I had an exchange with someone who has a lot of experience in debunking other conspiracy theories, but who is not part of the usual anti-birther cohort. I appreciated very much him offering his perspective but I was a little jarred by his views on the relative value of evidence as to where Barack Obama was born.
I come from a professional career that started in a health department, and ended working with state and local health agencies as a vendor of data systems. The way I think, those records as reported officially are the “gold standard.” A Certification of Live Birth such as Barack Obama released in 2008 (in its original form, not the copy on the Internet) is what gets you a driver’s license and a US Passport. My correspondent basically wrote that off as just something printed from a database. Since I spent my adult life trying to insure the integrity of those databases, such a view goes against the grain for me, but with a little effort I can appreciate it.
The second shock came when he said that certified copies of the birth certificate in the vault in Hawaii weren’t much use because no qualified expert had ever authenticated the original. (Remember, this is NOT a birther talking.) That one was difficult for me too. But we to have to admit that fake documents have been fabricated by governments, and while I would afford huge credibility to state vital records officials, some of whom I have personally known and worked with, not everyone looking at the question objectively would agree.
For him, the “killer evidence” was the two contemporary newspaper announcements of Obama’s birth in Honolulu newspapers in 1961. That evidence essentially wipes out every birther gambit of modern forgery, collusion of present Hawaiian officials, and questions about what’s in the files in Hawaii.
Birthers have tried mightily to discredit the newspaper accounts, but their arguments don’t stick. I’ll just outline them below as they have been discussed already in other articles.
- Hawaiian birth announcements are ads by parents. Statements by the newspapers contradict this, and the very title of one newspaper column calls them “Health Bureau Statistics.”
- Out of state births appeared in the official Health Bureau registrations. Birthers just lie about the law, either citing earlier laws that do not allow out of state registrations, or laws that do allow out of state registrations but didn’t exist in 1961.
- The announcements don’t mention Barack Obama by name. So what other Obama do they think was born in Honolulu in August of 1961.
- All the microfilm copies in the world have been replaced by fake ones. Really?
- Obama was fraudulently registered in 1961. Recall that Obama’s published birth certificate clearly shows he was born in a hospital and not at home where there is a slim opportunity for fraud. In order for Obama’s original birth registration to have been fraudulent there has to be not one but two separate conspiracies at different times and involving different people: one to fake the registration in 1961 and one to replace the original documentation of it 2011. That’s really a stretch.
I was going to point out also that the birthers do not have any smoking gun of their own, but then I am reminded that modern firearms really don’t smoke.