Tag Archives: lies

‘1984’ sales soar after Trump claims, ‘alternative facts’

After incorrect or unprovable statements made by Republican President Donald Trump and some White House aides, one truth is undeniable: Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 are soaring.

First published in 1949, Orwell’s classic dystopian tale of a society in which facts are distorted and suppressed in a cloud of “newspeak” topped the best-seller list of Amazon.com as of Jan. 24.

The sales bump comes after the Trump administration’s assertions his inauguration had record attendance and his unfounded allegation that millions of illegal votes were cast against him last fall.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway coined an instant catchphrase when she called his claims about crowd size “alternative facts,” bringing comparisons on social media to 1984.

Orwell’s book isn’t the only cautionary tale on the Amazon list.

Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel about the election of an authoritarian president, It Can’t Happen Here, was at No. 46. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was at No. 71.

Sales also were up for Hannah Arendt’s seminal nonfiction analysis The Origins of Totalitarianism.

Trump stands by baseless claim millions voted illegally, vows investigation

President Donald Trump stands by his belief that millions of people voted illegally in the U.S. election, the White House said, despite widespread evidence to the contrary.

“The president does believe that,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

On Jan. 25, his Twitter account said Trump is ordering a “major investigation” into voter fraud, specifically his belief that people voted in more than one state or “those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”

Officials in charge of the Nov. 8 election have said they found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and there is no history of it in U.S. elections.

Even House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the most senior Republican in Congress, said he has seen no evidence to back up Trump’s claims.

Trump won the Electoral College that decides the presidency and gives smaller states more clout in the outcome, but he lost the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by about 2.9 million.

Trump has repeatedly said he would have won the popular vote, too, but for voter fraud. He has never substantiated his claim.

Also, Trump’s attorneys dismissed claims of voter fraud in a legal filing responding to Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s demand for a recount in Michigan last year. “On what basis does Stein seek to disenfranchise Michigan citizens? None really, save for speculation,” the attorneys wrote. “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

Secretaries of state across the country also have dismissed Trump’s voter fraud claims as baseless.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said invented claims such as Trump’s are used to undermine the advancement and enforcement of voting rights laws.

“The White House is bashing immigrants, undermining voting rights, and playing to bigotry all at once,” Henderson said. “Sen. Jeff Sessions once made up fraud charges to wrongly prosecute voting rights activists and the White House appears to be using the same anti-civil rights playbook. Peddling these lies just drives this administration farther from reality and from the people it claims to govern.”

Henderson added, “This conspiracy theory raises serious doubts about whether our new president can be trusted on anything.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Timothy Ahmann; editing by Grant McCool)

Analysis: Trump’s rigged election claims may leave lasting damage

Donald Trump keeps peddling the notion the vote may be rigged. It’s not clear if he does not understand the potential damage of his words — or he simply does not care.

Trump’s claim — made without evidence — undercuts the essence of American democracy, the idea that U.S. elections are both free and fair, with the vanquished peacefully stepping aside for the victor. His repeated assertions are sowing suspicion among his most ardent supporters, raising the possibility that millions of people may not accept the results on Nov. 8 if Trump does not win.

The responsibilities for the New York billionaire in such a scenario are minimal. Trump holds no public office and has said he’ll simply go back to his “very good way of life” if he loses.

Instead, it would be Democrat Hillary Clinton and congressional Republicans, should they win, who would be left trying to govern in a country divided not just by ideology, but also the legitimacy of the presidency.

As Trump’s campaign careens from crisis to crisis, he’s broadened his unfounded allegations that Clinton, her backers and the media are conspiring to steal the election. He’s accused Clinton of meeting with global financial powers to “plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and argued his opponent shouldn’t have even been allowed to seek the White House.

“Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail,” Trump wrote Saturday morning on Twitter. “Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election.”

Trump is referring to Clinton’s use of a private email system while serving as secretary of state. Republicans (and some Democrats) have harshly criticized her decision to do so, but the FBI did not recommend anyone face criminal charges for her use of a private email address run on a personal server.

Trump has offered only broad assertions about the potential for voter fraud and the complaints that the several women who have recently alleged he sexually accosted them are part of an effort to smear his campaign.

“It’s one big ugly lie, it’s one big fix,” Trump said at a Friday rally in North Carolina, adding later: “And the only thing I say is hopefully, hopefully, our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception.”

Trump’s supporters appear to be taking his grievances seriously. Only about a third of Republicans said they have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that votes on Election Day will be counted fairly, according to recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

During a campaign event Tuesday with Trump running mate Mike Pence, a voter said she was deeply concerned about voter fraud and vowed to be “ready for a revolution” if Clinton wins.

“Don’t say that,” Pence said, waving away the woman’s rallying cry.

There is no evidence voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States. A study by a Loyola Law School professor found that out of 1 billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 known cases of impersonation fraud.

Trump’s motivations for stoking these sentiments seem clear.

One of his last hopes of winning the election is to suppress turnout by making these final weeks so repulsive to voters that some simply stay home. Trump advisers privately say they hope to turn off young people in particular. They lean Democratic but don’t have a long history of voting and are already skeptical of Clinton.

Trump is also likely considering how he would spin a loss to Clinton, given that he’s spent decades cultivating a brand that’s based on success and winning. His years in public life offer few examples where he’s owned up to his own failings and plenty where he’s tried to pass the blame on to others, as he’s now suggesting he would do if he’s defeated.

Clinton appears increasingly aware that if she wins, she’d arrive at the White House facing more than the usual political divides. “Damage is being done that we’re going to have to repair,” she said during a recent campaign stop.

Democrat Hillary Clinton. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore
Democrat Hillary Clinton. — PHOTO: Gage Skidmore

But that task wouldn’t be Clinton’s alone.

The majority of Trump’s supporters are Republicans. If he loses, party leaders will have to reckon with how much credence they give to claims the election was rigged and how closely they can work with a president who at least some of their backers will likely view as illegitimate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office wouldn’t say Saturday whether he agreed with Trump’s assertions the election is being rigged. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Wisconsin lawmaker is “fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Republicans have already experienced the paralyzing effect of Trump stirring up questions about a president’s legitimacy. He spent years challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship, deepening some GOP voters’ insistence that the party block the Democrat at every turn.

Jim Manley, a former adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, recalled the skepticism some Republicans had about Obama. “I’m afraid a President Clinton is going to start off with far too many people raising similar questions,” he said.

Defense counsel representing Kim Davis deemed a hate group

Kim Davis’ lawyer stood onstage in a Washington, D.C., hotel and pointed to a photo on the screen. It showed 100,000 people packed into a Peruvian soccer stadium, Mat Staver told the crowd, all there to pray for the Kentucky clerk battling against gay marriage.

The crowd erupted.

It wasn’t true.

Staver’s firm, the Liberty Counsel, which revealed Davis’ secret meeting with Pope Francis, has been accused by advocacy groups of peddling misrepresentations in the past. Yet it has become the main source of details about the controversial pope meeting.

Online sleuths quickly debunked the Peru story Staver told at the Values Voter Summit, a conference for the conservative Family Research Council. The photo was from a year-old gathering unrelated to Davis, who spent five days in jail for defying a court order and refusing to license gay marriages. Staver could provide no evidence of a massive Davis rally. He called it a mistake and blamed miscommunication with the Peruvian authorities who gave him the photo.

The next day, the firm dropped a bombshell. It said Pope Francis, on his celebrated visit to America, secretly met with Davis. The pope hugged her, thanked her for her courage and told her to “stay strong,” Liberty Counsel said. The Vatican has said the pope had a brief meeting with Davis that should not be seen as support for her stance.

Many on the religious right hail the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, which bills itself as a nonprofit committed to “restoring the culture by advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the family.”

“They’re willing to stand up for our rights under the Constitution, they’re not backing down,” said Nick Williams, a probate judge in Alabama who has also pledged never to issue a marriage licenses to a same-sex couple and sought guidance from the Liberty Counsel. Williams compared the federal court system to the tyrannical kings in the Bible: “I’m glad we have a law firm willing to stand up to the kings of our time.”

But critics watched in exasperation as the organization rocketed to national celebrity alongside Davis.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Liberty Counsel as an anti-gay hate group for spreading false information.

“A group that regularly portrays gay people as perverse, diseased pedophiles putting Western civilization at risk are way, way over the line,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the center.

The Liberty Counsel has connected homosexuality to higher rates of promiscuity and incest, Potok said, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. The firm opposes laws banning hate crimes and supports discredited conversion therapies that purport to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. Staver once declared that the Boy Scouts would become a “playground for pedophiles” once it allowed gay troop leaders.

Staver, his hair bright white and his ties usually red, contends his quotes were taken out of context and he has legal arguments for the rest: hate crime laws infringe on free speech, he believes, and gay conversion therapies should be available to those who want them because he believes in “personal autonomy.”

“It is irresponsible and reckless to call someone a hate group because you disagree with them,” he said.

He added that he can’t be considered a hater because he loves all of God’s creation.

Williams also came to his defense: the Bible warned that Christians would be persecuted for standing strong for their faith, he noted.

“Jesus told us we would be hated for his name,” he said. “For standing for what we stand for, people will hate us. It happened to the disciples, but it’s also happening today.”

Staver grew up in Florida. He told The Associated Press in a phone interview that his father was an abusive alcoholic who his Catholic mother divorced when he was young. She worked three jobs and raised him alone, he said, and he went through the motions of Catholicism until an evangelical pastor saved him from sin as a young man.

He became a pastor himself in Kentucky, though he shied away from social issues until he saw a film in 1982 about abortion. He resolved to go to law school to fight for traditional family values. He graduated from the University of Kentucky’s law school, moved back to Florida with his wife, Anita, and they started the Liberty Counsel in 1989.

For years they dabbled in causes against abortion, the “War on Christmas” and other hot-button topics in the American culture wars.

In 2000, the firm threatened to sue a Florida library that offered a “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” certificate to kids who read the Harry Potter book series. Five years later, they sent letters complaining that a Wisconsin elementary school put on a decades-old play called “The Little Christmas Tree,” about a lonely pine searching for a family, which sets a song to the tune of ‘’Silent Night” but does not mention Jesus.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has called Staver a courageous legal scholar. 

Civil liberties advocates disagree. 

“There is an enormous amount of bluster amid his legal arguments,” said Barry Lynn, a minister and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who has debated Staver on religious freedom issues. “It looks to me like he’s making claims that will get his clients great publicity, but not necessarily get them victories.”

Staver stands firm on his contributions to American jurisprudence. His firm has been involved in 60 same-sex marriage cases. It has 10 full-time attorneys, and dozens more across the country willing to work for free to promote the cause. In 2013, the firm hauled in more than $4 million, according to tax returns.

As Davis defied a series of federal court orders and was sent to jail, Staver cast her as a heroine called into battle by God. He compared her actions to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. She received 20,000 pieces of mail in jail, he said.

“I’ve lost the ability to be surprised at how easy it is to become the next Joan of Arc,” said Lynn. “When you make heroes out of people who refuse to accept the rule of law and who fail to acknowledge the dignity of other human beings, you are on a very dangerous path.”

Staver said the meeting with the pope validates his arguments about Davis’ rights to conscientious objection. He rejects even the suggestion he might wake up one day and discover himself on the wrong side of history.

Last week, he showed the crowd at the Values Voter Summit the photo of the imaginary Peruvian prayer rally and declared its significance in the battle against Christian oppression.

“That, my friends, is happening around the world,” he said. “When one person stands it has an impact and Kim Davis will continue to stand for her lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

Wisconsin teacher of the year calls out Walker over comments

A former Wisconsin teacher of the year criticized likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker in an open letter this week, saying he’s misrepresenting the facts when telling an anecdote about a laid-off teacher.

The Republican Wisconsin governor recently defended his telling of the story, which he’s repeated many times and wrote about in his 2013 book, saying he’s been “very clear” in how he’s described what happened to the teacher.

Claudia Klein Felske posted recently on Marquette University’s College of Education blog that she was “surprised” and “bewildered” to hear Walker tell Iowa conservatives last month the story of how the 2010 teacher of the year had lost her job.

Felske was the 2010 high school teacher of the year, one of four teachers given the prestigious award by the state superintendent and recognized at a Capitol ceremony, and was not laid off.

Walker has frequently told the story of how “outstanding teacher of the year” Megan Sampson lost her job in 2010. The governor cites it as an example of what he called a broken system that he fixed by effectively ending collective bargaining for teachers and other public workers.

Sampson actually won the Nancy Hoefs Memorial Award, given by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English for first-year language arts teachers. And while she was laid off in June 2010 from a job in Milwaukee, she was hired by another nearby district for a job that following fall.

Walker wrote about Sampson in his 2013 book “Unintimidated” and clearly identified her as “the outstanding first-year teacher by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English.” But during a conservative summit last month in Iowa that attracted other potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates he described Sampson as “the outstanding teacher of the year in my state.”

That comment spurred Felske’s letter to Walker.

Walker, in a recent conference call with reporters in London where he was on a trade mission, called controversy over how he describes the award Sampson won a “petty distinction.”

“It’s very clear I’ve talked about this many times,” Walker said.

Felske wrote to Walker that he should not have blamed the seniority system under union contracts for Sampson’s layoff and that instead he “should have done some serious soul searching” over the impact of funding cuts he supported for public K-12 schools, technical colleges and the University of Wisconsin System in 2011 had in leading to Samson’s layoff.

Sampson’s layoff, however, preceded Walker’s election as governor.

Walker said those complaining over the teacher of the year distinction are “trying to redirect where the facts are.”

2016 Spin Meter: What not to believe…

It’s considered bad form for politicians to say things that are not true.

When they talk about their own ambitions, though, deception pretty much comes with the territory and no one seems to mind.

People who are patently feeling out their presidential prospects claim not to be even thinking about that, when you know they’ve got to be humming “Hail to the Chief” in the shower.

They say they don’t pay attention to polls – ha!

They suggest their families will drive their decision whether to run, setting up a dramatic tension that is more fiction than fact.

As the 2016 presidential campaign field begins to take shape, here are five things to know not to believe when you hear them:

THE SIT-DOWN

Over Christmas 2010, Mitt Romney’s big family gathered `round and cast ballots on whether he should run again for the Republican nomination. The vote was 10-2 against, with Romney himself voting no.

The voters had spoken. But Romney ran.

The lesson: On this question, family matters, not so much.

In the lead-up to 2016, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has made much of his wife, Kelley, being a hard sell.

“There’s two votes in my family,” he said when asked in December about running. “My wife has both of them, and both of them are `no’ votes right now. … I’ll tell you in a year whether I’m able to persuade my wife.”

Reserved but politically savvy, Kelley Paul has stood in for him at campaign events and worked for a Republican consulting firm.

Among other Republicans, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says he’ll have the big talk with his wife, Janna, in 2015. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his wife, Supriya, are praying and talking about it now, the governor says.

Jeb Bush already heard his mother, Barbara, tell everyone “we’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House. But the former Florida governor said he’s in his 60s and doesn’t have to do everything his mom says. “I’m trying to avoid the family conversation,” he said.

Running for president is a heavyweight (and intoxicating) decision that gives some families pause. But pinning the matter on the spouse and kids is generally part of a broader effort to put off answers and decisions until it’s time to commit one way or the other.

THE DODGE

“My focus is entirely on working for Texans in the U.S. Senate.” When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, made this declaration, his feet were planted in South Carolina, a big presidential primary state.

To be sure, South Carolina was a bit off his path. He’s more apt to be found in Iowa, an even bigger state in presidential politics. Cruz has been seen more often in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina than in the volatile border region of his own state since he won election as a senator in 2012. (Cruz cheekily tweeted Google Map directions to the border to help President Barack Obama find it, but the senator hasn’t been closer than 150 miles to the border himself since the child-migrant crisis began.)

Almost to a man and a woman, the people most being talked about as presidential candidates are building campaign-type travel schedules, meeting strategists and donors and doing most things they need to do to get ready, like writing memoirs.

They’re also being coy about what they’re up to, although a little less so as time goes on.

Hillary Rodham Clinton went from “no plans” to run to “stay tuned” to “I’m running – around the park” to statements making clear she’s considering it and will decide by the end of the year.

THE DOWNPLAY

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., says the bridge scandal that’s been dogging him will be “a footnote” by 2016. He’s feeling done with it.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., says an investigation by prosecutors into whether he and aides conducted illegal political activities in 2011 and 2012 is “old news” and “case closed.”

Public figures can’t wish these things away. They can write their memoirs and their epitaphs, but not history. When scandal happens, they hold the reins of a runaway horse that will stop only when it’s good and tired.

Others (voters, for example) ultimately will decide whether the bridge kerfuffle becomes a footnote to Christie’s story or the headline, and whether Walker’s distraction is rehash or revelation.

When lawmakers pressed Clinton on motivations of the killers who attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, she shot back: “What difference at this point does it make?” That, too, is a question neither she nor her GOP critics can answer.

WHAT POLLS?

Cliches abound here.

You may have heard this one – the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. It’s too soon for that, but not for this: I don’t listen to polls.

“Polls are everywhere all the time,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in May. “I don’t really pay a lot of attention to them.” That’s what people say when they’re lagging in polls.

To be sure, horserace polls this far from the contest in November 2016 are mostly worth ignoring.

As Rubio pointed out, there’s a whole campaign to be waged first. But polls, like money, are the mother’s milk of politics. They drive fundraising, messaging and all-important perceptions of momentum.

Rubio doesn’t blow off polling. His leadership PAC Reclaim America, organized to elect more conservatives, paid the polling firm North Star Opinion Research $136,546 in the 2014 election cycle as of mid-May.

VEEP CREEP

Democrat Al Gore called the vice presidency a “political dead end” in one campaign, then signed on for it the next campaign. Republican Nelson Rockefeller said he refused offers to be such “standby equipment,” then became that for President Gerald Ford.

George H.W. Bush said “I’m not leaving the door open” to becoming the running mate to his GOP rival, Ronald Reagan, then did.

This disdain for being No. 2 is bound to arise when the primaries are underway and people start losing for real. For a struggling candidate, acknowledging any interest in being someone’s running mate can be the kiss of death until it’s obvious the campaign is dying anyway. Then the vice presidency doesn’t sound so bad.

Obama’s health care promise top quote in 2013

President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement that his promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan turned out to be inaccurate topped this year’s list of best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

Other notable quotations on Fred Shapiro’s eighth-annual list included Pope Francis’ urging that the Catholic Church reduce emphasizing hot-button issues like abortion, a Republican governor insisting on changes in his party and a Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban calling for a campaign against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.

“I think there is a theme of change,” said Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School. “We have the health care law running into problems. We have the pope who is ruffling some feathers. We have an education activist standing up for the rights of women to have an education. You have Republican Party officials advocating change within that party.”

As Obama’s new health care law was rolled out with a faulty website, millions of Americans received cancellation letters from insurance companies. With his credibility on the line and his approval rating in polls ebbing, Obama announced a shift in policy to fulfill his promise that people could keep their health insurance plans, saying insurers should be allowed to continue selling plans that would be deemed substandard under the health care overhaul to existing customers.

The pope drew attention this year after imploring the church to avoid an obsession with “small-minded rules” and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception. The pope also restated the church’s opposition to abortion.

In an off-election year, there were fewer quotes from politicians and a more diverse collection ranging from religion to baseball. Still, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford became the first Canadian to make the list with his admission in November that he smoked crack cocaine.

One top quote came from 2012, shortly after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The list is compiled by mid-December, and later quotes are carried into the following year.

The original “Yale Book of Quotations” was published in 2006 by Yale University Press, and Shapiro has updated it with an annual list of the top 10 quotes. Shapiro picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not necessarily ones that are the most eloquent or admirable.

Here’s the list:

1.”With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan you can keep it . the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.”

President Barack Obama, news conference, Nov. 14, 2013

2.”This is our fucking city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom.”

Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, remarks to Fenway Park crowd after memorial service for Boston Marathon bombing victims, Apr. 20, 2013

3.”We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. . It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

Pope Francis, interview published Sept. 19, 2013

4.”So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.”

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigns for girls’ education, speech to United Nations General Assembly, July 12, 2013

5.”I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least untruthful manner, by saying, `No.'”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, broadcast interview, June 8, 2013 (describing his Senate committee hearing testimony denying the NSA collects data on Americans)

6.”We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. . It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, speech at Republican National Committee winter meeting, Jan. 24, 2013

7.”Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine . Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, remarks to reporters, Nov. 5, 2013

8.”The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, news briefing, Dec. 21, 2012

9.”I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency contractor, interview published June 9, 2013

10.”Lean In.”

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, title of book published in 2013

Liar, liar: Voting taking place for ‘Lie of the Year’

PolitiFact is expected to announce next week the “winner” of the biggest Lie of the Year contest, which names the most significant falsehood of 2013.

The organization also is conducting a readers’ choice award for the Pants on Fire award.

The finalists in the race for include:

• U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his statement that Congress is exempt from the Affordable Care Act. The Texas Republican falsely said, “President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception” to Obamacare during an August speech in Iowa.

• Betsy McCaughney, for an opinion piece for the New York Post in September. She falsely said that doctors will be required to ask about a person’s sex life under Obamacare.

• In June, President Barack Obama defended the government’s monitoring of telephone and Internet traffic by invoking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and falsely saying the court “is transparent.”

• A chain email falsely claimed that the United Nations “adopted a proposed agenda” to enable member nations to “disarm civilians within their borders.”

• President Barack Obama repeatedly said under the Affordable Care Act people can keep their existing health care insurance coverage. In previous years, PolitiFact rated the statement half-true. After people received cancellation notices this year, the president said, “What we said was, you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” That statement has been rated a “Pants on Fire” lie.

• In October, Ann Coulter falsely claimed, “No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.”

• After Syria entered a civil war and many civilians were killed, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said, “The United States has never stood by and seen innocent people slaughtered to the extent that’s happening in Syria.” PolitiFact said that was a “Pants on Fire” statement. 

• In May, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., falsely claimed in a TV interview that the IRS will be “in charge” of “a huge national database” on health care that will include Americans’ “personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets.”

• In August, right-wing bloggers circulated a false claim that a provision in the Affordable Care Act will allow “forced home inspections” by government agents.

• Another chain email falsely claimed the word “Dhimmitude” was on page 107 of the health care law and meant “Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance.”

To vote, go online.