More facts, more insights, and more impenetrable mysteries in the Obama birth saga

Jack Cashill has an article in the January 17 American Thinker that establishes a couple of key—and, at least to me, new—pieces of information in the Obama birth issue.

1. Obama’s official story, as told by him in Dreams From My Father and elsewhere, that his father left his mother when little Barack was two years old, is untrue. Barack Jr. was born (reportedly) in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. On August 19, 1961, Barack Jr.’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle. Thus she and her baby son had moved to Seattle no later than August 19, when Barack Jr. was 15 days old. Furthermore, Barack Sr., according to a June 22, 1962 article in the Honolulu Advertiser, left Hawaii for Harvard in late June 1962, before Stanley Ann returned to Hawaii with her son in late summer or early fall of 1962. Thus father, mother, and son never lived together as a family. Thus Barack Jr. was not yet a year old when his father left Hawaii for good. Which naturally raises the question, were Stanley Ann and Barack Sr. even married? (Note: In September 2009 Jerome Corsi at World Net Daily brought to light the information placing Stanley Ann at the University of Washington from August 19, 1961 through the spring semester 1962. Corsi writes: “The public records division of the University of Washington has e-mailed WND that: ‘Ms. Stanley Ann Dunham was enrolled at the University of Washington for: Autumn 1961, Winter 1962, Spring 1962.’ “)

2. When Barack Sr. died in 1982, lawyers contacted anyone who might have claim to the estate. “Unlike my mum,” Obama tells his half-sister Auma in Dreams, “Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Mark’s father was.” Ruth was Barack Sr.’s third wife, like Stanley Ann, a white American woman, with whom he had two sons, the surviving one being Mark.

Thus Barack Jr. admits in his autobiography that he and his mother did not have the documents, such as a marriage certificate and a birth certificate, that would demonstrate that Barack Sr. was his father, even when such proof would have enabled Barack Jr. to receive something from Barack Sr.’s estate.

To repeat: Obama according to his own testimony apparently has no proof of his parents’ wedding, no proof of his own birth, and no proof that Barack Sr. was his father. This is the first time to my knowledge that this stunning information from Dreams has been brought forward.

But here’s another point that some birthers will not like. Since Stanley Ann had moved to Seattle by August 19, 1961, just 15 days after her baby’s birth, she obviously was not close to the reputed father, Barack Sr. The notion that she felt close enough to her husband to take a grueling trip with him to the other end of the world while she was pregnant to meet his family in Kenya, yet deserted him with her newborn baby as soon as they returned to Hawaii, seems extremely improbable. Stanley Ann’s instantaneous move to Seattle after Barack Jr.’s birth pretty much eliminates in my mind the possibility that he was born in Kenya, and therefore, under operative U.S. law at the time (as discussed in detail here), that he was not born as a natural born U.S. citizen.

It has seemed to me for a long time that the most likely thing Obama is covering up by concealing his birth certificate (if it exists at all) is not that he was not a natural born U.S. citizen, but that his parents weren’t married. It’s not that he’s not qualified to be president, but that he’s embarrassed about being born out of wedlock and about having constructed an entirely false biography and identity centered on his African father.

But this gives rise to another question. Does a birth certificate definitely establish legitimacy? A birth certificate shows the mother’s name and the father’s name. But not every wife has the same surname as her husband. If Obama’s birth certificate listed the parents as “Stanley Ann Dunham” and “Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.”, that would not prove that they were not married. Nor is it likely, in that day and age, that Stanley Ann would have left the father’s name blank. We must assume that Stanley Ann listed Barack Sr. as the father.

These considerations make it less likely that the reason Obama is concealing the birth certificate (assuming that it exists at all) is that it shows that he was not legitimate.

Which leaves us—where? In one roiling mess of a mystery. A mystery that was allowed to come into existence by the clerics of the U.S. media who felt it was more important to elect a black president than to do their job and research the background of a presidential candidate of exceedingly vague and ambiguous origins. Once again, America’s insanely exaggerated solicitude for blacks has subverted our standards as a society.

Here is the Cashill article:

January 17, 2011
What Obama Has Said about His Own Birth

While Democrat Congressman Frank Pallone read the “natural born Citizen” clause of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor last Thursday, a spirited female in the audience shouted out, “Except Obama! Except Obama! Help us, Jesus!”

Later that day, NBC’s Brian Williams improbably chose to assign blame for the woman’s outburst on newly elected House speaker John Boehner. “How much responsibility do you feel?” Williams asked pointedly.

“The state of Hawaii has said Obama was born there,” said Boehner, who is no more intimate with the “Birther” movement than Williams himself. “That was good enough for me.”

The person Williams should have been asking about “responsibility” is the president. Obama’s conspicuous fabrications over the years have caused even the sober among us to doubt his origins story.

In September 2009, President Obama addressed the nation’s schoolchildren writ large, an innovation that struck many on the right as a wee bit too Big-Brotherly. In the talk, Obama asked America’s students to take personal responsibility. That was all well enough.

Missed in the media hubbub, however, was his take on why this could be difficult for some students. “I get it,” he told the kiddies. “I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother.”

In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama made the same claim. “He had left Hawaii back in 1963,” he wrote of Obama Sr., “when I was only two years old.”

When Obama wrote this in Dreams, he may have been relating what he had himself been told. By 2009, he knew better, but so vested was he in the story, and so useful had it been in his rise, that he continued to dissemble, even before millions of schoolchildren.

There are clues in Dreams, however, which suggest that Obama was creating a fiction for future use that he already knew to be untrue. He tells of coming across an article from the Honolulu Advertiser celebrating Barack Obama, Sr.’s planned grand tour of mainland universities on his triumphant way to Harvard.

Obama writes ruefully in Dreams, “No mention is made of my mother or me, and I’m left to wonder whether the omission was intentional on my father’s part, in anticipation of his long departure.” What Obama does not mention is that the article was dated June 22, 1962.

Obama was reportedly born on August 4, 1961. He was not yet a year old at the time Obama Sr. left Hawaii for good. More to the point, Obama fails to mention that he and his mother, Ann Dunham, were living in Seattle at the time and had been since at least August 19, 1961, the day she enrolled at the University of Washington.

In short, the family never lived together. There was no Obama family. The Obama camp surely knew this by the time he ran for president, but Obama kept dissembling about his origins nonetheless.

Although Obama’s African relatives seem to have accepted the president as one of their own, there is even less clarity on the Kenyan side. According to Dreams, Obama Sr. had children with at least four different women, two of them American, and he occasionally circled back to the first of the four, Kezia.

Ruth Nidesand, a white American, had two children by Obama Sr., Mark and David, the latter of whom died young in a motorcycle accident. She was also forced to raise Kezia’s two oldest children, just as the woman Obama knows as “Granny,” the family storyteller, was forced to raise Obama Sr. as her own. In another time and place, the Obamas would have had their own reality TV show.

Questions linger about the paternity of many of these offspring. In Dreams, Obama’s cryptic and contrarian Aunt Sarah would tell her presumed nephew, ” … the children who claim to be Obama’s are not Obama’s.” Obama must have wondered whether she was referring to him.

Curiously, when Obama found the article about Obama Sr.’s departure, he found it “folded away among my birth certificate and old vaccination forms.” Later in Dreams, in a passage heretofore overlooked, Obama unwittingly reveals that there may have been problems with that birth certificate.

On the occasion of his father’s death in 1982, lawyers contacted anyone who might have claim to the estate. “Unlike my mum,” Obama tells his half-sister Auma in Dreams, “Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Mark’s father was.”

Ruth obviously could produce a marriage license and a birth certificate for her son Mark. Ann Dunham apparently could not do the same for her son Barack, at least not one that could tie him to Obama Sr.—not even with a potential payoff on the table.

The long form birth certificate could pose a number of problems other than country of origin, including the date of Obama’s birth, the state of his birth, and the identity of his father. Any one of these revelations could unravel the yarn that Obama has been spinning.

These problems derive from the fact that Ann Dunham enrolled at university on August 19, 1961 and returned to Hawaii only after Obama Sr. had left Hawaii for good. Both of these facts are more firmly established than President Obama’s Honolulu birth on August 4, 1961. In my forthcoming book, Deconstructing Obama, I review these possibilities in some detail.

The failure of the mainstream media to even address the inconsistencies in Obama’s story is downright shameful. That failure has created a windstorm of curiosity that is becoming increasingly difficult for the media to ignore. The final responsibility for the outburst in Congress last week is theirs.

[end of Cashill article]

- end of initial entry -

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

I have been thinking now and then about the presidential legitimacy of Barack Obama, but had decided not to bother you with my thoughts. Your two recent posting on the topic, the so-called birther topic, have, however, caused me to change my mind.

To be eligible as president, a contender for the office must prove that he is a natural-born citizen. In 2008, Congress required John McCain to do this (that is, to produce an indubitable birth certificate), but it never required Barack Obama to do so—and he has not done so to this moment.

As you recently wrote, no information is itself a type of information. Americans can legitimately say that they do not know whether Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen who is therefore eligible to hold the office of the presidency. Your most recent posting on this topic underscores this basic premise: That the sitting president (what should we call him, the “president presumptive”?) has never supplied the documentation that would certify his eligibility and likely cannot provide it. If indeed no such documents as a genuine birth certificate existed then Barack Obama would be unable to fulfill the requirements even to be a nominee in a presidential election.

In the most generous description of the situation, Barack Obama might be eligible to serve as president, but he has not demonstrated his eligibility.

In my syllogism, this fact in itself makes Barack Obama ineligible and that would make him nothing less than a usurper.

Where has my reasoning gone wrong?

LA replies:

As I have indicated before, my view is that it’s a huge mistake to treat this issue as primarily about whether Obama is legally the president, a question that leads directly to the idea of removing him. The birth issue should not be about trying to overthrow a president—an approach which discredits the birth issue as driven by politics of a supremely disruptive kind. The birth issue should be about getting at the truth. Once the truth is gotten at, then practical questions would arise, and they will be raised by the mainstream. If they are raised by a bunch of right-wingers, they will simply be dismissed.

I can’t repeat it often enough: we must confine the issue to what we know, and to what we know that we don’t know. On that solid ground, we cannot be gainsaid. But as soon as birthers make this about overthrowing Obama, they look like nut cakes and will get nowhere.

Thus, in practical terms, here is the kind of thing birthers ought to say:

“Gov. Abercrombie said he wanted to get the birth certificate released so as to put this issue to rest. Then he indicated that he couldn’t find the birth certificate. Then he said that he can’t get the birth certificate released, even if he could find it, because Obama hasn’t given his consent for it to be released. Birthers had nothing to do with this. This is a matter of Abercrombie’s words and actions, and Obama’s words and actions. We are merely repeating what Abercrombie has said. We now know, from Obama’s own friend and supporter Abercrombie, that Obama has refused to release the birth certificate. So the question is now in the hands of the media. They should be asking Obama why he refuses to release his birth certificate. If they refuse to ask him that question, they are facilitating Obama’s cover-up.

“Alternatively, if there is no birth certificate, as is suggested by Obama himself in his book and by Abercrombie’s initial admitted failure to find the birth certificate despite searching for it, then it is an incontestable fact that we don’t know the circumstances of his birth. It is an incontestable fact that there is no legal documentation showing that Obama was born when and where he claims he was born, and it is the media’s responsibility to report this fact.”

Notice how the above statement says nothing about theories of Obama’s origins, nothing about his qualifications for president, nothing about removing him as president. It sticks with what we actually know, and insists on the media doing its job and asking questions and reporting facts. If birthers would show this kind of message discipline consistently, they would start carrying the debate and at a certain point some parts of the mainstream media would start admitting that we haven’t seen Obama’s birth certificate and we want to know why.

E. from Florida writes:

I have never seen any discussion of whether Barack, Sr. committed statutory rape in his (presumed?—it’s so bizarre) impregnation of Stanley Ann Dunham. I believe the law re statutory rape is state law (not the same in each state), and I don’t know what the relevant law was in Hawaii in 1960 (the year of the intercourse), but in many states, even now, when a man in his twenties, as Barack, Sr. was at the time, has sexual intercourse with a 17 year old girl, it is considered statutory rape, even if the girl is a willing participant, as Stanley Ann apparently was. The legal thought is that a girl of that age may not make up her own mind on the issue, even if she thinks she can. The law is often honored in the breach, especially if the man marries the girl before the birth of any resulting baby (how rare might that be these days), but it’s still technically statutory rape, and the law is occasionally enforced.

It’s a minor point, but I still think it relevant that no one in the media (even on our side) has ever discussed this. I’ve never even seen anyone write what the relevant law in Hawaii was in 1960.

And I still think it’s very weird that there is so little memory of Barack’s ever having attended Columbia. Seriously, this is weird. His classmates in Indonesia and his Hawaii private school and at Harvard Law clearly remember him and talk to the press about him, but no one at Columbia, other than his off-campus roommate from overseas, even seems to recall anything about him.

LA replies:

As an alumnus of Columbia University (more precisely, Columbia College, the undergraduate liberal arts school), which I attended for a year and a half in the first part of my undergraduate career, I can tell you that Columbia is an anonymous, alienating institution, which was the main reason I left. But as for the notion that it’s so anonymous that no one would remember Obama in his two years there, all I can do is repeat what you said: Seriously, this is weird.

E. replies:

As you know, I’m an alum of both Princeton and Columbia and was an employee of Columbia when Barack was an undergrad (or said to be an undergrad), so I get informed incessantly about each university—they never let go, since they want you to donate. Well, Princeton has filled my inbox and mailbox with stories about Michelle Obama (and Sonya Sotomayor) and all the things she accomplished on campus, with many recollections from classmates and professors. After all, if your classmate or student became first lady of the U.S. you just might want to let folks know you knew her when. However, in regard to Barack at Columbia, it’s a complete vacuum. No professors come forward to say anything about his performance in class or how they nurtured his accomplishments and no classmates (other than his off-campus roommate) come through with their recollections. Also no girlfriends or others outside of Columbia recall their interactions with him during his Columbia days. He was supposed to have been dating a white girl somewhere along in about here, but such a woman has never been identified.

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

You wrote, “As I have indicated before, my view is that it’s a huge mistake to treat this issue as primarily about whether Obama is legally the president, a question that leads directly to the idea of removing him.” Knowing your position, I should probably have omitted the term usurper, which is necessarily inciting. As a matter of fact, before your two latest posts on the subject, as I wrote, I generally avoided discussing the eligibility issue. (There is indeed too much imprudent blather among the “birthers.”) It was precisely your two posts—particularly your succinct statement that not knowing is itself a fact—that prompted me to communicate. For the record, I did not use the term overthrow in my previous communication. I sought only to summarize the logic of what we currently know or know that we don’t know.

Let me restate my syllogism:

Major Premise: Our not knowing owes itself to Obama’s not having demonstrated (there is no avoiding the term) his eligibility.

Minor Premise: Given that Obama hasn’t demonstrated his eligibility, he can’t possibly be eligible.

Conclusion: Therefore, until or unless Obama demonstrates his eligibility, which would require him to produce a convincing birth certificate that signifies his citizenship status, he is not a legitimate holder of his office. (Of course, he is the effective holder of his office.)


Major Premise: A man who has not certified his eligibility cannot legally occupy the office of the president.

Minor Premise: Smith has not certified his eligibility.

Conclusion: Smith cannot legally occupy the office of the president. (Of course, he might nevertheless effectively occupy the office of the president.)

I present this argument not as a call for action, although your words seem to respond to it as such, but as logical analysis, purely and simply. Maybe it would endanger the Republic too much to urge or try to effect Obama’s removal; I am quite ready to consider that, even to concede it. It is a frightening prospect. [LA replies: You’re missing the point that we are not in a position to try to effect Obama’s removal. We have no ability to do so. There are no procedures to do so. There is no legislative or judicial body in the United States which, in the present development of the issue, will even consider it. Therefore we are not in a position to endanger the Republic by trying to effect his removal. The problem is not that bringing up the question of removing Obama endangers the Republic; the problem is that it makes birthers sound off the planet. I’ve tried over and over to show my fellow birthers this point, but without success, because they always want more than they can reasonably have. They don’t want to force the system to face the fact that the truth is not known and is being covered up; they want to remove Obama.] But if the issue were not Obama’s eligibility, then why bother to pursue the matter at all? [LA replies: I’ve explained that numerous times. Identifying the fact that we do not know the truth and that the truth is being concealed from us is all we can reasonably accomplish at this stage. Once we accomplish that, then the media and politicians can be held to account for ignoring what they have no right to ignore, and then there is the possibility that the issue might move further.] Furthermore (please treat this as a question only and not as a challenge), how is it possible to isolate the issue of eligibility from the issue of legality? [LA replies: I don’t understand the question.]

Notice that my syllogism need not include such terms as natural-born citizen or dual citizen or foreign national or usurper. It concerns itself only with the question of documentation. It does, however, concern itself with eligibility, which is what documentation is supposed to prove or disprove. [LA replies: But the question of eligibility and documentation is not relevant, in the absence of actual procedures to determine a person’s eligibility.] Finally, the question of eligibility is in unavoidable contact with the question of legality, or so it seems to me. One might, for rhetorical purposes at this stage of our national trauma, seek to elide those words, but I’m addressing, not the advisable rhetoric, but rather our logical understanding of the situation quite apart from what it is currently prudent to say.

JD Sherman writes:


This Presidential eligibility issue may be resolved with the 2012 election. A couple of states are considering legislation to require proof of citizenship to be certified for the election.

LA replies:

Yes, if that happened, that would certainly put Obama in an interesting position.

And that is an example of what I would call a rational and practicable approach: not trying to remove Obama from office, but putting proper procedures in place which, if he did not conform to them by producing proper documentation, he couldn’t run for re-election.

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

First, thank you for posting my messages. Not only am I grateful to you for your courtesy, but also my sense of your justness and my sense of the value of VFR both rise for your having done so. (And both were already quite high.)

Forgive me for being insistent, but there is a procedure. It’s what Congress required the odious John McCain to do and what Congress omitted to require the odious Barack Obama to do: Provide documentary proof that he is a natural-born citizen, hence eligible to be president—which, in McCain’s case, was a genuine, incontestable, citizenship-affirming birth certificate. The distressing situation is the result of Congress not insisting on procedure, not of there being no procedure. There is also impeachment. [LA replies: I remember some discussion during the campaign about McCain’s birth in the Canal Zone, and the odd laws relating to the natural born citizen status of persons born in U.S. military bases abroad, but I am not aware that the Congress took steps to require McCain to provide a birth certificate. I would be most surprised to find out that they did. Further, it is simply untrue that the Congress has established procedures for determining whether a sitting U.S. president is a natural born citizen. Yes, a congressional committee could start looking into the matter, both into the facts or lack of facts concerning Obama’s birth, and into the underlying federal law defining natural born citizenship, but the committee would be feeling its way one step at a time, because nothing like this has ever been done. It’s unlikely to the nth degree that the Republicans would choose to do this. What if they found that Obama was not a natural born citizen? They would have precipitated a constitutional and political crisis without a resolution, and they would be blamed for it.]

The various state-based ballot-qualification initiatives have their premise in the question of eligibility. Otherwise they are pointless.

You wrote: “Therefore we are not in a position to endanger the Republic by trying to effect his removal.” But not trying to effect his removal, should the worst turn out to be the case, would endanger the Republic at least as severely as trying to effect his removal. Thus a frank discussion of this issue must come to grips with the pros and cons of exactly that unpleasant dichotomy. Also, a lack of precedent is an entailment of every unprecedented situation.

Steve R. writes:

Thomas Bertonneau’s syllogisms make the case that Obama is ineligible to serve. Whether or not he can be removed at this time is not the point of his syllogisms. However, both syllogisms presume that Obama is responsible for demonstrating his eligibility.

Such is not the case. States (or the State’s political parties) HAD the obligation of vetting him before they allowed him to be on their ballot and they failed to do so.

As an example, Eldridge Cleaver was removed from the ballot in California after the Attorney General discovered he was a day shy of being old enough to qualify for the presidency. Thus, it seems that the states, having neglected their responsibility, made Obama to be legally eligible for the 2008 election. From what I once read, even Scalia thought Obama could no longer be removed—even if it was established that he was not a natural born citizen.

Nile McCoy writes:

The end result of Obama never releasing his birth certificate is that his presidency may be forever shrouded in mystery and illegitimacy, something akin to type of Keyser Soze figure in American history.

The issue may be forced however. World Net Daily is reporting that Arizona’s state legislature is prepared to 2012 eligibility law for a Presidential candidate to appear on its state ballot for federal office. If it survives court challenges, I expect more states will follow.

The article quotes the proposed legislation:

Within ten days after submittal of the names of the candidates, the national political party committee shall submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate’s age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as prescribed in article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States.

The critical phrases are “natural born citizen” and the requirements of “article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States,” which imposes on the president a requirement not demanded of other state and federal officeholders.

James N. writes:

It’s quite clear, from publicly available information, that Stanley Anne Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. never lived together as man and wife, in Hawaii or anywhere else.

There is a legal record of a divorce (with a page missing, related to offspring), so it is reasonable to presume that there was some form of a marriage. [LA replies: This is the first I’ve heard of that. Do you have a link?]

What the purpose of their marriage was, and who it was intended to deceive, remains unknown.

The more I learn about this, the more concerned I become that we are missing something very important, but it’s very hard to pin down what that might be.

January 26

LA writes:

I have posted a new entry, “What birthers need to do now,” which is a continuation of arguments I’ve been makiing in this thread.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 25, 2011 04:42 PM | Send

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