“Ron Polarik” (not a real name?) published an analysis of the Barack Obama birth certificate and concludes that it is a forgery. (That link has stopped working).
[Since I wrote the following article, I ran across a scientific critique of Dr. Rod Polarik conclusions. If anyone believes Polarik still, then visit that critique. What follows is not scientific, but just some surface observations.]
Polarik, unlike previous analysts, actually compared Obama’s certificate to what looks like the same version certificate. For this reason alone, some attention to Polarik is warranted.
That attention, however, is a sore task because Polarik’s web page is utterly huge. A number of things are troublesome about his analysis, and I will detail them here, followed by my conclusions.
Suspicious point number 1: Usually folks who talk on and on about how objective they are, and how they lack preconceived notions, do so to cover up a real lack of objectivity. If one is truly objective, then ones argument alone proves it without extra protestation. On the other hand, he is more than willing to use the “poisoning the well” fallacy to dismiss others more reasonable arguments (by claiming that FactCheck.org is staffed by Obama supporters, for example, but providing no evidence that this is true). Claims of harassment by critics is common among fringe theorists.
Suspicious Point 2: If the guy is just trying to analyze documents, and came into the process so open-mindedly, why use language like “felony fraud”. It sounds like his intent is to slam Obama, not to make an objective point about documents.
Suspicious Point 3: Since the fellow won’t provide his real name, one cannot verify his credentials nor hold him accountable if he is incompetent or lies. [Since writing this point, I have learned that he claims that his name really is “Ronald Polarik, MS, PhD” although I couldn’t find his name in the dissertation database and others report not finding him the white pages.]
Suspicious Point 4: He says: “There is conclusive and irrefutable evidence that the COLB image created and distributed by Obama’s campaign to the Daily Kos, Annenberg’s Factcheck, and the St. Pete Times, Politifact, is, unquestionably, a false identification document.” That’s a rather arrogant claim (given how weak his evidence is).
Suspicious Point 5: Frequent use of “poisoning the well” fallacy.
Suspicious Point 6: Questioning the motives of people who disagree with him.
[Plowing through this stuff still looking for the evidence…]
Suspicious Point 7: Claims “experience and specialization in photography and digital imaging” but never says what the experience is.
Suspicious Point 8: In a follow-up posting, Polarik claims that he has done document imaging work for vital records agencies, but somehow never before saw the most common form of birth certificate there is.
Suspicious Point 9: He speculates to make his point, “My bet would be that the completion of the COLB is not an automated process. Heck, every year when I have to renew my tag at the DMV, the clerks still have to manually type in my information. So, it’s a good guess that it happens in Hawaii.” Did you see the logical leap there, “my DMV is a state bureaucracy, the Hawaii Department of Health is a state bureaucracy, therefore they use the same printing technology.”
Suspicious Point 10: I work in the vital records industry and I know that his speculation about how requests work is total bunk. His evidence: “I believe”. Clerks don’t type information into a form for printing, the computer record is programmatically merged into the form for printing.
Suspicious Point 11: He claims (and says it’s important) that every birth certificate in Hawaii is printed on the same network printer. Why would that be the case? He offers no evidence.
Suspicious Point 12: The thing is to darned long. The reader is totally fatigued before the first bit of evidence appears (assuming that it appears, as I am half an hour into it and still haven’t seen any).
Suspicious Point 13: “No matter how many challenges to my conclusions have come my way, I have never wavered from the inescapable truth, that an image of someone’s real COLB had been markedly altered to look like it belonged to Obama”. Another hallmark of cranks, making “never wavering” a badge of honor. He’d be more credible if he wavered some.
Suspicious Point 14: (Finally some “evidence”) He points out that all 4 images containt the same anomaly, “On all of these images, there is a telltale “dot” (a piece of dirt left on the scanner glass) that proves they all came from a single source file.” So, of course they were all the same file (reduced in resolution for various purposes). Nothing here. Who claimed they were different?
Suspicious Point 15: He makes a big deal out of the non-issue of “format conversions”.
Suspicious Point 16: He makes a big deal out of the non-issue of color depth.
He gets one right: “If Obama’s real birth record does not match anything on the forged image, regardless of what it actually says, then that is prima facie evidence of document fraud” only there’s no evidence of such a difference.
Suspicious Point 17: Claims that FactCheck.org is run by Obama contributors. A search of the FEC web site does not agree. I checked the director and the deputy director, and a sample of staffers. None had made ANY political contribution to anyone, including political parties (common practice for journalists).
Suspicious Point 18: Excuse of “I was also aware of other fabricated evidence that he produced, but I had pledged to a friend that I would keep the revelations to myself.” This is in reference, I assume to TechDude, the AtlasShruggs.com analyst.
Suspicious Point 19: “That’s the Catch-22 in ordering a COLB: you only get back what you correctly request to see. If the name of the father on the form does not match the name of the father on the official birth record, then what you get back is a blank space where the father’s name would be.” No, if the request doesn’t match, you don’t get a birth certificate. The father’s name would only be blank if there were no father’s name in the computer record.
Suspicious Point 20: He makes detailed comparisons between HIS scanner and it’s lamp and it’s software and compares it to some unknown model scanner and software. At the pixel level, would anyone expect them to be the same?
Suspicious Point 21: He makes a big deal about the certificate not being folded, but maybe it was never folded. It doesn’t HAVE to be folded to be valid does it? If the certificate was picked up at the records office, it would not have been folded.
Suspicious Point 22: He makes a big deal about the seal not being visible, even though his own image of the “Michelle” certificate doesn’t have a visible seal either. Explain that!
Suspicious Point 23: He says: “The major problem with a COLB is that the birth record it represents could have been requested late, after a child was born, and the place of birth as recorded may be anywhere in the world”. That’s fine. Obama’s certificate says that the LOCATION OF BIRTH is Honolulu. Further the fact that only 4 days separate Obama’s birth and his registration would preclude this late registration scenario.
Basically, putting aside all the techno-speak, all the speculation, all the misstatements about vital records practice and all the misstatements of law, Polarik’s argument rests on one essential premises:
The State of Hawaii only has one laser printer, one registrar’s stamp and one embossing seal. And that seems very unlikely to me. More likely there’s a printer, stamp and seal in the front office for the walk-in requests and a set in the back office to handle the mail — or multiples depending on volume.