There is a very influential work in Russian literature by Nikolai Gogol titled (in translation) The Overcoat. The importance of this work and its effect on subsequent writers was memorialized by a famous quotation from Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’.”
In the same vein, virtually all of the present birther mythology is found in the original Berg v Obama lawsuit from 2008 and all the birther lawsuits are little more than warmed over Philip J. Berg. (Berg also believed that the US Government was responsible for blowing up the Twin Towers on 9/11.) Berg’s lawsuit in some small way legitimized the conspiracy theories in the popular mind.
Here are some of the ideas that came from Berg v. Obama in his Original Complaint:
- The threat of civil disobedience should an ineligible person become the Democratic nominee for President.
- The claim that Obama has “refused to prove” his eligibility. (Note: this is after Obama had published his birth certificate online).
- Berg had a copy of the Obama divorce papers back in August of 2008 while others claimed to have “first discovered it” later.
- Contradictory claims as to which hospital Obama was born in.
- Hospitals reported (on the Internet) as having no birthing records for Obama in Hawaii
- Obama became a Kenyan citizen upon Kenya’s independence (true).
- Barack Obama’s mother naturalized as an Indonesian citizen
- Barack Obama lost his US Citizenship when his mother naturalized. (He states that the Nationality Act of 1940 provides that a person loses their citizenship upon the naturalization of a custodial parent.) See What’s Your Evidence? for a discussion of why this is not true.)
- The Indonesian school record lists Obama as an “Indonesian citizen”.
- Obama traveled to Pakistan on an Indonesian passport. This allegation is supported only by the statement: “Investigation further showed.”
- Three forensic experts have shown the Obama birth certificate (COLB) posted on the Internet was a fake
- The COLB was altered from his sister Maya’s birth certificate.
- Obama lied on his Illinois bar application
- Obama carries multiple citizenships (Kenyan and Indonesian).
- There is a Canadian birth certificate for Obama on the Internet
Then Berg filed a motion for expedited discovery, and included the long list of demanded documents that we see over and over again. I won’t repeat these, but commend the reader to the link provided.
These were introduced in Berg’s First Amended Complaint in the case on October 6, 2008.
- Lolo Soetoro legally “acknowledged” Obama as his son and/or adopted him, thereby making Obama an Indonesian citizen. (The assertion that his mother’s marriage caused loss of citizenship was dropped).
- Barack Obama was born in Mombasa.
- Obama’s step grandmother Sarah Obama says she was present
- Obama’s half brother and half sister say he was born in Kenya
- The Kenyan birth was because the airline refused to allow the pregnant Stanley Ann to fly.
- An unidentified “research team” went to Kenya and found a birth certificate for Obama.
- Only Indonesian citizens were allowed to attend Indonesian schools (not true)
- The name Barry Soetoro.
- The Travel Ban to Pakistan, “Pakistan was so dangerous that it was on the State Department’s travel ban list for US Citizens.” (not true) [I had thought that this myth was started by Janet Folger Porter in the pages of World Net Daily, November 28, 2008, but we see that Berg had stated it a month earlier.]
- Non-Muslims were unwelcome in Pakistan in 1981 when Obama traveled there.
Later on Berg submitted the “affidavit” of the anonymous Kweli Shuhubia and the grandmother tape, introducing the idea that Obama’s birth certificate in Kenya was a government protected top secret. The taped interview between Ron McRae and Obama’s maternal grandmother (edited so as to make it say something other than what it actually said) was probably the single most important factor in convincing the birthers.
Besides some misstatements of Hawaiian vital statistics law that appeared in Keyes v Bowen, there’s not much else of consequence in this discussion beyond those Internet rumors collated by Philip J. Berg into the Berg v. Obama lawsuit. We all came out of Berg’s suit.