While former half-term governor Palin is certainly an expert in not being vetted, we put our trust in the judgment of the American people who rejected not only the broken policies she and Republicans continue to call for, but also this very kind of childish politics she continues to engage in.

DNC Press Secretary Hari Sevugan, commenting on Sarah Palin’s statement that Pres. Obama is not up to the task of being president, despite 18 months of proof to the contrary. Even as Pres. Obama has pulled the country back from the brink of Republican-induced economic collapse, succeeded where the last eight presidents failed at starting genuine health care reform, reversed Bush policies on torture, murder, mutilation, and humiliation of individuals in the custody of officers or agents of the federal government, and signed a strategic arms treaty with Russia that reduces both of our nuclear arsenals by one-third (without even being able to see the Russian shore), Palin said, “Some of this though is a result of he not having much experience and then a complicit media and maybe some voters who chose to not to allow him to be vetted very closely.”

Obama Breaks with Tradition to Honor Fallen Service Members

Pres. Obama reflects on the sacrifice of service members after Marines present him with a wreath at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
Pres. Obama reflects on the sacrifice of service members while Marines play Taps at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
In addition to trying to visit military families at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery during a lightning storm this Memorial Day, Pres. Obama and the First Lady crashed a picnic at Fisher House outside of Chicago, which is sort of the Ronald McDonald House for the services.

Jay Agg, a spokesman for AMVETS, accused some people of using the day “as an opportunity to score cheap political points on the backs of our veterans and in doing so dishonor them and distract from the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day.”

Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

There is at least one Fisher House™ at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment.


Obama Not the Only Recent President to Miss Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Ceremony

Pres. Obama, saluting the body of a fallen soldier as it made homecoming at Dover Air Force Base
Pres. Obama, saluting the body of a fallen soldier as it made homecoming at Dover Air Force Base
The great thing about having Facebook friends who watch Glenn Beck is that you don’t have to. It’s like having Jon Stewart in your news feed, only not nearly as funny.

Three presidents in recent history missed the Arlington ceremony: Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

That’s how I know that the big tea bagging deal at the moment is the idea that Pres. Obama is betraying the troops by spending Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, and therefore will miss laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Instead, Vice Pres. Biden will perform the ritual while Obama and the First Lady participate in a service at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.

One immediately wonders if any past president has committed a similar omission without being called a commie, and David Corn, writing for Politics Daily did the research. Turns out three presidents in recent history missed the Arlington ceremony: Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

In 1983, President Reagan was at a summit meeting, and the deputy secretary of defense — not even the veep! — placed the wreath. Nine years later, President George H.W. Bush passed off the wreath to Vice President Dan Quayle (who had used family connections to get a slot in the National Guard during the days of the Vietnam War draft). And in 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney took on the wreath mission, while President George W. Bush was in Texas, perhaps clearing brush.


Palin: When I Urged Tea Baggers ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!’ What I Meant Was ‘Vote’

map-palins-hit-list-fullSarah Palin’s latest gaffe started last Tuesday when she tried to rally her troops in the face of her party’s crushing defeat on health-care reform by posting a United States map with gunsight icons marking districts of Democratic congressmen she has targeted for defeat in the fall.

Along with the map of gun targets, Palin added, “Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!”

Now, in one of the most transparently false attempts at spin we’ve seen since the Bush administration left town, Palin is trying walk back what she intended to convey by releasing a map that certainly appears to be a hit list.

She rolled out the walk-back in Bush country — at a rally in Midland, Texas. “‘Take up your arms’ means voting,” Palin told the adoring crowd.

Of course, she didn’t say “Take up arms.” She said, “RELOAD!”

At a campaign rally in Arizona for her running mate in 2008, Sen. John “Grampy” McCain, she read the line again:

“We know violence isn’t the answer. When we take up our arms, we’re talking about our vote.”

What we learned during the Bush administration is that normal Americans have limited patience with this sort of horse hockey — especially instances like this when it’s obvious the spinner is working on the assumption that everyone listening to her is stupid.

Of course, Palin’s spin is not, sorry, targeted at regular Americans. She thinks she’s speaking just to the half-wits who worship her. It doesn’t matter to her now that the rest of us are listening — but we are.

To Repeal Health Care Law, GOP Must Elect 26 New Senators, 112 House Members

Health-care reform is now law. The Republicans’ strategy of mortally wounding the Obama presidency by killing the bill — making defeat of the legislation the president’s Waterloo — has failed, and yet they just can’t stop lying.

Republicans’ claim now that they’ll “repeal and replace” the reforms if they win control of Congress may be their most ridiculous lie yet.

In the long list of agitprop prevarications — that reforms would create death panels, lead to rationing, constitute a government takeover, put government bureaucrats between patients and doctors, cover illegal aliens, use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and the rest — their claim now that they’ll “repeal and replace” the reforms if they win control of Congress may be the most ridiculous yet.

A more likely scenario is that independent voters will realize that the Armageddon Republicans promised is not coming, and never was. Worse, these voters may even find there’s much to like about the tax breaks, regulations on insurance companies and other goodies coming online and so be more likely to vote for Democrats in November than they say they are now, eight months out.

If public opinion turns around, Republicans will have an even harder time getting the two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate required to override the president’s veto of their repeal legislation. But even if it doesn’t, the odds that Republicans can get to two-thirds majorities, especially in the House, lie somewhere between slim and none — and they know it.

Kevin Osborne at Citybeat Cincinnati runs the numbers:

In the House of Representatives, there currently are 253 Democrats and 178 Republicans, with four vacant seats.

In the Senate, there currently are 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and two independents.

Because it’s highly doubtful that the GOP will convince any Democrats who supported the bill to change their votes, that means Republicans would need to win 40 House seats and 10 Senate seats in this fall’s election to gain simple majorities to pass the bill. But to repeal some of the reforms — like the individual insurance mandate — they would need 60 votes in the Senate, meaning the GOP would have to gain 19 seats.

Even then, it wouldn’t be signed into law because there’s no doubt President Obama would veto it. To override a veto, Republicans would need two-thirds of each house.

That means 67 senators and 290 House members. To achieve that goal, Republicans would need to gain 26 seats in the Senate and 112 in the House.

Pres. Obama is says he hopes Republicans pursue repeal:

“This is the reform that some folks in Washington are still hollering about, still shouting about. Now that we passed it, they’re already promising to repeal it. They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November,” Obama told a loud and friendly crowd of 3,000 in the University of Iowa Field House.

“And my attitude is: Go for it.”

Current projections by Nate Silver at show Democrats holding a 54 to 46 seat margin after the elections in November. Silver gives the Republicans a 10 percent chance of taking a majority in the Senate.

However, in February, Silver said the “general consensus” is that Dems will lose as many as 40 seats, which would put them in range of a slim — but nowhere near veto-proof — majority.

Right Wing Exaggerations of 9/12 Crowd Size Too Extreme Even for Fox News

Glenn Beck’s anti-Obama 9/12 march in Washington is over, but the fakery continues. During the event, an executive for Freedomworks, the DC-based lobbying firm headed by former GOP House leader Dick Armey that was hired to astroturf the event, took to the stage and, citing ABC News as his source, flatly lied about the crowd size, saying it was about 25 times the D.C. Fire Department’s estimates.

The crowd size of Saturday’s Tea Bagger march probably did beat a long-standing record, however. It was likely the biggest whites-only rally in the capitol since 1925, when 35,000 people marched in support of the Ku Klux Klan.

Then, in a move that is atypical of a “liberal media” outlet, ABC struck back:

Conservative activists … erroneously attributed reports on the size of the crowds to ABC News.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the group that organized the event, said on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance.

At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as “tens of thousands.”

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for FreedomWorks, said he did not know why Kibbe cited ABC News as a source.

As a result of Kibbe’s erroneous attribution, several bloggers and commenters repeated the misinformation.

It goes without saying — or at least ABC assumes so — that the “bloggers and commenters” repeating Kibbe’s lie were right-wingers. Their ring leader appears to have been Michelle Malkin, who was caught, as GOP Facebook blogger Sarah Palin would say, “makin’ stuff up“:

Malkin plucked out of thin air the bogus claim that ABC News reported the 9/12 protest crowd was 2 million strong. False. Nobody at ABC News ever made that claim, and no sane observer of the D.C. event today would claim with a straight face that somehow 2 million people overtook the nation’s capitol.

It’s pure fantasy.

But did that stop anybody on the right from repeating the hollow claim? Please. Did Newsbusters link to Malkin’s phony claim? Check. Wizbang. Check. Gay Patriot? Check. Check. Right Pundits? Check.

…Malkin should have just claimed 12 million protesters showed up. Because every one of her willingly gullible followers would have linked to her anyway.

Surprisingly, however, Malkin’s lie proved to be more than Fox News, the leading right-wing propaganda outlet, felt it could get away with. Fox reported that “tens of thousands of protesters” attended the march.

But even if there were 100,000 Tea Baggers at the anti-Obama rally, that was still be less than half the 250,000 at the march where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech and one-fifth the size of both the anti-Vietnam War march 1971 and the gay rights march in 1987. If there’d been 100,000 people at Beck’s march, it would still be dwarfed by the 1.8 million who attended the president’s inauguration in January.

But at 60,000 or so, the crowd size of Saturday’s Tea Bagger march probably did beat one long-standing record in the capitol, however. It was likely the biggest whites-only rally in the district since 1925, when 35,000 people marched in support of the Ku Klux Klan.

Comparison of Washington Crowd Sizes

By comparison, here are crowd sizes in Washington for previous marches as well as this year’s presidential inauguration:

Pro Ku Klux Klan march Aug. 8, 1925 35,000
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” march Aug. 28, 1963 250,000
Anti-Vietnam War march Oct. 15, 1969 200,000
Anti-Vietnam War march Nov. 15, 1969 600,000
Anti-Vietnam War march April 21, 1971 500,000
Pro Gay Rights march Oct. 11, 1987 500,000
Million Man march Oct. 16, 1995 400,000
Inauguration of Pres. Obama Jan. 21, 2009 1,800,000
Glenn Beck’s anti-Obama 9/12 march Sept. 12, 2009 60,000

President Bush’s Statements on Iraq

Here we have the conservative connundrum writ large.

Were President Bush’s statements urging the country to war with Iraq meant deliberately to mislead, or do they merely reflect monstrous incompetence on the part of the president and his administration?

President Bush’s statements on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, in chronological order, were:

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.”
– United Nations address, September 12, 2002

“Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons.”

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons — the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.”
– Radio address, October 5, 2002

“The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.”

“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.”

“We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We’re concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States.”

“The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear mujahideen” — his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.”
– Cincinnati, Ohio speech, October 7, 2002

“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”
– State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
– Address to the nation, March 17, 2003

Source: John Dean, FindLaw