So Ben Carson was at a presser where he was getting pressed about the long list of personal- and sometimes rather self-aggrandizing -stories he’s thrown around that are coming apart at the seams now that people are bothering to actually look at them. In response to this, he seemed to have a mental breakdown and started whining about press interest in Obama, but doing so on a subject that tends to indicate Carson easily confuses bogus conservative chain emails for actual facts. This would probably remain funny if it was just Carson losing his mind for a few minutes in front of the cameras, but now the Marching Morons are crawling out to flood social media with the same bogus, long ago debunked and discredited garbage in post after post, and meme after meme. This would be the “sealed school records” conspiracy popularized by people with more teeth than functional brain cells.
One more time, for the record, and read this as slowly as you need to if you’re a faithful follower of this particular wingnut fantasy- Obama’s school records have not been sealed. They were never sealed and Obama did not spend millions to have a judge seal them. Obama’s school records are private. The thing is, that makes his school records just like yours, mine, Carson’s, and even those records belonging to the people who think this particular conspiracy theory has any basis in reality.
Now, if you as a private citizen go to one of Obama’s former schools and demand to see the records, will you get to see them? No. It would be illegal under a longstanding federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, a law passed long before Obama was ever an elected politician, for Occidental, Columbia or Harvard Law School to give any former student’s records, whether those were Obama’s or those belonging to Joe Average, to reporters or members of the public without that person’s specific, written permission. For that matter, it would be illegal under FERPA for any of Carson’s former schools to give reporters or members of the public his student records without Carson’s specific, written permission.
This holds true for you and me as well. Additionally, this is something that anyone who’s ever held a job should know. Do you remember the last time you had to apply for a new job? Do you remember they wanted your school records? Now, did they just ring up your school on their own to get them? No, they didn’t. They asked you to provide the basics, and they had you sign a form with fine print referencing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 that, by signing it, gave them legal permission to have access to your school records. If you or I- yes, even us Joe Averages -do not give permission for that; any employer, reporter, or private citizen that accesses (and especially publically disseminates) those records by any means could be prosecuted under federal law along with the school officials who turned the records over to them (providing deception was not used to present forged documents of permission.)
This also underscores how fully uninformed with regards to basic historical facts many of the devotees of this particular conspiracy theory actually are. Presidential candidates before and after Obama’s first run did not release their school records as a matter of running. It’s not like a candidate’s financial records. This does not happen. The only time in recent memory that school records were released during a Presidential election cycle was when George W. Bush’s school records became public when he was running in 1999. Here are the two important things about that though.
George W. Bush refused to release his records or give permission for anyone to have access to them. They only became public because they were leaked, and Bush and his campaign staff were pissed as hell when it happened.
There’s no conspiracy here. No court and no judge has ever sealed Obama’s records. The privacy of Obama’s school records by act of federal law was already there before the first day he ever ran for an elected office and is no different than yours, mine, Carson’s, or those of any other American who has gone through the American public school system and gone to college. If you can’t wrap your head around these simple facts after 8 years of this bogus “sealed records” conspiracy nonsense being brought up and debunked repeatedly and having facts and reality repeatedly explained to you, do us all a big favor next November. Stay home on election day, because you’re either too uniformed or too colossally stupid to vote intelligently.
On a related note about Carson’s drooling idiocy at the presser- Can someone ask Carson what rock he was living under in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012? A part of his delusional, divorced from reality rant had him claiming that no one in the press ever bothered looking into Obama’s past or asking questions about his background. Really? Obama may well have been the subject of more mainstream media (let alone conservative media) news and investigative articles on his background, his upbringing, his private and personal affiliations, his church, and the connections he’d made in his life than any other presidential candidate to come before him in my lifetime. Hell, this is the only candidate running for office and sitting President in my 45 year lifetime that has had to release to the press and the public multiple copies in multiple formats of his birth certificate.
Unless you live in the alternate reality bubble of crackpot conspiracy chain emails, World Net Daily, The Tea Party News Network, Conservative Tribune, InfoWars, and other fake news sites, pretty much every facet of Obama’s life from his birth in Kapiʻolani Medical Center in Hawaii to his dinner last Thursday night has been sifted through, investigated, and put into print or video for public consumption. The fact that Carson with all of the media sound and fury around Obama’s background in the past two presidential elections and the ease of access to all of those materials apparently sincerely believes that no one in the media ever looked into anything in Obama’s past or life at the time he started running for high office is actually as troubling, maybe even more so, than his apparent penchant for being Walter Mitty when it comes to talking about his life experiences or his habit of denying the science, history, and facts he doesn’t like and replacing that knowledge with crackpot theories.
More and more every day, Carson comes across as a man who is divorced from reality in a number of major ways. That’s not the type of person you want getting anywhere near the White House, not even as a guest or a tourist.