It's the same thing
Re: Pat Miketinac's Nov. 30 letter:
At the time of the country's founding, African slaves were not citizens, but slaveholding states were allowed to count three-fifths of the slave population for purposes of Congressional representation.
Under Article 1, section2, paragraph 3 of the US Constitution, "...Indians not taxed" were specifically excluded from being counted for representation purposes.
In the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which Miketinac cites, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that persons of African ancestry could not be citizens of the United States.
In Elk vs Wilkins, (1884) the Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes were "... alien nations, distinct political communities ..." so that an American Indian, although born in American territory, was not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. so was not a citizen at birth under the 14th Amendment.
The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution erased the Dredd Scott ruling. The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act made Elk vs Wilkins obsolete.
In Happersett vs Minor, (1874) the court ruled that women were citizens. The case is significant because it said that there were two types of citizens. "... These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners." Natives are the same thing as natural born citizens per Minor.
In the Minor case, the court did not rule whether the children of noncitizens born in the U.S. became citizens at birth. Minor's parents were citizens so the court didn't have to deal with the issue.
In the 1898 case U.S. vs Wong Kim Ark, the court was asked to rule as to whether Wong, a person born in the United States to parents who were Chinese nationals, was a citizen at birth. The court ruled that, under the 14th Amendment, he was.
It's interesting that, in Minor, the court cited English common law for guidance as to how the Founders considered citizenship. Under common law, a child of aliens born in British territory was a "natural born British subject."
To sum up: As the law now stands, anyone born in the U.S. and subject to its jurisdiction is a citizen at birth per the 14th Amendment. "Citizen at birth," "native" and "natural born citizen" all mean the same thing.
Let Christians keep Christ in Christmas
I am an atheist. Haven't always been that. Have been a lifelong Christian, even leader in several congregations, but that's a story for a different day.
"Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays?" "Christmas Tree" or "Holiday Tree?" "Season's Greetings?"
C'mon, folks! Christmas is a season of celebration around the birth of the one Christians believe was a divine being who gave a message of hope to those who had none.
Hardly anyone really believes Jesus, assuming he was a real person, was actually born on Dec. 25, especially since that's on a calendar that didn't even exist back then. It was set on that date because the pagans of the time had a midwinter celebration to lighten up the northern European gloom, and it was easier to get them to change something they already had than to some other date, probably in the spring or early summer, that had no special significance.
But what does it matter? It's a Christian celebration, so what's the big deal about denying it? The big issues are whether the religious stuff slops over into our government, and how much we have allowed our merchant mentality to take over and make it into a money machine.
If the Christians want to say "Merry Christmas" and light up a Christmas tree, great! Every religion in this country is free to have their own celebrations, and even we atheists can participate or not as we see fit.
Have a great holiday!
Gail B. Leatherwood
A short time ago in a letter to the editor, a gentleman stated he was a 30-year retired veteran as well as totally retired after 12 years of civilian work. The information on him said that he was a professor at a military war college.
With such a background one would assume that he had at least read the Constitution of this country. He claimed that presidents make out a budget and the House takes it up and approves it, then the Senate and then back to the president for his signature. One wonders where he finds that power in the Constitution. I've looked and I can't find it.
The president can make out a budget or not. This does not matter to anyone. Article 1, Section 7 of said Constitution reads: "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills."
Pretty much says it all as far as who makes up the budget of this United States. He can veto the bill if it passes the House and Senate after debate on any difference provided in amendments and passage again through both Houses. Bill Clinton did this and shut down the Government after the Congress was taken over by the Republicans in the elections of 1994. The reason was they, the Congress, did not provide all the money he thought he should have and they tacked on a balanced budget amendment to their bill pertaining to his administration.
By the way, he also immediately went on the air and blamed the Congress for shutting down the government even though it was his fault. He did, however, see the light and started to work with the Republicans and became the only president in the last 50-plus years to have years of balanced budgets during his watch. He didn't provide them. He merely signed the Congressionally Balanced Budgets into law.
The gentleman above also stated that the Bush administration brought the national debt to $7 trillion in 2007-08 years. I'm sorry but he is wrong again. The debt was $8.5 trillion at the end of 2006. During President Bush's time in office, the five years of budgets under his watch and with the Republicans in control of Congress the debt rose about $1.5 trillion and we were fighting two wars after Sept. 11, 2001.
Since the takeover of Congress in 2006 by the Democrats, we now have a debt of $15 trillion. That is $6.5 trillion more debt in the last five years of Democratic control of Congress, and Mr. Obama was a senator who voted for that debt from the start of 2007 until elected to the presidency.
The total debt incurred by all Congresses from the inception of this country, under all the different presidents, only totaled $8.5 trillion at the point the Democrats took over control in 2006. The Democrats have added more than $6.5 trillion to the debt since then.
Think about that when this president gets up and reads the famous words from his teleprompter. Not "my fault;" the Republicans are blocking "my fixes" to the economy, etc. In the five years since November 2006 to today, the Republicans have had control of the House for only 10 months.
Please Mr. President, resign; you are making a fool of yourself.