Shopped. I can tell by the pixels.


(Download: PDF, THIS LOOKS SHOPPED. I CAN TELL FROM SOME OF THE PIXELS AND FROM SEEING QUITE A FEW SHOPS IN MY TIME. So say the indefatigable birthers, as evidenced by breathless headlines on countless blogs I won't stoop to link to here. But they have a point: if it truly came from Hawaii, it would be in a Hawaiian font. Also, WHERE IS THE PLACENTA?

RELATED: President Obama said in a speech not long ago that he reads Boing Boing, but only for the comments. Yes, seriously. But too bad he didn't learn an important internet lesson here, from our moderators: never feed the trolls.


  1. At least it’s not typed in Microsoft Word’s Times New Roman 12, like those Dan Rather memos were.

  2. @benschwartzy said it best: “Birthers aren’t going to be happy til Obama releases a certificate of whiteness.”

    1. @benschwartzy said it best: “Birthers aren’t going to be happy til Obama releases a certificate of whiteness.”

      Tru dat!

    2. Oh that is so true.

      This is so obviously racist that any denial is in itself a statement of denial.

      I’m not a US citizen (or resident) and I’m white and *I* find this whole thing sordid and racist.

  3. This certificate was released to try to address the claims of the birther movement.

    Once the afterbirther movement picks up, we’ll get dessicated placenta.

    1. You owe me a keyboard.

      Never really understood the issue anyway. Obama = son of an American woman. That makes him an American whether he was born in Hawaii or delivered by witch doctors in a tiny mud hut somewhere on the west side of Kilimanjaro. An American gives birth to an American, period. Birth certificate is irrelevant.

      1. It does make him an American citizen, but you have to be born on US soil to become president. It’s one of those weird things.

        McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone, which counts. But if you’re born in a foreign country, you can’t become president even if you’re a citizen by birth.

        There was a 30 episode about that, where Jack and Avery were stuck in Canada and they tried to get back to the States before Avery gave birth so that their child would be eligible to become president. Also, this is the reason that Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t become president without a constitutional amendment.

        1. Actually, the phrase “on US soil” doesn’t appear anywhere in the constitution. It says “natural born citizen”. It’s not clear what this means as they never define it and it wasn’t a commonly used term at the time.

          1. No, no, “natural born” is in the Constitution because the Founding Fathers knew we’d someday be dealing with vat-grown Americans trying to become President.

        2. I hear what you’re saying skysky but I can’t find any actual written rules on this…. I mean, I see that you need to be a natural born citizen, but it doesn’t actually define what that -means- or make any real determination on whether this means you need to be a citizen by birthright (parents) or by birthplace

          It seems to me that if you’re naturally born as an American (as you would be if you are born to an American parent), that you are a natural born citizen of America. As an American citizen you would have every right any other -born- American has, and that, it seems to me, would extend to the ability to become president.

          Clearly Aaaaahnold wouldn’t qualify, but I see no reason why the courts would rule against Obama even if he -was- born somewhere else.

          1. yeah I looked this up too. It’s definitely not clear in the constitution, but I think it’s generally been interpreted to be on US territory in the past. At least, that’s what people always told my brother, who was born in Canada to American parents.

            So yeah, who knows?

        3. > you have to be born on US soil to become president

          > if you’re born in a foreign country, you can’t become president even if you’re a citizen by birth

          You couldn’t be more wrong. All the Constitution actually says is that you have to be a “natural born citizen”, not that you have to be born on US soil, and while the Constitution does not define “natural born citizen”, laws dating back to 1790 do, including in that definition overseas-born children of US citizens.

          Schwarzenegger is not eligible because he’s a *naturalized* citizen. He’s neither born in the US nor have US citizens as parents.

          I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about your misunderstanding if you’re getting your information from TV sitcoms.

        4. Apparently people born by cesarean section are also ineligible. To become president you have to be a “natural born citizen”.

          1. Which leads to the next debate: does use of medication (e.g. an epidural) still constitute “natural childbirth”?

        5. It does make him an American citizen, but you have to be born on US soil to become president.

          I don’t believe that’s established. The usual intepretation is “natural born” is opposed to “naturalized”; that is, acquired citizenship not by virtue of the facts of birth.

          As to why birthers are holding so fast to the idea that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the US: OHMYGOD CAN’T YOU SEE HE’S BLACK? That pretty much summarizes the actual cognitive process.

        6. No, you don’t have to be born on US soil to be president. You only have to be a “natural born Citizen”. Read the Constitution, it’s easy to find online.

          You’re a natural born citizen if you were a citizen by birth. One way to be a citizen by birth is to be born on US soil. Another way is to be the child of a US citizen mother. That’s why John McCain could run for president even though he was born in Panama (the Canal Zone was not “US soil”, it was leased from Panama by the US).

          1. US military bases and embassies are also considered US soil, even when they are leased.

            I think the Obama birth thing became a controversy to hide the fact that McCain was born in the Army hospital in Panama, but that the hospital wasn’t officially on the military base. It was just outside of the military base, but it was in the US-administered canal zone. I think John McCain still qualifies as a “natural born citizen” but to avoid the constitutional debate on a murky issue that might hinge to a few hundred yards and dig up the history of US imperialism, Republican strategists invented the Obama issue to distract and redirect attention.

            Mission accomplished!

        7. @skysky

          Well, that rules out…

          George Washington
          John Adams
          Thomas Jefferson
          James Madison
          James Monroe
          John Quincy Adams
          Andrew Jackson
          William Henry Harrison

          I guess that puts President Obama in GREAT company.

          1. It doesn’t rule out those past president. The constitution explicitly grandfathers them in, which is partly what gives the “born on US soil” argument more weight. (Except it doesn’t really, it just gives more weight to “US citizen at the time of birth” argument, which anyone born to US parents is.

            Anyway, the relevant language of the constitution is

            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;

            So already they were distinguishing between “citizens” and “natural born citizens.”

            There a lot on Wikipedia about the historic arguments on this issue.

          2. Anyway, the relevant language of the constitution is

            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;

            So already they were distinguishing between “citizens” and “natural born citizens.”

            No, they were noting the reality that no adult at the time the Constitution was adopted had been born a citizen of the United States. The reason being, there was no such country as the United States until 11 years before the Constitution was adopted. No one old enough to be president then could possibly have been born a US citizen (a “natural born citizen”).

          3. No, it’s still relevant. If they intended “natural born citizen” to mean “anyone that happens to be a citizen at the time they seek office,” then the “or” statement is redundant and doesn’t need to be there. Since the “or” statement is there, it implies that the writers of the constitution thought that there was a difference between “natural born citizen” and plain old “citizen.”

            Like I said earlier, the argument could easily be made that “natural born citizen” is someone who is a citizen at the time of their birth, wherever they were born. But it’s certainly not true to say that the writers weren’t distinguishing between “citizens” and “natural born citizens.” They were. It’s right there.

          4. Often lost in the debate about what constitutes a “natural born citizen” is the fact that ever since the 14th Amendment was passed it may not matter anyway. There is a very compelling legal argument to be made that the Equal Protection Clause did away with that requirement when it guaranteed the same rights for all citizens.

            Of course, just like the definition of “natural born citizen” the only way we’d ever settle that issue definitively would be if a court ruled on it, which isn’t gonna happen because no major party is going to field a candidate whose legal eligibility is in any serious doubt.

      2. I want to make clear that I am sure Obama was born in Hawaii, and I wouldn’t really care if he wasn’t, but that’s the basis of birthers’ claims, and that part is actually in the constitution.

    2. I actually sacked and froze the placenta of our twins home born abroad as we were concerned about both the local bureaucracy and the US embassy. We had heard an apocryphal story of frustrated parents presenting the staff with the placenta as evidence that the fraternal twins were both actually theirs from our midwife.
      Placenta God’s bloody receipt that comes with the baby, blech!

  4. I would like to know at least once, the basis for the birther’s claims. Can someone please help me? What makes them feel that Obama wasn’t born in the US?

    1. He wasn’t white. That’s pretty much it.

      As a foreigner, I find it a bit backwards that only a US citizen can become president. Surely, it should be down to whoever is the best for the job, no matter what country they originate from?

      Imagine being a child and knowing that although you want to become the next president you can’t, simply because you were born on this piece of soil instead of that piece of soil.

      1. I can think of at least two agreeable justifications for the citizenship requirement (just citizenship, not including birthplace). The most obvious among these is the fact that it acts as a rudimentary safeguard against potentially fatal foreign intervention. It would suck to have your country’s commander-in-chief be a foreign spy whose allegiance lies with neutral/antagonistic nation states. Correct me if I’m wrong, but US citizens must also perform a bunch of actions (e.g. oaths) that give the Judiciary and Legislature legal recourse for potential shenanigans by the Executive.

        Then there’s the fact that US citizens are more likely to have the nation’s interests at heart than filthy furriners. Or they’re at least more likely to prioritize America over any other nation to which they are tangentially associated, by lineage, emigration, business, etc.

    2. Xenophobia. He doesn’t look like us. He’s got a funny name. His father’s African. And he’d lived in a Muslim country.

      Whatever the birth certificate shows, the birthers will never feel that he’s truly as American as they are.

      You should have seen Bill O’Reilly — who is not a birther — interviewing Obama and saying “but, come on, do you actually know football? You know, quarterbacks, that kind of thing?” The implication being, of course, that a not-really-American wouldn’t know American football.

      1. Actually he looks like me. And a lot more of us than the birther right would like to admit.

        So I agree with you–but the real problem for the birthers is that more and more of us look like Obama. And that is scary for the crazy right.

  5. Can’t quite make it out: is the registrar’s name “U K L Lee”? Don’t know how you get more Hawaiian that that.

    1. Hah – nice catch. A freakin ukulele presided over Obama’s birth. What more does anyone want?

      I heard one of the nurses wore a grass skirt.

  6. You want to really make a birther cry- explain the legal concept of jus sanguinus citizenship, which applies today (and applied back when Obama was born too). Obama could have been born on the Moon, and he’d still be an American citizen.

    1. > Obama could have been born on the Moon, and he’d still be an American citizen.

      They don’t care if he’s a citizen now (or any facts, obviously). If he was born on the moon, he wouldn’t be a ‘natural born citizen’, as mentioned in the Constitution. Unfortunately, that seems to be a shifting target, which to some people may or may not include his parents’ citizenships.

      As an aside, Obama probably should have hired a PR firm just to release this document. Just putting it out there and calling it silly seems ill-advised.

    2. EXACTLY. No-one seems to have picked up on this – the dude has been living in America for most of his life, paid his taxes, went to school, got a degree, served his community, became a senator, served his state and country – WHAT THE F MORE DO YOU WANT? (no he’s NOT going to turn white, and that’s clearly the REAL problem.)

  7. So, after all this, the birth certificate does list the birthplace as Kenya, East Africa. Of course, it’s for the father, but hey, what the birthers have been saying apparently is true…

  8. Birthers – like “chemtrail” fanatics and anti-abortion screamers, there is just no reasoning with those people. They are rabid True Believers(tm). The know The Truth(tm) and they will resolutely refuse to listen to anything that contradicts their pathology. If God himself came down from Heaven and put His seal of approval on Obama’s birth certificate, they’d claim it was just a holograph.

    1. By doing this, Obama has chosen as his opponent someone famous for being rich, annoying and unintelligent. Same reasons Democrats would like to make the race about them vs. Rush Limbaugh and Republicans would like to make it about them and Code Pink. It’s not an unusual political strategy.

  9. Wait…. WAIT

    His Mom didn’t sign her legal name, she signed it Obama (not Stanley). So it doesn’t count. He really wasn’t born after all.

  10. fwiw, $0.02, if there is someone who serves as a spokesperson/standard bearer for the “birther movement” (oh, “BM” haha!) then I think that person really, really owes the President a formal apology.

  11. I demand to see a (long-form, natch) birth certificate for Pesco. He’s just too cool to really be from planet Earth.

  12. Coincidentally, this release is made at the same time the President announces that he is putting the current head of the CIA as SecDef and is putting Petraeus in charge of the CIA.

  13. Sucks that the White House felt they had to address the crazies. I would have told them to get stuffed.

    That being said, I’m going to start demanding a birth certificate from everyone running for president from now on. Pic, or it didn’t happen. Who’s with me??

  14. The PDF link to the birth certificate hosted on the server is a website printout from

  15. Certificate, whatever, more excited by the fact he reads boing boing, the question is whether he comments too and if so who is he? Maybe we just need a fake Obama alias just for kicks.

  16. Feh. Shouting about birth certificates is SOOOOOOOO 2009. Challenging Hawaii’s statehood will be the hot new strategy in the upcoming months.

  17. Man, I made the “seen a lot of ‘shops in my time” joke this morning… and now I feel validated.

    Which is sad, kind of.

    1. I’d like to see proof Sarah Palin wasn’t the love child of a Norwegian bachelor farmer and his sheep.

  18. Now that Obama has produced his, I want to see Trump release an affidavit that proves that he is not being mind controlled by a space alien that is masquerading as his hair.

    I mean c’mon, that mop just ain’t right.

    1. Really! To suggest that Trump is concealing alien wireless networking hardware beneath that comb-over is most irresponsible, an egregious absurdity. I don’t know how these Borger rumors get started.

  19. Soon after I tweeted about this, I was spammed with the following: @BRADLEYIFV @stumark Obama is not a natural born citizen as required for President (both parents must be US citizens) It is still a problem.

    I wasn’t shocked, but am certainly bummed that this will likely become a new, bizarre birther talking-point. Xenophobia is just not a good look.

    Meanwhile, if it hasn’t been pointed to, here’s the Wikipedia page on the Natural Born Citizen clause:


  20. Um, hey..

    Why is the image in the BB rss feed so different from the one in the article? The rss version lacks the ‘humoring’.

  21. Did the birthers really think that the CIA, FBI, etc. (under Bush’s watch, no less) wouldn’t have checked into it as soon as it became an issue?

  22. I read some of the breathless comments on the unnamed blogs, for lulz. I was a little disappointed in some of them though, because they were from people who hadn’t even read the damn thing: people saying “it’s a certificate of live birth, not a birth certificate signed by a doctor!!” (apparently having missed line 19a) and people wondering why there’s no mother’s mailing address…”because she didn’t actually live in Hawaii!!” (apparently not realizing that mailing address was left blank because it’s the same as usual residence, lines 7a-d).

  23. I think about half of the commentors here missed the fact that this image *is* actually ‘shopped!

    I too, though, am more interested in the fact that Obama supposedly reads BB (saying you just read the comments is kind of like saying you just read playboy for the articles, though…)

    However, while it’s hard to tell from the linked transcript, it kind of felt like it was thrown in there at the end for some “hipster cred” so to speak, after listing those well-known political blogs (though I’m not familiar with fire dog lake or daily dish). I mean, there’s a lot of political stuff on BB, but it’s not exactly a political blog.

    Perhaps the laughter indicated in the transcript is because people thought the president saying “boing boing” was funny, and they don’t actually know what BB is :)

  24. No you all got it wrong!

    Obama has an Evil alien twin from mars and his tween has replaced him!


  25. Don’t forget that a REAL Hawaiian birth certificate would be printed on a piece of dried pineapple.

    Seriously tho… I’m surprised no one has said, “Birthers don’t believe in Obama’s birth certificate is legit because they don’t consider Hawaii as part of the United States.”

    1. I’m surprised no one has said, “Birthers don’t believe in Obama’s birth certificate is legit because they don’t consider Hawaii as part of the United States.”

      Funny thing is, if Hawaii isn’t really part of the US, the same argument could be made for Alaska. Neither are part of the Continental US, and both were admitted to the union in the same year (1959).

      There are some interesting counter-arguments, claiming that this is smarter than it looks, here: Ed Brayton’s blogpost on the subject.

  26. Do you mean that they can not find the placenta?

    I think this is very suspicious. I wonder if Obama is even human. . . ????

  27. Ready for something really weird though?

    It actually -is- shopped :).

    Pull the pdf file off the server, open it up in illustrator, pull the clipping masks apart.

    This image is a series of layers put on top of each other – not – a scanned document. Stuff has been added on top of the original document. Try it for yourself!

    1. Yeah, I tried this for myself. There’s some really weird stuff in that document. Like the “Non” layer for line 17a.

    1. Why in the world would they release his “real” long form birth certificate, and make it out of a composite layered image? Makes absolutely no sense…..

      Image processing software that automatically does this (and which did some OCR it seems)? Even that well-known place that Xeni “won’t stoop to link to” overwhelmingly offers rational explanations for this.

      1. I just don’t see the rationality behind it.

        I mean, if they wanted to shut everyone up and scan a certificate, why not scan a certificate?

        I’m not a birther – I think the whole thing is absolutely retarded, I’m just laughing at the insanity of posting a “real” birth certificate that is clearly composited :). It actually -is- shopped, you can tell by the pixels ;).

        1. I mean, if they wanted to shut everyone up and scan a certificate, why not scan a certificate?

          They most likely did, using a program that recognizes contiguous regions and text. Call it incompetence if you will, or just an oversight.

    2. This layer business looks like the scanner was set to automatically OCR all the printed text, and it likely did this without the user’s knowledge.

      The Hawaii dept. of official documents need to hire someone with Photoshop jujitsu to do QC on their work!

      1. Well that’s beautiful :).

        Hilarity in PDF form. Thanks OCR for the laughs (and the insanity of more birthers shouting about conspiracy).

        Now I know how to explain it when my most republican of friends hound me with their new “evidence” tomorrow :).

    3. It looks to me like they ran OCR in Acrobat. That’s pretty much what you’d expect to see. That would also explain why you are able to separate out the pieces in illustrator, since Illustrator can open PDFs as editable files. So it’s not, technically “‘shopped”

  28. There are (at least) 8 US Presidents who weren’t born on US soil. They weren’t even US citizens. They were born on either British soil, or on that of one of the nations of the native American tribes, depending on who you ask.

  29. I’d been developing a theory that Obama was refraining from releasing the long-form specifically in order to drive the Birthers nuts.

    See, in American presidential politics, a candidate needs to energize his or her party’s base in order to get volunteer labor and win the primary, and then tack to the center to appeal to moderates and independents. The Birther controversy could have acted as a wedge between the base and the moderates by getting the base all excited about a nonsense issue. The Republicans could have wound up nominating a Birther candidate who’d repel the moderates and independents, resulting in another Democratic victory in 2012.

    So now I need a new theory.

    1. Avram:

      Releasing this document isn’t going to tamp down the birther frenzy one iota. Quite the opposite, it’s going to drive them even crazier. (Timing is everything in comedy!)

      So your theory is still wholly valid, and I fully subscribe to it.

    2. The birther fire was starting to run out of fuel, so this will make them flame up a little more. Lather, rinse, repeat. :)

  30. Here’s a quick youtube video showing the various layers.

    Really weird stuff, they even have the mother’s signature cut in half and on two different layers. I have no idea in the world why they would do this. Why not just release a flattened image so people couldn’t do this? Why put out such a wonky composite that’s clearly going to raise questions?

    Birthers are going to have a field day with this :).

  31. Can we prove Obama even exists? I’ve certainly never seen him in person and that’s proof enough for me.

  32. The birthers are a godsend to Democrats for creating dissension in the Republican ranks. I think Obama knows this, knows that releasing this document will feed those trolls, and is counting on it to help undermine all remaining Republican credibility*.

    *Note: This statement should not be construed to mean that there is any remaining Republican credibility.

  33. I just read through the transcript of Obama’s comments at the Gridiron Club that Xeni linked. I have to say that, although I disagree with many of the President’s policies, he has an excellent sense of humor.

    “All right, I hear the criticisms. I do. For example, I know that people think I’m not passionate enough. That I’m too cool. That I’m too detached. But as I was going through my daily routine — sitting alone in my study — (laughter) — meditating, thinking about how to win the future — (laughter) — I pondered this critique, and calmly rejected it — (laughter and applause) — as thoroughly illogical. (Laughter.)”

    Grade A material, Mr. President.

    1. OMG: Obama is really SPOCK! Not only not American but alien to boot. And LOGICAL?? That seals it: not presidential material at all!! buwahahahaha

  34. So why didn’t he just release the damn thing right away then when the issue first came up?
    Not that I ever seriously suspected the birther claim or would have been bothered if it had been true, it is a rather silly thing in the constitution anyways.
    Was this to be a fun way to smoke screen the right wingy trolls?
    I can’t imagine his advisors have had him hold out so long without a good reason. Were they hoping to use this topic as a near to election bomb like the CBS fake Air Force reprimand letter for George W?
    I suppose we will have to wait til he is finished for the tell-all book and John Stewart interview.

  35. Ronald Regan himself could have witnessed and certified Obama’s birth, and they still wouldn’t believe it.

    It’s not about truth. It’s about hate.

    1. I don’t actually think birthing is about hate against Obama as a person or racism, instead it is hatred for people who violate their worldview, exactly like what happens to many Muslims who have been living in a cultural echo chamber and participate in honor killings.
      The real right wingers treat the constitution as a holy writ on par with the New Testament, anything that interferes must be bent to fit, like say the Old Testament. For Anglos Americans look to the constitution like royalists look to the Queen, but often more so.
      Liberals are seen as infidels who threaten the ‘right’ way to live and are destroying the holy understanding of the constitution and must be stopped. Maybe they aren’t so honest when a Jew like me is asking but almost every right winger with education beyond high school has done a pretty good job of convincing me they are not racists, they just vehemently disagree and will use any technique even a technicality like impeaching Clinton for lying about that BJ or birthing Obama just to get rid of him.
      I think most lefties would have used any technicality to get rid of W and avoid Iraq.
      The US is getting so polarized and I think the hate on both sides is mostly politically charged, a negligable percent of the white population cares about race anymore except as a McCarthyesque racism accusation, they can hate someone and dehumanize them based on ideology.(there is still great fear of loss of unacknowledged white privilege) I really think cultural polarization is greatly strengthening the super rich corporate power base which thrives on distracting the population from their legalized embezzling of the worlds wealth as we squabble over abortion, DADT, and other disposable difficult to monetize but highly polarizing partisan topics.

  36. It’s not the birthers that this is supposed to convince–it’s the press. If the press continues to cover this ‘story’, then it didn’t work.

    And the smart money says they’ll still cover this “controversy”.

  37. Obama could be president even if born in Kenya.

    “Natural Born Citizen” according to

    Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are “citizens of the United States at birth:”

    * Anyone born inside the United States *
    * Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe
    * Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
    * Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
    * Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
    * Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
    * Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
    * A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.

    Evidence also suggests this was close to what the founders intended it to mean.

      1. That’s my girl. I would expect nothing less from my favorite dentist / real estate agent / lawyer.

  38. How do I know it’s *our* Hawaii and not some little known provence of Pakistan that’s been kept off the maps by the CIA and the National Geographic society?

  39. Of course the Birthers can’t lose at this game according to the rules they’ve set up. Their opponents have to do the impossible and prove a negative (eg. Obama is not a Martian) while they don’t have to provide a single mini-byte of data to indicate that he is (eg. there is some indication of intelligent life on Mars). The fact that few people in the world could provide as much evidence as to their place of birth as Obama already has and the lack of a single, solitary piece of evidence showing a Kenyan birth doesn’t interest them.

    I suppose that the attraction of this way of “thinking” is that it provides for a much more dramatic outlook on life. If you can imagine it then it’s real because you can’t disprove it! Your neighbours are lizardmen in disguise! The incredible Bat Boy is on the loose! The Invisible Pink Unicorns walk amongst us!

    1. “Of course the Birthers can’t lose at this game according to the rules they’ve set up. Their opponents have to do the impossible and prove a negative (eg. Obama is not a Martian) while they don’t have to provide a single mini-byte of data to indicate that he is (eg. there is some indication of intelligent life on Mars).”

      “I suppose that the attraction of this way of “thinking” is that it provides for a much more dramatic outlook on life. If you can imagine it then it’s real because you can’t disprove it!”

      I think that’s an excellent deduction of birthers in general. I like to add my clunky commentary.

      Birthers love to think in systems that can’t be proven to make things more “dramatic” in life and also feel they are right.

      Being ultra religious means having an outsized belief in something that can’t ever be proven.

      Most (if not all) of birthers are therefore ultra-religious nutjobs.

  40. The signatures were written in ball-point pen. THERE WERE NO BALLPOINT PENS IN THE 1900s WAKE UP PEOPLE.


  41. OK, quick Googling also shows the other birther non-citizen issue is they claim he accepted Indonesian citizenship which would have automatically had the effect of renouncing his US citizenship. I don’t know if he ever actually had citizenship of Indonesia when he lived with his step father or if a juvie can renounce citizenship as they are not at legal age of consent.

  42. “Natural Born Citizen” means someone that was a citizen at birth, and not “naturalized”. US Code Title 8, Section 1401, defines someone at a citizen at birth if they meet one of the following criteria (summarized):

    a) Born in the US
    b) Born in the US to a member of a native tribe if that tribe accepts US citizens
    c) Born outside the US, but both parents are US citizens and at least one had a residence in the US an outlying possession prior to the birth
    d) Born outside the US, one parent is a US national but not a citizen, and the other parent is a US citizen and has been physically in the US or an outlying possession during the entire one-year period before the birth
    e) Born in an outlying possession of the United States, at least one parent is a US citizen who has ever physically been in the US or it’s possessions for a continuous 1-year period.
    f) Found in the US before age 5, and foreign birth not proven before age 21, and parents are unknown
    g) Born outside the US and its possessions, only one parent is a US citizen, that parent has spent a total of 5 years in the US, and two of those years were after that parent turned 14. Exceptions apply to those in the military or working for the government and their children.
    h) Born before 5/25/1391 outside the US, mother is a US citizen who has at any point resided in the US

    Therefore, if you assume for a second that Obama was born outside the US, you might still think he would qualify as a citizen under part (g) with only one parent who is a citizen. HOWEVER, and this is what the birthers latch on to, section (g) as shown above was revised in 1986. At the time Obama was born, the requirement was that the citizen parent have lived in the US for ten years, at least five of which were after turning 14. Since Obama’s mother was only 18 when he was born, he wouldn’t have qualified under section (g).

    So, if, for some reason, you believe Obama was born in Kenya/France/Mars, it is true that both parents would’ve had to have been US citizens for him to be considered “natural born”, since his mother was not old enough to confer citizenship alone given the rules at the time (and the 1986 amendment specifically states that it applies only to people born on or after November 14, 1986).

    That said, given the birth certificates and birth announcements, there is no doubt in my mind that Obama was born in Hawaii.

  43. Has anyone raised the argument that he released a badly-scanned/photoshopped document in order to keep feeding the birther frenzy that makes much of his opposition look bad?

    I mean, that document scanned above is terrible. There’s no reason for the background to continue out of the clipping of the scan. Surely someone must have noticed that before it went out to press?

    I think it’s a very smart move on Obama’s part.

    1. SamSam – I think the Hawaiian records department xeroxed the birth certificate from a book (which is why you get the bending on the left) onto security paper with the green background. The White House then scanned the document after it was personally picked up in Hawaii by a lawyer.

  44. This may be a naive question, but what’s with the paper continuing under and through the slit on the left? It looks like there’s a glimpse of more writing. How do they make paper do that anyway.

    1. The original birth certificates are bound in books. The registrar xeroxed the original onto security paper (with the green background). The artifacts on the left hand side are from the opposite-facing page and curve due to the spine.

  45. Interesting that the PDF hosted on the site is a scan of a graphic printed from

    You would think they’d at least remove the url from the bottom.

  46. Mr. President? Sir?

    If you’re reading this, please raise taxes on the super wealthy.

    Thank you.

  47. But too bad he didn’t learn an important internet lesson here, from our moderators: never feed the trolls.

    He didn’t feed them, he gave them enough rope to hang themselves with and then kicked the stool away. Trump’s gibberish about college transcripts is just a feeble attempt at saving face.

  48. How did no one notice this yet? The first link in the post is an image hosted at BUT this URL is on the bottom of the image:

    Why is the WH using a snopes image? The snopes link hosts an unaltered image, but the WH hosts an image with a URL from snopes on the bottom.

    Whitehouse trolling at its finest, just dangling the conspiracy-nip. Wish WH was as competent at governing as it is at politicking and feeding the trolls.

    1. Why a Snopes image? Because everybody knows that you can trust Snopes, and that you can’t trust … And it’s an inside joke (with a few hundred million insiders) making fun of the birthers.


  50. President Obama said in a speech not long ago that he reads Boing Boing, but only for the comments. Yes, seriously.

    I had wondered what was causing the sudden bumper crop of astroturf here.

  51. This “birther” nonsense is disturbing not for itself, but because it is a sign of how Balkanized the field of American politics has become. Bipartisanship and cooperation are as dead as last week’s Top 40 hit. Politics has become the domain of ideologues, splinter groups, and fanatics. Statesmanship has been replaced with idiot-mule stubbornness for the sake of catering to increasingly strident special interest groups that fixate on one point to the exclusion of all else. And the big money interests quietly turn this into a corporate-welfare state and rob everyone while they are screaming in each others’ faces over abortion or illegal immigration. How sad that so many millions of people don’t realize that by narrowing their focus so much they are making themselves not only foolish but also easy targets for those power-seekers and robber barons who take advantage of their blindness.

  52. Serious Question: Why is WH hosting an image from
    Lulzy Answer: They’re dropping it like 4chan, “Yo dawg I heard you like conspiracies so I’m hosting a shopped image that birthers accuse of being shopped.”
    Serious Answer: Same as lulzy answer.

  53. The problem is when they bat shit crazy trolls start convincing a large percentage of the population that they’re right…

    “And surveys suggest that a significant numbers of Americans — particularly among Republicans — believe the claims. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, one in four Americans said they thought Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. Among all Republicans, 45 percent said they believe he was born in another country, as did 45 percent of Tea Party supporters.”

    Unfortunately, the “don’t feed the trolls” rule only works up to a point. And these trolls have had their voice amplified/legitimized by Obama’s opponents. That’s who’s really been feeding them.

    1. This stupidity wasn’t amplified/legitimized by birther idiots or Obama’s opponents–it was amplified/legitimized by the press.

      Take this recent ESPN article about a birther MLB player:

      But negative reaction cascaded, too, with some bloggers saying that evidence Obama was born in Hawaii is overwhelming and that Scott must be a racist or a moron, or both.

      See, it’s just “some bloggers” that say there’s proof. Nevermind that Hawaii state officials confirmed Obama’s citizenship back in 2008.

  54. The irony of 7g is funny; his parents didn’t reside on a plantation.

    A bit off topic: In Pennsylvania a court order is required to release an original copy of a birth certificate. I found this out after my mother’s death when I was trying to find out the proper spelling of her name. Seeing as how I couldn’t get a court order I settled for a state official describing the original birth certificate to me over the telephone.

  55. I have seen several questions about why they waited so long to get this released. My understanding is that it required applying to the state of Hawaii for a waiver to get the certified copy of the original document. It has long been the practice in Hawaii to provide only the certified document of live birth that was published 2 years ago and which the Burfer nutfringe refused to accept.

    I would assume that they finally decided that the time was right to cut off the Donald’s only issue at the knees and discredit him and those who listened to him. However, as others have rightly noted, conspiracy theorists concern themselves only with what fits their world view and ignore any information to the contrary. The true believers are more rabidly convinced of their cause when they are in a shrinking minority. It’s so much more exciting when you think you know the REAL truth and all the other suckers have swallowed the official story.

  56. Our Kenyan overlords will be pleased.

    Btw, President Obama does post on BB, under the name “irksome”.

    1. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to prove that with documentation and an explanation of legal nuances that others will dimiss out-of-hand.

  57. Chester A Arthur’s father was an Irish citizen when Chester was born. He got to be President. Since a lot of our legal matters are based on presidence, that should settle the argument about Obama’s dad.

    1. James Buchanan
      Chester Arthur
      Woodrow Wilson
      Herbert Hoover

      All had at least 1 immigrant parent. It is arguable as to which of their parents would qualify as citizens. None would pass the current birther criteria of parents being native citizens.

      The only president prior to Barack facing these kinds of questions was Andrew Jackson. There is some evidence and testimony that he was actually born in Scotland or on shipboard traveling to the United States.

  58. Hi Mr. Obama
    I think you are doing a good job in difficult circumstances. If you could find it in you to kick ‘Corporate America’ squarely in the balls I, for one, would appreciate it.

    Thanks for reading my comment.

    /you have my pretend vote from Canada.

  59. Pull the pdf file off the server, open it up in illustrator, pull the clipping masks apart.

    This image is a series of layers put on top of each other – not – a scanned document.

    If Obama was going to use Photoshop to placate the Birthers, wouldn’t he have just skipped the whole birth certificate and made himself white?

  60. President Obama said in a speech not long ago that he reads Boing Boing, but only for the comments.


  61. At the time the Constitution was written, black people were slaves and not citizens. The framers never intended a man like Obama would be able to be president. This is the only constitutional originalism that the birthers care about.

    1. You can call them whatever you’d like but for your assertion to be more than just prejudice it must be supported by evidence.

      1. “You can call them whatever you’d like but for your assertion to be more than just prejudice it must be supported by evidence.”

        Hahahaha, you tell that to birthers. Don’t make me laugh. It’s idiotic.

    2. It would appear too simple.

      They prefer to mix their prejudice with outright lies, distortions, untruths and claims without evidence.

      To call them ‘just racists’ would mean you’re leaving out the rest of their malicious, bigoted, unproven bile.


      I for one just would rather include all the other bits just to make sure I’ve covered the rest of their vile little nastiness.

  62. I’ll say the same thing I said on FB:

    Give a birther a cookie……and he’ll demand to see the receipt for raw materials showing proof of purchase, call for an independent investigation into the identity of the alleged cookie, and, of course, never apologize for insinuating that you lacked the vocational ability to actually bake cookies.

  63. The framers never intended a man like Obama would be able to be president.

    John Adams might disagree with that.

  64. The state of Hawaii has officially and repeatedly authenticated the birth certificate.

    The Full Faith and Credit clause in the Constitution says that states within the United States have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

    If you don’t accept Obama’s birth certificate then you’re anti-American.

    1. You’ve made those exact same assertions before, multiple commenters have showered you with citations disproving them, and you continue to make the same assertions. It’s straight up trolling.

  65. Who’s to say BoingBoing isn’t in bed with the mass media – perpetuating this story to make Obama look interesting?

  66. I’ve always assumed that the reason he hadn’t released it before is that it was not in his political interest for this story to go away. How exactly did the Birthers hurt Obama? None of them are likely to vote for him even if they are convinced he was born in Hawaii. No one who voted for him is likely to be swayed by Birthers.

    It stuck the Republicans with the awkwardness of having a bunch of loonies running around in their party, which chases off independents even if they disagree with Obama’s policies. These independents will either reluctantly vote for Obama or sit out the election.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d think Obama had planted this whole Birther thing!

  67. *Examines birth certificate*

    …So, what I want to know is, what happens if quadruplets get born in Hawaii? Do they have to write it in inside the #3 box, or what?

  68. I think they missed an opportunity for a great comic prank here.
    Call a press conference and with a great flourish produce the one and only ORIGINAL document. A sudden gust of wind whisks it out the window. Pandemonium, with press scrambling to get out of the room.
    Laugh until you fall down. That would have been an appropriate coda to this whole absurd episode.

    1. @ ROSSINDETROIT: Film it, score it with Israel KamakawiwoÊ»ole singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and when that singular piece of paper blows away, have relevant passages of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Curse of Lono” read as voiceover while the winds pick up speed. As the press and media watch a typhoon manifest out of a cloudless sky, shredding that one crucial page into smithereens, they stand at the center of a torrential, focused downpour Lono has aimed at them alone. They are swept out to sea. Some are able to swim back to shore.

      The birther-friendly media types drift quickly to an uncharted island where they can never leave. The island has a chief administrator, Number Two, welcomes them and explains that they now all have numbers instead of names. The dialogue continues, “We want information…”

      If this gets optioned in Hollywood, I’ll cut you in for 50%. I’m still working on the elevator pitch. I haven’t gotten the budget together yet for Kickstarter. Have your people call my people.

  69. You think this settles things, sheeple? Get REAL!!!

    The FBI tried to type the certificate in 6.5 seconds and FAILED!!!

    That certificate was FOTOSHOPPED by Jack Ruby and two hobos on the grassy knoll!

    The CIA sent a LHO look-alike to the Hospital to “receive” the “certificate”. The absolute proof of this fact is my strident assertion of same.

    It was “recovered” from John Connally’s stretcher…yeah, sure. More like PLANTED. I mean it was in PRISTINE condition. Coincidence?

    I don’t think so!!!

    Clay Shaw and Guy Bannister lived in the SAME city and both used typewriters. I mean, Gawd, what more proof do you idiots NEED?

    Wake up, people!!! They’re coming to get you, Martha.

  70. It would be OK if Obama was born on the moon. Remember we claimed it by planting a US flag on it, so it is now a US Territory.

  71. President Obama said in a speech not long ago that he reads Boing Boing, but only for the comments. Yes, seriously.

    NOT seriously! He said so in a joke/roast speech! (I am impressed that he said “dot net” at the end of “boingboing”.)

    Damn, no video…

    So… if the long-form cert on the white house site links to snopes, and it looks ‘shopped and messed up, then hail to the hilarious chief.

  72. The funny thing about McCain is that the place he was born DIDN’T qualify for him to be a citizen eligible for the presidency. A legal status change years later changed the status of where he was born retroactively. How do you decide the legitimacy of THAT claim to office?

  73. At first, I thought the White House staff needlessly caved in to the trolls by showing the birth certificate. It turns out, Obama just wanted an excuse to play part of the Lion King at the Correspondent’s Dinner. And who can fault him for that?

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