Saturday, October 17, 2009

Those Insidious Emails and Family

This is a complete rewrite of my original draft regarding the insidious email my brother received from a person related, somewhat, to our family. I'm sure you've seen the kind of emails I'm referring to; those making outrageous claims about President Obama, the Democrat dominated Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, liberals in general, ACORN, labor unions, the United Nations and just about everything you can think of that doesn't align with the ultra-right wing faction in our country. Most people know generally where they come from and who originate them and the intent of the emails. They are intended to promote fear, ignorance and hate and they distort the truth about whatever they are focusing on. The people who originate them are purposely praying on innocent, but unthinking people for their own gain and interests; usually financial interests. It's the same network that promote Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others that make outrageous claims and promote lies and ignorance. We see advertisements, too, making false accusations and outrageous claims that scare people into believing distorted truths and outright lies about government programs or congressional bills in Congress. There is big money behind perpetrating these lies and distortions because there is big money to lose when society changes to regulate industries and commerce to make a better society for its people.

Dan very ably discredited the email he received two days ago and responded back to the person who sent it, but that's not likely to cause the person to stop passing on the next despicable email she gets. Many, if not all, of these kind of emails she has forwarded to family members have been discredited and she has been notified, mildly and heatedly, about the lie. She, never the less, keeps sending them. One would think that after a while she would realize the folly of sending these on. One would think that she would send them back to the person who sent them to her saying, at a minimum, she didn't want them anymore, and, even better, that the emails are not credible. That apparently hasn't happened.

Well, she's free to do what she wants, she will say, and what's the danger in these emails, or, for that matter, the malicious cable networks and radio talk shows that perpetrate the faction opposing the current political trend? The danger is the destruction of the country, the very thing they claim will happen under President Obama. It's true that she's free to do what she wants even when her claims are outrageous. Anyone who takes the time to search out truths about President Obama's policies, whether economic, foreign relations, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Health Care, Environmental, Climate Change, Energy, Education or Wall Street can find the overwhelming evidence that favor his approach. They will also see that he frequently takes the middle road in spite of pressures to lean to the far left and in fact may sometimes lean too far to the right. Yet, this faction opposes him on every front holding instead to the principals of the last Bush administration's unbending and impractical principals that were adversarial to more true American ideals.

I don't think I've read anything more appropriate on how to deal with factions than James Madison's 10 th Federalist Paper. I encourage you to read it. I can't help but quot part of his prescription for dealing with factions:

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

… <snipped>

The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.”

The stakes couldn't be higher. This faction is supported by and includes most Republican politicians and if they return to power in 2010 in the Congress with the ideas of this faction, it may be the last straw that breaks America's back. We need to compete in a world of equal economic powers and corporations. We need to compete for natural resources that are becoming more and more scarce. And, we need to somehow control our destiny in a climate that's changing, getting warmer and more violent. We cannot be belligerent in a world that doubts our intent for peaceful cooperation and goodwill. We really have no choice except control the effects of this faction. The only way I know of is to respond to these malicious and seditious emails with truth and find some way to stop the spread. Maybe it can be accomplished by embarrassing the sender. Maybe they will be stopped by constantly responding that the emails are not appreciated. Maybe I need to cut my ties to this person entirely. Somehow we need to shut off the source and become more informed and educated about our place in this world.

The latest email she passed on to family members, except to me of course because of my past responses to these emails, is the typical hate email; the anti-liberal, smearing, rumor and fear mongering and, as usual, false. The email (Subject: CRITICAL INFO ABOUT OUR HISTORY) claims to have been written by Doctor David Kaiser, a professor at the Navy War College, book author and historian and also the author of the blog History Unfolding. Doctor Kaiser's denial of being the email's author is enlightening and his true point of view is expressed, as only a learned professor can do, in his blog entry “ Why Obama won the prize.” I've added a permanent link to his blog on my blog.

The gist of the long, rambling email she sent is that President Obama's Administration is ushering in a fascist, anti-capitalist and anti-American era and gives clues that “something ominously historical” is happening in America that is sinister to our way of life. As I said, it is intended to instill fear and ignorance and it is completely false. You can see a full, but slightly different version of the email, in this case attributed to History Professor Timothy Wood (who also denies being the author), at (scroll down the page). (A side note: It appears that “” web site is also a front for ultra-right wing propaganda, even though it is telling the truth about the authorship of the email. The deception never ends.)

Anyone who objectively watches President Obama and his administration and hears what they say and uses reason and logic to sort through the myriad information and misinformation to the truth will clearly see that President Obama is no where close to being a fascist. Nor can he be described as a socialist or a communist, as some emails, cable news networks and talk radio have attempted to do. From all I've seen and heard both from him and truths about him, he's about as close to an American who believes in democracy and liberty as you can get; a full-blooded American who has studied the Federalist Papers, the Constitution and American Law and who understands and is loyal to these foundations of our government. Also, anyone who has done even the slightest research to understand fascism and its characteristics will know that the closest thing we've recently had to fascism is the Bush Administration; where nationalism, fake patriotism, secrecy and disregard for individual rights and Constitutional law was astonishing.

So, my dilemma is what to do about our loosely connected relative who, by the way and as if you couldn't guess, supported Bush. Of course I can't speak for other family members. They can, and have every right to, continue their relationship with her and to even believe what she says. But, I think they do that at their own peril by unknowingly exposing themselves to lies. I no longer respect her judgment and her opinions are no longer credible.

It is difficult enough to sort through the misinformation coming at us from thousands of sources these days without also having to constantly disprove misinformation coming from within ones own family. I've come to the point of simply turning off those outside sources of lies and disinformation and I believe that my thoughts on this have evolved to include inside sources. It seems that the way to clean up our own house is by closing the door on those who once were welcome but who have become the false witnesses and rumor mongers. They are no longer welcome. If they want back in, they will have to behave more honorably.


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