For years, we've been receiving those annoying politically-themed chain emails from our under-informed aunts and cousins without giving them a second thought, because GAH: some of our relatives are just dumb, let's just try to get through Thanksgiving dinner without incident and we can go back to our lives. Unfortunately, crazy Christian separatist militia members are getting those emails, too. So, crazy chain emails are the new thing that's almost getting us killed in 2010.
Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press reports that Tina Stone, a member of the Hutaree militia, got very worked up because "she thought that President Barack Obama had signed into law this month a bill that would spend $20 billion to help the terrorist group Hamas settle in the U.S." In the days leading up to the raid of the Hutaree group, Stone's Facebook account featured a series of escalatingly unhinged posts about this phantom law, culminating in one that read, ""I'm so stressed I could KILL someone!!!!!!!"
All that error and stress came from an email forward that's been making the rounds. Per Warikoo:
According to the site factcheck.org -- which tries to debunk lies on the Internet -- the false rumors were generated in part from one e-mail that stated:
"Something happened... H.R. 1388 was passed yesterday, behind our backs. You may want to read about it. It wasn't mentioned on the news...Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA. This is the news that didn't make the headlines."
(Note that Stone was so upset with this false claim that she exaggerated the amount of money to be spent on the fake Hamas resettlement program -- from $20 million to $20 billion.)
As Factcheck notes: "H.R. 1388 actually expands AmeriCorps and other federal public service programs, more than tripling the total number of positions to 250,000." Phew! The truth is out! Hopefully no public figures said anything crazy about AmeriCorps!
Oh, hey, as a preview of coming attractions -- and by "coming attractions," I mean "crazy contentions that are going to get blasted around in email chain letters" here's Representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) talking about how the health care reform bill will lead to "16,500 armed bureaucrats" from the Internal Revenue Service "coming to make [health care reform] work."
WATCH -- Relevant portion begins at 3:35:
"It's incredible!" says the bespectacled doofus from Fox Business Channel. Yes, it is precisely that: LACKING IN CREDULITY. Per FactCheck, this is a "wildly inaccurate claim."
The irony is, maybe we need 16,500 armed bureaucrats to force people to read FactCheck.
For Hutaree, Web rumor stoked anger at Obama [Detroit Free Press]
Hutaree Member Angered By Fake Hamas Resettlement Bill [TPM Muckraker]
ZOMG - IRS Will Need 16,500 ARMED Agents to Enforce Health Insurance Mandate!!! [Rumproast]