The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
The most sacred relic: the Holy Foreskin, circa 800 AD
Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate
The Birther movement has progressed from claiming that other people are involved in an elaborate hoax, to promoting a hoax of its own. The leader of the Birthers, Orly Taitz, has produced what she claims is a birth certificate proving that Obama was born in Kenya.

Debunking of the document has already begun. For instance, skeptics note that "Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months."

Also, the name of the registrar listed on the document is "E.F. Lavender." Maybe this is someone's real name, but it also seems to be the name of a type of detergent (Earth Friendly Lavender).

But all that analysis isn't really necessary, because the first thing a document expert would ask is what is the provenance of the document. i.e. Where did it come from? As far as I can tell, the document came from someone called Ed Hale who, in turn, said he paid a woman named Shirley $1000 for it. That doesn't seem like a very reliable source.
Categories: Politics
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 04, 2009
Comments (31)
Would the woman's full name be Shirley Eujest?
Posted by John Paradox  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  03:23 AM
'Forgery' is too strong: 'prank' would be better. With all the (obviously deliberate) giveaways, this was clearly intended to sucker fools, not to truly deceive. It's a forgery like a 3-dollar bill is forgery - ie not.
Posted by outeast  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  04:28 AM
I agree with outeast. This is more of a joke than a forgery. Only the really thick are going to believe this one.
Posted by Croydon Bob  in  UK  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  09:38 AM
He got it from a Friend Of a Friend? You know even the Conservative blogs are making fun of these birther people.
Posted by dbrunker  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  10:12 AM
It could fool Dan Rather.

Or it could if it mentioned George Bush...
Posted by stephen525  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  12:08 PM
Why do these idiots even get the time of day? Even if Obama weren't born on US soil, it wouldn't make any difference. At least one of his parents was a US citizen, therefore, he's a natural born citizen. End of story.
Posted by Goober  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  12:46 PM
That Orly woman has a very strange accent.
She sounds like a kettle...
Posted by Unfairly Balanced  in  Earth  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  12:54 PM
These people have such stupid arguments they make my head hurt. Does anyone know what's up with the thing about Obama having multiple SSNs or an olf SSN? The woman on Colbert threw it out there the other night and he ignored it. That chick was bringin' on the crazy!
Posted by Kristen55  in  Seattle, WA  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  02:21 PM
I've attended two "tea-bag" parties to date, and have heard some extremely outlandish comments, ranging from theories that only "inner-city people looking for a handout" voted for President Obama, to individuals calling for the violent overthrow of the U.S. Federal government, which, btw, is illegal. I've become a persona-non-grata at these "parties", but I intend to continue to show, if for no other reason than to monitor what may be potentially dangerous individuals. Hey, I'm all for free speach and responsible government, but it's my opinion that some of these folks are going to do something stupid and fatal. BTW, I wore a hat festooned with whoopie-cushions, rather than teabags, adorned with a sign that all attendees go "express themeselves". Hope I don't get shot at the next one. Sore losers
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  02:29 PM
I have a copy I could part with for the low low price of $999! Ed overpaid!
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  02:39 PM
"... Ed Hale ... said he paid a woman named Shirley $1000 for it."

My mother's name is Shirley!
For all this time, Mom never once mentioned that she was sitting on Obama's real birth certificate. I wonder why she took so long to go public with it.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Uncertain, Texas  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  09:33 PM
What really makes me crazy about this whole debate, if you can call it that, besides the total absence of evidence on the "birther" side and the abundance of evidence on the "Obama was born in Hawaii, stupid" side, is that the question of where Obama was born is completely irrelevant.

Nobody seems to be denying that, wherever he was born, Barack Obama's natural mother was Stanley Ann Dunham. At the time of his birth, Stanley Ann (who was born in Kansas) was a U.S. citizen and had lived all her life until then (about 18 years) in the U.S. Under the laws effective at the time, this was unambiguously sufficient to confer automatic U.S. citizenship on Barack Obama II from birth. Therefore he is a "natural-born citizen" and eligible to be President. The exact same thing is true of John McCain, who was born in Panama to U.S.-citizen parents.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Washington, Texas  on  Tue Aug 04, 2009  at  09:47 PM
The original BC seems to have been from Australia (why?) -> http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2646009.htm
Posted by Splarka  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  03:16 AM
"Only the really thick are going to believe this one." Sadly, there are a lot of thick people out there.
Posted by Charles  in  Michigan  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  11:31 AM
"At the time of his birth, Stanley Ann (who was born in Kansas) was a U.S. citizen and had lived all her life until then (about 18 years) in the U.S. Under the laws effective at the time, this was unambiguously sufficient to confer automatic U.S. citizenship on Barack Obama II from birth."

-- Posted by Big Gary


Well. . .actually, that wouldn't work if he really was born outside of the US.

According to the US State Department:

Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock: A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) INA provided the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  01:06 PM
Sorry, I forget to cite my source for that citizenship information.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  01:12 PM
Even Ann Coulter doesn't believe this one.
Posted by Irene  in  Oregon  on  Thu Aug 06, 2009  at  01:39 PM
Funny thing is these people never mention that the candidate they voted for, McCain, WAS born outside the US.
Posted by Tim  on  Thu Aug 06, 2009  at  10:21 PM
Accipiter, the rule on the State Department web site was correct in most cases, but there was (by 1961) an exception when the U.S.-citizen parent was under 19 at the time of the child's birth. In such cases, only ten years (not necessarily continuous) of physical presence in the U.S. was required, without five of them having to be after age fourteen. Congress modified the law in consideration of the fact that it was mathematically impossible for someone under 19 to have been in the U.S. for five years after age fourteen.

I've lost my annotated copy of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the relevant law), so I can't cite the exact place in the statute that this is mentioned, but I know that this is the case because when I was an immigration paralegal, I dealt with several cases where this came into play.

All this refers to the law in effect in 1961; the rules have been changed since then, but for citizenship by birth the law as it was on the day the person was born is controlling.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Washington, Texas  on  Fri Aug 07, 2009  at  12:20 PM
Ah. I was just going by what the State Department said. I figured that they'd be all simple and straightforward and present everything relevant in one nice neat bundle, right? wink
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Aug 08, 2009  at  01:02 AM
You should know better, Acci.
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Sat Aug 08, 2009  at  01:28 AM
These folks do nothing but undermine and disrespect democracy...Talk about unamerican!...I foolishly hope that this will be the last we hear from them, on the other hand, they have wanted to get rid of the last two democrats in the precidency, yet stood quietly by, while our soldiers died in a war started under false pretenses and with half the world against our reasoning for it....I vote these individuals into Chuck's "Daily loosers" column; how about it guys who's with me?
Posted by mario  in  new joisey  on  Sat Aug 08, 2009  at  01:56 AM
"These folks do nothing but undermine and disrespect democracy. . ."

Rather like all the folks who for eight years insisted that the last president cheated in the elections and therefore wasn't legitimate? wink
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun Aug 09, 2009  at  02:38 AM
ACCIPITER: that was totally fair my friend, I'm staying out of this one...I should know better since I live in corrupt state...on a different, yet related point; One thing I want to point out while we are doing recent history is: does anyone remember talks about changing this law to favor Arnold's possible bid for the precidency??
Posted by mario  in  new joysey  on  Mon Aug 10, 2009  at  05:35 PM
I don't recall anything official about such law reform discussion, just a lot of vague speculation by people who have nothing to do with such things. I'm quite sure, however, that there frequently is and always has been discussion in Congress about changes to the citizenship laws and requirements for public office. That's partly what Congress is there for, after all: to review and modify existing laws.

And I don't see any overall reason why at some point the requirements for being President couldn't be changed. The Constitution is what set the requirements, and the people who wrote the Constitution were mindful of the fact that times change. And so they set the Constitution up so that it can be amended and changed. If enough people decide that the requirements should be changed, then why not change them?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Aug 10, 2009  at  07:33 PM
Changing the "natural born citizen" rule for being President would require a Constitutional Amendment (because the requirement is stated in Article I of the Constitution). It's not easy to amend the Constitution, which is mostly a good thing. Remember that there have been only 17 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution since 1791. (The first 10 Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were all added at once-- proposed in 1789 and ratified by 1791. The 27th Amendment was also proposed in 1789, but was not ratified until 1992-- over 200 years later).
I've heard mention in passing of the idea of amending the Constitution to make things easier for Arnold S., but I don't know if anyone is serious about it (especially anyone in Congress, which is who matters for this purpose).
I recall that in my youth, there were people who wanted to amend the Constitution so that Nixon could have a third term as President (shudder) and some who also wanted to change the "natural born citizen rule" so Henry Kissinger could be President (shudder, shudder, shudder). Needless to say, neither of these Amendments were adopted.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Washington, Texas  on  Tue Aug 11, 2009  at  12:34 AM
All a rather interesting argument . . . In this country, there are those who argue that peopel who have worked to earn their citizenship should be entitled to greater priviledges of citenship than those who just got it handed to them by having been popped out of the womb here; That's why children born to illegal immigrants or foreign nationals are not automatically given citizenship, and immigrants who have certificate sof nationilastion are offered preference when hiring for government jobs.
Posted by D F Stuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Tue Aug 11, 2009  at  03:08 AM
Did I say Article I? I meant to say the stuff about the President is in Article II of the Constitution. Article I is about the Legislature (and Article III is about the Judicial branch).

Really, D.F. Stuckey? Naturalized citizens in New Zealand actually get preference over citizens from birth? In the U.S. it's illegal to discriminate one way or the other (that is, favoring any applicant either because he/she is a "natural" citizen or a "naturalized" citizen is illegal). You do have to be a U.S. citizen (either from birth or naturalized) for most Federal government jobs, though. Legal residents who are foreign nationals don't qualify for most Federal jobs (the big exception is the U.S. military, which accepts Lawful Permanent Residents who are not citizens).
I can see the argument, though. In the U.S., to become a naturalized citizen you have to show you have good moral character, demonstrate that you can understand, speak, read, and write English, pass an exam on history and government, and swear or affirm that you will defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. If you were born within our borders, on the other hand (or, as we were saying, in most cases if you were born abroad with at least one U.S.-citizen parent), all you have to do is show a birth certificate.
Posted by Big Gary  in  the State of Confusion  on  Tue Aug 11, 2009  at  11:16 AM
Gary, yes, indeed - And also, yes, it's illegal to discriminate in this country as well. Nevertheless, the larger companies and certain government departements can nad do ignore this as a standard policy and openly admit to favouring foreign-born citzens whne they can. They justify this by a lot of peculiar hand motions and touching thier noses* and PC-speak, the tendency we have in this country to consider anyone with an English accent to be superior, and also falling back on the implications of the constant comment that "The best and brightests always leave for overseas "; Namely, that anyone who is loyal enough to stay in this country is retarded and lacklustre. If that's a paradox, think on this; The one political party that greets and supports new immigrants, our leftist one, is the party responsible for the no automatic birth citizenship to non-registered parent's children law.

Then again, as my last boss also pointed out ( He was an ex-British Army wallah ), there are other reasons to employ foreign nationals here - They work like machines because they've never heard of unions or associate them with communists, and they are just grateful that nobody is shooting at them that you can ask them to do anything and they do it.

* Defintely NO handshakes; Despite there being less than 20 000 of them, peopel are terrified of Freemasons infiltrating and taking over companies in this country. One religious group that owns several large companies makes a point of publically saying so, and has even got involved in behind the scenes control of a political party to make sure such corruption doesn't occur.
Posted by D F Stuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Tue Aug 11, 2009  at  05:23 PM
Apparently some people are willing to part with money in any amount just to perpetrate a bad joke--or to turn around and use it to try and swindle a lot of other people! Someone in my area tried to take the whole "Obama wasn't born on US soil and therefore can't be President" nonsense to courts at several levels, only to be turned away each time. You'd think he'd have figured it out after the first rejection!
Posted by Barbara  in  Philadelphia, PA (USA)  on  Thu Aug 27, 2009  at  09:39 PM
Comments: Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
Commenting is no longer available for this post.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.