Posts Tagged “birth certificate”

Raised seal on Barack Obama's birth certificate/FactCheckI’ve blogged before on the phenomenon of demonstrably-erroneous ideas that just will not die out, no matter how often they’re refuted. And I cited the “birther” delusion … i.e. the idea that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen and thus not entitled to hold office … as a prime example of this. His birth certificate from Hawai’i has been checked out and is fully legitimate (see FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here).

But the Birthers, you see, don’t give a flying fuck about that. They just know, you see, that he’s not really an American. And they intend never to let go of that idea, no matter the facts. (One way they do this is to dismiss all fact-checking Web sites as “biased,” even though neither of the sites I linked to above avoids pointing out Obama’s exaggerations, misstatements, and lies. So they aren’t “biased” in the President’s favor.)

Because of the persistence of the “birther” delusion among their constituents, GOP politicians are constantly dancing around the subject, trying to appeal to “birtherism” without saying something that will make them look like total morons in the eyes of the rest of the country. Unfortunately, despite their wishes, there is no viable way to do that. Any conciliation to “birtherism” is, by definition, moronic.

That said, there are some who simply don’t care that they look like total morons. Among them, as MSNBC’s Maddow blog reports, is Jeff Duncan of the great Biblical state of South Carolina (WebCite cached article):

As my friend Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch reported yesterday, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) was a guest on Rick Wiles’ unhinged radio show the other day to discuss some of the major issues of the day, including the host’s fears that immigration reform may lead the government to implant biometric scanners in U.S. citizens. Wiles specifically asked Duncan whether lawmakers might “pursue Barack Obama’s phony identification papers.”

Duncan initially tied to laugh it off, saying that people should have voted against Obama during the last election but Wiles refused to let it go, saying “if we know they are lying about all these other things, why not go back and say ‘well, maybe the first scandal was a lie too?'”

And with that point, Duncan wholeheartedly agreed, saying “there you go; I’m all with you, so let’s go back and revisit some of these things because Americans have questions about not only the IRS scandal but also about the president’s validity.”

A recording of Duncan’s comments is provided by Right Wing Watch via Youtube:

Sadly, this is yet another example of GOP insanity. I wonder how long it will take these guys to get over the fact that Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. My guess is, they won’t. Hundreds of years from now there will still be lunatic Right-wingers screaming to high heaven that the US had an ineligible president in office for 8 years.

The best thing for everyone, of course, is for Republican officials, and the “birtherist” masses to whom they’re appealing, to just fucking grow the hell up and get over the fact that someone they despise was elected president. Maturity is the only solution to this mass delusion. Unfortunately, even grown adults tend to resist maturity. More’s the pity.

P.S. I’m well aware that Rachel Maddow and the Right Wing Watch are both ideologically-driven Web sites, and tend to avoid such sources, however, in this case there’s primary-source evidence to back up the report of what Duncan said. I suppose RWW could have faked this recording … but barring evidence to the contrary, I doubt they did so.

Photo credit: FactCheck.

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Picard Facepalm: Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesnt workBack in August I blogged about the explosive Youtube video claiming to have proven that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s Strange Bedfellows blog has details of a Harris poll showing that this belief is held by a significant number of Americans (WebCite cached article):

… Full results are expected tomorrow, but preliminary findings were released in The Daily Beast by John Avlon, whose book “Wingnuts” details the hyper-partisanship that has swept America since 2008. …

And 24 percent of Republicans, and 14 percent overall, agree that Obama “may be the antiChrist.”

The other ridiculous, juvenile and untruthful beliefs that many Americans have about their president are:

  • 45% of Republicans and 25% of Americans think Obama was born abroad

  • 57% of Republicans and 32% of Americans think he is a Muslim

  • 38% of Republicans and 20% of Americans say Obama is “doing many things Hitler did.”

Look, idiots, see if you can get this: Obama is not a Muslim, but a Christian (see FactCheck and Politifact, cached articles here and here respectively). Obama was born in Hawai’i, not some other country, and has proven it (see FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here). Also, both Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler were heads of state, so I’m sure you will be able to find similarities in their behavior … but confusing the two is irrational and illogical.

It’s time for the Right in the US — especially the Religious Right — to grow the hell up and stop lying about people they don’t like just because they don’t like them. No one says you have to be happy that Barack Obama is the president … but not wanting him to be president doesn’t grant anyone license to lie about him. Are we clear on that?

Photo credit: Science After Sunclipse.

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The “Birther” delusion I’ve blogged about a couple times already, apparently has not died, even though it’s been as thoroughly debunked as anything can be. The occasion of the “Tea Party Convention” — a loose collection of paranoiacs, anarchists, and assorted other falling-off-the-cliff Rightists — has kicked up the (non-existent) controversy over President Obama’s birth. The Los Angeles Times Top of the Ticket blog reports on the persistence of this delusion (WebCite cached article):

Joseph Farah, to cheers at Tea Party Convention, again questions location of Obama’s birth

If the National Tea Party Convention hoped to keep its focus on political organizing and its message on limited government, it has had little success so far.

Capping the first full day of the meeting, right-wing instigator Joseph Farah spent much of his dinner speech questioning whether President Obama was born in Hawaii and casting doubt on whether the president was legitimately elected.

“The media, the politicians … all say, no, it’s all been settled. I say, if it’s been settled show us the birth certificate. Simple,” Farah’s said, as his remarks were cheered by the roughly 600 activists gathered in Nashville for the event.

If you don’t know who Joseph Farah is, consider yourself fortunate. You haven’t missed much, except for Farah’s insane religiofascist gibbering.

Farah runs WorldNetDaily.com, a conservative tabloid, book publisher and tireless critic of the administration [WebCite cached version]. He dismissed those who say he is obsessed with the birth certificate issue saying, “I admit it, I’m obsessed with the Constitution.”

But Mr Farah, if you were truly “obsessed with the Constitution,” you would know that it says absolutely nothing whatsoever about birth certificates. Not one blasted thing! Farah, being a dutiful Religious Rightist, inserted a religious angle into his drivel:

Farah said he believed establishing lineage was important for leaders, using Jesus’ genealogical ties to King David as an example.

Mr Farah, if you know so much about the Bible, then surely you must know that the two genealogies of Jesus that are provided in the gospels, conflict with one another (cached article)! The truth about Jesus is that no one knows if he even existed; and even if he did, his genealogy is utterly unknown.

In any event, the matter of Obama’s birth has been settled. FactCheck has gone over the matter with a fine-tooth comb and has not found any problem with Obama’s citizenship (cached article). (For those who don’t like FactCheck, here’s Politifact’s article on the subject, along with a cached version.) The “birthers” who demand an “original” birth certificate in order to demonstrate Obama’s citizenship — and who say that only an “original” birth certificate will suffice — are legally incorrect. In some jurisdictions, it is not possible for a person ever to get an “original” birth certificate … it is the property of the recording agency, not the person, so the person cannot give it to anyone. If the “birthers” are to be believed, anyone born in such a place is automatically and forever barred from becoming president. This is, of course, totally asinine and childish. But then, “birthers” are not known for being bright or mature, so it’s to be expected, I guess.

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As a brief follow-up on my earlier blog entry concerning the Rightists’ “birther” delusion, it turns out that Obama’s original, long-form birth certificate cannot be produced, not merely because the state of Hawai’i provides no means to request it … but it has been destroyed. The Los Angeles Times Show Tracker reports on what CNN has found out (WebCite cached article):

The website TVNewser reported today that Klein sent an e-mail to staffers of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” just as the program went to air, informing them that CNN researchers had determined that Hawaiian officials discarded all paper documents in 2001. A long-form birth certificate with details about the doctor who delivered Obama no longer exists, they reported.

I’m sure all those dutiful Rightists out there will say, “Sure, CNN claims that. They’re CNN, after all, the flagship media outlet of the Liberal Media Elite®!” While CNN does lean toward the Left, though, the claim that the state of Hawai’i destroyed the long-form certificate in 2001 is something that could easily be verified … meaning one need not take CNN’s word for it.

Of course, despite having been told this by his own network, Lou Dobbs continues to pander to the birther-delusionists, as the LA Times goes on to say:

In his show Thursday, Dobbs did note the explanation from Hawaiian officials, though he went on to devote another segment to the topic, interviewing CNN contributor Roland Martin and Rep. Ted Poe, a co-sponsor of a bill that would require future presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates. …

In the segment, Dobbs stressed that he has said repeatedly that he believes Obama is a citizen, something that he said his critics in the “left-wing media” ignore.

Note how deftly Dobbs plays both sides … on the one hand he concedes Obama is a citizen, but on the other, he courts those who think otherwise. In other words, he’s being disingenuous. His duplicity is especially obvious, since he also said:

But he continued to press the question of why Obama has not shown a long-form birth certificate. “When this could be dispelled so quickly, and — and simply by producing it, why not do it?” Dobbs asked.

Earth to Lou — and all the other birther-delusionists out there: Now you know why Obama can’t produce the long-form cerificate … IT DOESN’T EXIST! The time has finally come for you to grow the fuck up and stop demanding what can never be provided.

P.S. To everyone who goes along with the old canard about CNN being part of the Liberal Media Elite® … if this is true, please explain how such an outlet could possibly keep guys like Dobbs on its payroll? Just wondering.

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I mentioned this controversy a couple of times already, in an earlier blog post on the “moon-landing” hoaxers, but apparently this is another one that just won’t die. This particular misbelief — that President Barack Obama is not a “natural-born citizen” of the US as required by the Constitution and therefore not legally the President — is a favorite of the Religious Right and assorted other paranoid conspiracy theorists.

It became an issue during the 2008 campaign, and despite his electoral victory, it appears never to have died out. It kicked up afresh when a “birther” showed up at Republican Congressman Mike Castle’s “town meeting,” sanctimoniously raging about Obama not having a birth certificate and waving her own — which she believes constitutes proof that Obama refuses to provide his own. The Chicago Tribune‘s Swamp blog comments on this and other events that have pushed this misbelief back into the limelight:

Listen to the cheers for the woman holding up her birth certificate and asking why the president won’t share his.

Listen to the boos when a Republican congressman asserts rather assuredly that the president of the United States, a Democrat, “is a citizen of the United States” …

Listen to the Pledge of Allegiance break out.

Yes, indeed … the assembled childish crowd was angered by Castle’s response that Obama is, in fact, a citizen. And yes, they actually launched into a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance … as if that, too, were somehow proof that Obama is not a citizen.

Folks, the matter of Obama’s birth was settled long ago. Obama has produced all the documentation necessary to show that he is a “natural-born citizen” as defined by federal law. Claims that his birth certification is not valid, are simply untrue, as FactCheck has demonstrated conclusively:

Some claim that Obama posted a fake birth certificate to his Web page. That charge leaped from the blogosphere to the mainstream media earlier this week when Jerome Corsi, author of a book attacking Obama, repeated the claim in an Aug. 15 interview with Steve Doocy on Fox News. …

Corsi isn’t the only skeptic claiming that the document is a forgery. Among the most frequent objections we saw on forums, blogs and e-mails are:

  1. The birth certificate doesn’t have a raised seal.
  2. It isn’t signed.
  3. No creases from folding are evident in the scanned version.
  4. In the zoomed-in view, there’s a strange halo around the letters.
  5. The certificate number is blacked out.
  6. The date bleeding through from the back seems to say “2007,” but the document wasn’t released until 2008.
  7. The document is a “certification of birth,” not a “certificate of birth.”

Recently FactCheck representatives got a chance to spend some time with the birth certificate, and we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago. We can assure readers that the certificate does bear 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). We even brought home a few photographs.

Said photographs are available on the FactCheck page in question, including full-size high-resolution photos if you click on the smaller images on the page itself. FactCheck explains a bit more about this document and why it constitutes proof that Obama is truly a “natural-born citizen”:

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 your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. We tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response.

Note that Hawai’i is not the only place that provides a “short-form certification” rather than the “long-form certificate.” A friend of mine recently requested a copy of her birth certificate, in the town of her birth, and was given a generated document very similar to this one. It was more than enough to get her a passport … which means it passes muster according to federal standards of citizenship.

Something the “birthers” fail to understand is that, while the Constitution requires that the President be a natural-born citizen, it does not state what documentation is required to show this. There is nothing in the Constitution about whether birth certificates or certifications of birth are necessary. Rather, it allows the federal government to decide what is necessary. And according to federal statutes and legal decisions, what Obama has provided, suffices … just as a similar document sufficed for my friend when she applied for her passport.

While the sanctimoniously-outraged woman at Mike Castle’s “town hall meeting” was able to get her long-form birth certificate, for any number of reasons, not all Americans are able to get them. Local officials in some jurisdictions simply do not provide them, and offer no means to get them.

Whether Obama is a “natural-born citizen” is a matter for officials in Hawai’i to decide … and they have done so, as FactCheck explains in the article:

Update Nov. 1: The Associated Press quoted Chiyome 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.

Fukino also was quoted by several other news organizations. The Honolulu Advertiser quoted Fukino as saying the agency had been bombarded by requests, and that the registrar of statistics had even been called in at home in the middle of the night.

Honolulu Advertiser, Nov. 1 2008: “This has gotten ridiculous,” state health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said yesterday. “There are plenty of other, important things to focus on, like the economy, taxes, energy.” … Will this be enough to quiet the doubters? “I hope so,” Fukino said. “We need to get some work done.”

Fukino said she has “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”

It turns out that Fukino was incorrect, back in November; it was not enough. His word and those of other local officials are simply being ignored by those who are too committed to their irrational beliefs and delusional thinking to accept otherwise.

It’s really time for the “birthers” like the raging woman at Castle’s “town hall meeting” to grow the hell up and stop denying reality … but we all know they will not do so.

I’m not a big fan of Chris Matthews, but he has a point, as the Tribune‘s Swamp blog entry mentions:

See Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball question Rep. John Campbell, a Republican from California, about the “crazy” bill that he and others are sponsoring requiring future candidates for president to present their birth certificates. …

“Wouldn’t you like to put it to rest? That’s what this proposal is all about,” replies Campbell, noting that people also questioned Republican Sen. John McCain’s credentials because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. …

“Nice try,” replies Matthews. “What you’re doing is appeasing the nut-cases… You’re verifying the paranoia out there… You are playing to the crazies… You guys are playing to the whacko wing” of the Republican Party.

It’s true. Acting as though the “birthers” have a legitimate objection, only makes them feel as though their delusion is well-founded. Yet, as the Swamp blog relates, even Campbell has little doubt:

“As far as I know,” concedes the congressman, pressed to say whether Obama was born in the United States. “Yes,” he says, “I believe so.”

If this concession is good enough for Campbell, it should be good enough for everyone.

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President Obama recently made some remarks about Islam, while on his international tour, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

President Barack Obama, making his first official visit to a Muslim-majority nation, declared today that the United States “is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.”

The ringing affirmation of partnership came during a speech to Turkey’s parliament but was clearly addressed to a far wider audience: the entire Muslim world. The speech was widely watched outside Turkey’s borders, with live coverage on Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, the largest Arabic-language satellite channels. …

“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama told lawmakers and assembled officials and dignitaries. “The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical.”

On a personal note, the U.S. leader noted that many Americans had ties with Islam through family connections or by living in and visiting Muslim countries.

“I know, because I am one of them,” he said. Obama’s father was a Muslim from Kenya, and he lived for a time in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Gazing around the ornate chamber, the president said the relationship with the Muslim world must encompass more than the fight against terrorism.

While these remarks are exactly the sort one would expect of any US president, given the necessity of diplomacy and international relations — and are really not much different from other comments his predecessor has made on many occasions — Obama’s remarks will, unfortunately, be viewed by folks on the Right as an affirmation that he is, truly, a Muslim. It’s a claim they’ve been making for a couple of years now (e.g. by the immature, hyperreligious, raging Debbie Schlussel) and it continues to be sounded throughout the Right-wing world, even though it is not true. Many independent fact-checking organizations have reached the conclusion that the Right’s “Obama is a Muslim” mantra is false; these include Snopes, FactCheck, About.Com Urban Legends, WaPo FactChecker, and more. Even the conservative Washington Times referred to the belief that Obama is a Muslim as a “myth” that too many Americans refuse to part with.

Oh, and in case you aren’t clear on it, Obama also is, in fact, a “natural-born citizen” of the US. Really. Honest. No lie.

Sadly, there are just too many Americans these days who are too immature to accept certain truths that they would prefer to be so, when they aren’t. Especially on the Right. Irrational, even insane beliefs, are — in a perverse sense — comforting to people, and they will not part with them. Obama’s remarks about his father’s religious heritage, and America’s relations with Islamic nations, will be viewed by these people as confirmation of their (incorrect) belief. An emotional desire for something to be true, however, is not a justification for believing it, when it’s verifiably false.

In fact, incorrect beliefs about Obama’s nature and plans, can actually be deadly, as my next blog entry points out.

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