Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Checking in on fact-checkers

It's a great thing we have some journos trying to keep the boys inside the beltway in line, because as the good Reverend Jeremiah Wright frankly said: "Governments lie."

Although we have a two-party sellout system, it is interesting to see how the pro-war stooges contradicted each other during the Friday, Sept. 26, debate. Here's and their take on the two corporate candidates for president.

"Obama was out of date in saying the Iraqi government has "79 billion dollars," when he argued that the U.S. should stop spending money on the war in Iraq," said.

"[T]here was a time when the country could have had as much as $79 billion, but that time has passed. What the Iraqis actually “have” is $29.4 billion in the bank. The Government Accountability Office projected in August that Iraq’s 2008 budget surplus could range anywhere from $38.2 billion to $50.3 billion, depending on oil revenue, price and volume. Then, in early August, the Iraqi legislature passed a $21 billion supplemental spending bill, which was omitted from the GAO’s surplus tally since it was still under consideration. The supplemental will be completely funded by this year’s surplus. So the range of what the Iraqi’s could have at year’s end is actually $47 billion to $59 billion. The $79 billion figure is outdated and incorrect."

Get your math straight Obama!

Also noted at is that Henry Kissinger, former Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said that negotiations should start in Iran with a meeting at the secretary of state level, without preconditions, as Obama said during Friday's debate. The website confirmed that Obama was right: that Kissinger suggested sending high-level diplomats to negotiate with Iran and without preconditions. Kissinger, at the behest of the McCain campaign, later said the Republican "is right" and that a meeting at the presidential level is unfavorable.

Everyone ignores the fact that Iran has not committed acts of aggresion; that there is actually a secret war being conducted there at the moment; and that Seymour Hersh has uncovered proposals by Bush administration officials to conduct a false-flag operation involving Navy Seals disguised as Iranians, positioning the soldiers on fake Iranian speedboats and shooting at them to stage a provocation to start war with Iran.

The format of Factcheck is easy enough and it looks alrite. It's like a blog with a chronological feed. I just wish it was easier to explore items by issue or category.

Moving on, I like because it can be browsed by category and it looks real glossy with its animation of truth, half-truths and lies. It's chalk-full of YouTube videos, which is good. Not only does it have a "truth-o-meter" to guage the veracity of statements but it also has a "flip-o-meter" to guage whether a candidate has changed their position on an issue. The website also sorts out the facts by attacks and statements.

Hmmm, McCain was right during the debate when saying South Koreans were taller than North Korea ... but I'm not sure Politifact is asserts this but it cites a study that attributes the difference to malnutrition in North Korea.

Wow, Politifact two-party domination fun!.

I'm unsatisfied by the Washington Post's U.S. Congress Votes Database. I find it entirely hard to navigate. It's so difficult to find a vote from a decade ago; but you can choose which Congress (110th, 109th, 108th, etc.). They say they have records back unto 1991.

The next website has not collected information reaching as far back -- it only goes to 1991 -- but at Project Vote Smart, I can just type in the name of any politician that comes to mind into a search and their voting record pops right up. Project Vote Smart is far more navigable for this reason -- you can then browse a politician's votes by category, too.

For instance, I just type in Barack Obama into the search -- the second search result, after the Senator's biography is his voting record. According to Project Vote Smart, when I scroll down Mr. Obama's votes on "National Security Issues," it seems that he voted YES for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Ammendments Act of 2008, which stipulates the release of:

electronic communication providers from liability with regards to civil action that may be brought up in any court due to assistance provided to the government in obtaining electronic surveillance if such assistance was authorized by the President before January 17, 2007 or if such assistance was the subject of written directions from the Attorney General or heads of the intelligence community indicating that the activity was lawful

Thanks, man.

And, sadly, to show you that these two websites aren't enough in this day and age in which there are really old politicians looking to run the country, a key vote by John McCain is unrreachable on either. It was in 1983. It could make most of the country cry. Just try. You can't find it on these two sites.

Googling is required. (So, note: These databases are not wholely comprehensive.)

But the maverick that he was, McCain voted against the creation of a national holiday honoring the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a motion that had large Republican support. He continued to opposed the holiday in his actions and behavior until at least 1994 when he voted to cut funding for a commission that promoted the MLK day.

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