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MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS TO REACH FACTCHECK STAFF ABOUT OBAMA’S PURPORTED COLB ARE IGNORED
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 20, 2010) — The Post & Email has tried on several occasions to reach the staff at Factcheck.org, an organization which describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.”
However, Factcheck refuses to answer questions about its August 2008 coverage of the “Certification of Live Birth” which it claimed “resides” at Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago. Obama’s attorneys have not claimed that the original has been revealed as they filed briefs in answer to the numerous lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility; rather, they have attempted to keep Obama’s records hidden by trying to establish that the plaintiffs did not have “standing” or that the jurisdiction was incorrect.
On April 26, 2010, The Post & Email sent the following message to Factcheck.org:
Sent: April 26, 2010
Subject: OBAMA’S COLB
I have a question regarding the COLB which you posted during the presidential campaign. Our website has posted two analyses of that document finding no raised seal on the document, as you claim there is. Could you provide a photograph of the whole document which shows that seal rather than a close-up which cannot conclusively be connected to the document?
Our website is www.thepostemail.com.
Also, could you provide proof that the Registrar’s stamp is on the back of the document? Why is the color different there than on the photo of the whole document shown above it? Do you have any record of when the document was requested from the Hawaii Department of Health?
The Post & Email, Inc.
Factcheck did not respond to the email.
On May 2, The Post & Email sent another message to the same address using an email system which shows if and when a message has been opened:
Date: Sunday, May 02, 2010 10:46 AM
Subject: OBAMA’S “CERTIFICATION OF LIVE BIRTH”
Hello, Jess, I understand you are the editor, or one of the editors, at Factcheck.org. I contacted you last Monday regarding some research The Post & Email has been doing into the document purported to be Obama’s “birth certificate” which you have displayed on your website from back during the campaign. I am using this email address to write to you again since my editor’s mailbox is nearly full.
Please also feel free to copy this email to Joe Miller at your organization.
My questions relate to the article you published on August 21, 2008: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html
Our research has resulted in many articles, but two of them were written or contributed to by Mr. John F. Sweeney, who is a photography expert. These can be found here: http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/04/25/original-certificate-of-live-birth-from-hawaii-is-different-from-obamas-colb/ and http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/03/21/obamas-forged-certification-of-live-birth-the-evidence/
My initial question was if you could send me, or display on your website, a photo of the purported Obama COLB with the raised seal. Your article claims that there is one and shows a photo of a close-up of a seal, but it appears to be on a different-colored background and there is nothing clearly attaching it to the document with Obama’s information on it. Can you supply such a photo?
Do you have the letter that Obama would have written to the Hawaii Department of Health requesting that this document be released? As you know, Hawaii is a closed-records state when it comes to birth records, and a request for release of information must be received in order for them to open any records. So far, no one has been able to locate the letter of release that Obama would have had to have sent to the Health Department if in fact this document belongs to him or was generated from the Health Department. If he never wrote such a letter, then how did this document enter the public domain?
We would like to see the original digital photos of the COLB.
We also have the following questions relating to your article of August 21, 2008:
1. “Recently FactCheck representatives got a chance to spend some time with the birth certificate, and we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago.” When, exactly (precise date and time window) was ‘Recently’?
2. You indicate the document ‘resides’ in the Obama headquarters in Chicago. Where and at what time did you take the photos? Can you indicate exactly (room, office number) where the photograph session took place and provide additional photos of that location? There are reports that Tommy Vietor, a member of Obama’s current staff, took the COLB to the White House “for safekeeping.” How could it be in two places at once? Are there two copies? Is one the original and the other a copy?
3. Who owns the Canon Powershot A570 used for the photos? Did they take the pictures?
4. Who is holding the document in the photo named birth_certificate_3.jpg?
5. Is there a complete list of people present when the photos were taken?
6. Many people have claimed that the photos are frauds. Why have you not pursued them for defamation or slander?
7. Would you be willing to set up another session to inspect the actual COLB again with additional reporters and document experts present?
Thank you very much. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Post & Email, Inc.
No answer was received; in fact, the message was never opened.
Regarding the birthplace and eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to serve as President of the United States, Factcheck posted an article dated May 13, 2010 which focused on the law passed recently in Hawaii which allows a state agency to ignore multiple requests for information from the same person over a one-year period. However, the article contains a link to a story from the BBC which is inaccurate in that its subtitle is not supported by the law’s wording.
The subtitle reads:
Hawaii has enacted a law allowing officials to ignore repetitive requests for US President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
The actual law reads (newly-approved material is underscored):
SECTION 1. Section 92F-11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
“(b) Except as provided in section 92F-13, each agency upon request by any person shall make government records available for inspection and copying during regular business hours[.]; provided that an agency shall not be required to make government records available or respond to a person’s subsequent duplicative request, if:
(1) After conducting a good faith review and comparison of the earlier request and the pending request, the agency finds that the pending request is duplicative or substantially similar in nature;
(2) The pending request has already been responded to within the past year; and
(3) The agency’s response to the pending request would remain unchanged.“
There is no mention of Obama in the amended wording of the bill.
The BBC article also contains other errors, such as “The new law was requested by Republican Governor Linda Lingle.” There is no evidence that Governor Lingle “requested” the legislature to pass the law, although the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and Office of Information Practices (OIP) supported it with testimony. At that time, the proposed changes to the existing law were quite different from what actually was passed in April.
Another statement by the BBC which is incorrect is “The state of Hawaii has released a computer print-out of the birth certificate information and officials have vouched for its authenticity, but that has failed to satisfy the birthers.” The state of Hawaii has insisted that it is prevented by law from releasing anything from a birth record except to a person who “has a tangible interest in the record.” In the case of Obama, despite the fact that he is a public figure, the American people are not considered to have a “tangible interest.”
No one in Hawaii has vouched for the authenticity of the document released by Factcheck, The Daily KOS, or even the document which White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed was released by the state of Hawaii. In fact, regarding the online COLB displayed by Factcheck, Daily KOS, and later, the Obama campaign, Janice Okubo, Health Department spokeswoman, stated that she doesn’t “know that it’s possible for us to even say beyond a doubt what the image on the site represents.”
The May 13 Factcheck article links to another story in the Honolulu Star Bulletin which contains false statements, one of which is a question posed by an unknown person regarding “certifications” and “certificates” from the Hawaii Department of Health. The exchange reads:
Question: What is the state’s policy for issuing a “Certification of Live Birth” versus a “Certificate of Live Birth”? My first, second and fourth children received certificates, but my third and fifth children received certifications. Why the difference? The certificate contains more information, such as the name of hospital, certifier’s name and title; attendant’s name and title, etc. The certification has only the child’s name, date and time of birth, sex, city/island/county of birth, mother’s maiden name, mother’s race, father’s name and father’s race. Why doesn’t the state just issue certificates? When did it stop issuing certificates? Is it possible to obtain certificates for my third and fifth children?
and the answer is given:
Answer: No, you can’t obtain a “certificate of live birth” anymore.
The article then goes on to explain that “The state Department of Health no longer issues copies of paper birth certificates as was done in the past,” and attributes the statement to Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo. She is further quoted as having said, “The department only issues ‘certifications’ of live births, and that is the official birth certificate’ issued by the state of Hawaii.”
However, that statement is not true.
The Post & Email published an article displaying a “Certificate of Live Birth” from a person born in Hawaii in 1981 who had requested a copy of his birth certificate in March 2010 from the Hawaii Department of Health. The form sent to him was not a “Certification”; it clearly said “Certificate of Live Birth” and noted the parents’ birthplaces as well as the child’s, unlike Obama’s.
On May 12, the following letter was sent by USPS to Factcheck.org’s office in Washington, DC, as provided on their website:
May 12, 2010
Annenberg Public Policy Center
320 National Press Building
Washington, D.C. 20045
Dear Sir or Madam:
I have tried twice to reach you by email but have not received a receipt or a response.
I have some questions regarding information you posted on your website during the 2008 presidential campaign. I have enclosed a copy of my last email of May 2, 2010 with the questions to which I am seeking answers.
The Post & Email would also like to know if you have vetted the statement of the Kenyan Minister of Lands, Mr. James Orengo, who on March 25, 2010, stated clearly that Barack Hussein Obama II was born in his country: http://www.christianforums.com/t7457653/
Mr. Orengo’s statement, which became part of the official Kenyan Parliament “Hansard” of that day, was reported by many newssites, including The Post & Email (http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/04/16/kenyan-parliament-restores-march-25-2010-minutes-declaring-obama-born-in-kenya/), WorldNetDaily, and others. A PDF of the document can be found here: http://www.wnd.com/files/kenyanparliament.pdf. Have you reported this development on your website?
We would appreciate a reply from you on this important constitutional issue.
Thank you very much.
The Post & Email, Inc.
P.O. Box 302
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
To date, no response from Factcheck has been received.
Mr. John F. Sweeney, The Post & Email’s photography expert, submitted the following as his final analysis of Factcheck’s initial report on Obama’s alleged “birth certificate”:
I believe the document in the photos is the source document of the scan image. The primary reason is the folds seem to match. If it were the other way around, then the printed document would have had to be folded exactly like the scan image. But the match is too close. I think the folds in the photos match the folds in the scan. With that, I believe the document in the Factcheck photos is the original source. I believe the scan images are from that document and that they have been cropped. Obviously the top part that is blank has been cropped in the scan images. If they did that, they probably took some of the edges as well.
So if the document in the photos was the source, then that is where the dots come in. The dots are part of the document. They are not digital artifacts from the photo shoot. They appear in all the photos at the same place on the document. They also show up in the scan image as well. Since the image is a digital photo and not a scan – the dots cannot be typical scanner dust. So if they are not camera artifacts and they are not scanner dust, they are part of the printed image on the paper. My suspicion for a long time was that the Daily KOS image was used to create the document in the photos. But, as explained above, I now believe the document in the photos came first. If that is the case, then that document must be forged since the state of Hawaii probably does not print documents with random dots on the document. If they do, they do not show up in other authentic COLBs.
I believe this indicates that the photographed Factcheck document source was still a scanned image of an actual COLB. The border and cross hatch have the same angle differential that is present in authentic COLBs (they are not both perfectly horizontal and there is a drift from left to right). So I believe the cross-hatch pattern and the border to be from an authentic COLB that was scanned and not hand-crafted in Photoshop. But the original scan (not the one producing the Daily KOS, Politifact, Fight the Smears image) also had some scanner dust artifacts. They are undetectable to the eye on an actual document.
But they do show up if the printed document is photographed close-up with high resolution. I tested this and it worked. I printed the Daily KOS document on ordinary copy paper using a Lexmark inkjet. I could only see the big dot at the top (and I believe this to be actual scanner dust from the second scan process) , but the others were not visible at all. I then took a photo of the document. The dots show up in the photo. Sample attached.
So scanner dust can become part of the image and be seen in a photographed version of the document if the resolution is high enough. Thankfully, Factcheck posted the original images – at first.
The net is that I believe the origin of the Factcheck-photographed document was a scanned COLB, but not the Daily KOS/Politifact COLB scan. It is the undetectable-to-the-human-eye artifacts of that scan process that show that the document is not authentic.
The photos were taken in the Obama headquarters at night almost surely, as indicated in the EXIF data. That would have been March 12, 2008 at night. The last passport break-in was March 14th. It is too much of coincidence that photos of a forged document were being taken two days before that final break-in and access. It looks as if they were working at night after everyone was gone.
They got the COLB ready that night. Then it was reviewed on the 13th and it passed it over the people at the State Department on the 13th. Then records were updated on the 14th. This is all conjecture. But the timeline makes too much sense.
I always knew the #3 Factcheck photo was taken in a call center-type environment, as I have designed and implemented many open-landscape call centers. So I am familiar with Steelcase furniture and typical tile-type carpet. But I did not make the connection to Obama’s Chicago headquarters until I came across photos of the environment from his websites.
Without a doubt, the photos were taken in the Chicago headquarters location and at night; hence, Factcheck’s story of “spending time” “recently” is bogus. That would explain why they did not give specifics.
As the heat turned up, those who worked on the document in March gave a scan to Daily KOS. But when the heat did not go away they then gave the photos that were likely meant to be trophies of their late-night work to Jess Henig and Joe Wilson at Factcheck. Henig and Wilson just posted the raw photos. Henig and Wilson probably did not even know there was such a thing as EXIF data stored in the photos until it hit the forums and blogs.
Then they tried to cover their tracks by removing the EXIF data while re-compressing the photos.
This was under the guise that the large original photos took too much bandwidth.
Internet service providers do not charge for every byte sent out. They charge on average and peak usage.
Reducing the size of the photo almost certainly had no impact on bandwidth charges for a popular site like Factcheck.org. Wilson is gone from Factcheck now. He left in December, no reason given.
Last August, Joe Miller of Factcheck.org wrote an article defending and supposedly debunking criticism of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel’s brother, who had expressed support for rationing of health care based on a person’s age and state of health or infirmity. Miller puts the “spin” on Emanuel’s written work which clearly state that he was an advocate of health care rationing here.
Miller has written about Obama’s exaggerations and misstatements of fact, referring to the Congressional Budget Office for which he now works in the Obama regime. Is this a reward for declaring the Certification of Live Birth an “official document”?
Factcheck.org is clearly not non-partisan. Its coverage of an “attack ad” which the McCain campaign launched in October 2008 defends Bill Ayers as a different kind of terrorist than those who attacked America on 9/11/01. It also fails to say that people died as a result of Ayers’s bomb-making activities in an apartment in Greenwich Village, and that a San Francisco police officer also lost his life due to a Molotov cocktail which was hurled through a window where he was on duty, with Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn considered suspects in the case.
Factcheck’s answer to a question regarding Michelle Obama’s vacation in England with her daughters and mother is also misleading. The question asks if taxpayers’ footed the bill for Michelle’s extended stay, and Factcheck cleverly responded that “no taxpayer money was used for the first family’s personal expenses.” However, it admits that the cost of security was paid for by the American taxpayer, stating that the Obamas paid for “personal expenses” themselves. There is no corroboration of Factcheck’s statement through a copy of a press release or reputable news report.
Last year, an article written by Jess Henig of Factcheck appeared in Newsweek which criticized Obama for making misleading statements during a news conference. Henig, whom The Post & Email tried to contact on three occasions, has also written that Obama has misrepresented the “savings” purported in his health care proposal. However, Factcheck is refusing to respond to our questions about the “birth certificate” it claimed was Obama’s or his constitutional eligibility to serve.
Factcheck’s summary of the “malarkey” about the health care bill passed in March is false when it states that “the legislative debate is over.” More than 20 states are suing the federal government over the health care bill, some against the wishes of their own attorneys general, contending that it is unconstitutional, which Factcheck fails to report. Factcheck also does not report the negative aspects of the bill which some analysts have predicted will increase, not decrease, costs for the individual or family.
Facthcheck also denies that Muslims are exempt from the mandate to purchase health insurance, when the wording on pp. 273-274 seems to allow for that exemption. Contrary to what Factcheck reports, there is nothing that indicates that the exemption “is intended for Old Order Amish” only. Newsweek also has cited Factcheck articles which make statements but provide no links to supporting documentation.
Why was the purported certificate number visible in Factcheck’s article about the COLB, but Obama’s website has shown it only with the certificate number obliterated? How many versions of this document are there?
Is Factcheck truly “looking to reduce deception”?