“AMERICAN,” “GLOBAL” OR SOMETHING ELSE?
by Sharon Rondeau
He does not say “American citizen.”
The top tweet is his timeline as of 6:36 p.m. EDT contains a link leading to the preliminary plans for his presidential library to be built on the South Side of Chicago, where the Obamas lived while he was a state senator and later, a U.S. Senator.
“We’re building a working center for good citizenship,” the tweet reads from the Obama Foundation, accompanied by a 3-D video showing Chicago’s “lakeside” and plans for the structures to be built as part of the library and museum.
The full caption below the video reads, “We’re building a living, working center for good citizenship. Right here on the South Side of Chicago. Wherever you call home, whatever your walk of life, we hope you’ll join us.”
Clicking the link leads to the large bold heading, “THE CENTER” under which the word “citizen” is again used but without any identifying nation:
Our charge is to create engaging and welcoming place that will inspire people locally to show up the most important office in any democracy — that of citizen. The Center will be based on the South Side of Chicago but have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.
Just underneath are the words, “The Obama Presidential Center will be a living, working center — an ongoing project where we will shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century.”
The Obama Foundation is a non-profit with an unpaid Board of Directors headed by Martin Nesbitt, described by Politico two years ago as “Obama’s best friend.” At the time, it had already been decided that the presidential library and its divisions would be located in Chicago’s South Side among an array of cultural and educational attractions.
Questions regarding Obama’s citizenship status arose after he declared himself a presidential candidate in February 2007. While the requirement for state legislators, state governors, U.S. Congressmen and other public offices is stated simply as “citizen,” the U.S. Constitution requires that the president be a “natural born Citizen.”
It is believed that the Framers feared foreign influence in the office of the chief executive and sought to ensure complete allegiance to the newly-independent nation whose freedom was won at great cost.
Later, the 12th Amendment required that vice-presidential candidates also meet the constitutional requirements for the president.
Obama claims a birth in Hawaii to a U.S.-citizen mother and British-citizen father on August 4, 1961. A number of constitutional scholars believe that Obama’s father’s foreign citizenship should have been enough to disqualify Obama from being considered a “natural born Citizen.”
When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, an article appeared under the byline of “AP” in the Kenyan Sunday Standard describing him as “Kenyan-born.” As recently as this past January, Obama’s half-sister, Auma Obama, appears to have described him as “a Kenyan.”
In January 2006, Will Hoover of the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Obama was born in Indonesia while comparing him to another foreign-born Democrat, Iraqi war veteran and fellow Illinoisan Tammy Duckworth.
In December 2007, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews declared Obama “born in Indonesia” and possessing “an Islamic background,” claims he never explained. Later, Matthews would verbally attack anyone who appeared to be questioning Obama’s claimed birth in Hawaii.
During Obama’s trip to Germany in July 2008, he was celebrated as a “citizen of the world.” While giving his speech at the Victory Column, Obama called himself “a proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.”
Shortly before the 2008 election, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson described Obama in a Spanish-television interview as being “an immigrant.” Just after Obama’s win, then-Kenyan Ambassador to the United States Peter Ogego enthusiastically declared Obama’s purported birthplace in Kenya as “well-known.”
Historically, citizenship in Western countries, including the U.S., was determined by the status of a person’s father. In 1934, women who were U.S. citizens were recognized by federal statute as being capable of passing their citizenship to their children under certain circumstances.
The ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868 led, perhaps without intent, to the 20th-century interpretation that all children born in the U.S. are American citizens, regardless of the citizenship of their parents.
When in early 2011, then-businessman Donald Trump pressed the White House to release Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate to show that he was presumably eligible to serve as president and again seek the office in 2012, it responded several months later by uploading an image said to represent Obama’s original birth record.
The documentation was reportedly obtained by special exception from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), which said earlier in Obama’s first term that it would issue only “short-form” birth certificates going forward.
Just three months before the image was made public, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said that Obama’s original birth certificate could not be located.
In August 2011, then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio commissioned his Cold Case Posse, led by former police detective Mike Zullo, to conduct an analysis of the birth certificate image in order to assure Arpaio’s constituents that their votes would not be disenfranchised in the upcoming presidential election.
Several days of analysis by the five-member team yielded Zullo’s advising Arpaio that he was unable to clear the document as genuine.
On March 1, 2012, Zullo and Arpaio held what was to be the first of three press conferences over a more than five-year period to reveal that probable cause was found that the long-form image is a “computer-generated forgery.”
In addition, Obama’s Selective Service registration form was found to be fraudulent.
The media responded to Zullo’s findings timidly by publishing a number of online reports, but virtually nothing was reported on television or radio. Overwhelmingly, the cacophony against anyone questioning Obama’s background or birthplace grew more strident.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney stated that there was no doubt as to where he was born in an apparent reference to the questions surrounding Obama’s birthplace.
When Arpaio requested the opportunity to inspect the original or a certified copy of Obama’s purported Selective Service registration documents, then-Selective Service System (SSS) Director Lawrence Romo refused and suggested that the records had been uncharacteristically destroyed.
A second press conference on July 17, 2012 declared that the standard of probable cause had been surpassed in the forgery of the long-form birth certificate image and called upon Congress to launch an investigation.
Arpaio termed the apparent forgeries an issue of pressing “national security.”
The probe quietly continued through December of last year, when Zullo announced that two forensic experts approaching their analysis of the birth certificate image from different disciplines reached very similar conclusions to his own of several years before.
The media noticeably avoided reporting the significance of the experts’ conclusions, instead stressing that the investigation was “closed.”
In January, outgoing White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest broke the administration’s silence on the forgery claims by stating, unsolicited, that “All of you could look at that piece of paper and verify for yourself to be convinced that the charges against the president — that were lobbed against the president — were false.”
Neither the White House nor Obama himself ever displayed a “piece of paper” with an original signature or registrar’s raised seal.