Monday, January 29, 2007

It Has Begun

I get emails all the time about all kinds of internet "urban legends." I think the most current one I got was the claim that if you put your PIN number into an ATM machine backwards, it alerts authorities that you're in trouble-- in otherwards, if you're held up and brought to an ATM, punch in your PIN backwards and the cops will show up.

This kind of information is total bosh, of course, and all over the internet. And there's all kinds of stuff like this. And some of it's damned dangerous.

In that vein, there's already disinformation being put out on the net about the 2008 election. The New York Times is reporting today that the Insight website, which is a vestige of a defunct conservative magazine that was funded by whacko Rev. Moon, claimed that the ever-popular "anonymous source" said that Hillary Clinton was preparing a preemptive attack on fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was covering up that he'd spent a period of his youth in an Islamic fundamentalist religious school in Indonesia.

The problems with that story:

  1. Yes, Obama did go to an Indonesian school while his parents lived there, but the school was a secular school

  2. Obama has never tried to cover this up

  3. There is no evidence that Ms. Clinton was going to try to attack Mr. Obama with this

During the 2004 election, I watched in horror as John Kerry ran his incompetent campaign, allowing the most bizarre and outrageous claims to be made about him. The internet and email have opened up a whole new avenue for right-wing whacktards to spew their vomit. I'm hoping Americans are a little smarter this time around.

By the way, anytime you get some email claiming that Public Television is about to be shut down, or the ever-popular "Lights Out" (that someone flashing their lights indicates that they're about to kill you to gain entry into a gang), check it out on the Snopes website. It's dedicated to debunking internet myths and urban legends. Here's their entry debunking the PIN story.

They haven't gotten to the Clinton/Obama story yet.


Beth said...

Ugh. My conservative, strong Christian siblings were talking this weekend that we can't vote for Obama because he's a Muslim and will help the terrorists.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I love that snopes website. Whenever someone is stupid enough to put me on their spam list spreading a false story, I like to reply with the snopes link that dispels it and CC the entire mailing list. Usually, that person is embarassed enough to stop forwarding junk, at least to me.

Anon. Blogger said...

The crazy right wingers have to find something to scare people with... it's all they have, the fear that rules their lives... the ignorance makes me crazy!

One of the most embarasing moments in my marriage (and there were plenty) was when my ex started repeating some of his mother and father's rantings about how Bill Clinton had ordered the killing of several key Democrats... oy.

I mean, didn't he see the wackiness of an old couple that had a portrait of Ronald Regan on their bedroom wall?????? (true!)

Dave said...

I have a conservative cousin who forwards ever IMPORTANT!!!! READ THIS!!!! email that she gets.

dirty said...

I delete all forwards...I've never read them.

I'd never endorse Hillary or her running mate and it has nothing to do with where he went to school...but that's me.

Johnny Yen said...

There's no use discussing things with some people-- when they're that far gone, you only irritate yourself.

Yeah, that works with some people. Another favorite of mine is the religious stuff. My aunt was sending like three religious things a day, knowing full well that I have been an athiest all my 45 years. She finally sent me the "they're taking "Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance," and I finally reminded her 1. I'm and athiest, and 2, "Under God" was added in the fifties by witch-hunting McCarthyites. She stopped sending the emails.

Anonymous Blogger-
Seymour Martin Lipset, a political science guy who died recently, studied the whole phenomenon of how people turn that far to the right-- there's a high correlation with high insecurity and right tendencies.

That's scary about your ex! Maybe it was a warning sign.

I have a few friends and relatives who do that. I need to just reply with the Snopes site URL.

Dirty Laundry-
So you're a John Edwards girl? ; )

dirty said...

Johnny...I'm not a's fixed (my opinion of course). I just don't let donkeys and elephants control my life. Do I think the president now is making terrible decisions?...yes. I think the old mayor of New York should run...Rudy? Although I should never have a say as I don't watch the news and don't keep up on things.

It will be what it will be I guess...I just don't think that the country should be trusted to a woman who couldn't even keep her own husband's interests.

Bubs said...

The sad truth is that, probably, no one is going to be elected president right now whose middle name is "Hussein" no matter how good a man he might be.

Anonymous said...

It really concerns me that the very effective Repulican smear machine has already convinced Beth's siblings that Obama is a Muslim and will help the terrorists. How much of the voting public that doesn't read newspapers and so make their decisions from their "gut", not their brain, will not vote for Obama because of his middle name? This makes me depressed.