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10 Facts that Suggest Birthers are Fake

This is a response to an article: “10 Facts That Suggest Obama’s Birth Certificate is Fake” at MrConservative.com. The bold-face numbered items are from that article.

1. No one knows where Obama’s real birth certificate is.

We actually know exactly where it is. Fox News reported in 2011:

More than a month before Donald Trump began his media blitzkrieg over the issue of President Obama’s birth certificate, the document was quietly moved to a more secure location within a dual combination-key lock safe inside the state’s health department vault.

The certificate was moved there by Alvin Onaka, Hawaii’s State Registrar, in response to what had already become an increasing number of media requests by FoxNews.com and others, according to sources.

Mr. Conservative goes on to write: A document that’s scanned will have only one layer, which is the image itself, something that even most birthers today know is false.  The conservative National Review published an article in 2011 immediately after the first layer nuttery surfaced on the Internet explaining that layers are normal. Nathan Goulding wrote:

I’ve confirmed that scanning an image, converting it to a PDF, optimizing that PDF, and then opening it up in Illustrator, does in fact create layers similar to what is seen in the birth certificate PDF. You can try it yourself at home.

And indeed I have done it myself. You can even see the process in a YouTube video.

2. Classmates at Colombia (sic) University think Obama lied about going there.

Maybe “Wayne Allen (sic) Root” doesn’t remember Obama, but others do. See, for example, this article at Columbia College Today. There are also Columbia classmate interviews in the PBS/Frontline video, The Choice 2012.

Here’s the graduates list from Columbia courtesy of Breitbart News:

3. British National Archives confirm Obama Sr. had a child in 1961 Kenya [Photo of fake certificate from Lucas Smith shown]

No one has ever produced a shred of evidence that such documentation ever existed in the British National Archives, but there is ample evidence from the US archives obtained by FOIA that Barack Obama Sr. was in the US continuously from 1959-1964.

There was a release of documents to the British National Archives in 2012, relating to the Kenyan colonial period. One of them includes Barack Obama Sr. on a list of students; however, there is nothing about him being in Kenya (which he was not) nor about a child. You can read an article on this at The Guardian newspaper.

Barack Obama's father tops a list made by British colonial officials of Kenyans studying in the US

4. Obama claimed in a literary agent’s bio that he was born in Kenya.

The literary agent says otherwise. The author of that bio, Miriam Goderich, told Yahoo News:

You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.  This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time.  There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.  I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.

5. Obama used the name Barry Sotero (sic) when he went to college.

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McInnish v. Chapman in brief

The lawsuit of McInnish v. Chapman is the birther’s best hope these days.

Sometimes it can take a while to locate exactly what you want. Here are the briefs before the Alabama Supreme Court in McInnish v. Chapman. The issue is whether Alabama Secretary of State Chapman has a duty to verify the eligibility of candidates for President of the United States and whether the Alabama “Jurisdiction-stripping statute” precludes the courts from hearing the case.

There is a long string of cases, going back to Donofrio v. Wells in 2008 where state courts have ruled that their secretaries of state do not have such a duty. Are the laws in Alabama different? Is the presence of birther sympathizers on the Alabama Supreme Court significant? We shall see.


1Spencer Connerat brought eligibility suits against Barack Obama in Florida.

2Jim Zeigler, songwriter and Mobile attorney, is a graduate of the Jones School of Law. The Alabama Republican Assembly is a chapter of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, who style themselves as the “Republican wing of the Republican Party.”

Anomalies

“Life is difficult.”

I hope you don’t do what I did after reading those words from M. Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Traveled: I stopped reading. The opening sentence of Chapter 1 struck me as so profound at the time that I paused to contemplate it for 30 years, and never got back to the rest of the book, which sits on the shelf unread to this day.

imageSavvy readers might infer from my philosophical tone that I have been mowing grass again, and they would be right. As I mowed, I contemplated something else that I read, just last night, from Loren Collins’ new book, Bullspotting. Loren was commenting on how 9/11 conspiracy theorists frame arguments and said in a section titled Anomaly Hunting:

What Truthers do instead [of providing concrete evidence], and what they do a lot , is try to “poke holes” in the accepted version of the events of 9/11.  This often involves a lot of open-ended questions…

I understand Loren’s point, but it caused me some disquiet because “poking holes” is what I do a lot too. So this article tries to make some distinctions between anomaly hunting the way I do it and the way some birthers do it.

Loren makes one important point about “debunking” and that is the debunker usually approaches questions with his mind made up, and is just trying to prove something he already believes to be bunk actually is. Obviously after 4 years of arguing about Obama’s birthplace, I have made up my mind about where Barack Obama was born, and I do approach every new argument to the contrary with the view that it is bunk. I think, however, with basic integrity and commitment to honesty, plus the methodology of proof I learned as a math student, that honest investigation can be done even by someone somewhat biased. Knowing you’re biased at the start helps compensate. So one difference is that when I make an anomaly argument I take my own admitted bias into consideration.

I’d like to compare and contrast two particular debunking efforts. One deals with my treatment of the fake birth certificate, the so-called Bomford certificate (named from the person named on the source document from which the fake was made). The second deals a popular birther debunking of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, the presence of the word “African.”

When I looked at the Bomford certificate, I noticed that the price listed on the 1964 document form was shown in shillings and pence. That is an anomaly because Kenya used cents and not pence in 1964 (and before and after). The debunking argument goes: “since Kenya used money denominated in cents in 1964, any purported official Kenyan document denominated in pence is a fake.” Government agencies use official currency in their transactions and no objection to this argument has been put forward. The Bomford certificate is a fake. QED.

Many birthers looking at Obama’s birth certificate made an argument: “No official document in 1961 would have used the term ‘African’ as a race, so any purported official document using that term is a fake.” The argument form is the same as mine. The difference is that the premise is false. It was possible to establish from other contemporary birth certificates and a vital statistics data entry manual that national and regional groups could appear on birth certificates, and that black Kenyans considered their race as “African.” Not only is the “official version” plausible, it is exactly what it should be based on this evidence. The difference is that the anomaly in the Bomford Certificate proved decisive based on well-sourced fact, while the alleged anomaly in the Obama certificate didn’t hold up against the facts.

Whenever some new Obama Conspiracy evidence comes forward there is a flurry of activity on the Internet with various people on the “other side” trying to find anomalies, to poke holes in the evidence. We had a world of fun poking holes in the Lucas Smith’s POSFKBC for a year. Most recently, we’ve seen a flurry of anomalies directed at the Peter Rehnquist Obama birth video: Why does the baby have teeth? Why is there so little blood; Why is the flag wrong? [Update: Why is there a 2013 calendar picture on the wall :shock” ?]

What happens over time is that crowd-sourced research on the Internet sorts through the anomalies, separating the plausible from the implausible, from the impossible. New information is found, corner cases are located, and the arguments are tested. In the case of the birth video, that process resulted in an “impossible” verdict quite quickly. It goes: “An image appears in the video that was created in 2005; therefore, any video that claims to be from 1961 with that image is a fake.” QED

As far as I know, the Obama birth video has so many problems that no one except Peter Rehnquist defends it. However, with other evidence regarding Obama’s long-form birth certificate, the birthers have refused to join the consensus, preferring to rely on themselves as sources. There’s no help for that. They don’t admit that they are biased.

Cottage industry

I am fond of saying things along the lines of this from March of 2009:

A whole cottage industry has sprouted up finding bogus reasons not to accept a document that for every other Hawaiian citizen is proof of birth in Hawaii, and proof of US Citizenship.

Perhaps in recognition of the need to create jobs in the American economy, Barack Obama has spawned yet another cottage industry with his long-form birth certificate. Lucas Smith sent me an email about the latest such enterprise at Mario Apuzzo’s blog (somewhere I try to avoid if at all possible), which is a repackaging of an article from WorldNetDaily (somewhere else I try to avoid if at all possible), Web expert: Obama certificate falls short in authenticity.

Here is where it gets interesting. The WND argument against the long-form birth certificate (LFBC) deals with an objection related to one discussed here regarding the Lucas Smith certificate (POSFKBC): kerning. Only this time the kerning argument targets the typewritten part of the certificate, not the typeset part of the certificate. WND’s crank expert du jur is named Karl Denninger, whose typography resume includes being a Unix system administrator. (I swear I’ve seen this guy’s picture before.)

Denninger claims that the spacing in the typewritten part is not uniform. One would theoretically expect to see uniform letter spacing in a typewritten document (at least for any common typewriter we’d likely encounter), and we’d expect to see kerning (changes in the space between individual letters based on the particular letter combinations) in a computer word processing document. So here’s the example from the WND article, that purports to show one letter overlapping another:

Click to view WorldNetDaily article

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Ruminations

Dr. Conspiracy

I hinted that I was working on some research related to the Lucas Smith Kenyan Birth Certificate that I hoped to be finished yesterday or today. It’s taking longer than expected although I have hopes to be done tomorrow. At this point I don’t know whether it will amount to anything or not. One thing I learned is that I am not cut out to be a detective. On TV they move from hot lead to hot lead. It seems that in real life, you strike out most of the time.

One of the things on my mind is just what to call the document. Epectitus, in his hilarious (but obviously aporcyphal) YouTube video of Smith in Mombasa, calls it the “POSFKBC.” I haven’t been able to find the origin or derivation of this acronym although “KBC” almost certainly stands for “Kenyan birth certificate.” I guess I will muddle over choosing a name for a little longer.

Ruminations about credibility were also part of my day. The Post & Email blog says that they talked to Heltan Maganga who told them that the POSFKBCwas not authentic — or did they? I never saw that article personally and it’s not there that I can find right now. The Post & Email blog is not high on my credibility list anyway,  although I tend to believe the interview they had with Mr. Omolo back in 2009. Is this confirmation bias?

I checked site statistics. We average about 2,200 visitors a day here at Obama Conspiracy Theories; that’s about the population of my home town when I left it back in 1972. Site stability seems good, although it is still not as fast as I would wish — partly because the pages are so darned large. While I was fooling around, I added an experimental US Flag widget (lower right). It will show when the American flag should fly at half staff.

 

 

February mail bag

See if you can make heads or tails of this bit that came in the mail today. It may be that the contact form cuts off really long messages. [The message has been edited to remove extra line breaks.]

Comments: This is addressed to Lucas D. Smith

In late 2007, I meet with Alan Keyes in Concord, New Hampshire. I was well aware that Barack H. Obama was the grandson of Hussein Onyango Obama after reading his book “Dreams of My Father” at the time he was running for United States Senator in IL. I recalled when reading it that there was a person with the same name, viz., Onyango Obama who was one of the 19 convicted in 1949 for being a Mau Mau terrorist. He got out of prison in early 1951, because his lawyer found a copy of a naturalization decree from Zanzibar dated 1919. Continue Reading →