Sunday, October 05, 2008

This Just In(box)

Obama is a drug using Muslim terrorist sleeper agent who single-handedly brought about the current United States' financial crisis.

At least that's what several new chain emails are telling me.

Have you seen them? Have they graced your inbox too? With the McCain/Palin ticket slipping in the polls, the new batch of mud (or perhaps an old batch freshly making the rounds) has been popping up in my accounts, forwarded from breathless conservative friends trying to 'educate' me about the candidate I support for President. These emails are written in a freindly manner, as if some soccer mom in middle America has done some internet reasearch all on her own (without providing links) and come to discover a vast, Manchurian candidate scenario that also implicates the media in 'ignoring' said vast conspiracy.

Why can't all conservatives be like SAWB (and others) who keep their opposition to strictly policy and philosophical matters? His last email was a linkfest to legislation information, that I'm still doing my research on to challenge. Keeping to those, there is a strong case to be made about who to support in the election. People would be able to defend their choices on informed, intellectual levels.

But what I get in my inbox is so silly, I don't even have to google stuff to know that it is bullshit.

The Enemy Within Email

This email asks four seemingly simple questions, and then spins into a laughable screenplay of guilt-by-association circumstance that Hollywood wouldn't even make into a Vin Diesel thriller. The questions:

1. Where did his campaign money come from?
2. Where did he get the money to attend Harvard Law school and buy his home in Chicago?
3. What about his association with people who do not have the country's best interests in mind?
4. Why is the news media ignoring this?

I'll spare the long winded 'responses' that go on for two pages insinuating that the candidate is getting his money from Iraq, Iran, Syria and his well heeled supporters in the Middle East; that he made these contacts on a trip around the world paid for by Middle Easterners; that they paid for him to go to Harvard; that they paid for his house; and are now paying for the campaign.

It is a tale so fantastic in scope, that I should be laughing. But since Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is now bringing up terrorist claims as well, I think the emails deserve some response. The folks who thought the levees were blown up during Katrina had an easier case to make. But the easiest ways to dispel myths and whisper campaigns is to bring them into the open and expose them. And, the simplest explanation is often the correct one.

1. Obama is getting his campaign money from over 2 million donors. And he had that number in August. Though much has been made of the big money donors, and over half of his campaign cash comes from those who donated over $200 or more, the 2 million number is astounding. You can do the quick math: if everyone gave $10, that's $20M for the campaign; if everyone gave $100, that's $200M for the campaign; and so on. He's actually underperformed, as if everyone gave the max, he would have rasised $9.6 BILLION.

2a. How did Obama pay for Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law school? He was raised by a single mother who had to use food stamps!! The same way everyone who isn't a legacy goes to such schools - a mix of student loans, scholarships and Ivy League recruitment strategies. Hell, I know some folks who ran up huge government tabs for their advanced degrees, including Ph.D's, law schools, and medical schools.

2b. How did Obama afford a $1.65M home in Chicago? Call me crazy, but the cat graduated from Harvard Law school and married an attorney who worked for a firm. In my America, that's called a success story.

3. His association with people who don't have the country's best interests in mind? In life, you're going to have to work with people you disagree with. You're going to have to work with people you don't like. You're going to have contact with people who you have to interact with to acheive your personal goals. You're also going to have friends who do things you find unsavory. You cope, and that's life. This line of reasoning is the same one that linked the Bush family to the Saud family, Al Gore to the Chinese, and John McCain to the Iran-Contra affair and several genocidal dictators from around the world. Some people who have gutted houses and provided medical care to hurricane victims in post-Katrina New Orleans will forever be labeled with the same stigma because they worked with Common Ground or ACORN to do some good in this city. Few people will survive the six-degrees test based on such standards.

4. The media is not ignoring this, which is why I can refute all of these points off the top of my head. We've been dealing with stories like these since the campaign began, and to keep suggesting some sort of conspiracy to keep these things quiet demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how popular culture works in America. Almost every charge is one we have gone over before and almost every charge was either debunked by media or bloggers, or ended up being a non-story due to lack of interest from anywhere other than the fringe. You think the media would keep stories like this quiet, just look at the cover of the now famous cover of the New Yorker. Add to that how cutthroat politics are in Chicago - you think political rivals of Obama there would keep this quiet? Add to that the cutthroat nature of national politics - you think political rivals in the Senate would keep this quiet? And the kicker of kickers for the "media ignoring Obama's shady terrorist past" story: YOU THINK HILLARY CLINTON WOULD HAVE KEPT THIS QUIET?!?!

If you do, then I've got a blowed up levee and a bridge in Alaska to sell you.



patsbrother said...

First, please stop pointing to the New Yorker as an illutration of anti-Obama bias in the media. The intent behind that picture was to critique the misleading emails you correctly abhor. If you were offended by it, that offense stems from the New Yorker's poor judgment and inelegance in making it's point; however, your offense cannot stem from a point the cover did not make. You do realize what it sounds like when the incident you continue to trot out as evidence of media criticism of Senator Obama was intended by its creators to be pro-Obama, right?

Second, I notice you restrict your criticism to emails about Senator Obama, and insinuate such emails are the exclusive province of those who disagree with you politically. Congratulations! (You're now part of the football game!)

Apparently you haven't seen a list of books Palin asked to ban, including books that had yet to be published!

Apparently, you haven't heard that when Sarah Palin found out Senator Obama beat Senator Clinton for the nomination she exclaimed: "So Sambo beat the bitch!"

Apparently you didn't know that Palin is a knee-biting racist who has an especial hatred for Native Alaskans! (Just like all white Alaskans apparently!)

Apparently you didn't hear that - as a gun-toting moose-stripping woman - Palin might well approve of violence against blacks and Jews! (Oh wait, that wasn't an email. That was an elected representative.)

And as far as Manchurian Candidates go, people have been using that one on John McCain for years. Which means we may have a "Citizen Kang" moment on us! (But "don't blame me: I voted for Kodos.")

Not to be all self-centered, but here are some excerpts from MY response to my friend's mass forwarding of the Sarah-Palin-is-a-racist email. (My friend, the die-hard Obama fan, by the way.) Please note the lack of the "oh, why oh why can't liberals be like my one good liberal friend who has a brain" line.


I suppose Eugene also believes that Obama is a Muslim terrorist who is secretly a Venezuela-funded Manchurian Candidate, who isn't even a native-born American citizen. Because he read in a [expletive] email.

You're smarter than that, Eugene. Come on. [Discussion of just how nebulously unverifiable most of the email in question is, and details on my own investigation into the email's only named "source", which included a visit to and a call to 411.]

As far as Palin's alleged racism goes, out of all the things coming out about Palin, it doesn't surprise you that none of it is about Palin's racism except the asinine and inflammatory email you received? I have checked "Sambo" on, the New York Times, and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and there were no hits in reference to Palin. None. Don't you think this would be kind of a big story? You're acting like my idiot friend who fervently believed that Theresa Heinz-Kerry was actively funding four terrorist groups out in California during the 2004 election. Because he read in an online "newsletter".

[Investigation of Palin and Native Alaskans; provision of sources written by Native Alaskans critical of Palin, none of which menition her racism.]

Eugene, you disagree with her. I disagree with her. We disagree with her for a lack of reason on global warming, on evolution, and what have you. Why then would you ignore your reason and buy into such patently false crap? Anytime you receive unverifiable information through an email, you should assume it isn't true. As much as the main media outlets focus on the game of politics rather than substance, they would not let something like this go, not if there was a shred of proof to support it. You are acting in the same manner as ignorant [plural expletive] who email false stories around about Barack Obama. You bought into it hook line and sinker and sent it out for others' consumption. In doing so, you have continued rather incendiary libel against someone you do not know. This is part of the problem.

DADvocate said...

patsbrother - you left out Palin making victims pay for rape kits. Another lie the Boston Globe is still perpetuating. Not just some obvious whacko sending emails I never read.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Wait, let me get this right: according to chain emails that suck, Sarah Palin is a 'racist who may ban books at the library and call people bad names,' while Obama is a 'secret Muslim terrorist funded by foreign and domestic terrorists so when he wins he can destroy America.'

Yeah, that sounds remotely comparable. We're definitely playing the same sport in the same ballpark.

And I've seen CNN do segments dispeling Sarah Palin rumors, as well. Don't know about the other news organizations (or the Boston Globe's wierd allegations), but if you watched CNN the week she was placed on the ticket, much of her primary whisper campaigns were refuted on national news.

christy said...

i hear you loud and clear.

patsbrother said...

Your attempt to brush off your own clear partisan hoo-ha is laughable. Plus, bonus points for insinuating that the media has done a smashing job dispelling false Palin rumors while somehow dropping the ball on the "is-Obama-a-Muslim" question. Because no media organization has addressed that one, clearly.

You think the Obama emails are more heinous because you desperately want him to be the next President. However, in my seemingly over-educated town, I have overheard many an individual recount as truth the false Palin rumors (or been told they are truth directly by friends). I cannot recall one person tell me that Obama is a Muslim or a terrorist.

Am I saying people who say these things about Obama don't exist somewhere in America? NO.

But either both are serious problems or both are not.

My point: slanderous misinformation is a problem regardless of which way it cuts, because it undermines the electorate's ability to make informed choices and impugns the reputations of good people.

Your point: such misinformation is only a problem when it adversely affects my candidate, because it undermines the likelihood the electorate will make a choice in my candidate's favor.

Congratulations on taking the high ground on that one, dude.


Now, I will take a moment to say that I believe Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, a true-blue unrepentent terrorist, is a legitimate subject. I don't care that his organization's bombings took place when Obama was 8. Obama befriend and openly took aid from someone who was and is openly proud of having been a terrorist. I think requesting more information and an explanation is small dice on this one.

You can breathlessly gasp at how unfair such questions are, but you really should be aiming such breathy gasps at your own candidate, as he is the only one who can answer them.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Your attempt to brush off your own clear partisan hoo-ha is laughable.

Not really. The post is about the anti-Obama emails I have recieved from conservative friends. I have not received any about Palin from liberal friends. Please see also the title and bold subtitle of this post. It is very clear.

Even to your comment, I conceded further that chain emails suck.

And yes, I think the anti-Obama emails are more heinous than the ant-Palin emails because 1) I have not recieved any anti-Palin emails as compared to roughly 15 seperate anti-Obama emails in the past month, and 2) I still think there is a serious difference between saying someone engaged in book banning and name-calling vs. someone is a Muslim terrorist out to destroy America.

Yeah, they both have adverse effects on the electorate, but rhetorically they are the difference between yelling "fart" in a crowded theatre and yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. One stinks and the other is incendiary.

Dante said...

Relying on anecdotal evidence is dicey at best. You've received 15 anti-Omaba emails and 0 anti-Palin but is that really representative of most people are getting? Did you ever think that maybe your conservative friends send you the outlandish Obama emails exactly because you are a liberal? What's the fun in sending you an anti-Palin chain mail that you'll summarily ignore when someone could send you an anti-Obama email that you're sure to cry about on your blog? I have yet to receive an anti-Obama or an anti-Palin chain mail. That doesn't mean I don't think they exist.

I know you have a penchant for responding to chain mail here but if I knew you were going to respond to every single one you get that attacks your political positions, I would've started finding some to send to you long ago. I might've even made a few up.