Tag Archives: FactCheck.org

Palin’s Poison

Sarah Palin holding baby Trig Palin.

Sarah Palin holding baby Trig Palin.

In Egypt, 43 percent of people think Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks in America, a poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org found last year.

In the United States, six percent of Americans say the moon landing of 40 years ago was staged, according to Gallup.

And in Alaska, the former governor, a woman who was nearly a heartbeat away from the presidency, now tells followers that “Obama death panels” could decide if her parents and her baby, Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome, will live or die.

The United States, like most countries, has long had a lunatic fringe who channel in the flotsam of delusion, half-facts and conspiracy theories. But now, with the light-speed and reach of the Web, “entire virtual crank communities,” as the conservative writer David Frum called them, have sprung up. They are fed, in the case of Sarah Palin, by people who should know better.

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The Little Known Truth of Barack Obama’s Legislative Record

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama

Commentator Robert J. Elisberg, writing for the Huffington Post, looks into accusations by the McCain-Palin campaign that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has no legislative experience and has not accomplished anything while serving in the Senate.

As we all know, Barack Obama hasn’t passed any major legislation. He’s inexperienced, never done anything. We know this. We know it because John McCain and Sarah Palin, bless her accomplished heart, have said so. And so, we know.

Far be it from me not to take their word for it, but I decided to check things out. And shockingly… it doesn’t turn out to be true! Really. So, take a guess on how much legislation Barack Obama has sponsored in the United States Senate, which has become law.

C’mon, take a guess.

Nope, sorry, take another guess.

Barack Obama has authored or co-sponsored 579 bills in Washington. And as a state senator, he sponsored 820 laws for Illinois.

That’s 1,399 bills in all. Not bad for someone who apparently had done zero — okay, according to his opponents.

I know, I know. Those 820 are just for a “state,” so they don’t really count. Except… well, wait, a “state” is what Sarah Palin is governor of. (At least for 21 months.) So if sponsoring pesky “state” laws doesn’t count, what in the world does she have on her resume then? Other than ethics violations.

Besides, y’know, Illinois is an awfully big state. If someone passes a law there, it does affect the lives of 26 million people.

And, yipes, it turns out that there is a wide-ranging record of bipartisan laws he’s co-sponsored, as well, working across the aisles with Republicans. Go figure, who knew?!

Okay, first, let’s look at Barack Obama’s 579 Senate bills. (To be fair, some of these are pending — the U.S. Senate works slooowly…)

But here are just a few highlights of the ones that have passed.

With Russ Feingold, Sen. Obama helped put together and co-sponsor the Obama/Feingold 2007 Ethics Reform Law, which curbed lobbying abuses. The bill was perhaps the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.

Mr. Obama joined forces with Republican Richard Lugar as original co-sponsors of the landmark bill that improved the government’s ability to detect and destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction, keeping them from terrorists.

Working across the aisle again, this time, with Republican Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama authored a provision to secure vulnerable nuclear weapons and nuclear material around the world, protecting them from terrorists.

Sen. Obama also wrote the legislation for his Homes for Heroes Act and SAVE Act, that increased services for homeless veterans.

Shockingly, it turns out that John McCain is also wrong about Barack Obama not being willing to go against his party. You see, Mr. Obama sponsored an amendment that required lobbyist disclosures. And as the NY Timeswrote, “The disclosure idea’s lead sponsor, Senator Barack Obama… ‘has not been the most popular person in our caucus in the last couple of weeks,’ said a Democratic aide involved in deliberations over the bill.”

Gee. Apparently, it seems, Barack Obama has been willing to buck his own party. And work across the aisle. And sponsor and pass important legislation. And there are 574 other bills — some large, some smaller, but all can be found on State Surge.

Meanwhile, his record as a senator in Illinois has an impressive 820 bills that impacted the lives of countless millions, as well. By the way, for fact buffs: the 13th District he represented was alone comprised of 653,457 people — the same as the entire state of Alaska.

In Illinois, with its 26 million citizens, Barack Obama co-sponsored bipartisan campaign finance reforms, that the Chicago Tribune referred to as “the most sweeping good-government legislation in decades.” He co-sponsored a bipartisan, groundbreaking ethics reform law and was the main sponsor of the Health Care Justice Act. As co-chairman of a bipartisan committee, Sen. Obama also helped pass predatory mortgage lending reforms, which prevent foreclosures. (Hmm, that was forward thinking. Ya think? But, tosh, it was just a “state” law…) He sponsored laws that raised tax credits for low-income workers, that improved childcare subsidies for the KidCare Program (bringing health care to 70,000 uncovered children), and that reformed welfare. And he co-sponsored the Equal Pay Act for women.

Further, Mr. Obama sponsored bipartisan legislation that made Illinois the first state to require videotaping of capital cases, and bipartisan laws for monitoring racial profiling.

This list goes endlessly on. A total of 820 laws in all. FactCheck.org has detailed descriptions.

None of this is to place a value judgment on the 579 federal laws Barack Obama authored or co-sponsored. Nor is it to equate state laws with federal. It’s merely to address the false impression that the McCain campaign has tried to put forth that Sen. Obama has sponsored no important legislation in the U.S. Senate, never been able to work across the aisle and largely sat in the Illinois Senate voting “present.”

Put whatever value you wish on the 1,399 laws Barack Obama has helped sponsor. Decide for yourself what is a “major” law. From ethics reform to safeguarding WMD to child health care to home foreclosure protection, and much more, you have a great many laws to choose from.

It’s up to you to decide if passing laws in a state of 26 million people shows a person’s interests, initiative and abilities and helps set precedents. In truth, Illinois state laws do not cover a nation – they just cover 9% of the nation’s population.

In the end, there is only one simple point to this. Honesty. That anyone who suggests that Barack Obama has been ineffectual in his 12-year career as an elected representative, sponsoring no important legislation, unable to work across party lines, unwilling to go against his party, and avoiding taking stances by voting “present” — then that person doesn’t know what they are talking about. Or is lying.

The Little Known Truth of Barack Obama’s Legislative Record

Group: Palin’s energy claims ‘not even close’ to the truth

Map of the Trans Alaska Pipeline route

Map of the Trans Alaska Pipeline route

According to an article by Rena Delbridge published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on September 17, 2008, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s that she is in charge of 20% of the US energy supply and that Alaska supplies that 20%.  However, careful investigation by the nonpartisan fact-check group FactCheck.org has found this to be an extreme exaggeration on the part of Palin and GOP Presidential candidate Senator John McCain.  Alaska was actually responsible for 3.5% of domestic energy production and only 2.4% of total energy consumed during 2007 in the United States.  ~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

A nonpartisan fact-checking organization says Gov. Sarah Palin is “not even close” to the truth in her claims that Alaska supplies 20 percent of the country’s energy.

FactCheck.org said Sen. John McCain also is wrong when he touts Palin as being in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply.

Both candidates issued the claims in interviews with ABC’s Charles Gibson. Palin also made the claim at a campaign event Monday in Golden, Colo.

Palin was interviewed several times during two days last week in Alaska by Gibson. According to the transcript on ABC’s Web site, http://www.abc.com, Palin said, “Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that’s with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.”

Hold it right there, FactCheck.org says. Twenty percent?

“If you’re going to be an energy expert – if that’s going to be your credential for being vice president of the United States – you should at least be able to get the numbers straight,” said Brooks Jackson, director of FactCheck.org.

For 2007, Alaska is credited with 14 percent of U.S. domestic oil production, or 263.6 million barrels, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. However, Alaska accounts for only 5 percent of U.S. oil supplies, which come from foreign and domestic sources. But, Palin failed to qualify the stats as oil-only production. Alaska was responsible for 3.5 percent of domestic energy production and only 2.4 percent of total energy consumed in the U.S.

“Either way, whether she meant total energy production or total energy consumption, she was off by a full order of magnitude,” Jackson said. “I’m sure it was true once, that Alaska produced 20 percent of the oil produced in the U.S., but certainly not 20 percent of the oil consumed in the U.S.”

In a Sept. 3 interview with Gibson, McCain, talking about his running mate, said: “This is a very dynamic person. (Palin has) been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply.” 

Group: Palin’s energy claims ‘not even close’ to the truth

Alaska oil pipeline along James Dalton Highway in winter

Alaska oil pipeline along James Dalton Highway in winter