Stop the Presses: Obama is a Natural Born US Citizen!...or is he? (Update)
Update: On October 24, 2008, US District Judge R. Barclay Surrick rejected attorney Philip J. Berg's suit claiming that Barack Obama is a citizen of Kenya or Indonesia and not a natural born US citizen. In a 34 page memoradum, the judge said Berg's claims of harm were "too vague and too attenuated to confer standing on any and all voters" and "frivolous and not worthy of discussion." Burrick said it's up to Congress to make new laws to determine whether citizens can "police the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Presidency." Berg is appealing the dismissal.
The judge referred to a similar case, Hollander v. McCain, which alleged that John McCain isn't a natural born citizen. That case (as stated below) was also thrown out earlier this year."
The original story follows:
What if we mistakenly elect somebody president when that person isn’t even a natural born citizen—making them constitutionally ineligible for the job?What if that person were born in another country but a law passed AFTER they were born appeared to make them a natural born citizen but still didn’t? Let’s call this person John S. McCain. Not so terrible? Then, what if our new president wouldn’t reveal his actual place of birth and merely said he was born here? Or what if he were sort of born here, but thousands of miles from the real here, on an island that was just barely a state at the time…and being born there still didn’t meet requirements for the office? We’ll call this person Barack H. Obama, with the emphasis on the H. Or M., for his (potentially) real middle name, Muhammad. The coincidence of two such people being presumptively nominated by both major parties in the same year could only be a conspiracy. Both parties’ choices should have been real Americans… like Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul …and may yet be, if dedicated PUMA bloggers, Photoshop addicts and FreeRepublic.com Republicans have their way. (PUMA started out meaning Party Unity My Ass, the name Hillary backers took on after the Democrats cut their candidate’s Michigan and Florida votes in half. It has since morphed into People UNITED Means Action, according to SusanUnPC at NoQuarterUSA.net. With divisions forming among Clinton’s remaining followers, SusanUnPC added, “There needs to be a little less ‘ass’ and a lot more unity.”) According to Snopes, natural born citizenhood has never been defined by the constitution, the Supreme Court or Congress. This year’s dissidents could provide some clarity, even if their objections turn out to be completely unfounded. A suit against Panama Canal Zone native McCain was thrown out in July, when US District Court judge Joseph La Plante told Nashua, New Hampshire voter Fred Hollander, “There may be people who can make this argument but, Mr. Hollander, I don’t think you can do so.” He did compliment Republican Hollander for the case he mounted as his own lawyer. “I really admire your commitment to the Constitution. You have been amazingly resourceful, your pleadings have made good arguments, and you managed to get a birth certificate of John McCain which I had never seen before.” The case against Obama so far exists mainly on the Internet, where no detail is too infinitesimal or off-topic to escape scrutiny by bloggers whose multi-layered theories are not about to go away before the convention. Or after. First stop for every pixel, every participle, every (suspected) passport that might remotely get Obama bumped from the ticket has been TexasDarlin.wordpress.com, with AtlasShrugs2000.typepad.com, run by Republican Pamela Geller, not far behind. It did not escape TexasDarlin’s eagle ear that Obama backer Claire McKaskill introduced legislation to make sure that opponent McCain is counted as natural born. Mused TD, ”Did McCaskill and Obama sponsor the Resolution for John McCain because they realize that Obama himself has a problem?...Was Barack Obama born outside the US?“ He said he was born in Hawaii. But Barrack Sr.’s home country, Kenya, sounded more likely. Even a Canadian birth, close to Mercer Island, Washington, where mom Ann went to high school and suspiciously took Barack when he was only weeks old, would make him foreign. Obama’s published Certification of Live Birth made the not-quite-American likelihood even stronger, in the minds of those who thought it likely to begin with. Wasn’t it…kind of…funny looking? [Note: For the most part, credentials given here are those self-reported by the experts.] Computer programmer and web designer Polarik scrutinized the certificates from Obama's site, the Daily Kos and real Hawaiian Certifications, down to the pixel, and concluded that those purporting to be Obama’s “NEVER WERE true, original copies, and if anyone tells you anything different, that they are flat-out wrong. Period. Exclamation point.fake.” Board certified forensic computer examiner and private eye Techdude compared COLBs from 2001 to 2008, and, in his ATLAS EXCLUSIVE: FINAL REPORT, declared the Kos copy “a horrible forgery.” Polarik’s evidence included such observations as: “… if you had a graphics program that could enlarge ‘HUSSEIN,’ up to pixel level, the smallest unit of the image that can be seen, and look just at the pixels in the vertical space between the double ‘S,’ you will see only FOUR (4) PIXELS, out of about 120 pixels, that are colored any shade of green.” Techdude noticed that, ”Among [several “repeating inconsistencies” in the KOS COLB] is a ‘weak line’ which repeats once after every second bold line and a slightly downward curving end point where a straight line should end.” Experts on opposing blogs claimed, as Dr. Neal Krawetz did, “There is no indication of image manipulation:” Krawetz, a Ph.D. in Computer Science and author of two computer books, challenged Polarik’s analysis because “he focuses on pixel-based qualitative analysis rather than quantitative analysis and technical evaluation methods. Moreover, he uses no terms common to the field.” Republican software system engineer AJStrata, who’s anti-Obama but even more opposed to “The Cult of the COLB,” pointed out that the methods employed by Techdude “are supposed to be used to detect image manipulation WITHIN an image…. What did Techdud [AJ’s preferred spelling] do? To my shock he took three different images and tried to compare across them!” Right wing Freepers were surprised neither by Obama’s subterfuge nor by his getting away with it: “The media and the left worship him, literally worship him,” commented Freeper brownsfan, while zerosix’s take on the controversy was even scarier: “I terribly fear that this is a red herring dragged out (can you say DemocRAT Dirty Tricks) just to get lots of conservatives chomping and running with it ala Michelle Obama on tape calling caucasians 'whitey,' only to be proved wrong.” No sooner did analyst Polarik remind readers that he was first to discover “more than a few” of Techdude’s “exclusive” findings regarding the forgery—and the first person ever to reduce “Certification of Live Birth” to the letters “COLB”--than a new discovery made the entire controversy irrelevant. Or did it? Lori Starfelt, a PUMA documentary producer, came across an announcement in the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser, dated August 13, 1961. On August 4, Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama had given birth to a son. In conversations with both the Advertiser and the Department of Vital Statistics, Starfelt discovered, “This is not a paid announcement that his grandmother could arrange. This is information that comes from Vital Records…it isn’t a late registration birth certificate - we know that for certain. It’s filed at the Department of Vital Statistics the first week after his birth.” It looked as though Obama had fulfilled the qualification for office. But looks, as every PUMA knows, can be deceiving. TexasDarlin commenter LB scoffed, “First we were supposed to believe a phony colb and now we’re supposed to believe a newspaper clipping?” Commenter Rachel thought commenter Philip_B’s “’born at sea’ theory makes the best sense.” Since Ann and new baby Barack were known to have been in Washington state soon after his birth, she might have taken a ship from Hawaii while (very) pregnant and not made it to the mainland before he was born. Reasoned Rachel, “I’m sure briths [sic] at sea happened often enough for Hawaii to have a way of dealing with it.” Both Polarik and Techdude stuck to their expert opinions and the analyses of the COLB continued, with greater fervor and more SHOCKING!!! revelations than ever. The dudes were on a roll, and even if Starfelt hadn’t been hoodwinked and Ann did give birth in Hawaii, other scenarios could be brought in to support the findings that Obama’s birth certificate was faked, like that stepfather Lolo Soetoro allegedly adopted the boy and the “Obama” birth certificate was replaced with one bearing his alleged new name. It was not long till Techdude, who appeared to be the more accomplished of TexasDarlin’s experts, figured out that Obama had used a real Certification of Birth as the background for his faked one, and he could even tell, from some markings accidentally left during the forgery, who the real Hawaiian baby was. At first he just hinted that it was someone known…and female…and he wanted to give the perpetrator a chance to come forward and admit guilt before revealing the truth himself. Techdude told his methods for uncovering the startling evidence and challenged readers to see if they could come up with the same result. He even gave an incentive: The first person to corroborate his findings would win a free trip to Las Vegas. And someone did! Graphic artist KG also made out, among the bits of original letters that remained, the name of the original certificate’s owner. Maya Soetoro! Barack’s sister! Who was born in Indonesia! Techdude himself verified KG’s findings, KG asked that the prize money be donated to pay down Hillary’s debt and everybody was happy. All the technicalities would soon be explained in depth by Techdude, TexasDarlin promised, hopefully including why someone born in Indonesia would have a real Hawaiian birth certificate while that person’s own brother, who was born in Hawaii, did not. TexasDarlin commenter Joe didn’t appear to know why, but he determined that, ” If his sister does have an illegal BC from Hawaii, then his mother committed a crime and both he and his sister are involved in a conspiracy to cover it up…” After KG’s corroboration, how could anybody deny that Obama’s COLB was a fake or that Techdude was what he said he was, an “Active member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the American College of Forensic Examiners, Computer Forensics Volunteer Project, a Member of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s InfraGard program” and more? Anybody but the malcontents who stepped up their cries that Techdude was a fraud. Ph.D. Krawetz charged that, while Polarik had a "gross misunderstanding of even the most basic image analysis,” Techdude “intentionally manipulated the data so that it would support his theory.” Criticized Krawetz, “It is generally hard to do color enhancement incorrectly, yet TechDude did just that...” And where Techdude saw remnants of letters, to Krawetz, “The artifacts he is highlighting are due to his drawing program and not due to anything stored in the JPEG file… I should point out that even while squinting and blurring my eyes, I do not see the letters he claims are present…” PUMA though he is, children’s book illustrator Joseph Cannon wasn’t any more congratulatory: “No Photoshop professional found [Techdude’s] details comprehensible… Although he has presented many jpg files to the public…none of them show Maya Sotero's [sic] name on the COLB… If a forger covers up type with a chunk of background pattern -- that, my friends, is it. Those old pixels are gone forever.” Cannon concluded that what Techdude saw were artifacts from JPEG compression. The first point in NASA and DoD Computer Systems expert AJ Strata’s refutation of Techdude’s discovery was that “This entire theory lies on the assumption Hawaii would issue a COLB for someone not born there.” After delving into Techdude’s technical analysis that the border of the Obama 2007 COLB copy does not match that of a 2002 COLB, AJ concluded, “Conveniently these low quality crappy images make it impossible to check Techdud’s eyesight… I still have high resolution and I cannot find any of the…anomalies Techdud claims are there.” The bad reviews kept coming.
Longtime COLB critic Koyaan compared Techdude’s orginal Final Report for Atlas Shrugs with his post-final report—and with prize winner KG’s description of where he found Maya’s name on the certificate. Looking at the three different spots where each placed the supposedly original text, Koyaan asked, “So just where the hell was the original printing located on this damn thing? Where Techdude said it was in his earlier Atlas Shrugs report? Where he said it was in his more recent TexasDarlin report? Or where he verifies KG says it was?... By verifying KG’s result, Techdude is directly contradicting his own claims."
Digital forensics examiner L. E. Daniel said the COLB was saved in Photoshop and therefore not original. While some leapt at this as a confirmation that it was forged, Daniel clarified, “…my point was that since the document was opened and saved by Photoshop, you have no way of knowing what the source document was.”Of Techdude specifically, he wrote, “…his analysis is certainly questionable, if not downright ridiculous…” Daniel was “…amazed…by the sheer number of related posts that have picked this up as some kind of forensically proven fact.” The unity part of People UNITED Means Action--and like-thinking Republicans--started falling apart. Not that truebelievers changed their minds. Still, the balance began to shift when Techdude let on that his first name was Adam. That, along with his resume claims, led Neal Krawetz to believe that he was Adam Fink, an actual forensic investigator. That assumption ended when Krawetz heard from Fink himself that he was not Techdude. Krawetz updated his blog to reflect that ”TechDude is impersonating a respected investigator” and called Fink “yet another victim of TechDude's deception.”
Techdude’s full explanation of his analysis was still not posted when he…just…quit. Atlas Shrugs ran his message: “My family is now being harassed and threatened. She [his wife] is absolutely terrified and is afraid to leave the house or even go to work. She is begging me to stop and I am going to listen to her. I cannot endanger my family any further.”
It was the second time he reported harassment. The first time involved “some asshat [who] decided to track me down and vandalize my car and hang a dead mutilated rabbit from my front door in a lame attempt to intimidate me from proceeding with releasing any details of my analysis.”
At the second harassment report, a lot of COLB debunker debunkers felt like Koyaan commenter patgund: “WOW! Wonder if “TechDude” is starting to feel some heat or worry that he might be found out.”
Pamela Geller stated firmly, “I stand behind his analysis. The COLB is the fake, not ‘techdude’. I will not confirm or deny whether the speculation as to his real identity is or is not correct. I will say that I checked him out. His business, email, phone, llc .... to the best of my ability. He is who he said he is… Should an official, non-partisan digital, forensic examiner show ‘tecdude's’ [sic] analysis to be flawed, I will print that too.” She linked to his original analysis.
TexasDarlin said her goodbyes to Techdude, too, and deleted his entries “because they cannot be verified in their current unfinished form. Should he complete the work in the future, I will re-activate his posts... I believe him to be a real forensics expert because his email communication came from a user and domain name that I checked out. I cannot reveal more without revealing his identity, which I promised to protect. But I did vet him to the best of my ability. [Update: we also cross-checked his phone number].”The biggest ray of hope after that was TexasDarlin’s *BREAKING* Barry Soetoro’s Birth Certificate in Republican Hands [UPDATE]. Two sources (one of them Larry Johnson, promoter of the Michelle “whitey” tape ) independently told TexasD that Republicans had Obama’s real birth certificate—the one where he’s named Barry Soetoro after he’s adopted by his stepfather, in their (as yet unproven) theory.
Not everyone was filled with glee. Republican Pamela Geller countered, “This ‘Republican Operative’ meme is being spread by Hillary's camp… This has Clintonostra written all over it. But she wants/needs clean hands should she manage to wrest the nomination away from the Obama.” Still, Geller found it “just a tad peculiar that Obama would stop his relentless campaign for Presidency to go to .......Hawaii, home of the COLB” for his August vacation. “I hope we have a stake-out at the office of public records,” apparently to prevent Obama from personally destroying incriminating evidence.
Semi-forgotten Polarik could be found at FreeRepublic.com with an “I Did It My Way” wrap up of his role in proving the COLB false. He vowed not to name names (Techdude) but said, “…you will learn why their work fell by the wayside, and why mine stood the test of time and weathered all attempts to discredit it... When the image first appeared on the Daily Kos…, I was the first person to brand it as a forgery through empirical research… I never did it for glory or media attention… I never said "Wait for my final report," and then turned tail and hide… I'm pleased to say that I was right all along, and that I thoroughly debunked this forgery and the counterarguments of my detractors…”It was a good enough explanation for the Freepers, and the guy was smart enough that he never did “find any evidence that Maya's COLB was used to make the Kos image.” Instead, he chose a COLB already posted on the Internet as the one he believed was altered.
As the forgery-believers splinter, one of their dreams is coming true. The MSM is taking notice. CBSNews.com’s HorseRace blogger David S. Morgan called the forgery theory ridiculous. On the other hand, Jerome Corsi, author of “The Obama Nation” told Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy, “The campaign has a false, fake birth certificate posted on their website… There’s been a good analysis of it on the Internet, and it’s been shown to have watermarks from Photoshop.”
Even if the believers stop believing the COLB was forged, there’s plenty more stuff out there to believe in. A birth has been discovered of a Barack Hussein Muhamed Obama on August 23, 1961 in Canada, one of the places the PUMAs always suspected. Nobody knows where in Canada yet. Some are betting on British Columbia.
They’re not bothered that PUMA Lori Starfelt verified the August 13, 1961 announcement of the birth of a son to Barack Hussein Obama and his wife on August 4 in the Honolulu Advertiser. Obviously, the Honolulu Obama baby was conceived to pacify gullible Americans and make them think the Canadian Obama was a natural born US citizen, forty-seven years later.
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