Always research what you hear or read from unverifiable sources.
I was pretty surprised when I got an e-mail this morning from a friend who’s a sophisticated figure in the local music scene. The e-mail amounts to a long conspiracy theory meant to suggest that Obama has questionable Muslim connections who may have funded his college tuition and other endeavors. Then I got the same e-mail today from a Fort Lewis-based sergeant I know serving in Iraq. It begins like this:
“Around 1979 Obama started college at Occidental in California. He is very open about his two years at Occidental, he tried all kinds of drugs and was wasting his time but, even though he had a brilliant mind, did not apply himself to his studies. ‘Barry’ (that was the name he used all his life) during this time had two roommates, Muhammad Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, both from Pakistan. During the summer of 1981, after his second year in college, he made a ‘round the world’ trip. Stopping to see his mother in Indonesia, next Hyderabad in India, three weeks in Karachi, Pakistan where he stayed with his roommate’s family, then off to Africa to visit his father’s family. My question – Where did he get the money for this trip?”
I had a hard time believing this paranoid rant came from the people I know and so I e-mailed them both to ask if they had sent it. I’m still waiting to hear from the sergeant but my friend in the music biz said absolutely not. Apparently it’s a virus (you can also find it on an array of Websites, including this one debunking it) and, in the last weeks of the election, it’s raiding the computers of some pretty different types of people.
The amount of spam that mentioned Obama beat out that of his rival, Sen. John McCain, by a ratio of 6 to 1 during the month of September, according to a study released by Secure Computing. Likewise, Palin outranked her opponent, Sen. Joe Biden, by a ratio of 6 to 1. The results were published Friday in a PC Magazine report.
The numbers don’t mean much in terms of who actually wins the election, but they do show that spammers are staying on top of what names are hot among Internet users. A “surge” of Obama spam apparently occurred around September 3, about the time of the Republican National Convention, according to PC Magazine.
spam message content itself is nonsensical, the basic themes of the Obama e-mail content does tend to revolve around the shallow factors that are espoused in the mainstream media as central campaign issues: race, disputes with Clinton, messianic oratory, and Fox news smears,” Secure Computing said in its study. “The McCain spam subjects are equally driven by shallow media propaganda, revolving around age and wealth.”
Also last month, security firm Sophos warned that a malicious e-mail was making the rounds which claimed to have a link to a sex video of Obama but which was instead spyware. Clicking on the link downloaded an executable file that played an amateur porn video, but Obama obviously wasn’t in it.
When you hunt animals you may trick them into a trap or use a deer feeder to get them to come to you. Well the Internet is full of traps like misinformation that is in disguise as spyware and just made up stuff. When you forward an email it is always best to make sure of the facts before you send it. The current information that you forwarded is in fact a spammers rue to get folks to spread it around. The same email is also posted on some bogus web sites all over the Internet to make it look legitimate.
While I can appreciate the ability of folks in our country to support the candidate of their choice in an election I cannot tolerate spreading misinformation about any subject. Every time I get a forwarded email with information that I suspect to be untrue I always check the facts on the Internet and eventually I will get a legitimate site that I trust to verify the statements in the email or de-bunk them.
So for the first time we are talking politics. I have always avoided discussing politics with you but since you want to discuss this issue I’m willing. I support Obama for several reasons but I will start with the obvious. This country has been run from day one by a bunch of old white guys. If I had my choice the next president would be a women of any color. I believe that this country needs a radical change in direction. It is very clear that if we keep doing the same thing and expect different results we are just going to wind up crazy. It is for this reason, Change that I support Obama. I believe that the next president needs to have a world view and needs to have a background that is not based on the white homogenized American point of view. The leadership of this country cannot continue to generate policies of rubber stamping the white western way of thinking all over the globe, it is just not a sustainable way to being part of the world. If the United States is going to continue to be a leader in world politics then our leaders are going to have to adapt to the possibility that one size does not fit all. We are all in this together and we cannot continue to have the good ole boys club calling the shots in a back room and then expecting everybody to play by their rules.