Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brave New Threshold: Robotics Interface

ELIMINATION OF CHARITABLE DEDUCTIONS: What would happen if businesses, corporations, and employers were prohibited from making tax exempt donations to charities and foundations? Would such businesses invest more money in making things that people want, attracting empolyees that can make such things, and paying employees enough to neutralize redistributive politics?

WELFARE V. WORKFARE: What would happen if charity-minded reformers had to inspire donors based on the goodness of their works, rather than based on the opportunity to hide power investments and empire foundings behind tax deduction schemes? Would a spirit-based morality be awakened, so that recipients of charity would become more thankful than insulting?

ELIMINATION OF CORPORATE TAXES: What would happen if businesses were not taxed on ordinary, non-cosumptive, non-retail, business transactions and investments? Would businesses invest more money in making things that people want, attracting empolyees that can make such things, and paying employees enough to neutralize most redistributive politics?

PROHIBITIVE CRONYISM: What would happen if American businesses could not lobby politicians, import cheap labor, or export industries without paying exactions and taxes as if such activities constituted taxable comsumptions? Would such businesses find ways to attract foreign purchasers to buy from Americans, become more competitively productive, improve American factories and industries, propagate intelligent robotics, encourage American students, promote initiatives for improving social infrastructure in ways that would neutralize redistributive politics, and make America a better example of free enterprise for the rest of the world?
FRANCHISE CENTRALIZATION AND DISTRIBUTION: What would happen if American businesses could seed profit and bonus-oriented franchisee-subcontractors, to delegate local production to local managers, without having to pay corporate franchise taxes? Would small business franchises flourish among more kinds of business activities, helping to spread local efficiency, wealth, and power?

ELIMINATING ELITIST CANNIBALIZATION OF RESOURCES AND INDUSTRIES: What would happen if out-of-country money transfers were treated as taxable consumptions? Would people and businesss build and buy American, and would foreign businesses invest in creating wealth for being transacted in America?
NATIONAL SELF SUFFICIENCY: What would happen if Western economies were induced to become more self sufficient? Would basket-case cultures and economies need to make their labor forces available for corporate-colonial like investments, to teach local despots and minions how to organize, work, and increase social capital, while reducing their exposure to despotism and their need for faux charities? Did Western Sponsored Colonialism end too soon?

CHECKING THE RISE OF NEW ARISTOCRATS: What would happen if family dynasties, aristocracies, and oligarchies were reduced by taxing retail and non-business transfers and bequests progressively, as if they were taxable consumptions? Would more and continued investment in productive business be encouraged, and also wider distribution of salaries and personal wealth? If lobbying were likewise taxed, would political influence be more evenly distributed?

REDUCTION OF CRONY SOCIALISM: What would happen if businesses were made less answerable to double-dealing bureaucrats and favor-seeking crony businesses and instead more answerable to limiting regulations under representatives of informed electorates? Would domestic wealth be more distributed via business interests, while domestic political power would be more decentralized among localities?

REDIRECTION OF GOVERNMENT TO INFRASTRUCTURE: What then would remain for a limited and limiting role for federated and local governments, states, and republics? Would representatives of each become more responsive to well-informed electorates, to be called on only to smooth rough edges between citizens and businesses by regulating and coordinating needs for: Anti-monopolization, anti-non-compete contracts, reduction of aristocracies, enhancement of competitive free enterprise, freedom of association, competitive media and education, improved environment, population reduction, health, emergencies, banking, currency, defense, foreign relations, common infrastructure, standards for weights and measures, and other functions under the heading of social capital?

ECONOMIC AND SPIRITUAL REVIVAL: What would happen if power to direct economic development came more to be federated among businesses instead of centralized to elitists, political planners, and bureaucrats? What would happen if social cost and complexity of governmental cronyism were markedly reduced? Would a middle class of decent, competent, and free thinkers be revived?

BRAVE NEW ROBOTICS INTERFACE: We stand on a Brave New Threshold for expanding consciousness to the stars. It is also an interface between free enterprise for the Republic and social regulation for the Borg. Artificially Intelligent Robotics are bound to impact: Population reduction; environmental improvement; redefinition of merit-based redistribution; and moral distribution of material goods and services. If the world does not first blow itself up, the NWM (New World Morality) may be based, not on two-class sadomasochism or primitive monster-god death cults, but on reinspired reawakening and reinterpretation of spiritually empathetic concerns. This is bound to entail rephasing of traditionally assigned social roles and opportunities and expansion of new pursuits for meaningfulness. Who can say?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Of Cruz, Vattel, and the Natural Born Citizen Clause

The essential simplicity the NBC people people keep repeating is:  Why did the Founders use the "natural born citizen" language in the Constitution, if not to impose a special prerequisite for electing a President?  They then refer to Vattel. 

The problem is, any meaning in their reference to Vattel (or whatever the version of Vattel) is, at best, ambiguous.  Look beyond Vattel to what the Founders intended.  What John Jay and Washington and likely others wanted to do was to leave the meaning of natural born citizen to be fleshed out by Congress, keeping in mind the desire not to allow the kind of perpetuation of foreign princes as had been so common in Europe.  They wanted a distinction, but they left it to Congress.

Well, Congress soon did make distinctions to define a natural born citizen.   Now, that kind of authority, in itself, is unusual:  To leave the defining and limiting of a term to a mere majority of Congress, as opposed to requiring a supermajority as for an amendment.  IAE, Congress did define the term, by statute of 1790.

Where I think people often go off the rail in their logic is where they suppose that Congress, by later replacing the statute of 1790 in which it defined the term with subsequent statutes that did not define the term, thereby revoked the first definition in favor of reverting to some supposed definition under Vattel.  But neither the Founders nor Congress ever clearly or affirmatively said they intended either to adopt or to revoke any version of Vattel. 

For all we know, whatever Congress intended with whatever the discretion delegated to it under the Constitution, Congress may as well have decided that a person who would be a citizen without having to be naturalized would be sufficient, in its judgment, to reconcile the concerns of the Founders.  IAE, insofar as the Founders left the additional determination of citizenship at birth to Congress, if Congress had authority to replace its first definition under its first statute or provision on the matter, then it had authority to do so again. And again.  If so, Congress (well, the Senate) has. 

The sense of the Senate was made clear on 4-30-08, when it by resolution confirmed that McCain was eligible.  In that resolution, the Senate did not state that a person who was otherwise a citizen without needing to be naturalized could become President only if born on a Federal base.   Moreover, McCain was not born on a Federal base. 

Since all this, we have had the Obama controversy. It is clear that Obama at least CLAIMS to have had a foreign father.  Moreover, his American mother "divorced" that father (if she was ever married to him), and she then married another foreigner, whereupon Obama may have either been renounced of his American citizenship or acquired joint citizenship. 

Whatever the concern --- whether Obama ever renounced his American citizenship, had authority to renounce it, or had authority without legal process to reclaim it --- regardless:  Under the Constitution, there is neither logic nor practical reason to suppose that the dead letters of Vattel, which were never unambiguously adopted to limit the discretion of Congress, should be somehow revivified for the purpose of requiring that either Congress or Scotus must disqualify a person (like Cruz) who is a natural citizen without need of being naturalized.

Unless one simply wants to recirculate stuff that no one with power in DC is inclined to adopt, he/she will have a burden to convince some rather influential legal thinkers.  I know you and I do not like Scotus, but this is an issue that will not be won with Scotus.  Nor, in light of the history, do I believe it is an issue that would be pronounced differently by any subsequently reasoning Scotus. Among others, Dershowitz has discussed this, as has Professor Jacobson.  See below.

As to practical concerns:  Apart from law, I see no empirical justification to suppose that a person born of a longstanding American parent, who is a citizen who does not need to be naturalized, would be the kind of "foreign prince" against whom the Founders were likely concerned.  Especially since there are few, if any, European princes nowadays who have executive authority.  Rather, it seems to me that we have plenty enough of homegrown traitors without need of fearing chimeras.  The candidates I fear most nowadays tend to be natural born Americans who have sold themselves to disloyal, un-American oligarchs.

So far, the NBC argument against Cruz peters out short on logic or common sense.  NBC people need to show:

- That the Founders, by the NBC clause, intended something that was both clear and exclusionary, that would be beyond the power of Congress to expand (as opposed merely to cautioning Congress while delegating power to it to further address the concern);
- That the Founders (and the ratifying States!), by the NBC provision, intended a clear restriction on the discretion of Congress to flesh out the definition of natural born citizen and its naturalization power;
- That the Congress that closely followed the Founders failed to define "natural born citizen" in a way that would encompass the situations of Goldwater, Romney, Weicker, McCain, Obama, Cruz, Rubio, and Jindal;
- That Congress, in whatever discretion it was delegated, has affirmatively and clearly specified, and continues affirmatively and clearly to specify, that a natural citizen not born in a State or territory of the Union is ineligible to become President. 

The Sources I have read fail to do any of that. Unless and until that is done, NBC people are simply hurting some of our better candidates. Do you have other sources that add anything new to the analysis, that have not already been hashed and rehashed?

I would like to see:  Where did the Founders or Ratifiers expressly adopt Vattel, or any version of Vattel?  Where did the Founders adopt Vattel in a way that would provide the exclusive method for defining a natural born citizen?  (Yes, some of the Founders read Vattel.  They were well read people. They read a lot of stuff.  They also knew how to clearly say they intended to require that the President be born in America of parents who were both natural citizens, if they had so intended.  But they did not.) 

I see where some of the Founders recognized a concern, which they recommended for consideration, wherewith they gave to Congress power to determine who else would be a citizen at brith, who would need to be naturalized, and how.  Congress did so consider.  Never did the Founders or Congress say that any particular version of Vattel must be adopted at any time, much less for all time.  Never has anyone said that a person a citizen at birth could never be eligible to be President unless both his parents had been citizens at birth.  Never has Congress said that the President must be born in America of parents who were both natural citizens.

Unless one can address those issues, one is simply repeating routines that have been hashed and rehashed, without additional illumination.


Scotus never ruled on the eligibility of Goldwater (born in Arizona territory), George Romney (born in Mexico), Or McCain (born in off base hospital in Panama).  Yet, the Senate, by Resolution of 4-30-08, passed a resolution that McCain is a natural born citizen under Art. II, Sec. 1, of the Constitution.  Per briefing by Theodore B. Olson and Laurence H. Tribe, Obama was eligible even though one of his parents was not a U.S. citizen and would have been eligible even if he had been born while Hawaii was a territory and before it became a State.

**The Act of 1790 provided that "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens."

***The 1790 language (natural born citizen) continues in essence to be honored by Congress under section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (citizen of the United States at birth):
SEC. 301. [8 U.S.C. 1401] The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
(d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States;

****Article II provides that “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 ...." Nothing in the provision requires that a natural born citizen be other than a person who would be a natural citizen, without needing to go through naturalization.  The provision does not deprive Congress of authority to provide for the requisites of being a person who would be a natural citizen without needing to go through naturalization.

*****Dershowitz also has discussed this.  See .  Cruz is a natural born citizen, not a naturalized citizen. .

******See the Jacobson article, at natural born Citizens: Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz .

"Most of the counter-arguments are historical conjecture, at best, and rely on speculation not connected to the text of the Constitution or any demonstrable actual intent or understanding of the Framers."

"[T]he English translation of the 1758 edition [of Vattel] did not use the term “natural born Citizen.”  That term did not appear until the 1797 edition, a decade after the Constitution was ratified."

"Two of the leading attorneys challenging Obama’s eligibility admitted that the term was not in the edition available in 1787, and they make the illogical bootstrap argument that the later change in the Vattel verbiage somehow applies retroactively"

"It is, at best, highly speculative to assert that the Framers looked to Vattel for the definition of “natural born Citizen.”"

"It seems likely that the virtually contemporaneous coloration provided by the 1790 act lends support to the view that the constitutional reference to natural-born citizens was intended to include those who acquired United States citizenship by descent, at birth abroad."

"Even if there were a holding that “all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens” were “natural born Citizen[s],” that would not exclude other situations giving rise to being a “natural born Citizen.”"

"The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.” Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an “alien” required to go through the legal process of “naturalization” to become a U.S. citizen."

"The burden should be on those challenging otherwise eligible candidates to demonstrate through clear and convincing historical evidence and legal argument why such persons should be disqualified.  That has not happened so far, and if two hundred years of scholarship is any indication, it never will happen."

"In 1904, Frederick van Dyne (1861–1915), the Assistant Solicitor of the US Department of State (1900–1907) (and subsequently a diplomat), published a textbook, Citizenship of the United States, in which he said:

There is no uniform rule of international law covering the subject of citizenship. Every nation determines for itself who shall, and who shall not, be its citizens.... By the law of the United States, citizenship depends, generally, on the place of birth; nevertheless the children of citizens, born out of the jurisdiction of the United States, are also citizens.... The Constitution of the United States, while it recognized citizenship of the United States in prescribing the qualifications of the President, Senators, and Representatives, contained no definition of citizenship until the adoption of the 14th Amendment, in 1868; nor did Congress attempt to define it until the passage of the civil rights act, in 1866.... Prior to this time the subject of citizenship by birth was generally held to be regulated by the common law, by which all persons born within the limits and allegiance of the United States were deemed natural-born citizens."

"Black's Law Disctionary (9th Edition) defines "Natural Born Citizen" as "A person born within the jurisdiction of a national government"."

"In 2000, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in one of its reports, wrote most constitutional scholars interpret the natural born citizen clause as to include citizens born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens. This same CRS report also asserts that citizens born in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are legally defined as "natural born" citizens and are, therefore, also eligible to be elected President."

(What about line of succession of Secretary of State, if Secretary of State is a citizen only by naturalization?)

*********Bottom line:  I think those who argue the NBC clause against Cruz are trying to pour water up a string, to no good or practical purpose that is empirically demonstrable.


Anyone who expects Scotus to declare a person elected by the people to have been ineligible is going to need to show such by clear argument and authority.
Set out the links in the NBC argument, and I will show which among them are specious, i.e., unclear, hence injeffective.
Some of the Founders were in the First Congress, which legislated in 1790 to define a natural born citizen.  Although that legislation was later replaced, the understanding of natura born citizen was not refuted.  That understanding did not preclude a person born outside the limits of the U.S. to be necessarily not a natural born citizen.  During the First Congress, George Washington, the Founder who was an impetus for the natural born citizen clause, was President.  Nothing suggests he disagreed with the understanding of the First Congress.  Certainly, one should look there before one were to look at Vattel.
If the 1790 statute was indicative of the interpretation by the First Congress of the natural born citizen clause, then its subsequent replacement with statutes that defined a person who would be a citizen at birth could hardly rescind such understanding.  Nor would such replacement say anything about what the Founders intended at the time the Constitution was ratified.
IAE, given modern proclivities, to be wholly educated in America and born of two American parents seems as likely to produce anti-American attitudes as favorable attitudes.  It is hardly a safeguard for loyalty to the Constitution or the American Ideal.