At Tea Party Brewing: A Place for Patriots, Nancy McKiernen reports the “news” breathlessly, complete with a picture of an official-looking record:
McKiernan goes on to allege that Ludwig is “presumed dead and whose death was either never reported to the SS administration or reported and deleted from the database by someone.”
Why, it’s a conspiracy!
Time for a bit of fact checking.
1. The “certificate” regarding Nancy McKiernan places on her website isn’t an official document of any kind. It’s a computer-generate souvenir made by a private group called Ellis Island Foundation which formed in 1982.
2. McKiernan reports that Barack Obama has the social security number of 042-XX-XXXX, allegedly the same social security number possessed by Jean Ludwig, “RIP 1981, Honolulu HI.” Far from being deleted by nefarious unnamed participants in some mass conspiracy, there is one and only one Social Security record for a Jean Ludwig who died in 1981 in Honolulu, Hawaii. As for all deceased Americans, his record is publicly available through the Social Security Death Index and can be accessed through Rootsweb:
This record indicates a Social Security Number of 045-26-8872, but McKiernan alleges Barack Obama has stolen a social security number that begins with the digits 042. There is no “Jean Ludwig” who died in any year in the Social Security Death Index who has a Social Security Number beginning with 042. A search for records associated with Social Security Number 045-26-8872 in another iteration of the Social Security Death Index through the Genealogy Bank (to check against possible errors), leads us again to Jean Ludwig, dead in Honolulu Hawaii in 1981:
It’s verified, and what’s more, you can visit these websites to verify the information yourself. If Barack Obama has a social security number that begins with 042, as Nancy McKiernan repeatedly alleges, then he can’t have stolen it from Jean Ludwig.
I’d call Nancy McKiernan a silly goose and make light of her ridiculous accusation at this point, but there’s a nasty side to what she’s doing. After drumming up attention through her obviously false accusations, McKiernan goes on to sell shirts with “patriotic” American themes on them that are made in low-pay overseas factories associated with violations of workers’ rights, dignity and even safety. Simultaneously making money off of bald-faced lies and sweatshop labor goes far beyond tacky.
Finally, let’s zoom out beyond Nancy McKiernan’s behavior and recognize that this “story” is ricocheting all over the right-wing web. At conservative stomping grounds like Free Republic and Political Forum, on the always-interesting blog of conspiracy theorist Orly Taitz Esquire and the forum of Godlike Productions, this same story is being swallowed by an audience of people who would rather believe in a conspiracy than face verifiable facts.