[lbo-talk] Sam Smith on Obama's birth certificate

Michael Pollak mpollak at panix.com
Mon Apr 11 20:55:57 PDT 2011

[From his Undernews newsletter, but this part written by him]


April 11, 2011

The Progressive Review

Obama's birth control problem

Sam Smith

Dismissing the skeptics of Obama's birthplace with haughty ridicule

doesn't help much. In fact, the percentage of doubters seems to be


This is another example where the media and politicians refuse to deal

with real anomalies in a story and, as result, actually encourage

greater unsupported speculation.

Here's how the story stands as of now:

There is no substantive evidence that Obama was born anywhere but in

Honolulu. Evidence that he was born in Hawaii includes a short form

birth certificate and two newspaper announcements at the time. Both the

Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin published announcements of

the birth of a son to Mr and Mrs Barack Obama on August 4, 1961.

The state of Hawaii, even at the request of the new Democratic

governor, refuses to release the so-called long form birth certificate,

saying that it can only be done at the personal request of the person

on the certificate.

Obama, for reasons unknown, has not made such a request. Why does a

Harvard lawyer let such a claim continue to fester in public without

taking the simple steps necessary to quash it? Possible explanations


- An initial attitude of screw-them, which has now transformed into a

major political issue from which Obama still doesn't want to back down,

perhaps more for reasons of ego than of common sense.

- The lack of Obama's long certificate for reasons unknown. CNN has

suggested that the original certificate no longer exists since all such

records were discarded in 2001 but the state denies it. Hawaii is, in

effect, denying the absence of something it can't or won't produce.

- Some information on the certificate that Obama did not want released,

not necessarily having to do with birthplace.

Certainly the way Obama handled the matter during the campaign was

strange. FactCheck.org alone was invited to view a hard copy of the

original document and later reported:

"FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and

photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets

all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S.

citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a

signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the

document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion:

Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said."

But why not just tell Hawaii to let a pool of reporters and lawyers

view the actual document? After all, in this case FactCheck was hardly

the objective observer it pretends to be since it is funded by the

Annenberg Foundation, whose Chicago Challenge had as a board member

none of other than Barack Obama. One Annenberg fundee clearing another

one is not the best way to prove your point.

Further, Governor Abercrombie's effort to resolve the matter has come

to naught. According to Abercrombie, he was told by the state attorney

general that he can't see the original certificate without the consent

of the individual involved.

But this is not new information. This has been the state's legal

position all along and Abercrombie presumably knew it from the start.

Yet a day earlier, the British Daily Mail had reported:

"Abercrombie said on Tuesday that an investigation had unearthed papers

proving Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. He told Honolulu's

Star-Advertiser: 'It actually exists in the archives, written down,' he


"But it became apparent that what had been discovered was an

unspecified listing or notation of Obama's birth that someone had made

in the state archives and not a birth certificate.

"And in the same interview Abercrombie suggested that a long-form,

hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist

within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of


"He acknowledged the birth certificate issue would have 'political

implications' for the next presidential election 'that we simply cannot


The other issue is whether - due to his father's British (not Kenyan)

citizenship, Obama is a "natural born American" as described in the


Several judges have already rejected cases involving the matter -

undoubtedly in part on the unspoken grounds that determining that Obama

was not entitled to be president would tear the country apart as never

before, especially when the argument is based on something as shaky as

his whereabouts during a stage of life when he couldn't even pee in a

toilet, let along speak the mother tongue.

Second, there is quite an interesting history of public figures being

similarly challenged and an equally interesting history of nothing much

happening as a result including Chester Arthur, Charles Evans Hughes,

George Romney, Christian Herter, Barry Goldwater, Lowell Weicker, and

John McCain. The definition of a "natural born citizen" has been a

topic of a heated debate throughout our history. It wasn't well defined

at the time of the Constitution was drafted and it hasn't been since.

It is worth noting, however, that (as reader Weld Henshaw points out)

all the above mentioned were Republicans.

Posted by TPR at 4/11/2011

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