use the peace bond statute as a prior restraint on constitutionally protected, albeit offensive, speech.
You can view the entire brief filed by the ACLU here. I'm not sure whether the ACLU objects to Jones' opposition to jihad or sharia law given the statement in their brief that it "vehemently disagrees with the content of [his] speech." That was the stated purpose of the exercise of his free speech rights.

More Media Misrepresentation On Presidential Eligibility Legislation

The Star has a lengthy story from the AP discussing the continued doubts many Americans have about Obama's natural born status and asking why "it's the conspiracy theory that won't go away." You need look no further than an item the Star originated in its "Behind Closed Doors" column this weekend that blatantly misrepresents legislation Sen. Mike Delph and Sen. Sue Landske have asked that a summer study committee look at to determine whether Indiana should enact a law that requires all presidential candidates to furnish evidence they meet the eligibility requirements set out in the U.S. Constitution to be president.

Now, Delph wants the legislature to assign a summer study committee to explore whether Indiana should require candidates to prove they are citizens--a proposal Democrats find absurd and an untrue, unfair attack on Obama.
Presumbably, Mary Beth Schneider, the Star's State House reporter, is the person who contributed this false information to this item in the column because she was the only reporter for the newspaper in attendance at this week's hearing on the resolution. If Schneider bothered to read Delph's legislation, SB 114, or had bothered to listen to the testimony at the hearing, she would know that her reporting was patently false. In addition, I spent considerable time discussing the legislation with her earlier in the session that should have cleared up any misapprehensions she had about it. As with all of the mainstream reporters who have covered this issue to date, Schneider is not interested in the truth; rather, she is simply interested in casting aspersions at anyone who raises legitimate constitutional questions about the process for electing persons to the most important elected office in the free world.

The purpose of requiring a candidate to provide a birth certificate is not to prove he or she is a citizen as she falsey writes in the item, but rather to establish that they meet the age requirement and the natural born citizenship requirement, which the constitution specifically requires. We already know presidential candidates are citizens by virtue of them being participants in the political process as registered voters. I also furnished to Schneider proof that the Democratic Party refused to affirm that Obama met the constitutional eligibility requirements when it filed its nominating certificate with the Indiana Elections Division in 2008, unlike the certificate of nomination the Republican Party filed for John McCain. Of course, Schneider won't report that fact. Instead, she used the item to poke additional fun at Donald Trump calling Delph to offer his support for his efforts. "Trump--yes, THAT Donald Trump, the one with the hair, the bank account and the TV show . . . the most famous 'birther,'" she writes. She throws in a dissing quip from Mitch Daniels, who also jumps on the trash the birthers bandwagon with this: "I'm one of the few people in America who can honestly claim to have said, 'Donald, you're fired." Let's see, Mitch, didn't you tell the American people when you were Bush's budget director that the war in Iraq was only going to cost the American taxpayers $50 billion? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Yes, this is why the American people have doubts about who President Obama is. They have been repeatedly lied to on so many fronts about his biographical narrative not only by Obama, but also by his deceiving allies in the American news media, that they don't know what to believe about him anymore. They want you to believe this issue is all about Obama when it knows full well that McCain similarly faced lawsuits and challenges over his natural born status because he was born in Panama where his father was stationed on a naval base. Sen. Richard Bray also pointed out during the hearing at which Schneider was present his vivid recollection of George Romney's natural born citizenship being challenged in 1968 because of his birth to U.S. citizen parents who were living in Mexico at the time of his birth. Perhaps if the media wants the "conspiracy theories" to go away, it should begin by leveling with the American people candidly about who this man is and what his policies actually are and honestly report on the ideas any other person offers that runs counter to his views instead of the non-stop marketing pieces fit for those charlatans who produce those half-hour infomercial ads that run on late-night TV.

UPDATE: Senate Republicans chickened out under pressure from the same elitist and moral supremacist thinking that has destroyed this country. Sen. James Merritt (R-Indianapolis) and Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Ft. Wayne) skipped out on the hearing to vote on the resolution this morning, along with the Senate Democrats who claim the only motive behind the resolution is racism against a black president, in order to ensure no vote could be taken and no summer study committee could be established. They will show up to vote to cut corporate taxes, force consumers to pay for a farcical new coal gasification plant that will enrich pay-to-play contributors at the cost of residential ratepayers and allow the robber barons to take your land by eminent domain to build their pipeline over your farmland and property. Great leadership.

Professional Fees For Parking Meter Lease Deal Cost Taxpayers Nearly $3 Million

It's always the driving force behind these deals. The only way the pay-to-play insiders can make big money off representing government is to convince corrupt elected officials to undertake one-sided deals that screw over taxpayers as an excuse to bill hefty fees they earn for carrying them out. The one-sided parking meter lease deal the Ballard administration entered into with ACS was no exception. Fees for that deal reached nearly $3 million, or about 15% of what the city received in the form of an upfront payment for the deal. The Star's Jon Murray breaks the fees down as follows:

  • $1.9 million to Morgan Stanley for financial services;
  • $950,000 to Ice Miller for legal services; and
  • $109,000 to Hirons & Co. for public relations.
A public interest group in Washington was critical of the Ballard administration's decision to use Morgan Stanley because of its role in other parking meter deals around the country. "The company is one of the primary investors in the Chicago deal and stands to gain from the deals they advise on," PIRG's Phineas Baxandall noted in a report it released on the deal. "That is a clear conflict of interest." On the lease agreement drawn up by Ice Miller, the Urbanophile's Aaron Renn noted it was essentially a "cut and paste" job lifting heavily from the lease agreement the City of Chicago used for it long-term parking meter lease. Murray's story omits the real reason Hirons & Co. was paid $109,000 a year to work on public relations for the deal--the firm's owner hired Mayor Ballard's son a short time before he awarded the no-bid contract to the firm. Ballard similarly awarded an even larger no-bid contract to Hirons for work on the Citizens Energy deal for the water and sewer utilities. The Star, like the rest of the news media in town, continues to ignore the fact that ACS installed used electronic parking meters combining old city assets with used assets owned by the company in only the high volume areas to allow the private vendor to start raking in its fees as opposed to new, state-of-the-art technology promised when the deal was approved. Nobody in the media has yet to report on the role Pay To Play has in deals undertaken by this administration on so many fronts to the detriment of city taxpayers.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Indiana Supreme Court Reinstates Hammond GOP Mayoral Candidate Illegally Removed From Ballot By Democratic-Controlled Election Board

In an outrageous act of partisan over-reaching, the Democratic-controlled Lake County Elections Board earlier this year removed from the May primary ballot Republican mayoral candidate George Janiec, who narrowly lost to Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott (D) by 500 votes four years ago. Without citing any statute to support their decision, the elections board claimed Janiec could not seek a partisan office while serving as a trustee for Hammond's public school system. An appointee of Mayor McDermott, Dawn Tomich, filed the complaint against Janiec seeking his removal from the ballot. The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order to reinstate Janiec to the ballot only a day after the elections board filed its brief in the case on Janiec's petition for transfer after the election board's decision was unbelievably upheld by a Lake County Superior Court Judge Jesse Villalpando, a former Democratic legislator. The Court's unanimous opinion reads, in part:

The Board and Lake Superior Court held that Janiec’s candidacy was inconsistent with the ethical policies applicable to members of the Hammond School Board. The Court finds no basis in statute or law for disqualifying Janiec on this basis. See Burke v. Bennett, 907 N.E.2d 529, 532 (Ind. 2009) (disqualification statute to be construed “consistent with the longstanding respect for the right of the people to free and equal elections”). Accordingly, the Court hereby GRANTS the Verified Petition for Emergency Transfer and REVERSES the Lake Superior Court’s “Judgment Order” issued on March 30, 2011. The Board and its members are ENJOINED from removing Janiec’s name from the ballot as a Republican candidate for Mayor of Hammond in the May 2011 primary election.
The May decision comes with a little more than two weeks left before the primary election. More than 3,200 absentee votes have already been cast, which cannot be undone according to the Court's order. The parties were ordered by the Court to come up with a mechanism to allow persons who have received absentee ballots but have not yet returned them, or who will be casting early votes in person at satellite voting sites, to cast a vote for Janiec no later than Monday. There were already five other candidates on the ballot in the Republican mayor's race. Mayor McDermott incredulously blamed Janiec for the ordeal he has endured at the hand of his political operatives according to the Northwest Indiana Times:

McDermott said Janiec showed a lack of respect for his opponents by glossing over the Republican primary and saying he would square off against him in November.

"Right now he's running against field of Republicans that want to beat him," McDermott said. "He obviously has no respect whatsoever for his opponents. That's not a good way to approach politics. You always respect your opponents, regardless of whether you think you can beat them or not."
The Lake County Election Board's actions were bad enough, but it is inexcusable for Judge Villalpando to uphold their actions knowing that there was absolutely no basis in law for removing Janiec from the ballot. Thankfully, the Supreme Court acted quickly enough to provide at least the possibility of Janiec winning the Republican nomination, who Mayor McDermott concedes is his strongest potential opponent for the November general election.

It's noteworthy that the Supreme Court cited the Burke v. Bennett decision in support of its construction of the disqualification statute as "consistent with the longstanding respect for the right of the people to free and equal elections." Secretary of State Charlie White's attorney, James Bopp, is relying on that decision in support of his contention that the Recount Commission could not disqualify him on the basis of an alleged criminal violation for which he had not been found guilty prior to the election contest petition being filed by the Indiana Democratic Party. Although Democrats knew of the alleged violation prior to the election, they waited until after the election to contest his eligibility to hold the office. Bopp's attorneys maintain the remedy post-election is removal through conviction for committing a felony. They are appealing an order by Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg for the Recount Commission to hear the Democrat's petition, which it dismissed last December. If the Recount Commission ruled in favor of the Democrats, their candidate, Vop Osili, would assume the office even though voters overwhelmingly chose White over him. Republican-sponsored legislation is making its way through the legislature in its closing days that would allow Gov. Daniels to name White's successor if the Commission disqualifies him.