I must say you handled yourself well on the RC Radio show. We probably got more substance on this show than any other birther/anti-birther confrontation I’ve listened to.
As I listened there were a few things I wanted to put before you at leisure.
I want to dig into the moral issue first. Let’s say that I believe that all conventional medicine is bunk and the only thing that heals is crystals. My neighbor has high blood pressure that is being managed by medication, but I tell him that he could be cured once and for all with crystals. My neighbor doesn’t buy it. So I email my neighbor a link to a web site, CrystalsCureYou.com. The next day, I have another crystal believer come over and the two of us visit my neighbor. Then I send him another web link to DoctorsAreQuacks.com, and the next day I drop off a copy of the book Crystal Power. Next day a link to PrescriptionDrugsKill.com. I persuade my neighbor to at least read the Crystal Medicine Advocacy Internet forum. I recommend online classes in crystal therapy. After 6 months of saturating my neighbor with pro-crystal material, he develops doubts about the way he’s managing his high blood pressure and decides to stop taking his medicine and give crystals a try. His blood pressure shoots up, he has a stroke, and dies.
In this story, I am doing what I believe is right, but is what I did right? I would say no, and the reason is that I gave advice to someone without applying a scientific methodology to evaluate treatment effectiveness before I gave advice and then pressured them into accepting it. My actions were reckless and they resulted in a death. In your case, you’re bringing a lawsuit and the very fact you bring the lawsuit is advising people to believe that their President is a usurper, but more than that, you actually provide a “kit” for other people to bring lawsuits.
You may know the Scripture, James 3:1
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
As one who runs a web site on Obama conspiracy theories, I feel a tremendous weight of responsibility to check and double-check what I say and the positions I take. I don’t do things based on feeling, I do them based on facts. I force myself to study things I would normally dismiss out of hand. I make mistakes, but it pains me when I do, and I work hard to correct them. You seem to be rather cavalier about your significant misstatements of fact – “I’ll fix it later, “It’s just for the press,” “it’s not relevant to my case.”
Frankly, I would stake my life that Obama was born in Hawaii, without pause, because the evidence is so overwhelming.
I heard you make several statements (e.g. about Abercrombie and Tim Adams) related to where Obama was born that are straight off some birther web site (including WND in that category) and blatant distortions of fact. You have not done due diligence on the premises that led you to doubt where was Obama was born. You take information from birther web sites, and don’t check original sources. You are as negligent as the crystal believer trying to tell his neighbor now to treat high blood pressure.
So let me tell you how I know Obama was born in Hawaii (full documentation on this site for every item following):
- Barack Obama released his official Hawaiian birth certificate on June 12, 2008.
- Obama’s parents lived in Hawaii (a short trip to Kapi’olani Hospital) and most of the time children are born where their parents live.
- The Immigration files of Barack Obama Sr. categorically state that he did not leave the country in 1961.
- The INS statistical report for July 1, 1961 – June 30 states that NO American citizens traveled to the US by air on a trip starting in Kenya that whole year! Ann Obama could have traveled to Kenya, but not returned. (This is not surprising considering how expensive the trip was.)
- Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Republican, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health personally inspected Obama’s original birth certificate in the files in Hawaii and said it was there and Obama was born in Hawaii. Her statement is on the State web site, and she was interviewed on CNN confirming.
- Dr. Alvin Onaka, Chief of Vital Records, has sent a signed and sealed verification of Obama’s birth in Hawaii to the Secretary of State of Arizona, and it now resides on the Arizona State web site.
- Dr. Onaka has sent a signed and sealed verification filed with the Federal Court in Mississippi stating that he examined the long form PDF file on the White House web site and that it matches the original in the Department files in every respect.
- Dr. Loretta Fuddy, Democrat, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, has stated on the Department web site that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is in the files, that she has personally inspected it, and that a copy was provided to the President (a couple of days before the White House released it).
- The Long Form birth certificate original certified copy was presented to the Press at the White House news conference, and one correspondent, Savannah Guthrie, snapped a photo of it and stated that she “felt the raised seal.” It is irresponsible to say that the long form hasn’t been released.
- An August 1961 hand-written memo from William Wood II in the State Department files for Obama Sr. state that Barack Obama II was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu.
- Obama’s birth was reported in 1961 in two competing Honolulu newspapers, from a list provided by the Health Department. A long-time reporter interviewed by CNN stated that parents could not submit names to these columns. Obama’s name appears in the same order in both papers, proving that they came from the same list.
- A trip to Africa would have been prohibitively expensive in 1961, and would have been extremely arduous (3 days) for a pregnant woman.
- Barbara Nelson recalls a conversation with Dr. West who practiced at Kapi’olani who told her that “Stanley had a baby.”
- Jon Chessoni, first Secretary at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC, said, speaking of inquiries the Embassy received about President Obama being born in Kenya: “When this matter first came up, the Kenyan government did its research and confirmed that these are all baseless claims.”
- Hawaiian Law in 1961 did not allow issuance of a birth certificate except for persons born in Hawaii.
- Barack Obama appears in the 1961 bound birth index available for inspection at the Department of Health in Hawaii. (Several videos, including one from CNN confirm).
Notice that in every case, I cited a law or the statement of a named person who in the course of their job (except we don’t know who William Wood is) was in a position to know the facts that they state. I compare this to the birther evidence from anonymous sources, documents that just “appeared” on the Internet with no provenance, claims from people like Tim Adams who had no access to the records he claimed showed what he said (and changed his story a few times), and persons never recognized as experts anywhere claiming to be experts. In fact four credentialed document experts looked at the Obama long form and said no indication of fraud. You’d never know that reading the birther press.
I have examined birther evidence for 4 years now and every bit of it falls apart. There is no smoking gun. There is a steady drip of misinformation that because of its persistence (and the echo chamber of the Internet communities who reinforce each other) have raised baseless doubts, but doubts once raised just reinforce themselves until they get out of control and result in the inability to hear opposing arguments.
Let’s say I did an experiment. I believe that watering plants is harmful. I plant 100 specimens and my gardener waters them. 99 do well, but one dies. My gardener tells me he forgot to water that one plant, but I don’t believe him. I conclude, based on that dead plant that watering plants is harmful. You’d think I was pretty strange.
Well you look at 100 published reports (e.g. Harvard biography, newspaper pieces, book) that say Obama was born in Hawaii, and one rather persistent error that didn’t get fixed, and say that is what you’re going to believe. The person who made the error says that she didn’t have any information from Obama saying about his being born in Kenya, but you don’t believe her. Well I think THAT is pretty strange, only I understand it; It’s called “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias means we tend to accept evidence that reinforces what we already believe, and we downplay or reject evidence that goes against us. We all have it. Conspiracy theorists have it bad. You believe Tim Adams who had no access to birth records when he says there is no birth certificate, but you don’t believe Dr. Fuddy, Dr. Onaka and Dr. Fukino who are in charge of them. Is that rational? It’s confirmation bias in action.
You should go back and listen to yourself. Normal people say that the courts decide things based on their best judgment, but the judgment isn’t going your way so you make excuses. “The courts are afraid of chaos.” But you believe that it would create chaos because you think Obama being declared ineligible would invalidate every law he signed and order he issued. But that is legal nonsense (see de facto officer doctrine) that you likely got from some birther web site. You reached a conclusion, excusing yourself from paying attention to what the courts are telling you based on faulty information. You didn’t do diligence, you didn’t check your facts, and you are spreading false information about what would happen if a president were declared ineligible. Doesn’t that bother you at all?
I believe that you have been sloppy and negligent bringing a claim that Obama was foreign born. You have let crackpots persuade you, you have fallen prey to confirmation bias, you have not reasoned soundly, and you have made a big mistake. I don’t mean to imply that you’re not smart; smart people get sucked into the weirdest theories. You’re just not applying your intelligence, but letting your self be fooled by people whose intention is to fool you and others for political advantage. I believe that people who advocate for a cause have a moral duty to make sure they are right BEFORE they try to persuade others.
PS. Your views on the meaning of “natural born citizen” are equally the product of a lack of due diligence and confirmation bias, but that’s for another time.