Over the holiday break we've been taking another look at all the evidence, and I've come to the conclusion that the claims that Obama's birth certificate are just that -- claims.

To be clear: it might be fake. And, it might be the case that scientists have genetically engineered a cat that looks, acts, and talks like a dog. Both are possible, but unlikely. If it looks, acts, and barks like a dog, it's usually a dog.

Our reversal from our earlier claims is based on three observations:

The experts... aren't.

We recently had to part ways with a contributor named "Techdude."  It began with serious questions over whether his stated credentials are accurate. At first he appeared to have copied them from one Mr. Adam Fink; upon further investigation we learned of the possibility that TechDude was Adam Fink. And there's the very real question that "our" TechDude was the same one who published the original analysis of the COLB as featured on Atlas Shrugs. At this point we have no way of knowing; our TechDude has stopped replying to our emails, perhaps for very good reason.

But about those credentials: he claimed to be a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the American College of Forensic Examiners. But here's the thing: we can't find another member of these groups who's backed up these claims. There is, however, lots of evidence that TechDude has been behaving in a manner that's contrary to the ethical standards of these organizations, and a detailed analysis of the analysis makes the claim that TechDude actually manipulated the data to support his theory.

So perhaps TechDude is just a bad apple, right? Perhaps he meant well, and was simply operating under the misguided notion that it was acceptable to fudge here, exaggerate there in pursuit of what he saw as the greater good (as Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse was caught doing). There must be efforts by other experts that support the forgery theory, right?

Well... no.

All of the articles we've seen can be sorted into two groups:

  1. Those that rely on TechDude's analysis
  2. Those that are based on a misunderstanding or false assumption (a common one is a lack of understanding of how automatic layer generation works).

Previously we had criticized Orly Taitz for apparently failing to secure the services of qualified expert witnesses, apparently relying on random people whose sole qualification appeared to be an interest in appearing in court. But in that criticism we failed to consider the possibility that there are no actual experts who will testify in support of the forged birth certificate -- because the actual experts don't consider it to be a forgery.

Then there's that Orly Taitz thing.

While we've been surprised at Ms. Taitz' combination of apparent carelessness and inability to function competently in a courtroom, our further research has indicated that she might very well be the most competent lawyer to have brought an eligibility case.

You see, we've learned that there have been nearly 200 eligibility challenges [PDF]. None have gotten anywhere. You might believe Ms. Taitz' theory and write off one or two dismissals as evidence of a corrupt judiciary. But 200? Certainly if there were a case, there might have been one competent lawyer who wasn't laughed out of court?

Follow the money.

In the past, we've lavished praise on the Tea Party. We think that it serves a vital role in the American political system; it offers a place on the political stage for people who traditionally aren't interested in, or traditionally qualified for politics. And, we believe that a Tea Party resurgence at the 2014 mid-term elections is essential to take our country in a new direction. But, because Tea Party members tend to be older (and thus have more disposable income) and tend to be what the pundits refer to as "low information voters," they're an easy target.

Orly Taitz' fundraising abilities seem to be well in excess of her legal skills. Perhaps she knows deep in her heart that she has no chance of making any serious progress, but she knows that as long as she keeps trying, her contributors will continue to reward her handsomely for tilting at windmills.

And then there's WND. They've sold plenty of books about the birth certificate issue (and we've read them). But we're beginning to strongly suspect that they're pushing the birth certificate forgery issue primarily to sell books.

The actual real evidence? Slim to none. Actual qualified experts? Hard to find. Financial motivation for promoting the forged birth certificate theories? Plenty.

Sometimes a dog is just a dog.