Obama Built This Forgery

I don't normally display lawn signs or bumper stickers during political campaigns; I usually keep my voting preferences to myself.  (That's the point of secret ballots, right?)  But the November 2012 elections got me charged up to the point where I felt the urge to do something public, and since my friends already knew how I felt, I didn't think I would be divulging any secrets by doing so.

But I didn't like the bumper stickers offered by the campaigns, or any of the clever ones being sold over the internet, because I was really against certain candidates rather than for the opposition.  So I designed and ordered my own, shown below in Figure OB:

Figure OB.  "Obama Built This Forgery" bumper sticker.

(The "Obama Built" is a reference to Obama's "You didn't build that!" statement on the campaign trail, because he did build this fake "birth certificate," or had it built for him.)

Because I live in a very blue state, when I was out in my car, I would occasionally be stopped and asked about my sticker, usually by an ill-informed progressive. I would tell this person that the Obama "birth certificate" released by the White House in April 2011 is clearly a fake, and you can plainly see the proof...right on this bumper sticker!  In the minute or two before I would be dismissed as a raving lunatic, I would be able to explain:

The public was essentially told that Hawaii Department of Health officials took a bound volume of original paper 1961 birth certificates, turned to Obama's, placed it on the copier, copied it onto green security paper, stamped and embossed-sealed it, and then delivered it to Obama's lawyer to be flown back to Washington.  In which case, the image on my bumper sticker, a copy of the digital PDF "birth certificate" released on April 27, 2011 by the White House, and which the president declared to be his long-form birth certificate, must be fake -- because near the left margin, especially at the top of the document, the text and lines of the form bend downward (to simulate the bending of the page near the binding).  It's impossible for a copier to do that bending.

This is the point at which I would usually be dismissed as a madman -- a conservative nut-job.

But since you are still reading this, I presume that you are interested in knowing just why this is impossible.

In Figure ULC, take a look at the upper-left corner of the more detailed blowup of the PDF forgery (shown immediately below in Figure LF):

Figure LF.  Obama long-form digitized (PDF) "birth certificate" released by the White House on April 27, 2011 (with wide margins trimmed).  Click to enlarge.

In Figure ULC below, you can clearly see how the horizontal lines of the form bend downward without going out of focus, and how the text bends downward without being out of focus, and how the paper purportedly curves away from the copier glass without going very dark, and even how the penciled numbers "6," "5," and "2" at the very left edge, which are in focus, can be easily read.

Neat trick, huh?

Figure ULC.  Upper-left corner detail of Figure LF.  Click to enlarge.

And how does this compare with what a copier really does?

For my at-home comparison I selected a dictionary, a very thick book where the text runs close to the binding, so I would be certain to copy letters which curved well away from the copier glass.

You can see the result in Figure MW, below, where I have reproduced the upper-left corner of the copied image:

Figure MW.  What a copier actually creates.  Text blurs and goes dark (but does not bend) where the paper curls away from the copier's glass plate.

As the paper curves away from the copier glass, note how quickly the text becomes blurry, and how quickly it turns dark and unreadable.  Also note that the text does not bend; it is impossible for the copier to make this happen.

(The technical reason for this is that copiers copy the original document one very thin line at a time, depositing an electrostatic charge on a rotating drum one thin line at a time, synchronously with the document-scanning mechanism.)

So how was that bending created in the forgery?  The most likely explanation is that the forger began with an image taken by a camera, where the camera was positioned roughly at the bottom of the certificate and aimed slightly upward when the shutter clicked.  Because the camera captures the entire picture at once, the camera lens can create this distortion on parts of a curling image that are well-removed from the center of the picture.  You can see this more clearly by looking at the left edge of the full "birth certificate" image shown in Figure LF.  The lines at the very top-left bend downward most sharply -- at the bottom left edge, hardly at all.  This is exactly the kind of image behavior you'd expect to see in a photograph, where the entire picture was taken off-center.

The forger could have used one of the several images of genuine microfilmed or photographed vintage Hawaiian birth certificates that are floating around on the internet as a template for building the forgery, or the effect could be entirely synthetic, photoshopped by the forger to create the illusion of a bent page in a big book.

Since the president has now been re-elected, this information has zero political value; it is of interest primarily to set straight the historical record.  Therefore, there is no political incentive for any progressive to call you a nutcase when you bring up the subject; you should be able to do so freely, without retribution.  Barack Obama built this fake -- he now owns it.  His campaign peddled it on mugs and T-shirts.  The evidence of forgery can be clearly seen to the naked eye  -- on the internet, in newspaper and magazine stories, on merchandise -- and even on my bumper sticker! -- by anybody.

The shoe is now on the other foot.  You no longer have to prove that that it's fake; it's up to the president's sycophants to try to prove it's genuine.  And "because Barack Obama says so" isn't proof.

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.

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