Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Pierre Omidya, eBay founder
Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar’s politics have become the subject of blog commentary because the web auction site over the last week repeatedly scrubbed an offering of an allegedly genuine copy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate – from Mombasa, Kenya.
But the company said it wouldn’t get involved in any discussion of Omidyar’s activities or political statements.
Spokeswoman Evonne Gomez said, “We certainly wouldn’t comment on our founder’s political concessions or beliefs. He is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.”
She said if a question was submitted in writing, she would consult on whether it would be answered. A question submitted by WND didn’t, however, produce a response.
“I will coordinate with colleagues on the corporate side,” she said. “We wouldn’t comment on his political views or associations.”
Omidyar, a billionaire, former CEO and current chairman of eBay, earlier this month was appointed by Barack Obama to serve on the 28-member President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
According to a White House press release from June 17, Omidyar joins former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, General Wesley Clark, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, and several others on the committee, which recommends candidates to the president for selection as White House Fellows. The release calls the White House Fellowship “America’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service, providing young individuals with experience working at the highest levels of the federal government.”
Omidyar further serves as a trustee of the Punahou School in Hawaii, the elite private high school that Obama graduated from in 1979, and endorsed Obama’s candidacy for president on his blog in March 2008.
The sale was for a document that purportedly was a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama.
Gomez told WND any items that are removed are being of company policy.
The “birth certificate” seller allegedly obtained Obama’s document while traveling in Africa. The seller explained that the Kenyan natives boasted that Barack Obama II was born in the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, which correlates with speculation that has existed over President Obama’s birthplace since even prior to his election.
WND also reported that the seller, colmado_naranja, then tried to sell a “dissertation” on Obama’s birth, including the “supporting documents” – which presumably includes the Kenyan birth certificate advertised on the seller’s original auction page.
Nonetheless, like the four previous auction pages posted by the seller, the fifth sale for the “dissertation” was scrubbed by eBay administrators.
Further, an alert notice was sent to eBay members who had been in contact with colmado_naranja, warning them that the seller may be fraudulent and attempting to extract private information from prospective buyers.
Previously, colmado_naranja claimed, the auction pages were removed because of an eBay policy prohibiting the sale of government documents, even though WND discovered several foreign birth certificates and even a driver’s license – albeit all from 1935 or older – for sale on the auction site.
An eBay help desk representative said the fifth auction auction for “the dissertation” was removed because the company believed, “a third party had accessed the [seller's] account.”
The latest offering from colmado_naranja is an auction for a photograph of several people who reportedly helped in the hunt for the “birth certificate,” and a promise that more information would be unveiled in a planned YouTube video.
President Obama’s place of birth, however, remains only one of several questions and possible avenues for answers that remain in determining whether or not Obama is a “natural born citizen” under the U.S. Constitution and eligible to serve as president.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether he was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
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.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard in Pennsylvania
The eBay birth certificate seller is a self-proclaimed “collector of old Dominican and Cuban money” and has worked in the Congo.
“This spring I traveled through Kenya and its capital Nairobi. I was overwhelmed by the ‘iconicized’ face of U.S. President Barack Obama that displays itself throughout the country. I had lunch at a small eatery and noticed that the club sandwich with fried plantains was now known as ‘Obama’s Plate of the Day,’” the seller wrote on the initial auction page. “As an American I was bombarded with questions in English (English is national language of Kenya) on my feelings and opinions of a Kenyan governing the United States of America. The first several times I responded in saying that not enough time had elapsed since Barack Obama’s appointment as president of the U.S.A., and that I’d have to hold my official opinion until at least January 2010, a year in office might be sufficient for me to judge his ability to govern the U.S.A.
“Naturally I thought that by ‘Kenyan’ they were referring to Barack Obama’s blood, being that his father Barack Obama Sr. was a native of Kenya. After a day and a half of my being in Nairobi I learned that they were literally referring to President Barack Obama Jr. as being born in Kenya, a native of Kenya.”
The seller also cited the fact that Obama has not release his “Hawaiian” birth certificate. His administration, the seller says, “in an attempt to put the birth certificate issue to a rest, has presented the American public with a fake, forged, fraudulent Hawaiian birth certificate.”
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.