Oblivious to the Obvious

Is Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate a forgery?  Definitely yes, for those of us who have spent a lifetime writing and producing technical documents, and who remember how they were produced in pre-computer days, and who have the technical expertise today to produce them using computers.  For us, it's been an "open secret" that the document image released by the White House on April 27, 2011 is a complete fake.

Last year, as document experts researched the digital PDF posted at whitehouse.gov and published their findings on the internet, it quickly became clear that the "birth certificate" fails authenticity on at least three levels:

First, in the digital composition of the PDF, where even cursory analysis with Adobe Illustrator will reveal how it was constructed from digital snippets.  (My personal favorite is where Illustrator reveals that the supposed rubber-stamp imprint of the registrar, Alvin T. Onaka, was shrunk 24% and rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise before it was added to the forgery.)

Second, without fancy (expensive!) software but just by magnifying the PDF about 4x, visible to the naked eye is the mixture of bitmap and grayscale elements which would not have been possible with an ordinary computer scan of a paper document.  This is most obvious in the Bates-stamped certificate number, "61 10641" in the upper-right corner of the certificate; the "61 1064" digits are stark black, and the trailing "1" digit is shades of gray, and blurred.  Certainly, somebody tampered with this number.  Bitmap and grayscale mixtures can also be clearly seen in Line 18a, the parent's signature.

Third, in the typefaces, with at least two different typewriter fonts (maybe more) being used in the single document.

But the problem with most of this research is that it's "geeky," requiring at least some computer knowledge ("layers," "fonts," "anti-aliased," "chromatic aberration," and the like) to understand that the technical arguments for the "birth certificate" being fake are valid.  Thus, it's very difficult to prove to the general public, which typically doesn't know much about documents except how to read them, that the Obama "birth certificate" really is a forgery.

So last summer, I wondered if there would be some way to demonstrate that this "birth certificate" is indeed a fake, just by looking at the document itself and without resorting to computer software or to any knowledge about how computers produce documents.  And, after studying it for a while, I realized that the forgery fails the "pitch test."

This is a check you can perform yourself, without fancy software of any kind -- or even a computer -- once you have printed out the forgery onto a piece of paper.  Even a six-year-old with scissors and the paper image can perform, and understand, this test.  (In other words, the test is simple enough that even a dumbass journalist can understand it.)

What do I mean by the "pitch test"?  Simple.  Manual typewriters (and monospace electric-motor-powered typewriters) have a "pitch" -- so many typed letters per inch.  There were many different manual typewriter type styles in the 1960s, but by far the most common were "Courier 10" -- ten characters per inch, including the space bar -- and "Elite 12" -- twelve characters per inch -- with "Courier 10" predominant. 

Thus, all of the typed characters in a row of text would, if placed over another typed row of text, be in perfect vertical alignment (including typed spaces), because each typed character occupies exactly the same horizontal space in its row.  That's what "monospace" means.

(People over the age of 55 who spent their student years slaving over a typewriter to produce homework papers will know exactly what I'm talking about.  People under the age of 30 who have been brought up in the world of tweets and Microsoft Word may not have a clue.)

So, if I took a line of typewritten text from the Obama document and positioned it just above another typewritten line from that same document, if the "birth certificate" were authentic, then the individual letters in the two rows should be in perfect vertical alignment -- one letter directly above another -- right?

For my test I did not use the digital version released by the White House; instead, I used a picture of the actual paper document that Obama claims is a certified copy of his birth certificate.  This photo was taken by NBC News reporter Savannah Guthrie, the only reporter from the pool of White House reporters allowed to touch and photograph the paper document, and which she later released to the public.

Using computer software, I copied the text "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" in line 7d of the picture and pasted it above (and touching) the text "Maternity & Gynecological Hospital" in line 6c, in the process placing the "a" of "Highway" directly above the "a" of "Hospital -- the next to last letter in each line.  The result is shown in Figure F (F is for forgery) below:

Figure F.  In a real typewritten document, the letters line up vertically.  In the Obama "birth certificate" forgery, they do not.

(Don't worry that the pasted-in line chops off the tops of the letters of the line of text below it.  The purpose here is not readability, but to show that the letters do not line up vertically.)

As you scan your eyes to the left, you can see that by the time you reach the "6" of "6085," the vertical alignment is half a character off with the "y" of "Maternity."  This is not possible on a manual typewriter.  It would appear that the alignment problems originate with the word "Highway," whose letters are slightly narrower and in a different typeface from the text in line 6c.  The difference in typefaces is most noticeable in the letter "H" of "Highway" compared to the "H" of "Hospital"tt.

If you still don't quite understand -- look at Figure M (M is for monospace) below, which shows how the two lines of text would line up vertically (with the "6" above the "y," using two spaces following "6085") if the "birth certificate" really had been typed on a typewriter instead of being digitally created.  (I have added the bleeding-heart background to make the copy-and-paste more visible.)

Figure M.  In a true monospace (typewritten) document, the letters are in vertical alignment.  (Courier typeface used here.)

I carry a copy of Figure F in my iPhone so I can show people why the "birth certificate" is a forgery whenever the subject comes up.  Or, occasionally, even if the subject doesn't come up but I'm in the mood to annoy a liberal.

This pitch test works even with the Obama T-shirt!  You know, the white T-shirt that has Barry's picture and "Made in the USA" on the front, and a living-color print of the "birth certificate" digital PDF at shoulder-blade height on the back, just above the legend "BARACKOBAMA.COM"?

If you happen to be in the vicinity of a copier when an Obama supporter wearing the T-shirt passes by, strip off the shirt (male supporters only!), place its backside on the copier glass -- being careful not to wrinkle or stretch the fabric -- and make two photocopies enlarged 200% or more.  With scissors, cut out the words "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" on line 7d from one copy and position them above the words "Maternity & Gynecological Hospital" on line 6c on the uncut copy, doing the best you can given the limitations of T-shirt fabric to line them up as was done in Figure F.  You should see something similar to Figure T, below:

Figure T.  The letters do not line up vertically in the digital version of the "birth certificate" printed on the Obama campaign T-shirt.

This alignment was much more difficult for me to achieve than the one shown in Figure F because the T-shirt fabric twists downward at the word "Hospital" in line 6c.  I lined up the two "a"s along the vertical threads they touch (which corrects for the twisting of the fabric).  When properly aligned, you can see the typewriter letters don't line up vertically, just as they did not in Figure F.  This works even if the T-shirt has been worn and put through the wash several times, as was the T-shirt used for Figure T.  Some stains just can't be laundered away.

The Republicans must be delighted that the Obama campaign is merchandising on its mugs and T-shirts the fraud that the president has perpetrated on the public.

Armed with this proof, you can now approach any of your liberal friends who are interested and very easily demonstrate why the Obama "birth certificate" is a forgery.

Then you will probably see your friends progress through the classic stages of denial.

You are first likely to hear, "I don't believe you."  What your friends really mean is that they are confused because you have disturbed their belief system.  Most anybody who has spatial perception and knows even a little bit about typewriters will understand what you have shown them -- even liberals.  They can choose -- which are they going to believe, the president, whom they worship, or their own lying eyes?  You can almost see the smoke curling out their ears as their brains begin to fry.

This is not an issue of  belief -- your liberal friends are entitled to believe whatever they wish.  It is an issue of evidence -- concrete proof that the document is a forgery.  And it is only one of many (more technical) concrete proofs offered up by respected professionals who have debunked the "birth certificate."

You can challenge your friends to go on the internet and search for any reliable evidence that anybody has posted that disproves Figure F or any of the proofs offered by others dissecting the digital PDF "birth certificate" which was released at whitehouse.gov.

They won't find any, because there isn't any.

Next in line -- get ready for it -- may be the r-word.  Now, your friends aren't going to call you a racist, because they know you and they know you're not a racist.  So you're likely to hear something more generic like "People wouldn't be looking into this if the president were white.  They're only doing it because they don't like having a black man in the White House."

This is still a personal attack on you, because at the very least it implies you share the same views of the president that racists do.  So make your reply personal -- something like "You mean, it would be OK for me to look at the president's credentials if he were white -- as was done for candidate John McCain -- but because the president's skin color is black, he gets a pass?"  Then envision those curls of smoke erupting into flames as the real racists are exposed.

At some point you will get a very sensible reply from your friends -- that there is no motive for the president to release a fake (therefore it must be genuine).

That we do not know the motive -- this is true.

Researchers have been able to construct a timeline for the birth of Barack Obama.  It shows that although legally married, the president's mother, Stanley Ann (Dunham) Obama, and his father never lived together.  Ann dropped out of college in the spring of 1961 and lived in a cottage behind her parents' house in Hawaii until giving birth.  Then, within a month, she moved to Seattle as a single mom, with Barry in tow, to resume her studies.  She did not return to Hawaii until the president's father had left for Cambridge, Mass. to attend Harvard.  There is nothing in this timeline to even remotely suggest that Barack Obama was born anywhere except in Hawaii.

You might point out to your friends, though, that if police departments across the country waited until they knew the motive behind every criminal act before they took suspects into custody, the country would be awash in crime.  Fortunately for the public safety, the police apprehend suspects when appropriate and sort out the motives for the crimes later.

So it should be in this case.  We start with the known facts: that (1) the "birth certificate" is fake, and (2) the president has said it's his birth certificate.  It is up to researchers to work backward from the known facts to establish why the president was unable or unwilling to release a genuine one.

Your liberal friends may also claim that no one can be sure that the "birth certificate" is a forgery because the paper certificate has never been examined by an expert.  This is also true -- the president has not submitted the paper document to independent forensic analysis to establish its authenticity.  You might also remind your friends that the proof shown in Figure F is based on the paper document, not on the digital PDF -- and are they implying that there is a difference between the paper and digital versions?  If so, that would be fraud right there.

Finally, you may from your friends see some degree of acceptance -- OK, maybe the document really is a forgery.  But it's really no big thing.  Like, who cares?  It's unimportant in relation to the president's accomplishments (if you're a progressive) or destructiveness (if you're a conservative).

This, too, is true.  It really isn't a big deal when you place it in context with the very serious issues facing this country and the world.  Politicians lie to get elected and stay in office; we the public have come to understand that.  It's why Congresscritters rank lower than used-car salesmen in public esteem.  So now that one more lie has been exposed, what do we know now that we didn't before?

But that misses the point.  The point is, the legitimacy of Obama's "birth certificate" is a taboo subject.  People who dare to suggest it might be a forgery are immediately branded as extreme right-wing kooks or racists.  The partisans are trying to shut them down so that others will be afraid to look at the obvious -- move along, people; no need to look, there's nothing to see here.  (You can understand why, now that you have seen how embarrassingly easy it is to prove the "birth certificate" is phony.)

This is totalitarian; it is antithetical to who we are as free Americans.  It attacks the very foundations of the progress of civilization -- inquiry and research -- and it is dangerous.

How ridiculous it is to tell anybody to remain ignorant and oblivious?  I invite everybody reading these words to really look.  Never mind what the totalitarians say -- look, and think, for yourself.

About the author: Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer, and stock market newsletter writer.  During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers, and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment.  You can read more of his work at contrariansview.org.

Footnote tt: If you think that the reason why there are two different typewriter typefaces in the document is because two typewriters were used in its preparation, the second typewriter being used because the first broke down -- forget it.

First, remember that the proof of forgery in Figure F is not a unique proof (that is, it's not the case that there is no evidence of forgery except for Figure F).  Researchers have conclusively demonstrated that the "birth certificate" is fake in many different ways, and that it was digitally constructed.  Figure F is simply an additional proof of forgery that more people are able to understand because it requires very little technical expertise to comprehend it.

Second, three different typewriter typefaces (and likely more) appear in the document, as you can clearly see in Figure Q below:

Figure Q. The Obama "birth certificate" forgery has (at least) three different typewriter typefaces in three slightly different sizes.

Figure Q is similar to Figure F, except I have moved the text "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" slightly higher so you can read the word "Hospital" below, and I have vertically lined up the H in "Highway" with the "H" in "Hospital" so you can easily see how different-looking they are.

Then I took the word "Student" in Line 12a of the document and vertically lined up its first "t" with the "t" in "Hospital."  As you can see, the two "t"s are also noticeably different, and the word "Student" is distinctly larger than the word "Highway."  How many typewriters are we supposed to believe were used to produce this "birth certificate?"

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