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Trollstigen

So what am I going to do without this blog? I’ve already talked about my volunteer activities that will keep me busy. I also intend to travel1, and I’d really like to visit Trollstigen (English: “Trolls’ Path) in Norway.

Not that I haven’t reached my fill of trolls on this blog, but this locale along with Geiranger seem so peaceful. And the trolls? They don’t say a thing.

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1I actually traveled a good bit while running this blog, including travel to Russia, Ukraine, Belize, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Panama.

Inclined dates

Mike Zullo made a big deal about how unlikely it is that two Hawaiian birth certificates should be date stamped at the same angle. Is it really unlikely? I looked at some Hawaiian certificates, and there were differing angles, but for the certificates signed by Verna K. Lee there was a certain similarity. The angle is not a random event.

The first Lee certificate is from June of 1961, the one that had “Colored” crossed out and “Negro” substituted.

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Next is a 1959 certificate from the Territory of Hawaii, shown by WND:

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Here’s President Obama’s certificate:

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Here’s the Coats certificate:

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This one was from March of 1961:

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Ah’nee:

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Is there a pattern here?

Getting back inside the box

Thinking outside of the box is a virtue, the ability to come up with innovative solutions to problems. What makes thinking outside the box a good thing is when it is accompanied by a feasibility filter. An innovative solution that doesn’t work isn’t a solution. In the extreme case, thinking outside the box all of the time sounds like a mental illness.

Mike Zullo has never laid out in a neat and organized way how he believes Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged. He seems now to have admitted that creation of the document released by the White House somehow involved scanning a piece of paper with a Xerox machine (whereas before he said it was wholly computer-generated file). Zullo seems to be saying now that Obama’s birth certificate was assembled from some large number of other birth certificates, one letter from one, one word from another, for some little more than an angle was copied. It seems like a hugely time-consuming task fraught with painstaking alignment and selection. It also requires collusion from someone with a large number of birth certificates at their disposal (i.e., the Hawaii Department of Health). Positing a nearly-impossible document creation process and a big conspiracy is certainly thinking outside the box, but I think that the boundaries of that box are the limits between normal and crazy.

If the job of forging the president’s birth certificate were given to you, how would you do it? It’s relatively straightforward. The hard part, something that even Mike Zullo stumbled over, is getting the form contextually right, knowing all those little penciled codes, and the name of a physician at Kapi’olani Hospital and a clerk at the Hawaii Department of Health.1 Once you know what to put on the certificate, then you get a blank birth certificate form. If you’re the Hawaii Department of Health, maybe you have one in the archives, and if not you can just take any existing certificate and clean it up in its entirety. (Remember that the certificates in the archives are not on security paper.) Next you buy an old typewriter and type the information in. Forge some signatures, photocopy it onto readily available security paper, add a rubber stamp,  seal, and you’re done. I mean, that’s how the guy who forged Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate did it. It makes no sense to get letters from dozens of birth certificates when an old typewriter will make a perfect imitation of an old typewriter.

Indeed before Mike Zullo, the scenario I offered was posited by birthers. This appeared at the RepubX forum on or before April 2009:

They have already prepared the forgery with special paper and ink. The document was printed on a fully functional 1960 Heidelberger printing press located at a print museum in Toronto. Access was arranged by a trustee of the museum who is connected to a large Canadian banking/investment firm with major US interests.

The blanks in the forged form were filled in with an old Underwood Manual typewriter bought at an estate sale in Skokie, IL. The raised seal was the easiest piece to fake, since you can by [sic] a special order corporate seal from just about any online office supply store.

The only reason they haven’t rolled out the foregery [sic] yet is that it is “seasoning” under mild UV light and a back and forth rotation between between a humidifier and a sauna. Get ready….one to two months tops.


1One of the great unsolved problems of the birther movement is that if Obama’s birth certificate is a fabrication, whose certificate has Obama’s number? The one thing that the birthers got right is that birth certificate number are sequential. Some birthers think that the certificate is that of Virginia Sunahara, but if that is so, then who owns the number shown on Sunahara’s certificate? It’s the same problem birthers have with Obama’s social-security number—if it’s not his, then whose is it?

Zullo’s fundamental lie

Let’s put aside for a second all the technical claims from Mike Zullo, Commander of the volunteer Cold Case Posse in Arizona, and look at the more basic question of what his investigation was all about.

What Mike Zullo has maintained throughout his public career, and  emphasized in his December 15, 2016, press conference, is that his goal was to “clear the document,” Obama’s birth certificate, to make sure it was legitimate. That statement is facially false.

On May 23, 2012, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett received an official verification from the State of Hawaii, signed and sealed, verifying the key information on Barack Obama’s published birth certificate, making him eligible to run for President of the United States. That cleared the document, satisfying Secretary Bennett, and also Brian Reilly, a member of the Cold Case Posse. If Zullo wanted to “clear the document,” he was done. He could get back to transporting drunks to the Jail.

Birthers, and perhaps Zullo, note that the Bennett Verification, while it clearly documents the facts of Obama’s birth, does not address the question of the paper certificate itself, something a verification is not designed to do. The State of Hawaii, because of persistent questions from the public, created an Obama FAQ page sometime in the Summer of 2009. Within a day of the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate the page had been changed to say:

On April 27, 2011 President Barack Obama posted a certified copy of his original Certificate of Live Birth.

That verifies that the White House published certificate is a copy of the certified copy of Obama’s original. That clears the birth certificate.

These are the facts that a real law enforcement investigation would have considered conclusive, but the Cold Case Posse was a volunteer who had some sort of police job many years ago, not a real police detective. No one not bound and determined to prove the birth certificate a forgery would have continued given those facts. Only a radically biased investigator would give credence to any of the sources Zullo used early on. And only a radically biased investigator would have pushed aside competent testimony from persons like Dr. Neal Krawetz.

There were conspiracy theories flying around, technical analyses provided by unqualified arm-chair detectives. Perhaps Zullo wanted to rule them out? In fact he embraced them.

That first news conference was a disaster. The technical reports fell apart under scrutiny. All of the things that Zullo said were impossible characteristics of a real scanned document, turned out to be the normal output of a Xerox machine and rotation on a Mac. Zullo had a bitter lesson that the birther conspiracy theorists were incompetent, but it did not dissuade him coming back to them time and again.

Zullo once said on the Carl Gallups radio program that he refused to accept evidence from anyone without doing a background check on them. Question: did Zullo do a background check on Mara Zebest, author of one of the ill-fated technical reports Zullo included in his first press conference? If he did, he would have learned that Zebest was known for making disparaging remarks about Barack Obama on the Internet before the birth certificate was released. He would have known she was a deeply-biased source.

If he wanted to “clear the document” he not only had an official verification, but proof that the conspiracy theorists were biased and inept. But of course, Zullo never wanted to clear the document. If he was an honest broker, he would have retracted all the falsehoods he told as soon as he learned better, but years went by before he sort of  admitted it on the Hagmann radio show a couple of weeks ago.

Giving up on technical analysis, Zullo focused on contextual criticism, making bold claims about what was allowed on birth certificates. Someone gave him a fake race code table, and he heard what he wanted to hear from an aging former Hawaii Department of Health clerk. He put on a second press conference. What is most troubling about these claims is that Zullo had in his hands another birth certificate that completely contradicted his evidence. Within a day, the centerpiece of Zullo’s race coding theory came crashing down, partly through research done by this blog. Zullo must have been aware almost immediately that he had  been duped by whoever provided him with the fake race code table. He knew his investigation misfired again. He could have awakened to the realization that the birther conspiracy theories were based on falsehoods. If he wanted to clear the document, he could have done it, but he persisted.

Zullo made a third essay into proving Obama’s birth certificate a forgery (not clearing it) with the affidavit he gave that was filed in the Alabama case of McInnish v. Chapman. In that affidavit, Zullo claims that investigators (“investigator” means unqualified birther volunteer) discovered a certificate numbering scheme that excluded Obama’s certificate as being legitimate. Not only did the certificate numbering scheme invalidate Obama’s birth certificate, it invalidated every certificate known from Hawaii from August of 1961! Zullo knew this at the time. And a couple of weeks ago Zullo admitted, perhaps because of pressure from this blog, on the Hagmann show, that his certificate numbering scheme was false.

Anyone who wanted to clear Obama’s birth certificate, and who had been painted into a corner three times by birther conspiracy theorists, should have realized that the only fakery involved was on the part of the birthers. Obama’s birth certificate had been repeatedly verified.

Given the fact that Zullo had done image analysis, context analysis and historical analysis of Obama’s birth certificate, and in every instance what he thought was wrong turned out to be correct, where do we ever see Zullo speaking out in favor of the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. Where do we see his news conference saying that the obscure race codes were right, the 1-it layers were right, the halos were right, the certificate number were right. Given that Zullo stumbled on these items, they must be hard to get right. Yet rather than provide a balanced presentation, Zullo maintained consistently throughout his public presentations that Obama’s birth certificate case a forgery. That behavior is totally inconsistent with someone trying to clear the document. It is totally consistent with someone Hell-bent on tearing it down.

Of course Zullo has made a fourth attempt this past December, but this one is falling apart too. Zullo refuses to release the forensic reports. His document examiner from Hawaii refuses to release his report, citing Zullo as its owner. His forensics institute in Italy refuses to discuss any technical issues because of confidentiality. The video presentation Zullo gave clearly doesn’t show what he said it does (see here and here).

Zullo lied. He never wanted to “clear the document.” He desperately needed to prove it a forgery, so as not to go down in history a a fool. Well Mike, you have 7 more days to bring Obama down. After January 20, nobody will care.

See also:

Freedom Fighter’s Journal

Today’s featured blog is Freedom Fighter’s Journal.

It’s a juicy satirical web site, unafraid to do a little sacred cow tipping (if you know what cow tipping is, you ain’t from around here). Topics of interest: Rush Limbaugh and, Obama’s birth certificate. In the article

Why Has Obama’s Birth Certificate Been Sealed?

we learn…

We all know the answer to the question: Barak The Magic Negro Obama was born in Kenya. A birth certificate in Hawaii would be a forgery and easily exposed. The Governor of Hawaii who sealed the records, technically a Republican, is a RINO — Republican In Name Only — and actually favors the socialist policies of The Lord Messiah Obama.

Epilog

The Obama Conspiracy Theories blog started in December of 2008 and continued during the 8 years President Obama was in office. It began with the purpose in mind of collecting and critically examining some of the stories about Obama circulating on the Internet. It was never anticipated that the so-called Birther Movement would be alive eight years later in tabloids, blogs, 226 lawsuits, commentary, YouTube video channels, and even become an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

This blog drew an eclectic online community, and at its height had over 30,000 users per month who left over a quarter million comments. A few initial articles about Obama’s birth certificate grew in number to 4,223, both about conspiracy theories and a legal theory that denied eligibility to Obama because of his non-US-citizen father.

The blog closed to new articles at noon on January 20, 2017, as President Obama left office, but it remains a comprehensive resource on the Birther Movement. For an index to some of the debunking done on this blog, see: “The Debunker’s Guide to Obama Conspiracy Theories.” Here are some favorite articles.

Continuing discussion on this site can be found in the Open Thread.

Dr. Conspiracy continues to blog as “Kevin” at Blog or Die!

Note: Unfortunately some web content is ephemeral. While this site contains extensive hyperlinks to original sources, some of those sources have not stayed the course, particularly court resources and some local newspaper coverage. Replacement of dead hyperlinks is an ongoing project.