Main Menu

More Birther certificate numbering BS

Image of fountain pen spilling inkThe one thing I hate more than misinformation is long-winded misinformation, something I was referred to this morning at The Daily Pen, authored by Penbrook Johannson. The article is Vital Records Indicate Obama Not Born in Hawaii Hospital (Part 1) and it’s a revival of the old “Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud because his certificate number is out of chronological order with the Nordyke twins” only this time with a lot more words.

I’ve dealt with this crank before in my article: Pen spills ink, makes mess. Given that we already have the birth certificate of Barack Obama indicating he was born at Kapi’olani hospital, a certificate prominently referenced by the State Department of Health on their web site, we can confidently say that anyone who comes with a complicated weaving of things to conclude otherwise is in all probability wrong. That’s the case here.

This Daily Pen article, which is indicated as “part 1 of 3”) is already painfully long. Mr. Johannson has the trappings of real research in his article, locating the 1961 Vital Statistics of the US – Volume 1: Natality (which we’ve mentioned here on several occasions). For extra credit he found the coding manuals (although not the manual for 1961 which the Department of Health and Human Services has told me no longer exists in their files) and even the Inman FOIA response. However, no amount of research is going to yield valid results if one misrepresents the research, and that’s what Johannson does. While the article is huge, mistakes are easy to locate.

Here’s the first error (emphasis mine):

In Hawaii in 1961, birth registration records were collected by the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health each week for births registered throughout the five regional offices between the previous Sunday at Midnight through Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Records from the five reporting counties were grouped in order by their geographic reference code into the seven groups shown above. Then the state of Hawaii’s Vital Statistics Registrar assigned birth registration numbers based, first, on regional occurrence with secondary consideration for chronological occurrence, as so stated in the 1961 Vital Statistics of the U.S. Report in Section 5, pg. 5-8.

I can only speculate why Johannson’s paragraph doesn’t hyperlink to the 1961 Vital Statistics of the U. S. (VSUS) document anywhere in his long report, a report that links to all sorts of other official sources, and which contains images from the 1961 document. One possible explanation is that he didn’t want anyone to actually read it. That makes sense because it doesn’t support the paragraph excerpted preceding. Here’s what it actually says in Section 5, Pg. 5-8 (and this is on PDF page 232 for your convenience):

With few exceptions, records are numbered in the State offices of vital statistics as they are received from the local offices.

It’s not clear to me exactly what Johannson means by “chronological occurrence” but in vital records jargon “occurrence” refers to the birth event, not registration. If you read the entire VSUS paragraph, what it says, and I loosely paraphrase, “in all but a few states, records are numbered as they are received, and they are usually received in batches from local offices (that correspond to geographical regions),  so just looking at the even-numbered certificates doesn’t introduce systematic bias into the sampling.”

We already know from the State of Hawaii that they were one of the “few exceptions” states, that they numbered certificates at the end of their registration process, not when the records were received, and statistical analysis further suggests that they were numbered monthly. In fact, 1961 was the first year that Hawaii’s data appeared in the NCHS Natality statistics, further distancing their processes from that of other states.

Johannson tries to take the general descriptive statement from VSUS and turn it into a strict processing rule, as in:

This means that as birth registration requests arrived at states’ main Department of Health offices, registrars had to first account them in order of receipt from regional office locations around the state.

But that’s not what VSUS says. There was no requirement imposed by NCHS, only a description of the process was in most states. He continues on this fantasy theme by saying:

In order to avoid this statistical inaccuracy, states adopted regional birth numbering which assigned an equal percentage of even numbers within all birth regions, not just cities and densely populated areas. This allowed rural and urban births to be accounted accurately regardless of their chronological occurrence.

Again, VSUS didn’t say states adopted numbering schemes for this purpose.

Now it gets really weird as Johannson says:

The 1961 Vital Statistics Report of the United States reveals in Section 5-5 that birth statistics are classified by the mother’s usual place of residence. This means that, in Hawaii in 1961, if the mother of a child resided in Region 4 (in Honolulu County but outside of the Incorporated area of the City of Honolulu), but came into the City of Honolulu (Region 3) to have the child at one of the urban hospitals, the vital statistics for that baby were recorded by the Department of health as occurring in Region 4, not Region 3. However, if the father was a resident alien, foreign student or undocumented immigrant, the mother’s usual place of residence was considered the place of occurrence, regardless of the birth location.

The problems with the preceding paragraph are manifold. The first issue is contextual. The section referenced (5-5 on PDF page 229)  regards a table of of state-level data derived from “checkbox item for usual residence.” It’s not where the birth occurred, or where the birth was registered, but what was checked on the box. This is a minor point that doesn’t affect the argument.

1961 birth certificate showing checkboxes for residence inside the city

What follows does affect the argument. Here’s the real VSUS text (emphasis mind):

Place of residence in birth statistics refers to the geographic area which constituted the mother’s usual place of residence at the time of birth. …

… For nonresident aliens, the place of residence is considered to be the same as the place of occurrence. …

The word “father” appears nowhere in that section (nor does “resident alien, foreign student or undocumented immigrant”). Johannson says “resident alien” but the document says “nonresident alien” and the other two classes are not mentioned at all. All the document says is that a non-resident alien mother does not have a usual place of residence in the United States (duh!), so they use the place of birth instead.

At this point my BS tolerance is exceeded, and I stop the analysis.

Print Friendly

, , ,

25 Responses to More Birther certificate numbering BS

  1. avatar
    y_p_w February 14, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Johannson seems to have little understanding about Oahu. Oahu is very different than other counties in that they have zero unincorporated area. The entire island of Oahu is considered the City and County of Honolulu and has been so for years. In fact, it’s the only incorporated area in the entire state. All the other islands are considered to have no incorporated areas, so they would have to identify by town or nearest town.

    If they’re referring to cities or towns, it must be for those from a different island than Oahu or someone from outside of Hawaii.

  2. avatar
    Patrick McKinnion February 14, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Not to mention the slight little fact that the writer got the name of Hawaii’s first territorial governor wrong.

  3. avatar
    AdrianInEngland February 14, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Birther logic, sort of like Jumbo Shrimp, is something that confuses any sane person.

  4. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 14, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    What I like about all this is the immense time and trouble these chowderheads are spending to convince… the already convinced. A big ol’ Birther Circle-jerk.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 14, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I’ve updated this article a little to point out that Johannson changed “resident alien” in the actual government document to “non-resident alien” for his purposes.

    I have a general problem dealing with stuff like this because in order to refute something, one must first understand the argument being made and that’s not always easy, particularly when the argument is so diffuse as this one. One can go through, as I did, and make a note every time the BS meter goes off, or when you say “that can’t be right” and then document it. I don’t have the patience to be an attorney, and to fish for gold coins in a bucket of mud when the bucket is really big.

  6. avatar
    JPotter February 14, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Thomas Brown: What I like about all this is the immense time and trouble these chowderheads are spending to convince… the already convinced. A big ol’ Birther Circle-jerk.

    Have to reinforce the faithful. Without regular maintenance, the believers may have to think for themselves. If the cult isn’t telling them which questions to ask and providing them the answers, they may ask their own. Reality may creep in to such opportunities. Thought control requires information control.

    This post is not a joke, but based on past experience.

  7. avatar
    jayHG February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Yes, desparation reigns supreme in the birther world.

  8. avatar
    Judge Mental February 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    This blogger is the same lying POS who last year disingenuously claimed that after cross checking with census statistics a private investigator had provided a list of hundreds of names of individuals who were born outside Hawaii yet whose names were routinely included in the lists of births in Hawaii sent by the Health Bureau Statistics office to the Hawaian newspapers for the birth announcements column.

    He was repeatedly asked over a period of several weeks thereafter by myself and others to provide some names so that his claim could be checked out. He avoided any further mention of the issue and did not provide a single solitary name. He quite clearly made up the whole story and is beyond any reasonable doubt a bare faced liar.

  9. avatar
    G February 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Agreed.

    Thomas Brown: What I like about all this is the immense time and trouble these chowderheads are spending to convince… the already convinced. A big ol’ Birther Circle-jerk.

  10. avatar
    G February 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Reading through is over-lengththy missive, it doesn’t take long to see numerous areas of unsourced “matter of fact” claims woven throughout.

    This guy bears all the hallmarks of a true pathological tall-tale maker. All the statistics and other details are merely there, not as actual evidence, but as shiny distractions to lull the reader away from paying attention to all the rest of the made up claims.

    Judge Mental: This blogger is the same lying POS who last year disingenuously claimed that after cross checking with census statistics a private investigator had provided a list of hundreds of names of individuals who were born outside Hawaii yet whose names were routinely included in the lists of births in Hawaii sent by the Health Bureau Statistics office to the Hawaian newspapers for the birth announcements column.He was repeatedly asked over a period of several weeks thereafter by myself and others to provide some names so that his claim could be checked out. He avoided any further mention of the issue and did not provide a single solitary name. He quite clearly made up the whole story and is beyond any reasonable doubt a bare faced liar.

  11. avatar
    Jules February 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    At this point my BS tolerance is exceeded, and I stop the analysis.

    Given just how long you’ve been reading and responding to birthers, I had assumed that there were no limits to your tolerance for those who spew BS.

  12. avatar
    y_p_w February 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    To this day there are still claims by birthers that Obama couldn’t have traveled to Pakistan in 1981 on a US passport. The claims were that there were a no travel list from the State Dept, and of course we know that they’ve never ever had a no-travel list for any country.

    The other claim is that Pakistan would have kept Americans out by religion or race, which is also patently untrue. They welcome American dollars. They’ve got many of the world’s great mountaineering and climbing destinations, including K2.

  13. avatar
    GreatKim February 15, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    The cronology issue brought up by birthers just illustrates their bias and their unwillingness to perform ANY critical thinking. Let us for a moment believe THERE IS a cronological issue and that THERE IS contradiction between the numeration of Nordyke and Obama cetrtificates. Before anything is done the researcher should ask himself: is there an absolute meter to determinate which certificate is correctly numbered or are we just POSTULATING one of the two numerations to be the correct one? Continuing in this absurd game, have they ever considered Obama’s certificate number to be the correct one (for whatever reasoning) and Nordyke’s fraudulent (for whatever reasoning).?
    Continuing this scientific review of their thesis, I would ask them:

    Q1) was there a BETTER reason, back in 1961, to falsify Obama’s certificate than to falsify Nordyke’s ?

    Q2) on what basis do you postulate the the Nordyke numbering to be authentic ?

    Whatever the answers they can be only speculative at best or heavily prejudiced at worst.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 15, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Mr. Nordyke, being a doctor, was in a better position to manipulate the system for his own purposes, than a nobody like the Obamas. But of course, this would never occur to a Birther.

    GreatKim: Continuing in this absurd game, have they ever considered Obama’s certificate number to be the correct one (for whatever reasoning) and Nordyke’s fraudulent (for whatever reasoning).?

  15. avatar
    Scientist February 15, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Majority Will: It must be a strange cry for help. This birther bigot desperately needs a dating service for semiliterate morons.

    For a start, I would like him to justify the statement at the top of his blog: “The greatest controversy in American political history”

    How so? Greater than slavery and the Civil War? Greater than Coke or Pepsi? Suppose that someday there was a fictional President who wasn’t a natural born citizen or one who was under 35? Would that cause the Earth to stop rotating on its axis?

  16. avatar
    Majority Will February 15, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Scientist: For a start, I would like him to justify the statement at the top of his blog: “The greatest controversy in American political history”

    How so?Greater than slavery and the Civil War?Greater than Coke or Pepsi?Suppose that someday there was a fictional President who wasn’t a natural born citizen or one who was under 35?Would that cause the Earth to stop rotating on its axis?

    Perhaps he’s been sobbing and retching uncontrollably ever since he found out that people from different cultures can marry and have children.

  17. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 15, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Looks like Adrien’s posts were all deleted. I was about to hand him his head, figuratively speaking. Another near-psychotic racist boob heard from: besides the usual Happersett/Vattel nonsense, his site links to others with such blatant, ugly racist titles as: “Jesus & Obama: Two Unnatural Hybrids”, “Moses & A Half-Blood President”,& “A Man Called Horse & A Man Called President.” And if one needed any more evidence of poor deluded Adrien being off the rails, there’a “Birth Certificate Not Determinative of Natural Born Citizenship,” which, of course, it is. So sayeth the courts.

    If you’re still lurking about in the slime out there, Adrien: what you don’t seem to get is that YOUR OPINIONS ON OBAMA’S ELIGIBILITY DO NOT MATTER. Your theories do not matter. You are nobody. All that matters is how Congress and the Supreme Court have chosen (and quite consistently) to define NBC, which is AT TOTAL VARIANCE WITH YOURS. And so you are nothing but a pathetic, whining loser, and we will be laughing our asses off when the Birther movement spins, crashes, and burns.

  18. avatar
    The Magic M February 15, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    GreatKim: was there a BETTER reason, back in 1961, to falsify Obama’s certificate than to falsify Nordyke’s

    To be fair, most birthers claim the BC was falsified long after 1961 (those who believe the conspiracy started before 1961 are the most delusional of the bunch).

    Still their unwillingness to actually investigate the issue and stick with “Nordykes good, Obama bad” is telling – including WND redacting the numbers of birth certificates that refute the “chronological order of birth” theory.

  19. avatar
    Scientist February 15, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    The Magic M: To be fair, most birthers claim the BC was falsified long after 1961 (those who believe the conspiracy started before 1961 are the most delusional of the bunch).

    If that were the case, then Hawaii wouldn’t have left the # on Obama’s unassigned in 1961, just waiting for him to use it decades later. They would have used that # for someone else, no?

  20. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 15, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Scientist: If that were the case, then Hawaii wouldn’t have left the # on Obama’s unassigned in 1961, justwaiting for him to use it decades later.They would have used that # for someone else, no?

    Dang, that’s a good point. As I commented to John Woodman a while back, the Obama Conspiracy Theory would logically require SOME of Obama’s documents being falsified at his birth or in his infancy, OTHER documents in mid-life, and STILL OTHERS before his election. Makes the wackiest JFK assassination theories look positively level-headed by comparison.

  21. avatar
    The Magic M February 15, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Scientist: They would have used that # for someone else, no?

    Cue the “he stole the number from a dead infant” birthers.

    Thomas Brown: the Obama Conspiracy Theory would logically require SOME of Obama’s documents being falsified at his birth or in his infancy

    I’m not sure. I think that, within their whacky parallel universe, it would be possible to forge the required documents in, say, 2004 or whatnot, and then get the necessary co-conspirators all over the country (Hawaiian DoH, SSA etc.) to play along.

    Remember no-one birthers consider a “credible, non-conspirational source” has yet laid his hands on any original documents. Hawaiian vault BC – “the DoH is in on it”. Newspaper announcements – “forged microfiches everywhere in the USA”. Etc.
    I’m not saying it’s reasonable, I’m just saying it’s still possible within the “grand conspiracy” tale (unlike some birfer theories which are mutually exclusive).

  22. avatar
    Scientist February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    The Magic M: Cue the “he stole the number from a dead infant” birthers.

    They tried that with that poor little girl and it turned out she had a different #, Fortunately for those of us born around that time, infant deaths were already pretty rare by 1961 and she may be the only infant in Hawaii who died at that time. I suppose you could argue that someone is living happily with a birth certificate with the same # as Obama (after all, who looks at the # on their birth certificate). Maybe the birthers should offer a $1 million reward for anyone who has a certificate with that #. Lucas Smith could try to claim it…

  23. avatar
    Whatever4 February 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    GreatKim:

    Q1) was there a BETTER reason, back in 1961, to falsify Obama’s certificate than to falsify Nordyke’s ?

    Q2) on what basis do you postulate the the Nordyke numbering to be authentic ?

    Whatever the answers they can be only speculative at best or heavily prejudiced at worst.

    I’ve always maintained that the number being in the same ballpark is one data point that leans towards authenticity. If the COLB was forged from anything without the help of the Hawaii DoH, then the number wouldn’t be so close to the Nordyke’s. It would be hundreds or thousands off.

  24. avatar
    y_p_w February 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    The Magic M: To be fair, most birthers claim the BC was falsified long after 1961 (those who believe the conspiracy started before 1961 are the most delusional of the bunch).Still their unwillingness to actually investigate the issue and stick with “Nordykes good, Obama bad” is telling – including WND redacting the numbers of birth certificates that refute the “chronological order of birth” theory.

    Remember some were willing to throw the Nordyke certificates under the bus because of the name of the hospital. Anyone remember the theory advanced that there was no Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in 1961 – that it would have been Kapiolani Maternity Home? Of course the truth was that the latter name was already gone in favor of the former since at least the 1940s, but the birthers hang on to anything.

  25. avatar
    birth certificate February 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    such a great post it is. really you did a great job. right now read your post and share it on my facebook. looking for more write up o this. keep going.