THE OBAMA BIRTHER CONSPIRACY

OBAMAThis is a follow-up to my article on Arpaio’s quest to de-legitimize President Obama.  In response to that article published today, one of my commenters said that I “make a lot of noise,” but “haven’t answered or disputed the facts that have been found.” The commenter went on to say that the “official long form posted on the White House website is said to be a forgery.”  That along “with the other evidence,” I “ignore it all and are just shouting louder instead of answering the question” where is a legal document that will pass scrutiny? The commenter said that my “article is very hollow.”

While each of us is entitled to our views and opinions, concerning the authenticity of President Obama‘s birth certificate, either some are naïve, misinformed or have bought into that ridiculous and debunked theory that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.  Here are the facts for their benefit although the facts probably won’t matter:

On October 31, 2008, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, confirmed that Obama was born in Honolulu.  The Associated Press quoted Dr. Fukino as saying that both she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.  According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Dr. Fukino was also quoted as saying that the agency had been bombarded by requests and the registrar of statistics had even been called at her home in the middle of the night.  Fukino also said that she has “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Senator Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”

The White House released the long-form version of President Obama’s birth certificate confirming (yet again) that he was born in the United States.  The Hawaii Department of Health made an exception in Obama’s case and issued copies of the “Certificate of Live Birth.”  But speculation on his citizenship continued. Some claim that Obama posted a fake birth certificate on his Web page.

As part of its research, Fact Check representatives got a chance to spend some time with Obama’s birth certificate, they attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago. They have assured readers that the certificate bears a raised seal and that it’s stamped on the back by Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onaka (who uses a signature stamp rather than signing individual birth certificates). According to Fact Check, the certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: “your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records.” The names, date and place of birth, and filing date are all evident on the scanned version and you can see the seal above.  They went on to say that the document is a “certification of birth,” also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents’ hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of the long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. Fact Check tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response.  In case you were not aware, Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a Republican organization.  Walter Annenberg’s served in Richard Nixon’s cabinet as Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and the Annenberg’s are personal friends of the Reagans.

Some of the conspiracy theories that have circulated about Obama’s birth certificate are very imaginative. One conservative blogger has suggested that the Obama campaign might have obtained a valid Hawaii birth certificate, soaked it in solvent, then reprinted it with Obama’s information. Of course, this anonymous blogger didn’t have access to the actual document and presents this as just one possible “scenario” without any evidence that such a thing actually happened or is even feasible. It should also be noted that none of those questioning the authenticity of the document have produced a shred of evidence that the information on it is incorrect.

PolitiFact.com also dug into some of the loopy theories and said, “It is possible that Obama conspired his way to the precipice of the world’s biggest job, involving a vast network of people and government agencies over decades of lies. Anything’s possible. But step back and look at the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and your sense of what’s reasonable has to take over.”  The conspiracy would need to be even deeper than realized. In fact in July 2008, a researcher looking to dig up dirt on Obama instead found a birth announcement that had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, August 13, 1961.  Of course, it’s distantly possible that Obama’s grandparents “may have planted the announcement just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday.” The evidence is clear: Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.

On May 13, 2010, Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle signed a law allowing state agencies to ignore requests for information if they determine the requests duplicate or are substantially similar to earlier ones. The law targets the birthers who contend Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. Hawaii officials tell requesters the same thing over and over: State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn’t have a tangible interest in the matter. Obama requested and obtained a copy of his own birth certificate and released it publicly in 2008. That document is legal proof of citizenship, and it’s the only type of birth record the state issues. Nevertheless, some wanted more.  So under the direction of Governor Lingle, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the Hawaiian State Health Director, issued a statement on July 27, 2009, that she has seen the original vital records verifying that Obama was born in Hawaii and “is a natural-born American citizen.”  Governor Lingle is a Republican who stumped for John McCain in 2008, and she is a Republican senatorial candidate from Hawaii.

The Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a $20,000 sanction against Queen Birther, Orly Taitz, the most visible of those pressing the Obama-as-foreigner theory.  As the court wrote, a lower court judge imposed the fine to punish Taitz’ “misconduct” in filing “frivolous” legal claims on behalf of an Army officer who didn’t want to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that Obama’s presidency was illegitimate.  On October 13, 2009, Judge Clay D. Land wrote:  “While the Court derives no pleasure from its imposition of sanctions upon counsel Orly Taitz, it likewise has no reservations about the necessity of doing so. A clearer case could not exist; a weaker message would not suffice.”  Judge Land was named to the bench by former President George W. Bush.

Hawaiian officials continue to say that the certification is, in fact, only one piece of abundant evidence of Obama’s birth in Hawaii. Joshua Wisch, a spokesman for the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, noted that a public index of vital records, available for inspection in a bound volume at the Health Department’s Office of Health Status Monitoring, lists a male child named “Obama II, Barack Hussein” as having been born in the state. In addition, as Factcheck.org and other media organizations have repeatedly pointed out, both of Honolulu’s newspapers, the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin, on Aug. 14, 1961, both ran birth announcements listing Obama’s birth on August 4, 1961.

Even Fukino accepts that her comments are not likely to end the matter for the die-hard birthers. Arpaio, Trump and other skeptics have questioned why the original birth certificate has not been released. But Wisch, the spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said state law does not in fact permit the release of “vital records,” including an original “record of live birth” — even to the individual whose birth it records.

“It’s a Department of Health record and it can’t be released to anybody,” he said. Nor do state laws have any provision that authorizes such records to be photocopied, Wisch said. If Obama wanted to personally visit the state health department, he would be permitted to inspect his birth record, Wisch said. But if he or anybody else wanted a copy of their birth records, they would be told to fill out the appropriate state form and receive back the same computer generated “certification of live birth” form that everybody else gets — which is exactly what Obama did four years ago.

The people who are saying that the President’s long form posted on the White House website is a forgery are the very people guilty of carrying on this bizarre theory.  No matter what Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio or other birthers say, President Obama was born in the United States.  Obviously, the right-wing radicals and birthers choose not to believe the Republican Governor of Hawaii that Obama’s birth certificate is authentic and will continue this charade of nonsensical idiosity.

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