In Which I’m Really Getting Tired Of These Obama Emails.

The Wise One and I got another of these Let’s-Spread-Total-Lies-About-Obama emails today:

Date: September 5, 2008 11:03:11 PM PDT
To: little.brain
Subject: How do you attract 200,000 Germans?

Go figure, huh?

As Paul Harvey would say, ‘Here’s The Rest of the Story.’

There is something the American News Media seem to have left out.

How do you attract 200,000 Germans to an American presidential candidate’s campaign rally in Berlin?

A. With the charisma and reputation of the presidential candidate?
B. With a compelling political message?
C. With lots of advance advertising?
D.With the top two rock bands in Germany giving a free concert with the American candidate coming out for a short speech between the bands?

‘D’ of course.  With the American media following and fawning over Obama, they failed to mention his Berlin speech was not why the crowds were really there.  More than 95% of those attending didn’t understand English, and could care less about Obama or American politics.  They came to see a free concert with the German equivalents of Willy Nelson and Madonna headlining.

Obama’s unwelcome and boring interruption – giving a political speech in a foreign language between the acts – resulted in the crowd giving lame applause a couple of times. Obama didn’t care about the crowd either. His speech was really for the American media and the crowd was a backdrop for the photo ops.  The American media bit on it hook line and sinker and just sorta, kinda, forgot to mention it was the rock bands that really drew the crowds.

Another fact the media missed:  When the French saw the 200,000 Germans, they surrendered again!

On another note.  Someone did the math on Obama the Senator.  He has only been a Senator for 18 months.  But with all the recesses, four day weekends, campaigning and absences, Obama has only spent about six weeks of workdays on the Senate floor as one of the most junior Senators. Most of his votes, about 80% when he was not absent, have been ‘present’ or ‘abstain’.  He also chairs a committee that has never met because the chairman has never called a meeting.    As a trial lawyer he only tried 14 cases in court – and minor ones at that.  As a ‘community organizer’ his major cause was getting the asbestos out of a housing project.  After two years of trying, the asbestos was still there when he left and is still there even now that he is a Senator and presumably has some pull to get things done.

That’s it.  His entire real world work resume.  Six weeks work in the Senate with nothing to show for it. Two years as a lawyer and only 14 minor trials. And two years as a ‘community organizer’ with nothing accomplished.

As we discussed the email and I started to look up some of the “facts,” she started talking about how passing this kind of information along is gossip: “You’re talking about people, and this kind of thing would never be acceptable if we were talking about people we knew. You’d never say this face-to-face; to a Christian, it’s just plain wrong. But it makes it ok if we do it by email?”

The following is the response we sent to the person who sent it to us and a few other relatives:

Another note from the left-wing liberal commie hippie in Kent:

Maybe you’ve seen this email; maybe not. If you didn’t get this original message, just know that it’s important enough to me to refute this that I’m sending it to folks I think may have been sent the original. If you never got this in the first place, please either disregard this message, or save it for when it does make its way into your mailbox.

I’m not going to address the rally issue; see this for an explanation of how this part of the email is false, and this for a blog post from one of the band members written the day of the event.

But I do have to respond, because this is just another flat out lie being forwarded and posted all over the internet, and I would love nothing more than to see a campaign that is about real issues.

I’m not sending this email to defend Obama. I’m sending it to defend a fellow believer and human being. I’d send the same thing if I got such a message about McCain. Strangely enough, I never get this kind of garbage about McCain. This blatantly false, inflammatory information only seems to be coming from one side . . . Snopes.com lists 5 email rumors total circulating about McCain; they list 26 just in the “false” or partly false category for Obama.

The last paragraph of this message says “Someone did the math.”

Sheesh, I thought I was bad at math. Whoever compiled this message is either horribly incompetent or they are intentionally trying to mislead American voters, and I suspect it’s the latter.

I don’t have a problem with people having objections to either candidate, or their policies. But when it becomes an attack on the person simply because the author is either too lazy to form a good argument or just mean-spirited, it becomes another example of everything that is wrong with politics in this country.

If this kind of information was spread face-to-face about people we knew, this would be blatant gossip. What makes it different when it’s sent in an email? Passing along information like this without verifying it is veering dangerously close to the same behavior. If you saw a note on the floor at church, and it said, “Bob is having an affair with Sally” and it was unsigned, would the appropriate response be to go to either person or to the pastor or at least to try and verify or discredit the information, or to take it to the prayer chain?

As Christians, shouldn’t we be above this?

Anyway, here’s what I found out.

Someone did the math on Obama the Senator.  He has only been a Senator for 18 months.

Actually, he took office in January 2004. He was a US senator when he spoke at the *last* Democratic National Convention.

Actually, he took office in January 2005. He was running for the senate when he spoke at the *last* Democratic National Convention. (Thanks for the correction, Pat.)

But with all the recesses, four day weekends, campaigning and absences, Obama has only spent about six weeks of workdays on the Senate floor as one of the most junior Senators.

If the starting figure is false, then the resulting figure is also false. The only relevant statistic, as far as I’m concerned, is what percentage of days that congress was in session did he miss, in comparison to McCain, Clinton, and others who were also campaigning for president?

Most of his votes, about 80% when he was not absent, have been ‘present’ or ‘abstain’.

There is no such thing as “present” in the US Senate. During the current congress (110th), Obama has missed 290 votes, 45.5% of the total votes called on the floor.

McCain has missed 407, or 63.8%.

Ted Kennedy, who was out for months recovering from brain surgery, has only missed 110 votes. (That’s a fair criticism of both Obama and McCain, courtesy of me.)

He also chairs a committee that has never met because the chairman has never called a meeting.

Now here’s a potentially fair criticism, but it’s a bit misleading, as it’s a subcommittee, and the major issues that this subcommittee would normally address — our involvement with NATO in Afghanistan — are significant enough that they are being addressed by the Foreign Relations committee in their full sessions rather than being delegated to a subcommittee. But they still should be meeting for other issues. Shame on you, Obama.

As a trial lawyer he only tried 14 cases in court – and minor ones at that.

Obama was not a trial lawyer. He did assist in some court cases (30, according to the LA Times), but primarily he was an associate attorney and did most of the researching and writing work. He also taught Constitutional Law classes.

One case that he did file was a lawsuit against the governor of Illinois for failing to institute a federally voter-registration law. Obama won; the governor appealed; Obama won the appeal and pushed the state to put the law into practice.

One other case he filed ended up going to the US Supreme Court, though he didn’t participate in the presentation because he had cut back his work at the firm to campaign for Senate.

But if the pea-brain who “did the math” wants to call these cases “minor ones,” so be it. In 2006 and 2007, nearly 320,000 civil and criminal cases were filed each year in US District Courts, not counting municipal, county and state courts. The Supreme Court hears roughly 80-100 cases per year. So even if there were no courts other than the US district court, the odds of a case being significant enough to make it to the Supreme Court would be roughly 1 in 320, or 0.3125%. One of Obama’s 30 cases took on the governor, and won. One of Obama’s 30 cases went all the way to the Supreme Court, and won.

Also, as is widely reported, Obama was the editor of the Harvard Law Review — not a role for a mediocre attorney. Having this position pretty much means he could have gone anywhere he wanted, and he chose to go to Chicago and work with the poor. But who knows how many people will read these words (“he only tried 14 cases in court — and minor ones at that”) that I found here and posted all over the internet and believe it . . .

As a ‘community organizer’ his major cause was getting the asbestos out of a housing project.  After two years of trying, the asbestos was still there when he left and is still there even now that he is a Senator and presumably has some pull to get things done.

I’m not going to go into this, but a google search “obama asbestos” brought up this press release.

That’s it.  His entire real world work resume.

Completely distorted or fabricated.

Six weeks work in the Senate with nothing to show for it.

According to the Library of Congress, in the current 110th Congress, Obama has sponsored 129 bills; McCain has sponsored 38. Looking at the list of bills he’s sponsored, some bills are certainly more meaty than others, and to question the bills he *has* sponsored would be a valid criticism, but saying he has “nothing to show for it” is just ignorant; this figure only covers half of his senate tenure.

Two years as a lawyer and only 14 minor trials.

Actually, eleven years with the firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, twelve years teaching Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and years before and after his time at law school working with the poor and disenfranchised in New York and Chicago.

And two years as a ‘community organizer’ with nothing accomplished.

Whatever. I’m too tired to even argue this point. I recognize that this represents a weak point on my part, but not as weak as just putting something ‘in quotes’ to trivialize it. Anybody who’s been to the south side of Chicago knows there’s a lot of work to be done there, still. And sometimes you’re just pushing a rock up a hill.

I suspect that some of my friends and family have taken me off their forward list because I’ve sent back emails like this one; I hope that’s not the case. I would be happy to trace the veracity of any of these emails for anybody who asks, if it means preventing this kind of stuff from going out in the first place.

But let’s do all we can to look at the issues, and to encourage those around us to make an informed decision.

If a candidate claims to understand the current economic challenges that Americans are facing but doesn’t know how many houses he owns, that’s a fair point to criticize.

If a candidate claims to be a Christian but says that determining when life begins is above his pay grade, that’s a fair point to criticize.

But if it comes via e-mail and there’s no way to hold accountable the person who wrote it, it’s probably false and intentionally misleading.

Just ask yourself — What would Jesus forward?

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5 Comments

Filed under faith, meanderings, politics

5 responses to “In Which I’m Really Getting Tired Of These Obama Emails.

  1. Great work here, Paul. Thanks for posting it. I also am tired about the misinformation and trash that comes from maniacs on both sides.

    I thought the protesters who kept interrupting McCain are cut from the same mold. Let’s let all sides share their positions, and have real conversation!

    One bit of correction: Obama was sworn in as a US Senator on January 4, 2005 (http://obama.senate.gov/about/). He was a state Senator running for the US Senate when he gace the 2004 speech.

  2. I stand corrected. Thanks for holding me accountable. That’s how it’s supposed to work!

  3. Mel (wise one)

    You know I have such a hard time with all this political stuff. I actually like both guys, I don’t necessarily think they would do the same job as president but whoever I vote for I certainly don’t think that they got into this because they hate America or that they really are idiots, or that they are selfish animals (pigs or not 🙂 ) who only care about themselves. I think being president is one of the most selfless thankless jobs in the world (literally) and people just don’t go into it without having a love for this country.

    I have never considered myself a republican or a democrat and think my voting record would show that, I have never ever voted down party lines and try very carefully to weigh all the evidence and make an informed decision.

    As a Christian I have such a frustration when we get messages from other Christians that lambastes one party or the other. I have heard everything from calling names, saying the other party was the evil party, the ones who only look to take our money, make up lies but then take anything they think is a “good slam” on the other side and send it to every one they know.

    A few years ago I was talking to a friend and casually said, “Did you hear about Clinton’s heart attack?” Her reaction… “well I can’t really say I am sorry, good riddance to him.”

    Really?

    I realize that when it comes to politics we can hold it so close and protect it with everything we have. We have this inner desire to defend it at all costs and fur on our backs stands up like a cat when we even hear the faintest idea that someone thinks we are wrong. And I am not saying that I don’t have those qualities about me. But what makes me just sad is when we become Americans first and Christians second. Do we really stand up for our country and party at the risk of shunning the teachings of Jesus, think it is ok not to do things Christ has taught us — love each other, do unto others as you would have done unto you, honor your neighbor, do not hold malice in your heart, turn the other cheek.

    Or do we take ourseves to task to be Christians first and an American second. Do we have the ability to love each other, treat each other fairly love our enemies and treat them in the way we would treat Christ? Sometimes I don’t know. Have we bought into the fact that even on a personal level attack ads work? Or would we be a more powerful witness to people if we can pray for those we don’t like, honor those that we disagree with, and treat them as a fellow brother or sister in Christ who we happen to disagree with.

    When we are in our churches and we don’t agree with someone we take it to the Lord or even a pastor, we don’t say horrible nasty things about his character, him as a person and then email everyone on our email list and say if you don’t agree you can’t be a Christian.

    Is it ok since it is on a bigger scale that we don’t think people will see who we are in the big picture, because in church we would never do that knowing that there would be consequences for acting that way? We should hold ourselves to those same consequences for acting like that all the time.

    Love your enemy, honor your fellow followers in Christ and debate your differences… don’t hate your enemy, despise all he stands for, and then debate if that is the right or wrong thing to do. If that is what we have become then we are a world full of TV commentators deciding if negative attacking works or doesn’t, not a world of Christians showing our just and fair God to others through us.

  4. Diane Eide

    Such a great message! Thanks! May the
    Lord continue to bless you & use you!
    Diane

  5. Nancy Lou (old one)

    If this is still about your upcoming sermon, I would love a copy of it when you finish it.
    Thanks, Aunt Nancy

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