Long-discredited rumors repackaged
In a video presentation by Mike Zullo to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association on June 1, pretty much everything he said was false besides his name. Zullo has made the claim that Obots don’t understand vital records. I have over 30 years professional experience with vital records, and I can assure the reader that Zullo is the one who is clueless in this area.
Let me give an example of a fast one that comes at around 49:00 in the video of the presentation. Here’s the transcript:
In 1961, the term used to describe black people on a birth certificate was “negro.” In order to document this we obtained the 1960 vital statistics instruction manual containing the instructions for coding race on a birth certificate that where followed by every health department in the United States, including the Hawaiian Health Department. As you can see, if the parents race was reported as “colored,” “black,” “brown,” or “Afro-American” the Department of Health Services was required to consider the parents a “negro.” For those of you who may be wondering why the 1960 manual was consulted instead of the 1961 manual, it’s because the 1961 manual wasn’t published until 10 days after Barack Obama’s birth…
In a prior press conference, Zullo showed a code manual that he said was from 1961 and claimed that penciled notations on Obama’s form were in error, not matching the codes in this manual. I caught Zullo in the lie. His two manual screen shots were from 1968 and 1969 and the codes were wrong for 1961: fake manual, false conclusion. This time, he has abandoned the fraudulent codes and fallen back on a much older and long-discredited Internet myth (I debunked this in 2009 and 2012), that Obama’s father’s race says “African” where regulations require “negro” bolstered by what he calls a 1960 manual1. Whether his manual was from 1960, 1961, 1968 or 1969 doesn’t matter because his citation is inapplicable, misleading, and in a fake context.
Note the verbal slight of hand: the Zullo video says, “if the parents race was reported as ‘colored,’ ‘black,’ ‘brown,’ or ‘Afro-American’ the Department of Health Services was required to consider the parents a ‘negro.’’’ Barack Obama’s father reported his race as “African.” Is that “colored?” Is that “black?” Is that “brown?” Is that “Afro-American”? No, no, no and no. Is Zullo trying to trick the sheriffs? The instructions do NOT say to consider the race “negro” instead of “African,” and for the ethnographically impaired, not all Africans (and not all Kenyans) are black. Zullo’s 1960 manual on screen was illegible, but the same section in the 1961 manual says: “If the birth place of the parent is not in the United States consider the parent’s race as “other non-white.”2Even that really doesn’t apply because “African” was not in the list.
Now again, listen to exactly what Zullo said: “if the parents race was reported as “colored,” “black,” “brown,” or “Afro-American” the Department of Health Services was required to consider the parents a ‘negro’.” Now, look at that carefully. What is the “Department of Health Services?” It’s not the 1961 Hawaii Health Bureau. Is it the later federal Department of Health and Human services (in 1960-61 it was the Department of Health, Education and Welfare)? Zullo would have the slow-witted reader to gloss over this ambiguity about a manual that was not intended for vital records processing for the State of Hawaii; the federal manual’s purpose is to tell the federal government how to key in the data from microfilmed records received from the states. I don’t know the precise manual that Zullo is citing, but it may well not even be a manual for use by states at all.
Let’s look back at what Zullo said one more time: “if the parents race was reported as “colored,” “black,” “brown,” or “Afro-American” the Department of Health Services was required to consider the parents a ‘negro’.” Note that the manual says “consider the parents a negro.” It does not say “change the race to negro” but “consider” it negro. In fact, “changing” it would be nonsensical because parents’ race was NOT PART OF THE 1960-61 FEDERAL DATA SET. The context of the quotation from Zullo (and you can see the same thing in the Federal manual from 1961) is that when determining the race of the child, one looks at the race of the parents, and for that purpose a colored/black/brown/Afro-American person is considered negro.
The second misleading part of the presentation derives comes from Zullo’s fundamental ignorance of vital records. As someone long involved in vital records information technology, one of the very first concepts I learned is that vital records are actually two things: a statistical record and a legal record. The first may be changed; the second cannot be changed, only amended through a formal process. The federal manual had to do with data coding and it basically tells someone what code to use in the federal data set for the race of the child after considering the reported race of the parents from a microfilmed copy of the birth certificate. It has no relevance to the legal record, which after all is a document of information provided by the informant (usually a parent) and the witness (usually a doctor), sworn as true under penalty of law. Could you imagine swearing a statement under oath, and then somebody just going in and changing it later? —totally absurd. And what sense does it make for the federal government data entry process that happened after a birth certificate has been registered, filed and microfilmed to apply back to what was reported in a state?
Zullo then presents (and I use the word loosely because he doesn’t actually show the image) a birth certificate where the word “colored” was changed to “negro.” What he doesn’t say is who changed it. He would leave the viewer with the idea that the Hawaii Health Bureau changed it because of federal rule that DOES NOT APPLY. Generally with a signed document, you don’t make changes AFTER the document is signed (or the changes are initialed). It is, after all, a legal record! This leads one to believe that this change was made at the hospital and not by the State Health Bureau, and even if the hospital following a hypothetical state guideline did this and got the parent to agree to it and sign it, it would not have applied to someone who was “African.” A birth certificate is a legal record, and once it is signed under penalty of law, it can only be changed by amendment. Zullo, never having worked at a vital records agency, doesn’t appreciate such things and doesn’t understand the concept of the legal record. We further know from other examples of Hawaiian birth certificates that all sorts of crazy stuff was reported for parents’ race.
What the manual Zullo cites really says is that when Barack Obama’s microfilmed birth certificate was processed by the federal government, the race of Barack Obama’s father was considered to be something for the purpose of determining the statistical classification of his son’s birth. The data entry for Obama’s birth at the federal level would have been done according to 1961 rules. I find the rules somewhat ambiguous and a supervisor would have had the discretion to go one way or another. My personal view is that Obama Sr.’s race was considered “unknown” and if that is so, the President’s birth was statistically counted as “white.” See my article: “Shocking revelation: President Obama may be ‘white.’”
Make no mistake about it, if any vital statistics subject matter expert were ever to testify in court, they would say essentially what I have said, and Zullo if he had repeated what we see in the video in court, would be impeached. This is why, of course, Zullo has blown off subpoenas in the past. He could not stand up to cross examination.
1Lest anyone think that the 1960 manual somehow excuses the lies told at the earlier press conference, the codes in 1960 and 1961 are the same