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Friday, December 15, 2017

PolitiFact: A mountain of evidence points to a single fact: Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election of 2016. In both classified and public reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered actions to interfere with the election. Those actions included the cyber-theft of private data, the placement of propaganda against particular candidates, and an overall effort to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process. See related rulings Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have held open and closed door hearings to probe Russia's actions. The congressional investigations are ongoing. Facebook, Google and Twitter have investigated their own networks, and their executives have concluded -- in some cases after initial foot-dragging -- that Russia used the online platforms in attempts to influence the election. After all this, one man keeps saying it didn't even happen. read more


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump's opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban. Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services. The requirements make it challenging for a transgender recruit to pass. But they mirror concerns President Barack Obama's administration laid out when the Pentagon initially lifted its ban on transgender service last year. read more


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday that he would resign from office as of Jan. 31, 2018, after discussing surrogacy issues with female staffers. "I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable," he said in a statement. ... In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan's office said Thursday that the speaker learned of "credible claims of misconduct" against Franks in the middle of last week. "The next day, the speaker presented Rep. Franks with the allegations, which he did not deny," according to Ryan's office. "The speaker told Rep. Franks that he intended to refer the allegations directly to the House Ethics Committee and told him that he should resign from Congress. read more


Comments

Lie of the Year, 2009 to 2016

2016: Fake news

Conspiracy theories and hoaxes have always been part of America's political conversation, but in 2016 they took off online. Fake news found a willing enabler in Donald Trump, who repeated and legitimized made-up reports. We defined fake news as fabricated information, manipulated to look like credible news reports, then easily spread online.

2015: The campaign misstatements of Donald Trump

From "thousands and thousands" cheering in New Jersey on Sept. 11 to dubious accounts of his own record and words, Trump's 2015 inaccurate statements exhibited range, boldness and a disregard for the truth.

By December 2015, we had rated 76 percent of Trump's claims Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. No other politician had clocked more falsehoods on our Truth-O-Meter, and our only real contenders for Lie of the Year were Trump's. We rolled all them into one big trophy in 2015.

2014: Exaggerations about Ebola

In 2014, there were just two Ebola-related deaths in the United States, yet fear of the disease stretched nationwide, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said, wrongly, that Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus, and that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy.

The false claims distorted the debate about a serious public health issue and edged the nation toward panic. In all, PolitiFact and PunditFact rated 16 separate Ebola claims as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, so we chose this collection as our 2014 Lie of the Year.

2013: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it'

President Barack Obama and other Democrats made this claim when marketing the Affordable Care Act. But in the fall of 2013, people started to receive insurance cancellation notices, definitively proving the statement wrong.

Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting the claim had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to a rare presidential apology.

2012: Mitt Romney campaign's ad on Jeeps made in China

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney's campaign unleashed an ad suggesting that Jeep was pulling its plants out of Ohio, a critical swing state, for China. But the Ohio Jeep plants weren't going anywhere; the moves in China were to expand into the Chinese auto market.

2011: 'Republicans voted to end Medicare'

After two years of being pounded by Republicans with false charges about the ACA, Democrats turned the tables. They slammed Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for voting for a cost-cutting budget resolution promoted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (Ryan is now speaker of the House.)

Democrats said voting for this resolution amounted to voting to end Medicare. But Ryan never proposed ending Medicare; instead he wanted to bring more private insurers into the program. Democrats later modified their talking point to say Republicans wanted to end Medicare "as we know it."

2010: 'A government takeover of health care'

As lawmakers finalized the Affordable Care Act, Republicans couldn't stop repeating their mantra that the law is a government takeover of health care. It's not.

"Government takeover" But the Affordable Care Act relies largely on the free market, and it does not nationalize the country's health system in any way.

2009: 'Death panels'

Sarah Palin was the first to say the Affordable Care Act included "death panels" -- PolitiFact's very first Lie of the Year. Government boards would determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care were wholly fictional. Yet about 30 percent of the public in 2009 believed they were part of the health care law.

This wasn't hard to fact-check. There were not any such death panels in the law.

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