Showing posts with label Email-Land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Email-Land. Show all posts

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Newtown Anniversary Evokes fear that "They're Coming to Get Our Guns"

On the day that Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot point blank in the head, and 19 people were shot and 6 died, the ThinkTank-ocracy's rapid response spin team laid groundwork for the three years that have followed, of preemptive strikes against anyone who might claim any connection between guns and killing. I observed some of this rapid response brainstorming myself.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Right Wing Dad - Great Resource, but ...

I took a look at the latest on, namely (it may not be the "latest" by the time you read this).

This blog does a great service simply by bringing to light a lot of the misinformation that gets circulated in anonymous emails, which urge the reader, if a "true American" to forward it to as many other upstanding Americans as possible.  The fact that citizen X receives this email from Aunt Sally, clearly seems to weaken the skepticism you'd normally have about anonymous claims coming out of nowhere.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sic Semper Tyrannis

I've been mulling over how these words are floating around on the web.  It is Latin for "Thus always to tyrants" or something to that affect.  Since it is most famous for having been shouted by John Wilkes Booth as he killed Abraham Lincoln, and supposed (by some) to have been said by one or more of Caesar's assassins, the implication is that tyrants always are, or should be, killed.

Why this phrase?  A huge segment of the American public has convinced themselves that Obama is the worst tyrant ever to "reign" in America.  Google the phrase and you will get 100s of thousands of links which at a first look seem to be to right wing blogs, etc.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Supposed 3.8% Tax on Real Estate Sold after 2013

A recent piece of email disinformation received on 11/2/2011 is titled:

Will You Sell Your House After 2012?:

So easy to be ignorant...
Subject: Will You Sell Your House after 2012?
Will You Sell Your House after 2012?  
The National Association of REALTORS is all over this and working to get it repealed, before it takes effect. But, I am very pleased we aren't the only ones who know about this ploy to steal billions from unsuspecting homeowners. How many REALTORS do you think will vote Democratic in 2012?  
Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it? That's $3,800 on a $100,000 home, etc. When did this happen? It's in the health care bill and goes into effect in 2013.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land (revision)

"R. Kelly Garrett randomly surveyed 600 Americans about their online habits, and whether they'd heard—and believed—a number of widespread rumors. He found that the Web does expose us to more rumors. But the Web also delivers more rebuttals,...
            (Technically true, but most can't/won't find them)
"E-mail’s more insidious. Because you’re more likely to believe that rumor forwarded by cousin Rob. And the more you believe something, Garrett says, the more you want to share it with your social network."
                      [see below for source, c2011]
[This is a revision of my article from 8/29/2011 about email as a viral disinformation carrier at that time, before Facebook and Twitter increased the problem by an order of magnitude; lies such as that Obama was born outside the U.S. - which Donald Trump loudly proclaimed until it made him part of the political conversation]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"We Will Shoot More Police in Arizona" and Other Email Idiocy

Have you seen this picture, accompanied with a caption somewhat like the following?

It has been circulated via chain emails.  Is the picture real or photoshopped?  There hasn't been a conclusive answer as far as I can tell.  One thing that has been demonstrated is that the the caption ("Picture taken by one of my friends in Phoenix yesterday ...") is untrue because the background is the LA Times complex, so whoever added "Picture taken by one of my friends in Phoenix yesterday ..." was lying.  This is a pattern I've often noticed with anonymous chain emails.  If a picture, or story gets wide circulation, and succeeds in working a lot of people up, then it will get reused, with whatever changes are necessary, the next time there is a news event which it can be fitted to.

It is part of a very big phenomenon I described in My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land.  There is also a web site called "My Right Wing Dad" devoted to simply collecting thousands of such emails.

The picture by itself means little or nothing.  The signholder could be as uniquely crazy as Jared Loughton (see "Crosshairs, Blood Libel, and Rabid Partisans");  for that matter, it could be a liberal-baiter who wrote the sign himself.  The sign-holder looks like he's talking with someone, maybe the photographer ("OK you want me to hold it a little higher?").  The sign itself reads like a parody in my opinion, but consider this: if the sign holder was truly one of the protesters, and spent any amount of time displaying it (as opposed to posing once for the picture), why haven't multiple pictures of this outrageous sign appeared?.  If the sign represents the views of the marchers, are there pictures of any others with similar messages?

Why does is matter? Why are millions of people passing this stuff around?  As to what motivates it, I believe the philosophy goes back at least 30 years to what Terry Dolan, one of the founders of NCPAC, said of their strategy:
"A group like ours could lie through its teeth, and the candidate it helps stays clean.". Washington Post, August 10, 1980 (quoted by Wikipedia).
The power of PACs, and of skunkworks of "dirty tricksters" is truly wondrous.

An indispensable element of these emails, which I've been studying for a couple of years, is the phony folksy lead-in which gives the impression this was just passed along by a "concerned" friend of a friend, not from some junior Machiavelli in a boiler room somewhere.

Various tricks are used to "prove" authenticity, not the least of which is the manufactured outrage -- as in another of the variations cited by

 I know john personally! THIS IS LEGIT!
The photo was taken at a protest 5/1/10 in Phoenix!

                       (as noted, the backdrop is the LA Times bldg which is NOT in Phoenix)

I for one am OUTRAGED by this photo, taken the next day after a Pinal County Sheriffs Deputy was shot by Mexican Drug Runners with an AK-47 just a few miles from my home.  THIS CRAP IS TAKING PLACE "IN MY BACKYARD"! YOU PEOPLE in other states Need to shut the hell up, and actually READ THE PROPOSED LAW for yourselves, and NOT LISTEN TO THE RACEBAITERS like Sharpton and OBAMA!

I have about had enough.
Why do I say "manufactured" outrage?  In this case, there is the lie of personal knowledge that the photo was taken in Phoenix when in fact the scene is Los Angeles.

If you are not one of the people who swallows this sort of thing whole, let me just say that these things are effective.  They get past peoples skepticism because they seem so amateurish, like somebody just got fed up and in impotent rage, put it all together and sent it out to his or her little informal club of people who exchange interesting emails.  But when most of the emails like this I've seen contain elaborate deceptions (See "My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land") it makes more sense to think the composer was interested in changing public opinion for a certain political result, not in sharing their genuine personal outrage as they claim.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Obama & The Human Stain" (from Canada Free Press)

This Jewel can be found at
It is very badly argued in my opinion, but someone I care about was much taken with it, so I feel a need to say something about it.

The whole title is "Obama & The Human Stain: Or How Political Correctness Gave America a Con-Man President".  I was wondering how much notice this publication got, so did these checks:
 Google { "Canada Free Press" } ==> 245,000 hits (up from 207,000 earlier today)
         Their motto is "Because without America there is no Free World"
 Google { "Obama & The Human Stain" } ==> 883 hits

Well, the article is only 2 days old.  It is posted in full on (with enthusiastic discussion) and has several links from  Obviously these are two of many, but are one's I'm familiar with (the person I care about frequently reads

The major claims:
  Claim 1: (implied) Obama owes his election to "PC".  This comes in the form of a question: Could Barack have been elected president without the doctrine known as Political Correctness? The author's answer, without giving any reasons is that the "vast majority of Americans" know this.  Oh, before giving that answer, he asked rhetorically "Or is simply to ask the question an unforgivable act of racism?".  This illustrates, in my opinion, how people who read only right wing news sources get their ideas about how "liberals" think.  Rush Limbaugh, for one, spends more time telling listeners what Liberals think, than he does telling what he thinks.
   Claim 2: "Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism", and it was invented (much as the evil southerners played by Lloyd Bridges and Burl Ives invented sharecropping and the KKK in just one little conversation in the mini-series Roots) by the Frankfurt School, a bunch of disappointed Marxists, in the 1920s and 30s.  It turns out that the slogan "Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism" goes back about 20 years, maybe to Pat Buchanan, or perhaps he got it from someone earlier.  The best I can make of this is that "Political Correctness" has come to stand for all sorts of things, and especially Post-modernism, which the Frankfurt was very instrumental in bringing about.  I have never known PC to stand for anything other than an often excessive avoidance of old pejorative labels or doctrines (such as inherent mental or moral differences between races) that have come to be associated with past horrors like the Nazi Holocaust.
    Claim 3: Obama is a "malignant narcissist" which is a very bad thing.

In Philip Roth's The Human Stain, a professor wonders out loud whether 2 students registered for his class, who never showed up, were real or "spooks".  Because they just happen to be black unbenownst to the professor, he is duly crucified.  The writer tends to make a lot of associations that don't add up to anything; e.g., he seems to think The Human Stain is particularly relevant because both Barack Obama and the professor (mischevously and un-PC-ishly named Coleman Silk) are of mixed race (the professor's part-black ancestry is unknown, which is the Great irony(!!) of the book).

The article writer manages to work in, in the space of 2 pages, four bits of seeming erudition meant, I think, to impress, but in my opinion, one after the other fails to serve any real purpose in the essay.  There is
  1. Philip Roth's "tome" as he calls it.  OK the book addresses PC, which the writer claims is the key to Obama's election, and it has a mixed race protagonist.  But the discussion of The Human Stain does nothing to support the claim about Obama and PC.  I'm afraid it may just be emotionally gratifying because Human Stain free-associates with "black" as well as with "bad".  Also a mixed race professor happens to get crucified, hoisted on his own petard, which I expect the author would like to see happen to Obama.
  2. He also introduces Melville's The Confidence Man, only as far I can see as a fancy way to call Obama a Con-man.  He even shows off that he knows something about a real like case that help to inspire the book.  But does he give any example of Obama acting as a con-man?  No; much less relate any such example to Melville's subject.  He just says "like with Obama, the scam could not be pulled off without well-meaning but fatuously (that will send some people to the dictionary!) naive people ready to be conned.  Did he fail to notice that in many if not most cases, the big con is based on the greed of the victim, who thinks he has by some luck been given a secret advantage over other people.  No, in his circle to mention that would be politically incorrect, because greed is good.
  3. We are to be impressed again by her knowledge of the Frankfort School, though no more is said about them than could be found in a one volume encyclopedia.  It's just that they were evil Marxists, and they invented PC.  I'm old enough to have observed PC evolving -- the awkward stumbling over "man vs person", chairwoman  or chairperson, "black", "Persons of color", Afro-Americans, and most recently, "slaves" must be replaced with "Enslaved persons".  It can go too far, and people on occasion get hurt, as they get hurt by other sometimes useful things, like automobiles.  If it is all totally dismissed with contempt, we will again see Sambo and big-nosed ugly caricatures of Jews in our editorial cartoons.  Won't that be great?  The point seems to be I suppose that everybody was cowed from being critical of Obama out of "PC" because he was black.  That's not the way I remember it.  I've never seen the image of a presidential candidate and later president so trashed.  The thing one will get crucified for is saying there is the least element of race in it when Obama is called an "alien"; when it is said that he is obsessed with colonialism and vengefulness towards white, "proven" by writings of his father, for whom he seems to have faint and mixed feelings despite the title of the book, if one actually reads it.
  4. Finally, we have an "expert" on narcissism, Sam Vaknin who sees signs of this "full-blown mental disorder" in Obama.  Perhaps I should go further into this, but not today I'm afraid.

Finally, in a summary, the piece breaks down into pure unsupported raving, and says "he must be impeached from office for the survival of the American Republic".

OK, but can you tell us why, and avoid saying "everybody knows"?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Another email making the rounds, or it was last December (2010) courtesy "":
In a press conference last week Obama was not
wearing his wedding ring nor was he wearing his watch.
When noticed, his staff said his ring was out for repairs.                                                                                                      
No reason was given for the missing watch.
So it’s just a coincidence that Muslims are forbidden
from wearing jewelry during the month of Ramadan???

Can't possibly be that, because although he hasn't gone to a
Christian church service since entering the White House, we
know he's a committed Christian 'cause he said so during the campaign.
to see why every word of it is false, starting with the fact that there is no Muslim prohibition on wearing jewelry during Ramadan.

USPS New 44-Cent Stamp Celebrates a Muslim holiday

Claims like this have been around, especially in the forwarded email channel at least twice. One such forwarded email says

President  Obama has directed the United States Postal  Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID MUSLIM  holiday season with a new commemorative 44-Cent  First Class Holiday Postage Stamp.
See for the full email.

What is the truth?  There are a couple of excuses for saying this has a grain of truth.  One is that anybody can send off a picture to, say of your new baby, or cat, or some mysterious Arabic writing, and will produce a real usable stamp.  E.g.

which was the image used in the email that I read.  See

The email says it is the second time a stamp honoring an Islamic holiday has been issued, leaving the reader to assume Obama "ordered" the previous one.

Actually, Snopes tells us there was a real stamp issued to honor an Islamic holiday.  It was issued on September 1, 2001 as part of a series of Holiday Themed Stamps, including ones of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa which turned out to be very bad timing.  If any president was responsible it was the then current president GW Bush.  According to Snopes, the Holiday Series is still reissued from time to time, and nobody has seen fit to exclude the Muslim one.  Apparently there were 4 reissues under Bush, and 3 under Obama.

How widespread is this misinformation?  At the time of writing,
Google { "Stamp  Celebrates a Muslim holiday" } ==> 33,000 results
I assume mine will be among them sortly, but see how long it takes you to find one of these links that isn't repeating the story as gospel.

I have been checking out emails like this for a couple of years, since my mother started forwarding them to me.  Nearly all the ones she forwards contains elaborate deceptions just as this one does (there are a lot of jokey emails that don't claim to reveal some new fact, but she sends the ones that do make some shocking claim).

My observations of such emails are summarized in My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Detailed Thoughts on Possibility of Unmasking Phoney-Folksy (and full of clever deception) Emails:

This is an email to Timothy Jost, who appeared on NPR Morning Edition to discuss how "Death Panel" and other wild myths got spread about the healthcare reform act.

(Emails from an unsuccessful attempt in 9/2010 at some anti-propaganda action.)

                                                                                        Sat, 4 Sep 2010
I listened with interest to what you had to say with Julie Rovner on Morning Edition, 9/3. I'm glad you are looking into this matter, but I don't think it is as simple as "People combing the Web found these microchips and saw this implantable medical device registry as an attempt to implant microchips in people," Jost says. "And then the rumor expanded to say that all people who signed up for the public plan that was in that bill would have to have a microchip implanted."

My belief, based on what I've seen, is that these wild rumors get much, and possibly most of their strength from carefully planted disinformation which looks to people like "Email from a friend of a friend". I am 58 years old and have never seen such wide belief in preposterous claims (nearly all of which seem aimed at bringing down the Obama presidency and/or Democrat majority in Congress).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Latest in Email "News" Madness

Over the last months, I have tried to shed some light on photographic "proofs" that
(1) the President will not salute or make any gesture when the National Anthem is Played
(2) Gaza Palestinians held a mass marraige of 450 grown men to girls under the age of 10, and
(3) a couple of Texas Muslim Shopkeepers Posted notice on their store window that they were taking the day off to celebrate the martyrdom on one of the 9/11 suicide hijackers
(named "Imam Ali" -- who actually died in the 8th century, not on 9/11/2001).

So what's the latest? Well, there is this claim that "President Obama's finance team and Nancy Pelosi are recommending a 1% transaction tax on all financial transactions.". This is prefaced with
"I checked this out on and it is mostly TRUE!! This is just astonishing! When are we going to get this IDIOT out ..."
Actually, what "TruthOrFiction" Reports is that there is such a proposal -- NOT that it is being pushed by the Obama Team or Pelosi, but rather "The bill was sponsored (and introduced on 2/23/2010) by Democratic Congressional Representative Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and says that it is to "establish a fee on transactions which would eliminate the national debt and replace the income tax on individuals.". So the truth is that there is one crackpot Democrat (the bill has only one sponsor) who thinks putting a 1% tax on each and every financial transaction (ATM withdraways, checks, any sale whatsovever ...) will pay off the national debt while allowing income tax to be abolished, which actually, if it were true, would be good news. Nancy Pelosi may have said, back in December 2009 (before it was introduced?) that it "had some merit -- This, according to "Real Clear Politics". If this was introduced in February 2010, and has gone nowhere, why are we hearing about it now? Because it's been so long since it was last floated about that most email recipients will have forgotten about it by now. This is a common tactic. We get links to YouTube videos with no date, denouncing some immigration bill. Why no date? Because it was introduced in 2007 and supported by Bush, and has nothing to do with the present and President Obama.

I should say something about the "Sic-ing the UN or poor Arizona". Yes, the US is complying with a UN resolution for nations to submit statements about their human rights records. Try actually reading the "29-page Universal Periodic Review". It is mostly full of how wonderful American freedoms are. E.g.:

... the most enduring contribution of the United States has been as a political experiment. The principles that all are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights were translated into promises and, with time, encoded into law. These simple but powerful principles have been the foundation upon which we have built the institutions of a modern state that is accountable to its citizens and whose laws are both legitimated by and limited by an enduring commitment to respect the rights of individuals. It is our political system that enables our economy and undergirds our global influence. As President Obama wrote in the preface to the recently published National Security Strategy, "democracy does not merely represent our better angels, it stands in opposition to aggression and injustice, and our support for universal rights is both fundamental to American leadership and a source of our strength in the world."...
Somewhere, it mentions Arizona:
A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined.
This is the sole reference to the Arizona Law -- a far cry from inviting the UN to send attack helicoptors to Arizona.
More to come, probably, but I have to stop for now and try to make a living.


Friday, October 1, 2010

"Obama Crotch Salute": Lies, Damned Lies and Right WIng Forwards

A recent posting on this blog:
"Mass Muslim Marriage in Gaza 450 Grooms Wed GIRLS Under Ten In Gaza"( illustrated how real news photos can be used to illustrate totally made up stories.

I use the expression "Right Wing Forward" to refer to a phenomenon I explained inMy Not-Really Right-Wing Mom and her Adventures in Email-Land
Of course not all misleading forwarded emails come from right wing, or whatever you would call it, sources.

NPR's "On the Media" radio magazine did a story on false rumor-mongering emails, and (bending over backwards to be "fair-minded", IMHO), they only mentioned a spate of email slurs against Sarah Palin. Such slurs were very much in the news just after the Palin nomination.  Still, if there is a well-oiled machine for putting out patently untrue Left Wing attack emails by the hundreds, please show me some evidence.

Re the use of the term "Right Wingers"-- to me, whoever is responsible these emails (not to mention the more extreme blogs) behave more like 60s/70s "Yippees", and they want to tear down existing institutions and traditions, so I am unable to call them conservatives. Frankly, conservativism is something we could use, but there are precious few real conservatives left -- certainly very few to be found in the Republican party.

Anyway, I wanted to show another example of the tactic used in a whole class of emails, of pairing real news photos with made-up stories to which too many people have the reaction"Pictures don't lie" and accept the whole story.

The most recent "Crotch Salute" email consisted of a picture and a one-paragraph preface:
At the Ft. Hood Memorial Service.
The Crotch Salute Returns.....
I'm sorry folks, but is this the turkey that was elected President of our
country? You know, the United States of America ? I do believe that
saluting the flag goes with that, and also to honor the servicemen who died, or
is he above that? Shower us all with flowery words and dazzle us with B.S.
but actions speak louder.
This stinks!!!

and it claims to illustrate the myth that Obama pointedly fails to salute or cross his heart when the national anthem is played.

Supposedly, it shows Obama at the Fort Hood shooting memorial service, but it is the same picture used earlier to make the same claim about a Veterans' Day, 2009 ceremony.

In the previous use of the same picture, the text says:
Subject: Picture from last week's Veterans Day Ceremony
Check out this latest picture from Veterans Day Ceremony, 11/11/09, Arlington National Cemetery. It may be the National Anthem or the Flag being presented, but EVERYBODY in the picture is either saluting or has his hand over the HEART ... except ONE.
You form your own opinion.
The picture has been traced to newsreel footage of Obama standing with his hands folded in front of him (hence "crotch salute"), while as one can tell by viewing the full footage, "Hail to the Chief" is being played, and 3 officers on the stand are saluting and one civilian has his hand over his heart.

Feel free to dispute what is really going on in the picture, but I offer a couple of refutations of the claims in the emails:


"Sodahead", which seems to be if anything anti-Obama, had presented one variant of this email with no comment, implying agreement with its message, but tucked in among the many expressions of outrage at the "disrespectful" president, was this comment, presented in full:

I have to interject, not because I support BHO (Obama) , but because there are so many real things to be upset about. The left can ignore the REAL issues when false rumors are spread that have been discredited by snopes, urbanlegends, and ever other fact checking site (and backed up by actual video of the events). It gives them ammunition and could lend credence to libs who argue that those opposed to Obama are just extremists who will 1. lie to manipulate the public and 2. say and believe anything.It doesn't help the cause and makes us seem like loons.

The pictures were taken at the Wreath Laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day, 2009. It was taken as Hail to the Chief was playing just as he took his place on the stage. They were saluting him, and whether we like it or not, it's not appropriate for
him to salute himself. You can verify this yourself if you fast forward to 11minutes into the ceremony: video of the whole ceremony is at

Again, whether we like it or not (and I think we all can agree that we SHOULD like it when the president behaves appropriately), he saluted at all the right points and put his hand over his heart during the national anthem. He did this both at the Memorial day ceremony AND at
the Ft Hood ceremony (video of that is at and on Fox).

We need to cross check and double check everything before we post. Although I believed it too when I first saw the photos, I realize that the more honest and forthright we are, the better our own moral standing when it comes to fighting the things that are truly wrong and devastating to our country.

In case you think I'm just making up a random defense, please watch the videos and search the internet for keywords: "ft hood" obama salute (you can add "hoax" or "snopes" to see related videos and to see photos of moments before and this one was taken.

Please don't flame me...I believe that the number one hope for America right now is that people are willing to research claims and discover the truth. I just want what they read from us to be 100% true, in contrast to the lies they may discover when they research things 'political leaders' have said or even what they hear from the mainstream media.

I've already sent a correction out to everyone I forwarded this to (and I forwarded the email I got to my entire mailing list!!). I think it'd be a good idea for us all to do that, because when they discover someone lied about the date and the events, some people will assume we're liars, will shut down, and won't listen to anything else.
If I thought this kind of thing was being turned out by an uncoordinated set of individuals misunderstanding the news, or it could be explained by the "telephone effect" -- each time you retell a story it is likely to get embellished until it bears no resemblance to the original -- I'd say it's sad but what can we do?
Granted, I believe many anti-liberal emails are indeed written by regular people exorcizing their outrage and displaying their cleverness -- e.g. Obama in a beret which is actually a giant acorn cap.  But I think it takes a different sort of person to turn out such cleverly constructed deceptions.
But I have just seen far too many such emails full of deliberate deceptions and lies which are uniformly well written with no spelling errors and the deceptions are very clever. Emails like this are not the work of amateurs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Would a Right Wing Source Make Up a Phoney 'Charles Krauthammer' Speech? And What Might This Say About Right Wing Forwards?

I started this blog with far broader, and more exploratory and less argumentative aims than just trying to combat "Right Wing Forwards" and their misinformation. But I suspect their effect is far beyond what most people imagine, and there is a near-total lack of media focus on them.
I've recently noticed a subclass of the Right Wing Forward which may shed some light on them. Many of them seek, in one way or another, an air of legitimacy through putting outrages statements in the mouths of people who never said them. But one type of RMF makes up whole speeches or editorials by right wing celebrities. Why not let these people speak for themselves?

There is an email centered on a purported intimate speech by Charles Krauthammer (the original that I received is at, which is shown to be made-up at:

Summary of the eRumor:
A forwarded email with comments by journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer about President Obama.
The Truth:
Charles Krauthammer has issued a statement about this eRumor saying it is "neither accurate nor authoritative."

He said the email is "somebody putting his own ideological stamp on and spin on my views."

Krauthammer said, "One giveaway of the superimposition of someone else's views on mine is the rather amusing use of phrases that I never use. To take just a few examples randomly: 'God forbid,' 'far left secular progressive,' 'this is the first president ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies!' 'no country had ever spent themselves into prosperity,' and, the real doozy, 'states rights.'"

He said his views are clearly spelled out in a series of columns that can
be found on his web site.
My mother was rather impressed with the email. One clue to why someone faked a Krauthammer speech is one of her comments that she'd read some of his articles but "always found it a little confusing what side he was on".

So it seems like Krauthammer for people who don't read Krauthammer and wouldn't, because they'd find him too abstract or something. But they've heard of him as a great intellectual, and are primed to be impressed by his thoughts if they can understand them.

From a 2007 Christopher Hayes article in The Nation titled "The New Right Wing Smear Machine":
For a certain kind of conservative, these e-mails, along with talk-radio, are an informational staple, a means of getting the real stories that the mainstream media ignore. "I get a million of them!" says Gerald DeSimone, a 74-year-old veteran from Ridgewood, New Jersey, who describes his politics as "to the right of Attila the Hun." "If I forwarded every one on, everyone would hate me.... I'm trying to cut back. I try to send no more than two or three a day. I must get thirty or forty a day."
I think part of the key may be the need for volume: what seems to be effective is such a constant high-volume flow of these messages that people will (1) come to rely on them as an alternative news source (for stories that the mainstream media is "suppressing", like that Obama is a Muslim), and (2) even to those who are somewhat skeptical, there is just so much, and it seems to be stuff that friends of friends of friends simply transposed from some source, that some of it is bound to be true.

The web site has archived, by my count of some weeks ago, 1285 emails of this general type. I believe somebody has a need to crank out a lot of stuff to make this work, so all sorts of shortcuts are taken. It helps that they are mostly false, because if they were true, they wouldn't be "adding" to the general public knowledge. All sorts of articles, speechs, chopped scrambled, or just collections of thoughts that someone thinks a celebrity might have said -- Jokes about Obama that Jay Leno never actually made, have to be thrown into the mix. If Obama is accused of having committed some outrageous behavior (with "photographic proof") on Memorial Day 2009, the same picture and context (except some details) will reappear on Labor Day, 2010.

[to be continued??]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Comments on another "Proof" that Obama is a Muslim

Owing to my extreme lack of free time, I am posting an email to my "not really right-wing Mom", essentially unedited. The email that she found alarming follows my comments

It's hard to deal with on a point by point basis. To find any stats on how often wives accompany husband heads of state on state visits is difficult. I suspect they frequently don't. It's not clear what she'd do there -- probably be kept out of public sight as are all women in Saudi Arabia.

There are a lot of dubious "facts" that I find very difficult to check on, but why is it believable that Obama is a Muslim? If he was, there would be much more solid
evidence than this coming out. Why does a Muslim attend a Christian church for a decade or 2? Are there scads of stories of his refusing pork on campaign stops? No, and there are stories of him sampling exotic ham in a New York food shop. It seems to me you have to believe Obama was invented just to become the U.S. president and do all the terrible things some people imagine he will do. That sort of thing just doesn't work except in thriller novels and movies He's been in the U.S. since he was a young boy, but they can't find a couple of dozen credible people to say they saw him perform this or that Muslim activity? The very fact that they have to resort to such convoluted logic to "prove" he's a Muslim is practically a proof that he's not.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Overview of "Right Wing Forwards"

Am I nuts to see these right-wing anonymous emails as a major source of the insanity that permeates our politics today -- the labeling of anybody who'd consider a return to 40% tax brackets for multimillionaires as Marxists or at the least "dangerous ideologues" never mind the 90% rates still current in Eisenhower's day?

In the 1st Spring and Summer of the Obama administration, I started getting these things forwarded from my parents, who were always Republican, but never inclined to this sort of extremism, and my mother, at least seemed totally taken in by them, and this was exactly when "tea partiers" started going to congressman's "Town Hall" meetings to discuss the issues of health care, and drowning out any voice but their own.

My strong impression is that there is quite a consistency to a large number of these messages that indicates someone is churning them out regularly -- someone who absolutely knows he or they are spreading lies, and I am trying to come up with tactics for exposing it en masse, but nothing will happen unless first my intuition can be confirmed that this having a tremendous impact, and may well be a sine qua non of the Tea Party movement.

I think this tool is being wielded like one of those utterly brilliant on-the-cheap tactics, that when nobody suspects their existence can turn the world upside down -- like, say, getting suicidally inclined fanatics to learn how to pilot an airliner, taking over planes with a handful of men with boxknives -- too little metal to trip the old metal detectors, and you know the rest.

Yes, it's an extreme comparison, but frankly if Americans lose all ability to think clearly and govern this country sanely, the results can be (or have they already been?) far greater than the damage done by all the terrorists in the world.

I have a notion of how to test the hypothesis fairly cheaply (beyond my means, but cheap as polling studies go), which I've tried to share with various parties.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some thoughts on JournOlist and the teapot calling the kettle racist (and any other term of abuse t

Some thoughts I posted on, but I think they got pretty much buried in the avalanche of abuse. Quite a few ideas I've expressed before, but I can't hold a candle to some people when it comes to being repetitious.

The best argument for a closed list is what an open list discussion looks like **THIS**.
"Racist, Racist, I dare you to call me a racist you racist".
Maybe the right has closed lists. Maybe they need them less because they can outshout anybody, and never tire of saying the same things over and over again. I'm sure some groups of operatives do because they *truly* don't want people to know what they're saying. Now they're going to dare you to open your full archives, to provide 100 times as much fodder to be SHERRODed (I don't think it will catch on, but the right can talk about "Borking").

I'll wager that right wing journalists don't need anything like Journolist -- even the conspiratorial Journolist of their wild imaginations because they (right wing journalists) are an integral part of the whole right wing movement, with its conferences and other venues in which tactics for pushing this agenda or smearing this or that person are discussed openly.

I think there is a huge unexamined side of the right wing noise machine is ripe for journalistic investigation: the emails that try to look like they are from a friend of a friend.
A year ago I started getting emails my parents' friends had forwarded to them. There would be lists showing who had previously forwarded the item to the friend, and so on, but it was never clear who put it together.
My parents have always been pretty mainstream Republicans. My Mom still has some admiration for FDR and Truman, and feels Nixon got what he deserved, and they are far from ready for the revisionism that says we were "stabbed in the back" by liberals over Vietnam. She has just gotten through reading 3 Cups of Tea and loved it.
They live in a wealthy retirement community with mostly college educated people (ages generally 60-80 and up) who've run small to middle sized businesses and the like.
And they and their friends were getting, and believing in the emails with the links to YouTube videos proving Obama deliberately failed to salute the flag when generals and cabinet members around him were saluting. My mother is distressed and saying "What can you say to defend a man like that?" Actually they were saluting the president while "Hail to the Chief" was played. The email was called "The Crotch Salute" because of the awkward position of Obama's hands. Googling "crotch salute" I get 11,400 hits so it has gotten around and precious few of the hits have anyone debunking it.
They get "parables" in which Obama is portrayed as a smooth Marxist/Mafia thug. And other parables with simplistic economic implications.
They contain bits like "what if I were to tell you that Obama wants to dismantle conservative talk radio through the imposition of a new "Fairness Doctrine. that he wants to curtail the First Amendment rights of those who may disagree with his policies via internet blogs..."
Would you say, "C'mon, that will never happen in America ." (this one is a sort of 12 part call-and response thing).
They received a tirade against Obama by Gene Iacocca which was really a 3 year old anti-Bush screed with selective omissions and just one addition.
Some of them have gotten clever enough to say "Approved by Snopes" when in fact Snopes called them a fraud.
They take an essay from a right wing crazy site and call it an "article" (they never distinguish between "article" and op-ed) from the prestigious WSJ.
It seems the right wing propaganda apparat has 3 parts: (1) The Emails where everything EVERYTHING I've seen has been full of blatant lies. (2) wild bloggers who deal in stuff that has a shred of something to back it up (they can't help it if some pure and simple lies get into their comments section (
(3) Finally the stars, who avoid sue-able libel, and deal in interpretations rooted in millions of under the radar words that THEY don't have to risk saying.

Assuming I'm right about the right wing emails, etc., how can the lies and their sources be exposed?
I think first of all, people are vastly underestimating the impact. I'd propose ongoing polling. Watch them as they emerge and circulate. can help with that, and just poll 1000 (maybe less would do) people soon after something emerges to ask whether they believe whatever is being stated. No need, I think, to say anything about where they would have gotten the idea.
Another course of action without the big cost of polling is, don't let Rush and Glenn off the hook. Call and ask "What do you think of Obama's refusal to salute the flag". ( I believe their hope, and certainly what serves them best, is for these things to remain invisible to all but their partisans, and certainly not make publicity for them to get publically debunked.
If 10% of people are believing a ludicrous lie that is important news. If one can find out where the lies are coming from (there is too much similarity in style for me to believe they come from random "concerned citizens"), that is even more important news.
As for the "anything goes" blogs, I think they need to be taken seriously too. Here, unlike with the right wing emails, there is nothing secret to unmask. One way to take them seriously is to try to determine the size of their readership - some of them no doubt advertize their 'hit rates'. Also, the idea of polling applies equally well to them. And likewise putting more visible right wing (which I say because "Radical Conservative" is an oxymoron) commentators on the spot.
For an example of Rush&co studiously ignoring the "Final nail in the coffin of the global warming hoax", see

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RE: "Mass Muslim Marriage in Gaza 450 Grooms Wed GIRLS Under Ten In Gaza"

This is a brief analysis of an email -- one of those urging that you to forward them to at least 10 other people, which claimed to describe a mass marriage of Muslim men to child brides of "under 10 year old".

LINK: Mass Muslim Marriage in Gaza 450 Grooms Wed GIRLS Under Ten In Gaza
  • Images 1-4 are supposedly of the "Child Brides". The rest though linked to this email, are unrelated -- showing some Muslim fanatics holding stupid inflamatory signs.

It is typical of many such deliberately dishonest emails, which I discuss in detail in "My Not-Really Right-Wing Mom and her Adventures in Email-Land", and in particular uses the same sort of "real picture -- made-up story" approach used in the "Obama Crotch Salute" story.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Get an email with extreme anti-Obama claims? Call up Rush or Glenn. See if they can confirm it.

I have a suggestion for the next time you receive an email forwarded by a friend, that seems to have been written by some "concerned citizen" that says the president will make $85 Million from insider trading on the BP oil spill, or that the CO2 level in the atmosphere has been essentially static for the last hundred years (which would mean the vast majority of climate scientists -- essentially a complete community of hard (not social) scientists have been living on lies).

Call up Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck and ask them, and don't accept a vague answer, say "Come on Rush, this is the biggest challenge to the Global Warming hoax ever. You've got to have heard of it, and what do you think. Has Wolfgang Knorr really proved the CO2 level hasn't risen in 100 years or hasn't he? Did Obama really get all his schooling in a Muslim madrassa when he lived in Indonesia or not? To the best of your knowlege of course."

The point is, there is a huge class of right wing rumor mongering that their "star" commentators know better than to go anywhere near. Let them stay under the radar so they will never be refuted in any very public way (yes, there are and and the like, but those are so much ignored by the targets of these email campaigns that they often start off with "I couldn't believe it so I checked with and it's true" even when is calling it a lie.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Detailed responses to Fake "Wall Street Journal Article"

NOTE: This goes back to June 2010, a time leading up to the last off-year election.  Presently (7/2014) I am getting a huge flood of hits on it -- it's probably being circulated again with all new dates to make it seem current.

Dear Mom, (this is a followup to:

To My Not Really Right Wing Mom in response to the Forwarded Email "Wall Street Journal Sizes Up Obama - WOW)

Here are my long overdue comments on the fake "Wall Street Journal" article. As I showed in the previous email(post), the perpetrator deliberately lies in order to assume the authority of the WSJ. You might think it's an honest mistake, but when you've closely examined enough of these things, you can see they are not just thrown together by some concerned citizen agitated by something he/she saw on the web or elsewhere.

You (or someone else reading this) may wonder why take so much trouble. I've suggested to a fellow blogger to raise the level of dialogue, "Don't go looking for idiots to argue with". This writer though, isn't an idiot, but quite an effective propagandist, and taken paragraph by paragraph, this "email forward" is made up of claims that can be found echoing all over the world of anti-Obama blogging and radio commentary.

Lest you think I'm picking out the weakest arguments to respond to, I'm replying to every single word, and there is at most one halfway legitimate point in the whole thing. Since so many of the claims are slippery, it takes some work to definitively nail them down. That makes this a very long posting.

"Article from the Wall Street Journal - by Eddie Sessions:" There is, apparently, no such person, and no such article ever appeared in the WSJ.
 "I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he's led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his facile speaking skills could even put him in the White House."

This is a typical paranoid fantasy - the idea that some shadowy figure picks out a nobody and invisibly guides them all the way to the white house.
Unfortunately it is too vague for counter-arguments.

In a very real way, he has been a young man in a very big hurry. Who else do you know has written two memoirs before the age of 45? "Dreams of My Father" was published in 1995 when he was only 34 years old. The "Audacity of Hope" followed in 2006. If, indeed, he did write them himself. There are some who think that his mentor and friend, Bill Ayers, a man who calls himself a "communist with a small 'c'" was the real author.

No merit has been found in the claim that Obama did not write "Dreams from
(not 'of') my Father. I read the article making this claim. The writer seems, to have submitted no more than two sentences from each book (Obama's and Ayers') to a computer program used for authorship analysis (but not intended to be used on only 2 sentences) I can say for certain that no experts in such matters confirmed the claim, although a couple of such experts were asked but told the amateur text analyst he had no case whatsoever.

W.r.t. the outrageousness of the very fact of his writing a memoir:

Browsing to Books-->Biographies_&_Memoirs I get the impression that maybe 20% or more of memoirs are written by people 30-something or younger.

Some Examples:
* The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
* Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
* Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (oh yeah, that's 2 for her)
* Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
* Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
* Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Dana
* Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
* Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave Written By Himself
* It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong

As to why Obama wrote his memoir, as I understand it, "In 1990, Barack Obama was elected Harvard Law Review president over 18 others", and when he graduated, some people thought he had an interesting story, and ability to express himself, and encouraged him to write a memoir.

His political skills consisted of rarely voting on anything that might be deemed controversial..

DOUBTFUL (examples taken from Wikipedia):
In the Illinois Senate, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.

He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained, and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate
videotaping of homicide interrogations.
Moreover he was one of very few Democratic presidential candidates who took a stand against the invasion of Iraq. He didn't have national office at the time, but does this sound like someone who always ducks controversy? What if, as many of us hoped, it had succeeded, with minimal American losses, in planting a vibrant democracy in the middle of the Middle East?  If he was thinking of the presidency, that might well have spiked his chances.  But he judged correctly that it was a bad idea, unlike most Democrats in Congress.

He was in the U.S. Senate so briefly that his bid for the presidency was either an act of astonishing self-confidence or part of some greater game plan that had been determined before he first stepped foot in the Capital. How, many must wonder, was he selected to be a 2004 keynote speaker at the Democrat convention that nominated John Kerry when virtually no one had ever even heard of him before?

In 2004 when selected to give the democratic convention speech, he was a young black man with a Harvard Law degree about to be elected U.S. senator - something Democrats might well look on as a good omen in a very difficult year. Moreover, someone must have noticed he was a very good speaker. At any rate, the speech made him well known instantly.

Parlaying 4 years in the senate to the presidency is certainly unusual, though not as unusual as the path of another Illinois State Senator named Abraham Lincoln who served in the House of Representatives only 2 years from 1848-1850, and went back to private law practice for the 10 years just before he ran for president.

I also don't see how George W. Bush's resume was any more impressive when he was elected president, being a governor for a few years of a state which gives the governor relatively weak authority.

On the other hand, 8 years in the Illinois Senate doesn't sound that much like an egomaniacal "man in a hurry" being propelled by mysterious and powerful forces. To me it sounds more like someone without excessive aspirations who wants to make a difference. Though clearly at some point, he came to believe he was capable of more.

I think a good source for understanding why Obama surprised himself and everyone else by gaining the presidency in 2008 is the book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory (Hardcover) by David Plouffe. He had achieved some fame by being perhaps the brightest spot for the Democrats in the 2004 presidential campaign with his convention speech. In 2006 he was doing book tours for his 2nd book, "The Audacity of Hope" - a bestseller and a very complete presentation of his views (useful for those who've been told he's a Marxist). On the book tour he was being told by many people he should run for president. He was the kind of person who, hard as it is for anti-Obamaists to imagine, struck many as the smartest person they ever met. I think the book The Audacity to Win gives a lot of insight into WHY many people saw Obama as extraordinarily gifted, in a way that any book written by Obama himself could never convey.

He outmaneuvered Hillary Clinton in primaries. He took Iowa by storm. A charming young man, an anomaly in the state with a very small black population, he oozed "cool" in a place where agriculture was the antithesis of cool.

"Oozed"? "Agriculture is the antithesis of cool?" What does any of this mean -- this sounds like someone in the middle of an argument coming up with phrases off the top of his head.

He dazzled the locals. And he had an army of volunteers drawn to a charisma that hid any real substance.

Substantially, there is nothing bad about this, except that "dazzled" tends to insinuate a sort of cheap appeal, and the unsupported phrase "charisma that hid any real substance".

And then he had the great good fortune of having the Republicans select one of the most inept candidates for the presidency since Bob Dole. And then John McCain did something crazy. He picked Sarah Palin, an unknown female governor from the very distant state of Alaska. It was a ticket that was reminiscent of 1984's Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro and they went down to defeat.

I agree Palin was a crazy choice which helped bring a number of strong Republicans around to supporting Obama, but she did electrify a lot of people and indeed woke up a tired campaign, and for a couple of years had one of the best "after" careers of any defeated vice presidential candidate, who are typically never heard of again. It is also not clear to me who would have done better against Obama -- someone LESS easy to associate with Bush?
The mainstream political media fell in love with him. It was a schoolgirl crush with febrile commentators like Chris Mathews swooning then and now over the man.

TRANSLATION: A whole lot of people were more impressed with Obama than with any recent democratic candidate for the president. You can use words like "swoon" and "schoolgirl crush", but that is pure spin.
The venom directed against McCain and, in particular, Palin, was extraordinary.
I just don't get this. Palin was treated harshly because she simply appalled so many people, including many shocked Conservatives. It was pretty spontaneous -- Obama didn't control Christopher Buckley or Colin Powell -- and didn't the writer just say Palin was a crazy choice?  I was also turned off by Palin's own venom starting with her acceptance speech.

Now, nearly a full year into his first term, all of those gilded years leading up to the White House have left him unprepared to be President.
I see very little justification for "gilded years". He started out at a so-so college, worked hard enough to get to Columbia, and with more hard work was able to get into Harvard Law school where he graduated with distinction. Back in Chicago, he also taught at the University of Chicago, not the purist of liberal bastions, since it is most famous for the "Chicago School of Economics" of Milton Friedman.

Left to his own instincts, he has a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I can't think of much evidence of this, and think it is being claimed just to support the next statement:
It swiftly became a joke that he could not deliver even the briefest of statements without the ever-present Tele-Prompters.
Yes, it became a joke. Obama seems to be an odd mix of super caution and audacity and his heavy reliance on teleprompters reflects, I think, his cautious side.

But if you don't believe Obama CAN speak without a prompter, watch his
discussion / debate with the whole Republican caucus on their own ground (or see transcript if you'd rather read)

Far worse, however, is his capacity to want to "wish away" some terrible realities, not the least of which is the Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West. Any student of history knows how swiftly Islam initially spread. It knocked on the doors of Europe, having gained a foothold in Spain.

"Islamist intention to destroy America and enslave the West" seems pretty hysterical and not within the realm of possibility -- and if it could conceivably grow into a possibility in a few decades, I think Obama's approach has a better chance of heading that off than Bush's.

The next sentence ("Any student of history knows ...") seems like another "off the top of his head" bit. Yes, Islam spread incredibly quickly for a couple of centuries but it didn't continue that rate of expansion and was largely stagnant or declining in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Besides which, Obama has been in my opinion doing an extremely capable job
of moving two wars towards completion, NOT wishing them away.

The great crowds that greeted him at home or on his campaign "world tour" were no substitute for having even the slightest grasp of history and the reality of a world filled with really bad people with really bad intentions.

This seems like just a very spurious and arbitrary way of making Obama's appeal to the rest of the world seem like a bad thing. The elimination of massive terrorism and the facing down of Iran and North Korea won't be accomplished without very tight discipline and cooperation among the world's more or less sane nations. Our adventure in Iraq did nothing but embolden these other two members of the "Axis of Evil" AND esp. w.r.t. Iran, cut off at the knees anyone NOT in favor of Islamic fanaticism and a strenuous military posture.

Meanwhile, North Korea under Bush, cut the seals on their nuclear works, sent the inspectors packing, and went full speed ahead with its nuclear program, AND built a clone of their own nuclear facilities in Syria while America hardly seemed to notice.

Teddy Roosevelt said "Speak softly and carry a big stick". The Bush policy was to yell and bellow and if you have a big stick, beat it to splinters against a convenient boulder because that will show people how serious you are. Sorry, but that's truly how it seems to me.

Take Iran and North Korea, two nations with more than a streak of self-image as heroic martyr nations -- declare these 2 nations part of an "Axis of Evil" -- along with a 3rd, weaker nation that you attack and destroy while basically leaving Iran and N.Korea alone, and what can you expect to get? A mess that will take a very long time to sort out is what I would expect. And maybe the conclusion that a nuclear program, as costly as it might be, is the best way to avoid being crushed.

Getting back to the "problem" of those cheering crowds around the world: Yes, Obama may be getting some traction with the international community, getting Russia and China to come on board the effort to isolate Iran.

The approach of leading and coordinating more and more international pressure is ridiculed by the anti-Obamists, but what's the alternative?

Our track record in Iraq makes the idea of invading Iran, maybe 3 times as strong as an Iraq beaten down by the loss of one war and 10 years of sanctions -- makes such an invasion seem ludicrous - indeed we would have commanded much more fear and respect in the world if we'd stopped with Afghanistan, and then really, permanently transformed that nation.

Right after the invasion of Afghanistan, especially if we hadn't told most of the world "we don't want you as allies", the U.S. could have gotten more response out of Iran by raising an eyebrow than we can now.

And my impression is that experts on Iran are very doubtful of our ability to surgically take out all nuclear facilities should Iran build them. Also a strong attack on Iran of any sort might just make double or quadruple the appeal and size of Al Qaeda type groups, which with determined collaboration from an Iran with nothing left to lose, might just pull off the very sorts of WMD based terror attacks we've been dreading.

You can attack a nation, and even destroy most of its infrastructure, but unless you can occupy and control them, they may fight you with increasing effectiveness for years if not decades to come. The trouble with WMD terrorism is if there is one rogue nation or failed state or country like Afghanistan or one country like Pakistan with ungovernable provinces left -- and we've done nothing effective to prevent that -- that is all it might take for assembling a "dirty bomb" based on an AWOL Russian missile warhead.

Oddly and perhaps even inevitably, his political experience, a cakewalk, has positioned him to destroy the Democrat Party's hold on power in Congress because in the end it was never about the Party.

More free association it seems to me. Cakewalk? Maybe read "The Audacity to Win" to see what a cakewalk the run for president was. And was being trounced in his first run for national office (The House of Representatives) a cakewalk?

And what is this phrase "Oddly and perhaps even inevitably"? The strange juxtaposition of "oddly" and "inevitably" might make it seem like deep analysis but I can see no justification for it -- just a sort of oracularly paradoxical tone.

It was always about his communist ideology, learned at an early age from family, mentors, college professors, and extreme leftist friends and colleagues.

This is just nonsense. If you really want to get Obama's ideology, pick up "The Audacity of Hope". If that book lies about his true sentiments then what has he done or said to get a crucial mass of "extreme leftists" behind him. By keeping on the previous secretary of defense and top general and continuing in a workmanlike way to wind up some very unsuccessful and damaging business that politically he would have done well to disown and label the failure of the Bush presidency -- is that his way of courting "extreme leftists"?

And if he doesn't have that kind of extremist popular mass behind him, who is going to put him in the dictator's seat? The Army?

Obama is a man who could deliver a snap judgment about a Boston police officer who arrested an "obstreperous" Harvard professor-friend,

Obama for once said what came to mind spontaneously when he heard about a famous black historian being arrested, handcuffed, and "taken in" because he lost his key and was trying to break into his own house. The professor was
60-70 years old, possibly older, and required a cane to get around. Ones impulse would be to think "surely the police could have confirmed his identity and that he lived in that house. Would they have been afraid to enter his house to see the pictures of him on the mantle? Would the same have happened with an elderly white gentleman? OK, on the other hand, Prof. Gates reacted to the situation, or did he react to some rudeness on the part of the policeman? He became "obstreperous". On the other hand, he had just completed a very long flight, as I understand, and probably an hour or two between what you have to do in the airport, and probably a taxi drive (I'm assuming he didn't have to fetch his own car from long term parking and drive through the heavy Boston traffic himself). He was exhausted and dying to get into his house and flop on the bed, I suspect, and may have not had the most thoughtful perspective on the situation.

When Obama grasped the complexity of the situation he made a sort of public apology and invited the two participants in the drama to meet and talk "over a beer". It wasn't staged well, and may not have lead to much improved understanding between the policeman and the professor, but I can understand the impulse, and it is consistent with his (in my opinion very important) "race speech" given at the height of the Jeremiah Wright "God damn America"
business. He said there, and in other places, that many blacks need to get over a lot of automatic resentment of authorities, and do the best they can in their current situation whatever it may be. It was a remarkable thing for a black political leader to have said.

... but would warn Americans against "jumping to conclusions" about a mass murderer at Fort Hood who shouted "Allahu Akbar." The absurdity of that was lost on no one.

How is not jumping to conclusions absurd? He was speaking at a time when he'd probably just been given a 5 minute briefing -- it was the very first announcement most people heard of the thing. Well, if you make up ridiculous versions of what sort of conclusions he meant, like another commentator: "Could we say that some Muslims are willing to kill and maim just about anyone that isn't Muslim in the name of God? Is that too harsh for anyone? Insulting, insensitive perhaps? What are we risking here, political correctness, someones feelings". But there were other conclusions that some people did jump to, like that there was more than one gunman, or there was an Islamic terror cell at Fort Hood. At worst, "don't jump to conclusions" is a cliche -- words many a District Attorney on a TV cop show has mouthed. And have we never jumped to conclusions? E.g. when a handful of anthrax infected letters got shipped -- that had to be part of the Al Qaeda plot against America. Or when another crazy Muslim man and his young accomplice went around shooting people at random in the Washington area -- that must have been part of the great coordinated conspiracy whereas it was in fact one sick Muslim man who maybe took 9/11 as some kind of signal that the apocalyptic showdown between Allah and the Infidel world had come to America.

He has since compounded this by calling the Christmas bomber "an isolated extremist" only to have to admit a day or two later that he was part of an al Qaeda plot.

So I went to the speech in which he said the phrase "isolated extremist" conveniently given at conservative news site: with the headline "Obama Describes Nigerian As 'Isolated Extremist' Despite Ties to Yemen". Yet Obama also said in that speech: "we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable". This clearly contradicts the idea that Obama had jumped to the wild conclusion that the man was an "isolated extremist". But he did use that phrase, didn't he?

Finally, look at the full sentence containing the offending phrase. Congratulating the passengers on the plane who physically prevented an explosion, he said it "demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist". It is not a statement of policy that the man was not part of any plot -- but just that a single terrorist. certainly isolated for the moment, on a plane can be vulnerable to several Americans who rise to the occasion.

He is a man who could strive to close down our detention facility at Guantanamo even though those released were known to have returned to the battlefield against America.

Guantanamo has for years been a potent symbol of the U.S. finding a legal no-man's land in which to ignore both U.S. law and international agreements, and it has been shown that a large percentage of the prisoners were random individuals grabbed and turned in for the princely (for most Afghans) rewards being offered. A couple of Guantanamo inmates were turned in by stooges of a Mullah whom they had ridiculed.

He could even instruct his Attorney General to afford the perpetrator of 9/11 a civil trial when no one else would ever even consider such an obscenity.

The attempt to try KSM in New York was, I think a mistake but that doesn't change the fact that 95% of the criticisms in the article have no merit at all. I also think it was a mistake to simply hold him several years without any sort of legal closure until people no longer remember when he was captured.

 And he is a man who could wait three days before having anything to say about the perpetrator of yet another terrorist attack on Americans and then have to elaborate on his remarks the following day because his first statement was so lame.

Sorry, but does anyone know what this refers to?

The pattern repeats itself. He either blames any problem on the Bush administration or he naively seeks to wish away the truth.
Knock, knock. Anyone home? Anyone there? Barack Obama exists only as the sock puppet of his handlers, of the people who have maneuvered and manufactured this pathetic individual's life.

Mostly no substance, so no comment, except I think he has been sparing in putting responsibility for current problems on the Bush Administration and has vigorously worked to deal with them in the present, and it is my opinion that Obama did in fact inherit the biggest mess of the kind since Buchanan handed over the presidency to Lincoln.

When anyone else would quickly and easily produce a birth certificate, this man has spent over a million dollars to deny access to his. Most other documents, the paper trail we all leave in our wake, have been sequestered from review. He has lived a make-believe life whose true facts remain hidden.

A birth certificate has been produced and posted to the internet. Moreover, his birth was announced in two Hawaiian newspapers at the time he was being born, and these announcements are available on microfilm. If they are forged, that should be easily provable, and unless you think the conspiracy behind his presidency goes back to before he was born, that really should stop the argument.


"A birth notice for Barack Obama was published in both the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on August 13 and August 14, 1961, respectively, listing the home address of Obama's parents as 6085 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu.[17][36] On August 3, 2009, in response to the growing controversy, the Advertiser posted on its Web site a screenshot of the announcement taken from its microfilmed archives. Such notices were sent to newspapers routinely by the Hawaii Department of Health.[36]

In an editorial published on July 29, 2009, the Star-Bulletin pointed out that both newspapers' vital-statistics columns are available on microfilm in the main state library. "Were the Hawaiian Department of Health and Obama's parents really in cahoots to give false information to the newspapers, perhaps intending to clear the way for the baby to someday be elected president of the United States?" the newspaper asked sarcastically."

Has Obama really "spent over a million dollars to deny access" to more conclusive document than the one is out there for the world to see? I see several references to claims like this on the Internet, but on the anti-Obama blogs, once something has been said, it will be quoted forever without any sort of citation, so I'm highly skeptical.

We laugh at the ventriloquist's dummy, but what do you do when the dummy is President of the United States of America ?"

No substance, so I have no comment.