Below The Beltway

I believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe in, the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in, and the personal freedom that America used to believe in.

May 19, 2010

Debunking The Myths About Obama’s Social Security Number

One of the birther myths that continues to persist centers around the allegation that Barack Obama has used multiple Social Security Numbers during his lifetime:

NEW YORK – Two private investigators working independently are asking why President Obama is using a Social Security number set aside for applicants in Connecticut while there is no record he ever had a mailing address in the state.

In addition, the records indicate the number was issued between 1977 and 1979, yet Obama’s earliest employment reportedly was in 1975 at a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream shop in Oahu, Hawaii.

WND has copies of affidavits filed separately in a presidential eligibility lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia by Ohio licensed private investigator Susan Daniels and Colorado private investigator John N. Sampson.

The investigators believe Obama needs to explain why he is using a Social Security number reserved for Connecticut applicants that was issued at a date later than he is known to have held employment.

The Social Security website confirms the first three numbers in his ID are reserved for applicants with Connecticut addresses, 040-049.

“Since 1973, Social Security numbers have been issued by our central office,” the Social Security website explains. “The first three (3) digits of a person’s social security number are determined by the ZIP code of the mailing address shown on the application for a social security number.”

The question is being raised amid speculation about the president’s history fueled by an extraordinary lack of public documentation. Along with his original birth certificate, Obama also has not released educational records, scholarly articles, passport documents, medical records, papers from his service in the Illinois state Senate, Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and adoption papers.

That’s from WorldNetDaily, which has given prominent space to many birther stories and recently alleged that Google was conspiring to keep stories about Obama’s eligibility out of search results.

Now a reporter for the Orange County Weekly has looked into the allegations and, not surprisingly, found they don’t amount to much:

I just typed the president’s name into a public-records search field using LexisNexis, and got back more than 20 results, each supposedly representing a different person.

The thing is, though, even databases as comprehensive as LexisNexis are plastered with warnings that the results have not been verified. They’re often generated from paperwork filled out from across the country; someone who jokingly submitted a credit-card application posing as the president’s might turn up in one of these things. Sure enough, there’s an entry that lists Obama as living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House. His supposed age? Twenty.

The inherent unreliability of the information, though hasn’t stopped Taitz and others from harping on the issue:

Taitz and her minions may have found one legitimate social security number for the president.  At the beginning of this year, she posted an e-mail (warning: mal-ware at that link) from a supporter saying that if you type a certain number into the government’s Selective Service look-up tool, along with the last name “Obama” and his date of birth–August 4, 1961–you get confirmation that Barack Obama’s selective-service registration is active. When I tried it back in January, this indeed worked, suggesting that the number that had been posted was actually Obama’s. Try it now, though, and you get the message that “you have exceeded the daily limit for the verification of these credentials,” probably born of too many birthers trying to look up the same entry.

That number began with 042, which is a Social Security Administration’s geographic code for Connecticut. Part of the conspiracy theory is that the number’s fraudulent because Obama never lived in Connecticut. There’s a few non-conspiracy explanations for how this came about–it may have simply been that Obama applied for a social security number while living abroad and his application was processed in a Connecticut office–but it’s also helpful to keep in mind the disclaimer on the SSA’s website archives:

Note: One should not make too much of the “geographical code.” It is not meant to be any kind of useable geographical information. The numbering scheme was designed in 1936 (before computers) to make it easier for SSA to store the applications in our files in Baltimore since the files were organized by regions as well as alphabetically. It was really just a bookkeeping device for our own internal use and was never intended to be anything more than that.

So we’ve got inherently unreliable sources of information, and “proof”, in the form of a supposed Connecticut-issued SSN, that doesn’t really prove anything at all.

In other words, there’s nothing there.

May 18, 2010

Birther, Protectionist Lou Dobbs To Give Keynote Speech At Tea Party Convention

Lou Dobbs, who gave airtime to the birthers before he left CNN and has spent much of the past five years advancing discredited protectionist rhetoric, will be giving the keynote speech at the Tea Party Nation Convention in July:

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (May 14, 2010) – The National Tea Party Convention, today, announced that award winning journalist, TV and radio personality, Lou Dobbs, will join the convention delegates and share his vast insights and perspectives as a keynote speaker. Bringing his political and financial knowledge and commentary to bear, Lou Dobbs will offer the delegates a direct and reasoned defense of American exceptionalism while dealing with issues of trade, jobs, politics and the challenges facing America in the 21st century.

Lou Dobbs stated, ” I have had two great experiences with the Tea Party movement, in New Orleans and in New York at the TeaParty365 Tax Day Tea Party. The crowds were large, boisterous and most importantly, made up of hard working Americans who want to take their country back. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to address the Tea Party in Las Vegas and want to thank Tea Party Nation and the National Tea Party Federation for coming together and putting on this convention.”

As I noted Friday, also attending and speaking at the Tea Party Nation Convention will be Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily and promoter of every aspect of the birther myth.

When will you people learn not to associate with the crazies ?

May 16, 2010

Wayne Allyn Root Is Poison For The Libertarian Party

Wayne Allyn Root, the businessman and online gambling advocate who served as Bob Barr’s running mate on the Libertarian ticket in 2008, is casting his lot in with the birthers. As Radley Balko reports, Root promotes on his Facebook page his participation in a “trial of Barack Obama” that took place last week in New York:


What’s this trial all about, you might ask. Well, here’s a description:

With thousands of spectators expecting to attend, Dr. James Manning’s ‘trial of the century’ of Barack Obama on charges of treason, fraud, and sedition begins tomorrow morning at 9 AM in New York City. Co-defendants in the trial are Columbia University and the CIA. In the last days of the run-up to the trial, Manning revealed that he has sources in government that will testify against Obama, Columbia, and the CIA. He also reported explosive information that Barack Obama has used upwards of 20 different Social Security numbers during his life. Witnesses are expected to testify at the trial that Barack Obama was never a student at Columbia University, although he received a degree from the school. Dr. Manning claims that Columbia, therefore, is an accomplice to fraud. Other witnesses are expected to testify that Obama fails the Constitutional test for Presidential eligibility due to the fact that his father was a British subject at the time of his birth and his mother was not old enough to confer citizenship when he was born. A dramatic new revelation, however, may serve to re-emphasize the importance of the trial.  The state of Hawaii, according to sources, did NOT accept his birth registration that was filed, despite issuing a ’statement of live birth.’

This is the same James Manning who became famous last year when he started referring to President Obama as a “long legged mack daddy” and who joined Birther Queen Bee Orly Taitz last year at a protest that nobody attended against Fox News for “covering up” the birther story. Root hasn’t said anything one way or the other about the birth certificate issue that I’ve been able to find, but he does seem to buy at least part of the argument:

FireShot Pro capture #267 - 'Facebook I Wayne Allyn Root' - www_facebook_com_profile_php_id=1162754668

Of course, the possibility that Root and Obama may have traveled in different circles at Columbia, a school that had thousands of undergraduates at the time, does not seem to have occurred to Wayne at all, since he’s expressed this belief before. Why is this important ? Well, this year, Root is running for Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, and he’s made it clear that this is merely a stepping stone to the 2012 nomination for President. Based on stuff like this, and the impression I got from reading Root’s The Conscience of a Libertarian, which I will be posting a review of in the very near future, I’ve got to completely agree with Radley Balko’s take on this:

I’m not a member of the Libertarian Party, though I’ve spoken to several state conventions over the last couple years. I have my problems with the party, but I’d like to see it do well, in part because for better or worse the LP has a significant impact on how people view libertarianism.

So let’s be clear about this: If Wayne Allyn Root becomes the face of the LP, it will be an unmitigated disaster for the party. It will also likely do quite a bit of damage to the public perception of libertarianism as a philosophy.

This is batshit crazy, off-the-charts conspiratorial hogwash. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Barack Obama. Root has chosen to dip into angry-white-guy, “Obama’s a secret Muslim” absolute and utter lunacy.

Libertarians: The man is a nut. Associate with him at your peril.


Another Independent Witness Verifies That, Yes, Barack Obama Was Born In Hawaii

In this case, it’s a woman who was in the hospital at the same time as Stanley Ann Dunham when she gave birth to the future President on August 4, 1961:

[Eleanor] Nordyke, 82, of Honolulu, Hawaii, says that on Aug. 4, 1961, she was in labor with her twin daughters Susan and Gretchen at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital — the same place Barack Obama was being born. The hospital has since been renamed Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children.

“Birthers” is the term given to those who believe Obama was not born in the United States and does not, therefore, meet a primary qualification for the presidency.

Nordyke, in a Friday telephone interview with The Daily Republic, said the birthers have consistently discounted her testimony. She is certain they are wrong.

A birther claim that Obama was born in Kenya, she said, is “just a myth. It’s not true at all.”

Nordyke, a longtime friend and Stanford University classmate of Mitchell resident Kathryn Crockett, said the birther issue has been “a broil in Hawaii for the past two years.” Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle on Thursday signed legislation designed to limit requests for Obama’s birth documents. That move has only outraged birthers.


Nordyke said Obama’s birth notices appeared in the Aug. 13, 1961, Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

She recalls that Obama’s birth notice was published several days before her daughters’ notice, even though Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was admitted to Kapiolani Hospital after Nordyke entered the hospital. Obama was born on a Friday, and the Nordyke twins were born on a Saturday, she said.

Nordyke’s late husband, Dr. Robert Nordyke, was an internal medicine specialist at Honolulu’s Straub Clinic.

“My daughters’ birth certificates were 10637 and 10638, and Obama’s was 10641, so his mother must have come in after I did,” Nordyke said, though she never met Obama’s mother.

Nordkye said she doesn’t know who Obama’s mother’s doctor was, but only five obstetricians were at the hospital at the time, she said. Birthers have complained that the name of the attending physician is being hidden.

For about six years, Nordyke’s daughters attended school with Obama at the Punahou School, a school of about 4,000 geared for the college-bound, which Nordyke called “the best school in Hawaii.”

She said that while race now appears to be important to the birthers, it was a “non-issue at Punahou school.”

Of course, the birthers will discount this testimony too.

Oh wait, they already have.


May 13, 2010

Hawaii’s “Ignore The Birthers” Bill Is Now Law

The State of Hawaii has thrown up a legal roadblock to the continued harassment state officials by the birthers:

HONOLULU – It’s now law in Hawaii that the government can ignore repetitive requests for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Wednesday a bill allowing state government agencies not to respond to follow-up requests for information if they determine that the subsequent request is duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request.

The law is aimed at so-called “birthers,” who claim Obama is ineligible to be president. They contend he was born outside the United States.

I’m sure Orly Taitz will just consider it another part of the conspiracy.

May 7, 2010

31% Of Republicans And Tea Partiers Believe Barack Obama Was Born In Another Country

Birther Cartoon

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll takes a look at the birther movement:

Fourteen percent of Americans say without prompting that they think Barack Obama was born in another country, rising to one in five when those with no opinion are offered that as a possibility. But for many it’s not a firm belief and some appear not to hold it against him.

Among those inclined to think Obama was born abroad, half also say that’s their suspicion only, not a judgment based on solid evidence, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds. And perhaps surprisingly, about a third of so-called “birthers” nonetheless approve of Obama’s work in office and express a favorable opinion of him personally.

Yes, that’s right, 1/3 of the people who think Obama was born in another country and therefore isn’t eligible to serve in office approve of the job he’s doing and have a favorable opinion of him. Irrationality, much ?

In any event, the partisan breakdown of the birther crowd is what’s really significant:

In addition to Obama disapprovers, people who are more apt than others to say Obama was born in another country include conservatives, Republicans, supporters of the Tea Party political movement (31 percent in each group), evangelical white Protestants (33 percent), and supporters of John McCain in 2008 (30 percent) all groups broadly critical of Obama.

There’s also an educational element, with people who haven’t gone beyond high school nearly twice as apt as those with postgraduate degrees to suggest Obama was born abroad.

At the same time, 15 percent of Democrats say they think Obama was born elsewhere, as do 12 percent of liberals. And among people who say this, 31 percent approve of his job performance regardless, with an additional 3 percent expressing no opinion of his work in office. Similarly, among people who think Obama is foreign-born, 34 percent also express a favorable opinion of him overall; 64 percent, unfavorable

As with everything else involving the birthers, this makes no sense whatsoever.

Once Again, Hawaii’s Governor Verifies That, Yes, Barack Obama Was Born In Hawaii

In a radio interview on Sunday, Hawaii’s Governor Linda Lingle once again verified that Barack Obama was in fact born in Hawaii:

You know, during the campaign of 2008, I was actually in the mainland campaigning for Sen. McCain. This issue kept coming up so much in the campaign, and again I think it’s one of those issues that is simply a distraction from the more critical issues that are facing the country. And so I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health, and we issued a news release at that time saying that the president was, in fact, born at Kapi’olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that’s just a fact. And yet people continue to call up and e-mail and want to make it an issue. And I think it’s, again, a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this. … It’s been established. He was born here.

Like that’s going to satisfy the birthers.

May 2, 2010

Obama Takes A Swipe At The Birthers At Nerdprom

I thought this particular part of President Obama’s remarks at the White House Correspondent’s dinner were quite amusing:

WASHINGTON — Pearls of wisdom from President Barack Obama: Few things in life are harder to find and more important to keep than love.

“Well, love and a birth certificate,” he quipped at Saturday’s black-tie White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, poking fun at the birther movement, which questions whether the president was born in the United States.

“I happen to know that my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth,” Obama joked.

The funniest part is that Orly Taitz and her commenting crazy contingent actually think it means something (warning: Orly Taitz’s site has been infected with malware in the past, click at your own risk)

Dr. Orly. Here you have the proof sitting right in front of you and there’s video all over the internet with Obama claiming his home country is Kenya. Why are you not doing something about this? Why wait until you become SoS? The evidence is there. No need for discovery. It is clear as a bell. Obama, not so subtly I might add, has confessed that his popularity is high in his home country. You need to get this to the judge right away!

Yea I’m sure Judge Lamberth is waiting eagerly.

To enter sanctions.

Video of Obama’s birther jokes:

April 30, 2010

Arizona Birther Bill Dies In State Senate

The birthers have suffered a legislative setback in Arizona:

A bill to require presidential candidates to show their birth certificates to get on the state’s ballot has been set aside at the Arizona Legislature.

With lawmakers working toward adjournment of their annual session, the sponsor of the bill used to resurrect the proposal said Thursday it wouldn’t get a Senate vote because some fellow Republicans don’t support it.

The bill is an outgrowth from some Obama critics’ doubts over whether he was born in the United States. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificate has been
made public, along with newspaper birth notices.

The House narrowly approved the measure last week, sending it to the Senate.

The bill won’t be heard by the Senate, said Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican who agreed to have a bill he sponsored on another presidential ballot matter also carry the birth-certificate provision.

Democrats are united against the bill, and Harper said four or five majority Senate Republicans also have indicated they are not willing to vote it.

“It is short on votes in the Senate and not coming to the floor,” Harper said.


April 29, 2010

WaPo’s David Weigel Talks Birtherism On Hardball

The Washington Post’s David Weigel, who blogs about all things conservative at Right Now, was on Hardball last night talking about the latest rants from the birthers:

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