Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why LTC Lakin's Birther Quest is Doomed

It's a sad thing to see an intelligent, well-spoken person committing career suicide for such a poor reason. It's sadder still to know, even from the sidelines, that he doesn't have a chance in Hades of accomplishing his goal - unless that goal was to be punished for insubordination.

The shoe has dropped. Lt. Colonel Lakin has been officially charged with violating the UCMJ for not deploying to Afghanistan as he was ordered to do. And with that, his goal of being Court Martialed for that offense comes that much closer to happening.

LTC Lakin says that he regrets having to do this. If only President Obama would just cough up the Birth Certificate, thus proving that he is a Natural Born Citizen, and therefore eligible to be the Commander In Chief, then Lakin would be happy to call the whole thing off and deploy - a proud member of America's armed forces, once again. Why, oh why, won't that mean President just budge?

The obvious answer is because he already did. His Certificate of Live Birth - which, contrary to Birther statements, is just as good as that elusive "long form" they seem to have fixated on - has been seen by who knows how many people since it went up on his website. The announcements of his birth in Hawai'i have also been shown. The statements from various persons from the State of Hawai'i, most notably Dr. Chiyome Fukino and Janice Okubo, have been clear on his having been born there. What more could any reasonable person really want?

The answer is sadly funny, and was already provided by Lakin apologist - and Birther - Alan Keyes: "Some evidence."

Thus LTC Lakin's invitation of a Court Martial, it would seem.

Unless Lakin really just wants to become a martyr for the Birther movement, it appears that his strategy is to have his defense press for the even-more-elusive "full discovery," which Birthers have been trying to get since the start of their legal odyssey. The idea being that, in order to present a proper defense, they will need to request certain documents in order to present that defense - most notably the "long form" Birth Certificate of one Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.

And thus will the Birther dream will be realized: they will have the evidence that there's something fishy about our President's eligibility, and at long last be able to say "I told you so" to the legion of doubters who've been ridiculing their long and arduous windmill-tilt.

All well and good, provided the Birth Certificate doesn't prove what Obama's been saying all along. But there's two problems with that strategy.

The first problem, which many Birthers don't seem to realize, is that they will not get a "long form." According to Hawai'i:

Asked for more information about the short-form versus long-form birth documents, Okubo said the Health Department "does not have a short-form or long-form certificate."

"The birth certificate form has been modified over the years and decades to conform to national standards and models," she said.

Okubo also emphasized the certification form "contains all the information needed by all federal government agencies for transactions requiring a birth certificate."

The second problem, which is more pressing for LTC Lakin, is that his defense is highly unlikely to get full discovery, much less be able to present the Birth Certificate issue as part of their defense.

Why? It's a matter of how military orders work. When a superior officer gives you an order, you are supposed to follow it, so long as it is a legal one. And whether the Commander In Chief is eligible to be President or not does not factor into the equation.

Some have said that, logically, if the Commander In Chief is not eligible, then all orders given are not legal. This is not true. What makes an order legal or not depends on the UCMJ, itself, and whether the order is, itself, a crime. For example, "Kill these unarmed civilians and bring me their ears" is not a legal order. "Report for deployment to the war zone," on the other hand, is clearly a legal order.

So LTC Lakin's conscience does not enter into it, unless he just realized, after all these years of service, that he's a conscientious objector. And somehow I kind of doubt that.

The question before the Court Martial, then, is not why LTC Lakin disobeyed his orders, but rather whether he disobeyed them. Since he has, himself, publicly admitted that he was planning on disobeying them, and then went and disobeyed them, there would seem to be little question that he did, in fact, disobey them. And in a Court Martial, that's pretty much all there is to it.

As Washington Attorney Phillip D. Cave put it, "He is likely to lose everything and accomplish nothing ... No military judge will say that (obtaining documents) of the president is necessary to prove the charges."

From the same article:

We all feel saddened,” said David Price, a former captain and 25-year veteran of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s office, now in private practice.

“He was issued an order to deploy and didn’t. End of issue,” he said. He said the military has dealt with these types of cases since Vietnam, when soldiers tried to make larger political issues the basis of their trials, and is experienced at keeping the proceedings free of politics.

Price also said that if the case does finally get to a general court-martial and a judge is asked to approve discovery requests by the defense, it is unlikely that it would be allowed to encompass the presidency. He said this wasn’t because of a conspiracy, but because the case is relatively simple and doesn’t require it.

So if LTC Lakin is highly unlikely to be allowed to give a defense that would involve full discovery, thus getting a peek at the non-existant "long form" Birth Certificate, then why is he doing this?

Some have suggested that he was given bad advice. It seems that his civilian lawyer, Paul Rolf Jensen, is not exactly an expert in military law. Does Jensen simply not understand that he's bringing a tuba to what is essentially a kazoo recital? One can only hope Lakin's court-appointed, military lawyer will quickly disabuse Jensen of any fool notions he may have about how the Court Martial is going to work.

Some have suggested that there may be something even worse at work. It has been pointed out by our friends at Oh For Goodness Sake that the American Patriot Foundation is a who's who of conservative operatives. Did they go shopping for a judas goat to further some wacko right-wing operation, and find one in Lakin?

If so, what's their endgame? Getting LTC Lakin off the hook is obviously a non-starter, as is getting a look at the mythcial "long form." So are they hoping Lakin's conviction will start a "No, I'm Spartacus" movement amongst the American Military, thus causing embarrassment and unneeded hassle to Obama, and making him look weak in the run-up to midterm elections? Are they hanging Lakin out to dry in order to shore up some poling numbers?

This will be an interesting case to watch, yes, but it will also be a very sad one. No matter what happens from here on out, LTC Lakin's career is effectively over, and it is over because he made a terrible mistake. One can only hope that those who aided and abetted that mistake are also called into account for their part in this, and made to explain their true motives before the court of public opinion, if not civillian law.

(Image shamelessly stolen from safeguard our constitution's website)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Montana, and I would like everyone to know that I'm still spamming sites like a monkey at a typewriter! I sent away for a life about three months ago, but it still has not arrived. Please send money.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for your story on LTC Lakin but you are wrong
I would highly recommend you go to this site as follows and read the difference between the long form and short form birth certificates. The state of hawaii officials never stated they saw his actual long form.
get the story straight.

alberta jones

7:57 AM  
Blogger J. Edward Tremlett said...

I am wrong? This coming from someone with a webpage telling me the CIA is controlling my mind.

Of course they didn't see his "actual long form." There is none. There is only THE form, at this point.

You may notice that on the page you sent me to, they said the following.

"Many states have begun to use Electronic Birth Registration systems. These systems enable information typically seen on certified copies (long forms) to be available in computer databases, thus eliminating the need for "hard copy" long form certificates and having all birth information stored in computer databases only."

I understand that Hawai'i is one such state.

Fuck the story. Get your facts straight.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Capt-Dax said...

Natural-Born Citizen Defined

One universal point most all early publicists agreed on was natural-born citizen must mean one who is a citizen by no act of law. If a person owes their citizenship to some act of law (naturalization for example), they cannot be considered a natural-born citizen.

This leads us to defining natural-born citizen under the laws of nature - laws the founders recognized and embraced.

Under the laws of nature, every child born requires no act of law to establish the fact the child inherits through nature his/her father’s citizenship as well as his name (or even his property) through birth.

President Obama publicly admits that his father was a Kenyan native who never became a U.S. citizen. At birth, President Obama acquired British/Kenyan citizenship by descent from his father.

9:34 AM  
Blogger J. Edward Tremlett said...

That may be so. However, unless you want to hand the sovereignty of American citizens over to the many nations of the world, we also have to consider that our own rules and laws take first place over the rules and laws of others.

So if we accept that Barack Obama was born in Hawai'i, then he is a natural born citizen of the USA, and whatever citizenship his father may have bestowed upon him is secondary at best.

This means that Obama's American citizenship comes first, especially in regards to his life in America, and anything else he may do or be while here.

And as there is nothing in the Constitution, or any other legal rulings or documents, that would indicate that people with dual citizenship cannot be NBCs, I don't think his father-granted status really matters in this issue.

The facts are clear, Captain. He was born in Hawai'i. He is a Natural Born Citizen. He can be the President. He IS the President.

If you want to oppose his policies, do so. But please stop questioning his eligibility. The horse has been beaten into glue.

4:35 PM  

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