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Helpful Maryland judge nurtures Taitz suit

Taitz v. Colvin is the subject of much excitement among the birthers. Taitz is attempting to obtain, through FOIA, the social security application for someone she thinks rightfully owns the social-security number that Barack Obama used on his tax returns in years past. Birthers think that proof is just over the horizon—SSA says it doesn’t have any such records.

Taitz was able to file the suit because the Social Security Administration did not respond to the FOIA request in the time allowed by statute. Eventually the government responded, saying they didn’t have any records matching one Taitz request, for Harrison (Harry) J. Bounel and a birth year of 1890, immigrant from Russia who received a Social Security number in the state of Connecticut in and around March 28, 1977. The judge dismissed the complaint because once the government responds to the FOIA request, the grounds for the lawsuit evaporate. However, helpful Federal District Judge Ellen Hollander told Taitz that should she allege that the search was inadequate, she might be allowed to continue, and the court said it would entertain an amended complaint. That amended complaint was filed. The government moved to dismiss again, or in the alternate for summary judgment. The motion to dismiss details the search performed:

SSA also conducted alternate searches [beyond the SSN] of the Numident using Mr. Bounel’s name (the following variations were searched: Harrison Bounel, Harrison J. Bounel, Harry Bounel, and Harry J. Bounel) and year of birth (i.e., 1890). Because Plaintiff did not provide a full date of birth, SSA performed a date range search for any Numident records with dates of birth between January 1, 1890 and January 1, 1894.

Our helpful judge, not assuming that Taitz knows that she has to respond to the motion to dismiss, has sent Taitz a letter (or rather the clerk of court did), explaining that Taitz must respond and the consequences if she doesn’t (having her complaint dismissed :shock: ) . There’s even an attached copy of the rules!

Taitz’ response is due Tuesday (18 Feb 2014). And please, no more than 50 pages, including attachments (the 2nd amended complaint was 181).

Taitz gets busy

Here it is, only January 3 and Orly Taitz has already posted 17 articles on her blog for the year and announced a number of legal moves. I could change the byline for this blog to “I read Orly Taitz so you don’t have to,” but I’ll stick with tradition. In any case, here are the legal lowlights:

  1. Taitz filed a FOIA request with the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority. They replied today saying that disclosure of information about Obama’s enrollment in the exchange is prohibited by law, D. C. Official Code § 20534(a)(2). They also respond that they have no records of any court order to scrub Obama’s records from their database, no regulations requiring them to check for fraudulent social-security numbers, nor any documents relating to a requirement to report identity theft to a court. Taitz sees reports that Obama had difficulty signing up because his federal records are in some way not available to the exchange software a “sign from God.”
  2. The second amended complaint is filed in the case of Taitz v. Colvin, a FOIA lawsuit over the social-security number of a Mr. Bounel born in 1890. In rejecting her previous complaints, the Court explained to Taitz that the response by the government to her request ends the court action unless she alleges that the government’s search is inadequate. Taitz comes back claiming that individuals at the Social Security Administration are attempting to defraud the Court. Rather than explain why she considers the search inadequate, she says that the search was inadequate because the SSA didn’t provide evidence of its adequacy, shifting the burden of proof to the SSA.
  3. Taitz further requests in Taitz v. Colvin that the court refer her evidence of the FOIA officer “acting with malice” to a grand jury, or let Taitz step in for the US Attorney and present it herself (Taitz not even being admitted to the Bar in Maryland), and then she dumps a moldy list of birther talking points about claimed anomalies in various statements and documents. She wants to prosecute basically everything she ever thought was wrong with Barack Obama. This runaround the US Attorney is what I call the “Vogt gambit”, which we know is a loser.
  4. Taitz has filed a motion in opposition to the defense motion for summary judgment by the Postal Service in Taitz v. Donahoe. Taitz is protesting because the judge, Royce C. Lamberth “previously covered up all evidence of fraud and forgery in Barack Obama’s ID in related cases.” The judge is gonna love that. Despite the judge explaining it to her in Taitz v. Colvin, Orly doesn’t get the fact that FOIA lawsuits become moot once the government provides a response, whether timely or late.

Reading on the lines

I’ve noticed a few stories appearing on various sites today that follow a theme, reading things that are not there. One of them involves Ted Cruz and a headline at Birther Report:

Shock Claim: Ted Cruz Said Obama Not Eligible To Be President; Citizen Parents?

In fact, Ted Cruz didn’t say anything. Some guy named J. B. Williams wrote an open letter to Cruz that said Cruz would be a real hero if he said:

I am honored that so many Americans want me to run for the office of President. However, my moral convictions require that I state clearly for the record that I am not eligible for the office of president or vice president according to Article II – Section I – Clause V of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that only a Natural Born Citizen of the United States, born of an American Citizen Father, seek or hold these offices. As I was born the son of a Cuban Citizen living in Canada at the time, I am not a Natural Born Citizen of the United States. On this Constitutional ground, I hereby state that Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Kenyan Citizen Father, is also not a Natural Born Citizen of the United States…I hereby call for the immediate investigation and resignation of Barack Hussein Obama and all who were involved in the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the world, as well as all who have engaged in the greatest political cover-up in the history of politics.

The text preceding is widely repeated on various low-level web sites. This thing is easy to mistakenly attribute to Cruz, either because of misleading headlines such as the one at BR, or carelessly missing the context.

Williams goes on to make a stronger assertion, based on the memory of an unnamed source:

Now, a close personal friend, a Texas RNC precinct chair-person, supported Ted’s senate campaign in Texas. He shared with me a conversation he had with Ted during the early days of the campaign. In that conversation, he asked Ted – “What is your understanding of how one becomes a natural born citizen?” – to which Ted answered, “Two citizen parents and born on the soil…” – “That understanding is incorrect, and I don’t have time to explain the real definition right now.” Stated my friend…

“Based on your understanding, do you agree that Obama is not a natural born Citizen, and is therefore ineligible?” – to which Ted correctly answered, “YES!”

The second misreading story I’ve already written about in my article “What’s really going on in Taitz v. Colvin” where an order that Orly Taitz must submit an amended complaint within 21 days, gets turned into “the government has to supply some Social Security records within 21 days.” Somehow Taitz read into the order an assurance that the government would be ordered to surrender some documents that they say they don’t have. Others skipped from “assurance” to an “order to produce.”

A third example involves an old news affidavit by Al Hendershot. A selection was quoted to me in comments on some site where I was arguing about something. I went to Scribd for the (correctly quoted) original with context. Here’s the text:

Exhibit 2 attached herein is the (FOIA) Freedom of Information Act request which was completed for numident 042-68-4425 with Harry Bounel as the name associated with said numident 042-68-4425. Exhibit 2 clearly states that the aforementioned numident belongs to Harry Bounel and not Barack H. Obama as detailed in the response from the Social Security Administration dated November 2012.

What Hendershot appears to have done is to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the Social Security Administration for records of Harry Bounel with the social-security number of President Obama. The response he got back was that the records could not be released due to the Privacy Act of 1974. That implies that what could not be released was a record of a living person. Harry Bounel born around 1890 is not alive, so the record found could not have been his. The alternative is that Obama’s SSN led to President Obama, who is alive. Hendershot is reading between the lines rather than on them. He’s reading into the SSA letter the search methodology they used.

What I learned in this last item is that Hendershot is saying that the unidentified database entry through which he originally linked the President’s social-security number to the name “Harrison J. Bounel” is no longer there. He says “scrubbed,” but I offer the alternative, “corrected.”

Selective Service confirms Obama registration

Sometimes I get burned taking thing for granted. The other day I realized that the Obama Selective Service form formerly published in 2008 that has been criticized by the Cold Case Posse as a fake has never to my knowledge appeared from any reputable source. Was the published image completely authentic? I also wondered, would the best available copy of the selective service form possibly show more detail?

The short answers to those two issues are “yes” and “no.”

I filed my FOIA with the Selective Service System on September 2, and just 10 days later, I had my answer. I asked specifically of the images available were color, black and white or grey scale. They said:

A Xerox :shock: copy in black and white color is enclosed; it is the best copy available to us.

The image I received appears to me to be of about the same quality as what has been published before, and in particular large portions of the postmark are missing–not just the “19”, but  other text and parts of the year number as well. It is obvious on this image that the postmark didn’t reproduce well. There is just a tiny bit from the bottom of another form on my image, suggesting that it derives from a microfilm copy.

What was marginally interesting, from which this article’s title comes, was a sentence in their response letter to me, saying:

Mr. Obama did indeed register with Selective Service and was assigned Selective Service Number 61-1125539-1 on September 4, 1980.

So the President’s registration is confirmed by the agency in charge of selective service registrations, just as his birth in Hawaii is confirmed by the agency in charge of birth registrations in Hawaii.

I’m satisfied. Birthers, of course, have a different view.

Obama Selective Service Registration, FOIA, 9/10/1013

Department of State FOIA delay

I have very little sympathy for what birthers do, and for what they are trying to prove. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I share with them, and that is frustration over government foot-dragging when it comes to FOIA and Obama.

In January of 2012, I submitted a very narrow FOIA request to the US Department of State for specific information from the microfilm passport issuance cards that are kept, according to published sources, by the Department. The request was for the records of a known deceased person, and there has never been the slightest objection to the request by the government. They just aren’t responding. Having waited 18 months for a reply, I decided to ask for status. I did this by email to a special status email address at the Department. I sent the question on July 4 and today, I got this response:

Thank you for inquiring on your assigned case number [redacted1].  I apologize for our delayed response.  The Statutory Compliance and Research Division initiated a search with the Central Foreign Policy Records (the principal records system of the Department of State) and the Office of Passport Services (PPT).  The both searches are pending.  I have asked for an estimated completion date (ECD) and the information may take a day or two (2) for a response.  You may contact our FOIA Hotline by telephone or e-mail us with-in 48hrs or I will send you an e-mail for our response.

Anybody want to bet me that the response won’t be either (a) not in a day or two, or (b) we cannot tell you when to expect a response, or  both?

1I redacted the FOIA case number just to prevent anyone else from using it to impersonate me while the request is ongoing. I’ll show it with the response if I’m still alive and blogging by then.

Anonymity and Freedom of Speech

I support the right of anonymous speech, and that’s a longstanding policy on this blog. It’s an application of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—that particular formulation is from Jesus, but all of the worlds’ major religions include s similar principle.1 Before I retired, I was very concerned about my blogging here bleeding over into my job because several of my former company’s customers were state vital statistics agencies. And while I never had anything bad to say about those agencies (for whom I had high regard), it is still easy for something to be misunderstood or misrepresented. I want for people on both sides of the birther question to be able to speak their minds freely without having to look over their shoulders at work, or with family and friends. Sometimes the ability to freely express an opinion requires doing it anonymously. In my way of thinking, personal privacy usually outweighs telling every detail of a story.

Some don’t share my values

Both birthers and Obots have engaged in exposés of the other. I even got a shout out from Jerome Corsi in a 2011 article at World Net Daily. Certainly there is some aspect of revenge or intimidation in some of it. For some of the birthers, outing Obots is a contribution to the complexity of their conspiracy narrative. Some think that knowing the real name of the “demon” gives power over it.

Men in Black Suits

DocInBlackThe essay preceding didn’t come out of thin air; it was prompted by the recent publication by Orly Taitz of a FOIA request to the IRS about several things, one a lawyer working for the IRS who went to see one of Orly Taitz’ court appearances (there was a sign-in sheet that Orly got from the court in spite of objections, and then published). Taitz is demanding under FOIA the time cards for this attorney to see if that person was being paid by the government for the time spent attending the hearing and saying critical things about Taitz on the Internet. Of course Orly is much more specific about the identity of this person on her web site than I. Now I don’t think that Orly Taitz is trying to intimidate the attorney—Orly doesn’t have enough comprehension of other peoples’ feelings to come up with that. I think revenge against the Obots is probably the motivation, or perhaps a twisted idea of self defense.

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