In 1978, a delightful paperback book was published, SYSTEMANTICS: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail, by John Gall. One of the laws that Mr. Gall developed to help understand why systems go awry is his Fundamental Law of Administrative Working (F.L.A.W.) that says:
Things are what they are reported to be.
The real world is whatever is reported to the system.
Birthers, exemplified by Orly Taitz and Susan Daniels, fall prey to this systems delusion by believing that whatever they find in a database is true, even if it is absurd. We see this in Daniels’ foray into litigation, Daniels v. Husted (Ohio Secretary of State).
Daniels believes that Barack Obama is using a fraudulent social-security number1. She bases this conclusion on two “system” outputs.
The first absurd system output that Daniels believes is a retrieval from some online web page that says of “042” series social-security numbers near that of Barack Obama: “Issued 1977-1979 in CT.” She believes this even though all social-security numbers in 1977-1979 were issued centrally, not “in” any state. Further, it appears that she never bothered to check to see whether any of those numbers she looked up were really issued to Connecticut residents. Actually the system output she shows as an exhibit, pp. 36-38, doesn’t say this. It has two boxes, one says “State Issued” and the other “Connecticut.” The output doesn’t really say anything except that “042” is a Connecticut area number2. It’s not a record of issuance, but a lookup from the range table. She would like the reader to believe that these lookups are of individual issuance records, rather than a report of the numbers and ranges historically used. The “042” area number is used for people with Connecticut return addresses normally, but the Social Security Administration says that the number is not a reliable location code. Anti-birthers speculate that this anomaly in the area number was caused by a typographical error keying a zip code.
The Social Security Administration replied directly to Susan Daniels:
After reviewing the information you provided, we disagree with your conclusion that a person’s social-security number depends upon the address of residence.
The second system output is a birth date of “1890” associated with public database records. Even though there are correct August 4, 1961 dates of birth among the output, she thinks this one year is the smoking gun indicating the real date of birth of the number’s original owner.
Daniels then concludes:
Based on information and belief, Plaintiff asserts that Barack Obama began using the Connecticut social security number as his own in the mid-‘80s. That number had previously been issued to another person, herein referred to as Mr./Ms./Mrs. X, in March 1977, who lived in Connecticut at the time of application for a social security number.
Given that Mr. X would be 120 years old today, he’s almost certainly dead. He’s not in the Social Security Death Index. That’s not conclusive, but I am very experienced working with large databases of personal information, and that “1890” looks like the junk data that appears all the time. Just the fact that it has no month and date shows that it’s somehow defective. And we should keep in mind that this “1890” is not from any government database, but from aggregate reports of property transactions, credit applications and other unspecified public records.
Think about it. How could “Mr. X” explain the date in the records? Certainly Barack Obama never supplied his birth date as 1890. The only way a legitimate 1890 date could be in the database would be for Mr. X to have had some transaction under his social-security number and 1890 birth date there. However, none of those databases list Mr. X – they all say Barack Obama for that number. Mr. X is Barack Obama and the 1890 date is garbage.
The hole in Ms. Daniels’ case, big enough to drive a truck through is that her complaint is based on a contention that Barack Obama’s documentation to the Ohio Secretary of State is fraudulent because Obama allegedly uses a fraudulent social-security number. However, she never even alleges that Obama used this number on his election paperwork, so where’s the fraud?
The case is absurd – political theater of the absurd. The complaint follows.
I had intended to include this with the original article, but got distracted. Is Susan Daniels ignorant about how the databases work and that is the reason for this nonsense? Probably not. Daniels previously said:
However, in the USA the case is somewhat different. According to Susan Daniels, of Daniels and Associates Investigations, Inc. in Chardon Ohio, when searching through database aggregators such as IRB, it is common to find a subject referenced with two or three Social Security Numbers (SSN). Here are some of the reasons a person may show-up with multiple SSN’s:
- a wife’s or child’s SSN could end up with father’s name
- a parent’s SSN could show up with a child
- the subject bought something with someone else and the SSNs could end up with each other’s name
- the database producer is relating several SSN’s to one address
- an error by whoever entered the data
I think this lawsuit is intentional deception.
1Following the usage of the Social Security Administration in its own legal filings, I use the phrase “social-security number” hyphenated and lower case.
2In 2011 SSA stopped using the first three digits of the SSN to designate residence area.