Peter Lemiska
November 23, 2011
The birthers press on
By Peter Lemiska

In a belated response to the birther movement, earlier this year the White House released Barack Obama's "long form" birth certificate. Everyone believed it would finally silence the birthers; and it did — for a while. But since then, various independent researchers, as well as experts in graphics, computer software, and scanning equipment, have examined the document and now allege that it shows signs of tampering.

Since all of the countless lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility have been rebuffed by the courts, the birthers have set out on a new strategy. Arguing that Obama used fraudulent documents to establish his eligibility for the presidency in 2008, they are attempting to exclude his name from state election ballots for 2012.

Last Friday, Dr. Orly Taitz, a controversial attorney leading the charge in this effort, appeared before the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission to argue her case. The predictable decision came immediately. BLC Chairman, Brad Cook, proclaimed that "Our jurisdiction is to decide if a candidate on the ballot has properly filed and has been properly placed on the ballot." Case closed, Obama's name remains on the ballot. With all due respect to New Hampshire's BLC, we have to wonder if the state really needs an entire commission just to determine if a ballot was properly filed. Shouldn't it have the additional responsibility of verifying the eligibility of a candidate, especially when serious questions are raised about possible fraud? At the very least, shouldn't the Attorney General or some law enforcement agency be tasked to investigate the charges?

And there certainly are legitimate questions that would be investigated if the accused were anyone but the President. Why, as Taitz and others have reported, has Barack H. Obama apparently used a Connecticut-issued Social Security number, if he has never had ties to that state? Why are there several other Social Security numbers associated with his name? Why has Obama fought so strenuously to conceal the original birth certificate, only to suddenly produce the document — a document of questionable veracity?

Critics of the birthers love to ridicule them as conspiracy nuts. While a few of them may be absolutely convinced that Barack Obama was born in a remote Kenyan village, many bright, honorable and reputable people do share with them serious questions about Obama's birth certificate, and his murky background.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who instinctively reject even the most compelling evidence of any scandal that might hurt Obama's presidency. To cling to their unshakable belief, they also have to reject some well-established facts. Document fraud and identity theft are real problems in this country. The Center for Immigration Studies suggests that as many as 75% of working-age illegal aliens use fraudulent Social Security cards to obtain employment. Those fierce Obama loyalists dismiss even the suggestion that Obama's birth certificate may have been altered. When they cannot explain away any supporting evidence, they resort to ridicule. But it's not just a matter of defending their belief system. The whole issue of constitutional eligibility is simply inconsequential to them.

Yet for others, the questions remain.

Considering the availability of high-quality forged documents, is it at least possible that Obama's birth certificate could have been altered? In view of the absence of verification procedures by the various election committees, is it possible that candidate Obama was not properly vetted in 2008? And considering the power of the president, and his doting press, would it not be possible to conceal from the American people any skeletons that might be rattling in Obama's closet?

The birthers point to a mountain of evidence to substantiate their claims. All of it has been challenged by Obama supporters. And while those who take the time to research the claims and rebuttals with an open mind may not be convinced that Obama was born abroad, they might walk away with an unsettling feeling, a nagging suspicion about his past, his credentials, and even his eligibility, or at least suitability, for the office he holds.

The President wields tremendous power, and like Chairman Cook, none of the politicians or judges beseeched by the birthers has shown any interest in pursuing their allegations, no matter how serious or well-substantiated. In the end, we will likely never know what is hidden in Obama's background. But his piecemeal release of selected documents of questionable authenticity only casts more doubt on his past and continues to fuel the birther movement. Considering his current standing in the polls, it's impact on the 2012 elections could be decisive.

As for Cook's dismissive response to the issue, New Hampshire might think about a new state motto. Instead of "Live free or die," the legislators might consider "Let sleeping dogs lie."

© Peter Lemiska

 

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Peter Lemiska

Peter Lemiska is a freelance writer and former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service... (more)

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