A lot of hay is being made about Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Much of this is coming from the usual conspiracy theorist types like Philip Berg. So I decided to look into this myself.
The fact is – and I almost hate to admit this – but it looks like the nut-jobs may be on to something here.
My interest got piqued when I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, and he was going on about the current Philip Berg lawsuit against Obama. Then, I saw this on WorldNetDaily.com:
Although the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama’s birth certificate has become a focus of intense speculation – and even several lawsuits – WND has learned that Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Linglehas placed the candidate’s birth certificate under seal and instructed the state’s Department of Health to make sure no one in the press obtains access to the original document under any circumstances.
The governor’s office officially declined a request made in writing by WNDin Hawaii to obtain a copy of the hospital-generated original birth certificate of Barack Obama.
“It does not appear that Dr. Corsiis within any of these categories of persons witha direct and tangible interest in the birth certificate he seeks,” wrote Roz Makuala, manager of constituent services in the governor’s office, in an e-mailed response to a WND request seeking the information.
Those listed as entitled to obtain a copy of an original birth certificate include the person born, or “registrant” according to the legal description from the governor’s office, the spouse or parent of the registrant, a descendant of the registrant, a person having a common ancestor with the registrant, a legal guardian of the registrant, or a person or agency acting on behalf of the registrant.
WND was told the official reason for denial of access to Obama’s birth certificate would be authority granted pursuant to Section 338-18 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, a provision the anonymous source claimed was designed to prevent identity theft.
Still, the source told WNDconfidentially the motivation for withholding the original birthcertificate was political, although the source refused to disclose whether there was any information on the original birth certificate that would prove politically embarrassing to Obama.
The source also refused to answer WND’squestion whether the original document on file with the Department of Healthwas a hospital-generated birthcertificate or a registration of birththat may have been filed subsequent to the birth.
The anonymous source made clear the Hawaii Department of Health would immediately release Obama’soriginal birth certificate, provided Obamarequested the document be released, but the Department of Heath has received no such request from the senator or from anyone acting officially on his behalf.
This article was dated October 27th, 2008. Keep an eye on the timing of this announcement. Remember, Barack Obama had to leave his campaign, and fly off to Hawaii to visit his dying grandmother on October 24th, 2008. Come October 29th, he’ll be back on the campaign trail, and even making an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Did his grandmother get better? I can’t tell. There are no news stories on her condition. So, needless to say, the timing is suspicious.
Getting back to the birth certificate – you can see the “official” copy on the Barack Obama, fightthesmears.com website. I’ve downloaded it from the site, and checked against other copies the campaign allegedly gave to other supporter sights. I’ve included the downloaded copy here:
Mind you, the version I’ve supplied is not full-size, and has been compressed due to JPEG formatting. I’ve included it so as to provide a quick sample for you to look at and compare against my analysis. So, I encourage you to take a look at the source copy from the link I provided above (the actual Obama website).
There are several, obvious problems with the “original” birth certificate. First, as as some have already pointed out, there is no embossed seal imprint on the document. Now, a number of Obama-friendly site, Snopes.com being one of them, make the following claim when it comes to the embossed seal:
A number of self-proclaimed experts immediately seized the opportunity to pronounce the certificate a forgery (even though none of them had actually seen the original, just a scanned image of it), picking on such specious details as minor variations from other Hawaii-issued certificates and the lack of an embossed seal and signature.
Aside from the inherent absurdity of such claims (i.e., that a major party presidential nominee would risk his entire candidacy on a fraud that could be uncovered simply by a check of state health records), the supposedly incriminating details don’t pan out: the certificate is consistent with others issued in the same time and place, and the embossed seal and signature don’t show through very well on the scanned front image made available on the Internet because they were applied to the back of the original document, not the front.
This is just plain ignorant.
Scanners use two basic pieces of electronics to create a scanned image: a CCD chip (or something similar), and a really bright light. A light passes along the scanned document, and the CCD chip picks up the reflection. The hue and intensity of the reflected light is digitized into color and shade by the CCD chip, and held as numeric information in the scanner / copier. Mind you, this is a simplified explanation.
Also be aware, I use this stuff quite frequently. I know how it works, and the resultant image you’re going to get. There’s is indeed a problem with the embossing.
This is a fairly good, high-quality scan, and regardless of how the embossed seal was applied, you’re either going to have minor shadows show up where there are impressions in the paper (or where light is reflected away from a dimple in the paper), or reflections (bright spots) if there are “peaks”. These irregularities will definitely show up, almost like a watermark, in your average scan.
The only way these shadows and reflections could be removed would be to adjust the contrast of the picture so that the printed / digitized output would be lighter than normal. Doing this, however, would bleed-out the crosshatch pattern of green bars in the background of the document, and make the lettering either thinner, or grayer than it is presently being shown. But the crosshatch pattern on the document is pretty plain. So, it doesn’t look like they adjusted the contrast of meddled with the color of the final image.
The other obvious tell-tale sign that there is no embossed seal is the hatched pattern on the paper. Regardless of how the seal is applied, the skewing or distortion of the green lines by the imprint would be readily noticeable regardless of shadows, and regardless of what side of the paper is embossed.
In short: there is no embossed seal on this document. There is either no seal, never was any seal, or the Obama campaign maniuplated the document to remove the seal. Why they would do the latter is a little beyond me.
The second problem with the document is the font being used – it’s a proportional typeface. While proportional typeface has been around since 1941, it wasn’t in wide-spread use until 1966, when the IBM Selectric made this available. The IBM Executive typewriter was the only model – to my knowledge – that had any sort of proportional characteristics available. However, those typewriters tended to use fonts with “serifs” (the mild point extensions on the letters). The font in use here is absent serifs, and looks like those more commonly used on a laser printer. The font being used on the document, and the font spacing thereof, would have been relatively rare during the time Obama was born.
So, this appears to be a copy of the birth certificate. One without an official embossed state seal, and reproduced with modern type.
In the same vein as the typeface, there is a remarkable alignment of the letters along the left margin of the page. If you blow-up the document, and run a line straight down from from the very left edge of the letter “B” in “Barack” (at the top of the page), all the way down past the “A” in “August” (under the “DATE FILED” field) you’ll find that all of the letters lines up within 1 to 2 pixels. Part of the reason for the variance is because the document was originally shrunk from the initial scan, and the colors blended during that compression.
Regardless, this is another indicator that something is wrong. Old electric typewriters were not ultra-precision machines like we’re used to. There were slight variations in platen position (that’s the carriage that held the paper), and often minor skewing of the paper as it was fed into the typewriter. The “A” characters on the document line up almost EXACT along the line I drew. While this is not indicative of a fake, it is surprisingly suspicious. I would have expected a variation of anywhere from 2 to 4 pixels.
Again, I suspect that this document was printed recently, and not certified. A laser printer would have been able to provide that kind of precision.
There is also an issue in that this document does not seem to be the least bit faded over time. In fact, it looks brand-new. Even when not exposed to light, documents with that kind of age on them will tend to yellow, or the colors printed on them would lose some sort of pigment. Not the case with the birth certificate in question.
All in all, the Obama Campaign either got an unofficial copy of the birth certificate, or it is a fake. To me, it looks as if it was printed off on a laser printer.
There may be something to the allegations.