Sunday, 9 November 2008

Questions About Obama

"If the truth be known"...

Here's how I feel about the US elections.

First of all, I want to acknowledge Obama's impressive campaign and oratorical skills. He was, truly, the man of the hour. He deserved the win; and so did America; and so did the world. It was a defining moment in American history, and it helped immensely to put the US on a different path than the toxic one that it was on, in the hands of the neocons and their acolytes in power.


I think the best thing I can do at this point on this blog is to quote (slightly edited) the comment I made, on Nov 7th, on a Comments thread to a blog by Michael Tomasky of the Guardian entitled 'The Transition Has Begun':

"Now that the hoopla of the election is over, and the beginning of the fairytale has moved into the stage of practicalities, I'd like to address one inconvenient question. It has to do with Obama's birth certificate.

"Michael, you said in your op-ed column in the Guardian's Nov 3 edition, regarding 'the swift-boating of Obama' not working, that one example was the charge 'that he's not really a citizen of the US (disproved over the weekend by birth registrars in the state of Hawaii)...'. Since when did you, especially as a journalist, and all your other MSM fraternity mates, decide to buy a pig in a poke? All that I can find on the internet is that the spokeswoman said there was a 'valid' copy of his birth certificate on file. But a 'valid' copy of what, precisely? It has been pointed out on the internet that - at least in Hawaii - there is a difference between a Certificate of Live Birth and a Certification of Live Birth, and that the document released by the Obama camp website is a document that the state of Hawaii also produces for children who were not actually born there.

"Not to put too fine a point on this; let me just summarize the case for the prosecution: that he was actually born in Kenya - as attested to by his paternal grandmother - when his mother wasn't allowed to travel by air back to Hawaii because of her advanced state of pregnancy; and that they returned as soon as they could, so that she could register his birth there, under the circumstances that obtained in Hawaii, in order for him to have US citizenship. (Question at this point: the Guardian, in reporting on reactions around the world to Obama's election, interviewed 'Mama Sarah' - his step-grandmother. Why didn't they, or anybody in the media, interview his paternal grandmother herself?)

"How could this matter not have been uncovered before this? Surely the Repub camp would have investigated the rumours? Well, the report is that they did send investigators to Kenya. Then...two possible outcomes:

(1) They found no proof of his birth there, and let the matter go; and

(2) They found proof of it, and let the matter go.

"Why the latter possibility? Suggestion: because their own man's birth is questionable in terms of the Constitutional requirements, and this issue would open up a whole can of worms. (Why is it questionable? He was born of US citizens - but on a military base in another country. It was not US soil; it was leased land from another sovereign. Even some in the Repub camp have said it could be a legitimately debatable point.)
[N.B. Later edit: There is evidence that he wasn't even born on the base, but in the town hospital. Which makes his case even weaker.]
"I bring this up because the issue has not been resolved sufficiently. There are even a number of lawsuits currently wending their way through the judicial process in the States, on this very point: that Obama has yet to produce his 'vault' copy of his birth certificate (which would contain such info as the doctor in attendance, the hospital at which he was born, etc).


"Isn't that a legitimate investigative-journalist question? And if so, why has it not been followed up on properly by the MSM? Because it might produce An Inconvenient Truth??"


This issue is not going to go away. Nor should it. Why; if he has been such an overwhelming favourite in the race, and it feels so good to have him there, and isn't it just a mere technicality anyway?

Because of one main reason, with a secondary reason to it. Second things first: because he was not all that "overwhelming" a favourite. He won the popular vote by ab. 52-47%. Not 51-49, granted; but close. It APPEARED from the MSM that he was the "overwhelming favorite". But a lot of people voted against him, even though McCain wasn't that solid an opponent - even though McCain/Palin wasn't that solid a ticket. (Some of that was obviously racial. But some of that was also due to legitimate concerns about what he meant precisely by 'change'.)

But the main reason is because of the main concern about Bush that had developed during his tenure: that he was beginning to evidence the danger of the rule of men over the rule of law. That if the law is cut down and tossed out, there is nothing to stand in the way of a tyrant ruling the land.

It is at least as recent a warning as that portrayed in the play, and then film, of A Man for All Seasons, with Thomas More standing up to the King of England; and at least as old a warning as that given by Cicero, during the rise of Caesar, and the collapse of the Roman Republic. And of other examples in history. Including that of Adolf "I am the law" Hitler. And Stalin, who remarked that it doesn't matter who votes, but who counts the votes.

And I especially point this out because of a couple of factors in particular regarding Obama.

(1) During his campaign he spoke of the desirability of a having a "civilian national security force just as powerful as the military". (For 'Homeland Security'. But I took note of this call in the light of a video on YouTube showing some young black men, in a uniform of sorts, swearing fealty to Obama. Not America. Obama.)

(2) In the last days of the campaign a recording surfaced of a radio interview with Obama back in 2001, when he was a State senator. He was talking about the limitations of the Constitution; that it contained "negative liberties" - what the state couldn't do to the citizenry, such as take away their freedom of speech, etc - but never spoke of "what the federal government must do on your behalf".

What the federal government must do on your behalf...Presumably meaning things like universal health care. And. And...that is, a Marxist/socialist perspective.*

He also spoke in it of the value of the law being a respecter of persons, ie, rulings for the 'downtrodden' simply because they are the minority, or a liberally-minded protected category; and that "empathy" and "heart" would be "the criteria by which I would select my judges" - if he ever got the chance.

Fancy that. Here we are.

I am saying that there are some authoritarian tendencies here, that need to be watched carefully; in order that America doesn't get moved away from authoritarianism - and possible outright fascism - on the right, only to succumb to authoritarianism - and possible outright socialism - on the left. By people who believe that 'the law' is a malleable thing. Personified by "just a goddamn piece of paper".

Do I think Obama would do such a thing?

I don't know. He seems a reasonable, realistic, pragmatic person. But - don't we know - power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And we've had enough of that sort of thing to last us a few lifetimes.

* The Guardian, some days into 'the Transition' period, quoted a young woman exclaiming excitedly that she wouldn't "have to pay my mortgage now! Obama will do it for me!"
Well; the wiseacres who put us in this mess - to make their quotas, and fees, and bonuses, from bosses who put them up to it - have certainly made it look as though someone else will carry the can regarding (toxic) mortgages...