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The judge was not impressed

Plaintiff [Orly Taitz] can rest assured that if any reasonable grounds existed for me to recuse myself from this case, I would have done so, if for no other reason than to avoid spending precious time on such frivolous filings. But, my responsibilities require me to handle dutifully the cases assigned to me.

– Federal Judge Ellen L. Hollander
Taitz v. Colvin

And so Orly Taitz’s motion for reconsideration and recusal of the judge was summarily rejected in a 7-page memorandum. Judge Hollander makes it clear that she is quite familiar with who Orly Taitz is, and her litigation history on behalf of the “’birther’ movement.” Judge Hollander points out that the time limit provided by statute had already passed, when Taitz filed her motion.

Judge Hollander notes:

Ms. Taitz has not provided any legal authority for the proposition that, if the President were removed from office, this judge or the hundreds of other executive and judicial branch appointees selected by him and then confirmed by the Senate would also become disqualified from their offices.

Nor has any other birther cited any legal authority for this widely-birther-held theory.

How do I make this sound interesting?

Readers may recall that the FOIA lawsuit Taitz v. Colvin, an attempt to force the Social Security Administration to release a non-existent record for the apparently equally non-existent Harrison J. Bounel, was decided in favor of the Social Security Administration. They looked, and didn’t find anything.

Cover-up, screams Taitz and blames a conflict of interest on the part of Judge Hollander, who was appointed to the federal bench by Barack Obama.

In an article [link to Taitz web site] including her motion to re-open and recuse, Taitz cites the rules on judicial recusal and, in my opinion, fails to find anything relevant.

Update:

Thanks to a commenter here, perhaps it got more interesting. This is from Taitz’ motion:

Further, revelation of a conflict of interest by a judge represents a new evidence, which satisfies Rule 60(b)(2).

But was it “new evidence”? Here is a screen shot from Orly Taitz’ web site:

image

And here’s another:

image

Taitz responds to comment 41, suggesting that she was well aware last January that Judge Hollander was an Obama appointee. Is Taitz trying to deceive the Court?

Read more:

Obama and e-Verify: SSA sheds some light

Attempts were made to get Barack Obama’s social-security records through publicly accessible systems that are provided to individuals to check their own information, and to employers to check numbers for employees. Putting aside the fact that these attempts for other purposes were illegal, and accepting for the moment these criminals’ assertions that Barack Obama’s records could not be accessed, one is left with the question of why Barack Obama’s records were not returned by e-Verify, SSNVS or Self Check. It was also reported in the press that Obama was unable to complete his online registration with an ACA healthcare exchange due to identity verification failure.

Birthers explain all this by saying that Obama’s social-security number belongs to someone else, and that is why verification fails. The birthers’ detractors have made a couple of alternative suggestions:

  1. In the wake of the publication of Obama’s social-security number on the Internet, the President applied for a new number and the old number was deactivated.
  2. Presidential records in national databases are treated differently and are subject to tighter access restrictions than other records.

The first suggestion is easily documented as a normal process in response to identity theft, but it doesn’t explain why Obama had problems signing up for health care. Up until now, the second suggestion seemed plausible, but to my knowledge not confirmed. I submitted a FOIA request to the Social Security Administration last May specifically questioning how public records requests were handled for high government officials including the President. The question was asked in the context of understanding government operations. I used as an example a comment by the White House that Obama had a problem signing up for health care online.

I received a somewhat less than fully responsive reply today from the Social Security Administration, but one that contains the nugget of information required to confirm that suggestion 2 is plausible:

This message is in response to your May 22, 2014 inquiry about Social Security Administration database inquiries.

In addition to our rigorous safeguards designed to protect the personal information of all individuals in our databases, we have further security restrictions in place to prevent unauthorized access of Social Security records of select national figures.

We share response information only with our trusted partners who are authorized to use our verification services.

Safeguarding the public’s information has been an important issue ever since the creation of Social Security.  In 1937, the first regulation adopted by the Social Security Board outlined the rules regarding privacy and disclosure of Social Security records.  Through the years, other regulations and the Privacy Act have further defined our responsibilities to ensure the confidentiality of the information we collect and hold.

New FOIA about Obama’s social-security number

Here is the text of a FOIA request I filed online with the Social Security Administration today:

I am requesting relevant sections from SSA regulations and/or policies relating to the following questions:

1) Are SSA database inquiries through consumer-facing systems such as E-Verify, Self Check and ACA health exchange interfaces blocked for high-ranking government officials either routinely or on an as-requested basis.

2) If the answer to the first question is "yes," what response codes and response text would be returned by these systems in response to a blocked inquiry?

3) A 2013 news story stated that President Obama had difficulty signing up for health insurance through the ACA health exchange online because of identity verification. I am interested in SSA regulations and procedures that might be pertinent to understanding this news item as it relates to blocked database entries for government officials.

Unlike some birther FOIA requests, I intentionally designed this one to ask for information that they can legally give me. I filed it because I am interested in deciding between two competing theories of why Obama’s SSN fails E-Verify: The database inquiry is blocked, or Obama changed his number.

Taitz loses SSA lawsuit on the merits

The somewhat complex litigation history of Taitz v. Colvin is admirably detailed in the Court’s detailed memorandum opinion. US District Judge Ellen L. Hollander declined to dismiss Taitz’ second amended complaint as moot, but rather ruled on cross motions from both sides for summary judgment.

Judge Hollander, a recent Obama appointee, examined in detail the parties’ allegations and representations to determined that, as a matter of law, a trial was unnecessary, and determined that summary judgment should be awarded in favor of the Social Security Administration. She also declined to forward Taitz’ allegations to a grand jury, saying:

…even assuming that 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a) provides district courts with discretion to  present evidence to a grand jury or to appoint private litigants to present evidence to a grand jury,  plaintiff has not provided a basis for me to exercise that discretion.

One can learn a lot about FOIA by reading the opinion.

The inability to find any record of Harrison J. Bounel means he must be a real person!

The American Thinker published an article, “Barack Hussein Obama and Harrison J. Bounel,” by criminologist Jason Kissner today that argues that the association between the name Harrison J. Bounel and Barack Obama in some unspecified transaction in a public database is much more than coincidence or an attempt at identity fraud. While the argument is couched in the language of probability, no actual math was harmed in the writing of the article.1

Detractors of the birther Social Security fraud theory point out that no one has been able to locate this Harrison J. Bounel who birthers claim is a real person to whom the social security number used by Barack Obama was originally assigned. If such a person existed, debunkers say, then one ought to be able to find some independent record of him.

Kissner turns the tables and says that the inability to find other records of Bounel is proof that he is a real person (are you confused yet?).  Kissner’s argument is that the database record could not be fraudulent because it would have been too difficult to actually find someone with no other record in order to perpetrate the fraud.

Kissner’s claim is inserted in a straw man argument refuting the idea that some anti-Obama person created the fake record for Bounel. I suppose someone might have speculated on the possibility that the public record for Bounel with Obama’s SSN was created for the purpose of creating an anomaly in Obama’s record (I might have even done it), but I think it is more likely to be an error or an attempt at identity theft. The straw man context is not important because Kissner’s argument fits the real argument of random error or fraud as well as it does the straw man.

Kissner’s fallacy, however, is the ad hoc assignment of probability to something that’s already happened. It’s like looking at the winning lottery number and saying “what are the chances this number would come up?” and then arguing that the lottery must be rigged. In order to make the probability argument, one has to set the criteria in advance, or they have to be necessary. The fact that the name “Harrison J Bounel” doesn’t belong to anybody is not necessary to the hypothesis and so it’s not significant, no matter how improbable it is.

But the probability of coming up with a name belonging to nobody isn’t that low; in fact, it’s easy. I took the names “Kissner” and “Bounel” and used them with the first and middle names of the members of my immediate family (6 total). I got only one hit on Google for the 12 names I tried.

And finally Kissner’s argument works equally well against Obama fraudulently using an SSN belonging to Bounel: How could Obama have found someone so totally devoid of any record?

What Kissner won’t address is: assuming Harrison J Bounel is a real person (birther hypothesis), what are the chances that there is no record of him anywhere, not birth announcement, obituary, immigration record, census, city directory, grave, genealogy nor criminal record?

Read more:


1Kissner did some math in another article. The math was right, but the assumptions he made were unreasonable.

I think his derisive comments about me stem from envy, that I grabbed Dr. Conspiracy before he did. Kissner is involved in a range of crank conspiracy theories including the Boston Marathon bombing, Loretta Fuddy’s death, Obama’s SSN, Obama publicist brochure and MH370 Plane Conspiracy Theories.