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An open letter to Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly is a writer for the Pittsburgh Press, and not a very good one. Yesterday he published one of those misinformation-laden smear pieces against Barack Obama that we more often see on tabloid internet sites and blogs. This one appeared at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, titled “Barack Obama’s past as murky as his word.”

I sent the author this letter and posted it as a reply to the article:

I was referred to your article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled "Barack Obama’s past as murky as his word" in which you say:
"Genuine documents confirm Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, said document expert Nick Chase. But the “long form” birth certificate the White House posted on the Internet April 27, 2011, is an obvious forgery, he said. Other document experts agree."

As written, the last sentence is yours, and it is false. No document expert has ever said that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. Some birther cranks with no background in document analysis have made easily debunked objections to the certificate, but no one qualified. On the other hand, half a dozen real professional document and imaging experts have found nothing wrong with it, including Krawetz, de Queiroz, Pex, Zatkovich, Broyhill and Colburn.

And if there were any further doubts, the Hawaii Department of Health says on it’s web site today: "On April 27, 2011 President Barack Obama posted a certified copy of his original Certificate of Live Birth" and links to what you’re calling a forgery. (

The second nonsense in your article is the adoption thing. Beyond the fact that the Hawaii Department of Health backs the certificate, the US State Department in the case of Strunk v. Department of State specifically denied that Obama had been adopted by his stepfather, and Obama’s attorney also denied this in a more recent case.

Finally, you make a total fabrication when you say "Unlike other recent presidential candidates, Mr. Obama has refused to permit release of his academic records from Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School." In fact I don’t know of ANY recent presidential candidate who released his college record. The records of George W. Bush were accidentally released without permission.

So in answer to your innuendo-laden questions:

  1. Obama didn’t release his college record for the same reason most other candidates don’t.
  2. Obama’s birth certificate isn’t a forgery except in the minds of nut-case conspiracy theorists
  3. It is not unusual for people to have social-security numbers from the wrong state series. The Social Security web site says that the "area number" was never intended to be a reliable geographic indicator. When Obama’s number was issued, the numbers were assigned centrally in the US based on the return address on the application. Mistaking a "0" for a "9" turns a Hawaii zip code into one for Connecticut.

Kevin Davidson

What is the Akond of Soebarkah?

Who, or why, or which, or what,

Is the Akond of SWAT?

Edward Lear from “The Akond of Swat”

Let me show you something that Orly Taitz talks about, most recently before the Indiana Elections Commission (click to enlarge):


This image is a section from a passport renewal application signed by Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro on August 13, 1968, while she resided at Djakarta, Indonesia. The document was obtained by me from the the US Department of State through the Freedom of Information Act.

Orly Taitz says that this passport renewal application is proof that Barack Obama’s surname at the time was “Soebarkah.” This leads me to the question that titles this article: What is “Soebarkah?” The short answer is that I don’t know.

I did a Google search on Indonesian web sites:

soebarkah site:id

and I got a number hits where Soebarkah was an individual’s name and didn’t see hits that looked otherwise. I tried Google Translate on the word (Indonesian to English) and it left it as is. From this, I concluded that it  is a personal name.

While I am not a qualified handwriting expert, I feel pretty confident that the handwriting on this part of the form is the same as the handwriting on the first page of the form, which in context appears to be that of Stanley Ann Dunham. (If someone has expertise and wants to render an opinion, the full document is pages 2-3 embedded in my article on the Strunk FOIA.)

So we know what it is, a name, and we know who wrote it, but what does it mean?

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