One of the frustrating aspects of this Obama conspiracy business is that birthers can say what I consider to be irresponsible things, and get by without any consequences. Birther lawsuits are generally dismissed and the self-appointed birther subject matter experts never appear under oath. Even Dr. Ron Polland’s affidavit that Orly filed in California was signed “XXXXXXXXXXXX.” Birthers willing to use their real names just write reports for publication at WorldNetDaily.
That changed on on January 26 with the testimony of Douglas Vogt and Felicito Papa in the Farrar v. Obama hearing in Atlanta. I was at the hearing and I heard some things didn’t sound true. Did I hear right? Does it depend on what the definition of “is” is? Let’s look at the transcript. Mr. Vogt’s testimony begins on page 21.
Orly Taitz asked Vogt if he found anything suspicious about the birth certificate Mr. Obama posted online. Taitz kept interrupting, but let me pick out some bits of what he said. First he mentioned haloing, a bit of white surrounding text on the form. Vogt said:
Yes, the haloing we’re referring to is around all the type and lines, there’s a white line. At first, we didn’t quite know what it was until we finally actually replicated the form and actually redid the thing and figured out how the forger did it.
The haloing is caused by what — it’s a subroutine in Photoshop called unsharp mask. Now you have to understand, if a document like this has any evidence of computer manipulation, it’s a fraud.
I think a reasonable person would see Vogt as expressing an opinion (that there was a forger, that Photoshop was used, that a document couldn’t be enhanced, for example, without being a fraud), even though he doesn’t use that word. While what he said is false, he could just be mistaken.
Vogt then repeats something he said before, but was not borne out by citations he made:
They had these original forms. There was a federal law that was passed in 2005 that required them to scan all the documents
This is a statement of fact, and if not true, might rightly be called lie.
Orly Taitz kept saying “stamp, stamp, stamp” in an attempt to make the point that if a hand stamp were applied to three documents, the stamps wouldn’t appear in the same place on all the documents. However, she never gave any reason to believe that there were three documents (as opposed to three pictures of the same one). Taitz then went on to address the certification stamp, suggesting that a normal hand stamp would be slanted to some degree. She asked Vogt: “Was it slanted here?” and Vogt replied, “No, they’re perfectly straight.”
Vogt considers himself to be an expert and represents that he looked at the document carefully. How could he give that answer truthfully, when the stamp is not “perfectly” straight.
Taitz asked: “The question is would you expect kerning or encroachment of one letter going into space of the other letter on a typewritten document?” Vogt replied:
No. Typewriters basically are either 12 characters to an inch and they all fit in a specific box six points wide.
But that’s not actually true because typewriters are mechanical devices subject to maladjustment and wear. I did experiments myself to verify that characters can stray outside those imaginary boxes with a typewriter. However, we might excuse Mr. Vogt for not knowing this since he’s never claimed to be a typewriter expert but a typesetting expert (where a typewriter font wouldn’t normally overlap).
Now we get to my personal area of expertise. Orly Taitz asked: “What about, did you check — can we go a little bit higher — in terms of their number. The number ends with 641. Did you check the numbers, was that sequential?” Vogt replied:
No, it was hard finding the law, but both the — there was a Model States Vital Statistics Act and in the U.S. Department of Health and Education as well as the Social Security system that both say in the federal regs that all birth certificate numbers have to be sequential and they start from zero or one, January 1 at 12:01 a.m.”
The National Center for Health Statistics publishes a Model States Vital Statistics Act, but it is not a law or a federal regulation as Vogt claims. It is exactly what it says, a model act that a state may or may not adopt in whole or in part. I’ve read, I believe, all the Vital Statistics statutes in Hawaii and have not seen such a requirement there.
Orly Taitz never made any sense from what she tried to elicit from Mr. Vogt about the numbers, but got to it later in the testimony of former INS agent Sampson. The gist of the argument is that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake because its certificate number is not in strict birth order agreement with the Nordyke twins born the next day. But then the Nordyke twins aren’t in order with an unnamed certificated WorldNetDaily published, nor with that of Virginia Sunahara.
It is generally true that birth certificates are numbered 1, 2, 3 … starting at the beginning of each year, but to describe them as sequential doesn’t mean that that the children who get them are born in that order, else how could a late registrant get a number that wasn’t already used? Birth certificates are sequentially numbered IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY RECEIVE NUMBERS and different states number certificates (sequentially) with differing procedures. In 1961 in Hawaii, they are sequentially numbered in the order in which they were fed into the numbering machine.
While the case could be made that Douglas Vogt lied under oath, I think the more reasonable conclusion is that he believes his own nonsense — and that’s not perjury.