Crackpot image analysis seem to be a recurring theme in the Obama Conspiracy Theories world, and the Post & Email blog touts another one in its article: Original Certificate of Live Birth from Hawaii is different from Obama’s COLB by Sharon Rondeau.
Since the basic premise, that Obama’s COLB is a fake, is false the analysis cannot be true, and if not true flawed, and if flawed likely to be hard for a logical person to follow. Let us, nevertheless, take a stab at it.
The Post & Email claims to have an authentic Hawaiian birth certificate for someone born in 1981. That’s not an implausible claim. However, they use some slight of hand to try to make something appear odd. First the certificate they show appears to have features of the 2010 revision which is known to be different from what was issued in 2007 when the President’s was printed.
The P&E says the President’s certificate says “Certification of Live Birth” and their says “Certificate of Live Birth.” That’s exactly what one would expect to see since Hawaii changed the wording between 2007 and 2010, as proven by numerous examples of “Certifications” and press accounts. Their other differences are:
- More information about parents. Since this second certificate is from a different form revision, and multiple examples of certificates just like Obama’s exist, the difference (assuming the P&E certificate is true) means nothing. However, we have an example of a hot-off-the press Hawaiian COLB that does not have the extra fields the P&E shows on their example. This at least calls into question the authenticity of the P&E version, although there are scenarios where it might be true.
- Visible certificate number. This is totally silly. Obama’s certificate as shown by FactCheck.org has a certificate number too.
- Onaka’s stamp: Same as on Obama’s.
- Raised seal visible from both sides. Same as Obama’s although his is fainter.
- No bleed through. Must have less ink.
They cite Hawaiian law about late certificates, but fail to mention the other provision in the law that requires such certificated to be marked as such:
§338-16 Procedure concerning late and altered birth certificates. (a) Birth certificates registered one year or more after the date of birth, and certificates which have been altered after being filed with the department of health, shall contain the date of the late filing and the date of the alteration and be marked distinctly “late” or “altered”.
Then the conspiracy theory kicks in, what they call “Passportgate” but that’s another story for another time.
The Post & Email introduces us to another “photographic expert,” John F. Sweeney. One immediately asks, “who the hell is John F. Sweeney and what makes him an expert?” The Post & Email give no hint about either of those pertinent questions.
Sweeney’s analysis consists more of looking at scanning and photographic flaws than image analysis:
- The smudge on the scanner plate, visible in all of the scanned copies of the Obama COLB
- Imperfections (tiny dots) on the digital camera photos from FactCheck.org don’t appear on the scans. (If you’ve ever scanned photos you’ve seen stuff like this many times.)
- The one really blurry photo from FactCheck.org doesn’t show the raised seal, which Sweeny admits was a hand-held photo taken at 1/60 sec without flash.
Sweeney throws out such lies as “it is well-documented that [Daily KOS certificate] image is almost certainly a fake.”
Note: At least for me, clicking on some of the images on the P&E pages didn’t work. What I had to do in FireFox was to right-click on the image and select “Copy Link Location,” paste that into the browser address bar and go to that page, where there was an image I could click on to view the larger version.