It’s about time I addressed a number of commonplace beliefs held in the United States which, while they often sound great in sound bites, are almost always based on flawed reasoning. I call these beliefs “American myths.”

Since 2010 is an election year, the news media will almost certainly begin to run more and more articles about the importance of voting and how everyone should vote. While I agree that voting is important, I disagree with the idea that everyone should vote. This is a common American myth.

Let’s think about it. First and foremost, anyone who isn’t an American citizen cannot and should not vote. It’s considered an act of fraud in every state, territory and dominion of the United States. Voting is a responsibility and a privilege associated with citizenship, but this idea isn’t universally understood. In San Francisco, certain people want everyone, citizen or not, to vote on local city issues. While non-citizens living in San Francisco will certainly be affected by local votes, they still remain non-citizens. Membership can and should have its privileges.

Are you aware that in the United States, convicted felons cannot vote? Since a felon has already demonstrated that he or she is not a good citizen, society has determined that a convicted felon loses the right to vote. Yes, this right may be restored after the felon has served his or her sentence, but until then, a felon cannot vote. I can’t help thinking this is a wise rule, especially when I try to imagine Charles Manson casting a ballot.

No one should vote more than once. Even if an individual finds some clever way to circumvent the many laws designed to stop people from registering and voting multiple times, he or she is still committing voter fraud. I include in this category those who damage or spoil ballots, those who browbeat or threaten other voters, and those who coach the mentally incompetent into voting for their chosen candidate or issue. In the American democratic process, no one should be allowed to get away with the thoroughly non-egalitarian idea that some votes are more equal than others.

Apathetic citizens who are otherwise eligible to vote, but who haven’t bothered to register by a certain deadline, cannot vote in the next election. Even if you’re a fully eligible U.S. citizen, you must register in your local voting district if you want to cast a legal vote. If you haven’t taken the paltry amount of time and effort required to register to vote, you won’t have much cause for complaint when the day comes around and you can’t participate because you’re not on the voter rolls.

Finally, while it isn’t illegal, no one ought to vote in ignorance. If you don’t care or can’t be bothered to find out about the issues brought before the public, why participate? There’s not much point in voicing your opinion if you don’t have one. Granted, Joe and Jane Citizen certainly have the right to walk haplessly into the voting booth and vote for candidates and initiatives based on the results of a coin toss. But every citizen who votes in ignorance is failing in his or her civic duties. During the Democrat run-off leading up to the 2008 elections, I heard someone at work say she couldn’t decide whether to vote for Barack Obama because of his race, or for Hillary Clinton because of her gender. Neither of these reasons had anything to do with the issues at hand. One of my wife’s relatives once stated that she voted for JFK because he was such a good-looking man. But neither the candidate’s nor the voter’s race, gender, or pulchritude should have any bearing on a vote. Instead, we need to take the time to do the research–read the voter guides, study the pros and cons of the initiatives on the ballot, find out what we can about the history and political beliefs of the candidates, then vote for the people and ideas that best fit our own political philosophy.

So should everyone vote? No. Only eligible citizens who have taken the time to carefully study the issues and candidates should vote, and vote once. Anything else is either illegal or ignorant. And we’ve had enough of that.

I don’t remember doing so with any of the minimum wage jobs I’ve had, but in all my professional positions, I had to provide to my employer some form of ID that proved I was eligible to work in the United States. In each of these cases, my U.S. passport was sufficient, but a birth certificate would have also worked. It’s annoying to me that I have to provide proof of citizenship (or a visa that allows employment in the U.S. for non-citizens), but that’s the law passed by the government. And speaking of government, in January of 2009, Senator Barack Obama became President of the United States. If I have to prove my citizenship for my tech job, doesn’t this same requirement apply to the top job in America? In the case of the job of U.S. President, the Constitution specifies the requirements for the position in Article II, Section 1:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

There’s no doubt that President Obama is over 35, and there’s also no problem with his residency in the States. The problem comes from the phrase “natural born Citizen” and what it means. The Constitution never defines it, and there has been some legal wrangling over what constitutes a natural born citizen. So is Obama a natural born citizen? Well, there’s no arguing that he was born of a U.S. citizen mother and British subject father, since Kenya was a British crown colony at the time of Obama’s birth in 1961. If Obama had been born in Kenya or somewhere else outside the States, then U.S. citizenship could still be conferred by his mother’s citizenship, but then the legalities become a bit manky since the law at the time put some restrictions on citizenship that his mother wouldn’t qualify for, as one email I have received puts it:

US Law very clearly stipulates: ‘If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.’ Barack Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen and Obama’s mother was only 18 when Obama was born, which means though she had been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, (or citizen perhaps because of Hawaii being a territory) the mother fails the test for being so for at least 5 years **prior to** Barack Obama’s birth, but after age 16. It doesn’t matter after. In essence, she was not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. citizenship. At most, there were only 2 years elapsed since his mother turned 16 at the time of Barack Obama’s birth when she was 18 in Hawaii. His mother would have needed to have been 16+5= 21 years old, at the time of Barack Obama’s birth for him to have been a natural-born citizen. [no, I'm not going to put [sic] after every error. Sheesh. — CM]

Accepting this poorly written email as correct, the law states that his mother would have to be a citizen for at least 10 years, “at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.” Since his mother was 18 when Obama was born, she doesn’t qualify. QED, so call the press and announce Obama isn’t a natural born citizen, right? Well, no. Her age would only matter if Obama were born outside of the United States.

Obama’s birthplace is listed as Honolulu, Hawaii, which makes him a natural born citizen because of his birth, and the age and residency of his mother just doesn’t enter into it. “He wasn’t born in Hawaii, he was born in Kenya, dontchaknow?” Really? Then why are there announcements printed in both the Honolulu Advertiser and Star Bulletin announcing his birth? This makes him a natural born citizen, and the debate is over, right? Wrong. Nothing stops a good story, or even a bad story, if enough people tell it.

“Then-candidate Obama published his birth certificate, showing he was born in Hawaii!” Well, actually, no. He published a certification of live birth, but that is not a birth certificate. And that’s different enough to provide an excuse to continue the debate over his citizenship. But one thing that the certification provides is a location of birth. But we don’t have to just accept that certification. Hawaiian state officials have recently stepped forward to state that they have seen Obama’s actual birth certificate:

“I … have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen,” Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. “I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

“OK, so he was born in the U.S., but he renounced his citizenship at some point!” I have seen this argument also in emails. Here is the meat of the claim:

Q: Did he travel to Pakistan in 1981, at age 20?
A: YES, by his own admission.
Q: What passport did he travel under?
A: There are only three possibilities:
1. He traveled with a U.S. Passport,
2. He traveled with a British passport, or
3. He traveled with an Indonesia passport.
Q: Is it possible that Obama traveled with a U.S. Passport in 1981?
A: No. It is not possible. Pakistan was on the U.S. State Department’s “no travel” list in 1981.

Conclusion: When Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport. If he was traveling with a British passport that would provide proof that he was born in Kenya on August 4, 1961, NOT in Hawaii as he claims. And if he was traveling with an Indonesian passport that would tend to prove that he relinquished whatever previous citizenship he held, British or American, prior to being adopted by his Indonesian step-father in 1967. [Again, presented as I got it -- CM]

There’s just one problem — Pakistan wasn’t on the “no travel” list in 1981. In fact, the State Department had issued a travel advisory in 1981 with regard to visa requirements when entering Pakistan, showing that it was OK for Americans to travel there. So Obama was free to use his American passport, just like anyone else, when he visited.

OK, so where are we in all this? We have a Hawaiian official who has publicly declared seeing Obama’s actual birth certificate and that he was born in Hawaii. There are two announcements posted in Hawaiian newspapers announcing his birth in Hawaii. There is a certification of live birth that, while not being the same thing as a birth certificate, clearly states he was born in Hawaii. And finally, there’s no problem with him having traveled to Pakistan in 1981 with a U.S. passport.

Still think Obama isn’t a natural born citizen? Then try this on for size: when Senator Hillary Clinton saw her support eroding as Obama gained steam during the 2008 primaries, don’t you think she would have released any information she had about Obama being ineligible for the Presidency? She would have had everything to gain and nothing to lose if Obama were shown to be ineligible for the office, but she never came forward with the charge. You may dislike practically everything Obama has done as President, as I do, but I have seen nothing that convinces me that he isn’t eligible for the office. I see plenty to show he’s not ready for the office, but nothing that would legally prevent him from actually holding the office. Besides, if he were ineligible, we would have to deal with the administration of President Biden. *shudder*

So why the big brouhaha over his birth certificate? Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent defending Obama against the many lawsuits brought forward asking that he prove his status as a natural born citizen of the United States. These lawsuits could be satisfied and easily dealt with if Obama were to produce his actual birth certificate, but instead he has chosen to fight them. Why spend the money, time, and effort to fight these lawsuits when they could be dismissed with the brandishing of a single document? Could this be a hornet-trap kept active by the democrats to lure in and force conservatives to waste their time on this issue rather than letting conservatives fight them on other more challenging issues?

Perhaps it’s just the American tendency to believe in the concept of equality under the law, but I would like to have Obama, and anyone else who is elected to any position in government, prove that he is legally eligible to serve in that office. After all, when I got my job, I had to prove I was eligible to work there. It just makes sense to me that people in government should be held to the same standards they hold other people to.

Any way I try to see it, there will be a bunch of angry and disappointed Democrats in the near future. On the one hand, there is Senator Clinton, and on the other hand there is Senator Obama. And since liberals view everything through the prism of group identity instead of individuals, that means the fight for the Democrat presidential nomination is between someone who is a woman, and someone who is black.

Of course there is far more to these candidates than their sex and race, but to liberals who have made sex and race identity so important, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have become visible embodiments of sex and race. And this can be a problem for liberals when group identities collide. Are liberals meant to vote for Clinton because she could be the first woman President, even though she is white; or should they vote for Obama to become the first black President, even though he is male?

You can see this conflict in the way liberal groups are handling the sex/race conflict of Clinton and Obama. When Oprah Winfrey announced that she was supporting Obama, she was labeled a traitor for choosing race over sex. But that’s assuming Obama’s race was more important to Oprah than Clinton’s sex. Could she have chosen to support him for other reasons? That’s not an option if you view everything through the lens of race or sex. Fortunately, not everyone will “vote their race” or “vote their gender,” as some CNN readers have stated.

I’ll say it again — if you vote for Obama primarily because he is black, you are racist. If you vote for Clinton primarily because she is a woman, you are sexist. And if you vote for McCain because he’s a white male, you’re… unusual. (Conservatives tend to focus on issues over identity politics, so I don’t see this as being as much of a concern for conservatives as it is for liberals, but let’s cover all the bases for the sake of equity.)

The race between Clinton and Obama is close, but as I write this, Obama has slightly more delegates than Clinton and appears to have the momentum. But since Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island all have primaries today, the race isn’t over for the two contenders.

Since there can only be one winner in this race (and no, I don’t believe that either candidate would deign to become the other’s VP), half of the Democrat voters in the primaries will be pissed off at the result. Those who view sex as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another man is nominated. Those who view race as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another white is nominated.

Regardless of who gets the nomination, I see a time of anger and resentment for Democrats when the primaries are over. I just don’t see their anger preventing them from finally rallying behind the Democrat nominee when it comes to the national vote in November. On the other hand, I see many conservatives who are still angry about Senator McCain becoming the Republican nominee, and I don’t believe they will rally in numbers to vote for the party’s choice this year. And that means we will likely have a Democrat President come 2009.

Stephen Green of Vodkapundit is blogging about the Super Tuesday primary results while drinking at Pajamas Media and I surfed in from an Instapundit link. Here’s the paragraph that Green wrote that caught my eye:

Superdelegate Christine Pelosi (daughter of Speaker Nancy) tells Sean Hannity that she’s “torn between my gender and my generation.” Either she’s a perfect example of the identity politics that plague the Democrats, or there’s not one difference between Clinton and Obama important enough to sway Pelosi with substance.

Since I haven’t stated it before, let me do so now for any Democrat who reads my blog.

If you vote for Sen. Obama because he is black, you are racist.

If you vote for Sen. Clinton because she is a woman, you are sexist.

If you vote for either one because of their politics or stated principles, then apparently you are not Christine Pelosi. Frankly, I don’t care about the race, sex, or even looks of any candidate. I care about the candidates’ track records and their stated positions. Since I rarely get my news from the TV and mostly from reading it on the Internet, I am not influenced by the way a candidate looks or, for that matter, sounds. Instead, I’ve been paying much more attention to reading what they say and seeing what they have done.

And in my mind’s eye, what the candidates say and do is waaaaay more important than their sex or race.

The title of the MSNBC article by Senior Producer John W. Schoen is “Can government turn the economy around?” The answer is a loud yes. Government, by its action and inaction, can turn a healthy economy sick just as it can turn a sick economy healthy. But it really depends on what the government plans are. In a nutshell, if the government butts out of the economy and allows people to engage in commerce without restrictive and repressive rules and regulations, the economy can soar. When the government plays the role of buttinski, their actions can cause the economy to sour. Here is the second paragraph from the article:

Theres no shortage of ideas in an election year. But it remains to be seen just how much the government can do to halt the continued slide in an economy battered by falling housing prices, rising energy costs and a lending slowdown caused by worries about how many more loans will go bad.

Let’s take a quick look at the three woes in Schoen’s article. Housing prices are falling because they have risen in a speculative market driven by house flippers and low interest rates. Rising energy costs can be blamed on an increase in demand for oil as nations like India and China want to get out of the 20th Century and join the 21st. But some of the blame for the increase can be laid at the feet of government and government regulation. We haven’t built a new nuclear power plant in the U.S. for over 30 years, and environmental nutjobs have succeeded in preventing the U.S. from tapping into much of our own available oil fields. And the loan crisis was caused by the government forcing companies to give loans to high-risk people, or they would be labeled as discriminating racists and prosecuted by government thugs. Now that — surprise, surprise — these high-risk people are defaulting on their loans, government thugs like Senator Clinton are bashing those same loan companies as being “predatory.” Politicians get to look good twice: first when they cause a problem, and later when they try to “fix” the same problem they created.

European and Asian markets are struggling today because of their worry over a U.S. recession. So, what can the government do that could stimulate the economy? Quite simply, the government could just get out of the way. The more government butts into our jobs and tells us what we can and can’t do, the harder it is for us to do our jobs. And possibly the easiest way for the government to leave us alone is by lowering the tax rates. As I have written before, you get more of that which you reward, and less of that which you punish, and taxes certainly are punitive on people working and doing business.

But it appears we may instead get a tax rebate. According to this news report, Pres. Bush is considering up to an $800 tax rebate, similar to the $300 tax rebate that was given in 2001. But whether it is a tax rebate or a tax rate cut, it will have to pass the Democrats in Congress. And knowing that, I have to wonder whether Democrats are really willing to help.

Here’s their dilemma — if Democrats do nothing or block any attempt by the White House to improve the economy, they could use a weak economy to push themselves forward. But doing so politically would mean hurting the little people the Democrats say they support. Time will tell whether the Democrats in Congress will put their own political fortunes ahead of the national interest.

ReviewJournal.com has an interesting quote from Sen. Hillary Clinton (Dingbat-NY) that just begs to be explained.

A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.

“No woman is illegal,” Clinton said, to cheers.

I have to believe that the man was saying that his wife was an illegal alien, so this then makes me ask if Hillary meant what it appears she meant. As I read it, she’s saying that by virtue of their sex, women cannot possibly be illegal aliens.

Huh?

How can this comment be interpreted in any way that doesn’t make Hillary sound like a idiot?

I don’t base my choice of political candidates based on a quiz on the Internet, but sometimes they are fun to take. I saw a link to a political quiz on Instapundit.com, and I decided to go along. Here are my results.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where he was known as a centrist. He reformed the state healthcare system, and would pursue reforms at the national level as well. Romney supports oil drilling in Alaska, but also alternative energy sources. He claims to be conservative on issues like abortion and gay civil unions, and he supports the Iraq war. Romney supports fair trade, as well as a greater focus on math and science in our schools.

Ron Paul
John McCain
Rudy Guiliani
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

It just so happens that at this point, I’m leaning more towards Mitt Romney because of his positions and comments than any of the others, but I’m still not completely won over by anyone. I did noticed that Fred Thompson is not in the list, and I have no idea how the questions are measured, so this is far from scientific. I file it along with other “gee whiz” type of activities. Feel free to take it, too. I do find it funny that I have no matching positions with the four Democrat candidates.

Since anyone can create a quiz without showing the logic behind the score, the quality of the quizzes do varies. I took several quizzes for fun. You can try these three:

In order, I got 100%, the West, and 100%, not that the scores are all that important. But the American accent test appears to have mapped nicely to another one I took.

Talking about unlimited wants and limited means, Sen. Hillary Clinton (Evil-NY) has recently proposed a bribe to voters “baby bond” that would give $5,000 to every child born in the U.S.

“I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home,” she said.

The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

Is it Hillary’s money that she wants to give away? No, it is your money, John and Jane Public, in the form of taxes. Gee, we have a word for people who generously give away other people’s money, and that word is “thief.” Or “public servant,” but I repeat myself.

This idea of buying votes with the voters’ own money isn’t new. Former Senator George McGovern, another Democrat, suggested a $1,000 giveaway to every American back in 1972. And as the New York Post reminds us, McGovern went on to lose 49 states during that election. We can only hope that history will repeat in 2008.

Otherwise, we can look forward to paying taxes to pay for Hillary to buy her votes.

Baby got back $5,000

New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a vision — a vision of the government controlling an even larger percentage of private enterprise through a state-run health care system: Hillary Care. Contrary to what some film makers may want you to believe, socialized medicine sucks. But liberals don’t care about the failings of socialized medicine when they can sound concerned for the sick and the poor. But more than just wanting to take over health care, Hillary envisions a day when having health insurance is required for getting a job.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance was the only way to achieve universal health care but she rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system.

“At this point, we don’t have anything punitive that we have proposed,” the presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans.”

She said she could envision a day when “you have to show proof to your employer that you’re insured as a part of the job interview like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,” but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.

Uh…. what? Most people get their health insurance from their jobs. Why should I get health insurance before getting the job that will give me the health insurance? For someone viewed as being an intelligent woman, she came up with a real stinker of a idea here. On the scale of LAME – LAMER – LLAMA, Hillary’s idea has pegged the needle all the way to LLAMA.

I found the link to Hillary’s hilarious idea on the Drudge Report under the title of “HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK,” and it was that same title that inspired Joe Klein to poo-poo Drudge as a disgrace. Klein quotes the second and third paragraphs as I did, but he missed when she said, “you have to show proof to your employer that you’re insured as a part of the job interview…” Her own words provides the proof for Drudge’s title, contrary to what Klein wants you to believe. Hey, Klein, before you bash Drudge as being shameless and a disgrace, how about you actually read (and understand) the news article he links to?

There isn’t a nice way of saying it, so I’ll just blurt it out — Socialism sucks.

But that doesn’t stop people who are enamored with Socialism from advocating it, as Senator Hillary Clinton did recently:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it’s time to replace an “on your own” society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an “on your own” society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

“I prefer a ‘we’re all in it together’ society,” she said. “I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.”

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

“There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed,” she said. “Fairness doesn’t just happen. It requires the right government policies.”

Boy, it sure is great that we have the honorable Senator from New York to make life fair for us. And how does the Senator in all her wisdom propose to make life fair for everyone? Why, with government action, of course! After all, fairness doesn’t just happen; it requires government policies. And now for some more pearls of wisdom from Sen. Clinton:

“We have sent a message to our young people that if you don’t go to college … that you’re thought less of in America. We have to stop this,” she said.

Beyond education, Clinton said she would reduce special breaks for corporations, eliminate tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and open up CEO pay to greater public scrutiny.

Clinton also said she would help people save more money by expanding and simplifying the earned income tax credit; create new jobs by pursuing energy independence; and ensure that every American has affordable health insurance.

Beyond education, Clinton said she would reduce special breaks for corporations, eliminate tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and open up CEO pay to greater public scrutiny.

There is a word that accurately identifies Sen. Clinton’s plan, and that word is Socialism. It sure is a national tragedy that we have existed for over 200 years without the sage-like wisdom of Sen. Clinton and her love affair with Socialism. All during this time, life hasn’t been fair because she wasn’t around to make it so for us.

But I’m being facetious. I have long since realized that life isn’t fair; in fact, I wrote about it over three years ago:

Is life fair? I guess that depends on what you mean by “fair.” Is it fair that my hair started falling out when I was 17? Is it fair that I am not taller than my older brother? Is it fair that I don’t have Orlando Bloom’s good looks and hefty bank account? Is it fair that both my parents are alive, while my wife’s father died while she was a child? Is it fair that I was born an American and not an Armenian? Is it fair that I have wants far exceeding my ability to supply them? In each and every one of these cases, it is quite clear that life is not fair. But who promised you that life would, should, or even could be fair?

To answer that last question, it is Sen. Clinton who claims life should and could be fair. All we have to do is everything she says, and then life will be fair. Let’s get those government policies going right now!

There’s a problem with the Senator’s plan: Socialism sucks, and how! Can you identify a single place on earth where Socialism has worked to ensure both freedom and happiness? Socialism has sucked generations of life from the Soviet Union. Socialism has sucked the “get up and go” from hard-working Scandinavia. Socialism has sucked freedom from every nation where it has been implemented by oppressive governments. Socialism sucks out joy and replaces it with bureaucracy. A rather poor trade, that.

No, life is not and never has been fair, but it is a fool’s errand to try to enforce fairness through the ham-fisted bludgeoning of government policies.