MacLaren’s First Presidential Experience

Mac got to experience his his first presidential rally today (September 7, 2012) when President Barack Obama visited the University of Iowa. Roslyn made him an “I heart Michelle” onesie and he was waving at everyone he saw on the Pentacrest, as well as during lunch at Iowa City’s famous Hamburg Inn (a political tradition in Iowa City).

He had a great time!

Mommy has her ticket and we're ready to see the President

Mommy has her ticket and we’re ready to see the President

Ros and Mac get ready to see the President

Ros and Mac get ready to see the President

Mommy made Mac an "I Heart Michelle" onesie for the occasion.

Mommy made Mac an “I Heart Michelle” onesie for the occasion.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Iowa on September 7, 2012

now where have i seen this before? using aliases to support or attack an idea

Sabrina Eaton

Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

‘ellie light’ is the pseudonym used by someone who loves and supports president obama. according to several news agencies, ‘ellie’ has been sending letters to the editors of various news outlets supporting the president and bashing the media for daring to criticize him. one editor, sabrina eaton of the cleveland plain dealer, bagan to notice that the same letter, often word for word, was sent to different papers by the same alias, ‘ellie light,’ but stating different local addresses within the expected readership of each of the papers. when eaton wrote a story about the phenomenon and exposed the alias, ‘ellie’ wrote in response continuing to bash the press coverage of president obama, but never answering eaton’s questions of ‘ellie’s’ identity. for instance, eaton asked ‘ellie’:

But why did all those letters say you lived in all those different places? It seems quite peculiar.

and

This email of yours has apparently been published in scads of newspapers. Each of them lists you as residing in their circulation area. How can you simultaneously reside in Kellogg (Michigan), Midland (Michigan), Follansbee (W.Va.), Myrtle Beach (S.C), Waynesboro (Va), Vallejo (Ca.), Mansfield (OH), Salinas (Ca), and Three Rivers (N.M.)? I also found your Haiti email printed in the paper in Lebanon, (PA). That one claimed you reside in Cornwall.

How did your missive end up in all these different publications, citing all these different residences for you? Where do you actually live? What do you actually do for a living? Are you sending these emails at the behest of any organization or politician? Are you the same Ellie Light who was once a reporter for the Bergen Record? Please respond ASAP because I plan to write about this.

Sincerely,
Sabrina Eaton
Plain Dealer, DC Bureau

‘ellie’ did respond, but answered none of eaton’s questions about her identity. and this reminded me of something very similar that has been taking place for the past three years with regard to the dead sea scrolls: the case of ‘charles gadda’ and raphael golb, who is under indictment in new york for, among other things, forgery, aggravated harassment, identity theft, and criminal impersonation, all stemming from a letter writing campaign used to promote a certain view of the origin of the dead sea scrolls and to attack scholars that disagree.

it is, of course, not illegal to pose as a different person and send the same letter to a bunch of different newspapers online. but when one is exposed as being deceptive online and attempting to use aliases to feign the appearance of widespread support or outrage, it makes the cause for which one is advocating appear weak. in fact, appearing to require a bunch of aliases to write scathing letters to press agencies with the hopes of drumming up some invented controversy in support of a cause makes the entire cause look so weak, it’s embarrassing. is it illegal? no. but it makes the one for whom you are advocating (in this case president obama) look like he needs to depend on fake supporters to prop up his ideas.

however, what is illegal would be the following hypothetical situation: the person behind ‘ellie light’ writes an article accusing sabrina eaton of plagiarizing ‘ellie light’s’ real-life father. then, ‘ellie light’ takes out a gmail address in the name of sabrina.eaton (at) gmail.com and proceeds to email the real sabrina eaton drawing her attention to the false article. when eaton does not respond, the alias emails sabrina eaton’s colleagues and, in the first person singular, admits to the false plagiarism that ‘ellie light’ originally posted in the internet. because gmail, yahoo, and other private email providers are commonly used as alternative personal email addresses for professionals who are required to use their corporate email addresses for business correspondence, this impersonation could cause many to assume the email is legitimate, and this impersonation could cause eaton’s employer to question her work as a journalist. that kind of forgery and impersonation would be criminal. and as absurd as the above hypothetical situation sounds, it is the very thing for which raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental institute historian norman golb, stands accused of in new york superior court.

so let’s recap:

  • using aliases on the internet is legal.
  • using aliases to promote one’s point of view is and create the appearance of widespread support or outrage is deceptive, and is embarrassing and perhaps even counterproductive if exposed.
  • defaming, harassing, and libeling others on the internet using aliases is potentially a civil crime remedied in civil court via civil law suit if it can be proved who is behind the aliases.
  • impersonating others and forging their name in emails to confess to false accusations of plagiarism with the express purpose of harming one’s credibility as a professional crosses the line into criminal behavior.

in a business like journalism or academics, where the credibility of one’s written work is central to one’s success in one’s job, this kind of forgery and impersonation with the intent to damage one’s credibility and therefore livelihood would potentially be criminal.

one should be very careful when writing letters of protest or support on the internet. for those who wish to do so, here are a few tips to follow when writing on the internet:

  1. don’t use aliases.
  2. don’t say anything on the internet you wouldn’t say in your own name.
  3. and for the love of god, don’t be a prick online.

there is no such thing on the internet! all is known by someone, and when it becomes known, the prophetic words of 2 samuel 12:12 become very true.

on the white house’s enemies list and the free press

In this June 6, 2008, file photo President Barack Obama huddles with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

In this June 6, 2008, file photo President Barack Obama huddles with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

there is an old adage: never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. this is as true for joe citizen as it is for white house.

the obama administration recently experienced another humiliating, yet little publicized setback stemming from their apparent policy of playing nice only with those organizations they feel support them. the white house recently attempted to make newly appointed ‘pay czar’ kenneth feinberg, who will oversee the obama administration’s efforts to limit the pay of top executives of companies that received federal bailout money, available for interviews to every member of the white house press pool except fox news. bad move. this kind of tit-for-tat access makes president obama look petty, and only reminds the nation of the corrupt, vindictive, and corrosive political environment in chicago that produced the likes of rod blagojevich, richard j. daley, and president obama.

how powerful is the press? and how wrong was it of the obama white house to attempt to grant press access only to those networks they believe provide favorable coverage of them? despite being competitors, the press stuck together!

the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.

good for them. and shame on the white house power brokers. whether you love or hate fox news, one simply cannot pick and choose with whom one is going to deal as an elected official. the press in this country are granted nearly unfettered access to all things. anyone remotely appearing to deny access or hide things from the press – especially from the established networks – is just asking for relentless investigations and badgering from the press. this is especially true if you have made a public pledge to run a transparent administration.

and this news of singling out fox news comes at the same time as criticism of the white house mounts for cultivating what many say is an ‘enemies list,’ harkening back to the corrupt days of the nixon white house. and it is not only republicans that are making this claim, but now democrats are beginning to worry about the heavy handed tactics of white house chief of staff rahm emanuel and the obama white house as well. a recent politico piece by jonathan allen states:

“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

barack obama should know better. and he is learning from these embarrassing setbacks. he first thing he should learn is that experience is king in washington. the should dismiss the young brash advisors, and stick to some experienced folks like savvy genius david axelrod. because, and correct me if i’m mistaken, but i don’t believe a great strategy for a president who promised to bring all sides together is to deny access to those reporters who dare criticize you or attempt to hold you accountable. how’s that strategy working in the health care debate? chicago’s olympic bid? closing guantanamo? perhaps saturday night live said it best.

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