Knowing what we don’t know about Obama’s birth certificate

(Update: Another mainstream outlet, MSNBC, reports on the birth controversy, but the piece, by Pete Williams, is very weak. It fails to explain the issues adequately, and it falsely states that the announcement by a Hawaii official that the birth certificate is on file with the state puts the problem to rest, which, as everyone who has followed the story knows, is not true. A disgraceful job by Pete Williams, and worthy of a news industry the main task of which is to protect the establishment rather than get at the truth.)

Concerns about Barack Obama’s missing birth certificate are legitimate, writes “Joe the Farmer” at American Thinker. He explains how, “[c]ontrary to what you may have read, no document made available to the public, nor any statement by Hawaiian officials, evidences conclusively that Obama was born in Hawaii.” This is because, under Hawaii law, Hawaii birth certificates may be issued for persons not born in Hawaii, as explained by the relevant section of Hawaii law:

[§338-17.8] Certificates for children born out of State. (a) Upon application of an adult or the legal parents of a minor child, the director of health shall issue a birth certificate for such adult or minor, provided that proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child.

Thus if Hawaii was the legal residence of Stanley Ann Dunham Obama for one year preceding the birth of her son, and she then gave birth to her son outside the state of Hawaii before returning to Hawaii, she could have had the state of Hawaii issue a birth certificate for her son for the state of Hawaii. This is why a Hawaii birth certificate is not proof of birth in Hawii. Such proof is found only on a Certificate of Live Birth, which (as I tentatively understand it) is different both from a birth certificate (mentioned above) and from a Certification of Live Birth, discussed below by Joe the Farmer:

Even the Hawaii Department of Home Lands does not accept a certified copy of a birth certificate as conclusive evidence for its homestead program. From its web site: “In order to process your application, DHHL utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL.”

For the above reasons, the fact that Hawaii has on record a birth certificate for Barack Obama does not mean that he was born in Hawaii. Joe continues:

Associated Press reported about a statement of Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Fukino, “State declares Obama birth certificate genuine.”

That October 31, 2008 statement [it’s a pdf] says that Dr. Fukino “ha[s] personally seen and verified that the Hawai’i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.” That statement does not, however, verify that Obama was born in Hawaii, and as explained above, under Hawaiian policies and procedures it is quite possible that Hawaii may have a birth record of a person not born in Hawaii. Unlikely, but possible.

Notice again Dr. Fukino’s indeterminate and possibly evasive language: the state has Obama’s birth certificate “on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.” She does not say, “Obama’s birth certificate shows he was born in such and such hospital in Hawaii on August 4, 1961.” She says merely that the state has Obama’s birth certificate on file. But, for all we know, that birth certificate could indicate that Obama was born elsewhere than in Hawaii.

Here is Dr. Fukino’s entire statement, which I’ve copied from the pdf and conformed to its formatting:

News Release

Phone: (808) 586-4410
Fax: (808) 586-4444

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2008 08-93


“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai’i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.

“Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai’i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai’i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.

“No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai’i.”

[end of statement]

Now, it seems to me that Dr. Fukino’s statement is one of the following:

(a) honest, that is, she honestly believes that she is fulfilling her duty and answering all relevant questions merely by reporting the fact that a birth certificate for Obama is on file with the Hawaii Department of Health;

(b) obtuse, that is, she ought to know that what is at issue here is not just the existence of a birth certificate, but the information on that certificate indicating where Obama was born, and she is obtusely failing to provide that information; or

(c) slippery, that is, she knows that the real issue is where Obama was born, and she is trying to fool people into believing that the mere existence of Obama’s birth certificate on file with the Hawaii Department of Health constitutes sufficient proof that Obama was born in Hawaii, when, in fact, and as she is aware, it does not constitute sufficient proof of that.

Finally, when Dr. Fukino declines to release the birth certificate to the public, on the grounds that “[s]tate law … prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” she is honestly, or obtusely, or dishonestly ignoring the fact that 300 million Americans have a tangible interest in the vital record.

* * *

I see from a web search that other writers and bloggers have been on this from the start, and have had the same concerns about Dr. Fukino’s indeterminate statement as I have. Here is Michael Leahy’s November 3 blog article, “My Thirteen Unanswered Questions about Dr. Chiyome Fukino’s October 31 Statement Concerning Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate.”

* * *

And here is a writer, Andy Martin, who shares my view, which I first stated back in August, that Pennsylvania attorney Philip Berg, who brought the issue to the fore, for which he deserves gratitude, is, unfortunately, an irresponsible hothead at best, a crackpot at worst:

Craziness seems to accompany questions about Obama’s COLB. In early August I was contacted by an attorney before he filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia. I advised attorney Phil Berg not to file his case because of gaps in his evidence. He went ahead. The results were predictable. Berg fooled a lot of people and had to keep expanding his exaggerations to keep people involved in his charade.

Federal courts simply do not work the way Berg acted. You line up your evidence before you file a controversial lawsuit making legal claims about a candidate for president, not afterwards. ‘Due diligence’ is the term courts use for pre-filing inquiry. True to form, Berg apparently now has affidavits and interviews from Obama’s grandmother. Except that she’s not Obama’s grandmother. She’s his step-grandmother.

I have remained silent about Mr. Berg’s lack of evidence although he insists he has ‘evidence.” And he wants to enjoin the 2008 election as well. What’s next? Stop the world until Berg’s lawsuit can be heard? The plain fact of the matter is that any lawyer experienced in federal litigation would have realized Mr. Berg was grasping at straws. Mr. Berg may have not been complimentary to me recently, but he did contact me before he filed. My e-mails are available to confirm the correspondence. I must have known something or he would not have been in touch.

I have not made any claims about Obama’s birth because it is impossible to make such allegations without more investigation.

But that lack of evidence or investigation didn’t stop Fukino. She issued a legal and factual opinion based on a document that may or may not be accurate. We simply do not know. I can’t say the document is inaccurate, because I have not seen its contents. But Fukino says she knows where Obama was born. Phil Berg, meet Chiyome Fukino.

Some questions for Dr. Fukino: Well, what hospital was he born in? Who was the attending physician? What hour was he born (astrologers would love to know that!). Whose names are listed on the COLB? (Any other questions readers want me to ask?) Dr. Fukino, are you going to tell us the contents of the document, and what it contains that forms the basis for the opinion you issued in your official capacity? Or are you going to continue to play games and gotcha?

You get the point. Fukino waded into a controversy that is-as one great sage once said at Saddleback Church-was ‘way above her pay grade.’

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 26, 2008 09:08 AM | Send

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