The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fw: Disseminating Myths

One of the architects in my office (sadly, the one for whom I have the most professional respect, which, granted, isn't a great deal) is, politically, a raving loon. And I know a raving loon when I see one! On Friday morning, I needed to stop by his office to ask him a couple questions. He was going through his email inbox and said, "Hey, you're a Clinton fan, aren't you?". To which I responded, "Well, I wouldn't call myself a 'fan', but I certainly like him better than some people." He chuckled and said he had an email he wanted to forward to me. To show me what a louse Clinton is (was?) and how he was a criminal draft dodger during the Vietnam War.

I suppose when your candidate is dancing between 10-15 scandals, going back to an old standard isn't outside the realm of possibilities. Especially, because a fairly common problem with republicans is a serious (and quite dangerous) lack of memory. Keeping the old grudges going is about all they've got. That Clinton is no longer in the public life matters not. He's still, apparently, their favorite whipping boy.

Now, I remembered issues with Clinton's military service. Of course, Dubya had a few issues himself. But criminal? That one may have gotten by me. We had a very minor exchange and then he sent me the email. This email.

Bill Clinton registers for the draft on September 08, 1964, accepting all
contractual conditions of registering for the draft. Selective Service
Number 3 26 46 228.

Bill Clinton classified 2-S on November 17, 1964.

Bill Clinton reclassified 1-A on March 20, 1968.

Bill Clinton ordered to report for induction on July 28, 1969.

Bill Clinton refuses to report and is not inducted into the military.

Bill Clinton reclassified 1-D after enlisting in the United States Army
Reserves on August 07, 1969, under authority of Col E. Holmes.

Clinton signs enlistment papers and takes oath of enlistment.

Bill Clinton fails to report to his duty station at the University of
Arkansas ROTC, September 1969.

Bill Clinton reclassified 1-A on October 30, 1969, as enlistment with Army
Reserves is revoked by Colonel E. Holmes and Clinton now AWOL and subject to
arrest under Public Law 90-40 (2)(a) registrant who has failed to
report...remain liable for induction.'

Bill Clinton's birth date lottery number is 311, drawn December 1, 1969, but
anyone who has already been ordered to report for induction is INELIGIBLE!

Bill Clinton runs for Congress (1974), while a fugitive fr om justice under
Public Law 90-40. Bill Clinton runs for Arkansas Attorney General (1976),
while a fugitive from justice.

Bill Clinton receives pardon on January 21, 1977, from Jimmy Carter.

Bill Clinton FIRST PARDONED FEDERAL FELON ever to serve as President of the
United States.

All these facts come from Freedom of Information requests, public laws, and
various books that have been published, and h ave not been refuted by

After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, President Clinton promised that
those responsible would be hunted down and punished.

After the 1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed five U.S. military
personnel; Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and

After the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 and
injured 200 U.S. military personnel; Clinton promised that those responsible
would be hunted down and punished.

After the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, which killed 224 and
injured 5,000; Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down
and punished.

After the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 and injured 39 U.S.
sailors; Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and


Maybe if Clinton had kept those promises, an estimated 3,000 people in New
York and Washington, DC. that are now dead would be alive today.

AN INTERESTING QUESTION: This question was raised on a Philly radio call-in
show. Without casting stones, it is a legitimate question.

There are two men, both extremely wealthy. One develops relatively cheap
software and gives billions of dollars to charity. The other sponsors terrorism. That being the case, why was it that the Clinton Administration spent more money chasing down Bill Gates over the eight years in office, than Osama bin Laden?


One of many traits that Highlander and I share is a difficulty suffering fools. And, well, this morning, this particular architect was just another in a long parade recently. And so, after a quick perusal for some pertinent factoids that would be substantiated a little more than an email forward, I sent back this...

Pointy-headed Uber-Republican Architect Type Fool(except I put his real name here)-

I'm all about the free exchange of information and political ideologies. Thanks for sharing yours with me this morning.

Honestly, it's always interesting to me to see how the "other side" thinks. How, and where, they get the information (and the propagation the same) and, thereby, formulate their opinions after reviewing said information for accuracy. You may find that phenomenon interesting as well.

In that vein, I've included a few things for your perusal. I hope you find them enlightening. If not, I hope it will give you a window on why the left feels so differently than the right about some of these issues.



If you're interested in high-ranking officials "avoiding the draft", here's some information on Dick Cheney manipulating the system as did so many others during that period of history.

Information on the Clinton draft, according to the Baltimore Sun (Not the Enquirer as you suspected it might be...LOL)indicating that he took similar advantages that Dick Cheney took, but that, ultimately, his number (#311), was not called, as no numbers above 195 were.

Here are many, many links directly to government records indicating George W. Bush's military service. How he specifically requested not to be sent to Vietnam, how he did not show up for assignments, training and medical procedures, his suspension from flight service based on his performance of duties. (You don't have to look at the John Kerry military service wherein he specifically REQUESTED to serve in Vietnam and copies of his records indicating his military honors earned while there. We weren't discussing him.)

My favorite link, information on the chain letter email you sent, item by item, including the misinformation that Carter pardoned Clinton for a non-existent criminal act.

One note I'd like to add, is that the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in October of 2000 and George W Bush was elected in November of 2000. It took him until May of 2003 to capture the parties he believed were responsible for the U.S.S. Cole bombing. I'm not sure how reasonable it would have been to have expected Clinton to have captured them in the meager amount of time left in his administration's run. I imagine these things take some time. In fact, It's been almost five years since Dubya promised to get Bin Laden. And he's still out there somewhere, too.

Actually, here's something that breaks down the remainder of the email claims a little more efficiently than I could. Please note that, in addition to the number of dead rising from 3,000 to 7,000, there is a specific note about how the republicans accused Clinton of diverting attention from the unfortunate Monica Lewinsky scandal, by bombing Afghanistan in an attempt to get Bin Laden in 1998.

Per my brief mention this morning, here is a 1989 Washington Times (again, not the Enquirer) photocopy about George HW Bush administration and male prostitution at the white house (with some mention of 15 year old boys being involved).

The thing that struck me most about this stuff, is that these people take these email forwards as gospel. EMAIL FORWARDS...sent from who knows where. They don't check validity of any of the purported 'facts'. They see it, become incensed because they don't remember back to 1993 to know that criminals were caught, etc., and then, they forward the misinformation further and further spidering it throughout the ether. Before you know it, the lies are spread everywhere. Some of these email forwards have been around for years and years. Those who have received them don't LOOK for the truth, because they think they already KNOW the truth. They got an email on it just the other day. 'Nuff said.

Raise your hand if that scares the shit out of you. Okay, I can't type one-handed very well, but you get my point. No WONDER these people are making the decisions they are making. They are ill-informed and unaware of it. They aren't going to go looking for the facts. If new stuff comes up, someone will send them a forward.

Worse, when you send them some of the same in reverse. An email forward indicating that Dick Cheney is a drunk who gets away with shooting people, they scoff and say that your source is the National Enquirer. They long for, and seem to actually embrace, ignorance and stupidity.

How do you fix THAT? Correct every email forward and send it back to everyone in the mailing list? Well, possibly. But at some point...perhaps will earn the reputation that you are a crackpot. I know from experience on this one. Facts and common sense are not generally well-received by the lunatic fringe. I can't stop myself from trying, though.

But, more than anything else, it simply amazes me that something as innocuous as this could be causing this much trouble. Well, that and how much money the republican party is saving on campaign costs.


Blogger Highlander said...

I firmly believe that bad parenting is at the root of pretty much all poor behavior. Nowadays, I think we have to understand that our really wretched education system, which is rife with far far too many incompetent teachers and administrators, and which actively constrains the good teachers from actually teaching anything, must also be included when we use terms like 'bad parenting'.

It all comes back to, very few kids learn how to ask meaningful questions, how to rationally doubt, how to analyze and filter intelligently... in short, how to think for themselves. Adults find it extremely difficult to learn new behaviors, especially how to think constructively if they don't already know, so if we don't teach kids to do this, the registered voters they grow up to be won't ever learn to do it, either.

The end result is that the vast majority of people do not think at all, they simply feel. For example, let's say someone you know states in writing, where it cannot be refuted, "You and Highlander are both very nasty people". This offends you, so you repeat it on your blog. Nothing wrong with that; it's a fact, and you've backed it up by copy/pasting the appropriate quote. Does it matter, to those who don't want to believe it? They've read the original source, they've seen you reproduce it, they know what it says, they are intelligent and know how to read and they understand English at at least the basic level it takes to read that sentence. Yet they'll deny it. "Oh, she didn't say YOU were nasty," they'll huff and puff, "they just said HIGHLANDER was nasty."

Now take this, multiply it by the number of people who voted for Dubya in the last two elections, multiply it again by nearly as many people who voted for Kerry because THEY believed the liberal email forwards that THEY got without bothering to fact check, and you'll understand the size of the problem.

Thinking is often hard work, looking for the truth can be a stressful effort (and, nowadays, a dangerous one... if more people actually looked for the TRUTH about 9/11, I suspect all those email forwards you're talking about would dry up in a hurry). Most people simply don't want to be bothered. They prefer to get through their lives on their gut, and they seek out authority figures who will validate whatever it is they already feel... however ugly, mean spirited, petty, or outright hateful those feelings may be.

Facts that don't agree with their predetermined, almost entirely emotional world view can, and are, categorically rejected. We see it every day on the political scene, and lately, we've been seeing it every day on various blogs, and you've been seeing it in your email.

This, to me, is tragic, and terrifying... but I don't find it at all surprising any more.

6/03/2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

You need to send this link to your conservative co-worker:

It is the Chickenhawk site, and it is a great resource for battling the nonsense that goes around the internet.

6/04/2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Yeah. Everything that Highlander said.

My young nephew, eleven or so at the time, handed me an essay he'd written for school that he was extremely proud of. The teacher had given him an A plus and written some comments in the margin. The subject was something like, "How you see the country in the future," or "How I'd make the world a better place." One thing my nephew had written was that a black Democrat woman would be president. And in the margin the teacher had written, "Awesome idea, she'd do a better job!" or something to that effect implying that W was incompetant. While I do agree with the teacher, wouldn't it serve my nephew's education better if she'd said something like, "interesting idea, what made you think of it?" instead of rewarding him for thinking the way she does, the way his parents do, etc.

And this is how another sheep enters the fold.

6/04/2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Carmichael said...

I agree with SG and highlander that no one should believe any email or political gossip without investigating the facts for themselves.

My question is, what makes highlander qualified to make judgement calls on good or bad parenting, since he is not a parent, and has a very limited amount of experience with raising children or on competent and incompetent teachers, since he is not a educator, and has a very limited amount of experience with the quality or lack thereof of a child's education?
just wondering.

6/04/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

H -

Thanks for the very insightful comment, my love. It's actually a very valid opinion that I hadn't given much thought to.

Julia -

Thanks for the link. I imagine I will be using it regularly. But, I have grave doubts whether my conservative co-worker would even open the link, let alone read more than a cursory few words, before dismissing the entire exercise as lies and trickery on the part of the liberals. Sad.

Opus -

I agree. Far too many folks willing to believe what they want to believe, in spite of the facts staring them in the face.

New sheep...different day.

Carmichael -

Surprised, given your note to me several weeks ago stating that you wouldn't be back, to see you comment here. For those not in the know, this is my ex's current significant other. I had tried, as a matter of civility and decorum, to avoid outing her in a public format, but it appears that she (given recent turmoil elsewhere) has decided to venture back here and force my hand a bit.

In response to your question, Carmichael, I'd ask what you consider a parent and what you consider qualifications to comment on the education system.

As for my own response, I'd say that going through the public school system, and then to institutions of higher learning, working with a variety of teachers, would certainly give one ample qualification to comment on having bad teachers in one's own experience. Further, by reading the news and various other publications, seeing the inadequacies first hand (a recent incident at my middle daughter's school with an incompetent teacher, for example), would also be contributory factors.

Certainly, we don't hold the opinions, do we, that only politicians may criticize the government, and that anyone who has not served in public office is not qualified to have an opinion on the subject. We are able, as prudent rational and intelligent humans ferret out the facts and form a cohesive and thoughtful thesis.

As for what makes a parent, I'd say it's someone who provides for the well-being of a child. Beyond that, I'd say that a good parent is someone who puts that child's welfare ahead of his/her own. Taking the time to teach them, to nurture them, to entertain them, to love them...unconditionally, and to work towards providing a stable home, would make one a parent. Would you disagree?

There are a great many parents out there who did not come by the honor biologically. They are no less parents than those who bore the children. That Highlander has taken it upon himself to love and cherish my children and show them the respect and admiration they deserve, certainly makes him a parental figure to my own children. As you have the opportunity to discuss it with the very children who consider Highlander a parental figure, you are in quite a special position. A position to get the indisputable facts firsthand. Not that having the indisputable facts will, in any way, change your opinion.

But again, I believe that bad parenting can be evident even to those, like Opus, who choose not to have any children of their own, through a variety of methods. Sociological and psychological research is done, frequently, on the effects of various aspects of bad-parenting. One only need want to explore the topic to find that the results of which studies are available in a vast array of outlets.

In fact, you can walk into a grocery store and see bad parenting in action, on a far too frequent basis. It is a very sad reflection on our society that parents don't get the help they themselves need before damaging their children in the process. This, however, is a topic you and I have discussed previously.

Similarly, I believe one need not be a chef to comment on bad food, or a television producer to comment on a crappy tv show, or a conductor to gripe because the train is late. Perhaps, you never voice an opinion on any subject with which you are not intimately and ultimately qualified to do so. My experience with you, however, is that, qualified by your own rigorous standardizing or not, you have and do. Perhaps you feel you are the only one entitled to do so. I, on the other hand, would humbly disagree.

I hope this clarifies the point for you.

6/04/2006 4:43 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

For anyone following the (unfortunate) drama of my life spilling out into these comment threads on my blog, I apologize. I imagine you all groaning and pitying me as you do. While I have chosen to be part of the solution, as opposed to part of the problem, I've deleted a couple comments, and felt obligated to let you know that.

Carmichael hung another comment on this post which served no purpose but to do a little stick-poking and further the uncomfortable exchange. In return, I responded to her. Having thought better of it, I have, since, deleted both comments as both of them serve no purpose but to continue the problems that will, ultimately, make things more difficult for my children, and added absolutely nothing to the discussion of the topic of this post. As avoiding problems that ultimately cause my children more difficulty is always my priority, I've taken this measure.

This is a format in which I have some control over how much drama I allow in. I certainly do not have to subject myself, or any of you, to any more of it than I choose to. Perhaps, she'll join me on the High Road soon enough...leaving her stick somewhere else on the way.

6/05/2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

Funny thing, vis-a-vis how a non-parent can discern good from bad in the parenting field.

I am not married, and have no children. I occasionally comment about parenting, good and bad, nonetheless. I do so without feeling at all out of my depth, and with no sense of irony whatsoever.

You see, I was once a child, and I had parents. Additionally, around me were other children, with parents of their own. Oddly enough, I turned out differently from some of them. Some of them had bad parents that encouraged them to treat others as inferior based on income or religion or whatever, and others had good parents that encouraged them to treat people the way they wished to be treated themselves.

Now, based on my own experiences as a child, I feel fully qualified to say what is or is not good parenting.

But that's not all. You see, I'm an adult now, yet in the course of my daily wanderings, I am frequently exposed to children of various ages, and sometimes this happens when they are in the company of their parents, such as in doctor's offices, restaraunts, and stores. Believe it or not, I can generally tell what type of parents they are by observing their childrens' behavior. Polite, respectful children with good manners almost unilaterally have good parents. Bratty, uncivilised, near-feral hellspawn that irritate and annoy everyone within earshot generally have some of the most useless parents around.

So, you see, it's not at all a stretch for a childless person to have valid opinions on what does or does not constitute good parenting. We all had parents once. Highlander had one very good parent, and one absentee asshat. So he's well-acquainted with both ends of the spectrum. I've known him for years now, and even though the two of us have some very different opinions on topics political, religious, and otherwise, I still very much respect his opinions, because I know that if nothing else, they are thought through, and he has good reasons for believing them.

6/08/2006 3:19 AM  

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