4.28.2011

Truth or consequences

Facts have never gotten in the way of the conspiracy frenzy against President Barack Obama.

There’s a Chinese proverb which states, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is putting on its shoes,” How could ancient Chinese wisdom have foreseen the impact of today’s technology?

DemWit has long railed against those undocumented and unattributed emails which people accept as gospel and cannot wait to pass along. The ones which always admonish the naïve: “This ia a must-read” and “Send this to everyone on your list.” And, let's face it, this is a phenomenon of the right-wing.

Sadly, it seems, these emails are the primary source of information for those just too damn lazy to think and research for themselves.

From such naivete was born the “birther” idiocy, and no amount of proof has shut down this vicious red herring.

In order to get on with the nation’s pressing business, the president of the United States decided enough is enough. Here are his remarks at a press conference yesterday:

OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Now, let me just comment, first of all, on the fact that I can't get the networks to break in on all kinds of other discussions.

(Laughter)

I was just back there listening to Chuck. He was saying, it’s amazing that he’s not going to be talking about national security. I would not have the networks breaking in if I was talking about that, Chuck, and you know it.

Q. Wrong channel. (Laughter)

OBAMA: As many of you have been briefed, we provided additional information today about the site of my birth. Now, this issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now. I think it started during the campaign. And I have to say that over the last two and a half years I have watched with bemusement, I've been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going. We've had every official in Hawaii, Democrat and Republican, every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital.

We've posted the certification that is given by the state of Hawaii on the Internet for everybody to see. People have provided affidavits that they, in fact, have seen this birth certificate. And yet this thing just keeps on going.

Now, normally I would not comment on something like this, because obviously there’s a lot of stuff swirling in the press on at any given day and I've got other things to do. But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we're going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.

And so, I just want to make a larger point here. We've got some enormous challenges out there. There are a lot of folks out there who are still looking for work. Everybody is still suffering under high gas prices. We're going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future but also get a hold of our deficit and our debt - how do we do that in a balanced way.

And this is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates. And there are going to be some fierce disagreements - and that’s good. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. And I am confident that the American people and America’s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have.

But, we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.

We live in a serious time right now and we have the potential to deal with the issues that we confront in a way that will make our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids proud. And I have every confidence that America in the 21st Century is going to be able to come out on top just like we always have. But, we’re going to have to get serious to do it.

I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest. But, I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve. And, I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them - not on this.

Thanks very much, everybody.

***

Every American has the right and the duty to criticize our elected leaders when they need it, but this issue has been shameful.

Now, back to those circulated emails: those of you who read and pass them along, without any verification, are doing great harm to your country. I mean that. Just yesterday a friend shared with me one which maliciously took words out of context from Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. The original author of the email was counting on those who had not read the book to spread the propaganda. And spread it they did, and the lie it contains has been circulating since the book was published.

The Intrnet and the World Wide Web are such powerful tools. There are facts at our fingertips, and I simply do not understand why people choose to spend time, which might otherwise be put to research, reading and forwarding lies.

In doing so, you are doing the bidding of politial hired guns who soullessly sit at computer banks and play off your gullibility.

Or, hasn’t that ever crossed your mind?

I leave you, dear reader, with these words from German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

4 comments:

tnlib said...

If only these believers in and regurtitaters of conspiracy theories could understand that they're being used as tools. As soon as their usefulness is over, they will be dismissed.

Politifact has all the links to public documents which prove the authenticity of Obama's American birth - that is, if you accept that Hawaii is a state. ; )

http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/apr/27/links-documents-involving-president-obama/

While there, take a look at all of the chain letters they have found to be false. Not only are chain letters against the law in some cases, they are never true, they carry diseases and they are a way for unwanted sources to go phishing. They are also rude, intrusive and a pain in the butt for most recipients.

Ahab said...

The democracy of e-mail and the internet is a double-edged sword. It allows for information to be transmitted rapidly by anyone, whether the information is sound or faulty.

ZENA, QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE said...

Wow, so the rumor finally got back to him, huh. LOL. I heard that rumor back during the campaign and I just went to snopes and looked it up and it said he was born in Hawaii. That was good enough for me. Tell all your chain-mail hating friends to do what I do. If I get an email making crazy accusations, whether I would actually like for them to be true or not, I always go to www.snopes.com and look it up and usually it’s proven to be false. I have looked up a LOT of off-the-wall things and only came up empty about twice – must’ve been brand new rumors. I’ve also found at least two things that were true and several partly true. If they can’t provide conclusive evidence either way, they say “undetermined” and they even try to trace the story back to its origins so you can see how the rumor or warning started. Sometimes it starts out being true and then gets all messed up from being passed around – like any gossip will. They document their sources really well, so if you don’t believe THEM, you can go to their source(s). Anyway, then you click on the “email this” button and send the snopes article back to whoever sent it to you and everyone else they sent it to. Then you have at least showed a few people that it’s a lie.

Also, for people who just like to spend countless hours on the Internet “looking at stuff” or whatever – wasting time – there is a “randomizer” button on the site as well as “top 25” and you can just be totally entertained for hours while learning about all the stuff that stupid people everywhere actually believe.

Now, who is this chick who said chain-mail spreads diseases? LOL. Oh, wait, she is also the same one who said that all Republicans are evil. So, I am insulted then, since I am a Republican most of the time. I don’t think that I am evil. After all, I believe the president was born in Hawaii. I’ll give you this, though. I’m pretty sure if I was President, the debt would, in fact, go up and not down. Because you know I can spend some money. However, I feel confident that I would spend it on better stuff. My motto could be “A pizza in every fridge and a Dodge Viper in every garage!” hee hee

tnlib said...

Well, I'm the "chick" who talked about those "diseases" chain emails carry. Most people familiar with this subject would know I'm referring to viruses.

Chain emails mean "You will get bombarded with continuous 'phishing' scams, viruses and hoaxes." This same article points out other dangers of emails and is well worth the read, if you care anything about protecting yourself:

http://forums.bigfishgames.com/posts/list/135582.page

This site, which I prefer over Snopes, discusses how to spot email hoaxes:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/nethoaxes/ht/emailhoax.htm

FactCheck has another:

http://www.factcheck.org/specialreports/that_chain_e-mail_your_friend_sent_to.html

And one can view a whole slew of chain emails on Politifact:

http://www.politifact.com/personalities/chain-email/statements

If these aren't satisfactory, one can always google "chain email dangers" or "chain email spam."

The old "chick" has been on the Internet in a professional capacity since it was first made available to the public back in the early 70s. Because she had a free-lance research business for over a decade, she made it her business to learn the ins and outs of the online world.

This "chick" was also married to a very active and bright Republican who, if he were alive today, would be absolutely appalled at what has become of his once honorable party. Not only would he think them evil, he would call into question the bad manners of anyone referring to a near 70-year-old woman as a "chick."