For those who are just hearing about the whole Obama birth certificate lunacy, it must be confusing as all hell. I mean, after all, Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to a mother who was a United States citizen. Based on what most people understand about citizenship and the law, that makes him a natural born citizen two times over – he was born on U.S. soil and his mother is a natural born citizen. Therefore, really, it shouldn’t matter where he was born, right?

Wrong. It does matter where he was born because of the law at the time of his birth. When I first started hearing about the whole birth certificate lunacy, I decided to test my own assumptions about citizenship by following every single item put out there as proof that “Barry” isn’t a legitimate citizen back to official documents and learning as much I could.

The result – if  Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, then he is a natural born citizen by the accepted legal definition of the term. If he was not – if he was born in, say, Kenya – then he is not a natural born citizen of the United States. THAT is why it is so important to the birthers to prove that the birth certificate that has been posted online and shown on television is not valid, and that Obama was actually born outside the country.

Here’s pertinent information for those who are confused about the birth certificate claims, the demands to see Obama’s transcripts and passport and all the other challenges and bullshit you’ll hear online now that the story is getting wider attention.

The U.S. Constitution provides that only a natural born citizen of the United States may serve as president. It does not, however, define natural born citizen. That is defined in the U.S. Code Title 8 Section 1401 – however, what you read there is the law as it NOW stands. If Barack Obama had been born at any time after 1986, the birthers would have to prove that either

  • a)  Stanley Ann Dunham was not Barack Obama’s mother.
  • b) Stanley Ann Dunham did not live inside the United States for at least one continuous year at any time before her son’s birth.

Obviously, their task would be far harder if that were the case. However, before 1986, the law stated that a child who was born OUTSIDE the United States to one citizen parent and one non-citizen parent was a natural born citizen IF the citizen parent had resided in the United States for at least 10 years, at least five of which were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

And therein lies the nugget to which the birthers cling.  Stanly Ann Dunham turned 19 on November 29, 1961 – 117 days after Barack Obama’s birth – or, to put it another way – 117 days too late to have conferred natural born citizenship on her son IF and ONLY IF he was born outside the United States. If they can prove that Stanley Ann Durham traveled to Kenya and gave birth to Barack Obama there, then nothing else matters.

That’s why they’re twisting themselves in knots to try to prove that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii. Here are some of the tangles they’ve thrown out there and the answers to them.

  1. The birth certificate is a forgery. It has Maya’s name on it, but it was erased.
    • debunked this one, but it didn’t stop Philip Berg from including it as part of his “proof” that Obama is not eligible to serve as president. Berg brought suit to have the election delayed or to have Barack Obama removed from the ballot. The “experts” that the suit claimed had determined the birth certificate was a forgery had never seen the actual document. They made their “determination” from scans of the birth certificate posted online. Most of them weren’t even identified by name – the best known of them  goes by the handle “Techdude” on various internet forums.
  2. It’s not a real birth certificate. It’s a Certification of Live Birth, or a “short form birth certificate”.
    • Hawaii issues two forms of birth certificate, both called a Certification of Live Birth. The short form birth certificate is the one most commonly issued. It shows all the information necessary to establish not only U.S. citizenship, but natural born U.S. citizenship – place of birth. The long form is not issued any longer, but used to be required by the state of Hawaii to establish native Hawaiian heritage for participation in the state’s homesteading program. According to the State of Hawaii, Obama’s birth certificate is offical and not forged.
  3. The “verbiage” is wrong for the times.
    • Stanley Ann Dunham’s race is listed as “Caucasion” and Barack Obama’s is listed as “African”, both of which, the meme goes, were not in common usage at the time of the President’s birth. However, the information on the birth certificate was supplied by either or both parents at the time of Obama’s birth. Why would a man born in Africa call himself anything other than “African”? Likewise, the term Caucasian was not unknown, and as a student of anthropology, Stanley Ann Dunham would have been quite familiar with it. All in all, pretty darn weak sauce as “proof”.
  4. His sister said he was born at a different hosptial than was reported on Wikipedia.
    • It’s hard to believe this even could be stated as “proof” with a straight face, but it was one of the grounds that Berg cited in his motion to remove Obama from the ballot. Apparently, if your sibling can’t remember minute details of something that happened years before her birth, you’re a scurrilous liar. Considering that some half-siblings can’t even remember their sibs’ birthdays, I’m not sure how much credence this could possible be expected to hold.
  5. His grandmother, Sarah Obama, said that she was present at his birth in Kenya.
  6. The state of Hawaii allows parents to get a Hawaii birth certificate for children born outside the country.
    • Yes, yes it does. Children born outside Hawaii to parents who normally reside in Hawaii can be issued an official Hawaiian birth certificate. However, the birth certificate lists the actual place of birth on the line marked Place of Birth. In other words, If Barack Obama had been born in Nairobi, his Hawaiian birth certificate would not list Honolulu as his place of birth.

That’s just part of the whole conspiracy theory – you can catch up on some of the other garbage – including a docket of Obama lawsuits – at


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 10:18 pm and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Comments so far

  1. mary howland on October 29, 2009 3:54 am

    for one hing you didn:t havew to know swahilli i heard it and someone speaking english at his granny”s side translated what she said. she said she was at his birth in keya.
    also he was adopted by lol soetero in indonesia which made him a indonesian citizen. Where are his adoption papers.
    He said he was 52 not 47 which even if born in hawaii
    he still isn:t a citizen.
    and why lie about being a muslim which he is? The man has told too many lies and is hiding too much. How can you trust someome like this?

  2. mary howland on October 29, 2009 3:59 am

    Nichelle told at a womens club Obama was born out of wedlock. Is she lying or is barry lying in his book. I know the part his father was a sheep herder was a lie and how could he have dreams of his father when he didn:t even know him? Does he ever tell the truth?
    I haven:t heard any yet.

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