October 18, 2011 & November 22-30, 2011
One of my colleagues in the New Hampshire House, Harry Accornero (R-Laconia) made the mistake of posting the following rant to the "all reps" list where every member can see it and whence any member can pass it on to the whole world:
Open letter to
Members of Congress,
He posted this on Friday October 14, 2011. A few days later, as a direct result of his blunder, he became the subject of national ridicule on the liberal Huffington Post blog. And rightly so.
For starters, there is no such thing as Congress "bring[ing] a commission of treason" against the President or anyone else. The President can't be prosecuted for anything while in office, although he could be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanours". Moreover, the word "treason" has a specific legal meaning, and lax enforcement of immigration law is not treasonous.
Finally, immigration law is NOT in fact being enforced laxly, even if that enforcement is not always 100% effective. Almost 400,000 people were deported in Fiscal Year 2011 (October 2010 through September 2011.) The grand total of 396,906 is the largest number in the history of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
There are a couple of things Rep. Accornero might consider doing instead of calling for a nonexistent "commission of treason," if he actually understands the state and federal constitutions which he took an oath to defend at the beginning of his term in office. He could try introducing a resolution calling upon the Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama. This was tried in 2008 against Bush II. He could also file a petition with the new House Petitions & Redress of Grievances Committee. Of course, neither a petition or a resolution will get far unless he comes up with something which can withstand at least a little scrutiny. His current idea doesn't stand up to even the most causal scrutiny.
It turns out Accornero was at this for a while before we liberals noticed. Back on September 6, 2011, he appeared on a local conservative talk show which was streamed over the internet and attracted callers from across the country. (Even before that, he was interviewed by a "birther" web site, The Post & Email and he was mentioned in various blogs):
[November 22, 2011] America's #1 "Birther", Dr. Orly Taitz, came to Concord on Friday afternoon, November 18, 2011, to make a convoluted argument about why President Obama should be taken off the ballot. If I understand the argument, his birth certificate is fake, he is an illegal alien, he doesn't qualify as a "natural born" citizen because his father was Kenyan, he's an imposter using someone else's social security number, he doesn't really exist, and he is guilty of treason. Taitz & Co. ran into a few problems I see at lot at the House Petitions and Redress Committee, although she is much sharper than my committee's average complainant: she forgot that the rightness of her cause is not self-evident, she forgot to weave her allegations into a coherent narrative, and she forgot that repeating the same basic allegation over and over doesn't make it more true. Most of all, she forgot that documents don't necessarily always say what you want them to say. She produced some documents purporting to prove that Obama's social security number was fake. All she proved was that he may be using a social security number from a series usually— but not exclusively— reserved for applicants with a Connecticut mailing address, and there are any number of innocent explanations for this (including simple clerical error.)
Oh yeah, she made another other mistake we see a lot at the committee: she submitted written testimony which was hard to read— nay, it was illegible. It looked like it had been faxed and/or photocopied and/or scanned multiple times. Even the stuff she typed up herself on her own computer was illegible. You should always make clean copies of your documents whenever possible, people.
Rep. Accornero joined in the fun. According to various sources, including Dr. Taitz Esq. herself, he threatened the chair of the ballot law commission: Taitz reported that Accornero told Chairman Bradford E. Cook, "you are out of order; you are committing treason. You have to face the people of the state of New Hampshire, and you better not get out of the house without a mask!"
First, here is some video taken during a break in the hearing, by two different videographers named Tim: rightwinger Tim Carter and progressive Tim Chrystostom:
Accornero is only on-camera for the first part of Tim Carter's video. Carter was mostly interested in the fact that Assistant Secretary of State Karen Ladd and her lawyer (scandalously!) went off to the other side of the room by themselves for a private conversation instead of standing there being harrassed
After the hearing, Accornero went on a bit of a rant on the ballot law commission after they voted (correctly) to leave Obama on the ballot. This was a minor breach of decorum until he crossed a line and started threatening the chair of the commission. Some other legislators behaved badly too: