Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why the Barack Obama Birth Certificate Issue Is Legitimate

Does this Barack Obama birth certificate issue bug you because, although improbable, it'spossible that he's not a natural born citizen, isn't eligible to be President under the Constitution, and this issue could be bigger than Watergate -- or any other "gate" in history?

Are you afraid that if you were even to raise the subject with your friends that they will think you wear a tinfoil hat, because, the final arbiter of truth in the universe, said so?

Are you with the news media, and after spending so much money to get Barack Obama elected, you'd hate to ruin your investment?

Are you a talk radio host who thinks that if you say the burden of proof needed to demonstrate one is eligible to be Commander in Chief should be at least as high as, oh, say, the level to be eligible for Hawaiian homestead status (see 1.F. below), that you'd be forced to give equal time to someone who disagrees?

Are you a conservative, libertarian, or any conscientious constitutionalist from any ideological side of life, who's convinced something's not right, but you're afraid your reputation might be tarnished because, after all, this could be one big Saul-Alinsky-style set-up, and the joke would be on you?

Fear not!  Joe the Farmer has prepared an outline showing that no matter how this issue is ultimately resolved, you have legitimate concerns, and that Barack Obama should, simply out of respect for the nation he was elected to lead, disclose the sealed vault copy of his birth certificate.

Given the circumstances, if Barack Obama respected this nation, he would prove it by the simplest and easiest of gestures - unless, of course, all this talk about change and hope was just a bunch of bull, and he's just "another politician."  Here's the outline:

1.  Under Hawaiian law, it is possible (both legally and illegally) for a person to have been born out of state, yet have a birth certificate on file in the Department of Health.

A. From Hawaii's official Department of Health, Vital Records webpage: "Amended certificates of birth may be prepared and filed with the Department of Health, as provided by law, for 1) a person born in Hawaii who already has a birth certificate filed with the Department of Health or 2) a person born in a foreign country" (applies to adopted children). 

B. A parent may register an in-state birth in lieu of certification by a hospital of birth under HRS 338-5.

C. Hawaiian law expressly provides for registration of out-of-state births underHRS 338-17.8.  A foreign birth presumably would have been recorded by the American consular of the country of birth, and presumably that would be reflected on the Hawaiian birth certificate.

D. Hawaiian law, however, expressly acknowledges that its system is subject to error.  See, for example, HRS 338-17.

E. Hawaiian law expressly provides for verification in lieu of certified copy of a birth certificate under HRS 338-14.3.

F. Even the Hawaii Department of Home Lands does not accept a certified copy of a birth certificate as conclusive evidence for its homestead program.  From itsweb site:  "In order to process your application, DHHL utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL."

2.  Contrary to what you may have read, no document made available to the public, nor any statement by Hawaiian officials, evidences conclusively that Obama was born in Hawaii.

A. Associated Press reported about a statement of Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Fukino, "State declares Obama birth certificate genuine."

B. That October 31, 2008 statement says that Dr. Fukino "ha[s] personally seen and verified that the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures." That statement does not, however, verify that Obama was born in Hawaii, and as explained above, under Hawaiian policies and procedures it is quite possible that Hawaii may have a birth record of a person not born in Hawaii.  Unlikely, but possible.

C.  The document that the Obama campaign released to the public is a certified copy of Obama's birth record, which is not the best evidence since, even under Hawaiian law, the original vault copy is the better evidence.  Presumably, the vault record would show whether his birth was registered by a hospital in Hawaii.

D. Without accusing anyone of any wrongdoing, we nevertheless know that some people have gone to great lengths, even in violation of laws, rules and procedures, to confer the many benefits of United States citizenship on themselves and their children.  Given the structure of the Hawaiian law, the fact that a parent may register a birth, and the limited but inherent potential for human error within the system, it is possible that a parent of a child born out-of-state could have registered that birth to confer the benefits of U.S. citizenship, or simply to avoid bureaucratic hassles at that time or later in the child's life. 

1. We don't know whether the standards of registration by the Department of Health were more or less stringent in 1961 (the year of Obama's birth) than they are today.  However, especially with post-9/11 scrutiny, we do know that there have been instances of fraudulent registrations of foreign births as American births.

2. From a 2004 Department of Justice news release about multiple New Jersey vital statistics employees engaged in schemes to issue birth certificates to foreign-born individuals:  "An individual who paid Anderson and her co-conspirators for the service of creating the false birth records could then go to Office of Vital Statistics to receive a birth certificate . . . As part of the investigation, federal agents executed a search warrant of the HCOVS on Feb. 18, 2004, which resulted in the seizure of hundreds of suspect Certificates of Live Birth which falsely indicated that the named individuals were born in Jersey City, when in fact, they were born outside the United States and were in the United States illegally . . . Bhutta purchased from Goswamy false birth certificates for himself and his three foreign-born children."

3.  Even before 9/11, government officials acknowledged the "ease" of obtaining birth certificates fraudulently.  From 1999testimony by one Social Security Administration official:  "Furthermore, the identity data contained in Social Security records are only as reliable as the evidence on which the data are based. The documents that a card applicant must present to establish age, identity, and citizenship, usually a birth certificate and immigration documents-are relatively easy to alter, counterfeit, or obtain fraudulently."

3.  It has been reported that the Kenyan government has sealed Obama's records.  If he were born in Kenya, as has been rumored even recently, the Kenyan government would certainly have many incentives to keep that undisclosed.  Objectively, of course, those records may prove nothing.  Obama's refusal to release records at many levels here in the United States, though, merely fuels speculation.

4.  Obama has refused to disclose the vault copy of his Hawaiian birth certificate.  This raises the question whether he himself has established that he is eligible to be President.  To date, no state or federal election official, nor any government authority, has verified that he ever established conclusively that he meets the eligibility standard under the Constitution.  If the burden of proof were on him, perhaps as it should be for the highest office of any individual in America, the more-than-dozen lawsuits challenging his eligibility would be unnecessary.

A. Had he disclosed his vault copy in the Berg v. Obama lawsuit (which was the first lawsuit filed on the question of his eligibility to be President), and it was established he was born in Hawaii, that would have constituted res judicata, and acted to stop other similar lawsuits being filed.  Without res judicata (meaning, the matter is adjudged and settled conclusively) he or government officials will need to defend other lawsuits, and valuable court resources will be expended.  Strategically from a legal standpoint, therefore, his refusal to disclose doesn't make sense.  Weighing factors such as costs, resources and complexity of disclosing versus not disclosing, he must have reason of considerable downside in disclosing, or upside in not disclosing.  There may be other reasons, but one could speculate that he hasn't disclosed because:

1. He was not born in Hawaii, and may not be eligible to be President;

2. He was born in Hawaii, but facts that may be derived from his vault copy birth certificate are inconsistent with the life story he has told (and sold);

3. He was born in Hawaii, and his refusal to provide the best evidence that he is a natural born citizen is a means by which to draw criticism of him in order to make him appear to be a "victim."  This would energize his supporters.  This would also make other charges about him seem suspect, including his concealment about ties to Bill Ayers and others of some infamy.  Such a clever yet distasteful tactic would seem to be a Machiavelli- and Saul-Alinsky-style way to manipulate public opinion.  But while this tactic may energize his supporters, it would convince those who believe him to be a manipulator that he's not only just that, but a real pro at it.  This would indeed be the basest reason of all, and would have repercussions about his trustworthiness (both here and abroad), which Americans know, is a characteristic sorely lacking in its leaders.

B. His motion to dismiss the Berg case for lack of standing could be viewed as contemptuous of the Constitution.  See, "Who Enforces the Constitution's Natural Born Citizen Clause?"  Are we to expect yet another White House that hides behind lawyers, and expects Americans to swallow half-truths on a just-trust-me basis?

C. This issue poses the potential for a constitutional crisis unlike anything this country has seen.  Disclosure at this stage, however, could even result in criminal sanctions.  See, "Obama Must Stand Up Now Or Step Down." Thus, he has motive not to disclose if he were ineligible.

The question not being asked by the holders of power, who dismiss this as a rightwing conspiracy, is what's the downside of disclosing?  This is a legitimate issue of inquiry because Barack Obama has turned it into one.  The growing number of people who demand an answer in conformance with the Constitution are doing their work; the people's watchdogs aren't.

The pen name Joe the Farmer pays tribute to Joe the Plumber, who had the audacity to ask a question.

1 comment:

smrstrauss said...

Re: "Had he disclosed his vault copy."

There is a simple explanation of why he did not disclose his vault copy.

The explanation is that Hawaii does not issue authentic copies of the vaulted birth certificate any more. They issue ONLY the certificate of live birth, which is what Obama has posted.

How do I know? I asked the Department of Health of Hawaii, which replied:


It is possible that we have records with more information but we issue only certified computer-generated certificates with certain necessary information to confirm a birth. We are the only agency that issues certified birth records for Hawaii
(Name removed)
End Quote

I have seen copies of Hawaii original certificates of birth on line (which include considerable details), but these were saved copies of the documents that were issued at the time of birth. The DOH of Hawaii does not issue these documents to adults who request their birth certificate. You can check, by asking your own questions by e-mail at

So the question is therefore whether the certification of live birth is accurate in the one thing that matters, Obama’s place of birth.

You say "Under Hawaiian law, it is possible (both legally and illegally) for a person to have been born out of state, yet have a birth certificate on file in the Department of Health."

Yes this is true, but it does not affect Obama's situation because Obama does not merely have a Hawaiian birth document. He has a Hawaiian birth document THAT SAYS THAT HE WAS BORN IN HAWAII ON IT.

Yes. Hawaii can issue a birth certificate to children who were not born in Hawaii provided that their parents lived in Hawaii. HOWEVER, Hawaii law does not allow its departments to lie about the place of birth.

So, when a child is born outside of Hawaii and the parents have lived in Hawaii for the right amount of time and apply for a Hawaiian birth document, Hawaii can issue a certification of live birth stating the name of the child, the parents, the date of birth, etc.

BUT where the document says: “Place of birth,” the location has to be filled in honestly as the place of birth where the child was actually born. There is nothing in the law that says: “We allow you to pick a location within Hawaii, select the island of birth, choose the city and the county and put that location down as the place of birth and we will list it the way you say.”

Why not? Because (1) that would be a lie; (2) It simply isn’t in the law, and why should it be? (3) IF it were allowed under Hawaii law, Hawaii would in effect be making US citizens out of people who are not born in the USA; (4) IF Hawaii did that, the US State Department would learn soon enough that people who were born outside of the USA had proof of US citizenship issued by Hawaii, and as a result the State Department would not issue passports to people with Hawaii birth documents. (But the US State Deparement DOES issue passports to people with Hawaii documents.)

In other words, it is misleading to imply that because Hawaii can issue birth certificates to persons born outside of Hawaii that this loophole allowed Obama to be registered as born in Hawaii even though he may have been born elsewhere. If he were born in Kenya, his certification would have to say “born in Kenya.” And, for that matter, if he was born in New Jersey, his certification would have to say “born in New Jersey.”

An example of this is Obama’s sister, who was born in Indonesia and yet has a Hawaii birth document issued under the law allowing Hawaii birth certificates. She has a Hawaii certification of live birth, but that certification says on it “born in Indonesia.”

In contrast, Obama’s certification of live birth says on it: “born in Hawaii.” In fact, it says Location of Birth: Honolulu; Island of Birth: Oahu; County of Birth: Honolulu.