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Birther math (part 7) the final chapter

Here we end the analysis of a A Catalog of Evidence – Concerned Americans Have Good Reason to Doubt that Putative President Obama Was Born in Hawaii by attorney Mario Apuzzo. We’re adding up the value of the items in his catalog picking up from Birther math Part 6. Click HERE to start at the beginning.

I’m surely glad to have reached the end of this trek. Final thoughts will appear at the end. So far we’ve not encountered anything to make a reasonable person doubt President Obama’s eligibility to be president. It’s been a rehash of the Kerchner v Obama lawsuit (on appeal after being dismissed) with a touch of Berg v Obama and an unhealthy dose of Internet tabloid WorldNetDaily.

So with our second wind, I attack item 31.

(31) In his book, “Dreams From My Father, ” at page 126, Obama, in referring to himself and his mother and father, quotes his mother as saying: “Then you were born, and we agreed that the three of us would return to Kenya after he finished his studies.”…

In normal conversation where a family is going to the homeland of one member, this language would be used. Apuzzo’s objection is nothing more than ignorant literalism.

Score: 0.

(32) Did Obama Attend Columbia University As He Claims He Did? Something which goes to Obama’s credibility regarding his claim that he was born in Hawaii is his representation that he attended and graduated from Columbia University in 1983. But was he really there?… No one at Columbia remembers Obama at Columbia.

Some folks remembered him. His room mate remembers him (duh)! His other room mate remembers him.    One of his teachers remembers him. He published an article in a scho0l publication. And finally, how did Obama get into Harvard without an undergraduate degree? Apuzzo goes on (and I can hardly believe this) to cite the Pastor Manning “Blood of Jesus v Obama” trial in Harlem. A number of snide remarks come to mind, but will remain unspoken.

Score: 0.

(33) A college instructor who worked as a Senior Elections Clerk for the City and County of Honolulu in 2008 has stated in May 2010 that Obama was not born in Hawaii, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate does not exist in that State. Tim Adams now teaches English at Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, Ky. “There is no birth certificate,” said Tim Adams. “It’s like an open secret. There isn’t one. Everyone in the government there knows this.”

I contacted the City Clerk’s office  (the one that oversees the Elections Division) personally and they confirmed that their office has no access to birth records. Whatever Tim Adams heard (and he is very vague on the specifics) he didn’t get from where he worked. More likely he read it the same place Apuzzo gets his stuff: WorldNetTaily. Here is more discussion of  Tim Adams at Obama Conspiracy Theories. While Adams says he is not a racist, even though he attended a racist convention and appeared on a white supremacist radio program, remarks he has posted on the Internet in the past bring that in to question (well actually they show that he’s a racist), not that racists cannot tell the truth. It’s just that Adams has been caught in a web of lies. I suggest Apuzzo delete this one from his catalog. Adams is poison.

Score: 0.

(34) That the question of whether Obama was born in Hawaii is a legitimate question is evidenced by the fact that there are national and state political leaders who are now asking questions which show that Obama has not yet provided sufficient and credible evidence conclusively proving that he was born there.

Is this the “bandwagon” fallacy that I learned about in High School? (Perhaps Apuzzo would recognize argumentum ad numerum). Obama has provided evidence in the form of a birth certificate, and the State of Hawaii has verified, that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. If some loonies think they can pander to extreme right-wing conservatives, it’s evidence of nothing but their own error.

Score: 0.

(35) …Apart from the question of whether either or both alleged computer image of an alleged paper document are authentic, there are many problems with simply relying on a birth certificate as conclusive evidence of the place and date of birth….

Our system of determining presidential eligibility has served us well for over 200 years.  I don’t think it’s broken. No one was asking about birth certificates until Barack Obama came along and that only because someone made an edited and misrepresented recording of his step grandmother and pushed it viral on the Internet. WorldNetDaily boosted its reach by fanning the controversy by hawking every crank claim that came along. It may be that critical thinking is broken, at least in the case of Mario Apuzzo (if he actually believes any of this) and the birther movement, but this is a problem with public education, not the screening of presidential candidates.

It might be tempting to say that we should have a more rigorous process for vetting presidential candidates, given all the electrons wasted by the birthers and their debunkers.  I do not oppose stronger vetting of candidates, but I have no illusions that it would make the smears against Barack Obama go away.

Score: 0.

That’s the end–nothing there that hasn’t been discussed in far more detail on the Obama Conspiracy Theories blog, some in articles over a year old. All in all the Catalog proved disappointing in  that there was nothing novel or even challenging. Same old same old.

When a defense attorney tries to get his guilty client off, he creates another theory of the case and tries to make it sound plausible. He tries to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case. It’s what they do; it’s what they take pride in. Apuzzo pulls out his rhetorical tricks, his spinning of tales, his casting of doubts to try to get the guilty birther mythology acquitted. If the jury had my high school English teacher, Mrs. Hurst, Apuzzo wouldn’t stand a chance.

Snowball's chance in hell

Thanks  to Mario Apuzzo for the image of Archimedes that appears at the head of each article.

Thanks for T.S. Elliot for an apt closing quotation in elegy for the birthers:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Articles for further reading:

8 Responses to Birther math (part 7) the final chapter

  1. avatar
    Expelliarmus June 27, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    Factual correction to #32

    He published a poem in a scho0l publication.

    Two poems written by Obama were published in an Occidental College literary journal — see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/us/politics/18poems.html — no poems that I know of at Columbia.

    At Columbia, Obama wrote an article on a political theme in a Columbia University news magazine called Sundial. See http://www.politico.com/static/PPM116_obamaessay.html
    Obama’s article was entitled “Breaking the War Mentality” and profiled the activities of two anti-war student groups, “Arms Race Alternatives” and “Students Against Militarism”.

  2. avatar
    SluggoJD June 27, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Dr. C, you deserve a break after that outstanding analysis of…nothing.

    Well done.

  3. avatar
    Lupin June 27, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    Thia is indeed an impressive catalog of lies, half-truths, and distortions. Bravo for the exhaustive commentary.

  4. avatar
    Reality Check June 27, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    I see Mario has added point 36 that is just a regurgitation of Bill Keller’s stupid $10,000 long form challenge to Rachael Maddow. I am sure Keller (and Apuzzo) are very aware that Hawaii has said repeatedly that the long form is not available to anyone including the President himself.

    (36) Bill Keller, leader of LivePrayer.com, an internet ministry that has over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide and who is seen daily on Comcast’s MyTV8, has issued a $10,000 reward to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to produce Obama’s Hawaiian long-form birth certificate. Late last year, Keller was hired to produce and host an infomercial that was seen in markets around the country. He asked the simple question, where was Obama really born? Maddow used her MSNBC program to mock and demean Keller and others who simply request that Obama produce his long-form birth certificate. Keller contacted Maddow’s producers and offered to appear with her on her program, but she declined his offer. As a result, Keller has made his $10,000 offer to Maddow to produce Obama’s Hawaiian long-form birth certificate. One would think that if Obama has released his birth certificate like his enablers tell the world, the $10,000.00 should be easy money for Maddow to earn. But let us see if she is able to produce the birth certificate and take her cash.

  5. avatar
    Kevin Bellas June 27, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Doc,

    I think you missed a big point on (32). Mario was stating that Manning attended Columbia with President Obama from 81- 83. From some reason, Manning at the age of 41 was in the Columbia Black Student Union, but if Manning was at attending Union Theological Seminary he couldnt have been in Columbia BSU. Columbia and Union Theological have a affiliation relationship on certain degrees and so it is very unlikely that Manning could have join the Columbia BSU.

    So it’s another one those “where did this come from?” moments.

  6. avatar
    Kevin Bellas June 27, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    Oops my mistake Manning would have been 34 in 1981.

  7. avatar
    Epectitus June 27, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    I am yet again personally humiliated that so many Birthers are my fellow Italians. Between Donofrio, Apuzzo, Meroni and Liberi… I am considering removing the terminal vowel from my surname. It is my hope (jus sanguinis) that the latter two gained the names only in marriage.

  8. avatar
    misha June 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Epectitus: I am yet again personally humiliated that so many Birthers are my fellow Italians. Between Donofrio, Apuzzo, Meroni and Liberi… I am considering removing the terminal vowel from my surname.

    How do you think I feel about Taitz and Berg? The settlers and their fascist politicians are giving the rest of us a black eye.

    My maternal uncle discovered and named an element, a great uncle was a concertmaster, another great uncle was a commercial artist. My grandfather was a Talmudic scholar and rabbi, who gave it up to bootleg. My step-father was a physicist with 10 patents. My mother went to college on a full scholarship. I have two degrees, and made a career as a licensed optician. I put my wife through college.

    And along comes those two nogoodniks. The only consolation I have is that Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote.