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TBR News January 21, 2019

Jan 21 2019

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. January 21, 2019:”Between the growing realization that Trump is a chronic liar and the spreading rumors in high places that he has been working as a Russian stooge, official Washington is a boiling stew. Trump’s refusal to sign off on the operating bill has thrown thousands out of work, including many law enforcement agents and such important members of the government as air controllers, customs inspectors, FBI agents, DHS employees and tens of thousands more. Trump does not care if they never get paid unless he gets the billion dollar useless wall he promised his rabid right wing supporters. It is obvious what is coming; only the timing is blurred but come it will and not soon enough.”

 

The Table of Contents

  • 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty 20
  • The ‘exhausting’ work of factcheckers who track Trump’s barrage of lies
  • The Science of Abrupt Climate Change: Should we be worried?
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

 815 false claims: The staggering scale of Donald Trump’s pre-midterm dishonesty No. 20

November 15, 2018

by Daniel Dale Washington Bureau Chief

Toronto Star

WASHINGTON—It took Donald Trump until the 286th day of his presidency to make 815 false claims.

He just made another 815 false claims in a month.

In the 31 days leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Trump went on a lying spree like we have never seen before even from him — an outrageous barrage of serial dishonesty in which he obliterated all of his old records.

How bad have these recent weeks been?

  • Trump made 664 false claims in October. That was double his previous record for a calendar month, 320 in August.
  • Trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the midterm on Nov. 6. In 2017, he averaged 2.9 per day.
  • Trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the midterms (1,176), than he did in all of 2017 (1,011).
  • The three most dishonest single days of Trump’s presidency were the three days leading up to the midterms: 74 on election eve, Nov. 5; 58 on Nov. 3; 54 on Nov. 4.

As always, Trump was being more frequently dishonest in part because he was simply speaking more. He had three campaign rallies on Nov. 5, the day before he set the record, and eight more rallies over the previous five days.

But it was not only quantity. Trump packed his rally speeches with big new lies, repeatedly reciting wildly inaccurate claims about migrants, Democrats’ views on immigration and health care, and his own record. Unlike many of his lies, lots of these ones were written into the text of his speeches.

Trump is now up to 3,749 false claims for the first 661 days of his presidency, an average of 4.4 per day.

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not telling the truth.

  • Nov 5, 2018

“So funny to see the CNN Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric. Watch for real results Tuesday.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no evidence CNN pollsters had intentionally manipulated their numbers to deflate Trump’s vote.

“And we gave our great warriors their largest pay raise in more than a decade.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: The military pay increase in the 2019 defense bill, 2.6 per cent, is the largest in nine years, since the 3.4 per cent increase under Obama in 2010. We’ve let Trump get away with saying this is the largest increase in “a decade,” but “more than a decade” is incorrect.

“And there’s more coming. We passed Veterans Choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor rather than waiting on line for weeks and months to see a doctor. Forty-four years, they tried to pass that. And I came up with that idea, and I thought it was brilliant. I went back to my people and I said, you know what we’ll do? There’s no way there are so many people in line, takes months and months. I said, you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those people get off line, go outside, see a doctor. And we’ll pay for the doctor. I said, ‘I’m so smart. I am the most brilliant human being that has ever lived.’ And I went to my people, and I said, ‘Do this. Do it.’ They said, ‘Sir, we’ve been trying to get it passed for about 44 years.’ I said, ‘Oh, so it wasn’t my idea.’ But you know what? I’m the only one that got it passed. That’s even tougher. That’s even tougher. That’s even tougher.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the program.

“For those of you that love your children and you want to leave your small farm or your ranch or anything you have, including a small business, to your children, you now have no death tax to pay. You now have no estate tax to pay. So if you don’t love your children or if your children treat you badly, and you have no intention of leaving your farm or your other valuables to your children, because your children are just no good, then just forget what I just said because it’s not going to help you. But if you want to leave them that farm and you pass, and what happens is they go out and they have to borrow and they mortgage it to the hilt. It’s called mortgaging the farm. You know, it’s an expression. You’re going to mortgage the farm. They mortgage the farm to pay the estate taxes or death taxes, as it’s called. They don’t have to do that anymore. They don’t have to do that anymore. It’s gone. That’s a big thing. And the Democrats fought us on that one, too, but we got it by.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Trump did not eliminate the estate tax. His tax law merely raised the threshold at which it must be paid. Also, it is highly misleading to suggest that the estate tax is a major burden on family farms and small businesses: very few of them were paying the tax even before Trump’s tax law was passed. According to the Tax Policy Center, a mere 80 farms and small businesses were among the 5,460 estates likely to pay the estate tax in 2017, before Trump’s tax law. The Center wrote on its website: “The Tax Policy Center estimates that small farms and businesses will pay $30 million in estate tax in 2017, fifteen hundredths of 1 of the total estate tax revenue.”

“Democrats’ immigration policies are extreme, dangerous, reckless, and insane. They support catch-and-release. They want to free criminal aliens. They want no protections for American workers and taxpayers. And they want totally open borders, which means crime will pour into our country.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Democrats do not want open borders. Most of them support a less aggressive immigration policy than the one Trump advocates, but they are not calling for people to be able to walk across from Mexico unbothered.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws and violate our borders.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“The Democrats’ plan to destroy health care also includes raiding Medicare to fund benefits for illegal immigrants.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: There is simply no basis for this claim.

“And Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always. We are protecting patients.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party tried repeatedly during Trump’s early presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.

“Soon, Obamacare will be gone. We actually had it. We missed one vote, one vote, one vote. That was a little bit of a surprise to us at 2 o’clock in the morning. One vote. But we didn’t get any Democrat votes. If Claire McCaskill, we would have repealed it and replaced it. But essentially, it’s being obliterated anyway.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Obamacare is nowhere close to being “gone” or “obliterated.” Trump has weakened Obamacare in several ways, most notably by eliminating the “individual mandate” that required people to obtain health insurance, but the law is far from dead. Trump did not eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, or the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases.

“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care. You know what’s happening. And your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple. You’re not going to be happy. I know you well. The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare. It will also — which is good — but leave the bad parts behind. It will destroy Medicare.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Trump seemed to be accidentally misspeaking here — he usually claims, wrongly, that Democrats’ plans would “obliterate Medicare” — but, of course, the Democrats are not planning to “obliterate Obamacare,” the health care law they passed.

“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care. You know what’s happening. And your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple. You’re not going to be happy. I know you well.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Democrats did not plan to embark on a “socialist takeover of American health care” if they won back control of the House of Representatives. The likely new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has not committed to “Medicare for All” single-payer proposals, and she and other party leaders have said their focus would be protecting and improving Obamacare and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. While Democrats might indeed hold hearings or votes on “Medicare for All” at some point, there was no chance they could cause people’s taxes to double or triple; they would be embarking on their efforts knowing they could not get a bill approved by Trump.

“And he was there, along with some really great people in the Republican Party to take care of our vets, to give them Choice for the first time in 44 years. They’ve been trying for 44 years.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the program.

“The Democrats overplayed their hand, just as they overplayed their hand with a lot of things. They overplayed their — like the Russia nonsense. Russia. Russia did it. It was Russia. They used it as an excuse by the Democrats for losing an election that they should have won because they have a big advantage in the Electoral College.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Contrary to Trump’s frequent claim, the Electoral College is not set up in a way that disadvantages Republican candidates.

“Our great, great, brave, brave soldier from Vietnam, except he never saw Vietnam. Da Nang Dick, you know, Da Nang. He’s from Da Nang. ‘We charged up the hill, soldiers were falling left and right, but I was protecting them, I was there.’ Except he never saw Vietnam. And then he gets up and he says, we demand honesty.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Only a smidgen of this story is true. Trump was correct that Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal lied about having served in Vietnam. But Trump was also lying: Blumenthal never claimed to have served in Da Nang, to have been a war hero, to have fought in battles in which people were shot, to have protected anybody, or to have charged up hills. He simply claimed to have served in Vietnam during the war, when he served in the Marine Corps Reserve in the U.S.

“We passed a massive tax cut for Missouri workers and for the United States, and we will soon follow it up with another 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: We do not usually fact-check promises of future action, but there was no sign that Republicans were actually pursuing an additional 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class; Trump suddenly introduced this claim two weeks before the election, with no details attached. We will amend this item if he proves serious.

“African-American, Hispanic American, and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels in history.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: Trump was correct about the first two, incorrect about the third. The Asian-American unemployment rate briefly dropped to a low, 2.0 per cent, in May — a low, at least, since the government began issuing Asian-American data in 2000 — but the most recent rate at the time Trump spoke, for October, was 3.2 per cent. This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office — 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

“And then we went to Indiana, where we had a crowd like this, and there were thousands and thousands of people outside. And I just want to say, there’s something happening out there, folks.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

in fact: There were not “thousands and thousands” of people stuck outside Trump’s rally earlier in the day in Fort Wayne, Indiana; journalists said it was hundreds at most.

 

“Our vets now have Veterans Choice, which they’ve never had. 44 years they were trying to get it. We’re just doing a good job, and we have the strongest economy we’ve ever had in the history of our country, and you know that.”

Source: Interview with Sean Hannity

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the Choice program.

“There is something going on though, Sean. I leave Ohio, thousands and thousands of people can’t get into this massive arena. I just left Indiana, thousands and thousands of people outside can’t get — there’s something going on, there’s an electricity that feels like 2016.”

Source: Interview with Sean Hannity

in fact: There were not “thousands and thousands” of people stuck outside Trump’s rally earlier in the day in Fort Wayne, Indiana; journalists said it was hundreds at most.

“And you talk about border walls, the other one (Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema) doesn’t want any border walls, she doesn’t want any protection. Nothing.”

Source: Interview with Sean Hannity

in fact: Sinema, the Democrats’ Senate candidate in Arizona, is indeed opposed to a border wall, but it is false that “she doesn’t want any protection”; Sinema supports various border security measures. The Arizona Republic reported in October: “Both (Republican candidate) McSally and Sinema recognize the complexities of border-security challenges. They are in agreement about the need to boost investment in infrastructure at the ports of entry, as well as to ramp up the hiring of border agents and customs officers. And they both have pushed the need for border agencies to get “operational control” of the southern border. ‘It needs to be a bottom-up approach as far as what the agents need, what the sectors need,” McSally said. “But it certainly includes the border wall, access roads, agents patrolling the border, technology and situational awareness, so they can detect and shut down the activity.’ Sinema’s approach includes all of those items, minus the wall, while touting her willingness to work across the aisle to tackle solutions in Congress. ‘They’ve let this partisanship and these petty talking points get in the way — we haven’t been able to address this in a comprehensive manner,’ she said. ‘And we can only gain operational and situational control of the border by addressing these elements of the gaps that exist in our system together.’”

“But they fight like you’ve never seen to make sure we don’t build a wall. And I’ve got $1.6 billion, another $1.6 billion and the third $1.6 billion. I’m building it in nice large pieces.”

Source: Interview with Sean Hannity

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started, and Trump has not secured $4.8 billion for the wall. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction. Trump has requested another $1.6 billion for the 2019 fiscal year, but this has not yet been approved, much less spent. In these comments, Trump also added a third “$1.6 billion” that does not exist

“You know Mark, there’s something beautiful about it. The — a lot of the Republicans don’t want to vote, because they think I don’t like Congress, and they really like me, and I have 93 per cent now — which is the highest — 93 in the Republican Party.”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: Trump’s approval rating with Republicans tends to be closer to 90 per cent in most polls. (He was at 88 per cent, for example, in the most recent Gallup poll.) Regardless, 93 per cent would not be a record, though Trump repeatedly claims it is. George W. Bush had higher approval ratings after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks; in one Gallup poll more than three months after the attacks, Bush had a 98 per cent approval rating among Republicans.

“We want to be fair, but we want to get a good deal for us for a change, because we lose $500 billion a year with China, and we can’t do that any longer, Mark.”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: The U.S. has never once had a $500 billion trade deficit with China, according to U.S. government data. The deficit was $337 billion in 2017, $375 billion if you only count trade in goods and exclude trade in services.

“Their (China’s) economy has gone down 32 per cent, which, of course, nobody mentions. And I don’t really want them to mention it. I’m not looking to be bad to China.”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: China’s economy grew 6.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, according to official data. This is slower than in previous years, but not a depression-level decline of 32 per cent. (Growth was 6.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.) Trump has previously claimed that China’s stock markets are down 32 per cent, which is also not true.

“Trade deals are doing really well, and China has never seen anything like this, what’s going on there. They’ve never seen anything like it. You know, right now they’re paying tax on 250 — I mean they are paying taxes on or numbers like you wouldn’t believe. Billions and billions of dollars coming into our treasury, and I’m very happy with that, but they want to make a deal, and we might make a deal.”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: China does not pay the tariffs Trump has imposed on Chinese products imported by Americans. The American importers pay these tariffs.

“I think we’re going to win races that nobody ever thought of. Honestly, they didn’t think in terms of Donnelly, they didn’t think in terms of Tester. Heidi was unbeatable. This is six months, a year ago. All of — you know, in going over the races, Mark, there were people that we weren’t even going to contest, and now we’re leading.”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: This is an exaggeration. Nobody credible said Democratic North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp “could not be beaten”; rather, she was widely seen as very vulnerable given Trump’s 36-point victory in her conservative-leaning state in 2016. The same goes for Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, whose state Trump won by 19 points. Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester was seen to be slightly safer, but Republicans were always vigorously contesting his seat too.

“Well, you know we just got to — as you know, we just arrived in Indiana, and they have lines — the arena has packed, 12,000 people, but they have lines, they could fill it up three times…”

Source: Interview with Mark Levin

in fact: There were not nearly as many as 36,000 people at Trump’s Fort Wayne, Indiana rally. There were a few hundred people outside during the speech, local journalists said; while others might have been turned away at the door and gone home, there is no credible estimate of 24,000 turned away.

“…if it’s because of the immigration policies that we have, that are very tough, and they don’t have that. They have the…they have open borders, which is ridiculous. But there is a great electricity in the air.”

Source: Interview with Sinclair’s Scott Thurman

in fact: Democrats do not “have open borders” as a policy. Most of them support a less aggressive immigration policy than the one Trump advocates, but they are not calling for people to be able to walk across from Mexico unbothered.

Question: “Mr. President, what proof do you have that people are intending to illegally vote in the midterms?” Trump: ““Just take a look. All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people — a lot of people — my opinion, and based on proof — that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally. So we just want to let them know that there will be prosecutions at the highest level.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure

in fact: There is no evidence that “a lot of people” are illegally voting, and every elections expert says that voter fraud is a near-nonexistent issue. There are a tiny number of prosecutions after some elections.

“The energy that we have, the energy that this whole party has now, it’s really incredible. Whether it’s the great economy, or the immigration — our strong stand and their very weak stand, where they have open borders, which, to me, means nothing but crime — I don’t know. But I can tell you that there’s a lot of energy.”

Source: Exchange with reporters before Air Force One departure

in fact: Democrats do not have a policy of “open borders.” Most of them support a less aggressive immigration policy than the one Trump advocates, but they are not calling for people to be able to walk across from Mexico unbothered.

“And very proudly for our veterans, we passed Veterans Choice. We just passed Choice, where the veteran has a choice to go to a private doctor rather than waiting on line for days and weeks and months. And we pay for that private doctor. They’ve — they have been trying to pass that for over 40 years. We got it done. We’re good at getting things approved.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the Choice program.

“And I want to thank Pfizer, Novartis, and others. We called them. We said you got to reduce the price of your drugs, and they did. They didn’t do the increase. So we want to thank them. But prices are coming down now for prescription drugs.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump did succeed in getting Pfizer and Novartis to delay planned increases, not to reduce any prices from current levels. Regardless, those cases were departures from the overall situation — consistent price increases. The Associated Press reported: “Few, if any, drugmakers actually lowered prices as a result of Trump’s pressure. A few drugs had price cuts for business reasons. More broadly, an Associated Press investigation of brand-name prescription drugs found 96 price increases for every price reduction in the first seven months of this year. There were fewer price increases this year from January through July than in comparable prior year periods, but companies still raised prices far more often than they cut them.”

“We have taken historic action to bring back American jobs by cracking down on China’s very abusive trade practices. But that’s going to work out. That’s going to work out. Taking in billions and billions of dollars in taxes from China. Never happened before.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: China does not pay the tariffs Trump has imposed on Chinese products imported by Americans. The American importers pay these tariffs

“The USMCA is a tremendous victory for Indiana farmers, manufacturers, and dairy producers. Everybody in our country is very happy about that deal. And they’ve studied it closely.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: “Everybody” is an obvious exaggeration. In a Politico/Morning Consult poll released in October, 32 per cent said the agreement would be beneficial to consumers, 23 per cent said it would not change anything, 12 per cent said worse or much worse, 32 per cent had no opinion.

“And we have many, many companies coming back into our country. I was with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, great gentlemen. Just had a big re-election, got a tremendous vote. And he said many car companies — he gave me a list of the names. I have the — because I don’t want to just hear many. I want to know specifically, which ones are we talking about? Because they do very well with the United States. You know, for years, Japan does very well with the United States. And I told him — he’s a friend of mine, Shinzo, we have to start talking about this. This is no good. Too unfair. No good. But he said, but we are sending many companies, and it’s true. We have companies going to Ohio and Indiana and North Carolina and South Carolina and Pennsylvania and Florida. Big, beautiful car companies, because we like the cars when they’re made here, not when they’re made in other countries.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump has repeated this claim, but there is no evidence of auto companies moving into Pennsylvania, Florida or North Carolina, none of which have auto assembly plants. The Los Angeles Times reported: “The facts: Toyota and Mazda announced in August 2017 that they would jointly build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in the United States and in January said the factory would be in Huntsville, Ala. That is the only new U.S. factory announced by any of the major automakers, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit research organization in Ann Arbor, Mich.”

“We’ve added nearly half a million manufacturing jobs since the election, jobs that the previous administration said could never come back. You remember that? Remember we need a magic wand to get them back. We found the magic wand.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump’s number was more or less correct; the economy added 446,000 manufacturing jobs between Nov. 2016 and Oct. 2018. But the Obama administration never said these jobs “could never come back.” Rather, at a televised PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in 2016, Obama said that certain manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back” — but also boasted that some manufacturers are indeed “coming back to the United States,” that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been president than any time since the 1990s,” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.” Obama did mock Trump for Trump’s campaign claims that he was going to bring back manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced to Mexico, saying: “And when somebody says — like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for — that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is he doesn’t have an answer.” But, again, Obama made clear that he was talking about a certain segment of manufacturing jobs, not all of them.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders, and overrun our country, and they want to sign them up for free welfare, free health care, free education, and most importantly, the right to vote. They want them to vote. They want them to vote, folks. That’s what they want. That’s a big deal, so that people like Todd Young will never see the Senate again. That’s not going to happen. That’s not going to happen, I have a feeling. There’s only one way to stop this Democrat-led assault on America’s sovereignty.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump’s claim about voting is so misleading that we’re calling it false. Many Democrats, and a significant number of Republicans, want to offer the unauthorized immigrants currently in the country a path to citizenship, which would allow them to vote years down the road. They do not want to invite people into the country and “sign them up” to vote immediately, which was Trump’s clear suggestion.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws…”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“Democrats’ plan to destroy health care also includes raiding Medicare to fund benefits for illegal immigrants. Not something that Indiana is really thrilled about. “

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: There is simply no basis for this claim.

“And Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party tried repeatedly during Trump’s early presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.

“The Democrat plan would obliterate Medicare…”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.

“If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Democrats did not plan to embark on a “socialist takeover of American health care” if they won back control of the House of Representatives. The likely new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has not committed to “Medicare for All” single-payer proposals, and she and other party leaders have said their focus would be protecting and improving Obamacare and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. While Democrats might indeed hold hearings or votes on “Medicare for All” at some point, they would be embarking on their efforts knowing they could not get a bill approved by Trump.

“Donnelly also supports open borders.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Joe Donnelly, the Democratic senator for Indiana, does not support “open borders.” Donnelly even supported funding Trump’s proposed border wall.

“That’s what they want. Democrats are inviting caravan after caravan of illegal aliens to pour into our country, overwhelming your schools, your hospitals, and your communities.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Democrats are not inviting caravans of migrants.

“And their extreme job-killing agenda. That’s what it’s for. They want to raise your taxes, the Democrats do, restore crippling regulations, shut down your new steel mills, take away your health care, and put illegal aliens before American citizens.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Some Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich. None of them want to shut down steel mills or take away people’s health care.

“Now, President Obama, he had…No, he was in Miami or someplace. And in the big basketball arena that seats 18,000 people, he had 1,000 people. Seriously. And not person that I saw reported that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Obama spoke at Ice Palace Film Studios in Miami, not a basketball arena. The Associated Press said the crowd had “more than 4,000” people, not 1,000. (Some local media outlets put it at closer to 3,000.)

“They never want to show the crowds. You have to see. You have to see. I just left Ohio. You want to see? It was incredible. This is incredible. Outside is even more incredible, because it’s more people. But they never show it. But they don’t show the crowds. Could you spin the cameras around, please, and show the crowd? Come on. They don’t turn them. Look. They don’t turn them because they’re fake news. They’re fake news. They don’t turn them. They’re fake news. They never turn them. My wife always says, how was the crowd? I say, didn’t you see it? No, they kept it right on your face. They never move your face. They never — and they do that because they don’t want people to see how big the crowd is. They don’t want that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Media outlets regularly show images of Trump’s crowds, often while he is complaining that they never show his crowds.

“Then you have Dianne Feinstein. Dianne Feinstein. Right? Todd Young’s friend. Senator Cornyn of Texas looked at her, said, ‘Did you leak?’ And she got scared. You know, he’s a pretty tough guy, right, Tom? Really, I mean, this was unbelievable. ‘Did you leak?’ Senator Cornyn: ‘Did you leak?’ And she goes, ‘Uh, what? Did you leak? Did we leak?’ We went through this. The worst body language any human being has ever used or seen. In other words, she leaked. She leaked. And that’s just the beginning. What they did is a disgrace.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump did not accurately recount the answer Feinstein gave when Republican Sen. John Cornyn pressed her, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the leaking of Christine Blasey Ford’s letter accusing judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Feinstein didn’t say ” Uh, what? Did you leak? Did we leak?” She vehemently said she did not leak the letter; asked if her staff leaked it, she said, “Oh, I don’t believe my staff would leak it. I have not asked that question directly, but I do not believe they would.” When Cornyn followed up, she said, “The answer is no. The staff said they did not.”

“One guy, you know who that is? The great Vietnam hero, right? Great Vietnam hero. Right? You know all about that, except he never went to Vietnam. [Audience chants lock him up] And he stood up and he said, I don’t want any lies, I only want the truth. This guy lied for 15 years about his — Da Nang, right? Da Nang province. When I was climbing up the hill with Da Nang, I was climbing up the hill. And my soldiers were going down left and right. He never saw Vietnam. He was in the Reserves. Not bad, Reserves. He never saw Vietnam. He was climbing up the hill. Bullets left and right. My buddies going down. And then he wants honesty. This is the crap we have to put up with?

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Only a smidgen of this story is true. Trump was correct that Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal lied about having served in Vietnam. But Trump was also lying: Blumenthal never claimed to have served in Da Nang, to have been a war hero, to have fought in battles in which people were shot, or to have charged up hills. He simply claimed to have served in Vietnam during the war, when he served in the Marine Corps Reserve in the U.S.

“And we will soon follow it up with another 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: We do not usually fact-check promises of future action, but there was no sign that Republicans were actually pursuing an additional 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class; Trump suddenly introduced this claim two weeks before the election, with no details attached. We will amend this item if he proves serious.

“African-American, Hispanic American, Asian-American unemployment have all reached the lowest levels in the history of our country.

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: Trump was correct about the first two, incorrect about the third. The Asian-American unemployment rate briefly dropped to a low, 2.0 per cent, in May — a low, at least, since the government began issuing Asian-American data in 2000 — but the most recent rate at the time Trump spoke, for October, was 3.2 per cent. This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office — 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

“The unemployment rate is now at the lowest level in more than 50 — five-oh — 50 years.”

Source: Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana

in fact: The unemployment rate, 3.7 per cent, is the lowest in 49 years, since 1969. We would not count this as false if Trump rounded to “50 years,” but “more than” 50 years is objectively false.

“Something is going on, and they are not happy back there. The media is not happy. They are not happy. They never report this. They don’t report these crowds, they don’t report this stuff. They never say — they’ll say, ‘Donald Trump, President Trump was in Ohio today. He made a speech in front a few thousand people.’ You know. Right? That’s what they say. It’s the most unbelievable thing.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Media outlets accurately report the size of Trump’s rally crowds.

“We have recognized the capital of Israel and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. And it wasn’t supposed to be built, they thought, for 20 years. But I got it built in three months, so we saved $1 billion, OK. It’s already open. We took a building already located in one of our sights, which we had for nothing, we renovated it, it costs $500,000 or less. And we have a beautiful embassy. It was supposed to cost $1.1 billion.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: The renovations required by the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will cost far more than $500,000. ABC News reported in July: “Documents filed with the official database of federal spending show that the State Department awarded the Maryland-based company Desbuild Limak D&K a contract for $21.2 million to design and build an ‘addition and compound security upgrades’ at the embassy. These updates will be made to the former consular building in Jerusalem — the embassy’s temporary location.” The ABC article continued: “A State Department official told ABC News today that President Trump’s estimates only factored in that first phase of modifications to the former consular building, not this second round of renovation.”

“We passed Veterans Choice, giving our veterans the right to see a doctor…a private doctor right down the road instead of waiting for two, three, four weeks, instead of waiting for two months. What happened was horrible. And now you see a private doctor, we pay for the costs of that private doctor, and our veterans are taken care of immediately. They don’t have to wait in line. They’ve been trying to do that for over 40 years. I thought it was my idea until I went back. I said, ‘I have a great idea. We’re going to have private doctors take care of our vets because they can’t wait three, four, five weeks.’ And my people said, ‘sir, we’ve been trying to do that for 40 years.’ I said, ‘you know what? I’m good at getting approvals. Let’s go get it.’ And we got it! We got it. Right? We got it. Our vets are being taken care of first time. They don’t have to wait in line. If they see a wait, they go run down to that doctor. You know, it’s interesting. We save — it’s so unimportant compared to taking care of our vets — but secondarily, we save a lot of money. We save a lot of money because we have vets that go in and they’re not badly ill, not badly — not a big problem. It takes so long to see a doctor they end up being terminally ill and it’s a horrible thing. Now they take care of it right away. I love it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: The Veterans Choice health program was passed and created in 2014 under Obama. The law Trump signed in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, modified the Choice program.

“After years of rebuilding other countries, we are finally rebuilding our country and we are doing it with American steel and American aluminum. Thanks to our tariffs and taxes and trade policies which are tough, American steel mills are roaring back to life. Do you see it? Do you believe it? It’s one of the biggest business stories. They don’t like to report it, but these are minor details. I’m reporting it, OK? They’re roaring back to life. They were dead. The steel industry was very close to being over the cliff dead. It was hanging on by a thread — by a whisker, and they are coming back.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: The steel industry was not nearing extinction before Trump imposed his tariffs, though it was obviously much smaller than it was at the heyday of large integrated steel mills. The American Iron and Steel Institute said then: “The steel industry directly employs around 140,000 people in the United States, and it directly or indirectly supports almost one million U.S. jobs.” Bloomberg reported in an October fact check: “In fact, U.S. steelmakers Nucor Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc. were two of the healthiest commodity companies in the world before Trump took office and imposed 25 percent tariffs on foreign steel imports.”

“We have taken historic action to bring back American jobs by cracking down on China’s very abusive, very unfair trade practices, and we are doing very well I want to tell you. They want to make a deal and that could happen. That could happen. You know, we’re right now taxing them on $250 billion worth of goods that they’re sending to us. They’re not happy, but they want to make a deal.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods are not a tax on “them”; they are paid by the Americans who purchase the Chinese goods.

“We’ve added nearly half a million manufacturing jobs since the election. Last month alone, we added another 32,000 manufacturing jobs. One month — that’s 1,000 new manufacturing jobs every single day. And you remember the previous administration — I’m being nice. The previous administration said manufacturing jobs will never come back to this country, right? And I used to say, ‘what does he mean by that one?’ They’re never coming back. He said you’d need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand. We found it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Trump’s number was more or less correct; the economy added 446,000 manufacturing jobs between Nov. 2016 and Oct. 2018. But the Obama administration never said “manufacturing jobs will never come back to this country.” Rather, at a televised PBS town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in 2016, Obama said that certain manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back” — but also boasted that some manufacturers are indeed “coming back to the United States,” that “we’ve seen more manufacturing jobs created since I’ve been president than any time since the 1990s,” and that “we actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today, than we’ve had in most of our history.” Obama did mock Trump for Trump’s campaign claims that he was going to bring back manufacturing jobs that had been outsourced to Mexico, saying: “And when somebody says — like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for — that he’s going to bring all these jobs back, well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is he doesn’t have an answer.” But, again, Obama made clear that he was talking about a certain segment of manufacturing jobs, not all of them.

“As we speak, Democrats are open encouraging millions of illegal aliens to violate our law and break into our country, and they want to sign them up for free welfare, free healthcare, free education, and, of course, the right to vote, the right to vote! And it’s the right to vote that they like the best.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Trump’s claim about voting is so misleading that we’re calling it false. Many Democrats, and a significant number of Republicans, want to offer the unauthorized immigrants currently in the country a path to citizenship, which would allow them to vote years down the road. They do not want to invite people into the country and give them the right to vote immediately, which was Trump’s clear suggestion.

“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to violate our law and break into our country…”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“Democrats’ plan to destroy health care also includes raiding Medicare to fund benefits for illegal immigrants.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“And Republicans will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always, always.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: This claim is belied by Republicans’ actions. The party tried repeatedly during Trump’s early presidency to replace Obamacare with a law that would give insurers more freedom to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. As part of a Republican lawsuit to try to get Obamacare struck down, Trump’s administration is formally arguing that the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional and should be voided. Trump has not said what he would like to replace these protections with.

“The Democrat plan would obliterate Medicare and eliminate Medicare Advantage for almost 900,000 Ohio seniors who depend on it. Republicans will protect Medicare for our great seniors who earned it, and, by the way, who paid for it.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Democrats’ “Medicare for all” proposals tend to be vague, but they would not take Medicare health insurance away from seniors. Rather, they would extend similar government-provided health insurance to younger people as well, and they would give current Medicare recipients additional coverage for things like vision and dental services.

“If Democrats gained power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care. You know that. That’s why the countries that have those plans, whenever somebody has a couple of bucks in their pocket gets sick, they come to the United States to have the operation or to get better.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: This is an obvious exaggeration. While some people in countries with single-payer health care, like Canada, occasionally travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, the overwhelming majority do not.

“If Democrats gained power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American health care. You know that.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Democrats did not plan to embark on a “socialist takeover of American health care” if they won back control of the House of Representatives. The likely new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has not committed to “Medicare for All” single-payer proposals, and she and other party leaders have said their focus would be protecting and improving Obamacare and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. While Democrats might indeed hold hearings or votes on “Medicare for All” at some point, they would be embarking on their efforts knowing they could not get a bill approved by Trump.

“But this Cordray guy literally — she grabbed him and put him there — spent the last six years in Washington crushing people, crushing community banks, destroying small businesses and destroying jobs. He also, in a big scandal, spent nearly $250 million of federal money to renovate a headquarters agency that the government doesn’t even own. It’s a lease. And more than twice what the entire building was worth, and the escalators or the elevators, I hear, cost — they’re the most expensive elevators in the history of the world, let’s put it that way. They’re the most expensive elevators. I heard the price. I said, ‘That doesn’t sound right.’”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: There is no apparent basis for Trump’s claim that Richard Cordray, the Democratic governor candidate in Ohio, purchased “the most expensive elevators in the history of the world” when he was the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When Trump previously claimed the elevators cost $50 million, the Bureau told the Star: “This is a firm fixed-price contract, so there is not a specific line item for the elevators, but the cost to renovate the 9 existing elevators and build a new one was not $50M.”

“…he’s a disciple of Elizabeth Warren, who I can no longer call Pocahontas because she has no Indian blood. She has no Indian blood. I used to go around saying ‘I have more Indian blood than you do, and I have none,’ and I was right. I mean the only bad thing about that is that I can’t really, legitimately call her Pocahontas anymore because the press will say I’m misrepresenting, right? OK, OK, I’ll call her Pocahontas anyway, right? We won’t give up that name. That name is — that name is too good to give up.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: A Stanford University professor who conducted a DNA test on Warren concluded that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor” six to 10 generations in the past. The analysis found that almost all of Warren’s ancestors were European, and many Native Americans reject the suggestion that a distant Native ancestor can qualify a person as any part Native. But it is not true that Warren has “no Indian blood.”

“We’re building the wall, though. We’re building the wall. Don’t worry. We’ve already started. $1.6 billion, we’ve already started. Yes, we’ve started.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Construction on Trump’s border wall has not started. When Trump has claimed in the past that wall construction has begun, he has appeared to be referring to projects in which existing fencing is being replaced. The $1.6 billion Congress allocated to border projects in 2018 is not for the type of giant concrete wall Trump has proposed: spending on that kind of wall is expressly prohibited in the legislation, and much of the congressional allocation is for replacement and reinforcement projects rather than new construction.

“Democrats are inviting caravan after caravan — isn’t that nice — of illegal aliens to flood into our country and overwhelm your communities. That’s what’s happened.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: There is no basis for this claim.

“If crying Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and… legendary Maxine Waters…gained a majority, they will try to raise your taxes, restore job-killing regulations, shut down your coal mines and your steel mills. That’s what’s going to happen. Take away your health care. Your healthcare, you could forget it. You’re going to live in a socialist world.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Democrats have no plans to take away steel mills or take away people’s health care.

“We passed a massive tax cut, massive for Ohio workers, and we will soon follow it up with another 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class. We got to win the House to do that, by the way. Just put it in your heads. Put it into your heads when you’re getting ready to vote, while you’re voting.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: We do not usually fact-check promises of future action, but there was no sign that Republicans were actually pursuing an additional 10 per cent tax cut for the middle class; Trump suddenly introduced this claim two weeks before the election, with no details attached. We will amend this item if he proves serious.

“African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels in history.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Trump was correct about the first two, incorrect about the third. The Asian-American unemployment rate briefly dropped to a low, 2.0 per cent, in May — a low, at least, since the government began issuing Asian-American data in 2000 — but the most recent rate at the time Trump spoke, for October, was 3.2 per cent. This was higher than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office — 2.8 per cent in December 2016 — and in multiple months of George W. Bush’s second term.

“This is the hottest place economically anywhere in the world right now.”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: The New York Times explained why this is false: “The United States does have one of the fastest growing of the world’s largest economies. But it is not the fastest growing in the whole world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development compiles quarterly growth in real gross domestic product for its 36 member nations and nine other major economies like China, India and Brazil. The United States had the eighth-highest rate in the second quarter of 2018 out of this group. Its rate was the highest among the Group of 7, the largest of the industrialized democracies. Among the entire world, however, the United States is nowhere near ‘the fastest-growing economy.’ Growth rates among developing nations, while volatile, often exceed those of the big industrialized countries. In 2017, the United States’ GDP annual growth rate ranked in the bottom third out of more than 180 countries, according to data from the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund’s projections for GDP growth rate for 2018 place the United States among the bottom half of about 190 countries. Similarly, Harvard University’s Atlas of Economic Complexity projects that the United States will reach an annual growth rate of 3.07 per cent by 2026, placing it No. 104 out of 121 countries.” While China’s growth rate has slowed down in 2018, its 6.5 per cent growth in the third quarter was still about twice the forecasts for the not-yet-announced growth rate in the U.S.

“And it’s an incredible time in America — jobs are soaring, wages are rising, poverty is plummeting…”

Source: Campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

in fact: Plummeting is a clear exaggeration. The poverty rate for 2017, published by the Census Bureau in September, was 12.3 per cent, only a slight decline from the 12.7 per cent rate in 2016. The rate using the “supplemental poverty measure,” generally considered a better statistic than the basic rate, was 13.9 per cent, “not statistically different” from the 2016 rate of 14.0 per cent, the Census Bureau said in its report.

 

The ‘exhausting’ work of factcheckers who track Trump’s barrage of lies

Since taking office, Trump has made 7,645 ‘false or misleading claims’. In the month of October he said 1,200 things that were false or misleading, according to Fact Checker database

January 21, 2019

by Adam Gabbatt in New York

The Guardian

Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency has presented problems for journalists the world over. But spare a thought for the people whose job it is to keep track of his lies: the Trump factcheckers.

Since taking office, the president has lied about everything from immigration figures to the number of burgers he served to the Clemson football team at the White House last week.

“It takes up a lot of our time just because he is constantly talking,” said Glenn Kessler, editor and chief writer of the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column.

“The pace in Washington has changed. You could wake up and the president may have already had five or six tweets that cry out for fact checks.”

Kessler and the Washington Post responded by creating an ongoing database tracking Trump’s lies. But that comes with its own problems.

“It’s become an all-consuming task. In the month of October he said 1,200 things that were false or misleading. There’s some days where he’s topped more than 100 false or misleading claims.”

Indeed, according to the Fact Checker database, Trump has made 7,645 “false or misleading claims” since taking office. The most repeated lie – 187 times and counting – is that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt”, followed by Trump’s assertion, made 125 times, that his government passed “the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country”.

The president has also made 124 false claims about the US “losing” money to Mexico under the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), and has claimed that the economy is the “greatest ever” 110 times.

“It’s exhausting,” said Linda Qiu, a fact check reporter for the New York Times.

“But the nice thing is President Trump repeats himself a lot. In that aspect it’s easier because it’s easy to fact check.”

When Trump repeats one of his false claims, on employment for example – the president has repeatedly overstated African American and hispanic employment figures 94 times, according to the Washington Post database – Qiu said she is able to “resurface” fact checks she may have done a month before.

Qiu says she tries to watch everything Trump does. She will also read transcripts, and watch all the morning TV shows, and of course, read his numerous tweets.

The constant barrage takes its toll. Late nights and long weekends have become the norm among the political factchecking community. Qiu took a two-week vacation in April, and on her return Trump had churned out a new slew of untruths for her to catch up on.

The pace has been relentless since Trump’s victory.

“We haven’t had a break,” said Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org, the non-partisan site which aims to monitor and correct “deception and confusion” in politics.

The upside is that there is a clear demand for articles factchecking Trump. Since the partial government shutdown began on 22 December, through 13 January , FactCheck.org reported a 350% increase in page views compared to the previous year.

I don’t want to write about Donald Trump every day. I would like to write about some other things. But it is what it is,” Kiely said.

Reporters have noticed another Trump trait: his tendency to make something up, then embellish his own lie each time he repeats it.

Qiu wrote about the phenomenon in the New York Times in December, noting how Trump had gone from announcing that United States Steel Corp was opening six new plants due to his policies. That was a lie, as was his later claim that US Steel was opening seven plants.

“The snowball effect of it has been pretty interesting,” Qiu said. Trump went on to claim US Steel was opening eight new plants, then nine.

Kiely agrees, and pointed to Trump’s attacks on Senator Richard Blumenthal.

“He started off saying [Blumental] lied about Vietnam, which was true, Blumenthal did make some inaccurate statements about his so-called service in Vietnam. He did not serve in Vietnam.

“Then that became this wild tale about him fighting in Vietnam saving people’s lives.”

Trump claimed Blumenthal had told stories of how “bullets whizzed” by his head in Vietnam, as well as “many battles of near death”. Blumenthal had never mentioned either of those.

Speaking to these factcheckers, it is easy to detect a longing for a time when lies, mistruths and misdirections were more sophisticated, more tricky to unravel.

“The biggest challenge is it’s too easy to fact check Trump,” Kessler said.

“It was more difficult to fact check Obama because there was always a modicum of truth there,”.

“You ended up going way down in the weeds with officials who were highly knowledgeable and wanted to defend their case. With Trump a lot of times the White House won’t defend what he’s saying because they have no defense.”

Qiu has her own memories of monitoring more subtle prevaricators during the 2016 presidential election.

“Someone like Ted Cruz had a lot more finesse and the fact checks would take longer because he was a much more skilled spinner,” she said.

Given Trump’s prolific rate of mistruths, a key part of the job is deciding what to call him out on. Qiu decided to ignore Trump’s claim that he had ordered “over 1,000” burgers for the Clemson football team, a claim which came just hours after the president said he had order 300 burgers. Kiely spoke of trying to avoid the “bright and shiny” lies in favor of focusing on policy issues.

Trump is likely the most famous liar in America. And covering him is arduous work. But the factchecking community could take some solace in that he appears to be fairly unique in his ability to churn out falsehoods at such a pace.

“There’ve been some politicians that were fast and loose with the truth. But not like Trump,” Kessler said.

“And the ironic thing is 30 years ago when I worked in New York covering finance. And he was exactly the same.

“Nothing has changed.”

 

The Science of Abrupt Climate Change: Should we be worried?

by Jeffrey Masters, Ph.D. — Director of Meteorology, Weather Underground, Inc.

Introduction

We generally consider climate changes as taking place on the scale of hundreds or even thousands of years. However, since the early 1990s, a radical shift in the scientific understanding of Earth’s climate history has occurred. We now know that that major regional and global climate shifts have occurred in just a few decades or even a single year. The most recent of these shifts occurred just 8200 years ago. If an abrupt climate change of similar magnitude happened today, it would have severe consequences for humans and natural ecosystems. Although scientists consider an abrupt climate change unlikely in the next 100 years, their understanding of the phenomena is still a work-in-progress, and such a change could be triggered instantly by natural processes or by human-caused global warming with little warning.

The National Academy of Sciences–the board of scientists established by Congress in 1863 to advise the federal government on scientific matters–compiled a comprehensive report in 2002 entitled, Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. The 244-page report, which contains over 500 references, was written by a team of 59 of the top researchers in climate, and represents the most authoritative source of information about abrupt climate change available. Most of the material that follows was taken from this report.

The Greenland Ice Sheet: The Key to Understanding Earth’s Climate Record

Ice cores hold an amazingly detailed record of Earth’s climate. Each year, snow falling on glacial areas accumulates, piling on top of thousands of years of past snow, compressing the snow into yearly layers of ice, like rings inside a tree trunk. Preserved in the ice are tiny bubbles of ancient air that tell us the composition of the atmosphere at that time. The amount of dust in the snow tells us how windy the climate was. The thickness of the layer tells how much precipitation fell that year. Most importantly, the amount of the “heavy” isotope of oxygen, 18O, lets us infer the average atmospheric temperature, since water vapor with “heavy” 18O molecules condenses out of clouds more readily at cold temperatures.

Accessing this treasure-trove of climatic information is a huge undertaking–cores of ice must be drilled miles deep in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth. In 1989 the National Science Foundation funded the $25 million Greenland Ice Sheet Project II (GISP2) to drill an ice core through the entire two mile depth of the Greenland ice sheet. At the same time, a separate European project (GRIP), drilled through the ice just 20 miles away, providing a crucial independent check of the GISP2 data. By 1993, both the GRIP and GISP2 drills had hit bedrock, and two miles of ice cores, preserving 110,000 years of climate history in year-by-year layers, were taken to laboratories for analysis.

What the scientists found was surprising and unnerving. They had known from previous ice core and ocean sediment core data that Earth’s climate had fluctuated significantly in the past. But what astonished them was the rapidity with which these changes occurred.

Ocean and lake sediment data from places such as California, Venezuela, and Antarctica have confirmed that these sudden climate changes affected not just Greenland, but the entire world. During the past 110,000 years, there have been at least 20 such abrupt climate changes. Only one period of stable climate has existed during the past 110,000 years–the 11,000 years of modern climate (the “Holocene” era). “Normal” climate for Earth is the climate of sudden extreme jumps–like a light switch flicking on and off.

Temperatures in Greenland over the past 100,000 years

Average Yearly Temperatures in Greenland over the past 100,000 Years as inferred from Oxygen isotope analysis of the GISP2 Greenland ice core. Source: Cuffey, K.M., and G.D. Clow, “Temperature, accumulation, and ice sheet elevation in central Greenland throughout the last deglacial transition”, Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 383-396, 1997.

The ice core record showed frequent sudden warmings and coolings of 15°F (8°C) or more. Many of these changes happened in less than 10 years. In one case 11,600 years ago, when Earth emerged from the final phase of the most recent ice age (an event called the Younger Dryas), the Greenland ice core data showed that a 15°F (8°C) warming occurred in less than a decade, accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation in 3 years. Most of this doubling occurred in a single year.

What causes abrupt climate change?

Current theories on the cause of abrupt climatic change focus on sudden shut downs and start-ups of the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) (also referred to as the thermohaline circulation), which is a global network of density-driven ocean currents. The Meridional Overturning Circulation transports a tremendous amount of heat northward, keeping the North Atlantic and much of Europe up to 9°F (5°C) warmer, particularly in the winter. A sudden shut down of this current would have a ripple effect throughout the ocean-atmosphere system, forcing worldwide changes in ocean currents, and in the path of the atmospheric jet stream. Studies of North Atlantic Ocean sediments have revealed that the Meridional Overturning Circulation has shut down many times in the past, and that many of these shut downs coincide with the abrupt climate change events noted in the Greenland ice cores.

How does one shut down the Meridional Overturning Circulation? First, one must examine the MOC itself. The MOC, or Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, is a system of interconnected ocean currents that girdle the planet.

Great Ocean Conveyor Belt

At the surface, warmer ocean currents are driven by the winds, and so move parallel to the wind direction, except where continental land masses block the way.

Water can also move vertically in the ocean. High density water sinks, and low density water rises. Salty water is more dense than fresh water, and cold water is more dense than warm water, so that wherever we find cold, salty water, it tends to sink. Colder currents are deeper and have higher salinity.

In the tropical Atlantic, the sun’s heat evaporates large amounts of water, creating relatively warm, salty ocean water. This warm, salty water flows westward toward North America, then up the East Coast of the U.S., then northeastward toward Europe, forming the mighty Gulf Stream current. As this warm, salty water reaches the ocean regions on either side of Greenland, cold winds blowing off of Canada and Greenland cool the water substantially  These cool, salty waters are now very dense compared to the surrounding waters, and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Thus, the oceanic areas by Greenland where this sinking occurs are called “deep-water formation areas”. This North Atlantic deep water flows southward toward Antarctica, eventually making it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where it rises back to the surface to complete the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt. It takes about 1000 years for the water to make a complete circuit around the globe

Since the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt is driven in part by differences in ocean water density, if one can pump enough fresh water into the ocean in the key areas on either side of Greenland where the Gulf Stream waters cool and sink, this will lower the ocean’s salinity (and therefore its density) enough so that the waters can no longer sink. As a result, the Atlantic conveyor belt and Gulf Stream current would shut down in just a few years, dramatically altering the climate.

How much fresh water is needed to shut down the MOC?

It is unknown precisely how much fresh water is needed to shut down the MOC. Scientists are fairly certain that the last two abrupt coolings seen the Greenland ice core, the “Younger Dryas” event and the “8200 years before present” event, both occurred when huge North American glacial melt-water lakes flooded down the St. Lawrence River into the North Atlantic when the ice dams restraining the lakes broke. The sudden addition of low-density fresh water presumably partially or totally stopped the sinking of ocean waters in the North Atlantic, slowing or completely stopping the Meridional Overturning Circulation. Once the fresh water got into the North Atlantic, it stayed, puddling on top of the ocean and freezing in winter. The Meridional Overturning Circulation stayed shut off for about 1100 years during the Younger Dryas event, then suddenly restarted, for reasons scientists don’t understand. Current computer models of the climate cannot reproduce the observed sudden shut-down or start-up of the Meridional Overturning Circulation at the beginning and end of the Younger Dryas period.

Other sudden shut downs of the Meridional Overturning Circulation observed in ice core and ocean sediment records are not thought to be due to sudden melt-water floods into the North Atlantic. These events may have happened simply because Earth’s climate system is chaotic, or perhaps because some critical threshold was crossed when increases in precipitation, river run-off, and ice melt put enough fresh water into the ocean to shut down the Meridional Overturning Circulation.

How likely is it that global warming will trigger abrupt climate change?

Global warming will increase precipitation, river run-off, melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and melting of polar sea ice, all of which will increase the amount of fresh water flowing into the critical deep-water formation areas by Greenland. In the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Summary for Policymakers (PDF File) it states that, based on current model simulations, it is very likely (90-99% confidence) that the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) of the Atlantic Ocean will slow down during the 21st century. It also confirms the scientific consensus that is very unlikely the MOC will undergo a large abrupt transition during this century. Today’s science is such that any long-term assessments of the MOC cannot be made with confidence. A 2012 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used computer modeling to show that abrupt climate events in the past occurred as a result of a change in ocean currents due to the Bering Strait closing off because of low sea levels. The Bering Strait is the 50-mile-wide gap that separates Siberia from Alaska. “As long as the Bering Strait remains open,” said lead author Aixue Hu, a climate modeler at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), in a telephone interview posted at Climate Central, “we will not see an abrupt climate event.” With global sea levels rising due to melting icecaps, closure of the Bering Strait is not likely in the forseeable future.

How would the climate change if the Meridional overturning circulation shut down?

A shut down of the Meridional overturning circulation would suddenly decrease the amount of heat in the North Atlantic, leading to much colder temperatures in Europe and North America. A 2003 report prepared for the Department of Defense outlines what would happen if an abrupt climatic change similar to the 8200 years before present event were to recur today:

  • Annual average temperatures would drop up to 5° F in North America, and up to 6° F in northern Europe. This is not sufficient to trigger an ice age, which requires about a 10° F drop in temperature world-wide, but could bring about conditions like experienced in 1816–the famed “year without a summer”. In that year, volcanic ash from the mighty Tambora volcanic eruption in Indonesia blocked the sun’s rays, significantly cooling the globe. Snow fell in New England in June, and killing frosts in July and August caused widespread crop failures and famine in New England and northern Europe.
  • Annual average temperatures would warm up to 4° F in many areas of the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Multi-year droughts in regions unaccustomed to drought would affect critical agricultural and water resource regions world-wide, greatly straining food and water supplies.
  • Winter storms and winds would strengthen over North America and Europe.

Dr. Wally Broecker of Columbia University, the scientist who first pointed out the link between the Atlantic’s conveyor circulation and abrupt climate change, wrote a letter in March 2004 to Science magazine, accusing the authors of the study of making exaggerated claims that “only intensify the existing polarization over global warming”. Broecker argued that a global-warming induced abrupt climate change is not likely to occur until 100 years or so into the future, by which time Earth’s temperature will have warmed sufficiently to offset much of the abrupt cooling a Meridional overturning circulation shut down would trigger. Broecker added: “What is needed is not more words but rather a means to shut down carbon dioxide emissions.” The authors of the study defend their scenario thusly: “We have created a climate change scenario that although not the likely, is plausible, and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately”.

On the freezing of the UK and Europe

The possibility of the freezing of the UK and Europe will be determined by a “tug-of-war” of sorts, between the amount of greenhouse gases and the speed with which the MOC slows down. Greenhouse gases may have more of an impact than a slowing of the MOC, simply because they are more abundant today than ever in the earth’s record. (CO2 levels were at 380 ppm as of 2007, and were never above 300 ppm during the 400,000 years studied in Antarctic ice cores).

Ocean experts see the MOC as having three levels: “faster”, “slower”, or “off.” A 2005 comparison of eleven climate models showed that the MOC will likely be slowed by 10-50%, however, because the levels of carbon dioxide are so elevated, any cooling produced by the MOC slowing would be modest because the greenhouse gases would more than compensate. As a result, a net warming is still shown by these models for the UK and surrounding countries. Improving our measurements to monitor the MOC will allow for better predictions and reduce uncertainty of the amount of warming or cooling these areas of northern Europe will encounter.

What is being done about abrupt climate change?

The immediate obvious needs are for accurate, long-term measurements of the temperature, salinity, and flow rates of the major ocean currents in the North Atlantic Ocean. An expedition set sail from Great Britain on Feb. 13 2004, to provide just that. The voyage was part of a joint US/UK research project called Rapid Climate Change, which began in 2001. In the U.S., Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) sponsored bill S.1164 to authorize $60 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study abrupt climate change. On March 9, 2004, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the bill. It defines abrupt climate change as “a change in the climate that occurs so rapidly or unexpectedly that human or natural systems have difficulty adapting to the climate as changed.” The bill would create a research program within NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to determine what causes sudden climate changes and using computer models to predict climate change events. This bill did not pass, and there is little chance for revival. The NTSC Joint Subcommittee On Ocean Science and Technology authored an Ocean Research Priorities Plan in January 2007, providing five key elements for reducing our vulnerability to abrupt climate change. These include: daily monitoring of ocean currents, temperature, and carbon, now-casting, model development, past-climate-change reconstructions, and additional climate-impact assessments.

Conclusion

The historical records shows us that abrupt climate change is not only possible–it is the normal state of affairs. The present warm, stable climate is a rare anomaly. It behooves us to learn as much as we can about the climate system so that we may be able to predict when the next abrupt shift in climate will come. Until we know better when this might happen, it would be wise to stop pouring so much carbon dioxide into the air. A nasty surprise might be lurking just around the corner. In the words of Dr. Wally Broecker, “the climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking it.

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

January 21, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications

 

Conversation No. 118

Date: Tuesday, December 16,  1997

Commenced:  1:17 PM CST

Concluded: 1:50 PM CST

RTC:  It really is amazing, Gregory, the number of my old friends, and I put quotes around that phrase, who somehow forget to call me or stop by.

GD: But you aren’t in power any more, Robert, are you? The moment you left the CIA, they forgot about you and rushed to embrace your successor. It’s always been that way. Some person asked me recently how they could be more popular and have more friends.

RTC: And you told them…?

GD: Why, I said to tell everyone their uncle Waldo had died and the lawyers said they inherited all of his estate. I said that this ought to be a hundred thousand dollars or more. Then, I said, they would flock to your door, waving their hands and reminding you they had shared a sandwich with you in Kindergarten. Oh yes, armies of the eager, the worshipful, seeking the warmth of your presence and hopeful of your generosity. There is the matter of little Timmy and his earwax problem. The doctors said that after the delicate operation, Timmy could hear again. Of course all it would really take to clean out the wax and the spiderwebs would be a five dollar little bulb with a bit of liquid, available from any drug store for less than ten dollars, but no, according to your new friends, a delicate operation. Possibly at the Mayo Clinic. Modestly turned down eyes and a brief, tragic, snort into a handkerchief while thinking of poor, deaf, Timmy once again able to hear the morning song of the birdies or his Grandma’s cries of pain as she sits down on Timmy’s toy fire engine on the couch. And just think, Robert, you could prevent all of that and bring joy into their home once again!

RTC: Joy who, Gregory?

GD: Joy Pavelic, the social worker, Robert. The one who comes by to make sure they are feeding little Timmy. Social workers do not approve of feeding deaf little angels on a diet of moldy cat food. And as others join in the chorus of supplications, and as your bank account shrinks accordingly, so also does your popularity. And when the account is empty, your front porch is also empty again and the horde of leeches is seen scampering down the street to the home of the next inheritor.

RTC: Are people really that obvious? Yes, they are. Greedy and stupid.

GD: Don’t forget vicious while you’re at it.

RTC: If Hitler had done away with idiots, eastern Europe would be a desert. My God, as a Chicago boy, I learned to love the Polacks, believe me.

GD: You heard about the Russian woman who recently gave birth to a wooden baby?

RTC: No, actually I didn’t. Won’t you tell me?

GD: Certainly. She had been raped by a Pole.

RTC: (laughter) Point well taken.

GD: And Hitler never did away with people.

RTC: The Jews certainly want you to believe he did.

GD: Do you know how Hitler actually died? No? He had a heart attack when he got the gas bill.

RTC: (laughter) Well, after all, didn’t they gas a hundred million Jews?

GD: Of course they did. And they also got the cats and the parrots at the same time.

Out in LA, in a really expensive art gallery in Beverly Hills, I can just her some old cow braying to her husband, ‘Myron, let’s buy the Picasso. It matches the drapes.’

RTC: The art market is pretty much filled with phonies.

GD: Oh my God, it is. Jackson Pollack used to get up on a ladder with cans of paint, toss the contents all over a big canvas he spread out on the floor of his garage and then the paint dribblings dried, cut up the canvas and made many pictures out of it. Jesus, the idiot people actually pay money for them. Their taste is obviously up their ass along with a dead baby, a beach sandal and two cans of sauerkraut.

RTC: But the art dealers must be happy.

GD: Yes, and rich.

RTC: Gregory, when you are n Washington, be careful with anti Jewish remarks. The city is packed with Hebrews.

GD: So is Beverly Hills.

RTC: No, they have power there so watch what you say. It never used to be that way but ever since Roosevelt’s long reign, the Hebrews have made a home inside the Beltway. And don’t forget that Roosevelt himself was Jewish. His biographers, most of whom are also Hebrews, speak of an aristocratic Dutch background but Franklin’s forebears came from Holland second. In Germany, where they had been living in the Rhineland, they were the Rosenfeld familiy and then when they ran to Holland with the local police after them, they changed the name to ‘Roosevelt.’ That name is not Dutch and when one of them came to New Amsterdam, he married a Samuels whose papa was in the fur trade. Why when old Franklin croaked in ’45, he had a cousin who was an Orthodox rabbi. And the Delano famlly were Italian Jews. And Franklin’s material grandfather was an opium smuggler.

GD: But Eleanor was of the same family.

RTC: Oh Jesus, don’t bring up that ugly old dyke. Crazy as a bedbug and had a face that would curdle milk.

GD: My, the Jews must have had a field day then.

RTC: Oh, they did indeed. Franklin’s top people were either rabid Jews or Communist spies. Or both. Why Harry Hopkins and Wallace were both taking money from Joe Stalin. And Morgenthau and Harry White were out to kill all the Germans and turn the country over to Stalin.

GD: Quite a few Jewish spies, weren’t there?

RTC: Many.

GD: Would you consider them traitors, Robert?

RTC: They should have hung the lot of them from trees in Rock Creek park when Franklin hit the floor.

(Concluded at 1:50 PM CST)

              https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

 

 

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