Monday, February 7, 2011

The Latest

I recently received a forwarded email, breathlessly announcing "THIS IS IT!!!" It contained photos -- actual photos! -- of Obama's Kenyan birth certificate -- you know, the one that you can forge yourself with any name you choose. Whereas it was a little surprising that there are still people out there who think it's something new, it having been circulating for at least two years, what was most noteworthy to me were the words in the body of the accompanying text, "SNOPES CONFIRMS." There were no links, of course, because if there were, it'd have been to this. They'd have had to read, like, the first three words.

Of course it's a lie. But it's also a lie about a lie. Snopes confirms, they said, while surely knowing the exact opposite is true. So what does that say about the people that send such stuff, and about their view of the people to whom they send it? Pretty obvious, isn't it? There are people who take offense at what I write here; fair enough. I'm partisan. But there's a difference between what I say, and what they hear from their heroes, day in and day out: I don't lie. I opine. With links. I point out hypocrisy and deception. I don't lie.

How can you tell when the RWS™ are lying? When they hit "send." When their mouths are moving. How often does it have to happen for people to get it? If you heard it from a RWS™, if you receive an email with stuff about Obama in FULL CAPS, demanding you forward it to everyone you know, IT'S A LIE. How often does it have to occur before it sinks in?

Which brings us to the point: the latest lie.

Guess what: Obama caused the blackouts in Texas. True story. Snopes confirms.

Friday, the Drudge Report prominently displayed several mainstream media reports about energy shortages across several Western states and linked to a story from claiming the Texas blackouts were “a direct consequence of the Obama administration’s agenda to lay siege to the coal industry, launch a takeover of infrastructure under the contrived global warming scam, and help usher in the post-industrial collapse of America.”

The White House responded with a couple of inconvenient truths:
According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, these blackouts were actually the result of extreme cold temperatures and high winds, which led to a variety of mechanical failures at more than 50 power plants around the state.

Anytime communities experience major outages, it is a cause for concern, and major utilities and regulators are investigating steps that can be taken to decrease any weather related vulnerability of power generating plants in the state that, unlike their northern counterparts which experience extreme cold every winter, are often not designed to withstand such rare weather conditions.

Some are trying to blame these blackouts – which the industry has already provided explanation for – on Clean Air Act standards under consideration to curb dangerous pollution, including carbon pollution. While these claims gained traction on the internet, there is a major problem with this theory – no power plant in Texas has yet been required to do anything to control carbon pollution.

Another article about it concludes with words that could have been written by me:
The right knows the ignorant will believe whatever Limbaugh & Co. shovel in their direction, which in turn creates an incentive for them to lie more often. Our discourse spirals downward, on purpose, because conservatives find it easier than thinking.


  1. The weather gets cloudier around here every day. But, darn it, still snows in Winter, crops still grow in Summer, farmers still keep watching trends of weather and dealing, with increased abnormalities of the norm. So TX had unusual energy problems to deal with due to weather. That's a conspiracy story. I guess.

    And, Snopes confirms! OMG, get the guns ready. A true source!

    Yeah, the truth gets hard to find....


  2. The second "snopes confirms" in the post was a joke, referring back to the one in the lying email I'd received. In case you missed it.

    I guess the real story is how Obama managed to get Allah to bring the storms upon Texas in the first place.

  3. How anyone can believe the "not born here" story is beyond me.. If it were true Hillary would have been all over it

  4. The sad part (or scary part) is that if you read the comment's after the politico story, 99% of the people believe it. It's amazing!

  5. Yeah, and it's really depressing.

    I've written before about a study of the "backfire effect," in which liberals and conservatives were tested to see what happened to certain beliefs when they were presented with facts that disproved the beliefs. Sadly, it had no effect on liberals one way or the other: the same number believed before and after the presentation. But for conservatives, it actually increased the number who believed the falsehood.

    We see the phenomenon daily, in real life (or what passes for it.) It'd be interesting to know which part is chicken and which part is egg; but it's pretty obvious that today's conservatives are not only fact-averse, but fact-repellant.

  6. In my experience over the years not one person amongst my friends and acquaintances questions what they see on TV or read unless it contradicts their pre-conceived notions. In which case it is rejected out of hand.

    Perhaps that doesn't speak well of my selection of friends or me. However, most have college degrees and somehow most of them are conservative.

    Even when I burst their balloons on a particular topic with something silly like facts they appears to accept what I have said but somehow it doesn't seem to change their opinion.

    But I get it. It is simply the easiest thing to do. Why bother with all the work and effort it would take to see if something is credible?

    There is no doubt in my mind that this is a situation that isn't going to change and I suspect represents the way the majority of folks in the U.S., if not everywhere, obtain the information that defines their opinions.

    How else could one explain religion if this isn't the case?

    Finally, more to topic. I have found that you can generally assume anything sent that says "snope confirms" is a lie.

  7. What I wrote was sarcastic, and I'm not the best at such (though I try, even think I'm funny sometimes. Husband says I'm not. Proven here.)

    Sorry for a confusing post.


  8. An excellent book on cognitive dissonance which discusses the backfire effect is Mistakes Were Made -- But Not By Me by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Well worth a read.


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