I’ve written before about President Obama’s birth certificate issue, but it’s hit the news again this week when the White House finally released a more detailed certificate. And now that it’s been released, several things struck me.

* I find it strange that the title of the document is “Certificate of Live Birth” instead of the “Birth Certificate” that I have on mine. But apparently that’s a Hawaii thing, based on another certificate signed on the same day as Pres. Obama’s.

* Why release it now? People have called to see the certificate for more than three years, so what is so special about Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, that merits releasing it now? Pres. Obama explained the reason this way:

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ve got some enormous challenges out there. There are a lot of folks out there still looking for work… We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”

Later that day, Pres. Obama took advantage of having put this kind of silliness behind him and appeared on the Oprah show and attended three fundraisers. Serious presidential stuff, that. I’m glad it’s now behind him.

I can find only one reason why the certificate was released: instead of being a fringe subject for “birthers,” more and more mainstream people have been paying attention to this issue, thanks mostly to the way presidential-hopeful Donald Trump has talked about it. It had gotten to the point that a poll showed only 38% of Americans believed Pres. Obama was definitely born in the U.S. Pres. Obama can lay the the blame for those poor numbers at his own feet. He could have resolved this issue years ago, if he had wanted to.

* Since Pres. Obama only had to ask to get the birth certificate, why release it now when it could have been really useful at Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin’s court martial? When he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, Lakin refused to comply, reasoning that if Pres. Obama were not legally the Commander in Chief due to his citizenship doubts, he couldn’t legally issue orders to the military. Col. Lakin was convicted in his court martial and is currently serving his six month confinement in addition to being dismissed from the U.S. Army. His military career would not be in shambles if Pres. Obama had seen fit to release his birth certificate earlier.

* Why spend over a million dollars to the Perkins Coie law firm to squelch lawsuits asking for Pres. Obama to confirm his natural-born U.S. citizenship status? Why spend gobs of cash to hide something if there is nothing there to hide? Sure, it could be a rope-a-dope to tar people as loonies for bringing up the subject, but is that really worth the money?

* For an administration committed to being “the most open and transparent in history,” the Obama White House has been mighty closed. It took years to get this certificate released; now people will continue to ask about Pres. Obama’s school records and other records that haven’t yet been released to the public. Donald Trump is calling for them, and since he was successful in getting the birth certificate, will he also be successful in freeing up Pres. Obama’s school records from “the most open and transparent” administration in history? Time will tell.

* Will this convince all the people who believe Pres. Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.? Of course not. Some people will never accept any level of proof. Looking at the PDF file the White House released, I have to wonder why they monkeyed with the document before sending it out. The funky green and white background can’t be on the original document. I took the PDF file that the White House released, zoomed in to 600% on the top-left of the document, and added blinking lines to show the way the horizontal lines don’t curve on the image as you’d expect if they were part of the original document.

blinking Obama certificate

So someone edited the document before it was officially posted. I have to wonder why. And others have pointed at oddities of the image, too. Since the White House knew that people would be scrutinizing this document, why has it so obviously been doctored?

What we do have is Pres. Obama telling us that we should trust him. I am left to wonder what it is about Pres. Obama, his current actions, and his past that would engender such trust.

I don’t remember doing so with any of the minimum wage jobs I’ve had, but in all my professional positions, I had to provide to my employer some form of ID that proved I was eligible to work in the United States. In each of these cases, my U.S. passport was sufficient, but a birth certificate would have also worked. It’s annoying to me that I have to provide proof of citizenship (or a visa that allows employment in the U.S. for non-citizens), but that’s the law passed by the government. And speaking of government, in January of 2009, Senator Barack Obama became President of the United States. If I have to prove my citizenship for my tech job, doesn’t this same requirement apply to the top job in America? In the case of the job of U.S. President, the Constitution specifies the requirements for the position in Article II, Section 1:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

There’s no doubt that President Obama is over 35, and there’s also no problem with his residency in the States. The problem comes from the phrase “natural born Citizen” and what it means. The Constitution never defines it, and there has been some legal wrangling over what constitutes a natural born citizen. So is Obama a natural born citizen? Well, there’s no arguing that he was born of a U.S. citizen mother and British subject father, since Kenya was a British crown colony at the time of Obama’s birth in 1961. If Obama had been born in Kenya or somewhere else outside the States, then U.S. citizenship could still be conferred by his mother’s citizenship, but then the legalities become a bit manky since the law at the time put some restrictions on citizenship that his mother wouldn’t qualify for, as one email I have received puts it:

US Law very clearly stipulates: ‘If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.’ Barack Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen and Obama’s mother was only 18 when Obama was born, which means though she had been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, (or citizen perhaps because of Hawaii being a territory) the mother fails the test for being so for at least 5 years **prior to** Barack Obama’s birth, but after age 16. It doesn’t matter after. In essence, she was not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. citizenship. At most, there were only 2 years elapsed since his mother turned 16 at the time of Barack Obama’s birth when she was 18 in Hawaii. His mother would have needed to have been 16+5= 21 years old, at the time of Barack Obama’s birth for him to have been a natural-born citizen. [no, I'm not going to put [sic] after every error. Sheesh. — CM]

Accepting this poorly written email as correct, the law states that his mother would have to be a citizen for at least 10 years, “at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.” Since his mother was 18 when Obama was born, she doesn’t qualify. QED, so call the press and announce Obama isn’t a natural born citizen, right? Well, no. Her age would only matter if Obama were born outside of the United States.

Obama’s birthplace is listed as Honolulu, Hawaii, which makes him a natural born citizen because of his birth, and the age and residency of his mother just doesn’t enter into it. “He wasn’t born in Hawaii, he was born in Kenya, dontchaknow?” Really? Then why are there announcements printed in both the Honolulu Advertiser and Star Bulletin announcing his birth? This makes him a natural born citizen, and the debate is over, right? Wrong. Nothing stops a good story, or even a bad story, if enough people tell it.

“Then-candidate Obama published his birth certificate, showing he was born in Hawaii!” Well, actually, no. He published a certification of live birth, but that is not a birth certificate. And that’s different enough to provide an excuse to continue the debate over his citizenship. But one thing that the certification provides is a location of birth. But we don’t have to just accept that certification. Hawaiian state officials have recently stepped forward to state that they have seen Obama’s actual birth certificate:

“I … have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen,” Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. “I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

“OK, so he was born in the U.S., but he renounced his citizenship at some point!” I have seen this argument also in emails. Here is the meat of the claim:

Q: Did he travel to Pakistan in 1981, at age 20?
A: YES, by his own admission.
Q: What passport did he travel under?
A: There are only three possibilities:
1. He traveled with a U.S. Passport,
2. He traveled with a British passport, or
3. He traveled with an Indonesia passport.
Q: Is it possible that Obama traveled with a U.S. Passport in 1981?
A: No. It is not possible. Pakistan was on the U.S. State Department’s “no travel” list in 1981.

Conclusion: When Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport. If he was traveling with a British passport that would provide proof that he was born in Kenya on August 4, 1961, NOT in Hawaii as he claims. And if he was traveling with an Indonesian passport that would tend to prove that he relinquished whatever previous citizenship he held, British or American, prior to being adopted by his Indonesian step-father in 1967. [Again, presented as I got it -- CM]

There’s just one problem — Pakistan wasn’t on the “no travel” list in 1981. In fact, the State Department had issued a travel advisory in 1981 with regard to visa requirements when entering Pakistan, showing that it was OK for Americans to travel there. So Obama was free to use his American passport, just like anyone else, when he visited.

OK, so where are we in all this? We have a Hawaiian official who has publicly declared seeing Obama’s actual birth certificate and that he was born in Hawaii. There are two announcements posted in Hawaiian newspapers announcing his birth in Hawaii. There is a certification of live birth that, while not being the same thing as a birth certificate, clearly states he was born in Hawaii. And finally, there’s no problem with him having traveled to Pakistan in 1981 with a U.S. passport.

Still think Obama isn’t a natural born citizen? Then try this on for size: when Senator Hillary Clinton saw her support eroding as Obama gained steam during the 2008 primaries, don’t you think she would have released any information she had about Obama being ineligible for the Presidency? She would have had everything to gain and nothing to lose if Obama were shown to be ineligible for the office, but she never came forward with the charge. You may dislike practically everything Obama has done as President, as I do, but I have seen nothing that convinces me that he isn’t eligible for the office. I see plenty to show he’s not ready for the office, but nothing that would legally prevent him from actually holding the office. Besides, if he were ineligible, we would have to deal with the administration of President Biden. *shudder*

So why the big brouhaha over his birth certificate? Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent defending Obama against the many lawsuits brought forward asking that he prove his status as a natural born citizen of the United States. These lawsuits could be satisfied and easily dealt with if Obama were to produce his actual birth certificate, but instead he has chosen to fight them. Why spend the money, time, and effort to fight these lawsuits when they could be dismissed with the brandishing of a single document? Could this be a hornet-trap kept active by the democrats to lure in and force conservatives to waste their time on this issue rather than letting conservatives fight them on other more challenging issues?

Perhaps it’s just the American tendency to believe in the concept of equality under the law, but I would like to have Obama, and anyone else who is elected to any position in government, prove that he is legally eligible to serve in that office. After all, when I got my job, I had to prove I was eligible to work there. It just makes sense to me that people in government should be held to the same standards they hold other people to.

My dad sent me an old copy of my birth certificate. (Thanks, Dad!) And three things struck me as I’m looking at it.

First, I much prefer a crimped seal than a stamp on an official document. The last few times I’ve gone to a notary public, they have used stamps instead of the little crimping tool, and I feel a little cheated.

Second, I missed being a twin by half an inch. Had the X on the birth certificate been typed a half of an inch to the right, I would have been marked a twin. A full inch to the right would have made me a triplet, but that’s pushing things.

And third, while it has a slot for my dad’s occupation, Air Force, there is no equivalent slot for my mom. I guess the assumption being that a mother’s occupation was either unimportant, or it was assumed that her only possible occupation was homemaker. Do currently issued birth certificates include the mother’s occupation now, and if so, when did this change? I would guess it changed in the 70s.

In any case, I have legal proof that I was born.