Tag Archives: Edward Markey

Lie of the Year: ‘Death Panels’

And the "Lie of the Year" winner is ... Sarah Palin!!

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)

This is the story of how two words generated intense heat in the national debate over health care.

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Palin vs. the Planet

Congressman Ed Markey, co-author of a new energy bill in the House, fires back at the Alaska governor for her confusion, fuzzy math, and inaction on global warming.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin posed for a portrait in her office in Anchorage, Alaska.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin posed for a portrait in her office in Anchorage, Alaska.

The future ex-Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, decided to dip her toe in the water on the national debate over energy and climate legislation in an op-ed in the Washington Post recently. Hailing from Alaska, one would assume the Governor might have noticed the water around her is indeed rising.

While the Governor’s op-ed does not mention the words global warming, Alaska sits on the frontlines of climate change, with temperatures rising four degrees Fahrenheit in the last 50 years; melting permafrost is sending homes and roads in coastal villages like the centuries-old Shishmaref plunging into the sea.

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Drill, Baby, Drill: Palin Spends Last Days in Office Twittering about Oil

As the seas of controversy – and climate change – rise around her, Sarah Palin spends her time Tweeting about oil and the ANWR.

As the seas of controversy – and climate change – rise around her, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spends her time Tweeting about oil and the ANWR.

In Sarah Palin’s own mind, she’s a fierce mother bear, acting on a guttural raw instinct to protect and provide for her young – who apparently include not only her own children but all of the “real Americans” out there who share her conservative views. But Palin no longer sees politics as the best way to do this – or so she says. As she leaves office this weekend, her next step remains unclear, but one thing’s for sure: She’s not letting go of her pro-domestic-oil-drilling stance anytime soon.

The embattled soon-to-be-former Governor of Alaska has been implicated in an ethics violation concerning her use of a legal defense fund in the 19th such complaint against her, but she doesn’t appear to be too concerned. Indeed, Palin is spending her last days in office penning half-baked op-eds on climate change legislation and Twittering about the amazing qualities of mother bears, drilling for oil and freedom-related song lyrics.

Palin’s editorial appeared in the July 14th edition of The Washington Post, slamming Obama’s “cap and tax” energy plan without ever mentioning the phrases ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ or ‘carbon emissions’. The op-ed was eviscerated by climate experts, journalists and Palin’s fellow politicians for being long on oft-repeated falsehoods and short on actual knowledge about climate, with The Huffington Post wondering whether The Washington Post can ever recover from this hit to its reputation.

Congressman Edward Markey, co-author of the energy bill that Palin was attempting to discredit, took to The Daily Beast to clear up a few things in a piece titled “Palin vs. The Planet”. Noting that Palin’s beloved home state is on the front lines of climate change in America, Markey takes the governor to task on her apparent failure to understand what the bill is about.

“The governor does not understand that Waxman-Markey is not a tax bill—as we explicitly rejected the carbon tax option in favor of a smart cap on pollution with price protections for consumers and businesses that will grow our economy and create jobs.

She argues for more drilling as a solution to our energy crisis. But that math doesn’t add up. The United States possesses only three percent of the world’s oil reserves, yet we consume 25 percent of the world’s oil. OPEC, in contrast, controls two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Geological reality, not Waxman-Markey, is what is making energy “scarcer and more expensive.”

That is why we need to develop American-made alternatives to our nation’s current foreign dependency. No matter how hard she looks, Gov. Palin is not going to find enough oil in Alaska to feed our country’s insatiable appetite for energy.”

But even as Palin prepares to leave office she continues to talk up a natural gas pipeline in Alaska that may or may not ever be built, as well as the virtues of drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, in strings of semi-connected tweets that sometimes take up to thirty minutes to complete. On July 23rd Palin used her Twitter account to trump one of her final acts as governor – signing a resolution she describes as “pro-ANWR/pro-Alaska/pro-Energy Independence.”

Palin’s scattered, rambling tweets resemble nothing so much as the incoherent ramblings of a certain famous rock widow – which is probably not the effect that one of the nation’s most notorious political figures should be aiming for. Luckily for her, another conservative governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, used Twitter to post a video message in which he talks about the budget crisis while waving around a two-foot knife, making her look a little more balanced.

And what does Palin care, if she truly has no intent to stay in politics? As conservative media figures like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly have proven, sometimes shrill, fact-challenged rants and incoherent ramblings can translate into big ratings. If the mysterious venture that Palin is about to dive into involves becoming an even bigger conservative celebrity – which seems likely – she’s already primed for stardom.

Stephanie Rogers
Mother Nature Network