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Light fuse and run away: Paul Irey finds another “anomaly”

Paul Irey once more proffers a bogus argument that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, and then leaves the country.

In what he calls an “incomplete study,” Paul Irey, amateur birther image sleuth,  professional typewriter user, and newly minted American expatriate1, has pointed out yet another “anomaly” in Obama’s long form birth certificate that he thinks may be the “best yet.” Irey says:

… I feel that this particular evidence is impossible to refute.

Irey’s argument, in a nutshell, is that comparing Obama’s birth certificate to another example seems to indicate that the security paper pattern on one is a different size than the security paper pattern on the other. For your reference, here is the image Irey made to show his observation (click to enlarge):

The Hawaii Department of Health does not routinely issue birth certificates like the long form supplied to President Obama any more. It requires a special waiver. The “Alan” certificate was reportedly printed in 1998, and it was almost certainly made prior to the Department of Health adopting its 2001 policy to stop issuing photocopied certificates. That means 13 years elapsed between the creation of the two certificates, which hardly qualifies as “from the same period” as Irey describes it. I am not suggesting that the security paper changed in those 13 years because while possible, it is to my mind unlikely; however, the method of photocopying the book onto the paper, the copy machine and its settings are very likely to have changed.

Irey doesn’t actually explain his reasons, why he thinks the security paper in the two images should be the same. It looks like Irey did what I would have done for a first pass, “calibrate” by resizing the images to match up the printed text. If one does that (and I tested it myself), the Obama security paper basket weave pattern does appear smaller than that on the Alan certificate, and I get a result just like what Irey presents. That calibration method is valid if and only if the text used for calibration is the same size on both certificates. It turns out that it isn’t.

Doug Vogt states in Point 5 of his Washington State lawsuit affidavit, that the Obama certificate was reduced to 87.5% size before printing onto the security paper. The Alan certificate was also reduced before printing. I discovered this by taking a sheet of Simpson Design Secure™ paper, the paper that I believe is used by Hawaii to print birth certificates, and simply typing on it. I then scanned that text and adjusted the Alan certificate’s text to the same size. The pattern on the security paper in the Alan certificate appeared much larger than the real typewritten example, showing that the Alan certificate printing was reduced. How much? To get a number, I took the size of the clip of the Alan certificate I was using to match text. The width of the clip was 2774 pixels. Next, I reduced the size of the clip so that its security paper background matched that of the real typewriting on security paper scan, and the clip width became 1926. That is, the Alan image by my calculation was reduced to roughly 70% size before it was printed on security paper.

So naturally when you shrink Obama’s certificate down to match the smaller text of the Alan certificate. the pattern on the security paper background gets shrunk too—what we see in the Irey figure.

Irey doesn’t say how he calibrated his images, but it is clear that the text size ended up being the same for both. Since the Alan certificate was printed smaller than the Obama certificate, we should not expect the background security paper to match when shrunk to make the text the same size.

I haven’t done all the work there is to do on this, specifically trying to use the difference in printing size to see if the security paper background enlargement exactly matches what it should be based on my calculations. I only showed that it changed in the right direction. A thorough job would also verify Vogt’s number for Obama’s certificate.


1For more on Irey leaving the country, see my article: “Disgusted birther leaves country.”

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Throw Miki under the bus or not?

The podcast of Freedom Friday last week has finally appeared on the WEBY web site. Mike Zullo is not on the program, but there were two call-in segments. Here’s the link to them at WEBY:

 

I haven’t had a chance to listen to these yet, except that the first birther-related call is somewhere around 10 minutes into the first segment above. I’m taking the quote from a comment at Birther Report, Gallups speaking:

I do know Miki very well, and her husband, and and think the WORLD of her.

If Gallups is indeed Mike Zullo’s official spokesperson, then this is a pretty strong endorsement from the Cold Case Posse faction going against the accusation from Doug Vogt that Booth is an accessory to forgery. However, birthers can see things we can’t. Notice “WORLD” in all caps. That relates to what followed in the comment:

Considering EARTH-shattering information will soon be revealed, this comment by Gallups could prove to be VERY telling.

I thought it was “UNIVERSE-shattering” but I digress. Somehow for this commenter, the character reference for Booth by Gallups is only the cause for more suspicion Continue Reading →

The frenzy of discovery

It’s always helpful in the frenzy of discovery when nearing a solution to a complicated puzzle, to take a step back for a reality check. Case in point is the identification of what Sheriff Joe and his Posse have been incessantly promising Universe-shattering results about. Recent revelations in the Phoenix New Times that Arpaio has paid big bucks to a notorious scam artist for information about US Federal District Judge G. Murray Snow and US Attorney General Eric holder provide an emotionally satisfying answer: Arpaio and his Posse are credulous fools. In this moment of excitement where all of the pieces seem to line up it’s worth considering whether we are fooling ourselves and to ask a few questions:

  • Does any part of the story require unusual complexity or implausibility?
  • Has confirmation bias caused contrary evidence to be pushed aside?
  • Are the sources credible?
  • Is there a plausible alternative narrative?

I can’t answer these questions for you, as they involve trust and value judgments, but I will attempt to answer them for myself.

I think the story is plausible because the actors in the alleged narrative do things that they have done in the past. Sheriff Joe has gone after political enemies with bogus investigations, and he has bought into conspiracy theories. Dennis Montgomery has scammed people and used their technological ignorance to his advantage. He has fabricated evidence before in the form of altered emails, according to expert court testimony. There are plausible mechanisms for the two to connect up because Sheriff Joe’s Obama investigation is widely reported in the national press. Also another Cold Case Posse source, Doug Vogt, lives close to Montgomery. The nearest thing to implausibility in the story is the amount of money, $200,000, allegedly spent by the Sheriff’s Office on Montgomery’s information. That’s a lot of money and it allegedly come from a secret fund—one should always be wary of secret boxes where the best evidence is. Still, given the power of Arpaio, I can sort of buy the $200,000. Montgomery got $20 million from the US government for fake information.

One contrary item is that Cold Case Posse insider Brian Reilly had never heard of Dennis Montgomery. However, the Universe-shattering investigation allegedly involving Montgomery didn’t start until after Reilly had left the Posse. Nothing else comes to mind.

I tend to trust the Phoenix New Times. What is my source? Most of what I know about the New Times comes from the New Times. That’s problematic. The bulk of their information comes from an anonymous source.  They portray themselves as journalists with integrity battling the evil empire of Joe Arpaio. In their favor, they won a $3.5 million settlement against the Sheriff’s Office. Indeed the County has lost $55 million in payouts for false arrest and prosecution charges against the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor. The story’s author, Stephen Lemons has won a string of journalism awards. I do not have wide experience with stories in the New Times and whether they are always reliable. There is one thing strongly in favor of the credibility of the story which is the account of both Arpaio and Montgomery refusing to deny their relationship, which it would have been trivially easy to do so. I would say that if the story is baseless, the New Times runs the risk of getting sued (or arrested?).

There are any number of alternate scenarios:

  1. The New Times made it all up out of spite.
  2. The New Times’ informant made it all up out of spite.
  3. Montgomery really has used his technical skills to uncover damning evidence against Eric Holder and Judge Snow, and is providing it to Arpaio. Indictments to follow.

None of those seems likely, with #2 the only one remotely plausible.

I invite readers to suggest things I overlooked, or to weigh in with their own evaluations, and other questions that need to be asked.

Vogt and Montgomery (the other one)

Vogt

I don’t usually engage in the disclosure of personal information, but I did look at Douglas Vogt’s lawsuit in Washington State, and located his address on a Google map. I’m publishing here a photo of his house from that map:

image

It’s a modest dwelling to be sure. All kidding aside, Vogt probably lives somewhere around there. We know that in the early days of Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse, Doug Vogt was a major source of evidence for them. Brian Reilly met Vogt before he became an official member of the Posse.

Montgomery

“Montgomery” refers to Dennis Montgomery, someone identified by the Phoenix New Times as a confidential informant for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and identified as a purveyor of faked information by the Wikipedia. Montgomery reportedly lives in Yarrow Point, Washington.

Hmmm

Now how big a coincidence is it that the UPS store shown above, and listed as Douglas Vogt’s address, is a scant 6.5 miles by road from the center of the town where Dennis Montgomery lives?

It sort of makes you go, hmmm. It doesn’t prove anything, but it’s a hummer.

Obots offer witness protection to embattled birthers

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

First, the title is just kidding. Obots don’t have any authority to offer anything in the way of protection to birthers. I’m just a retired guy who blogs. What I wanted to mention was two recent items where birthers are being singled out by other birthers as criminals.

The first is the obvious Douglas Vogt unsealed affidavit that charges Birther Princess Miki Booth with being part of the group forging Obama’s birth certificate. Some birthers were happy to take that and run with it.

The second is the charge from Carl Gallups that Douglas Vogt said things that were untrue in his unsealed affidavit before the U. S. Supreme Court. Gallups is right, by the way.

Meanwhile one wonders how many more birthers are going to get on the “Zullo is just stringing us on” bandwagon. That sentiment certainly has Carl Gallups upset.

Birthers have never gotten along that well because the prominent birthers want to be leaders, and you can’t have everybody being a leader. Conspiracy theorists are by nature lone researchers and they do not take kindly to competing theories. The messiest example was of course the lawsuit between several birthers, including Orly Taitz, Lisa Liberi and Phil Berg. Then just yesterday we had that whiny rant from Carl Gallups declaring Mike Zullo (and Gallups as his sole spokesperson) the only one who has accomplished anything for the birther movement, calling the rest “jealous.”

Conspiracy theories tend to develop factions—just look at all the Kennedy Assassination theories, or the LIH v. MIH factions for 9/11. Birthers are no different. Their theories include:

  • Obama was born in Kenya
  • Obama was born in Hawaii fathered by Frank Marshall Davis
  • Obama was fathered by Malcolm X
  • Obama isn’t related to the Dunhams
  • Obama was born in Hawaii to Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. but ineligible anyway
  • Hawaii is/is not in on it
  • Nancy Owens forged the birth certificate
  • Miki Booth and friend forged the birth certificate

Continue Reading →

Paige and Vogt fail at the Supreme Court

Folks reading comments here already know that the Supreme Court published decisions today: H. Brooke Paige and Douglas Vogt came up losers. The Supreme Court will not take up their cases.

If you want to read more, check out RC’s article, “It’s a twofer at the Supreme Court.”