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Archive | December, 2011

FactCheck responds to Polland challenge

Brooks Jackson, Director of FactCheck.org, a nationally acclaimed journalistic organization dedicated to truth in politics, has responded to the recent attack by Ron Polland published in WorldNetDaily. In an email to Obama Conspiracy Theories, Jackson wrote:

On advice of counsel, I am losing not one second of sleep over this comical "challenge."

Donations to FactCheck.org are deductible because we are a part of the University of Pennsylvania, a 501(c)3 organization. So if Polland has actually filed some challenge against FactCheck.org as he claims — and I’ve seen nothing either from him or from the IRS to confirm that — then he’s challenged the wrong legal entity.

Should he realize his error and try to correct it, I think he’ll have zero chance of making a case that an Ivy League university should not be tax exempt.

I’m also mystified at his claim to have filed something with the Federal Election Commission, which has no jurisdiction over tax matters.

That’s a big OOPS, Ron. In my earlier article on Polland’s challenge, I omitted the part about the Federal Election Commission because it didn’t make any sense to me either and I was trying to avoid “piling on.”

2011: The year of the long form

Thinking back over the past year, I think no single event more influenced the birther movement than the release by the White House of a certified copy of Barack Obama’s original Certificate of Live Birth from Hawaii, shown here in a photo taken by NBC News correspondent Savannah Guthrie at a White House news conference.

The document’s release in April had two almost immediate consequences. First, many casual doubters, those whose doubts stemmed primarily from the fact that the President hadn’t responded to demands to release the document, were satisfied that Obama was born in Hawaii just as the Encyclopedia Britannica said. The long-form certificate refuted claims that Obama’s registration was fraudulent, submitted by a relative: it clearly shows Obama was born in the Kapi’olani hospital and delivered by physician David A. Sinclair. Birther poll numbers dropped sharply.

The presidential aspirations of real estate mogul and TV host Donald Trump (who some credit with forcing Obama’s hand in releasing the certificate) were dashed as Trump’s TV appearances questioning Obama’s place of birth backfired in the light of new evidence. Author Jerome Corsi, whose book Where’s the Birth Certificate? was about to be released, also became a laughingstock.

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Polland v FactCheck.org

imageIf we have to blame someone for the foolishness that is the Birther movement, Dr. Ron Polland (pictured right) is a good place to start. Just days after then presidential candidate Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2008, Polland (writing under the pseudonym “Ron Polarik”) began his seemingly obsessive career of claiming that it’s a fake.

Now WorldNetDaily reports that Polland has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over the tax-exempt status of non-profit FactCheck.org, one of the organizations who have published photos and scans of Obama’s Certification of Live Birth. Polland alleges that the photos that FactCheck published of Obama’s certificate were actually photos of a document that FactCheck itself created from the scanned image provided by the Obama Campaign. Polland told WND:

When I saw the photos that Factcheck published in August 2008, I knew that they had photographed a printout of the forged COLB scan they published in June 2008.

Polland argues that the Obama Campaign scan has some of the same dust spots that the FactCheck photos have, which leads him to conclude that the photos were of the scans, not the original document.

We’ll look at Polland’s argument in detail in a future article. However, Polland is assuming that every speck on both images come from the scanner plate and not from the original document. That’s a big assumption without which Polland’s analysis is just hot air.

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Paul Irey backtracks

imageOne of the self-appointed document experts who volunteered their services WorldNetDaily supporting the notion that Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a fake,  has backed off some of his claims after being confronted by counterarguments from document analysis debunker John Woodman, author of the book: Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? A Computer Guy Examines the Evidence for Forgery.

I had the opportunity to speak with Paul Irey on a Reality Check Radio program, hosted by RC. I found Irey to be sincere and honest, but all the same deeply influenced by his own biases about the President. Honesty won out, and in conversations with RC, Irey admitted he was wrong in some of his claims. This hasn’t stopped the Birthers from continuing to use Irey’s prior reports as evidence.

Read the fascinating story from the Reality Check Radio web site.

Newt Gingrich and the Birther issue

He will lose the presidency because all of us will vote him out, which is the American way of doing it.

Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Iowa, was presented a leading Birther question: doesn’t Obama have to prove his citizenship? Gingrich replied:

“No,” Gingrich said. He joked, “I thought you were going to ask me whether Donald Trump had citizenship,” referring to the attention the reality television star stirred up when he raised questions about President Obama’s birthplace, prompting the White House to release his long-form birth certificate.

“All I can report is the state of Hawaii has certified that he was born there,” Gingrich continued.

Gesturing to his wife beside him, he said, “We both were with a taxi driver one day who showed us the hospital. There is every reason to believe he is a citizen of the United States. The fact that he’s already a terrible president, we don’t have to go beyond that and try to find something beyond that.”