FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Papers, Please

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Two bits of bad news to dampen any cheer earlier reports might have warranted.  It is accompanied by one bit of good news.  The bad news comes from Alabama and Iowa.  The good news comes from Arizona, a state normally known as a bellwether for bad news.

Early in Alabama’s 2012 legislative session it appeared that the legislature would correct some of the most egregious aspects of the legislation passed in 2011 to control the state’s unwanted immigrant population.  Among the revisions considered was the one that required schools to verify the citizenship of each student enrolled in school. Another was the one that required officers who stopped anyone to check on the citizenship of the person irrespective of whether or not that person was issued a citation or arrested. Sadly, the law signed by Alabama’s governor earlier this month retains the requirement that schools check on the citizenship of their students.  As a result, on the first day of school teachers will ask all students who are illegal immigrants to raise their hands.  The new law also retained the provision that police could check the citizenship status of anyone they stopped irrespective of whether a citation was issued or an arrest made. So much for Alabama.

Arizona, too, is back in the news but by the skin of its teeth, the news is good.  Arizona’s House Bill 2177 was passed by the Arizona legislature in 2011. Known as the birther bill it required that for a presidential candidate’s name to appear on the Arizona ballot the candidate would have to prove that he or she was a natural born U.S. citizen.  Under the bill each candidate was required to present an affidavit stating his or her age and citizenship, present a long form birth certificate and, for good measure, a statement describing where the candidate has lived for 14 years.  Absent a long form birth certificate, the statutory requirement was permitted to be fulfilled by a candidate presenting an “early baptismal or circumcision certificate.”  It is not clear if instead of a circumcision certificate the candidate, if a male, would have been permitted to simply present the appropriate appendage to the certifying authority that could by visual inspection determine whether or not the procedure had been performed. In all events, it turned out that it doesn’t matter.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who has been willing to sign lots of whacky legislation, drew the line at this one.  In vetoing the bill she said she couldn’t imagine requiring candidates for the highest office in the land to present “early baptismal or circumcision certificates. . . . This measure creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona.” Some thought that would put that particular measure to rest.  Some were wrong.

On May 18, 2012, Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, said that before permitting Barack Obama’s name to appear on the ballot as a presidential candidate, he wants proof of the president’s birthplace.  In a statement released to the press he disclaimed any hint of nuttiness.  He said:  “First, I have been on the record since 2009 that I believe the president was born in Hawaii.  I am not a birther.  At the request of a constituent, I asked the state of Hawaii for a verification in lieu of a certified copy.  We’re merely asking them to officially confirm they have the president’s birth certificate in their possession and are awaiting their response.”  Mr. Bennett may have wanted this because Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced at a new conference on March 1, 2012 that an investigation under his supervision had determined that the birth certificate released by the White House was a “computer generated forgery.”  (Mr. Arpaio has just been indicted by the Justice Department for a variety of alleged criminal activities, but that is no reason to doubt the quality of his investigation into the authenticity of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate). The good news is that Hawaii has now confirmed to Mr. Bennett’s satisfaction that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.  That is cause for celebration among almost all who have questioned it up until now.  Among those neither celebrating nor convinced are Republicans in Iowa.

Iowa is best remembered (aside from the fact that it put Rick Santorum in first place in its recent primary) when in 2010 voters threw out three Supreme Court Justices who had joined in a unanimous decision that legalized same sex marriage in Iowa. On May 21, 2012, the chairman of the Iowa GOP platform committee told a waiting world that the committee decided to include a plank in its platform affirming its belief that “candidates for President. . . must show proof of being a ‘natural born citizen’ as required by . . .the Constitution.” As this is written it is not known if the platform committee will reconsider,  given Arizona’s news.  Probably not.  It would spoil a birther’s day to be influenced by facts.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail