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Layers, and layers and layers, oh my!

The PDF provided by the White House is not a simple image, but is comprised of multiple layers. The the background appears in one layer (plus some of the handwriting), Dr. Onaka’s stamp is another layer, and most of the text of the form and the balance of the handwriting is in a third layer. Others have reported more layers, and the layers I exported don’t cover all the information on the form — so there must be other layers that don’t export using the following procedure. What I did was simply open the PDF from the White House in Adobe Acrobat Standard 9.0 and export the images. I got these three images:

Layer 1 (click to enlarge)
Layer 2
Layer 3

Does this mean that the image was faked? No!

I took a document (actually a printed copy of the long form) and used Adobe Acrobat Standard 9.0 to scan it into a new PDF document. Then I used the “Optimize Scanned PDF” feature. The result was layers a lot like what we see in the Obama long form.

The Obama long form was made with “Max OS X 10.6.7 Quartz PDFContext.”

Birthers have said things about “left on the clipboard” and identified specific areas they claim were altered. I don’t have the background to comment on those claims, and I don’t have a copy of Adobe Illustrator ($579 on Amazon.com) to try to replicate their steps. In any case, the layers we see appear to be standard PDF artifacts and not proof that the document has been tampered with at all.

Huge thanks to commenter James Moorer and others for the tips that helped me get the facts on this story.

See also debunking at the National Review. Even WorldNetDaily has rejected the altered layers theory!

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139 Responses to Layers, and layers and layers, oh my!

  1. avatar
    Dr. Ron Polland April 28, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Spin this, fat boy.

    Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.

    Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.

    This is what you get:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

  2. avatar
    Dr. Ron Polland April 28, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    make that,”right-click->PASTE”

  3. avatar
    Sean April 28, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland:
    Spin this, fat boy.

    Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.

    Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.

    This is what you get:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

    Oh, Mister expert. We already exposed your BS last time you roach.

  4. avatar
    JoZeppy April 28, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland: Spin this, fat boy.Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.This is what you get:http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

    and why is any of this significant? for the love of God, they held up the document in the press briefing. If they did in fact make the document, don’t you think they would have just scanned the document they held up? And yes…everyone in Hawaii, including the Republicans that campaigned for McCain are in on the conspiracy, and have been since the get go.

    Give it up. You have been totally discredited more than once, as well as your “analysis.” Your 15 minutes are up. You’re a hack, and your “theories” and “analysis” have found their rightful place in the dust bin. Go find a birther site where people will accept your garbage without critical thought.

  5. avatar
    Sef April 28, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland:
    Spin this, fat boy.

    Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.

    Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.

    This is what you get:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

    I have a little job for you, O Great Document Expert. Compare the typing on Obama’s certificate and the Nordyke twins’ and see if they were typed on the same typewriter.

  6. avatar
    The Magic M April 28, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    > This is what you get:

    So? It still reads “Barack Hussein Obama II” and all the other stuff. Where are your layers showing “tampering”?

  7. avatar
    Greg April 28, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland:
    make that,”right-click->PASTE”

    When do YOU think the forgery occurred?

    To review. The Director WATCHED as the copies were made, attested the copies were accurate and handed them to Obama’s lawyer.

    Did she not notice that the BC released yesterday was missing something important and wasn’t the thing she had handed to Obama’s lawyer?

    Or did she watch someone copy a forgery?

    You have to believe the former, right? Since no “layers” would be an issue if they simply copied a forgery. So, you have to believe the State of Hawaii is in on it.

    So, why’d they go to the trouble of forging it AFTER she saw them copy the other one?

  8. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    The reason it’s significant is that it now allows the birthers to make a VERY CONVINCING ARGUMENT to the average person that the document was faked.

    For the love of fuckin’ Mike.

    They couldn’t just take the thing to their local FedEx Office and have the kid there do a straight scan to PDF. Oh no. Instead they had to let some flunkie White House intern dink with it trying to enhance the text and then leave the enhanced text on separate layers.

    Even with the original Certification, they did a really crappy scan and then applied a shitload of JPEG compression which got the whole “It’s a fake!” thing going.

    What’s wrong with these people?

    This idiotic meddling with the scan will only serve to bolster the birther arguments and sadly convince a lot of regular folks that something’s to those arguments.

    Idiots.

    se

  9. avatar
    Suranis April 28, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland:
    Spin this, fat boy.

    Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.

    Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.

    This is what you get:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

    The hilarious thing is that Polarfake here is trying to suggest that the background was put there first and then the letters were pasted in layers ontop of it. Not only is this a ridiculously cumbersome way to go about things, but its actually dis-proven by his little experiment.

    You see, Ron (mind if I call you Ron?), if they were photoshop layers, they would not directly effect the background image. You could move them around, whatever. They would not have cut white spaces out of the background in the shape of the letters. If there was photoshoping involved, you would have been far more likely to get a whole background image rather than one with holes in it.

    As to why the spaces are there, I haven’t the foggiest Idea. Like ron I am no expert in how adobe acrobat interprets text images or how photoshop would scramble them if you opened a pdf with it. But the information on the Image is verified by the COLB and by multiple independent sources, so its kosher, fake photoshop experts or not.

  10. avatar
    Daniel April 28, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland:
    Spin this, fat boy.

    Open the PDF and highlight the image of the form. Right-click->COPY or press Control-C.

    Open up a blank Word documents, or any image editor, and right-click->COPY or press Control-V.

    This is what you get:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Em1kGv6EedQ/TblsR5xOhHI/AAAAAAAAABY/uDdj-pDq0Iw/s1600/longform.jpg

    Congratulations.

    You’ve figured out what the “recognize text” function in acrobat does to a pdf.

    How did you manage to get your Doctorate again?

  11. avatar
    Reality Check April 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    I found this comment just now at The Smoking Gun:

    To those claiming that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery because opening the PDF in Illustrator shows that it has “layers” (it actually has only one layer containing multiple items): So? Try scanning a document… any document, such as a letter printed on letterhead, saving it as a PDF, and opening it in Illustrator. Guess what… same thing! That’s just how Acrobat parses the various parts of the scanned image and saves them. Click somewhere on the document, right-click, and choose “Release clipping mask.” Guess what… You can move parts of the scanned document around! Again, that’s just how Acrobat works. There’s (probably) no “rookie forger” at work here, so relax. I’m not even an Obama supporter or Democrat, but to see this layers business proclaimed as “evidence” of forgery just rubbed me the wrong way. Moving on..

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/barack-obama/birth-obama-certer-movement-098513?page=1

  12. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Reality Check:
    I found this comment just now at The Smoking Gun:

    And he’s wrong.

    Just doing a simple scan to PDF won’t produce what’s in this PDF. The person who replied to his post is correct. A simple scan to PDF just creates a flat PDF that’s nothing more than the scanned image with no alterations to that image.

    Like I said, it’s been boogered with. Not in any nefarious way, but in a way that allows the nefarious to make a convincing argument to more “normal people” that it’s a fake.

    I bet that before the day’s out, Trump will be out there pronouncing it a fake precisely because of this.

    se

  13. avatar
    JoZeppy April 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Steve Eddy: And he’s wrong.Just doing a simple scan to PDF won’t produce what’s in this PDF. The person who replied to his post is correct. A simple scan to PDF just creates a flat PDF that’s nothing more than the scanned image with no alterations to that image.Like I said, it’s been boogered with. Not in any nefarious way, but in a way that allows the nefarious to make a convincing argument to more “normal people” that it’s a fake.I bet that before the day’s out, Trump will be out there pronouncing it a fake precisely because of this.se

    Granted, I am no expert in the field of electronic images (someone feel free to contract Dr. Kraewitz), but let’s consider the process that this image went through to come to be. The original document was typed, and from the looks of it, on a manual typerwriter, subject to differing pressure on the keys having a direct impact on the clarity of the typed letter. The document then was either scanned or photocopied on security paper. Security paper is designed to interfer with the process of photocopying/scanning/printing. This document was then scanned. There is a multitude of options and software one can select when scanning document. Now until an actual expert comes forward (and not a self proclaimed anonomous expert) to say exactly why the images behave the way they do, I have to accept the fact that the document completely agrees with the official birth narative, has been vouched for by the State of Hawaii, as had the COLB, and not a single person has come forward with any evidence to counter. Just as the real document would have the presumption of authenticity in a court of law, any honest person should treat the scan as authentic until somone can come forward with real evidence countering it.

  14. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Steve Eddy: And I hope I’m wrong, but I really think this has only made things worse.

    It just poured gasoline on the fire.

  15. avatar
    Suranis April 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Steve argues a good case. I had a look myself, and if there was any touching up done it would have followed what was on the paper already. There’s no sign of anything being erased and there is a lot of non altered letters around that fit perfectly with the rest of it.

    Personally i would have gone with the faded letters on the record, readable or not, or released both non touched up and touched up for comparison.

  16. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Suranis:
    There’s no sign of anything being erased and there is a lot of non altered letters around that fit perfectly with the rest of it.

    Yeah, for me all the “crumbs” that were left behind are the most compelling reason to believe there was nothing nefarious going on here.

    I mean really, they just happened to find a “legitimate” document that had “(Stanley) Ann D” on it so that they could use that to add “unham Obama” to make it look like it was Obama’s certificate?

    That’s basically what you’d have to argue if you’re going to make out the “enhanced” graphics on the other layers to be proof it’s a fake.

    Personally i would have gone with the faded letters on the record, readable or not, or released both non touched up and touched up for comparison.

    Well, some people just can’t leave well enough alone.

    se

  17. avatar
    Suranis April 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Yeah, for me all the “crumbs” that were left behind are the most compelling reason to believe there was nothing nefarious going on here.

    I mean really, they just happened to find a “legitimate” document that had “(Stanley) Ann D” on it so that they could use that to add “unham Obama” to make it look like it was Obama’s certificate?

    That’s basically what you’d have to argue if you’re going to make out the “enhanced” graphics on the other layers to be proof it’s a fake.

    Well, some people just can’t leave well enough alone.

    se

    Not to mention accepted on the 8th of august in the 1960s

  18. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Yes, I know.

    But it WASN’T a straight scan to PDF. If it was, then ALL of the text and graphic elements would look like the “R” in the first instance of “BARACK.”

    The scanned image was boogered with BEFORE the final PDF was saved out. And in the process of that boogering, the enhanced text was cut out of the original scanned image. That’s why the various bits of text are solid colors (mostly black, but others are a shade of gray) and on multiple layers.

    In other words, you’ve got your bottom layer which is the original scan with the enhanced text cut out of it (leaving behind the white “holes” where the original text was). And on top of that, you’ve got multiple layers comprised of the 1 bit “enhanced text” bitmaps.

    A straight scan to PDF wouldn’t have all of that. So as I’ve said, they’ve given the birthers a “smoking gun” with which to “prove” that it’s a fake.

    se

    No matter what the process used to produce it, the physical copy was certified by the Hawai’i DoH, you racist moron.

  19. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Slartibartfast: No matter what the process used to produce it, the physical copy was certified by the Hawai’i DoH, you racist moron.

    Racist moron? What the hell are you yammering about? I’m not a birther you idiot.

    Go design some fjords or something.

    se

  20. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Racist moron? What the hell are you yammering about? I’m not a birther you idiot.

    Go design some fjords or something.

    se

    You evidently didn’t see my apology – again, I’m sorry – I thought you were a birther (and I’ve got a low tolerance for them right now). My bad.

  21. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Go design some fjords or something.

    If you’re in the market I could offer you a discount rate… πŸ˜‰

  22. avatar
    Reality Check April 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Don’t jump on Steve. He is one of the good guys. If someone at the White House or Hawaii tried to “pretty it up” that was indeed stupid. Wouldn’t it be rich if they left some bread crumbs to trap Trump into claiming it is forged? I doubt it but that would be devious.

  23. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Go design some fjords or something.

    E’s pining for the fjords:

    Please see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjOSLCR2hE

  24. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Slartibartfast: Steve,

    After reading the rest of your comments, I owe you an apology – I’ve got a low tolerance for birthers today.

    Hehehe. No problem. Thought there was a miscommunication behind that. πŸ™‚

    To your statement that this will only make things worse with the birthers, I would point out that that is part of why I think this will turn out to be so successful at marginalizing the birther movement.It exacerbates the wedge between birthers and independent voters.Believing in the legitimacy of the LFBC is now a litmus test for birtherism.

    Yeah, but by boogering with the scan the way they did severely hampers the marginalizing of the birthers in my opinion.

    We’ll see.

    se

  25. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Slartibartfast: If you’re in the market I could offer you a discount rate…

    I’ll take a gross! πŸ˜‰

    se

  26. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Slartibartfast: You evidently didn’t see my apology – again, I’m sorry – I thought you were a birther (and I’ve got a low tolerance for them right now).My bad.

    Sorry. Didn’t see your apology until after I’d replied. It’s all good!

    se

  27. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Reality Check:
    Don’t jump on Steve. He is one of the good guys. If someone at the White House or Hawaii tried to “pretty it up” that was indeed stupid. Wouldn’t it be rich if they left some bread crumbs to trap Trump into claiming it is forged? I doubt it but that would be devious.

    You mean bread crumbs like… E.F. Lavender? πŸ˜‰

    se

  28. avatar
    JoZeppy April 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Yeah, but by boogering with the scan the way they did severely hampers the marginalizing of the birthers in my opinion.

    Steve Eddy: Why they didn’t just do a straight scan to PDF I’ll never know. And I hope I’m wrong, but I really think this has only made things worse.

    Steve….my issue is that before you can say the “boogered” with it, tried to enhance, it, etc., you need to reproduce the results. Considering the multitude of scanning software and hardware, and the countless setting and options that can even be set on a default in even the most common of business settting, and layer that with the concerns of the White House, there is nothing to say that this is just the result of a default setting on a scanner (until someone can show otherwise).

  29. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    JoZeppy:
    Steve….my issue is that before you can say the “boogered” with it, tried to enhance, it, etc., you need to reproduce the results.Considering the multitude of scanning software and hardware, and the countless setting and options that can even be set on a default in even the most common of business settting, and layer that with the concerns of the White House, there is nothing to say that this is just the result of a default setting on a scanner (until someone can show otherwise).

    Even if it’s the result of the default setting on some scanner, the point remains that the raw scan was still “boogered with” and what’s in the PDF file is not the raw, unboogered with scan.

    And what’s bad about that is that the birthers can now say LEGITIMATELY and UNQUESTIONABLY that it’s NOT a raw, unboogered with image.

    se

  30. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Steve Eddy: I’ll take a gross!

    se

    I’ve got a ‘disgusting’ and I can give you a really good deal on a ‘putrid’ but it will take some time to get a ‘gross’…

    Steve Eddy: Yeah, but by boogering with the scan the way they did severely hampers the marginalizing of the birthers in my opinion.

    Again, I disagree – marginalizing the birthers doesn’t work by eliminating or explaining all of the isolated anomalous molehills that they cast as Everest (which isn’t to say that debunking isn’t a critical part of the response to birthers or that it became any less important yesterday), it works by convincing all of the reasonable people that there’s no ‘there’ there. There are a lot of people who now will classify someone who starts ranting about these artifacts as malevolent anomalies as a whackjob (or will do the same when they run across a birther site) who would have potentially been susceptible to birtherism before yesterday. That being said, if they did fiddle with it (in light of the history of the birthers) then they were either naive, ignorant, stupid, or filled with Machiavellian cunning…

  31. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Steve Eddy: what’s in the PDF file is not the raw, unboogered with scan.

    Technical term? πŸ˜‰

    And what’s bad about that is that the birthers can now say LEGITIMATELY and UNQUESTIONABLY that it’s NOT a raw, unboogered with image.

    And obots can say, legitimately and unquestionably that it has the full weight of the state of Hawai’i, the federal government, and the US Constitution behind it. It’s like an easily resistible force against an immovable object (though not opening the door to any force, no matter how pathetic, seems more in keeping with the Evil Overlord List… [I’m not convinced there was definitely boogering going on either – at least not yet ]).

  32. avatar
    JoZeppy April 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Even if it’s the result of the default setting on some scanner, the point remains that the raw scan was still “boogered with” and what’s in the PDF file is not the raw, unboogered with scan.

    I guess I just have a disagreement of terms as to what a “raw, unboogered with scan” is. I hardly believe that if it is a result of some default setting on a scanner that is designed to produce a particular resolution, that one can call it “boogering.” And until someone can reproduce the results or actually explain why it happens, it’s all meaningless speculation. Simple reality is different software interacts with other software differently. I have cursed Bill Gates’s name on many occassions wondering why my simple cut and paste isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. One has to understand what is happening and why before one can make any claims about anything. I have yet to hear an actual explanation of what is going on by anyone. Just random claims of “wierd happenings.”

    Steve Eddy: And what’s bad about that is that the birthers can now say LEGITIMATELY and UNQUESTIONABLY that it’s NOT a raw, unboogered with image.

    Birthers continue to say whatever they want, because they are not bound by facts or the truth. There is really little we can do to stop that. Again, my simple belief that until you can reproduce the results and say why they happen, you can make no claims whatsoever as to what happened to the image.

  33. avatar
    Sean April 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I don’t understand. What’s the problem?

  34. avatar
    Reality Check April 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Steve Eddy: You mean bread crumbs like… E.F. Lavender?

    πŸ™‚

  35. avatar
    Steve Eddy April 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Slartibartfast: I’ve got a disgusting’ and I can give you a really good deal on a putrid’ but it will take some time to get a β€˜gross’…

    Hmmmm…

    Do you have any “offal” laying around perhaps?

    Again, I disagree – marginalizing the birthers doesn’t work by eliminating or explaining all of the isolated anomalous molehills that they cast as Everest (which isn’t to say that debunking isn’t a critical part of the response to birthers or that it became any less important yesterday), it works by convincing all of the reasonable people that there’s no there’ there.

    Sure.

    But the White House made that job MUCH more difficult than if they’d have just left the damn raw scan alone.

    There are a lot of people who now will classify someone who starts ranting about these artifacts as malevolent anomalies as a whackjob (or will do the same when they run across a birther site) who would have potentially been susceptible to birtherism before yesterday.

    But here we’re not talking about simple “artifacts” such as the scanning and JPEG artifacts in the original scan of the Certification.

    This is actual manipulation, which could just as easily have been done manually by a human operator or automatically by software.

    That being said, if they did fiddle with it (in light of the history of the birthers) then they were either naive, ignorant, stupid, or filled with Machiavellian cunning…

    There’s no doubt it was fiddled with. And that’s the problem, whether it was done manually or automatically. It was still fiddled with and there’s absolutely no denying it.

    se

  36. avatar
    katahdin April 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Considering the fact that the director of the Hawaiian Dept. of Health has stated unequivocally that she saw the original birth registration form being copied in her prescence, I don’t understand how the method of copying the document into PDF form could invalidate it.

  37. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Sean:
    I don’t understand. What’s the problem?

    The problem is that it creates more dark places for birthers to spin their stories.

  38. avatar
    Paul April 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    The information on what you have as Layer 2 and on the PDF released by the WH is identical, right? (Except for the signature, Layer 3.)

  39. avatar
    JoZeppy April 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The problem is that it creates more dark places for birthers to spin their stories.

    The problem is birthers will spin whatever they want as they are not bound by reality. The real question is, can someone explain what happened here?

  40. avatar
    Dave April 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Most software that’s in the business of taking a scan and turning it into a PDF runs the image through a number of optimizations, the intent of which is to improve readability and make a smaller file size. One of these is to separate the image into pieces, each of which can be optimized separately. I’ll see if I can find a source to post.

    And it seems uncalled for to say that someone at the White House should be fired. You stick it in the scanner, hit the button, and this is what you get.

  41. avatar
    roadburner April 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The problem is that it creates more dark places for birthers to spin their stories.

    but it´s been fully explained why it was done like this, so i fail to see where the problem is.

    let the birthers continue spinning. at least it keeps the rest of us warm

  42. avatar
    ellid April 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    You…you mean Steve Eddy is a MOUSE??????

  43. avatar
    Dave April 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Here’s an example from Adobe. I don’t think this was the software used on this scan, but it’s illustrative. Look under “optimization options” where it says “adaptive”.

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/9.0/Standard/WS58a04a822e3e50102bd615109794195ff-7f71.w.html

  44. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    This reinforces what I posted recently.

    Hawaii should have held a presser, and had the original documents for reporters to inspect and photograph – not released by the WH.

    This has poured gasoline on the fire. Trump is really going to make noise now. He’ll be Farah’s megaphone.

    Fasten your seatbelts.

  45. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Sean: Oh, Mister expert. We already exposed your BS last time you roach.

    Dr. Polland’s comment is valid. There are 3 layers to the long form, one of which he was able to find.

  46. avatar
    Rob in Denver April 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    @Dave: This is exactly it. And if software also has OCR in it, the pdf will have another layer… that containing the text it recognized (it’s how we get searchable pdfs).

  47. avatar
    richCares April 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    absolutely nothing will stop the hardcore bigot birthers, Trump is one of them

  48. avatar
    James Moorer April 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Since Adobe Acrobat 9.0, there has been a menu entry under the “Document” menu called “Optimize Scanned PDF”. What it does is exactly what is described above: It takes all the black scribbles and replaces them with one or more of black vector-drawing that is supposed to approximate the printing and straight lines of the image. The textured background is approximated by a low-resolution JPEG coding. What you are seeing is not the machinations of some devious forgery artist, but simply some gung-ho web lackey that decided that the scanned document was too big and hit the “Optimize Scanned PDF” menu entry that reduces the size of the PDF document by a huge factor. No mystery at all.

    N.B. – I am talking about the “full” professional version of Adobe Acrobat – not just the free download. This is what people use to master PDF files.

  49. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    I moved all the comments on layering onto this article. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  50. avatar
    Scientist April 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I’m really not following this, but I have no experience with this area. I mean the “original” is a photocopy out of a book, right? The book has to stay in Honolulu, of course. So when you make a photocpy, sometimes it looks better on “dark”, sometimes it looks better on “light”. Selecting the setting that gives the best picture is not fraud, any more than properly lighting a photograph is. Wouldn’t the process of scanning the photocopy also involve using the settings that give the most readable image?

    Slarty, can maybe comment, but if you have a data set that ranges from 1 to 2, you might make the axis of your graph run from 1 to 2 because that gives you the most readable graph. You could start the axis at 0, but that would be less readable. Neither one is wrong or right and neither constitutes fraud.

  51. avatar
    G April 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    katahdin: Considering the fact that the director of the Hawaiian Dept. of Health has stated unequivocally that she saw the original birth registration form being copied in her prescence, I don’t understand how the method of copying the document into PDF form could invalidate it.

    I agree here. Attacking the scanned image results might be a “dark space”, but really it is just another irrelevevant and lame misdirection attempt by the birthers.

    The only thing they could claim with this is that somehow *everybody* is in on some grand conspiracy…

    There was a tight chain of hand off from request to receipt, which is all wonderfully documented by those two letters that were also released in the immediate press conference for releasing the document, which describing and validate that process AND, which resulted in two physical, certified “long form” copies.

    Add in today’s HI DOH FAQ update confirming that, you have the only relevant officials from both sides confirming he was born in HI and vouching for the documents.

    It is astoundingly conspiracy-kooky sounding to even try to have a convesation that goes down the road of claiming fraud here…because that truly means that “everyone” is in on it…I mean…that’s a non-starter and meaningless argument.

  52. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    James Moorer: Since Adobe Acrobat 9.0, there has been a menu entry under the “Document” menu called “Optimize Scanned PDF”. What it does is exactly what is described above: It takes all the black scribbles and replaces them with one or more of black vector-drawing that is supposed to approximate the printing and straight lines of the image. The textured background is approximated by a low-resolution JPEG coding. What you are seeing is not the machinations of some devious forgery artist, but simply some gung-ho web lackey that decided that the scanned document was too big and hit the “Optimize Scanned PDF” menu entry that reduces the size of the PDF document by a huge factor. No mystery at all.

    N.B. – I am talking about the “full” professional version of Adobe Acrobat – not just the free download. This is what people use to master PDF files.

    OK, I get where you are coming from. I still don’t quite understand how Dr. Onaka’s stamp and signature was isolated for special handling in the third layer.

  53. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Steve Eddy: Hmmmm…

    Do you have any “offal” laying around perhaps?

    I’ll check in the back – it’s a fjord shop, plenty of fjords here…

    There’s no doubt it was fiddled with. And that’s the problem, whether it was done manually or automatically. It was still fiddled with and there’s absolutely no denying it.

    Remember, there’s absolutely no denying the document is legitimate, either. My hypothesis for the three layers is that is how the document was constructed in Hawaii (by whoever printed it on the security paper). Is there anything which contradicts this hypothesis? (I don’t see anything) I agree that any mucking around by the White House would have been stupid, but I think that what you are seeing is merely how the document was constructed – remember this is unique rather than a standard document. Ironically, this points out exactly why the COLB is better…

  54. avatar
    gorefan April 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I find it hard to believe that Acrobat would individually identify Dr. Onaka’s stamp and signature as one of just three distinct elements of the image

    If I’m understanding it correctly, seems like that’s exactly what would happen to the Onaka stamp, it would be taken together because it sits as a block, isolated from the rest of the text. As would the Aril 25, 2011 date stamp.

    What I don’t understand is why some are saying there are 50 layers, but you are only seeing three?

  55. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    1. I think that the “layers” you see are a result of optimizing for OCR software.

    2. I believe that federal regulations concerning web site accessibility would require that anything posted on government web sites be optimized to make it accessible to people with visual impairments, if possible. See: http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/reqs_bestpractices/laws_regs/accessibility.shtml

    3. A manipulated, “layered” document wouldn’t have all the white splotches you see in image #1. A fake would just be a complete image of security paper, with other elements overlaid on top of it. Any artifacts related to the text would be on the layer with the text, not on the layer underneath it.

    4. If they don’t optimize/compress the certificate for web display, you would have had a huge file. (many megabytes — I don’t know how big, but the document you have linked to on this page is 377 kb. It would be impossible to scan an 8×10 image printed on security paper at anything close to full resolution to PDF and get anything close to a file that small).

    5. Obama has 2 paper copies of the certificate. We know that from the text of the letters he released. His lawyers asked for two, Hawaii charged them for two. That’s because they figure they can sell one one eBay and use the money they get to balance the federal budget. (Joke) …. No, the real reason is so that they can make a copy available for inspection to any legit news or fact checking organization that asks. But of course birthers will continue to get their kicks debating over web site images despite the obvious fact that the real paper document is readily accessible.

  56. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Scientist: Slarty, can maybe comment, but if you have a data set that ranges from 1 to 2, you might make the axis of your graph run from 1 to 2 because that gives you the most readable graph. You could start the axis at 0, but that would be less readable. Neither one is wrong or right and neither constitutes fraud.

    As I consider one of my strengths to be the visual display of quantitative information, I do far more than that to figures and consider it completely honest (even brilliant from time to time… ;-)). Because this document is unique (and has an impeccable chain of custody), it’s form is correct regardless of how it was produced (the method is necessarily unique and thus cannot be compared to any standard). Anything that happened before the document was handed to President Obama’s lawyer was completely (canonically, in fact) correct procedure, in my opinion.

  57. avatar
    gorefan April 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: What we observe in the document is three layers,

    Doc, in which of your three layers does the Apritl 25, 2011 appear?

  58. avatar
    Scientist April 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Slartibartfast: As I consider one of my strengths to be the visual display of quantitative information, I do far more than that to figures and consider it completely honest (even brilliant from time to time… ).

    A perfect example of a quantitative method that absolutely MUST be optimized to give you any meaningful data is fluorescence activvated cell sorting (FACS). If you just turn the FACS machine on and run a sample through you can get a whole array of artifacts. only properly optimized data is worth anything.

    As pointed out this document was a one-off, so i don’t know what you would compare it to.

  59. avatar
    Daniel April 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Sorry Doc, but as someone who has supervised the technical aspects of moving to paperless office in high security areas for a number of years in a professional capacity, I have to contradict you, and agree with what many have posted here.

    Acrobat, and Omnipage, and quite a few other programs designed to digitize documents don’t take a page at a time and digitize it.

    individual “blocks” of text are isolated and scanned and processed separately. Text in columns, or in discreet groups, as in sig black, are treated as separate elements by the software, and reconstructed into “boxes”, which other programs, like illustrator will interpret as layers.

    blocks of texts which have cursive, or non test elements within, will often be treated in “layers” with the non-text elements overlaid on the text elements.

    The pdf hasn’t been tampered with, at least not at face value, it’s exactly what it should be for the file type that it is.

    You’ve been duped, doc.

  60. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Readers would enjoy this:

    Where’s the Placenta

    http://wherestheplacenta.com/

  61. avatar
    katahdin April 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The problem is that it creates more dark places for birthers to spin their stories.

    I disagree. Birthers don’t need facts to spin conspiracy theories. They’e perfectly willing to just make stuff up. For example, claiming that the Saudis financed President Obama’s education.

  62. avatar
    Passerby April 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    UPDATE: I’ve confirmed that scanning an image, converting it to a PDF, optimizing that PDF, and then opening it up in Illustrator, does in fact create layers similar to what is seen in the birth certificate PDF. You can try it yourself at home.

    Source: National Review Online

  63. avatar
    Passerby April 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    and

    There is no OCR-data in the PDF. What you are seeing there is most likely the result of an MRC-compression algorithm. This is a clever technique that uses the capabilities of the PDF format to compress files effectively. It basically works like this:

    The compression software takes the scanned image, and then tries to seperate the foreground text from the background into different layers (or objects), which are then compressed independently, using different compression algorithms (some compression algorithms are good for text, others for images). In this case, it looks like the compression software used Flate and DCT for the different parts of the scanned image. More sophisticated software would use JBIG2 and JPEG2000, respectively (and achieve much higher compression rates). The PDF viewer then takes the different objects, decompresses them, and reproduces a fairly accurate copy of the original (much bigger) image again.

  64. avatar
    richCares April 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Nationa Review, a conservative site, has a story on the Layer issue (debunks it)
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/265767/pdf-layers-obamas-birth-certificate-nathan-goulding

  65. avatar
    Passerby April 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    MRC compression

    http://www.ocr-sdk.com/en:tech:features:pdf_mrc_export

  66. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    “I got not one, but three images. Here they are: Does this mean that the image was faked? No!”

    To the receptive mind, it looks like white-out was used to doctor it.

    I am NOT saying it was. But it gave more ammunition to the Denialists, and they’re going to get louder.

    I’m sorry, but it made it worse.

  67. avatar
    US Citizen April 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I have some experience here.
    There are many ways to scan documents.
    Most people expect a PDF to be like a copying machine and in this case, it should have been.
    Then it would have simply copied everything as a bit image.

    But Acrobat, Illustrator and other apps have become smarter over the years.
    Acrobat takes an image and tries to break it into sections.
    Then, its OCR routines can handle the text AS text.
    This is important because many people need PDF documents to have actual ASCII text in them.
    If they don’t use this feature, they’re saving only images, and text cannot be searched, copied and pasted, spell checked, etc.)

    Documents with boxes or lines with text intermixed with images are nightmares for programs like this.
    They don’t recognize signatures (script) and instead of treating them as text, they’re recognized as images.
    The final output is exactly as the person said above- layers.

    If someone is into graphics, laser or CNC engraving, printed circuit boards or vinyl cutters, they can tell you of these features now found in Acrobat and Illustrator.
    They’re great for those of us that need these features to be automatic.
    But they’re just not smart enough yet to know what to do with all images.
    The program has to decide “is this text, a bit image or scalable vector image?”

    I scan and PDF (used as a verb here) electronic component spec sheets.
    They’re a lot like this birth certificate with sections of diagrams and sections of text.
    The output… when set like this in Acrobat…. are many individual sections of text and images (bits.)

    It IS possible to turn off this feature and scan things as a simple image, then put in a PDF.
    But when you have a hard drive filled with these documents (as I do) and you need to locate one word in a document, scanning and PDF’ing as a pure image means no searchable text.
    Instead of ASCII letters, the PDF is simply a container for an image.

    I bet that whomever scanned this into a PDF, normally scans paper documents with lots of text and had their settings set this way because they usually need their output to be actual searchable and copyable text instead of a simple image.

    The output will have many layers or sections and it wrongly suggests the document was assembled by hand.
    In truth, it was disassembled automatically by Acrobat using a mixed format setting.
    Someone should have considered this beforehand and simply scanned the paper BC and provided it as a JPG or other image format.

  68. avatar
    Suranis April 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    This all makes more sense now. What I thought I was looking at was the results of a “magic wand” and “fill” operation in photoshop, but I could not figure out why anyone would do this and it would take ages. If its an automated processes by Acrobat in optimizing documents then it all makes sense. It also explains the very random nature of the optimization, some dark spaces in large letters were left, for example.

  69. avatar
    richCares April 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    sorry that was secondary link
    here is natiional review link:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/265767/pdf-layers-obamas-birth-certificate-nathan-goulding

  70. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Steve Eddy: They couldn’t just take the thing to their local FedEx Office and have the kid there do a straight scan to PDF. Oh no. Instead they had to let some flunkie White House intern dink with it trying to enhance the text and then leave the enhanced text on separate layers.

    It may well be that there was no manual “dinking” and if the Local FedEx Office used a Mac, we might see the same result we do here. Some scanning/PDF creation software does exactly the kinds of layering we see here.

  71. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Today, all across birtherstan, hatriots are standing up and proudly (as they are unaware of the dishonor and shame they are bringing upon themselves) saying…

    I AM POLARIK!

    or

    I AM TECHDUDE!

    President Obama should get an award for ‘Best Plot Twist in a Reality Show’…

  72. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Suranis:
    This all makes more sense now. What I thought I was looking at was the results of a “magic wand” and “fill” operation in photoshop, but I could not figure out why anyone would do this and it would take ages. If its an automated processes by Acrobat in optimizing documents then it all makes sense. It also explains the very random nature of the optimization, some dark spaces in large letters were left, for example.

    Personally, I expect it was done by a clerk in Hawai’i with very little experience at this sort of manipulation (I would expect a forgery to be stone cold perfect and a White House staffer to have more skill…).

  73. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    US Citizen: In truth, it was disassembled automatically by Acrobat using a mixed format setting.
    Someone should have considered this beforehand and simply scanned the paper BC and provided it as a JPG or other image format.

    One notes that the White House PDF was done on a Mac by non-Adobe software. I would expect the same principle to apply, however.

  74. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Daniel: You’ve been duped, doc.

    The article has been updated.

  75. avatar
    misha April 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Too Bad, the Birther Sideshow Was Just Getting Good

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2011/04/too-bad-the-birther-side-show-was-just-getting-good.html

  76. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    gorefan: Doc, in which of your three layers does the April 25, 2011 appear?

    Interesting question. Acrobat exported three graphic images and the stamp is not in any of them. It must be somewhere that it doesn’t get exported.

  77. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Dave: And it seems uncalled for to say that someone at the White House should be fired.

    READY! FIRE! AIM!

  78. avatar
    Sef April 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Slartibartfast: Personally, I expect it was done by a clerk in Hawai’i with very little experience at this sort of manipulation (I would expect a forgery to be stone cold perfect and a White House staffer to have more skill…).

    I don’t understand why people would think the PDF file was generated by the DoH. The DoH gave the lawyer 2 pieces of paper, not a file. Help me out here.

  79. avatar
    Daniel April 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Sef: I don’t understand why people would think the PDF file was generated by the DoH.The DoH gave the lawyer 2 pieces of paper, not a file. Help me out here.

    Exactly.

    The lawyers brought back the paper, and a Whitehouse staffer tucked it into the MFP (Multifunction Printer) and scanned it to a clerk’s workstation. THe MFP assumes the operators aren’t tech geeks (which proves AI is superior) and is setup to automatically optimise a scanned document and save it as a PDF.

    Poof. one file suitable for electronic distribution, which is a facsimile of the original paper document, but which is certainly NOT the original paper document, and shouldn’t be confused with it.

    At least that’s the most likely scenario.

  80. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Sef: I don’t understand why people would think the PDF file was generated by the DoH.The DoH gave the lawyer 2 pieces of paper, not a file. Help me out here.

    Do you know that the lawyer wasn’t handed 2 pieces of paper (plus accompanying documents) and a thumb drive with pdfs of everything? I’d want both the physical and electronic copies – I would think the White House would, too…

  81. avatar
    Daniel April 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Slartibartfast: Do you know that the lawyer wasn’t handed 2 pieces of paper (plus accompanying documents) and a thumb drive with pdfs of everything?I’d want both the physical and electronic copies – I would think the White House would, too…

    Can’t say that didn’t happen, but it seems unlikely. Why incur additional liability by giving the WH electronic copies when what they asked for was a certified true copy, which is on paper?

    No it makes more sense that the WH made the electronic copy using industry standard procedures to produce an industry standard electronic document.

  82. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Daniel: Can’t say that didn’t happen, but it seems unlikely. Why incur additional liability by giving the WH electronic copies when what they asked for was a certified true copy, which is on paper?

    No it makes more sense that the WH made the electronic copy using industry standard procedures to produce an industry standard electronic document.

    I disagree about which is more likely, but I think both scenarios are reasonable.

  83. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Top 20 things wrong with the long form.

    Hilarious!

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/top-20-conspiracy-theories-that-have-already-sprun

  84. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Top 20 things wrong with the long form.

    Hilarious!

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/top-20-conspiracy-theories-that-have-already-sprun

    What I think is funny is that the birthers are totally unaware that they cannot differentiate between trivial artifacts and evidence of malfeasance because all they have found is trivial artifacts. If this keeps up, they’re going to start describing Don Quixote as being like a birther…

  85. avatar
    Judge Mental April 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Steve Eddy…..you seem to know what you are talking about. I’d appreciate your opinion on this youtube video (they are not infallible I know I know lol).

    http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=2eOfYwYyS_c

    Obviously everyone else’s comments will be welcome too.

    My gut instinct tells me it’s bs but in this field of technology I will never confuse my ambition wit my ability. If it is bs I’d like to be able to explain to others coherently why it’s bs, but if it has some merit I will also deal with it ojectively. Thanks.

  86. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Greg: To review. The Director WATCHED as the copies were made, attested the copies were accurate and handed them to Obama’s lawyer.

    Do you have a link to this? I want to use it in future debunking.

  87. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Slartibartfast: Do you know that the lawyer wasn’t handed 2 pieces of paper (plus accompanying documents) and a thumb drive with pdfs of everything? I’d want both the physical and electronic copies – I would think the White House would, too…

    I’ve never heard of a vital records office doing something like that.

  88. avatar
    Greg April 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Do you have a link to this? I want to use it in future debunking.

    Last paragraph of the Director’s letter explains that she watched the copying and attests to te veracity. I found the letters on CNN. but here’s a story that contains the same info:

    http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2011/04/27/hawaii-health-dept-details-obama-birth-certificate-request/

  89. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    On April 25, 2011, pursuant to President Obama’s request, Director Fuddy personally witnessed the copying of the original Certificate of Live Birth and attested to the authenticity of the two copies. Dr. Alvin Onaka, the State Registrar, certified the
    copies.

    From Hawaii Dept. of Health News Release, posted on official Hawaii Government web site,
    http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/News_Release_Birth_Certificate_042711.pdf

    See also: http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html

    And no, they would NEVER give anyone electronic files on a thumbdrive (or any other electronic format) if the goal is to provide a verifiable document. The whole point of the security paper certification is to create a tangible document that cannot be easily replicated or altered.

  90. avatar
    gorefan April 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Do you have a link to this? I want to use it in future debunking.

    Here all all three letters.

    http://global.nationalreview.com/dest/2011/04/27/birth_certificate_correspondence_5da9a1a825978db6b52f335642604a2e.pdf

  91. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I’ve never heard of a vital records office doing something like that.

    I guess it’s just me then…

  92. avatar
    Sef April 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    This is just more evidence of President Obama’s political acumen. A simple high res JPG of the LFBC would not have given the birthers another shiny object to play with like this PDF has done. So his enemies are once more off wasting their time on something of absolutely no importance and they exhibit their stupidity to the entire world. Masterful!

  93. avatar
    FUTTHESHUCKUP April 29, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    Let’s get real here for a minute. If someone wants to tell if the actual document is real, they cannot rely on a scanned image to do that. They must view the real thing

  94. avatar
    FUTTHESHUCKUP April 29, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I have a brainless birtherbot who says that she can tell whether or not the actual document is fake by looking at the digital image, and she’s posting posts from here insinuating that everyone here believes that the actual document can be determined to be either real or forged by looking at the scanned image.

  95. avatar
    Molly April 29, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Good Grief! Why could they not have simply put out a simple scan of the original document. Why get tricky with it? Sure, the conspiratorial birthers would have continued to believe conspiracies because that is their nature.

    But this sows doubt and disbelief among ordinary people. Once you are in the position where you have to start talking about automatic layering to justify the authenticity of your document, you will lose the average person.

  96. avatar
    Critical Thinker April 29, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Birthers would declare Obama’s birth certificate unacceptable regardless of the format. If it had been a simple high-res JPG, they would be whining that he was deliberately hiding electronic information that could be used to determine if the document is a forgery. And why did he post the COLB as a PDF but posted this one as a JPG? And he deliberately distributed a low-quality graphic so that it would be difficult to determine if the signatures are forgeries. And here’s my cousin Sam’s birth certificate and it has layers so Obama’s must be fake.

    There is absolutely nothing that will satisfy the hard-core birthers that Obama was born in the U.S. They are driven by hate and don’t let things like facts and logic get in the way when they are thinking.

  97. avatar
    gorefan April 29, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    Molly: Why get tricky with it?

    What do you mean? Converting it to a PDF makes perfect sense as that is a wdely used format. The layer has nothing to do with the PDF, it is in the software (illustrator, for example). Frankl, I don’t see how they could have anticipated that unless tey were extremely versed in how scanners and ocr’s worked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIXZ_DF_U3I&feature=player_embedded

    This video shows that many PDFs have layers.

  98. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Molly:
    Good Grief!Why could they not have simply put out a simple scan of the original document.Why get tricky with it?Sure, the conspiratorial birthers would have continued to believe conspiraciesbecause that is their nature.

    But this sows doubt and disbelief among ordinary people.Once you are in the position where you have to start talking about automatic layering to justify the authenticity of your document, you will lose the average person.

    Molly, the impeccable chain of custody and unprecedented official verification justify the authenticity of this document – perhaps better than any previous document in history – regardless of what’s been done to any images.

  99. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 29, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    They DID put out a “simple scan” — “simple” scanning created digital artifacts. That’s just how technology works.

    Whatever format they used for posting on line is IRRELEVANT. The certified, PAPER, documents provide redundant evidence of the birth; the ONLINE images, in whatever form, let people see what is on the PAPER DOCUMENTS; and the letter to Obama and the notice posted on the Hawaii Department of Health web site establishes the circumstances under which the document was obtained.

  100. avatar
    Molly April 29, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    To gorefan, Slartibartfast, Expelliarmus:

    Yes. WE know this. I am just thinking about this from the standpoint of the public relations disaster this is turning out to be. The original was NOT on a green security background. To put it on a green background, they MANIPULATED the image. I am sorry if people don’t like to hear that said, but THEY (somebody) MANIPULATED IT.

    An industry was born this week. Companies are springing up all over the globe dedicated to somehow getting money or political advantage or propaganda from the fact that the green PDF image was manipulated in some way.

    We say the truth will come out. But will it? A thousand bogus “experts” with conspiracy theories can easily overcome the few people who really know what happened. The average man in the street knows nothing about PDF layers or chain of custody. He will just look at this debacle and say “Obviously that looks fake.” Because it DOES look fake and there was no good reason to mess with it that way.

  101. avatar
    Expelliarmus April 29, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Molly: Yes. WE know this. I am just thinking about this from the standpoint of the public relations disaster this is turning out to be. The original was NOT on a green security background. To put it on a green background, they MANIPULATED the image. I am sorry if people don’t like to hear that said, but THEY (somebody) MANIPULATED IT.

    OF COURSE the Health Department copied the plain background onto security paper — that is the PROPER WAY to go about creating a certified copy from the original.

    If they hadn’t done that, then you idiots would be screaming that the bc was fake because it wasn’t on security paper.

    And I am going to tell you something: Obama doesn’t care that stupid birthers think the certificate is fake. He understands that birthers are total idiots.

  102. avatar
    Molly April 29, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    Expelliarmus : Why do you need to say “you idiots”? I am not a birther. But have shown yourself to be a person who cannot carry on a civil discussion without resorting to name calling.

  103. avatar
    bjphysics April 29, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Dr. Ron Polland: Spin this, fat boy.

    I did a “Find” on this page and cannot locate anybody with the user name “fat boy”. I,m using Windows Explorer maybe that is my problem. Does it work in FireFox?

  104. avatar
    Scientist April 29, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Molly: I don’t think you’re an idiot. However, the green security paper was not the White House’s doing; it was Hawaii’s and I gather is exactly the way such documents are normally made. I agree with those who say that if it were on white paper, birthers would be demanding it be on green.

    Then you have the issue of how to electronically reproduce the paper document. However you do it, the electronic file will not be the paper document. Some features will always reproduce better than others, though which ones will depend on the settings you choose I don’t know how else one can disseminate a document to the world. I suppose the White House could offer anyone who wants one a photocopy for a shipping and handling fee-might make a modest profit for the Treasury.

    I suppose they could also have the actual paper document there for reporters to examine. Of course the birthers don’t believe any reporters. If the WND reporter said it looked real, he would become a traitor instantly.

    The next step would be if some state puts in a birther bill that requires a certifiicate of this type. If such a law were to not be challenged or survive challenge (remember some Republican might have difficulty getting such a certificate from their birth state) then the paper origiinal would be provided and the Secretary of State will accept it (at which point he will become a traitor).

    To me it comes down to 2 possibilities:

    1. This document, the COLB, the newspaper ads and everything ellse are all real and Obama was born in Hawaii. In this case the birthers are wasting their time.

    2. There is a giant conspiracy invoolving the CIA, the FBI, the State of Hawaii, various foreign governments, shadowy billionaires, the mafia, the media, and on and on. In this case, the birthers cannot possibly overcome such a force, so they are wasting their time

    In either case, the birthers are wasting their time.

  105. avatar
    Sef April 29, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Here’s another data point for this layers discussion. I opened the WH PDF in Gimp. Gimp is capable of displaying layers if they are present and can also create and manipulate layers like Photoshop. After opening, the document did NOT display layers. So, I would surmise that Illustrator is creating these “layers” and they are not in the PDF.

  106. avatar
    Critical Thinker April 29, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Expelliarmus: I believe that federal regulations concerning web site accessibility would require that anything posted on government web sites be optimized to make it accessible to people with visual impairments, if possible. See: http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/reqs_bestpractices/laws_regs/accessibility.shtml

    Yes, and this is not trivial. Federal rules require that every graphic posted on a federal government web site either be coded such that it can be read by an electronic screen reader or have a “tag:” attached to it that describes its contents. A straight-up JPG would not meet these requirements. I can only imagine how the birthers would parse the text in an alt tag!

  107. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Molly: To gorefan, Slartibartfast, Expelliarmus:

    Molly,

    I think that when we’re looking back at this hindsight will show us that birtherism was dealt a mortal blow on Wednesday. Abstruse analyses of pdf files don’t capture the public zeitgeist and reasonable people think the matter is finished. We’ll see how this plays out, but I think once the media spotlight moves on the birthers will have lost any potential they may have had to mobilize public opinion in their favor. They’ll keep squawking and it will only serve to deepen the wedge between them and independents.

  108. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Critical Thinker: Yes, and this is not trivial. Federal rules require that every graphic posted on a federal government web site either be coded such that it can be read by an electronic screen reader or have a “tag:” attached to it that describes its contents. A straight-up JPG would not meet these requirements. I can only imagine how the birthers would parse the text in an alt tag!

    Great point – If the White House (or the Hawai’i DoH) made the alterations to conform with federal law, then I don’t see another reasonable path they could have taken.

  109. avatar
    G April 29, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Slartibartfast: Molly,I think that when we’re looking back at this hindsight will show us that birtherism was dealt a mortal blow on Wednesday. Abstruse analyses of pdf files don’t capture the public zeitgeist and reasonable people think the matter is finished. We’ll see how this plays out, but I think once the media spotlight moves on the birthers will have lost any potential they may have had to mobilize public opinion in their favor. They’ll keep squawking and it will only serve to deepen the wedge between them and independents.

    Well said. I completely agree.

    I understand why Molly feels frustrated at the moment, but she and everyone else needs to step back & not led the crazy birthers drag them down the path of wasting time analyzing or fretting over the online image of the documents. To do so is to ignore the bigger picture and get dragged down their intentional distraction rabbit-hole of arguing over trivial minutiae.

    The key things that make all of their online conspiracy nonsense irrelevant are the confirmed statements & letters of the chain of custody and the testaments to the authenticity of the ACTUAL physical documents that were made. Between Obama’s press release, which included these explanatory request documents as well as the LFBC and HI’s even more detailed and explicit official press release – the whole thing is completely vouched for.

    As Scientist aptly put:

    Scientist:
    To me it comes down to 2 possibilities:

    1. This document, the COLB, the newspaper ads and everything ellse are all real and Obama was born in Hawaii. In this case the birthers are wasting their time.

    2. There is a giant conspiracy involving the CIA, the FBI, the State of Hawaii, various foreign governments, shadowy billionaires, the mafia, the media, and on and on. In this case, the birthers cannot possibly overcome such a force, so they are wasting their time

    In either case, the birthers are wasting their time.

  110. avatar
    Wile E. April 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    The head of Alex Jones is spinning…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g30VCl_cgk&feature=player_profilepage

    Looks like President Obama will indeed be able to have his birthers and eat them too.

  111. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Wile E.:
    The head of Alex Jones is spinning…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g30VCl_cgk&feature=player_profilepage

    Looks like President Obama will indeed be able to have his birthers and eat them too.

    Oh my. He’s trying to do as much for President Obama as President Bush did for Osama bin Laden…

  112. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Dr. Ron Polland

    So… how jealous are you that everyone is now doing their own ‘Polariking’ and getting results every bit as fallacious as yours without anyone paying any attention to you at all?

  113. avatar
    obsolete April 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I opened it in Photoshop- no extra layers. I believe that it is, in fact, Adobe Illustrator which is creating the layers, and not whomever scanned it.

  114. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    obsolete:
    I opened it in Photoshop- no extra layers. I believe that it is, in fact, Adobe Illustrator which is creating the layers, and not whomever scanned it.

    Is it just me, or does that make this all EXTREMELY funny?

  115. avatar
    obsolete April 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Open ANY pdf in Illustrator, it adds “layers”.

  116. avatar
    Sef April 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    obsolete:
    I opened it in Photoshop- no extra layers. I believe that it is, in fact, Adobe Illustrator which is creating the layers, and not whomever scanned it.

    So, whoever started this nonsense is saying: “I opened the file in a program that is designed to create layers and lo and behold it shows layers.” DUH!!!

  117. avatar
    LM April 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    I just want to say, I’m really pretty proud of myself. I figured out what the layers were before it was explained …. or at least, I guessed that that’s what it might be. I’m not any kind of a document expert, but I’ve worked with enough scanned documents to know that you can sometimes get some kind of funky results with OCR, on documents that aren’t just straight text. Inserted handwriting messes things up, and tables or forms like that, with all the boxes and text inside them, are the worst. What suggested it to me was actually how part of the handwriting is with the text “layer”–the part of the handwriting that’s most legible and more likely for an OCR program to be able to recognize. And the rest is with the image “layer” and the boxes. It just looked like something that it would do.

    If things were slow at work today … which, um, they are obviously …. I was going to try a little experimenting with my scanner. No need, now.

    Yeah, anyway. I guess my point is that you don’t have to be a document expert to know that scanning software can create funky stuff in the scanned image. Lots of people must have seen that kind of thing, it seems like. Or, I don’t know, maybe not, judging from all the fuss about this.

    And anyway, the birthers would have found something. It was inevitable.

  118. avatar
    LM April 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Gotta go, but first I just want to say: if you want to explain this to the average person, I think your best bet isn’t to go into some kind of technical explanation about how optimizing software works. What you should say is just something like, ” Well, you know how you can be working on a computer and it just automatically does some weird shit that you never told it to do? Well, that’s what that is with this scan.”

    (I tend to act as a kind of informal tech support because I’m easier to talk to than the actual IT guys, so I can tell you that this seems to be an extremely common occurrence, and that’s all the explanation a lot of people will want.)

  119. avatar
    obsolete April 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    DOC C-
    IMPORTANT!

    I have spent the last 15 minutes opening various PDF files in Adobe Illustrator (Mac)- including ones I scanned myself, as well as various types off the internet.

    IN EVERY SINGLE CASE multiple “layers” show up in Illustrator. The program itself creates them.

    Anybody with Illustrator can try and confirm this.

    In other words, there are NO layers in the President’s BC PDF. They are created by Illustrator.

    Any PDF that opens in Illustrator will have one layer, which can be clicked for a dropdown of additional “layers” or parts created by Illustrator.

    And no need for special “Polarik” type files, software, or techniques to confirm this. No great expertise needed. No need to scan files yourself, or if you do, worry about scan or OCR settings.

    ANYBODY with Illustrator and a handful of PDF files can confirm this.

  120. avatar
    obsolete April 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Sef: So, whoever started this nonsense is saying: “I opened the file in a program that is designed to create layers and lo and behold it shows layers.” DUH!!!

    BINGO!

  121. avatar
    James M April 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    There are digital camera setups for police evidence that produce a signed camera raw image which is essentially the bits from the CCD with no processing done. As part of your criminal prosecution against Dr. Onaka, perhaps you could subpoena the original document, and photograph it that way, and distribute the RAW file signed with the key that Canon only provides with police equipment cameras.

    (Do let me know how the forgery case goes.)

  122. avatar
    Judge Mental April 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Does anyone know why the image posted on AP site appears to be on plain paper when the image posted online by the White House indicates security paper?

    Where would AP have got this document/image. I thought the White House had the only two copies issued?

    I’m getting murdered by a birther elsewhere on this.

  123. avatar
    Sef April 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    James M:
    There are digital camera setups for police evidence that produce a signed camera raw image which is essentially the bits from the CCD with no processing done.As part of your criminal prosecution against Dr. Onaka, perhaps you could subpoena the original document, and photograph it that way, and distribute the RAW file signed with the key that Canon only provides with police equipment cameras.

    (Do let me know how the forgery case goes.)

    I have my Canon 40D set to record that info. Of course, I haven’t purchased the s/w to make it useful, but at least my raws are signed.

  124. avatar
    y_p_w April 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    Judge Mental:
    Does anyone know why the image posted on AP site appears to be on plain paper when the image posted online by the White House indicates security paper?

    Where would AP have got this document/image. I thought the White House had the only two copies issued?

    I’m getting murdered by a birther elsewhere on this.

    They issued handouts during the press conference. Those seemed to be some sort of B/W scan that didn’t capture the background.

  125. avatar
    y_p_w April 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    I also recall that some of the reporters showed their handouts on camera after the press conference.

  126. avatar
    Judge Mental April 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Fox News have now ridden to the rescue with an expert on Illustrator…..

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/29/expert-says-obamas-birth-certificate-legit/

    Expert: No Doubt Obama’s Birth Certificate Is Legit
    By Jana Winter

    Published April 29, 2011
    |

    Obama’s Birth Certificate

    The White House has released President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, saying the document is “proof positive” the president was born in Hawaii.

    It didn’t take long for some of President Obama’s doubters to claim the long-awaited birth certificate posted online by the White House on Wednesday had been altered or might be a fake.

    But a leading software expert says there’s no doubt about its authenticity, and he dismisses claims of fraud as flat-out wrong.

    The doubters have latched onto the idea that Adobe Illustrator — the premier program for computer graphic artists — “reveals” evidence of document manipulation in the Obama birth certificate. They note Illustrator reveals nine separate layers of the document, and claim it’s “proof” the file has been altered.

    But that’s not so, says Jean-Claude Tremblay, a leading software trainer and Adobe-certified expert, who has years of experience working with and teaching Adobe Illustrator.

    “You should not be so suspicious about this,” Tremblay told FoxNews.com, dismissing the allegations.

    He said the layers cited by doubters are evidence of the use of common, off-the-shelf scanning software — not evidence of a forgery. “I have seen a lot of illustrator documents that come from photos and contain those kind of clippings—and it looks exactly like this,” he said.

    Tremblay explained that the scanner optical character recognition (OCR) software attempts to translate characters or words in a photograph into text. He said the layers cited by the doubters shows that software at work – and nothing more.

    “When you open it in Illustrator it looks like layers, but it doesn’t look like someone built it from scratch. If someone made a fake it wouldn’t look like this,” he said.“Some scanning software is trying to separate the background and the text and splitting element into layers and parts of layers.”

    Tremblay also said that during the scanning process, instances where the software was unable to separate text fully from background led to the creation of a separate layer within the document. This could be places where a signature runs over the line of background, or typed characters touch the internal border of the document.

    “I know that you can scan a document from a scanner most of the time it will appear as one piece, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no software that’s doing this kind of stuff,” he said, adding that it’s really quite common.

    “I’d be more afraid it’d be fake if it was one in piece. It would be harder to check if it’s a good one if it’s a fake,” Tremblay said.

  127. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett May 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Okay, firsthand evidence of people who just will not accept what’s up, on this thread here:

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Osama-Dead-Killed-Open-Th-by-Rob-Kall-110501-555.html#startcomments

    I challenged him to scan a complex document onto his computer, open it in PS, and do that optimum scan thing. Here’s where we ended:

    (hommedespoir)

    “When I open up this scan I get a doco onscreen with the title suffix “RGB 1-layer”. Another layer can be created only by the Duplicate Layer command.

    “I am saying that the Nordykes’ birth certificates are photocopies from decades before pdf’s and layers were ever invented… I’m saying that the fact that a birth certificate from the same immediate batch opens in Illustrator layers proves it is NOT a single-layer photocopy. Boy Barack’s doco has be manipulated, therefore it’s a fake, a forgery, and he’s a phony. QED

    “The only reason the White House issues an unflattened pdf where a plain-paper photocopy would be the only genuine option is because it is so desperate it thinks it can get away with forgery.”

  128. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    The only valid challenge would be for him to scan a document using the same software the White House used (Max OS X 10.6.7 Quartz PDFContext), and then see if there are layers visible in Adobe Illustrator. Anything else is comparing apples (no pun intended) and oranges. Despite all the birther frothing, I haven’t yet seen any of them try the real deal.

  129. avatar
    Expelliarmus May 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    If Adobe illustrator is the program that creates the “layers” (which really are more appropriately described as “elements”) — then it wouldn’t matter.

    The questions is whether it’s possible to open ANY PDF which is a combination of a patterned background, print, and handwriting and not see the separate elements.

  130. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Expelliarmus:
    If Adobe illustrator is the program that creates the “layers” (which really are more appropriately described as “elements”) — then it wouldn’t matter.

    The questions is whether it’s possible to open ANY PDF which is a combination of a patterned background, print, and handwriting and not see the separate elements.

    Adobe Illustrator is not the program that creates the layers. The layers are created (automatically) by the PDF creator software. Not all PDF creation software is smart enough to optimize by creating the layers.

  131. avatar
    Joey May 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    The birther web sites are screaming about “the lack of embossed seal” on the Obama Certification of Live Birth. The Post and Email says that this is the “key” to exposing the long form as being fraudulent.
    Won’t they EVER learn? I guess not.

  132. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 7, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Joey:
    The birther web sites are screaming about “the lack of embossed seal” on the Obama Certification of Live Birth. The Post and Email says that this is the “key” to exposing the long form as being fraudulent.
    Won’t they EVER learn? I guess not.

    After due consideration, I have decided that the document must have an embossed seal. The scan is just at too low a resolution for it to be enhanced enough to be visible. The original COLB was a much higher resolution scan and still the seal was very hard to pick out.

  133. avatar
    obsolete May 7, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    Expelliarmus: The questions is whether it’s possible to open ANY PDF which is a combination of a patterned background, print, and handwriting and not see the separate elements.

    Well, any PDF I open in Illustrator shows similar layers and groups to what is on Obama’s LFBC PDF. Even those that are pure computer creations and thus, have never been scanned (so no OCR at work).

    Complex photos work the least best (“least best”? it must be my bedtime). But Illustrator tries to separate whatever elements and areas it can into layers and groups.

  134. avatar
    The Magic M May 7, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    > After due consideration, I have decided that the document must have an embossed seal. The scan is just at too low a resolution for it to be enhanced enough to be visible.

    The funny thing is the cesspool at Free Republic thinks Jindal’s BC is legit “because it doesn’t have the strange artifacts Obama’s BC has”. Well, maybe that’s because Jindal’s BC, just like Trump’s BC, has a significantly lower resolution and it’s hard to make out anything.

    Maybe next time Obama should release his LFBC in stamp size so the birfers won’t have anything to worry about. *sigh*

  135. avatar
    Majority Will May 7, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    The Magic M:
    > After due consideration, I have decided that the document must have an embossed seal. The scan is just at too low a resolution for it to be enhanced enough to be visible.

    The funny thing is the cesspool at Free Republic thinks Jindal’s BC is legit “because it doesn’t have the strange artifacts Obama’s BC has”. Well, maybe that’s because Jindal’s BC, just like Trump’s BC, has a significantly lower resolution and it’s hard to make out anything.

    Maybe next time Obama should release his LFBC in stamp size so the birfers won’t have anything to worry about. *sigh*

    You’re not wearing GOP glasses.

  136. avatar
    Reality Check May 7, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: After due consideration, I have decided that the document must have an embossed seal. The scan is just at too low a resolution for it to be enhanced enough to be visible. The original COLB was a much higher resolution scan and still the seal was very hard to pick out.

    A scanner uses a diffuse light source so an embossing would not display very well. The FactCheck photos were shot in normal light and at angles that clearly showed the embossing.

  137. avatar
    Reality Check May 7, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The only valid challenge would be for him to scan a document using the same software the White House used (Max OS X 10.6.7 Quartz PDFContext), and then see if there are layers visible in Adobe Illustrator. Anything else is comparing apples (no pun intended) and oranges. Despite all the birther frothing, I haven’t yet seen any of them try the real deal.

    I agree but I would add the condition to select the option in Quartz to reduce the size of the PDF. Epectitus at the Fogbow wrote an excellent explanation of how PDF compression algorithms might be at the root of the “layering” mystery. If someone has a Mac they could try scanning a printed copy of the LFBC and creating a compressed copy with Quartz Viewer.

  138. avatar
    y_p_w May 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Reality Check: I agree but I would add the condition to select the option in Quartz to reduce the size of the PDF.Epectitus at the Fogbow wrote an excellent explanation of how PDF compression algorithms might be at the root of the “layering” mystery. If someone has a Mac they could try scanning a printed copy of the LFBC and creating a compressed copy with Quartz Viewer.

    I looked at the document, and I’m thinking it might have been imported from the scanner using Preview. I haven’t tried it myself, but I would think there would be similar options compared to using Image Capture.

  139. avatar
    y_p_w May 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    The Magic M:
    > After due consideration, I have decided that the document must have an embossed seal. The scan is just at too low a resolution for it to be enhanced enough to be visible.

    The funny thing is the cesspool at Free Republic thinks Jindal’s BC is legit “because it doesn’t have the strange artifacts Obama’s BC has”. Well, maybe that’s because Jindal’s BC, just like Trump’s BC, has a significantly lower resolution and it’s hard to make out anything.

    Maybe next time Obama should release his LFBC in stamp size so the birfers won’t have anything to worry about. *sigh*

    The New Orleans Times-Picayune has a higher-res JPEG:

    http://media.nola.com/politics/photo/jindal-birth-certificatejpg-0f45528d3269cada.jpg

    I can’t make out an embossed seal, but they do have a little hologram that repeatedly says “GENUINE”.

    http://media.nola.com/politics/photo/jindal-birth-certificatejpg-0f45528d3269cada.jpg