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At the risk of appearing sacrilegious, I here employ the phrase used by Pontius Pilate to mock Christ shortly after He had been scourged by his Roman captors. I do so not to compare the person of whom I will here speak with the Redeemer of Israel, but for the same reason Pilate employed the phrase – to mock its intended recipient. Indeed, Ken Bennett, has been anything but a “redeemer” in his accidental-but-potentially pivotal role. In fact, the far more apt comparison would be with the man who misguidedly first uttered the phrase: Pontius Pilate. Behold the man!
The comparisons are significant. Firstly, Pilate did not wish to be in the role in which he found himself. It was thrust upon him by circumstances. He was not a brave man, and he had no desire to step into the breach. Perhaps that could be said of most men, but unlike Pilate and his contemporary Sonoran Secretarial counterpart, true men throughout history have stepped forward and done what needed to be done – in spite of any initial reluctance to do so – either on their part or that of others…perhaps even all others!
As for the Answer from Arizona, having been in on the notorious email chain from its outset, I can attest firsthand that his reluctance was predictable. Some on the feed were optimistic as a result of his willingness to engage, and to take any action at all, but I had little doubt from his responses that it was pure (impure, actually) political posturing. Albeit we continued to supply him with ample documentation from the Hawaii Revised Statutes, state and federal Rules of Evidence, and a September 2000 report by the Federal Government’s own Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (entitled Birth Certificate Fraud) in support of both his right and his responsibility to require proof of eligibility from the State of Hawaii for its obviously-favorite son.
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Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey has famously noted that “There are no great men. Just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.” He might also have noted that those who fail to do so might indeed be considered “ordinary”, but can in no way be considered “great”…or be considered men at all, for that matter.
James Allen, in his classic monograph, As A Man Thinketh, correctly observed that “Circumstances do not make the man. They reveal him to himself.” (He had apparently read the Greek philosopher Epictetus who had observed the same thing some eighteen centuries before.) So neither Pilate the Prefect, nor Bennett the Secretary (somewhat befittingly) can place the blame for their classic failures elsewhere.
Secondly, both Pilate and Bennett sought to wash their hands of their responsibility in their pivotal roles, or at the very least to minimize the significance of their betrayals. Pilate, of course, did so literally, becoming the classic example of any such futile attempt at self-acquittal. In the case of the man who would be Arizona’s next governor, however, it didn’t stop there. The State of Arizona’s CAA (Chief Administrative Assistant) apologized that he’d even had to be involved, or been responsible, for his state’s involvement!
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Let’s see if we can sort this out. The “secretary” does what he feels compelled to do because enough of his “constituents” (defined as such only by his overly inflated political ambitions) urge him to do something far more substantive than he would ever dream of doing on his own (actually require tangible proof of candidate Obama’s eligibility). But then, while saying “I did all that I could do, legally!” he goes on to apologize to the rest of his “constituents” (other prospective voters) if he has “in any way embarrassed the state” by his actions.
So, unlike his 33 AD Roman counterpart, our contemporary prefect, alleging an inability to do anything to stop the obvious injustice, only regrets that he may have “embarrassed the state” by even pretending to be concerned over the matter! Translation: unlike Pontius Pilate, Ken Bennett’s ultimate concern hasn’t so much been with feigning that he did all that he could, but rather, with letting “reasonable (read uniformed) folks” know that he never seriously intended to do the right thing in the first place!
The irony, of course, is that Pilate knew that he had condemned an innocent Man, while Bennett was and is fully aware that he has allowed an obvious fraud (and, therefore, felon) to walk free. Make that to be placed on his state’s sacred ballot to once more seek to attain and occupy the most powerful position on Earth, where he can continue to dismantle both the country and the Constitution which Mr. Bennett has sworn to support and defend! As with Prefect Pilate, Bennett’s hands were never so unclean….
Against this backdrop, the secretary recently addressed Republican Legislative District 12 at their June 14th meeting. One can view a YouTube video of the meeting at the Western Center for Journalism, in which the Secretary remarkably begins with: “I think this is very important what happens in this country over the next few months…. As I think of where this country is headed, it scares me to death – what my children and grandchildren; I have two grandsons…and what’s happening is just very very scary.”
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He then even more absurdly goes on to quote Barack Obama, as he references the sign on former President Harry Truman’s desk that read “The buck stops here!” He finishes quoting the man he could have legally kept from occupying the AZ ballot – and ultimately the Oval Office – with: “America has…a failure of leadership! Americans deserve better!” And then adds “Yes we do!” I, of course, couldn’t have agreed more, so I immediately fired off the following email to Mr. Bennett:
My next writing about this will be available on-line, but [I] wanted to give you a heads up. The preposterous suggestion that some of us were asking you to “demand that the State of Hawaii deliver Mr. Obama’s original birth certificate to your office” is a complete fabrication. As the person who spearheaded that whole chain of emails, Ken, and the one who did provide chapter and verse of the Rules of Evidence, which clearly indicate that when there is “probable cause” to suspect that copies of documents are fraudulent, examination of the original is the (obvious) legal recourse [I can easily document what we (and I) specifically requested].
So, unless you are simply of less-than-average intelligence, Ken, you clearly misrepresented the facts, in order to make it appear that you had done all that you could legally do…while “fearing for the future of our nation,” and bemoaning the “failure of leadership” on the part of Mr. Obama himself. With “respect,” as you put it, Ken, your own “failure to launch” has been on a scale which I have not seen rivaled in my own “brief” lifetime. I will agree with you, however, that your grandchildren have much to fear…but perhaps for reasons other than those you suggested.
In your defense, Ken, as you are obviously far more Republican than Constitutionalist, your complete lack of grasp of this entire matter is not entirely surprising. Meanwhile, for the record, the clear reason why Sheriff Joe and Mike Zullo used the carefully selected terms “probable cause to suspect forgery” is that this isn’t there (sic) first rodeo, and they know better than to supply evidence of “prejudging” the investigation before its conclusion; not that there was ever any doubt as to the “authenticity” of the forgery…but I digress.
Tom Ballantyne – Informed Citizen (with Excellent Recall….)
Finally, the illustrious AAS (Administrative Assistant of State) has in recent days bemoaned the denial of the Supreme Court of “Arizona’s request for a stay from the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling that federal voter-registration law supersedes Arizona’s voter registration requirements.” The irony here is staggering. The press release from the Secretary himself continues:
Arizona filed the request in advance of the forthcoming appeal to the ruling in which the 9th Circuit struck down Arizona’s requirement that residents provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote on the federal form. (Emphasis added.)
Mr. Bennett concludes with this gem:
There isn’t a corner of this state where people are not concerned with voter fraud [How about identity fraud, Ken, in order to appear on the state’s ballot in the first place?] and opposition to the simple act of providing proof that you are legally eligible to participate in our elections is hard to fathom. [Indeed it is, Ken; indeed it is!] (Emphasis added.)
What’s hard to fathom, Ken, is that you would simply take the word of the State of Hawaii when it clearly refused to answer your request (although I don’t recall ever actually seeing it published to date) that it “verify” that the document at WhiteHouse.gov is the same as the one in their archives, stating only that “the information…matches the original record in our file.” (Astonishingly, the “verification” from Alvin Onaka, Hawaii’s State Registrar, does not even include baby Obama’s date of birth!)
Without going into it in great detail here, here is the preface to Article IX, Rule 901 of the Federal Rules of Evidence: “(a) In General. To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.”
In the “Notes” included with the rule itself we read: “Wigmore describes the need for authentication as ‘an inherent logical necessity.’ ” [John Henry Wigmore (1863-1943) was the author of Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law.] (Emphasis added.)
Continuing with Rule 901 we read (for those who require further “evidence”!):
(b) Examples. The following are examples only — not a complete list — of evidence that satisfies the requirement:
(7) Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that:
(A) a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or
(B) a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept.
(8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:
(A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity;
(B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be;
I will begin to wrap this up by stating that it is obvious to all (and an “inherent logical necessity,” according to the country’s foremost expert on trial evidence in its history) that the need for authentication of evidence – and in this case evidence in the form of a document – is itself self-evident. I will also note that anyone who could authenticate the veracity of key evidence in support of a claim would hasten to do just that, thereby removing all doubt as to its authenticity.
Least I forget, however, our friend Mr. Bennett added one further absurdity to his apparently gleeful and immediate acceptance of the “verification” that he received from the Hawaii Department of Health when addressing the local Republican District meeting a few weeks back. He noted, while assuring all present in Breitbart-like fashion that he was “not a birther,” and that he “believe[d] that he [the alleged president] was born in Hawaii.” [Like every other in-the-tank Republican – John McCain, Jeff Flake, et al. – the good secretary gives no legal or even reasoned basis for this fully-undocumented assertion in the face of overwhelming (and fully-documented) evidence to the contrary. He just “believes it” or accepts it – purely on faith, apparently!]
He went on to state with both (zealous?) prescience and the kind of legal acumen that one would hope to find in the man who, on behalf of the citizens of Arizona as well as those of the nation, was seeking to establish legal verification of the eligibility of the man seeking the highest office in the known world, that he “actually believe[d] he [Mr. Obama] was fibbing [!] when he said he was born in Kenya, when he was trying to get into college, and doing things like writing a book, and on, and on, and on…so if there was weird stuff going on, I actually think it was back in his college days because I think he has spent one and a half, or two million dollars, through attorneys, to have all of the college records, and all of that stuff sealed. So if you’re spending money to seal something, that’s probably where the hanky panky was going on. If you’re sending your attorneys out to Hawaii to get a copy of the certificate and posting it on your website, perhaps…or I actually think he was born in Hawaii.” [How utterly brilliant!]
So, the president, his handlers, and his surrogates can sleep well, knowing that at least in the case of the hapless Arizona Secretary of State, their ploy of spending several thousand dollars of taxpayer money to fly their attorney to Hawaii to pick up a document that can be both copied and mailed for $10 worked to convince this Einstein that the document she (Attorney Judith Corley) “physically” picked up and brought back with her had to be real-all of the proof to the contrary, produced by the Cold Case Posse within mere blocks from his office, notwithstanding!
And for the record, Ken, the millions of dollars spent on attorneys were for covering up not just his college records, as you so cleverly suggest, but for covering up virtually his entire past. And that included in large measure keeping any hard-copy certified birth certificate, with a raised seal, from ever seeing the light of day. (And one Savannah Guthrie of NBC handling a hard copy of something, in a room full of his supporters, er, “reporters,” proves little…notwithstanding her nifty promotion a few days ago.)
Ken Bennett is not alone, however. He is the very picture of today’s Republican Official. He is virtually indistinguishable from John McCain, Jon Kyl, Jeff Flake, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, even Jan Brewer…and I could go on naming names indefinitely – all Republicans and all apparently afraid of their own shadows. Interestingly (and sadly), this even includes such AZ candidates as Wil Cardon, Matt Salmon, and Kirk Adams, all Republicans running as Washington “outsiders” while caving on this issue!
Until the once “Grand” but definitely “Old” Party gets the memo that the most powerful constituency in its ranks, the Tea Party, is no longer willing to compromise on either the Constitution or the Rule of Law, the GOP will continue its inexorable slide into oblivion. And we, the true mainstream of America, will not be a part of it much longer (because we don’t have much longer!)
Mitt Romney will clearly be better than his opponent, if elected, but if he feels the continuing need of virtually all party loyalists to appease the enemies of all that we hold dear, he may be the last Republican to get that chance! Meanwhile, Mr. Bennett needn’t waste either his time or his money entertaining any aspirations of being Arizona’s next governor. What he has become of late is the poster-boy for the Peter Principle…and I’m afraid there’s nowhere else for him to hide!
Meanwhile, I’m still awaiting your response to my latest email, Ken. As offered on many occasions previously, a number of us would still be happy to sit down and discuss this with you face to face….
Tom Ballantyne is the author of three previous books: The Secret of Life Series, Uncommon Sense…Apparently!, and the just-released, recently-updated Oh Really, O’Reilly!
Oh Really, O’Reilly! “The Spin Starts Here…Apparently!” is available in full, or in Part I of II, and Part II of II at Tom’s website:
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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