Is The President-Elect Eligible?

November 29, 2008 – The circumstantial evidence of Mr. Obama’s ineligibility to serve as the President of the United States seems, as they say, overwhelming.

By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond

As I stated in my own comments to my post, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Government, I have doubts about Mr. Obama’s eligibility to actually be the president of the United States, according to the inviolable requirements imposed by the Constitution.

I am totally non-partisan and would describe my political inclination as libertarian or even more accurately, anarchist. Unlike some partisan folks, I do not seize upon every little piece of news or every discrepancy as evidence that Mr. Obama is ineligible. Until recently the issue never even entered my mind. Nevertheless, my reason for writing this post is that every time I run across another unsought and unexpected piece of evidence, my doubts about his eligibility grow. It is precisely because I continue encountering more such evidence that I felt this issue warranted a deeper examination.

I had doubts about Mr. McCain’s eligibility as well, since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. With the election now behind us, those doubts are obviously no longer relevant. Besides, if I understand the spirit of the Constitution correctly, if the Panama Canal Zone were a U.S. territory at the time of Mr. McCain’s birth, then his birth would qualify as “natural born.” No such territorial generosity can be accorded the nation of Kenya, however, if, in fact, that’s where Mr. Obama was born.

I honestly don’t care who is the president since I regard all of our so-called “leaders” with equal cynicism. But until anarchy is declared to be the official system under which we live, I still harbor a certain loyalty and devotion to the Constitution, tattered and shredded though it is. And it unequivocally states that only a natural born person may be the president. My only interests are ascertaining the truth and abiding by the laws of the land, the highest of which are enshrined in the Constitution. And unlike the Bill of Rights, this natural born requirement is no afterthought, but one of the original articles of the Constitution. So in contrast to the question of which intern the president is “entertaining” in the Oval Office, which is nobody’s business, the matter of a president’s Constitutional eligibility is everybody’s business, and Mr. Obama has a duty to all Americans to dispel any doubts they may have about his eligibility. If he’s not willing to answer this question and lay to rest the issue of his eligibility once and for all, then he really shouldn’t have been running for the high profile office of president in the first place.

Evidence in Favor of Mr. Obama’s Eligibility

A number of left-leaning web sites have published images of Mr. Obama’s Certification of Live Birth, which I repeat, is not the same thing as a Birth Certificate, so it’s not very substantial evidence in Mr. Obama’s favor. However, I did run across an image of a newspaper clipping announcing Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii.

Newspaper clipping from The Sunday Advertiser, dated August 12, 1961, announcing Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii
Newspaper clipping from The Sunday Advertiser, dated August 12, 1961, announcing Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii

I accept this image at face value and regard it as the strongest evidence in favor of Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii. However, I examined the larger portion of the newspaper page in highly magnified detail and could not verify that the above clipping was actually excerpted from the larger portion which has the date on it. It would be valuable to have a better quality image of the larger portion of the newspaper page, with enough resolution to actually see the above clipping.

I’d also like to point out that many people, believing that the ends justifies the means, would not have the slightest reservations about fabricating evidence such as this. Consequently, every new piece of evidence, pro and con, introduced into this contentious issue needs to be authenticated. While I accept, for now, this evidence at face value, I will not be entirely satisfied with it until it is properly authenticated.

It’s highly doubtful to me that in 1961 Mr. Obama’s parents were planning ahead to the 2008 presidential election and “planted” this piece of evidence in order to reinforce their son’s eligibility for the office! However, his mother – being an American citizen – might naturally have wanted her son to also be an American citizen, and may have thought it proper to declare him as American-born even if he were born in Kenya.

So in addition to authenticating the newspaper clipping shown above, we must also investigate how the newspaper came to learn of the news of Mr. Obama’s birth. Was the news relayed to the paper by Mr. Obama’s parents, a relative or a family friend? Was the news telephoned to the paper? Was it reported to the paper by the state? Was it gleaned from state records by the paper? The source of the information and the timing of its delivery is more crucial than its actual publication in the paper.

Evidence Against Mr. Obama’s Eligibility

Although there is a single, solitary piece of evidence – the above newspaper announcement – in support of Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii, there are several pieces of evidence to the contrary.

Mr. Obams’s Own Reticence

First, Mr. Obama’s own reticence and seemingly dismissive attitude about this matter is troubling for two reasons. Either he lacks a birth certificate proving his natural born status in the U.S., in which case he is knowingly violating the Constitution and thumbing his nose at the rule of law before even taking office! Or, he possesses such a birth certificate but feels it’s “beneath” him to dignify these legitimate questions about his eligibility with a response, which would indicate imperiousness and a disturbing indifference toward the very people he claims to represent. A third possibility, raised by an article I read this morning, is that Mr. Obama is simply waiting for an opportune time to reveal his genuine birth certificate proving his birth in Hawaii in order to cause maximum embarrassment to those who have questioned his eligibility, which, if true, would be extremely childish and needlessly prolong this damaging uncertainty. I see no other possible explanations for Mr. Obama’s failure to present a genuine birth certificate, and none of these explanations are suggestive of the exemplary qualities we hope to see in a president.

Certification of Live Birth

When I first saw Mr. Obama’s Certification of Live Birth, which was posted on various web sites, I accepted it at face value and didn’t question its authenticity. I merely noted that it was not a birth certificate or a copy of one. For amusement, I examined my own birth certificate this morning (actually a photocopy of the original), and it looks nothing like the document Mr. Obama presented.

My birth certificate – issued just one year before Mr. Obama’s – is a fill-in-the-blank form, in which most of the fields were filled in with a typewriter, others were signed by hand, and still others were stamped with a rubber stamp. That’s what I would expect Mr. Obama’s original birth certificate to look like also. The Certification of Live Birth (COLB) is merely a kind of affidavit, stating in effect, “Yes, we have an original birth certificate on file.” Well, then let’s see it.

Although I didn’t initially doubt the authenticity of the image posted by Mr. Obama, after reading this lengthy article this morning I took a closer look at the image of Mr. Obama’s COLB published online, and I have to say, I now doubt its authenticity. (I think the analysis described in the above article is at times nitpicky and makes a big deal about some minutiae, but I agree with its overall conclusion that the COLB image made public is a forgery.)

I’ve been working with digital images for more than two decades. In the mid-1980s my company was a pioneer in cosine-transform-based image compression, the fundamental algorithm underlying the JPEG standard, and participated in formulating the JPEG standard. So I have great familiarity with compressed photographic images (including scanned documents like Mr. Obama’s COLB). Over the years I’ve scanned hundreds of photographs, halftone images, diagrams and pages of text, and created hundreds of digital drawings and diagrams on the computer. So I have a keen appreciation for the differences between photographic images and computer-generated images (including computer-generated fonts).

Self promotion complete, take a look at these scanned images.

Mr. Obama’s COLB, compared to another Hawaii COLB and a state-issued automobile Certificate of Title
Mr. Obama’s COLB, compared to another Hawaii COLB and a state-issued automobile Certificate of Title

The image in the upper left corner is from the COLB image Mr. Obama made public; the one in the upper right corner is a scan of another COLB issued by the State of Hawaii; and the one on the bottom is a scan made by me of a state-issued automobile Certificate of Title. The upper right and bottom images look like authentic scanned images. Notice how the background features butt up right against the superimposed text, and how the text and background have the same intensity and sharpness. But look at the image in the upper left (click on the image for a higher resolution version). Granted, the entire image is sharper than the one on the right, but the text is noticeably sharper than the background, and there seems to be a white corona around the text. In stark contrast to the other two images, there is a visible separation between the background and the text.

When a high frequency edge, like that between the text and the background, is compressed, it does not produce a white corona around the text, like that seen in the upper left image. It produces a noisy aura around the text, which can be seen in the upper right image. In other words, the white corona seen around the text in the upper left image is not an artifact of image compression. I’m not sure what caused the white corona around the text, but my guess is that it’s indicative of some sort of image manipulation handiwork. The white corona may even have been deliberately added to help blend the text into the background. Perhaps overlaying sharp, computer-generated fonts onto the comparatively fuzzy background was too obviously phony.

In my opinion, the image in the upper left looks as though someone scanned a genuine COLB – perhaps a blank sheet containing only the background pattern and no text – and then used a computer to place the text onto the scanned image. Then, to partially “blend” the text into the background the image was heavily compressed. The noisy aura around the text in both COLB images above is indicative of a high degree of compression. By comparison, there is no such aura around the text on the scan of the automobile title because it was not as highly compressed. In addition, the scan of the automobile title, which appears to be the same physical size as, and a moderately more complex image than the COLB, resulted a file 92 MB in size, whereas the COLB is only 1.4 MB in size. Even reducing the scan resolution to 300 DPI from the 600 DPI I used would presumably have resulted in a 23 MB file, and that’s compressed with JPEG just like the COLB. So clearly, the 1.4 MB COLB image is highly compressed, which tends to greatly obscure important image details. My analysis of these images could be totally flawed, but in my opinion the image of Mr. Obama’s COLB has been doctored.

If true, then the issues take on a more sinister character, because not only would Mr. Obama be continuing to pursue a job for which he knows he is Constitutionally ineligible, but he would have forged a document in the furtherance of that goal.

Kenyan Citizenship

Mr. Obama’s own web site, Fight the Smears, says right at the bottom:

When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.

By his own admission, Mr. Obama was a citizen of Kenya until he reached the age of 21 years. I don’t think the authors of the Constitution intended to permit a person who was ever a foreign citizen to be president. After all, they made an explicit exception to accommodate the foreign citizens who resided in America at the time the Constitution was adopted. The rationale behind the natural born stipulation is to preclude confused loyalties to nations besides than the U.S. Thus, the spirit of the Constitution would seem to rule out anyone who was ever a citizen of another nation from being president.

Mr. Obama’s Grandmother

According to Philip J. Berg, whose lawsuit is pending before the Supreme Court, one of Mr. Obama’s own grandmothers has attested that she was present when Mr. Obama was born in a hospital in Kenya. As explained in this article:

But Berg explained to Savage he believes Obama's mother was near the end of her pregnancy and unable to travel by plane, so Obama was born in Kenya. The family then traveled to Hawaii and registered the birth and submitted the newspaper announcement.

The belated announcement of the birth, after coming to the U.S., would explain why the newspaper clipping shown above exists and appears to be authentic. Despite the birth being announced in the U.S., the fact would remain that Mr. Obama was born elsewhere.

Some might dismiss this objection by pointing out that Mr. Obama’s mother was an American citizen. However, according to this article, his mother was unqualified by virtue of her young age to confer U.S. citizenship upon her son if he were born outside the U.S. In other words, if he were born in Kenya he would not automatically be a U.S. citizen at birth, which would seem to be an essential element of the natural born stipulation.

Radio Show Calls Kenyan Ambassador

On November 6th, right after the election, a radio show host engaged in a stunt by calling the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The purpose was to make light of the new relationship between America and Kenya (ensuing from Mr. Obama’s familial ties to that nation). After quite a bit of chit-chat with the Ambassador, the radio host eased into the question which appeared to be the primary objective of his telephone call:

[Radio host] Fellhauer: “One more quick question, President-elect Obama’s birthplace over in Kenya, is that going to be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?”

[Ambassador] Ogego: “It’s already an attraction. His paternal grandmother is still alive.”

Fellhauer: “His birthplace, they’ll put up a marker there?”

Ogego: “It would depend on the government. It’s already well known.”

The radio hosts were actually taken aback by this tacit admission that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and sought to clarify it further with the Ambassador. At no time did the Ambassador seem confused about what he was saying or aware of the serious Constitutional implications his admission harbored for Mr. Obama. Later, one of the radio hosts had this to say:

[Radio host] Clark told WND he began researching stories about Obama's birth before his call.

"For two weeks prior to the election, I had been reading on the air about this business of Obama needing to be disqualified because he is not a legal U.S. citizen and that he was born in Kenya and moved to Hawaii where he never properly naturalized," he said. "I always assumed if there was any truth in any of this, hillary [sic] would have found out and taken care of this issue a long time ago."

Clark continued, "Given the fact that I had read so much of this on the air, it was a natural question to play around a little bit and suggest as a joke that Obama was born in Kenya."

So what began as an amusing radio joke has taken on rather serious overtones.

The Year 2000 All Over Again?

In the year 2000 the Supreme Court improperly intervened in the presidential election that took place that year, and essentially appointed George W. Bush to the presidency. As a result, the next eight months of the new president’s ignominious administration were shrouded by illegitimacy. It was looking as though his administration would be a one-term failure. Then September 11 happened, completely erasing the stench of illegitimacy and sending the president’s approval rating soaring.

So what might occur over the next couple of months, with respect to Mr. Obama’s questionable eligibility?

Mr. Obama Does The Right Thing

One possible outcome, one that I’m quite skeptical will come to pass, is that Mr. Obama does the right thing and presents his original birth certificate, it’s authenticated by a document expert, and the issue is over and done with, all questions about his legitimacy satisfied. This would be the best possible outcome and will give Mr. Obama a legitimate foundation from which to govern.

I don’t expect this outcome for the simple reason that Mr. Obama could have effected it long ago but did not. There must be a reason why he did not. In addition, there’s reason to suspect that he or his aides attempted to deceive the public into believing that Mr. Obama possessed a birth certificate proving his eligibility. Again, that behavior suggests that he lacks an authentic birth certificate proving his eligibility.

Supreme Court Rules In Mr. Obama’s Favor

Another possibility is that Mr. Obama refuses to provide any more documentation proving his eligibility and the Supreme Court rules that he is eligible nevertheless, and is once again instrumental in placing a president in office. This outcome would produce the same air of illegitimacy as the “Do Nothing” outcome below, suffering Mr. Obama’s presidency with the same inauspicious start as that of his predecessor.

Supreme Court Rules Against Mr. Obama’s Eligibility

A third possible outcome is that Mr. Obama refuses to provide any more documentation proving his eligibility and the Supreme Court rules that he is ineligible. That would be a stunning and breathtaking decision which would throw the whole presidential election into uncharted waters. In that case, would the vice president-elect become the president? Would the runner up – Mr. McCain – become the president? Would the current president remain in office until a new election can be held? The chaos that would ensue in the event of this outcome makes me think it’s a highly unlikely one.

Do Nothing

The final possibility is that Mr. Obama refuses to provide any more documentation proving his eligibility, the Supreme Court declines to issue a ruling, and the so-called mainstream media ignores the whole issue or downplays it as a tempest in a teapot.

This outcome seems to possess the highest probability of coming to fruition. Steadfastly ignoring the issue has certainly been the approach of the mainstream media so far. That surprises me not in the least, because Mr. Obama was the clear selection of the elites who run the world, the very same people who own the mainstream media. Naturally, they’re not going to permit their own media companies to do anything to undermine their chosen functionary.

In addition, of the approximately eight lawsuits filed challenging Mr. Obama’s eligibility, several have been summarily dismissed, including the one filed by Philip Berg, which he appealed. Disappointingly, the court which dismissed the case declared that a mere citizen has no standing from which to challenge the candidate’s eligibility. How ironic and sad it is that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people regards the people as impotent. This case also exposed a shortcoming in the Constitution, namely, by what procedure are we to vet a candidate’s eligibility or challenge it? I suppose it’s up to the Electoral College at this point unless the Supreme Court decides to intervene again. The uncertainty about how to address this issue may well make simply ignoring it the most attractive option.

If nothing is done and Mr. Obama is sworn in as the president, he will suffer under the same stigma of illegitimacy that Mr. Bush did, to a lesser degree since so few people are even aware that there is a question about Mr. Obama’s eligibility. Nevertheless, the people who are aware of the issue will not recognize Mr. Obama’s legitimacy, including myself. Such refusal to recognize his legitimacy is not borne of mean-spiritedness, but devotion to truth and the Constitution. Unless this legitimacy deficit is huge, I don’t think it will matter much to the new president, although it will represent one more nail in the coffin of our once great republic and give the people who withhold their approval yet another reason to seek to form their own communities separate from the U.S.

On the other hand, should this legitimacy question assume large proportions, it would not surprise me to see another engineered “crisis” to make the people cast aside their questions about Mr. Obama’s legitimacy and rally around their president.

Conclusion

I believe I’m spitting into the wind here, that my legitimate questions about Mr. Obama’s eligibility are unwelcome and futile. So why do I write eight pages of drivel exploring this question? I really can’t say. Perhaps deep in my mind I harbor a remote hope that America can find its way back onto the tracks.

I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade or cause anyone any grief, and I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Obama, but I believe he is ineligible to be the president, solely by virtue of his having been born in Kenya. At the same time I have little doubt that Mr. Obama will be sworn in as the next President of the United States. That occasion will represent not a triumph – of overcoming racial barriers, “hope,” “change,” or anything else – but another step away from the rule of law and toward this nation’s demise.

Questioning Mr. Obama’s eligibility is not a case of making a mountain out of a molehill. Actually, it’s the opposite. The question is a mountainous one which Mr. Obama’s elite masters and his adulating “change”-seeking supporters are attempting to turn into a molehill by either ignoring the issue or trivializing it.

Fundamentally the issue boils down to whether we, as a nation, are going to observe our own laws, especially our most sacred ones, or simply ignore them whenever they prove inconvenient. If the latter (which has certainly become a popular trend – think of the financial bailouts), then we might as well quit pretending that there are any laws or rules and begin making preparations for the aftermath of our nation’s denouement.

Update – 27 December 2008

As anticipated, the fix is in – it was so for the year leading up to the election – and the president-elect is almost certainly going to be sworn in as the next president. The elites who control the world, and most importantly, the media, have decreed it so, and so it shall be.

Nevertheless, we can at least amuse ourselves with the illegitimacy into which we’ve descended. Here’s (black) Pastor James David Manning demanding that Mr. Obama, “that long-legged mac daddy,” produce his “dog gone birth certificate.” It’s pretty amusing even though he’s serious.

Update – 03 January 2009

Despite my expectation that Mr. Obama will be sworn in as the president, eligible or not, a lot of people won’t let the question of his eligibility die. This site claims to have proof of his ineligibility. And the tabloid, Globe, has the question plastered all over the cover of its latest issue:

Globe Magazine - Where Obama Was Really Born!

I hope people keep poking this hornet’s nest, even after the new decider takes office.

Another thing I’ve noticed, even at the “progressive” web sites I troll, is that Mr. Obama’s honeymoon appears to be over already, and he hasn’t even been sworn in! Even so-called progressives are smelling the stench of his recycling tired old corporatist elitists to staff his administration. And look who endorses Mr. Obama: Karl Rove and Robert Mugabe! Talk about your recommendations from hell. The people who supported Mr. Obama want to remain optimistic, but it’s getting more and more difficult for them if they honestly acknowledge what their eyes and ears are telling them. Nevertheless, there remains a diehard bunch of “believers” who will probably never relinquish their faith in their savior.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the guy. I couldn’t care less that he’s half black or a Democrat or a Muslim or whatever. What I care about is the Constitution and that we abide by it. I’m also bothered by the irrational faith of his supporters in his ability or willingness to “change” anything. There’s little a single person can do even if he’s of a mind to do something. Our political system is run by money and that hasn’t changed with the election of the latest messiah. His principal donors are the very same wealthy entities that have been funding politicians’ campaigns for a long time. How can any rational person really expect “change”? Yet they do.

The messiah has made vague promises to create three million jobs and provide health care to all, but he hasn’t offered any specifics about how he’s going to accomplish this, or how he’s going to pay for it. First he promised two million jobs, then two and a half million, now three million. Do I hear three and a half million? Where’s he going to “create” these jobs? In the automobile industry? The home building industry? The financial sector? Retail? And how is he going to “create” these jobs? By pulling them out of his pocket?

The U.S. is already beyond broke. And what’s worse, we’ve shipped our wealth-creating apparatus, industry, abroad. That has, in fact, been our chief “export” during the last two or three decades, and the recipients of our erstwhile economic golden goose have eagerly accepted our foolishly squandered largesse. Now we find ourselves worse than broke and with no means to pay back what we owe right now, let alone pay for all these mythical promises of jobs and health care. But never try to shove facts in between a true believer and their idol.

Update – 06 May 2013

A few years have elapsed since this controversy was born and it simply won’t die, nor should it. It is deliciously ironic that Mr. Obama has been recorded saying, “The only people that don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.

In response to public angst over his “natural born” eligibility, Mr. Obama released a second “birth certificate” which was different from, and even more obviously phony than the first one! Now, I have a birth certificate too – just one – but it looks authentic. Mr. Obama apparently has two different birth certificates and has claimed that both are authentic. How can that be? The image below shows the two “birth certificates” that Mr. Obama has publicly released. People can judge for their selves whether the two are the same, and if not, ponder how a person can have two “authentic” birth certificates that look different.

Mr. Obama’s growing collection of birth certificates
Mr. Obama’s growing collection of birth certificates

Although I dislike Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I admire his dogged investigation of the second “birth certificate” as a possible fraudulent official document, the creation of which would be a criminal offense for us peasants. According to the sheriff, he set out to prove the authenticity of the second “birth certificate,” but after a lengthy and diligent investigation, the sheriff’s “posse” came to the inescapable conclusion that the second “birth certificate” was fraudulent. That’s not me or some other internet quack drawing that conclusion, but a government official, an active duty sheriff. As Mike Zullo, one of the sheriff’s aids stated, referring to the second “birth certificate”:

We recently discovered new irrefutable evidence, which confirms, hands down, the document is a fraud.

So if the second “birth certificate” has been determined to be a fraud, not only by Sheriff Arpaio’s crew, but by numerous document experts in various government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, why should we trust the first “birth certificate” either, especially since the release of a second one sort of implies that the first one was phony? For that matter, why should we trust anything Mr. Obama has to say on the matter of his birth?

I do not believe Mr. Obama is the son of Mr. Obama, Sr., but is in fact the son of Frank Marshall Davis, an American citizen. A cursory glance at side-by-side photographs of Mr. Obama, Mr. Obama, Sr. and Frank Marshall Davis makes clear the resemblance between the latter and Mr. Obama. Nevertheless, the American citizenship of both of Mr. Obama’s parents doesn’t resolve the “natural born” issue. The question remains, in which countries was Mr. Obama a citizen prior to his becoming a citizen of the United States. If he was ever a citizen of another country, such as Kenya or Indonesia, prior to becoming a citizen of the United States, then I would think he could not be considered a “natural born citizen” as required by the Constitution. The question of which citizenship Mr. Obama held first may be a technicality, but technicalities, even small ones, carry much weight in our legal system.

The legal questions about Mr. Obama’s eligibility are still not resolved and probably will not be until long after he is out of office, if ever. After all, although it’s pretty clear that Al Gore won the year 2000 election nothing has come of it (and believe me, I’m absolutely no fan of Al Gore; I’m only interested in truth and abiding by the rules that we have agreed to live by as members of a civilized society). Although numerous eligibility challenges to Mr. Obama have already been dismissed by corrupt courts – which obviously possess innate fealty to the government and especially its highest political office – more court cases are being pursued, the latest being in Alabama, which I doubt will prove any more fruitful than its predecessors.

The End