A plea to the cult of willful ignorance: Get a grip

I don’t usually indulge this kind of thing, but once in a while the willful ignorance gets so thick that I feel duty-bound to puncture it.

Here’s the screed that landed in a steaming pile in my inbox this morning from a reader in Moraga:

IN THE MUSLIM RELIGION, DOGS ARE UNCLEAN AND NOT ALLOWED TO TRAVEL IN THE SAME VEHICLE AS THE MUSLIM. Bo has never traveled in the same means of transportation with the First Family.
Bo’s vacation
I guess since they had to swallow their pride and use the Gulfstream there just wasn’t enough room for the dog and one other person.
Did you know the Pres. flew BO, the dog, in on a separate smaller jet to Maine for their vacation????
Wonder if that sets well with all the unemployed, hurting, US citizens who can’t afford food, but we can pay for this. The above is true.
I Google “Bo the dog flying to Maine ” and got 76,700 references verifying this. One of them follows:
Michelle Malkin: Just Plane Crazy: Obama’s Dog Flies to Vacation on Separate Jet
Doug Powers: The Obama’s arrived at their vacation spot in Maine , and the local paper, the Morning Sentinel, described the scene:
The president was the first to walk onto the tarmac, dressed casually in a pale blue Oxford shirt and khakis.
A few minutes later, the first lady, dressed in black caprice, a tank-top and sandals, walked onto the runway. Shortly afterward, Malia and Sasha joined their parents. Baldacci and his wife, Karen, presented the family with gift bags full of Maine-made goodies,including baskets made by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, popcorn from Little Bakery in East Corinth, iconic L.L. Bean bags, University of Maine ice hockey hats, and an assortment of other Maine foods and books. Karen Baldacci said the bags for Malia and Sasha contained one loon toy and one chickadee toy that sound their natural calls. Arriving in a small jet before the Obama’s was the first dog, Bo , a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love, who chatted with Baldacci.
The president who said the rest of us are going to have to sacrifice to get out of these hard economic times let his dog fly on his own plane? Not enough room on Air Force One for a Portuguese water dog and Reggie Love?
OH, by the way,
Mr. Love, Bo’s handler, is paid $102,000.00 a year to take care of him. Divided by 365 is $279.45 per day.
What side of the ballot will you mark in November?

Well, I’ll definitely be looking for the “non-delusional” side of the ballot. It took all of 30 seconds to determine that this is a load of crap – 30 seconds the sender obviously didn’t care to spend.

As snopes.com explains, this is recycled crap: It’s from a 2010 vacation to Maine, and later was recirculated for a 2011 vacation to Massachusetts. Per snopes:

Bo flew to Maine in a different plane than the rest of the First Family not because he was part of a special canine-only flight, but because the local airport (Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton, Maine) was too small to accommodate the Boeing 747-200B in which the President usually travels. Therefore, the Obamas flew to Maine in a Gulfstream GIII/G3 jet (which seats six to nineteen passengers), while Bo was loaded onto an earlier flight which carried a contingent of presidential aides and staff members.

Also, Reggie Love isn’t “Bo’s handler.”

As for the Muslim jibe about Bo never riding with the President:

And again

Bo on Air Force One

As the e-mail asks, “HOW CAN AMERICA BE SO BLIND????????” What manner of mass brain malfunction lets so many people circulate and believe something that’s so easily disproved? How blinded by hate are they?

Criticize the president on health care, the economy, spending, foreign policy, whatever – it’s all fair game, and a debate the nation should have. But this pathetic Muslim-bashing and outright lying is in poor taste at best and reinforces a stereotype of the wild-eyed, paranoid Obama-hater that detracts from reasoned arguments against his policies. It’s a sad commentary on how shallow and insipid our political discourse has become.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    I’m glad this matter has been settled. The Prez, peace and blessings be upon him, will be pleased.

  • JohnW

    Of course, if the Obamas were Muslim and there was any truth to the bit about not riding in the same vehicle as the people, they could have just strapped BO to the top of said vehicle. Nah, nobody would ever do anything like that!

  • Elwood

    @ #2 John W.

    You can see it on David Letterman almost every night!

  • JohnW

    I’m waiting for the inevitable (and inappropriate) noise about Mitt’s religion, and the protests from the Right about how religion shouldn’t be injected into a political campaign.

  • Common Tater

    This may come as a shock to the intellect, but Snopes is not ALWAYS unbiased. I have seen them be inaccurate with items that I had direct personal knowledge of.

  • Truthclubber

    Two words, Josh:

    Republican Brain

  • Elwood

    Is drinking cooking sherry dangerous in any way?


  • Truthclubber

    Classic fascist, er, Republican answer — ignore the facts and double down on the negativity of ad hominem attacks (attacking the person, not their argument).

    Gee, does my supposedly “drinking cooking sherry” affect my ability to translate Latin? Apparently NOT.

    Does Hellwoody’s childish, I dare say infantile reliance on such fascist, “verbal vomit” behavior render him labelled as a Republican Brain? I think YES.

  • JohnW

    @4 Common Tater

    Care to give us an example? Usually they deal with stories that are so hard to believe that the only reason for even checking Snopes is to get the ammo needed to straighten out some friend who has passed along the story thinking it to be legit.

    The rumors I like are the ones that are absurd but cite Snopes as their source, when, in fact, Snopes has researched and debunked the rumors in question.

    In any event, I assume you are burdened by the curse of sanity and will, therefore, agree that the whopper about Bo and the plane is beyond ridiculous.

  • Elwood

    @ #8 toothsucker

    “I think YES.”

    But, toothsucker

    No one cares what you think.

    Stay out of the cooking sherry.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Well we know for a fact that the Romneys put their dog Seamus on the roof of the car when they travel…perhaps they are closet muslims too!

    Where is Jack Bauer when you need him???

  • JohnW

    @ 11 Bob Loblaw

    You may be on to something. Seamus may be short for See A Muslim.

    What’s the Christian Right to do? They get to choose between a devout Mormon (whose religion they don’t consider to be truly Christian) and a self-proclaimed Christian whom they believe to be a closet Muslim.

  • BGR

    Good Dog, Bo.