I think I just became an Obama supporter. I didn’t mean to but I was pressured into it by the propaganda.

I’ve actually been on the fence until the Palin decision. (I have daughters and have a strong opinion about the difference between family values and statutory rape)

Anyway I got an email that was anti-Obama in silly ways. I could name a number of things about him that truly concern me. I’m not sold that he would make a good president. Unfortunately our election is not about if he will be a good president, it is about if he will be better or worse the McCain.

The first ‘fact’ in this message was to cast aspersions regarding the reason that he changed his name from “Barry” to Barack. I did 5 minutes of googling to learn that his formal name is Barack and he took the nickname Barry. To attack him for that got to me in a personal way because although my given name is Aaron my dad gave me a middle name of Daniel. My middle name was just in case I had to work in an anti-semetic environment. I grew up with the need to hide my identity and culture being a very real possibility.

I replied to the email with this:

His given name is Barack. Barry was a nickname in high school. As Jews we should understand the social pressure that causes someone to change their name or go my a nickname. My Hebrew name is Chaim but my dad gave me a middle name of Daniel in case I had to deal with anti-semitism.

Source: http://www.newsweek.com/id/128633 (source for the Barack info, see my dad about my name)

I answered a number of things that I thought were incorrect and sent back the email. Most of the replies I got were positive but I got some more challenges.

This one made me think:

Any fact check about this story? http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/29/mccain-slams-la-times-double-standard-withholding-obama-khalidi-tape/

And this http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19/20081028/img/pwl-mideast-israel-palestin-f382be870d87.html

That took me as more of a challenge so a little googling and I was able to answer them. The first was easy. Basically Barack toasted a Palestinian professor at a event ( he maybe a terrorist supporter, maybe a moderate depending on the ratio of Fox/BBC in your world view). I simply wrote back that there is factual evidence that Barack was at the event and may have said kinds words about the professor, but a committee that McCain runs funded Khalidi’s organization in the US.

So it appears that McCain who is talking small government and a strong America funded over $400k to give to a possible terrorist. Khalidi is such a threat that the world must know if Obama praised about him in public.

So again I’ve found both candidates lack.

But the second one bothered me more. It was about a Palestinian cold calling the US and getting people to vote Obama.

Here is how I answered that one:

Not sure how to ‘fact check’ this one.

A young man in another country wants to get Obama elected.

We can read good into this as the kid sees Obama as a hope to bring stability to the region, which would benefit him.

Or we can real evil into this and see the kid as wanting Obama in office because he thinks Obama will not back Israel or pour money into the hands of his terrorist friends like Khalidi.

With regard to a ‘fact check’ I think this is a true Fact. Its really the interpretation that you are challenging. Personally having a kid make a political phone call, which our own political parties do, is much better then having him strap on a gun or bomb or kill people.

Isn’t this what democracy is supposed to be about?

It is much better then something like an Al-Qaeda terror strike before the election to scare people into voting McCain (like what happened in Spain a few years ago). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/22/al-qaeda-supporters-endor_n_136779.html So you are surmising that Palestinians support Obama and he is bad. I’ve offered a story about Al-Qaeda supporting McCain. Your story involves master plan to make phone calls. My story involves people planning something much worse:

“If al-Qaida carries out a big operation against American interests,” the message said, “this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it.”

We can’t just throw down a headline anymore. Things are too critical now. We are now seeing nuclear weapons in the middle east. I don’t think the MAD concept that kept us alive during the cold war will work with fanatics. People that chant slogans and cast another country or culture as evil and fit only for extinction will embrace MAD as a worthy sacrifice.

note: mutually assured destruction. See wargames for a more entertaining explaination

I did 10 minutes of research and was able to disprove a point. I didn’t start out to support Obama. I started out to try to disable propaganda and let people make an informed decision. In reading back what I wrote I’m thinking that I just created some propaganda for the other side. There simply is no link to the truth. Where is the ‘System of record’ that has the facts linked to the key “Barack”? Leaving work today Karl suggested that the Internet allows people to shelter themselves in the facts that they want to believe.

It is true.

In grad school I learned to make charts that can take any numbers and prove (or disprove) any hypothesis. The new skill seems to be able to search the net and paste ‘evidence’ to support and attack any idea.

There may be no better example of this then the famous internet chart proving the cause of global warming is the worldwide decline of pirates: http://www.seanbonner.com/blog/archives/001857.php

So for now I’ll use my google-copy-paste prowess to support Obama, but clearly we in the business of the “Internet” must take a step back from this creation and examine the social aspects of what we have wrought.

and I think it is imperative that every Philadelphia blogger mention that yes indeed - the

Phillies won!

And thus ends my deep thinking for the night as I follow tales of spontaneous parting on twitter. (Tomorrow’s post will be on how 4 innings of baseball disrupt my attempts to solve the fundamental knowledge issues with out democracy)

(Thanks Comcast for little billy!)