FactCheck.org monitors statements made by many popular politicians and lets users know how accurate their comments are. They have simple question and answer statements, known as fact checks, that quickly confirm or dispel recently made claims. The bulk of their website consists of articles disproving certain statements while providing multiple sources for where they got their information. They even have a section dedicated to fake news, which is sure to get some people all riled up. Despite their nonpartisan claims, there are some who question their supposed bias. FactCheck.org is completely nonprofit and receives donations from anyone who is willing to give.
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FactCheck.org monitors statements made by many popular politicians and lets users know how accurate their comments are. It is both nonpartisan and nonprofit.
A tweet from President Trump, and a White House statement, claims the indictment handed down against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for illegally interfering in the 2016 election indicates there was “no collusion” between Russians and the Trump campaign, and that “the results of the election were not impacted.” But the indictment did not go that far on either count.
The indictment alleges the defendants used the names of U.S. citizens and companies to illegally buy political ads on social media and stage political rallies.
Although some of the activity dated back to 2014, the indictment states that by early to mid-2016, the defendants’ operation included supporting Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.
According to the indictment, “Some defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”
In a Feb. 16 press conference announcing the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reiterated that the communications established by the defendants were made with “unwitting Americans.”
“Now, there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” Rosenstein said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.
In the hours after Rosenstein’s press conference, Trump tweeted:
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
A press release issued by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders echoed those points.
Statement from the press secretary regarding the Russia Indictments, Feb. 16: President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates — that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.
But that’s not what Rosenstein, or the indictment presented by the U.S. special counsel’s office, stated.
Rosenstein merely stated that there was no allegation in “this indictment” that any Americans — including those in the Trump campaign — wittingly participated in “this illegal activity.” (Emphasis is ours.)
According to Rosenstein, the Russians “recruited and paid real Americans to engage in political activities, promote political campaigns and stage political rallies. The defendants and their co-conspirators pretended to be grassroots activists. According to the indictment, the Americans did not know that they were communicating with Russians.”
Later, Rosenstein noted that, “the nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States so, if anybody traced it back to that first jump, they appeared to be Americans.”
In other words, those who may have been paid by the Russians for social media ads, or to stage rallies, did not knowingly collude with the Russians.
Trump’s tweet goes beyond what Rosenstein and the indictment stated. His tweet assumes there is no investigation beyond what was revealed in the Feb. 16 indictment. And we just don’t know one way or the other what other things Mueller may be investigating.
Bloomberg reported after the indictment was announced that, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his prosecutors haven’t concluded their investigation into whether President Donald Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election, according to a person with knowledge of the probe.”
As for Trump’s claim that the indictment indicates that “the results of the election were not impacted,” that also goes beyond what Rosenstein said.
Again, Rosenstein said, “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.” That’s consistent with a declassified intelligence report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that was released on Jan. 6, 2017. That report accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf, but it “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcomes of the 2016 election.”
According to that DNI report, “The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”
As we wrote when Vice President Mike Pence recently repeated the false talking point that U.S. intelligence agencies came to the “universal conclusion” that Russia’s meddling had no impact on the election results, the intelligence community has not concluded one way or the other if Russia’s influence campaign affected the election outcome.
In this case, Rosenstein acknowledged there was “no allegation” in the indictment that the Russians’ social media campaign or rallies swayed votes. The impact of these activities is possibly unknowable.
Q: Was a teen sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a refugee who raped his sister?
A: No. That is a made-up headline on an old internet hoax story.
Facebook users have reported as potentially false several versions of a story with the following grammatically challenged headline: “BREAKING: AMERICAN TEENAGE WHOM KILLED MUSLIM REFUGEE FOR RAPING HIS 7 YEARS OLD SISTER SENTENCED 30 YEARS TO LIFE IN A FEDERAL PRISON. DO YOU SUPPORT THIS?”
Horner’s story was about “swatting,” a prank done by calling in a phony threat that results in a SWAT team descending on the house of the target. Swatting does happen and can have serious consequences. But Horner’s 2014 satirical story claimed that “15-year-old Paul Horner” was “convicted of domestic terrorism” and sentenced to “25 years to life” for a “harmless prank.” Although none of that was true, the story was picked up by at least one technology news website before it was uncovered as a hoax.
Now, parts of Horner’s false story have been posted under the new, unrelated headline about a Muslim refugee.
The websites that posted the new headline use photos from legitimate news reports that have nothing to do with a sexual assault. Multiple versions feature the photo of a 17-year-old boy crying as he was sentenced in 2014 for beating his girlfriend’s toddler to death. Others feature a photo of a SWAT team searching for one of the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013. And some versions include both photos.
Even though both the old story and the new, incendiary headline are false, the latest versions have recently been shared more than 7,000 times on Facebook, and some of the site’s users took the headline seriously. One commenter asked, “Is there a way we can make President Trump aware of this injustice???” Another wrote, “He should be free AND giving him a medal for doing the right thing.”
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.
Cooper, Anderson. “Fake news writer: I’m trying to educate people.” CNN. 12 Dec 2016.
“US ‘fake news’ kingpin Paul Horner found dead at 38.” BBC. 27 Sep 2017.
Riggins, Alex, et. al. “UPDATED: Story of Syrian refugees raping Idaho girl is wrong, prosecutor says.” Idaho Statesman. 23 Jun 2016.
Helmore, Edward. “Tyler Barriss, accused of making hoax call, regrets death of ‘swatting’ victim.” The Guardian. 15 Jan 2018.
“15 Year Old Who ‘SWATTED” Gamer Convicted Of Domestic Terrorism; 25 Years To Life In Federal Prison.” NationalReport.com. 30 Aug 2014.
Ducharme, Jamie. “Swatting Led to an Innocent Man’s Death in Kansas. Here’s What to Know About It.” Time. 31 Dec 2017.
Woodard, Chris. “Teen cries out during sentencing.” WIBV News 4. 21 Jan 2014.
Rinaldi, Jessica. Boston Marathon Bomber SWAT photo. Reuters. 19 Apr 2013.Share the Facts 2018-02-16 23:04:10 UTC FactCheck.org
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FactCheck.org Rating:False Teen who “killed Muslim refugee for raping his 7 years old sister sentenced 30 years to life in a federal prison.” Various websites – donaldtrumpforusa.com
Friday, February 9, 2018 2018-02-09 Read More info
In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper reviews a recent statement made by Vice President Mike Pence about the 2016 presidential campaign.
In a Feb. 14 interview with Axios, a political website, Pence said U.S. intelligence agencies came to the “universal conclusion” that Russia’s campaign interference had no impact on the election results. But that’s not what the intelligence agencies said.
On Jan. 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified intelligence report that outlined the extent of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election. But that report specifically said that the intelligence community “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcomes of the 2016 election.”
In a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Jan. 10, 2017, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated that the report “does not — repeat does not assess the impact of Russian activities on the actual outcome of the 2016 election or draw any conclusions in that regard one way or the other.”
FactCheck.org and CNN’s “State of the Union” have been collaborating on fact-checking videos since September 2015. All of the videos can be found on FactCheck.org.
Q: Are Philip Morris “Marlboro M” brand marijuana cigarettes now for sale in four U.S. states?
A: No. That claim comes from a 2014 satirical story. It has recently resurfaced without the satire label.
Philip Morris does not sell marijuana cigarettes in the United States. Despite some marijuana-friendly state laws, marijuana still remains illegal at the federal level.
An article that was originally posted in 2014, and republished in 2016, says otherwise. The self-described satirical website “Abril Uno” wrote that Philip Morris — which it spelled incorrectly — will start producing “Marlboro M” marijuana cigarettes. It said they will be sold through licensed outlets in Colorado and Washington in an effort to “join the marijuana legalization bandwagon.”
“Abril Uno,” or “April One” in English, has a disclaimer at the bottom of its home page that says, “Abril Uno is a satirical web publication and uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures or entities are being satirized.”
In 2015, other websites that do not have such a disclaimer republished the story, making it difficult for readers to differentiate between real and made-up news. For instance, Now 8 News shared the story. However, as we have written, Now 8 News is not a real news website. Its name is deceptively close to that of the real CBS affiliate TV station in Las Vegas, 8 News Now.
The story resurfaced on urhealthguide.com on Feb. 12. This latest version claimed that Marlboro marijuana cigarettes are now for sale in four U.S. states: Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.
The story includes a doctored photo of a pack of Marlboro cigarettes that says, “Marlboro CANNABIS.” The article also includes a made-up quote from a non-existent Philip Morris executive, Serafin Norcik, “the Senior Vice President for marketing.” Norcik, according to the story, said: “Our company has been working hard on this clinical research trial and are ‘high’ on the idea for marketing cannabis … We have finally made the decision to take the leap and support these states in their right to legalized recreational marijuana use.”
However, there is no one by the name of Serafin Norcik listed as an executive on either the Philip Morris USA or Philip Morris International website. And there is currently no one who holds the position of senior vice president for marketing.
In an email, a Philip Morris spokeswoman, Iro Antoniadou, told the Associated Press that the account published in urhealthguide.com is false.
In fact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January rescinded an Obama-era policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, which conflict with federal laws that make marijuana illegal. It remains unclear if Sessions is going to issue a new policy.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.
Ciraulo, Akoy. “Phillip Morris Introduces Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes.” Abriluno.com. 21 Jan 2014.
Ciraulo, Akoy. “Phillip Morris Introduces ‘Marlboro M’ Marijuana Cigarettes.” Abriluno.com. 1 Apr 2016.
“Philip Morris Begins Selling Marlboro “M” Brand marijuana cigarettes in Colorado.” Dailybuzzlife.com. 9 Mar 2015.
“Philip Morris Marlboro ‘M’ Brand Marijuana Cigarettes Now for Sale in Four U.S. States.” Now8News.com. 26 Oct 2015.
Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Bogus Black Lives Matter Stories Won’t Die.” FactCheck.org. 10 Jan 2018.
“Philip Morris Marlboro ‘M’ Brand Marijuana Cigarettes Now for Sale in Four U.S. States.” Urhealthguide.com. 12 Feb 2018.
Philip Morris International. “Our Leadership Team.” Pmi.com. Accessed 14 Feb 2018.
Associated Press. “No Philip Morris Marijuana Cigarettes on Sale.” New York Times. 13 Feb 2018.
Jarrett, Laura. “Sessions nixes Obama-era rules leaving states alone that legalize pot.” CNN. 4 Jan 2018.
We’ve written this before, but we will restate it: The U.S. intelligence community says Russia waged an influence campaign during the 2016 campaign to help elect Donald Trump, but it made no determination on whether Russia’s meddling affected the election outcome.
We repeat ourselves, because Vice President Mike Pence recently revived a false talking point that U.S. intelligence agencies came to the “universal conclusion” that Russia’s meddling had no impact on the election results. He made his remarks in an interview with Axios, a political website.
Pence, Feb. 14: Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any effect on the outcome of the 2016 election.
As we have written, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Jan. 6, 2017 released a declassified intelligence report that said “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” Among other things, the report said, Russian intelligence services gained access to Democratic National Committee computers for nearly a year, from July 2015 to June 2016, and released hacked material to WikiLeaks and other media outlets “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”
But that report did not say that “none of those efforts” changed the outcome of the election, as Pence claimed. On that point, the DNI report clearly said that the intelligence community “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcomes of the 2016 election.”
Director of National Intelligence report: The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.
Since the report was made public more than a year ago, Trump and his supporters have peddled false and misleading interpretations of the intelligence report on the 2016 election interference.
A day after the report was released, Trump tweeted: “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!” As we wrote, the fact that no machines were hacked does not mean that Russia’s influence campaign did not affect the election results.
Two days after the report was issued, Kellyanne Conway, who is now White House counselor, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before a Senate committee that Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election had failed.
Conway, Jan. 8, 2017: If you read the full report, they make very clear, Mr. Clapper in his testimony made very clear on Thursday under oath that the — that any attempt, any aspiration to influence our elections failed. They were not successful in doing that. And it’s a very important point.
Wrong again. In fact, Clapper said the complete opposite when he testified under oath before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 5, 2017. He said of the Russian interference: “[T]he intelligence community can’t gauge the impact that it had on choices that the electorate made. There is no way for us to gauge that.”
In a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Jan. 10, Clapper reiterated that the report “does not — repeat does not assess the impact of Russian activities on the actual outcome of the 2016 election or draw any conclusions in that regard one way or the other.”
This has not deterred others in the Trump administration from distorting the report’s findings.
In October, CIA Director Mike Pompeo wrongly said, “The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.”
In that case, Pompeo’s own agency had to reiterate that the intelligence community did not make any assessment in regards to whether Russia’s meddling affected the election results.
“The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed, and the director did not intend to suggest that it had,” agency spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement clarifying Pompeo’s remarks.
We should also note that an October 2016 report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis found that “Russian government cyber actors” potentially targeted “Internet-connected election-related networks” in 21 states. The department notified the 21 states in September 2017, but none reported any evidence of altered voter data or ballots.
So, there remains no evidence that votes were changed. But the intelligence community has not said if Russia’s influence campaign affected the election outcome.
General Motors will close one of its four assembly plants in South Korea in May. It did not say it was moving production to Detroit instead, as President Trump claimed.
“That was not part of the announcement,” GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey said in a phone interview with FactCheck.org.
A GM Korea press release announcing the closure said that the Gunsan plant has been underused for years, “making continued operations unsustainable.” But the press release also said the company presented stakeholders with “a concrete plan to stay in the country and turn the business around” to save jobs.
However, during a meeting on trade held at the White House with the president’s cabinet and some members of Congress, Trump said that the company was relocating.
Trump, Feb. 13: One thing I just — I do want to tell you, we just got this notice. General Motors in Korea announces the first step in necessary restructuring. They’re going to — GM Korea company announced today that it will cease production and close its Gunsan plant in May of 2018, and they’re going to move back to Detroit.
You don’t hear these things, except for the fact that Trump became President. Believe me, you wouldn’t be hearing that. So they’re moving back from Korea to Detroit. They’re moving.
The president got the closure part right, but there was nothing in the company’s official statement about “moving back” to the Motor City.
“There could be broader global implications,” as a result of closing the plant, Morrissey, a GM spokesman, told us by phone. But as for a planned move to Detroit? “That was not part of the announcement,” he said.
Kristin Dziczek, head of the Industry, Labor & Economics Group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was more direct.
“There is no new plant or new production in Detroit” as a result of this, Dziczek told us in an interview. She tweeted similar statements contradicting the president, who also wrongly said that Fiat Chrysler was moving a manufacturing plant from Mexico to Michigan.
@GM is closing Gunsan/South Korea plant. Gunsan output was not imported to the U.S. There is no new U.S. plant or productive capacity announced as a result. @FiatChrysler_NA is investing to produce RAM trucks in Michigan. The company will continue making vehicles in Saltillo.
— Kristin Dziczek (@kdziczek) February 13, 2018
In its Feb. 12 press release, GM Korea said “it will cease production and close its Gunsan plant by the end of May 2018” because the “facility has been increasingly underutilized, running at about 20 percent of capacity over the past three years, making continued operations unsustainable.”
“This announcement occurs after a careful review of the company’s operations, which have sustained significant losses for the past several years,” the company said.
Dziczek noted that fewer people are buying the Chevy Cruze, which is one of two cars made at the Gunsan plant. So there’s really no need for more capacity in the U.S., where Cruzes are already made in Lordstown, Ohio, she explained.
Contrary to Trump’s claim of a move to Detroit, the company will still have three other assembly plants in South Korea. And the company promised to present stakeholders with a “concrete plan to stay in the country and turn the business around.”
“The proposal includes significant product-related investments in South Korea and would preserve thousands of jobs,” its press release said.
The company said that it will make a decision on its next steps by the end of February.Share the Facts 2018-02-15 18:04:03 UTC FactCheck.org
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FactCheck.org Rating:Distorts the Facts “GM Korea company announced today that it will cease production and close its Gunsan plant in May of 2018, and they’re going to move back to Detroit.” Donald Trump President of the United States www.whitehouse.gov
White House Tuesday, February 13, 2018 2018-02-13 Read More info
President Donald Trump repeatedly has mangled the facts about the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program — as we have documented. This week, he found a new way to misrepresent the program.
Trump said those who win the diversity visa lottery are awarded U.S. citizenship. That’s not how it works. Eligible entrants selected in the lottery must pass an extensive background check before they are given green cards, or legal permanent resident status.
Those who get green cards can apply for citizenship in five years. But it’s not automatic. In order to become a citizen, green card holders have to demonstrate “good moral character” — meaning, for example, that they pay their taxes and don’t commit any crimes — and they have to learn English and pass a test on U.S. history and government.
Many who come to the U.S. via the diversity visa program never become naturalized citizens.
Trump’s latest misinformation about the diversity visa program came during remarks at the National Sheriffs’ Association Roundtable on Feb. 13.
Trump, Feb. 13: Anybody in favor of the lottery, where you pick it out and you say, “Good, we have a new United States citizen”? Doesn’t work. And they’re not giving us their finest. That we can tell you.
There’s a lot wrong packed into those few sentences. As he has in the past, Trump suggests foreign governments have a hand in who gets selected. As we have written before, that’s not true.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or DV program, uses a computer lottery system to randomly issue up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year — from among millions who apply — to qualified applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants are self-selected. There is no evidence of other countries gaming the system to offload their undesirable residents.
Trump’s claim that “they’re not giving us their finest” is also misleading. In the past, he has been more direct, saying the U.S. is getting the “worst of the worst” from other countries.
In fact, there is evidence that diversity visa recipients are better educated than most other immigrants — better educated than Americans as a whole — and that they are more likely than most other immigrants to be employed in management, professional and related occupations and less likely to be unemployed.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 50 percent of diversity visa recipients have at least a college degree. That’s based on U.S. Census Bureau survey data for the educational attainment of immigrants from countries that have high rates of their residents entering the U.S. with diversity visas between fiscal years 2012 and 2016. Among those immigrants age 25 years and older, 50 percent held a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s a higher percentage than the 32 percent among the overall U.S. population.
The Migration Policy Institute cross-referenced its findings with a federally funded research project that tracked immigrants who obtained green cards in 2003. The project, known as the New Immigrant Survey, also found that 50 percent of diversity visa holders had a college degree or higher (18 percent had a graduate degree). That’s lower than the 80 percent of employment-based immigrants who held a bachelor’s degree or higher. But it’s significantly higher than the 28 percent of family-sponsored immigrants who had a bachelor’s degree or higher, Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at MPI, told us in a phone interview.
The MPI report concluded that “the high educational attainment of diversity visa holders proves an important lesson for future U.S. immigration reforms: One does not need a ‘merit-based’ system, or one that allows entry only of college- or graduate-educated individuals in order to attract highly skilled immigrants.”
Trump repeatedly has misrepresented how the diversity visa program works, and the quality of people it attracts, as he did in his State of the Union address.
The new wrinkle this week was the incorrect assertion that the diversity visa lottery automatically awards U.S. citizenship.
Those whose names are selected through the diversity visa lottery still must undergo a lengthy background screening. As we have written, this means checks to make sure the person has not committed a crime, doesn’t have a serious health problem, isn’t a terrorist, hasn’t committed fraud, and hasn’t overstayed a visa in the U.S.
There are more than a dozen grounds of inadmissibility, including health issues, criminal activity, national security concerns and the “likelihood of becoming a public charge,” meaning “a person who is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” And in order to even be eligible for the lottery, applicants must demonstrate that they have a high school education, or its equivalent, or “two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.”
Provided all of that checks out, the lottery winners are granted legal permanent resident status, otherwise known as a green card. That’s not U.S. citizenship, though it puts them on the path to apply for citizenship.
In order to apply for citizenship, one must hold a green card for at least five years; demonstrate “continuous residence” in the U.S. for five years; be able to read, write and speak basic English; and pass a brief oral exam on U.S. history and government. Applicants also must “be a person of good moral character,” meaning, for example, that they pay their taxes and child support and have committed no crimes.
Over the last several years, immigrants spent a median of seven years in lawful permanent resident status before becoming citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
No perfect data exists on the naturalization rates of diversity visa holders, but a report issued by USCIS in 2016 looked at the 10-year naturalization rates for various categories of immigrants. Those who got legal permanent resident status through the diversity visa program were part of an “others” category. Among those in that “others” category from 2004 — the most recent cohort included in the analysis — 58 percent went on to gain citizenship. That’s not a perfect analysis, as the “others” category includes some who came to the U.S. through programs other than the diversity visa lottery, but it demonstrates the point that not all green card holders become citizens.
On Feb. 14, Trump threw his support behind an immigration plan proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and others that would eliminate the diversity visa program. The same day, a bipartisan group of senators agreed on an immigration plan that would keep the diversity visa program.
We take no position on the future of the program. Our role is to provide accurate information about a program that has been misrepresented by the president.Share the Facts 2018-02-15 17:44:40 UTC FactCheck.org
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FactCheck.org Rating:Distorts the Facts “Anybody in favor of the [diversity visa] lottery, where you pick it out and you say, ‘Good, we have a new United States citizen’?” Donald Trump President of the United States https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-trump
National Sheriffs’ Association Roundtable Tuesday, February 13, 2018 2018-02-13 Read More info
White House press aides are claiming President Donald Trump’s budget contains trillions in “deficit reduction,” when it actually calls for larger deficits for the next several years and would add $7 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.
Let’s start with what the president actually proposed. Page 117 of the White House budget released Feb. 12 contains the “Budget Totals” summary, including the proposed annual deficits (which we have highlighted). It shows a deficit growing from $665 billion last fiscal year to $873 billion in the current fiscal year (which began Oct. 1), and from there to $984 billion next fiscal year, and $987 billion the year after. It shows a total of just under $7.1 trillion in cumulative annual deficits over 10 years.
Many news accounts focused on that red ink. The New York Times said the Trump budget’s “ballooning federal deficit … illustrates how far Republicans have strayed from their longtime embrace of balanced budgets.” The Los Angeles Times said the budget “forecasts a decade of mounting debt.” The Washington Post said the budget acknowledged that Trump’s tax cut and his spending increases “are putting severe pressure on the government’s debt.”
Pushing back against such coverage, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in her briefing Feb. 13: “[T]his budget reduced the deficit by $3 trillion, which is one of the largest in history.” Her deputy, Raj Shah, told Fox News that day that Trump’s budget “has serious deficit reduction.” He said, “It has over $3 trillion in deficit reduction, which is the largest deficit reduction of a budget, in terms of a 10-year outlay, that we’ve ever seen.”
Sanders and Shah were referring to a collection of proposed “major savings and reforms” that are part of Trump’s proposed budget, including proposed cuts in food-stamp benefits and cuts in “wasteful spending” under Medicare. The Office of Management and Budget projects that these would — if enacted — reduce federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, below what would occur under current law. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, briefing reporters Feb. 12, said this was “the second largest proposed reduction in spending ever, second only to last year’s budget.”
It’s true that if those proposed “savings” are not enacted, future deficits would be even larger than projected in the Trump budget document. But it’s misleading — if not downright dishonest — to speak of “deficit reduction” in a budget that calls for growing deficits for years before any reduction occurs. Under the Trump budget, deficits wouldn’t fall below last year’s level until 2025.
And make no mistake, that’s an optimistic view. Other budget experts predict much larger shortfalls. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated Feb. 9 that the deficit for fiscal year 2019 would hit nearly $1.2 trillion as a result of the Trump tax cut and the Bipartisan Budget Act that Trump signed that day, ending a brief government shutdown.
The Trump budget projects annual deficits won’t quite hit $1 trillion, and will begin declining in fiscal year 2021. That is, if economic growth picks up and hits 3 percent or better for the next seven years, as the budget assumes, and if all of Trump’s “savings and reforms” are enacted.
Q: Were 4 million Democratic votes found to be fraudulent?
A: No. The company that supposedly made the voting machines in question doesn’t appear to exist.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has certified voting machines made by seven manufacturers for use in elections across the country.
None of those manufacturers are named Novus Ordo Seclorum, Inc.
But a story circulating on Facebook claims that 4 million Democratic votes cast in various 2017 elections on Novus Ordo Seclorum machines were fraudulent.
It turns out that the only thing that’s fraudulent is the story. Facebook users flagged it as potentially false, and it is.
The story originated on a website called ReaganWasRight.com, which describes its content as “conservative satire.” But the story was recently copied and posted by more than a dozen other websites that don’t have a disclaimer, some of which have names that sound like legitimate news outlets.
One website calls itself The Hill Live, a name similar to the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill, and another calls itself The Politico News, a name similar to the political news website Politico. The two phony sites have no connection to the legitimate ones. They were each created in January and registered through a company that hides the identity of the site’s owner.
The made-up story that they posted says: “Voting machines in 11 states now tied to a company owned by a group of Democrat ‘activists’ that includes George Soros, Chelsea Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama and the estate of John Kennedy have been declared ‘compromised’ and their votes discounted.”
But the company those Democratic heavyweights supposedly own doesn’t appear to exist. Novus Ordo Seclorum is a Latin phrase — meaning “new order of the ages” — that appears on the back of the U.S. dollar bill. There is no record of a voting machine manufacturer by that name.
The market for electronic voting machines is dominated by three companies that control 92 percent of the market, according to a 2017 report from the University of Pennsylvania. The company with the largest share is Omaha, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software, which was led for more than a decade by Aldo Tesi.
Tesi has donated to a political action committee, called Commercial Federal, that supported largely, but not exclusively, Republican candidates for House and Senate races in Nebraska. He also gave $500 to Democrat Ben Nelson’s first campaign for U.S. Senate in 1996. Nelson, who had been the state’s governor throughout most of the 1990s, made it to the Senate in 2001 and became one of that body’s most conservative Democrats, according to GovTrack.us.
This isn’t the first time that a false story has gotten popular by claiming that millions of Democratic votes were fraudulent.
In August, we wrote about a claim that 25 million votes for Hillary Clinton were fraudulent. That story wasn’t true, either.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label false stories flagged by readers on the social media network.
U.S. Election Assistance Commission. “Certified Voting Systems.” Accessed 13 Feb 2018.
“BREAKING: 4 Million Democrat Votes Were Just Declared Fraudulent.” ReaganWasRight.com. 8 Nov 2017.
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FactCheck.org Rating:False “BREAKING: 4 Million Democrat Votes Were Just Declared Fraudulent.” Various websites – reaganwasright.com
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 2018-02-07 Read More info