Obama, Elvis and America’s birthers

By Bernd Debusmann
August 6, 2009

Bernd Debusmann– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own. –
Nobody ever landed on the moon, the televised images are a hoax. John F. Kennedy was murdered in a complex plot involving the Mafia and the CIA. Elvis Presley lives. Barack Obama was born outside the United States and therefore is ineligible to be president.

All these claims stem from conspiracy theories and myths born in the U.S. and they throw a question mark over the long-held view of experts that such ideas flourish most in societies where news is controlled, access to information difficult and barriers to independent inquiry difficult to overcome.

This kind of restrictive environment  applies to many Third World countries – conspiracy theories are particularly abundant in the Middle East and Africa — but not to the technologically and economically advanced United States. Yet there is a parallel universe inhabited by millions and millions of Americans immune to facts, logic and common sense.

Some of the myths are harmless, such as the notion that rock-and-roll king Elvis Presley did not die in 1977 and instead went into hiding. (The reasons vary depending on who tells the tale).

There have been thousands of supposed Elvis sightings and a 2005 book says there’s DNA evidence that he is still alive. While the Elvis-in-hiding theory appears to fading (though it is far from dead), the hoaxed moon landing continues to run long enough to prompt a Newsweek magazine article that debunked the story on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo mission to the moon in July. Perhaps not surprisingly, early skepticism about the moon landing came from the Flat Earth Society, based in California.

The Flat Earthers have their own website, unlike the latest addition to America’s wide variety of conspiracy cults, the “birthers.”

They insist that President Barrack Obama was born in Kenya and that the certificate attesting to his birth in Hawaii is a forgery. Unlike the Flat Earthers, the birthers managed to find Congressional sponsors, all Republicans, to introduce a bill meant to block non-eligible Americans from becoming president in future.

H.R. 1503, introduced by Florida Republican Bill Posey, wants to “To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”

TALK RADIO BOOSTS BIRTHERS

Weighty language for a weighty cause. First voiced during the presidential election campaign (when Obama opponents also aired suspicions that he is a Muslim), the birther conspiracy gained currency when a right-wing talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, expounded on it and entertained his audience with the following line: “What do Obama and God have in common? Neither has a birth certificate. How do they differ? God does not think he’s Obama. And there’s another difference between God and Obama, and that is that liberals love Obama.”

This from a man with a reputation as the loudest and perhaps most influential conservative voice in American politics. Asked a few weeks ago whom he would chose as a political leader if the choice were between Limbaugh and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Vice President Dick Cheney opted for Limbaugh.

A conservative cable TV show host, Lou Dobbs of CNN, also boosted the birth certificate tale, inviting proponents of the theory on his program and raising questions over the authenticity of the certificate Obama’s campaign team produced before the elections.

Air time for the birthers, whose natural habitat is the Internet, clearly helped spread their claims. There are no reliable statistics on the number of American Flat Earthers, Moon Walk deniers or Elvis spotters but a poll in late July showed considerable Republican support for the birthers’ assertions and their conclusion that Obama is an illegitimate president.

According to the survey, by the polling institute Research 2000, there is a huge gap between Republicans and Democrats on the issue: 93 percent of Democrats believed that Obama was born in the U.S. while only 42 percent of Republicans thought so. Of the rest, 28 percent thought he wasn’t born in the U.S. and 30 percent were not sure.

“Far from being an isolated, on the edge movement, the birthers have planted deep a paranoid conspiracy seed about Obama’s legitimate right to sit in the White House among a wide body of Americans,” lamented Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a political analyst.

The debate, he says, has bestowed a kind of perverse legitimacy on the birthers. “They won’t quietly go away.”

Probably not. Conspiracy theories come in many forms but they have one thing in common: they survive against overwhelming factual evidence.

88 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Perhaps their attraction lies in the fact that the very first conspiracy theory to which we are all exposed as children – the non-existence of Santa – actually turns out to be true. (My apologies if this comment distresses anyone….)

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

It is clear from the evidence that Obama cannot produce a real birth certificate and evidence is increasingly pointing to a non US birth. This is not the primary issue issue. The main issue is the fact that Obama is completely controlled by Rockefeller institutions such as the Trilateral Commission and the CFR. The American revolution in 1776 began as a conspiracy. Don’t let these propagandist try to make you feel stupid for questioning a presidents credentials. It is time for a real investigation into Obama.

Posted by jay | Report as abusive

The birthers have a point Obama cant have his argument both ways.. On one hand he claims to have indosinan national status to get a free education from an ivy league school.Yet to be president he clams to be a natural born citizen..If there is no Lie here..SHOW THE DOCUMENTS AND END THE CONTROVERSY

Posted by steve davis | Report as abusive

Typical leftist empty rhetoric citing no evidence, since in the world of the liberal, no evidence is required if your obviously more refined and worldly view intuits a “conspiracy”. Your piece conveniently fails to mention the high bar for presidential eligibility set out in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution requiring the president be a “natural born citizen” as later defined in the courts.The only evidence cited so far by the Obama worshippers is a certificate of live birth, which anyone could obtain in Hawaii in the early sixties regardless of origin. Even if he’s born in Hawaii, there are questions that loom large such as the later requirement for his Indonesian citizenship and his total lack of transparency on his educational background as well as passport records.This is no conspiracy, it’s a fraud in process.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I’m not particularly concerned either way about this subject but you said “Conspiracy theories come in many forms but they have one thing in common: they survive against overwhelming factual evidence.” So, where in your column was the “overwhelming factual evidence” that the conspiracy theorists are wrong in regards to Obama’s birth record?

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

judges do not decide fact the jury does…….and the judge is not supposed to decide evidence either…..so my question is if an entity is given the power example warren commission to decide both fact and evidence what is the balance to insure there is no tyranny…..here is a conspiracy theory the federal reserve is a private central bank and the central bank is a pillar of the communist manifesto…so we have fought wars while allowing communism to sprout in our own country….so next time your teacher says sit down and stop questioning my authority tell them the flag i just pledged allegiance to gives me that right

Posted by kainoa | Report as abusive

Is this a “conspiracy theory” or a “legitimacy concern”?To all Americans; you deserve complete transparency from your government. The government works for, and is subservient to the American people.

Posted by A. Fisher | Report as abusive

Doesn’t the law actually state that, irregardless of one’s birthplace, if one parent is a US citizen, the child is a US citizen?In fact, I believe Sen. McCain was not born within the borders of this nation.Mr. Limbaugh it seems has given birth to more than a few “illegitimates” in his reproductive years.

Posted by DAVE | Report as abusive

This is a very lame attempt at mudslinging the birthers. You include nothing to support your claims. Why don’t you mention the US serviceman who successfully challenged his military orders b/c Obama has not proven his eligibility to be Commander-in-Chief? Other similar suits are pending. This case is fact, not fiction. This issue is serious and is not a trivial matter as you try to spin it. It is not just endorsed by conservative Republicans either, as you want us to believe. You may want to believe the American public is as stupid as ever, but I wouldn’t be too sure about that Mr. Debusmann. I would be very surprised to see my comment published.

Posted by GB | Report as abusive

The big lie lives.-The use of the term “Birthers” is meant to deny any credibility to a group that has presented factual evidence and is calling for an investigation into the facts.-The fast and loose use of “facts” by the left is being used to discredit the real facts.-Those that cannot justify their positions often scream the loudest while calling their opponents names. The left cannot justify their president.

Posted by A Natural Born American Citizen | Report as abusive

Hey I got an Idea,Why don’t we quit calling the birthers stupid…And Have Obama produce an original (not a copy) of the Birth certificate……and prove them stupid.C’mon we need to quit the name calling..Prove it…and put the issue to rest.Why would the president of the US not be up front on the issue. Leads one to believe he has something to hide!

Posted by Marky | Report as abusive

There’s nothing like living in a country with a bunch of paranoid illiterates.

Posted by A J Franks | Report as abusive

Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, his Punahou school records, his Occidental College records, his Columbia University records, his Columbia thesis, his Harvard Law School records, his Harvard Law Review articles, his scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, his passport, his medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.

Posted by BG | Report as abusive

The currently developing anti-Obama attacks by the so-called birthers as well as many comments to Berd Debusmann’s thoughtful article demonstrate once more (if one needs such demonstrations!) that our country is overcrowded with aggressive idiots. Poor America!

Posted by Aleksey | Report as abusive

That admitted fake Certification of Live Birth that the Obama soldiers have posted on the net is a “certification” of Live birth, not a “Certificate” of Live Birth, big difference. Obama could not reenter the US from Canada with that worthless piece of paper, I know cause just had to prove everything for a enhanced drivers license to do that and furthermore, Sec of State would not accept the same for a friend, but he can POTUS with the fake. Futhermore why won’t any of the Obama supporters answer one simple question, why has he spent a million dollars with several law firms, in 12 states in the country fighting law suits just so he does not have to show a $10 real vault copy of his birth certificate. Comeon people use your head, he is covering up the biggest scandal in this countries history. BTW..you can get a blank Hawaiian Certification of Live Birth (just like Obamas) fill in the blanks and be whoever you want to be.

Posted by Dave J | Report as abusive

Did someone before me just say “anti-Obama attacks”? That’s funny… all I see are TRUE patriots asserting their freedom of speech.All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.Give me a call when you guys wake up to the false left/right paradigm.

Posted by Alen | Report as abusive

Sigh. Yet another reason why I rarely pay attention to mainstream media. Folks, do a search for “The Art of Propaganda” and read it. Then reread this article.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

The Republican governess of Hawaii and the person in charge of the state of Hawaii’s public records have both declared that all paperwork showing that President Obama was born in that state are legit. Of course, now people are going to claim that the Republican governor of Hawaii is a liberal. Other people have seen, and touched, the actual birth certificate (go to http://www.factcheck.org and look it up, unless you birthers want to be proven wrong).I know that is is disheartening to come to grips with the fact that Sarah Palin lost the election by such a wide margin, almost 6%, to Barak Obama. George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 and was president, and won the popular vote in 2004 by a mere 1.5%. Losing an election is no reason to start believing everything you read from the e-mails that your friends have forwarded to you over the past year.Freedom of speech is one thing. Freedom from the facts is another.

Posted by jimb | Report as abusive

is this a joke?i thought intelligent people read reuters. you really think a foreign national got elected president? shouldnt you have been talking about this when your candidate was losing? i love how the ex post facto arguments come out in a weak attempt to discredit our president. birthers are idiots. huge idiots.

Posted by hank | Report as abusive

This from a column in the Denver Post by David Harsanyi:“The mystery the nation faces isn’t President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The mystery is how any American can believe that all the president’s former political opponents, both the Republican and Democratic parties, Hawaiian officials and two Honolulu newspapers (nay, the entire press corps) could work in concert to conceal the biggest con of the eon.”That hits the nail on the head. The birther thing does resemble the fake moon walk theory, which is based on the notion that the 400,000 or so people who worked on the project all lied about it. But maybe the birther campaign is more closely related to the Swift Boat campaign which sank John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Toxic politics, and in Obama’s case just sour grapes and whiny losers.

Posted by Elvira | Report as abusive

The paranoid rants of the birthers in the comments above are hilarious. As another commenter stated, Hawaii has stated that Obama’s papers are legit so this is a total non-issue. Furthermore, even if Obama was born overseas, why would it matter? Are you all aware that John McCain and Arnold Schwarnzenegger were not born in the USA?What this comes down to is that the birthers are simply unable to accept the fact that a black man is the President of the USA. It’s that simple.

Posted by Kramer | Report as abusive

Birthers are racists, plain and simple, that can’t handle the fact that a black man is considered to be a legitimate citizen of the United States. Would they be doing this with McCain in office who was born in Panama? How many of these people are the same ones that wanted to change the constitution to allow Schwarzenegger to run for president? Black people are citizens too and are worth no less or more than you. Deal with it. If you don’t like what Obama is doing, let’s talk about the issues.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

There is a very hateful, very uneducated and very religiously reactionary element of the US and they sometimes feel like the majority.They elected George W. Bush twice. That led to the US beginning a completely unprovoked war in Iraq and the creation of a prison camp in Guantanamo, in which we have held prisoners of war (despite the frequently visible POW/MIA flags that adorn most mobile home parks in the US) for 8 years now. Not to mention, warrentless wiretapping and any number of other Bush era tweaks of the law that seemed to more closely resemble the style of the former USSR than the land of the free and home of the brave.This ultra conservative element of American society dominates the mid west, plain states all the way to the Canadian border, the south, and as we found out in the last election, Alaska. It is a huge swath of the American electorate, and when they turn out at the poles in droves, the rest of the world has reason to be concerned.

The “racist card” is always played as a futile response to this issue. It is an ignorant and pathetic non-reply that chooses to ignore hard facts. If McCain had won the election and his natural born citizenship were in question, there is NO DOUBT that he would be scrutinized by the public, even if McCain is white or whatever. In fact, McCain’s citizenship HAS been the subject of a full Congressional investigation in which Obama took part. The investigation proved McCain was qualified to hold the office if elected. McCain has been completely transparent with his records the whole way through. Strangely, Obama was never subjected to a similar level of congressional investigation of his citizenship eligibility. I did not like McCain one bit as a candidate and Palin just made me ill. Frankly I think the republicans as a whole are a pretty sorry and pathetic lot and they are directly responsible for the banking mess that has nearly collapsed our econony into a heaping ruin. However, it is FACT that Obama has been completely OPAQUE with the public w/r/t to his records and he is spending BIG money to keep it that way. People may think they know this man, but they are being deceived. I hope Obama is a natural born real-deal citizen. I am pulling for him. For God’s sake, we need leadership to pull us out of the mess left by the previous admin.

Posted by GB | Report as abusive

Where Obama was born is not the point. The point is that the Constitution requires the President to be native born and at least 35 years old. In this past election, a federal court decided that an average citizen – even if that citizen is a member of the candidate’s political party and a delegate to the party’s convention – has no right to ask for proof that a candidate meets the Constitutional requirements for President. Therefore, non-native born persons and persons who are too young can get their names on the ballot and receive votes for the office of president under the current judical climate. This is wrong. No candidate who doesn’t meet the Constitutional requirements should be able to have his/her name on the ballot. Instead of making fun of “birthers”, let’s work to correct an oversight in the process of vetting presidental candidates.

Posted by PlainsJane | Report as abusive

“f McCain had won the election and his natural born citizenship were in question, there is NO DOUBT that he would be scrutinized by the public, even if McCain is white or whatever.”This is just not true. The problem is his ‘natural born citizenship’ will NEVER be questioned because he is White and therefore this entire issue would never have come up.

This is poor Journalism, give us verifiable reasons not propaganda.Norm in Dallas

God I hope someday in my life or in my children’s life Americans realize it’s not left vs right, it’s us vs them. Us being the US citizens and them being the US Government.Think the gov’t cares if the majority of Americans wanted out of the Iraq War years ago? Think they care we don’t want Universal healthcare? Think they care you’re against the Patriot Act and want your taxes lower? BahWith Republicans and Democrats being identical on every issue in politics there no longer exists a “liberal” politician and a “conservative” politician. They’ve all moved into the fascist neoconservative section and I hope all your children see the light that you people cannot see.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Norm and Mike Ham pretty much hit the nail on the head for me!! GB off the dance floor.

Posted by GB | Report as abusive

I don’t personally believe the “birther” claims, but every time I read a story like this one – a BLANTANT whitewashing devoid of almost any factual basis, it makes me wonder – could the “kooks” be right? This “Myth” could be EASILY and conclusively debunked if Mr. Obama would simply release his real Birth Certificate. The only “Birth Certificate” ever released has been pretty conclusively proven to be a fake. So why won’t he release the real one? Wouldn’t it be in everyone’s best interest to silence the “Nuts” once and for all?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

I’m not going to call the birthers stuopid, but they are paranoid. Look, your Dear Leader Bush wouldn’t produce his driving records because he didn’t want us to seehis DUI records, and they also scrubbed Laura’s records because of her unfortunate fatal car crash in HIgh School. I guess they were afraid of a smear campaign that the right wingnuts are attempting.I want to see the proof of all of this money the President is supposedly spending to shush this. That seems to be the LATEST now that the birth issue has been totally debunked.

Posted by on-ree | Report as abusive

It still amazes me how arrogant liberal elites are. I am educated with an M.A., conservative, and not stupid. Why do some believe he doesn’t need to show his birth certificate? Do you believe everything you see on T.V? Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper? I honestly think you are too cowardly to admit that you voted for a young black man born in Kenya and set up as a Manchurian candidate to promote the biggest sham ever committed against this country. He not only will not provide a valid, long-form birth certificate, but also has hired 3 law firms to keep his college records and mostly all of his past a secret. Does that sound like someone who isn’t hiding something? Wake up!!

Posted by Sue | Report as abusive

Philip Berg the former Attoney General of Penn is a Democat initated the lawsuit that took years to get to the Supreme Court. Obama and his lawers fought this and spent millions. The Supreme Count denid the request following that many more lawsuits followed. Look all he had to do was show the original Birth record. Mr. Berg had video tape of Obama’s grandmother and a Doctor who both stated they were there when he was born. Both stated in camera he was born in Kenya. So this didn’t start with Rush.

Posted by Barry | Report as abusive

For some reason the right wingers are a bunch of paranoid hate mongers. They believe anything that is put out to them by a handful of radio talk show personalities and con-men that write hate books. I can’t believe their gullibility, it’s scary. I know people at work that seem very smart until they get to politics and they sound like idiots and they all spout out exactly the same paranoid rantings. it’s like they gave away their brains to the right wingers.It shows how people can be fooled into anything. Like people believed in Hitler became lemmings for his cause.

Posted by marj | Report as abusive

I truly wonder if anybody who is posting here could define “natural born citizen”. I suspect that most answers by the public school educated population would be “born on US soil”. Unfortunately the emphasis on the birth certificate is misplaced.1. According to the US senate resolution which declared John McCain a natural born US citizen the understanding was “born to US citizens on US soil”. So even the senate acknowledged their understanding was that both parents had to be US citizens at the time of the birth.Barack Obama is not eligible because his father was not a US citizen at the time of his birth.PERIOD. And that is exactly what the senate said. Of course, the racists on the left refuse to uphold our constitution.Sick.

Posted by caolila | Report as abusive

First of all, Obama is not black. He was born to to pure white mother and a black father. Therefore to call him “black” is factually incorrect. I wish people would call him what he is.Secondly, the Constitution requires the president to be a naturally born citizen. Why doesn’t Obama have to prove that he is? Why does he refuse to release the documents that will put this all to rest? Why did he have most of his documents sealed? Why is he allowed to hide this from the US public? The document he released is not his official long-form birth certificate.There is plenty of evidence that should cast doubt on his eligibility to be president…why do the liberals just dismiss it? It would be so simple to hush the skeptics by releasing proof, but he won’t. Why does he get a pass? Oh, it’s because their “savior” got elected and they don’t care about the Constitution.

Posted by lazerator | Report as abusive

You forgot a favorite conspiracy theory of the the left…9/11 was an inside job. Sound like a familiar left nut-case conspiracy? I’m not a ‘birther’, but I can’t understand why Obama doesn’t just haul out his birth certificate and put this crap to rest. By the way, he’s not ‘black’, as in black mother and father…he’s a mulatto (i.e. one white and one black parent). This statement really pisses off the left. Why? I don’t know, it’s true. But then, the left just doesn’t like the facts and it is a simple fact…black and white, as they say. Also, I could care less if the president is black. I’ll take Clarence Thomas or Thomas Sowell anyday…but they are black conservatives. Think about that you ‘liberal’ racists.

Posted by Exlib | Report as abusive

“This is just not true. The problem is his ‘natural born citizenship’ will NEVER be questioned because he is White and therefore this entire issue would never have come up.”Wrong. John McCain’s citizenship was questioned! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23415028 Stop crying “racist” every time someone disagrees with you. It’s shameful.All Obama has to do is release his original birth certificate that the Republican governor of Hawaii says she’s seen. That’s it. Why won’t he just publish it?

Posted by J the C | Report as abusive

The “birther” issue has NOTHING to do with Obama’s race! I did not vote for him and it wasn’t because he’s black-I don’t care about that. I did not vote for him because he has hidden his birth certificate and medical records, supported groups that encourage racial divide and discourse. He is not right for this country and never will be. He reminds me way too much of John Kerry and he’s as white as you can get.I think that all politicians are corrupt and not worth a flip.Obama is doing his best to set up discourse in this country with the choices he’s made for his cabinet and Supreme Court nominee and not to mention that ill formed health care bill. Sotomayor is possibly the worst choice ever for SC Justice. If you want to tell someone to hush about playing the “race card” it’s that woman!

Posted by Brown | Report as abusive

Barack Obama was a dual citizen of the USA and the UK until 1982, when he became a USA citizen only.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Nothing to see here people, move along. Dear Leader expects more form you next time. He will NEVER show his birth cert, and will never step down. Elections are for the weak.

Posted by Obama Brown Shirt | Report as abusive

A natural born citizen is anyone born within the United States regardless of the citizenship of their parents. A mere Senate resolution does not confer US citizenship on anyone; they have to go through the naturalization process if they weren’t born here, hence the argument about McCain’s citizenship is hollow. If you birthers believe Obama isn’t a US citizen, why isn’t it your burden to prove it? Obama’s done all he needed to do; you just won’t accept it even though US courts and Hawaii’s GOP governor have, and even if his “real” birth certificate (whatever that means to you folks) is shown to you, you’ll invent some other reason to doubt his legitimacy. That’s probably why he doesn’t want to bother with you fools; it only encourages you.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

This is just sad. Really, can’t the Republicans think of something with an intellectual level higher then a 4th grader. Attack the guy based on his policies; don’t go pulling crap out of your ass.The fact that idiots like Lou Dobbs are banging the drums and fueling this miserable and desperate accusation is of its own pathetic. See at least everyone knows Rush Lardbaugh was gonna pick it up and run with it, actually he probably walked with it. But whatever, I guess every Republican is now an expert on the US Constitution.Or maybe just the citizenship part, after all they don’t really care about the other stuff.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Elvira…good point. Other than the fact that Kerry NEVER did actually show facts to prove the Swift Boat Vets were lying…did he? I don’t think so. Also, if it’s so simple, why has Obama spent all of the money he has and ‘lawyered’ himself up in order not to release a piece of paper and college records that would prove once and for all that the ‘birthers’ are fools…or show them to be correct…I guess that’s the chance he won’t take.

Posted by Exlib | Report as abusive

If I was born in Kenya, running as prez, I’d probably hide it tooth and nail, too.

We have all sorts in America: We have people who play with rattlesnakes in church, based on one obscure line from the book of Matthew, and we have people who wear aluminum hats to protect themselves from the Satellite Mind Control Lasers. The birthers are a similar phenomenon, but they have the opportunity to demolish a major political party by associating it with aluminum-hat variety paranoid lunacy.

Whilst I cannot, nor dare I, step into this politically incorrect quagmire as an individual with a set vision on this issue, it would be dishonest for me to say that this issue doesn’t ( at the least ) raise my curiousity. My singular issue with President Obama is this: he promised us a more transparent government, yet it is reported to us that he will not release to the public anything but a certificate of live birth. He excludes to us a majority of the documentation regarding his schooling, thesis work, professional life etc. My concern is this; can we expect him to own up to such lofty ideals in washington when he can’t seem to deliver on a level where he personnaly and solely controls the outcome? God forbid, is it that he may be another Washington schill bureaucrat, who balks on the very platforms that has gotten him elected?

Posted by H Arthur Hausman | Report as abusive

Let me remind everybody that some conspiracy theories are themselves spread by conspiracies. The most notorious example is “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”, contrived and spread by the Okhrana or Okhranka, the secret police of Czarist Russia, who were professional conspirators if anyone ever was.

Posted by David Gollub | Report as abusive

Sigh…Obama did provide his birth certificate, twice. He also provided birth announcements from both of Hawaii’s major newspapers dated 8/4/1961. Can we stop with the ignorance already?http://www.factcheck.org/electio ns-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

Posted by CosmicDog | Report as abusive

Correction: The newspapers’ birth announcements were dated 8/13/1961 – 8/4/1961 was Obama’s birth date.

Posted by CosmicDog | Report as abusive

The newspaper showing he was born means nada if you have followed this story with a fine tooth comb. We have birthers know why it would have been done in that manner. To protect and get food stamps and all benifits etc. to a child with no father to pay the way. She got pregnant! It is just that simple. The rest is smoke and mirrors really..as you saw.He had a wife and he wanted to be free to go to school and have people at his feet as his offspring is a chip off the old block! Notice?He was never a real father nor planned on being one! Get it….Madelyn Dunham was one cleaver granny and she knew all the ropes to protect the offspring. Let us rewind the TAPE and now show us who was the first person…the second… third to vett Obama. Let’s get down to theTRUTH on PAPER!!!! Show us PLEASE. You do the work now since you have no belief in our work….SHOW US THE OBAMA WRITTEN LAW!

Those of us who actually have a couple of brain cells to rub together honestly wouldn’t give a damn where Obama was born, since he was a far more capable candidate than most who have run for office in this country. Looking at the IQ bell curve, you will always have enough people who vary towards the Forrest Gump end of the intelligence spectrum to give even the most inane concepts and ideas legs to run on.One has to acknowledge that Obama has a huge mess on his plate with everything from Iraq, global warming, fending off a depression during a massive recession…the list goes on. I am pretty sure that Obama is US-born, but even if he wasn’t, there are few other people I would want tending to the details during such a period in history where so much can go so very wrong. The ignorant can continue to play school-yard partisan politics, denial and purely fabricated nonsense games, but reality requires some of us actually be grown up and let a man do a job when necessity demands it be done.

Posted by Cesar Hechler | Report as abusive

Amazing. He actually referenced a website I have been on. The flat earthers as he calls them have a website called the flat earth society here: http://www.theflatearthsociety.orgTo the person who moderates these posts. I have included my email address this time if that was the previous problem. The post relates to the blog so I see no reason not to allow it. If you do not allow it please e-mail me as to why I would appreciate it.

I’m a birther and proud of it because I’m proud of the Consitution’s history and the 1.5 million soldiers that died to maintain it. I will continue their fight to maintain the Consitution and YOU WILL PROVE YOUR CITIZENSHIP BY PRODUCING AN ORIGINAL LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE FOR ALL TO SEE BECAUSE IT’S THE LAW! It may not happen in the next 2 years but it sure will after all your cronies are voted out of office in 2010. I do hope you are reelected so we can watch your phoney profile displayed for world to see and then be impeached!

Posted by Duane | Report as abusive

Wow, all these experts about the presidency and constitutional law. Where were all these experts when Bush/Cheney were disparaging the law and messing around with our constitutional rights? Oh yeah, those guys were Republicans. You only need to worry about the constitution when it’s convenient to some asinine argument…carry on then.

Posted by Cesar Hechler | Report as abusive

Sigh . . . even here, on usually staid Reuters, the birther clowns slither from under their slimy rocks to spew their childish nonsense. The same ilk are now running around the country blitzkrieging Democratic town hall meetings to shout down any attempts at adult debate of the health care reform crisis. I’m sick of these lousy citizens and even nastier humans. Only way to fight them is to outvote them every single election into irrelevant oblivion. They’ll never shut, that’s certain, but if they can be marginalized to the point of having no sway over the political process at all, then the country will benefit as a whole.

Keep it up, birthers. All you are doing is driving a giant wedge between the sensible and the insane people in our society. Luckily the numbers are still on the side of the sensible, which is why the longer this non-controversy goes on, the more you all humiliate yourselves and alienate the mainstream of American thought. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were all actually hired by Obama to make his opponents look like a bunch of deranged lunatics. Which you do.

Posted by JD | Report as abusive

For the record, I’m not republican (or a democrat), and I’d love to see some honesty in regards to Obama’s birth certificate. Heck, I’d like to think that if this dilemma occurred on the republicans side, that they would also be compliant. But well all know that this is bollocks.Bottom line is that it comes between to big parties that have the same goal, just minor ways in achieving it. Unconstitutional Big Government. Both sides are messed up beyond recognition. We need some real change, and it won’t come from a political puppet…on EITHER side.

Posted by Jon | Report as abusive

It is a shame we Republicans couldn’t field a better ticket, but Cesar Hechler is on crack if he thinks that it would be okay for Obama to be born outside the U.S. and still be the President. That condition was not added lightly by our forefathers, and the wording of the clause is very clearly stated to ensure that no one with the potential for divided national loyalties would be eligible. I am personally amazed at the number of intelligent Democrats think that this doesn’t matter; that Obama’s travel to Pakistan in the early ’80s on a non-US passport (presumably Indonesian under the name of Barry Sotoro); and his lying on his application to the Illinois bar when he stated that his name was Barrack Hussein Obama, and he has never used any other name. Since his registration for school in Indonesia is a matter of public record and it says Barry Sotoro, that is an outright lie. I admire his audacity. I just don’t respect the man because he hides behind a facade of indignation. He promised us transparency. If he meant it, he should do the one thing that would shut the birthers up, and that is authorize the release of his long-form birth certificate. Or would that just raise more questions? I don’t know the answers, but I haven’t seen anything concrete that would make them wrong.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

I’m not an American, so won’t comment on the Presidents background (although it is very interesting to read these posts!). What I’m more interested in is the people close to and behind the President (of either party). These people/lobby groups seem to me to be the people who call the shots, the President is just a bit of window dressing to spout distractions while the changes are being effected behind the smoke screen. I’d love to know if and if so, how much influence President Omar Bongo (since deceased) had on Obamas election campaign. Democracy is a joke on the masses.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

I have seen the document that the Obama people are saying is his birth certificate and the birthers are saying is a forgery. This document is not even an actual birth certificate. So it does not even matter if it is a forgery. It proves Nothing. An actual birth certificate has the name of the hospital you were born at. The name of the doctor that delivered you. The signature of that doctor. The signature of the Registrar or authority in charge of the birth certificate with his seal stamped in the document. None of this is on the Obama document that I have seen.My Question is, what is going to happen when it is determined that no one has seen an actual birth certificate because one does not exist?? What happens to all of the legislation passed by an Unconstitutional President. Is it repealed, or does the Supreme court just say ooops, o’well. Or for that matter are his Supreme Court nominations who have been put on the bench(by a non President), given the boot. Where would this end.This should be dealt with ASAP. Please (President?) Obama PRODUCE AN ACTUAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

People, please get used to the idea that we have a black man as president. This is what’s behind that whole charade.

Posted by Pierre St. Germain | Report as abusive

Duane,Look online for that Obama birth certificate. That part at the bottom where it says it’s prima facie — on its face — legal evidence?There is no law for a long-form birth certificate. If you have to roll around the sewers, don’t blow bubbles.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Sometimes, when I find myself with too much time on my hands, I end up reading a quick article and then, all to often, my eyes drift down to the comments section. It’s a lot like seeing a train wreck—you can’t take your eyes off of it—even if it is horrific. When I see how scary this country (USA) has let itself become, especially since that bubbleheaded Reagan got elected, I only find myself wishing that I could actually prove that I WASN’T BORN IN AMERICA! Please, dear God, if you exist—which I like to believe but my hopes are fading fast—please, please, please send the great ball of fire NOW! We REALLY need some relief down here!!!!!

Posted by GreatBallsOFire | Report as abusive

How about all the birthers move to Roswell, that way if there are aliens they can all be beamed away and stop their annoying stupidness. I’m a conservative but an American first, we elected Obama deal with it. I didn’t vote for him but I respect the majority who did. They’ll probably vote against him in 4 years wants he raises taxes on the middle class (which he will do, whether directly or indirectly) and doesn’t keep his campaign promises of change.

Posted by Benson | Report as abusive

The term ‘conspiracy theory’ is often used as a pejorative.It is a powerful way of dismissing a theory, by implying that the theory is outlandish and goes against overwhelming evidence. When misused, the term becomes a false argument.This article compares the “Obama birth” theory with other ridiculous beliefs. And implies that because of this, the theory is also ridiculous and hence can be dismissed as false.Which leads to the question “Is the belief actually ridiculous?”Consider the following conspiracies:-Despite overwhelming evidence, I do not think man walked on the moon.-Despite the presence of a dead body, I do not believe Elvis is dead.-Despite the lack of supporting evidence, I believe Kennedy was killed by an illuminati/mafia/salvation army plot.Now compare it to this:-I believe that Obama was born outside the USA. On arrival in Hawaii, his parents organised birth details to be made up, so their child would be considered American.There is a subtle difference. Plausibility.The Moon, Elvis and Kennedy theories are ridiculous to the point of utter disbelief. And they go against overwhelming evidence.But the Obama birth theory is quite rational, and well within the realms of possibility. And while there is evidence which may rebut it, this evidence cannot be considered ‘overwhelming’ or ‘decisive’.Those who reject the Obama birth theory are well within their rights to do so. After all, the theory has not been proven.But to dismiss the theory out of hand simply because you associate it with conspiracy, paranoia, racism or republicans? Now that *is* irrational.As long as the theory remains within the bounds of rational possibility, it will be here to stay.For the record my belief is as follows:-Prima facia, Obama is American until proven otherwise.-The fact that Obama was born outside the USA is unproven, but remains possible.Republicans need to accept the first point. And Democrats need to accept the second.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

These comments have to be music to the government’s ears. We no longer care about the 2 wars, or the economy, the hot button on everyone’s mind is a comment the president made about a cop issue and the authenticity about this birth certificate (which could be proven false by 100 scholars on the subject and it would affect nothing).Keep it up, our bureaucrats love these petty distractions that cause you people to put all your emotion into a bunch of nothings rather than worry about the grave misconduct that goes on everyday.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

For all the air time the movement’s been given, and all the articles about how their claims are baseless, I’ve seen next to nothing about what they actually believe about the coverup, other than there was one.For JFK, it was about his mob ties. For the moon mission, it was to fool the soviets. For 9-11, it was so Bush could start an oil war. For Obama, it was…?And when do they think the consipacy started? Did his family plan 48 years ago to have a baby, raise him with values that would destroy America, and skill to hide his intentions, but fail completely to make sure the baby was unquestionably a US citizen? Or, at least arrange to have a white son? Because a black president would’ve been pretty unbelievable in 1961.Who does the conspircy include? Just a handful? The entire Obama administration? The Democratic party? The IL government?When people debunk the moon landing, they usually go through point by point and explain in detail what the fallacy of the conspiracy is. When people debunk the birthers, it’s always a blanket statement about how they’re sore losing republicans, or racists, or just stupid.

Americans are funny, you treat your politics like a soap opera – full of silly drama that has nothing to do with how qualified a person is to run a country. Is American not the great melting pot? Why does it matter where anyone was born when the represent the majority of voting Americans. So much energy is spent on this silly debate – how can there possibly be any left for actual governing??? How can a man possibly run a successful country when he is treated like tabloid fodder? You should all become Canadian – most of us don’t even know our Prime Ministers wife’s name, care about where he was born, no one would make a fuss if they past him on the street – which means he can actually concentrate on running a country – with free access to doctors, medicines and medical treatment for all by the way.

Posted by CL | Report as abusive

You know what would help to solve all these problems?Educated people.The more educated the less impressionable a person is as they (the educated) are more able to think for themselves.In this uneducated America we live in today, well, kids imitate what they see on MTVand their parents imitate what they see on …..

Posted by C. D. Walker | Report as abusive

The more I look through this post the more it looks like Obama and his publicity machine have learned the Tony Blair trick of a divisive topic to distract from the real issues (Blairs pointless distractions included Banning Fox Hunting, about 2 years worth of distraction, Banning Smoking at least another 2 years, the ideal distraction will split the country 50-50 for endless debate). I wouldn’t be too surprised if they were funding these “birthers”. Sad, but I guess that’s what’s become of democracy in the century 21. Blair started out looking promising too with his declaration to change politics, and he did – but not for the better.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Obama’s hidden records and natural born citizenship are legitimate issues.It’s no surprise that Hillary Clinton just went to Kenya to reinforce the cover-up.I still want answers. Obummer, put up or get out!!!! All he has to do is make the following official public statement,”I Barack Obama authorize the State of Hawaii to release and make public all of my records on file.”That’s it. Issue over. But he won’t because he’s a fraud!! Obama knows that millions of citizens want to see it yet he continues to hide it. What/why is he hiding? and most disturbingly, why don’t BHO’s supporters want to know the whole truth, especially since there’s a reward of $100,000 for proof that Obama is a “natural born” citizen of the United States.OBAMA, STOP HIDING. SHOW US THE LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND YOUR OTHER RECORDS!!!!!

Posted by Captain Steve | Report as abusive

Issues like this should always be resolved with excessive openness, not stonewalling.OBAMA, STOP HIDING. SHOW US THE LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND YOUR OTHER RECORDS!!!!!

Posted by Captain Steve | Report as abusive

There are three issues at hand:*Obama has been very candid with potentially-damaging things, like cocaine abuse (read his autobio). Yet, he refuses to release mundane records, like his Long Form birth certificate and college admission records. This is uncharacteristically odd.*Owing to idyosynchratic HI law, the Certificate Of Live Birth (the document released by Obama and ‘verified’ by FactCheck–NOT an official agency by any means) has been issued to persons who were NOT born in HI. Contrary to what some have said, Hawai’i's department of health claims to still have the origional (with physician’s name. &c.) birth certificate on file. A nominal fee is required to obtain a photocopy of it. The Certificate Of Live Birth is NOT considered sufficient, for the purposes of, for example, the Hawai’ian Homestead Program. Hawai’ian officials have only commented that they have the document on file, but have stopped short of revealing its contents. Obama has also refused to release his college admission records, which the Bushes, John Kerry and John McCain have done. Such records would indicate if Obama recieved scholarships available to only FOREIGN students. Additionally, Obama has been inconsistent about which hospital he was born at. While he previously mentioned Queens, he’s now settled on Kapi’olani. Neither hospital will confirm, or deny this.*Roger Calero, Presidential candidate for the Socialist Workers Party, successfully got on the ballot in several states. This is despite being frank about having been born in Nicaragua. Unless the Posey bill is passed, there is no vetting procedure in place to ensure that a President-elect actually meets the constitutional eligibility requirements. This can not be taken on faith. For someone who campaigned on a platform of ‘transparency’, why is Obama witholding these records? Democrats rightly insisted that McCain’s eligibility status (he was born in the Canal Zone) be cleared up–they should demand the same of Obama.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

Duane, if you’re going to assert it’s the law that a single particular form of birth certificate that not all states necessarily use is the sole form acceptable to prove US citizenship, please cite that law so that we all may verify it and thus become convinced ourselves. And in the meantime, since you’re so hung up on birth certificates, how about a national law that says only one single form of birth certificate is acceptable for getting a driver’s licence, Social Security card, passport, and to vote? Let’s see how far you get with that hare-brained idea. So let’s see yours, Duane, Jay, Anon, Captain Steve. What’s sauce for the goose . . .

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

“Joe” suggest that I am on crack by stating it wouldn’t really matter where Obama was born as long as he was the best person for the task at hand. As long as so many people of U.S. citizenry continue to proudly display the grotesque degree of their ignorance I would be all for outsourcing internationally jobs that should demand skill and intelligence, such as the office of the presidency.As for the birthers, am I wrong to think that all this rhetoric from them is utterly disingenuous considering there was a large number of Republicans behind the idea of making constitutional changes to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president, despite his not being born in the U.S.? The hypocrisy and puerility (and xenophobia if you honestly believe Obama was a ‘foreigner’) behind Republican shenanigans since Obama’s election has been stunning. He’s the Anti-Christ, he’s not a citizen, he looked at a girl’s bum…if it wasn’t such a tragic display of what is utterly wrong with the U.S. education system it would be hysterically comical. I don’t think Weird Al’s song “Dare To Be Stupid” was meant to be a challenge, but some people have definitely been taking it literally.

Posted by Cesar Hechler | Report as abusive

“My Question is, what is going to happen when it is determined that no one has seen an actual birth certificate because one does not exist??”Ain’t gonna happen, sweetiebuns: the Registrar in Hawaii has verified that she has seen it and it is legitimate. Next stupid question?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Obama is President because God decided to punish all you Birthers for your terminal stupidity. It’s God’s will. Now will you shut up?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

There is only one reason anyone would spend over one million dollars to NOT show their birth certificate. I have a recording of the Kenyan ambassador bragging about how Obama was born in Kenya and they are putting up a little shrine to it! His grandmother is on recorded audio that she was there in Kenya when he was born.When all this comes out, and it will, the damage to the country will be terrific and there will be only one to blame.

Joe Gayan,If you’re right and this is true what damage will it do to our country? Maybe it’ll be be very damaging to be people who are against Kenyans? Is that it?Certainly having Americans in office doesn’t work, maybe we should outsource all of our government/political positions.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Miss Lewinsky and now the birth certificate.Seems that republicans need to find these kind of arguments because they haven’t much to say, the debate has to be about anything but a political program.In this times of crisis, joblosses, bailouts, americans need to focuse on a birth certificate, this will help alot I’m sure.Great to know what people like Limbaugh, Cheney, Dobb or birthers think, nah really…

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

I wonder if this whole birth certificate issue has something to do with Republican guilt about supporting someone whose first four year term of his presidency was illegitimate, namely George Dubya Bush. Why was this man in the White House from 2001 to 2005, when he lost the popular vote by half a million and should have lost the electoral college vote, because (as research later proved)he lost the popular vote in Florida, the state whose electoral college votes gave him the presidency? You’ll remember he used those four years to start a war in Iraq based on lies about WMD that resulted in the death of thousands of young American soldiers and countless thousands of innocent Iraqis.I wonder if ‘birthers’ get as worked up about that man being in the White House who blatantly had no business there for the fundamental reason that he lost the election! A little more important I’d say than the silly fantasy about birth certificates, which officials of both parties (Republican and Democrat) acknowledge is a non issue.

Posted by Alec | Report as abusive

Perhaps the President was born on a boat within Hawaii’s protected waters and was taken to the hospital for recovery. The hospital could be obligated to issue his birth certificate, but regardless he is our President and with the economy in tatters we Americans must support our majority selected Leader. PERIOD

Posted by lindafranke1952 | Report as abusive

I am a registered Republican so I did not vote for Barack Obama last November. However, for those of us that didn’t invest our vote, in fatih I refer to President Obama as my “RONI” President. (Return On Non-Investment)

Posted by lindafranke1952 | Report as abusive

Some people aren’t convinced Barack Obama was born at all; rather, that he was manufactured.I mean, somebody *had* to be thinking, “How about we put a nice, apparently intelligent, reasonably eloquent guy in charge for a few years while we go on doing the very same thing we’ve been getting away with under Darth Vader and the dolt with the Goat book?”As a hypothesis, it’s unassailable.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive

Blah blah blah. If someone doesn’t like a Liberal politician they must be a crazy Republican. If someone doesn’t like a Republican politician, they must be a heathen Liberal. Either way, let’s make sure not to question authority, because Lord knows we don’t know any better, right?Anyway, I personally don’t care what country Obama was born in. I see why it is important, but we’ve got bigger problems right now. Mr. Debusmann, you are just as bad as Limbaugh, Dobbs and the rest of them. You are implying that people should not question their government; that we should all walk in a straight line and assume the guys in charge will take care of us. Just because some conspiracy theories are stupid, does not mean that they are all insane ‘myths.’ A conspiracy is two or more people planning to do something illegally or in secret. Are you saying this never occurs? Our government has openly admitted to doing illegal and/or immoral things in secret before – did they just stop? Are we more civilized than we were in the sixties?

Posted by Emma | Report as abusive

That’s nothing. You want to hear a real crazy conspiracy?Some people believe that Obama intentionally based his campaign on emotional and political spin, in order to manipulate an impressional voter base.Those same people also believe that regardless of his promises, all he will do is maintain the status quo of the last eight years.And that because Obama has formed a cult of personality, the voters will love him regardless of how ineffective he ultimately turns out to be.Crazy stuff, eh? The average American voter would never be that stupid…

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Hawaii uses two, and only two forms of authentic papers concerning someone born in Hawaii. Sorry birthers.The two are Certificate of Live Birth and Certification of Live Birth. I’ll repeat this…both are acceptable. The difference between the two is readily available, do the research if you wish. Google State of Hawaii. Go from there. There is no form called “birth certificate” in Hawaii. No one is guarding some vault somewhere, hiding a mysterious paper, saying “Barack Obama’s birth certificate”, some form that no one else in Hawaii ever got.The President’s certificate is the only documentation there is. It’s the only documentation needed. Where his mom lived, where his dad lived, where the certificate says they lived is unimportant as long as his mom, a United States citizen from Kansas, was in Hawaii at the moment of the President’s birth. She was. Endo. Fini.Right wing pundits earn their living on the backs of others. It’s a small group, hayseed in nature, and easily led around.People who cannot and will not accept a black Democrat as President are desperately grasping to a straw that leads nowhere. right wing pundits, charlatans to the core, cruelly feeds on their ignorance, their hate, and their fear of a black president. It’s their way of making a living. It’s what they do.I’m not defending the morons that buy this schlock. They are lazy beyond imagination and beneath contempt because a tiny bit of education would allow them to see the President’s documentation is adequate…indeed it’s all there is.Or….their ignorance is purposeful. It’s the last hope they have to hold on to their vision of “America the way it should be”. You can easily figure out what that means.The second possibility is more likely.

Posted by patriot911 | Report as abusive