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Breaking News–recycled from 2012

I noticed something familiar in the Twitter feed that pointed to an article published today at the Resist The Tyranny site. It starts off:

“NEW DISCOVERY: A government document found buried in the online reference section of a Boston Public Library archive bolsters a growing mountain of evidentiary data against Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president.

This is a good example of birther recycling. There’s hardly anything “new” about the story. It’s nothing but an excerpt from an old article at The Last Great Stand, from August of 2013, and it wasn’t a “NEW DISCOVERY” even then.

The story originated at the Daily Pen blog in 2012, one of the birther web sites that intentionally lies about evidence. Indeed, it was through researching that story that I found solid proof in INS statistical reports that the President wasn’t born in Kenya.

You can read my March, 2012 debunking: “US citizen births in Africa – rare in 1961” and the startling follow-up article, one of my all-time favorites: “Born in Africa myth crushed under weight of its complexity.”

Arduini bites Vogt

Tenacious debunker Frank Arduini has sunk his teeth into Douglas Vogt’s Seattle Court filings and come up with a new report in his series of debunking major birther documents,  “20 Shades of Vogt: Digital Document Forensics for Amateurs.”

I started debunking Vogt’s 20 points of forgery, but tired of the effort, plus I never could properly use the word “prolix” in a sentence. Arduini had the endurance and the grammar to pull it off. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

Woodman writes retrospective

John Woodman, computer guy, author, and birther forgery debunker extraordinaire retired a year ago to devote himself to his family and his real job. Woodman’s book Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? remains the seminal work documenting and debunking the twists and turns of the birther mind trying to find an excuse to deny the evidence of President Obama’s birth certificate.

An important event in forgery debunking happened in 2013 with the publication of evidence that the White House birth certificate was scanned on a Xerox WorkCenter 7655 office machine and then rotated with Preview on a Mac, and thereby explaining pretty much the whole birther forgery “evidence.”

Now John Woodman has published a year-end “Epilog” to the forgery debunking saga, summarizing the old and new evidence, and putting the last nail (just kidding) in the birther certificate forgery coffin. Now that the nail is in, birthers wishing to revitalize the corpse of their theories must obtain one of these before moving the goalposts.

Who, or why, or which, or what is Harrison J. Bounel?

Somewhere in this world, there is a database record created in November of 2009, encoded in bits and bytes, that has contains the name “Harrison J. Bounel,” the address of President Obama’s house in Chicago and the social-security number President Obama used on his 2009 Income Tax return and his 1980 Selective Service System registration. In another record in some database there is an entry for Barack Obama with the date of birth “1890” (and others with his correct date of birth, and one or more with the month and day switched).

From this, the birthers have spun the theory that Harrison J. Bounel was a real person, born in 1890, who got a social-security number in the 1970’s in Connecticut, immediately moved into a Hawaiian nursing home, and died. Barack Obama, so they say, then started using that social-security number for some unexplained reason.

Despite efforts by the birthers who are real private detectives, none of the details of the theory have been verified. For example, no other trace of anyone named Harrison J. Bounel has ever been found, living or dead, in Hawaii or Connecticut, or anywhere else. He’s not in the US Census records. He’s not in the Social Security Death Index. He’s nowhere except that one singular database entry. Bounel is not associated with the date “1890” in any record, but the birthers nevertheless adamantly insist that’s when he was born.

I wouldn’t even mention this loony theory except that I’ve been bombarded with it in comments over at WorldNetDaily from people who firmly believe it’s true. Let me bring up some objections to the theory:

  1. If Harrison J. Bounel were a real person, he should have left more records behind. If he died in Hawaii, he’d be in the public Hawaiian death index.
  2. The Bounel database record was created in November, of 2009, when someone born in 1890 would have been 119 years old.
  3. It’s a notable coincidence that Bounel appeared in a record with Obama’s social-security number just one month after Orly Taitz published the President’s social-security number on the Internet (meaning that anyone could have learned of it, along with Obama’s name and public home address).
  4. Obama used the social-security number for 30 years, filing income taxes with the IRS (who verify numbers with names and dates of birth) without any problem.
  5. The Social Security Administration has said in court filings that they don’t have any records for a Harrison J. Bounel born in 1890.

What is more amazing about this birther theory is that the theory itself doesn’t account for its central evidence, the database record. The database record itself doesn’t provide so much as a clue as to what it is a record of, nor where it came from, and the birthers don’t even have a speculation that explains it. If Bounel actually existed and was born in 1890, he was most certainly dead in 2009 and not creating database records. Obama would never use Bounel’s name. So if Obama didn’t do it, and Bounel didn’t do it, there really only remains two options: the record is a mistake or it is fraudulent and from some third party, and if that is the case why are we even having this discussion?

So I offer the birthers two challenges:

  1. Prove that Harrison J. Bounel, born 1890, existed.
  2. Provide some scenario, plausible even by birther standards, that explains the database record.

Put up or shut up.

Conclusive proof: Birth Certificate OK

As Texas Representative Leo Berman put it, “The YouTube’s are infallible.”

While there have been many solid debunking articles targeting birther claims that Obama’s birth certificate is a computer-generated forgery, there hasn’t been any video covering the most recent findings.

That’s no longer the case. Blogger and Internet radio personality Reality Check has made an excellent video demonstrating his evidence, which shows to devastating effect that what the birthers have been saying is nonsense.

I can hardly wait for Part 2.

Our Friend Barry

I’ve not spent much time on the subject of Barack Obama in Hawaii, and that’s my loss. Because of the recent birther flurry over Mia Marie Pope’s interviews, claiming that she met Obama during two or three summers1 when she and her parents stayed in a hotel in Honolulu. She described Obama as a “pathological liar,” a homosexual and a coke head, I’ve spent some time looking back at Obama in Hawaii, and contrary to what Pastor Manning said, there is a wealth of information coming from Obama’s actual classmates.

Photo of Punahou School buildingOne source is the excellent film, “Barack Obama Made in Hawaii.” Another is a book from 2008 titled, Our Friend Barry: Classmates’ Recollections of Barack Obama and Punahou School, edited by Obama classmate Constance F. Ramos. I started going through the book specifically to refute Mia Marie Pope, and I found plenty of source material for that. Clearly the President was known as Barry Obama and not Barry Soetoro as Pope claims. Pope also said that it was impossible to get in Punahou school unless you started there in kindergarten. Most of the classmates in the book started later.

But once I got past the debunking, there were some insights about Obama. Punahou was an elite school, and Obama rubbed shoulders with doctors’ kids and the children of bank presidents. But there were other kids from two-income families an some, like Obama on financial aid. The poorer kids were conscious of their clothes. Most people in Hawaii are mixed race and Obama did not grow up in the atmosphere of racial prejudice that he would have experienced had he been raised on the mainland. In Hawaii, the racial distinction was between Asian and non-Asian.

Some remembered Barry as “genuine and grounded in himself” others that he was a leader. There’s a neat story about a tuna sandwich.

Somehow these recollections make everything so much more real and human. It’s nice.

1The exact time is fuzzy. Pope always says 1977, but sometimes she says she was aged 13-14 and sometimes 14-15.