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WND trots out yet another Adobe expert

Mara Zebest

Sigh. Here we go again. This time the expert is Mara Zebest and the expert qualification is stated as “author and technical editor for more than 100 books on Adobe and Microsoft software”. This expert appears to know her stuff — the problem is that the stuff she knows is the wrong stuff. As we’ll see in the following article, her claim depends on a false premise.

The WND headline:

Adobe book editor positive: Obama certificate is phony
‘Altered document is manufactured, or in everyday parlance – a forgery’

One notes that all the books attributed to Zebest were on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator — nothing on Adobe Acrobat (the PDF product) or PDF’s in general. That is a problem because no Adobe software was used to make the Obama long form PDF.

The “full analysis” is what we’ll look at and here’s the Cliff Notes.

  1. She says that “scanned images have a consistent noise and/or grain.” This may be true for images, but not for documents. Document optimization separates the document into layers which are stored at different resolutions and quality, i.e., different noise and grain. Her ignorance of concepts like Adobe Adaptive Optimization1 (read the manual) invalidates her analysis in this section.
  2. She continues to show many examples of shifts from bitmaps to anti-aliased text, but this is normal, and what she shows is pretty obvious when one looks at the optimization layers the software made. See my article Layers and layers, and layers, Oh My! for the images. Restating the same fundamental error in various ways takes up the rest of her technical discussion.
  3. She states that she believed that the document was created in Adobe Photoshop, ignoring that the document properties say it was made by Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext, an inexcusable omission and mark of a sloppy analysis.

One of the marks of the crank conspiracy theorist is the willingness to go beyond their claimed expertise and become an expert on any and every thing. She pontificates on typewriters, and the word “African” the Certificate Number and the missing (but not really) seal.

Garbage in, garbage out

I will concede that the lady is an expert in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. However, as they say: “garbage in, garbage out.” The “garbage in” was the assumption that a genuine document would be a scanned image with no document optimization, and her “analysis” was an attempt to explain the document in light of that assumption. She further, and inexplicably, failed to note in the PDF document properties the actual software used to scan the document. The analysis is an attempt to explain the PDF characteristics based on a false premise, and because of that garbage comes out.

After writing this article, I found out that Zebest is a long-time anti-obama activist (since 2008). That explains the lack of objectivity. Some gems I found from her from 11/22/2008:

This archive radio show on why the media isn’t reporting on the lawsuits against Obama’s eligibility as POTUS. TexasDarlin is one of the callers in on the show and it’s an interesting discussion.

and

“Reposting link to audio tape… be patient… what you’ll hear from about 12 minutes in until the end will blow your socks off about Obama’s birthplace:” [WRIF interview with Kenyan ambassador]

and

Also… I’ll repost a FOX interview on the discussion about the insufficient punishment against the illegal use of government agencies to investigate Joe the Plumber.

and

Also… this video brought tears to my eyes. RUN! (away from Obama) [linked video no longer available]


1 from the Adobe Acrobat 9 manual:

Adaptive Divides each page into black-and-white, grayscale, and color regions and chooses a representation that preserves appearance while highly compressing each type of content. The recommended scanning resolutions are 300 dots per inch (dpi) for grayscale and RGB input, or 600 dpi for black-and-white input. 11/22/2008

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62 Responses to WND trots out yet another Adobe expert

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    I left the following comment at WorldNetDaily:

    Your expert should read the section on Adaptive Optimization in the Adobe Acrobat manual. It shows that everything she considers marks of fraud are nothing more than what PDF Creation software does when it optimizes a document. While she appears to have vast knowledge of images, she appears to know nothing about document scanning.

    It is also inexcusable for her to claim the document was made in Adobe Photoshop, when a quick look at the PDF document properties shows it was wasn’t. How can she claim to know what software is supposed to do when she doesn’t even know what the software is?

    You have a genuine expert here, but she made her analysis based on a false assumption, that document PDFs are like image PDFs and forgot how PDF Creation software for documents optimizes them by separating into layers and making bitmaps for the black text and anti-aliased lossy images for the background.

    If you look at the actual images layers for the Obama long form PDF, it is obvious to anyone that no human made that.

    I hope this gaffe doesn’t have any professional blowback for Ms. Zebest. I’d buy her books, but not her analysis.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    This article is attracting some pretty wild comments, such as this one by someone calling himself Hal Adkins:

    One reason we have the 2nd Amendment is because our founding fathers realized that from time to time corruption and the tyrants in government would have to be removed, by the citizens, by force of arms. The founders were realists and knew after having fought a war to create this nation that it would be challenged from both inside and out, and if it takes the people rising up to kick evil doers in this nation out of power and control, so be it. This my friends is loooong over due.

    To which I replied:

    Hal, do you have the phone number for the Secret Service handy?

  3. avatar
    John Potter June 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    At least she took the time to make a pretty PDF of her report. The effort is appreciated … even if it did result in a weird, brochure-like feel. One step closer to a fullblown, multimedia, interactive, virtual birther madness total immersion experience. Are there any museums in the works? Just think of the possibilities … replicas of key documents–forgeries of forgeries! Obama’s childhood home (transported twig-by-branch from Kenya)! The final resting place of the Hawaiian infant that gave her life so that Obama might have a birth certificate!

    Right next to the Creationism Museum.

    Really, will it ever end?

  4. avatar
    misha June 30, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    John Potter: Right next to the Creationism Museum.

    I thought it was Intelligent Design. They keep changing the name and the premise.

  5. avatar
    misha June 30, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: This article is attracting some pretty wild comments, such as this one by someone calling himself Hal Adkins:

    Hal is getting together with Orly. Oy vey!

  6. avatar
    The Magic M June 30, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    > ignoring that the document properties say it was made by Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext

    Let’s be fair – the document properties could be forged.

    However, Zebest goes pretty much the same route Douglas Vogt went, including going out of her field of expertise (and even including the “smiley face” argument).

    Also, where she makes argument from her expertise, there’s a lot of crap involved.
    For example, she claims

    1. that the document was created using the Nordyke BC’s as a template. The available *images* of the Nordyke BC’s, mind you, not the original in the Hawaiian archives. So she tries to argue that the very low resolution Nordyke images were somehow “enhanced” to yield a higher resolution. While this theory may sound probably for the PDF (which itself has low resolution), it is easily refuted by looking at the high-res photographs available of the LFBC. No software in the world can “enhance” the blurry Nordyke BC (1 MP at most) to yield the sharp high-res letters of the Obama LFBC (12-16 MP in some images).

    2. that the letter alignment of the word “Yes” in the BC template text is unusual. However, first one can observe that it looks to be the same in the Nordyke BC’s (some uncertainty because of their low resolution). Second, to consider this a sign of forgery would assume that for some strange reason, the forger did not just lift the entire word from his source but decided to piece it together letter by letter.

    3. that the security pattern was “added to the digital document” (paraphrasing) which totally ignores the fact that the vault document was obviously copied onto security paper.

    4. that the folding on the left-hand side was created by digital manipulation, but she does not explain why she thinks that was done, in fact she resorts to “trust me, it was”. :-o

    And that’s just the things I observed from quickly skimming over the analysis.

    I’ve also posted this on WND. And I think I’ll find more if I look more closely at it on the weekend.
    (I also debunked some of the things in Irey’s analysis over at WND, like his claim the “A”s had different angles or the “K”s had different angles or some letters had different font size. Irey even responded to my argument about the A’s, finally conceding an “error”, then challenged me to find flaws in his other arguments, then turned silent after I showed him he did the same with the “K”s…)

  7. avatar
    Thrifty June 30, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Well if you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with BS I suppose.

  8. avatar
    Lupin June 30, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    “Mara Zebest” really? Ze best of what? Like Batroc ze leapair in the old Captain America comics? Is she for real?

  9. avatar
    roadburner June 30, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    oh boy! this is really rattling round in birtherstan!

    now, mara zebest has become a forensics expert, and has published 100 books!

    well, according to the birfoons….

  10. avatar
    Bovril June 30, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    It increases, now she’s “World Renowned!!!!” in Birferstan, as opposed to, someone who was an et-al contributer to 3 books on Photoshop in 2000-2002.

    http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/world-renowned-adobe-software-expert-mara-zebest-issues-report-on-obamas-long-form-birth-certificate-posted-on-the-white-house-servers-on-27-apr-2011/

    http://giveusliberty1776.blogspot.com/2011/06/explosivemara-zebestworld-renowned.html

    Before it’s News

    etc etc

  11. avatar
    The Magic M June 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Following up on the “Yes” argument, the Coats BC clearly shows the word looks as on any other Hawaiian BC. For some reason, Zebest seems to think there should be some kerning (moving the “e” closer to the “Y”) when there obviously is no kerning in the entire BC template.

  12. avatar
    Jake June 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    What I concluded was that Zebest proved the document *could* have been created in Photoshop. But I already assumed that. The thing is, she’d have us believe that somebody did this letter by letter. As you said, what human would do this?

  13. avatar
    J.Potter June 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    If you had the time, you could build it pixel by pixel, object by object. Such a file would be the perfect puzzlebox, calculated to keep the birthers occupied. While the rest of the country moves on. Occupied with driving themselves insane!

    Oh, I wish it were true, that the White House was that devious, and that’s why they upped a messy PDF as opposed to a simple JPG. Just to out the crazy.

    Jake:
    What I concluded was that Zebest proved the document *could* have been created in Photoshop. But I already assumed that. The thing is, she’d have us believe that somebody did this letter by letter. As you said, what human would do this?

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Zebest lacks a critical component of being a forensic document examiner, objectivity.

    roadburner: now, mara zebest has become a forensics expert, and has published 100 books!

  15. avatar
    Patrick McKinnion June 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Actually did some looking into Mara Zebest.

    Turns out she’s a PUMA of long standing. Her comments (“mzebest”) are up at PumaPAC and other PUMA litterboxes. She’s also been a vocal birther since around November of 2008.

  16. avatar
    J.Potter June 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Loving how birthers cling to these “analyses” … even calling them “forensic”. Is there a nice concise term for “speculation from biased source”?

  17. avatar
    Scientist June 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    J.Potter: Is there a nice concise term for “speculation from biased source”?

    The technical scientific term is: “Bullshit”

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    What puzzles me is that WorldNetDaily itself runs on Mac computers and surely they have a scanner. Why don’t they take some birth certificate and run it through the Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext software and see what it does vis-a-vis layers. Then they could get one of their unpaid interns crack graphic designers to offer an expert opinion.

  19. avatar
    J.Potter June 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Entirely too scientific. Conclusion first, evidence second. I don’t think they want to risk teaching the faithful to think for themselves by conceding what is easily verifiable. The Bible must be read in Latin to illiterates. Keep’em down mentally, and they keep coming back.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    What puzzles me is that WorldNetDaily itself runs on Mac computers and surely they have a scanner. Why don’t they take some birth certificate and run it through the Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext software and see what it does vis-a-vis layers. Then they could get one of their unpaid interns crack graphic designers to offer an expert opinion.

  20. avatar
    J.Potter June 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    That, and ancient PowerMacs don’t have Quartz on them.

  21. avatar
    The Magic M July 1, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    > Is there a nice concise term for “speculation from biased source”?

    GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

  22. avatar
    The Magic M July 1, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    > As you said, what human would do this?

    That’s what puzzles me about the birthers. If I were one, I’d at least have the intelligence to understand that if I absolutely wanted to cling to the “forged” belief, I’d claim the WH used some technically advanced software to create the BC from different sources. This would explain away the “no human would create layers like that” rebuttal.

    That the birthers aren’t even able to do that is telling. They are so locked up in their hatred towards Obama that they cling to the “he made this forgery himself, that’s why it’s so bad” theory (maybe because of some subconscious fear that any other theory, even if true, would allow Obama to claim ignorance and go unpunished).

  23. avatar
    J.Potter July 1, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    I think I have it … bamboozlery. As in, “yet another pile of Birther bamboozlery.” I like it.

    WND may well not have a scanner. Just occurred to me my publishing office doesn’t have one. No photocopier either. We have one printer that gets lonely. The paperless office is nearly a reality, thanks to parsimonious management.

  24. avatar
    Nathanael July 1, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    The Magic M:
    This would explain away the “no human would create layers like that” rebuttal.

    As anyone even HEARD a birther attempt to explain why somebody would go through all the immense tediosity of piecing together this digital Frankensteinin the first place? OK, the White House needs to forge a birth certificate. Certainly there are much less messy ways to go about that?

    And why release BOTH the PDF and the JPG (which, so far as I’ve heard, no one in birferstan has raised an eyebrow over)? And why create a fake BC just to populate it with, for all anyone has demostrated, true information? And why…? Never mind. Seems to me the birther theory just opens up a preposterously huge pandora’s box of unanswered questions, which haven’t even occurred to birthers.

  25. avatar
    Majority Will July 1, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    J.Potter:
    That, and ancient PowerMacs don’t have Quartz on them.

    And much sympathy and awe to anyone running a shop with a pre-G3/OS X Power Mac.

    I have a Mac SE running System 6.0.7 that still works fine but the 8 MHz clock seems to be a bit slow. Pun intended.

  26. avatar
    The Magic M July 1, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    > As anyone even HEARD a birther attempt to explain why somebody would go through all the immense tediosity of piecing together this digital Frankensteinin the first place?

    Their reasoning goes a bit like this:

    1) We ignore completely that there is an actual paper document which has the exact same contents as the PDF. Keep that in mind.

    2a) Obama made the forgery himself and all these strange things are simply telltale signs of him being an atrocious forger, or

    2b) Obama had someone create the forgery and that guy tried his very best to expose it as a forgery by leaving as many clues and oddities as possible

    3) Obama needed this forgery because the original document says something else (remember #1!).

    Of course that still doesn’t explain everything, like you said, why it’s so “Frankensteinian”, including layers which just have random spots. I don’t think (2a) or (2b) explain that.

  27. avatar
    The Magic M July 1, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    But then again, when did birthers ever try to explain their theories to the point where any sane person would say “naw, impossible, that’s ridiculous”?

  28. avatar
    Scientist July 1, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    The Magic M: But then again, when did birthers ever try to explain their theories to the point where any sane person would say “naw, impossible, that’s ridiculous”?

    The birther stories didn’t make sense right from the get-go:

    1. It made no sense that an 18 year old American woman would travel to Kenya to give birth. The supposed rationales are nothing short of ludicrous.

    2. it made no sense for a US to citizen to lie regarding the birthplace of a minor child. There are clear legal routes to legal residency and citizenship for the minor child of a US citizen whereever that child came into the world, regardless of the age or residency of the mother.

    3. It made no sense for multiple state officials to participate in a fraud of state records no matter how much they might like the person involved.

    The birthers haven’t been able after 3 years to come up with even the most basic rationale for any of these. Until they do, I really don’t care what documents the President shows or doesn’t show. They are irrelevant until there is a story from the other side that wouldn’t be laughed at by a 3 year old.

  29. avatar
    The Magic M July 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    > 1. It made no sense that […]
    > 2. it made no sense for […]

    Well, you’ve got to concede them the point that even if it makes no sense, it might have happened anyway (as lots of things that make no sense actually happen).

    The point is rather that when you come to the point where you have to decide if there is actually some material issue to doubt the official side (and to think that somehow Hawaiian documents can’t be trusted), then the improbability issue starts weighing in.

    For the very same reason, we don’t doubt our own birth certificates and our parents’ stories about where we were born simply on the premise that “it is possible” that we were born somewhere else and our parents are lying to us and duped the authorities. For “whatever” reason.

    The absolute looney point about the foreign birth story is when you ask a birther why “they” allegedly went through all the trouble of fabricating a US birth when it would’ve been no problem to naturalize the child.
    That’s when they have to claim that somehow “they” already planned for the child to become President one day.
    Which again, following birther logic, would lead to the question why “they” didn’t also include a US citizen father in the fabricated storyline.
    To which birthers have one last resort: “because ‘they’ wanted something to shoot him down with”.
    To which any sane person would reply: “then why did they use something that (again, in birther logic) would immediately be recognized by everyone?”
    And this ends the looney chain – which just started out with the innocent “well, maybe he just cleverly hid his foreign birth from the authorities” and ended with “everyone is part of a conspiracy that has more holes than an L. Ron Hubbard sci-fi story”.

  30. avatar
    J.Potter July 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    So if my cheap shot at WND (that they are so cheap they are running 10-15 year old machines) is actually true, you have sympathy and awe for WND? Haha.

    We did have a client running on just such machines. “Did”, because, despite their frugality (re: lack of capital), they weren’t paying their bills. It was sad.

    Majority Will: And much sympathy and awe to anyone running a shop with a pre-G3/OS X Power Mac.

    I have a Mac SE running System 6.0.7 that still works fine but the 8 MHz clock seems to be a bit slow. Pun intended.

  31. avatar
    Jake July 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Like a lot of conspiracy theories, their case is built entirely on real or perceived inconsistencies in the conventional story. When you ask them to come up with a plausible theory for what happened instead–to tie everything on their list into one coherent, believable story–the whole thing falls apart.

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    However, it is my understanding that the classic conspiracy theory is built on connections between random events, woven in to an alternative narrative. This is one of the problems I see with simply lumping birthers in with other conspiracy theorists. They don’t really have any coherent alternative narrative beyond “Obama is evil.”

    It is my hope to better understand the birthers by building a model of their behavior, whether it is classic conspiracy theorist, paranoid style, political smear or racism. I think there is an answer out there, whether I have the background to figure it out or not.

    Jake:
    Like a lot of conspiracy theories, their case is built entirely on real or perceived inconsistencies in the conventional story. When you ask them to come up with a plausible theory for what happened instead–to tie everything on their list into one coherent, believable story–the whole thing falls apart.

  33. avatar
    Jake July 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Well, I should know better than to disagree with someone who has a doctorate in the subject. You’re probably right about the classic conspiracy theory. Maybe it’s an issue of how far you zoom in. Different birthers have coherent narratives for different parts of the story–the forging of the birth certificates, the planting of the birth announcements, the stories in African newspapers–so maybe they’re conspiracy theories at that level. But when you zoom out, there’s no single narrative/theory that accounts for all of it.

    I’d say the same about Truthers, though. I never heard a coherent story for the whole thing, just ad hoc theories for the different parts. Did Kennedy assassination buffs ever come up with a coherent narrative that explained everything?

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    However, it is my understanding that the classic conspiracy theory is built on connections between random events, woven in to an alternative narrative. This is one of the problems I see with simply lumping birthers in with other conspiracy theorists. They don’t really have any coherent alternative narrative beyond “Obama is evil.”

  34. avatar
    Scientist July 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: However, it is my understanding that the classic conspiracy theory is built on connections between random events, woven in to an alternative narrative. This is one of the problems I see with simply lumping birthers in with other conspiracy theorists. They don’t really have any coherent alternative narrative beyond “Obama is evil.”

    Classic conspiracy theories also involve actual motives and behavior that is at least plausible. For example, Kennedy assassination conspiracies involved criminal acts by the Mafia or the CIA or the KGB, entities who were certainly known to have committed such acts. Same with 9/11. The parties accused also stood to gain from the acts.

    The Obama conspiracies involve massive frauds committed by people with no history of fraud-the Dunhams and Hawaiian DOH. There were never even any allegations, let alone proven misdeeds by those parties.. Nor is there any clear gain by them-the Dunhams got nothing for their supposed fraud, since young Obama, even had he been born overseas, was 100% entitled to receive US citizenship under any circumstances through a simple legal process. As for Hawaii officials, what possible motiive would they have had? You could always claim they were bought off, but do we have any evidence of any of these folks living larger than their salaries would justify? None that I know of.

  35. avatar
    Majority Will July 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    J.Potter: So if my cheap shot at WND (that they are so cheap they are running 10-15 year old machines) is actually true, you have sympathy and awe for WND? Haha.

    There may be designers at WND who aren’t (knowingly) part of the evil. I have friends who have worked at Adobe and Microsoft and, to the best of my knowledge, they aren’t evil either. Yet.

    ;-)

  36. avatar
    G July 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Likely some mish-mash combination of all of those. Also, keep in mind that not all Birthers arrived at their Birtherism through the same motivations, so be careful not to over generalize. If anything, you will probably arrive at various categories of birthers and variant behavior models for each of them.

    Dr. Conspiracy: It is my hope to better understand the birthers by building a model of their behavior, whether it is classic conspiracy theorist, paranoid style, political smear or racism. I think there is an answer out there, whether I have the background to figure it out or not.

  37. avatar
    misha July 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    e.m. cadwaladr: Anyone out there with both a brain and an attention span?

    Interesting premise. I found a a related birth certificate which may help.

    Thanks for visiting.

  38. avatar
    dunstvangeet July 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    E.M. Caldwater…

    Here’s a way to do just a simple control (in order to do it scientifically, you’d have to control for as many of the variables as you could), such as using the same software, the same resolution (I believe it was scanned at 150 DPI), the same format, the same everything), but scan a document you have around your house that has been printed out. Now do the same analysis that you did for the birth certificate. Do you see the differences in the letters or not? If you do not see the differences then it’s more likely that it’s a fraud. If you do see the differences, then it’s more likely that it’s actually authentic.

    This is the process for actually getting what you want away from some crackpot theory of psuedo-science into more of the realm of science.

    Do you know how the FBI determines how bodies decompose to determine a time of death, and what the variables there are? They take a bunch of bodies and throw them into a field, and take observations. They study what insects are at what stages on those bodies. They do this for hundreds of bodies, which they can closely control the variables on.

    Your hypothesis is that if it was a genuine birth certificate, then there would not be even a single pixel of difference between the letters (I think). Now, set up a scenario to try to prove your theory wrong.

  39. avatar
    Sef July 2, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    dunstvangeet: Your hypothesis is that if it was a genuine birth certificate, then there would not be even a single pixel of difference between the letters (I think). Now, set up a scenario to try to prove your theory wrong.

    It is quite easy to disprove his hypothesis. Scan a document and create a bit-map image file without compression or unique header info. Remove the document from the scanner, replace it and repeat the process. Do this until you have at least 10 scans. Perform a cryptographic checksum of the files, such as md5sum. The probability is that there will be at least one file which is different. The differences arise because the scanned image is digital, hence quantized, and the document is an analog object. There could also be fluctuations in the scanning light or A-D process in the scanner. It is very difficult to get the object re-registered with the scanner exactly every time.

  40. avatar
    Critical Thinker July 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Mara Zebest got her start as a birth certificate analyst in the Globe magazine (5/16/11) which quotes her as saying, “It’s absolutely a fake!”. I’m not sure if she is moving up or down in the media world.

  41. avatar
    Reality Check July 3, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Doc

    I don’t know if you have seen this series of videos by a guy in Springfield. MO. They are quite good. http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=6125

  42. avatar
    AnotherBird July 3, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Sef: It is quite easy to disprove his hypothesis. Scan a document and create a bit-map image file without compression or unique header info. Remove the document from the scanner, replace it and repeat the process. Do this until you have at least 10 scans. Perform a cryptographic checksum of the files, such as md5sum. The probability is that there will be at least one file which is different. The differences arise because the scanned image is digital, hence quantized, and the document is an analog object. There could also be fluctuations in the scanning light or A-D process in the scanner. It is very difficult to get the object re-registered with the scanner exactly every time.

    They won’t do the work. So, I don’t understand why they are so stuck on this point.

  43. avatar
    Reality Check July 3, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Here is a direct link to Springfield Computer Guy

    He has four videos so far. They run about 12 – 14 minutes each. They are well worth the time to watch. He goes into detail why they layers = forgery theory is complete nonsense.

  44. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett July 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Just got email at op ed news regarding zebest

    “Only a handfull of co-authorships. Same for Tech Edit. No MS or Adobe Certificates and no degree. No expert. Check out the final report she did for Corsi. All her work is listed there.”

  45. avatar
    straight-shooter July 11, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    It’s good to see a realistic analysis of her analysis. Most of the points of refutation went through my mind as I was reading her article. It was disappointing to see someone with a respectable reputation trashing her own credibility with unfounded or illogical or unrelated statements. It just goes to show, it’s better to have a novice understanding of a thing and get it right when explaining it, than to have an expert misunderstand and get it wrong. It doesn’t say much good for self-appointed experts that pontificate outside of their area of expertise.

  46. avatar
    The Magic M July 11, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Sef: Remove the document from the scanner, replace it and repeat the process. Do this until you have at least 10 scans. Perform a cryptographic checksum of the files, such as md5sum. The probability is that there will be at least one file which is different.

    Even if you don’t remove the document but simply press the “Scan” button twice (assuming the scanner won’t cache anything), you are bound to get at least 1 pixel a bit different, if only in shade. Because no quantization process will work without some noise. And 1 pixel difference, 1 bit difference to be precise, will result in a different checksum.

  47. avatar
    Majority Will July 11, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    AnotherBird: They won’t do the work. So, I don’t understand why they are so stuck on this point.

    We all know it never mattered what the President produced. These are birthers. They despise the POTUS no matter what. They will lie, ignore and fabricate. deny. They will deny the more relevant official declarations by the state of Hawaii. They have no respect for facts, U.S. law, the Constitution or the truth.

    They are not interested in anything except validation for their all-consuming hatred and bigotry.

  48. avatar
    Scientist July 11, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Majority Will: They have no respect for facts, U.S. law, the Constitution or the truth.

    While my respect for facts and the truth is undiminished, I’m not sure that a rational person, looking at the mess in Washington as I write, could come away with unwavering respect for the law or the Constitution. While the individuals involved are far from blameless, the mismanagement has gone on for so long that I don’t see how the very structure set up by the Constitution can be totally absolved of any fault. Does anyone think that the US serves as model of good government anymore? Would any country today adopt something like a Senate in which states with 35 million people and states with 500,000 people are equally represented? Would any country adopt a debt ceiling separate from the budget? Or the Electoral College?

    Even setting aside the silliness of natural born citizen there is plenty wrong with trying to run a 21st century nation with an 18th century document that too many choose to regard as holy writ rather than a set of rules that must change as the world changes.

  49. avatar
    Majority Will July 11, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Scientist: While my respect for facts and the truth is undiminished, I’m not sure that a rational person, looking at the mess in Washington as I write, could come away with unwavering respect for the law or the Constitution.While the individuals involved are far from blameless, the mismanagement has gone on for so long that I don’t see how the very structure set up by the Constitution can be totally absolved of any fault.Does anyone think that the US serves as model of good government anymore?Would any country today adopt something like a Senate in which states with 35 million people and states with 500,000 people are equally represented?Would any country adopt a debt ceiling separate from the budget?Or the Electoral College?

    Even setting aside the silliness of natural born citizen there is plenty wrong with trying to run a 21st century nation with an 18th century document that too many choose to regard as holy writ rather than a set of rules that must change as the world changes.

    I agree to some extent but I think my comment is more of a note on the hypocrisy of birthers who insist on calling themselves “Constitutionalists” (especially those promoting a theocracy and/or military coup).

  50. avatar
    Nathanael July 11, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Scientist :Dunhams got nothing for their supposed fraud … As for Hawaii officials … You could always claim they were bought off

    Bought off by whom? A couple of grad students who lived on ramen noodles and had just blown their entire wad on round-trip airfare to Kenya? And why? If they wanted US citizenship for Jr., they could have just stayed put a couple of weeks, then jetted off. Or, on return, pursue legal means of obtaining citizenship.

    And now we move into X-Files territory: a vast, shadowy, all-powerful, international conspiracy fifty years ago begins nefarious machinations to groom a protege for the purpose of taking over the presidency of the United States. And of the roughly two million male babies born in the US in 1961, they chose for their protege a Kenyan-born, black kid who wasn’t even American. They then buy off Hawaiian officials (though if you’re going to be making up a backstory, you might at least give him an American name and have him born in, say, Virginia), newspaper editors and SSA officials and finally, as if they haven’t dug themselves a deep enough hole yet, arrange to have him spend part of his childhood growing up in Indonesia.

    Yep, makes sense to me.

  51. avatar
    J.Potter July 11, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Nathanael, the Men in Black are just that sneaky. They would have gotten away with it, too, if’n not fer them dern Birthers!!!

  52. avatar
    misha July 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Nathanael: A couple of grad students who lived on ramen noodles and had just blown their entire wad on round-trip airfare to Kenya?

    A round trip airplane ticket cost $22K each, in constant dollars. The trip each way would be 11K miles, and take a week. See my complete debunking here:

    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-born-in-kenya-no.html

  53. avatar
    Nathanael July 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Scientist: Does anyone think that the US serves as model of good government anymore?Would any country today adopt something like a Senate

    Europe, not the US, is the model for democratic government. When the Soviet Union fell, the US sent over a couple of constitutional experts to advise them on setting up a democracy. Russia very politely sent them home and set up a parliamentary democracy. Former Commonwealth countries are, AFAIA, universally parliamentary. Even Iraq, after being liberated by the US, then turned around and set up a parliamentary democracy.

    There has also been some study to suggest that parliamentary democratic systems are more efficient, more stable, and less prone to corruption than the US presidential-style model. I read a study some few years ago (can’t find the reference right now) that found that, post-WWII, two-thirds of countries choosing a parliamentary system were successful in transitioning to democracy. Conversely, no third-world country choosing a presidential system in the same period successfully transitioned to democracy without suffering constitutional breakdowns or collapsing into authoritarianism.

  54. avatar
    Nathanael July 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    misha: A round trip airplane ticket cost $22K each, in constant dollars. The trip each way would be 11K miles, and take a week. See my complete debunking here:

    Please, Misha. Obviously, the Illuminati paid for the airfare, and they probably routed the Obamas through high-security military bases rather than civilian airports to get them to Kenya in the most efficient manner possible.

    Why, you say? Well, umm, because … uh, you see … hmm, can I get back to you on that?

  55. avatar
    Scientist July 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Nathanael: There has also been some study to suggest that parliamentary democratic systems are more efficient, more stable, and less prone to corruption than the US presidential-style model

    Parliamentary systems at least have accountability. When one set of bums is elected, they actually have the power to do what they promised. If they don’t or they do it and it works out badly, then the people can try a different set of bums.

    Right now we are watching the US political system rushing headlong towards a cliff (carrying the rest of the world over wiith it). Even if it pulls back at the last moment this time, there will be ample opportunities to crash onto the rocks in the near future. Is that any way to run things?

    I realize this site is fixated on the birthers. However, they are really only a symptom (perhaps a particularly nasty one, but still only a symptom) of a deeply broken political system.

  56. avatar
    G July 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Well said!

    Scientist: I realize this site is fixated on the birthers. However, they are really only a symptom (perhaps a particularly nasty one, but still only a symptom) of a deeply broken political system.

  57. avatar
    Noahfingwhey July 12, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Jake:
    What I concluded was that Zebest proved the document *could* have been created in Photoshop. But I already assumed that. The thing is, she’d have us believe that somebody did this letter by letter. As you said, what human would do this?

    A desperate one trying to hang on to a job he never should have been given.

  58. avatar
    Bovril July 12, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    In other words “noah” a figment of your fetid imagination

  59. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 12, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Interesting choice of word, “given.” I almost hear an affirmative action tune in the background. Is it just my bias coming through?

    Noahfingwhey: A desperate one trying to hang on to a job he never should have been given.

  60. avatar
    misha July 12, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Noahfingwhey: A desperate one trying to hang on to a job he never should have been given.

    Dr. Conspiracy: I almost hear an affirmative action tune in the background.

    Trump: “Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended. “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard,” Trump said.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/25/donald-trump-obama-ivy-league_n_853525.html

  61. avatar
    Thrifty July 12, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Noahfingwhey: A desperate one trying to hang on to a job he never should have been given.

    He forged a document that he was not at all obliged to release to… what… stave off impeachment proceedings that had not yet begun or even been proposed?

  62. avatar
    Nathanael July 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Thrifty: He forged a document that he was not at all obliged to release

    Well, birthers are only alleging he forged a copy of the document. It’s like trying to prove my driver’s license is fake by pointing out someone scribbled all over a photocopy.