Omnipotent SCOTUS bows to the Court of King Donald

Omnipotent SCOTUS bows to the Court of King Donald

John Hanno – July 4, 2024

I’m astonished, on this Independence Day 2024, the near 250th anniversary, of America’s Founding Father delegates of the Second Continental Congress declaring the original Thirteen Colonies emancipated from the Monarch of Great Britain, King George III., at having to rationalize SCOTUS’s irrational political proclamation, returning subordination of America’s Democratic experiment back to a now unfettered, kleptocratic, facist minded, autocratic King.

The Mighty Oz has spoken. Six extreme right justices of the highest court in the land have shown their true colors. They clearly believe 250 years of American jurisprudence is suspect, and that our elected legislative branch’s of government can’t be trusted to fashion unbiased laws, that large segments of our judicial branch’s of government can’t be trusted to rule fairly and without favor, that the Democratic Institutions which have served us dependably for many decades, can’t be trusted to dispense scientific and reasoned judgments, that the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Freedom of the Press, is just more proof of a deep state conspiracy, that disaffected members of the Rockefeller, Eisenhower, Regan conservative Grand Old Party can’t be trusted to engage in bipartisan governance, and that pro choice women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, environmentalists, gun rights and labor advocates, teachers and librarians, the secular and non christians, all can’t be trusted on anything, and that large majorities of We The People, who are at loggerheads on dozens of critical issues, with this new trump conscripted MAGA cult, with the rich and powerful, and with SCOTUS itself, can’t be trusted.

The uncompromising SCOTUS answer to litigants who seek justice and reasoned deliberation from the Court, and who sometimes kneel in prayer on the steps of the Supreme Court building, begging for help, is:

“You’ve no power here! Begone, before someone drops a house on you too!” Wizard of Oz

This Court’s rulings; sometimes applying originalist or textualist interpretations, sometimes not, sometimes narrow, sometimes expansive, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes follow The Doctrine of Stare Decisis, but only if it suits them. These consequential decisions, more often than not, render unprecedented and confusing views of the U.S. Constitution, and are befuddling to common folks and legal scholars of every stripe alike.

They might advocate for Fundamental Rights, for corporations yes, but seldom for the less powerful. It’s almost as if they’re taking directives from wealthy, fawning benefactors expecting quid pro quo from justices, or from powerful political party leaders and operatives bent on undermining both the Constitution and our Democracy. Pandering to the rich and powerful, no matter how convoluted in reasoning and no matter how demented or suspect the litigant, is not beyond the courts ability to excuse the un-American and un-Democratic conduct of a demented citizen suffering a boggled mind. One would think that judges who aren’t accountable to anyone, or to any set of rules, who have lifetime jobs, would not be intimidated by the person who hired them.

“As for you, my fine friend, you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You’re confusing courage with wisdom.” — The Wizard of Oz

The 6 far right Supreme Court Jesters (SCJOTUS) have now putinized the Presidency of the United States. trump was always envious of putin and Kim Jong’s luxury of ruling as Kingly monarchs unconstrained by rules, laws, precedent, integrity, equity, honesty, human decency, and above all, the truth. Toss in the express ability to break any of our mortal laws, including retribution and exacting revenge on any perceived member of one’s enemy’s list, and having been granted the capability of disappearing a political rival, and America’s Democracy is no longer the model for the world to aspire to.

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Dorothy

Justice Sotomayor Dissented:

“Looking beyond the fate of this particular prosecution, the long-term consequences of today’s decision are stark. The court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding. This new official-acts immunity now ‘lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any president that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the nation.

“Sotomayor said that the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, invents “an atextual, ahistorical, and unjustifiable immunity that puts the President above the law.””

“Their ruling, she went on, makes three moves that she said “completely insulate Presidents from criminal liability.” Sotomayor said the court creates absolute immunity for the president’s exercise of “core constitutional powers,” creates “expansive immunity for all ‘official acts,'” and “declares that evidence concerning acts for which the President is immune can play no role in any criminal prosecution against him.””

“Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow!”— Doorman

Sotomayor warned that the ruling “will have disastrous consequences for the Presidency and for our democracy” and that it sends the message: “Let the President violate the law, let him exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, let him use his official power for evil ends.”

She added, “Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done. The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

In her own written dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said that the majority’s ruling “breaks new and dangerous ground.

“Departing from the traditional model of individual accountability, the majority has concocted something entirely different: a Presidential accountability model that creates immunity—an exemption from criminal law — applicable only to the most powerful official in our Government,” she wrote.

“These things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.” Wicked Witch of the West

Jackson warned that under the majority’s “new Presidential accountability mode,” a hypothetical president “who admits to having ordered the assassinations of his political rivals or critics…or one who indisputably instigates an unsuccessful coup…has a fair shot at getting immunity.”

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” — The Wizard of Oz

Chief Justice Roberts rebukes the 3 liberals on the court, suggesting that his three liberal colleagues had misinterpreted the majority’s opinion and were engaging in “fear mongering.” Roberts argued that they “strike a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today.” He wrote that “like everyone else, the President is subject to prosecution in his unofficial capacity.”

“My goodness, what a fuss you’re making! Well naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you’re nothing but a great big coward!” Dorothy

A Biden campaign adviser, on the other hand, said that the ruling doesn’t change what happened on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Donald Trump snapped after he lost the 2020 election and encouraged a mob to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,” the adviser said. “Trump is already running for president as a convicted felon for the very same reason he sat idly by while the mob violently attacked the Capitol: he thinks he’s above the law and is willing to do anything to gain and hold onto power for himself.”

The twice impeached ex president trump, four times indicted by grand juries, convicted on 34 felony counts, awaiting 3 additional trials on scores more felonies for attempting to overturn the 2020 election and overthrow our government, and for stealing top secret confidential documents, was found guilty of rampant fraud personally and in his business, was also found guilty of sexual assault and libel, has so far escaped being held accountable for his 6 years long crime spree. Because he’s been able to spend more than $100 million dollars of other people’s money on legal fees, in order to delay all of his pending cases, that accounting probably won’t happen before the 2024 presidential election.

“Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” “Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” “Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!” Dorothy, Tim Man and Scarecrow.

Soon after the court issued the ruling, Trump celebrated the decision on his Truth Social account, writing in all caps: “Big win for our Constitution and democracy. Proud to be an American!”

“Some people without brains do an *awful* lot of talking, don’t they?” The Scarecrow

trump’s conspirators are numerous, starting with the republi-cons in the U.S. Senate, who could have stopped him long ago. Minority Leader McConnell said the former president was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack on the Capitol on January 6. But after voting to acquit, McConnell argued that he believed it was unconstitutional to convict a president who was no longer in office.

“For 23 years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you, and now… well, being a Christian woman (Senator), I can’t say it!” — Auntie Em

All of the members of the MAGA republi-con congress could have held trump accountable by not condoning or endorsing every hair-brained scheme, criminal conduct, grift and assault on our Democratic institutions, our courts, the independent press and the American voters.

“Back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila… er, phila… er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers.” — The Wizard of Oz

The embarrassing and comical parade of U.S. Congress men and women, dressed in their cult leader’s blue suit and red tie costume, who pontificated outside the New York court about the injustice of the American system of justice’s attempts to hold trump accountable for his one man crime wave, will be remembered in history for their un-American and treasonous butt kissing of an angry, demented megalomaniac bent on retribution and revenge.

“You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself.” The Cowardly Lion

The U.S. Constitution establishes 3 equal branches of government. The partisan deadlocked legislative branch has proved powerless to hold trump and many of his cowardly conspirators accountable. The many courts who have ruled against and prosecuted trump for his crimes, in spite of scores of trump lawyers filing hundreds of frivolous, obfuscating briefings aimed primarily at delaying accountability until after the election, have been mostly neutered by this unjustifiable Supreme Court ruling on immunity. This rogue court has attempted to not only usurp and strip legislatures, the lower courts and our Democratic institutions of their Constitutional powers, they have empowered the executive branch and the president with a broad immunity contrary to the founding fathers intensions.

There are some hero’s in this American tragedy. Although the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 to acquit trump at his impeachment trial, for his role in inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, the largest number of senators in history, voted to find a president of their own party guilty of an impeachment charge. Voting to find Trump guilty were GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The Republicans in the House censured and forced out Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of my home state of Illinois, for their courageous role in the January 6th Committee hearings and for referring trump’s conduct to the Justice Department. Liz Cheney has more balls than all the MAGA republi-con men in congress combined.

On September 17, 1787: Benjamin Franklin presided over the first day of the Constitutional Convention, in his home town of Philadelphia.

The day began with a prepared speech from Ben Franklin (PA) who, eighty-one years old and painfully afflicted with gout and kidney stone, was unable to read the speech himself and delegated that task to Wilson (PA).

On September 18, 1787, the final day of the Convention, this now famous quote of Benjamin Franklin was recorded in a journal kept by James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention. 

Elizabeth Willing Powel of Philadelphia, asked Dr. Franklin: “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy – A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

Oblique view of Powel house, looking southwest
Elizabeth and Samuel Powel’s house at 244 South Third Street, Philadelphia, where the conversation between Elizabeth Powel and Benjamin Franklin might have taken place. Historic American Buildings Survey. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

It appears we must rely on another 81 year old patriot to help preserve our Democratic Republic. Although not as eloquent as Benjamin Franklin, and in spite of his word fumbles and stutters, President Joseph Biden believes he’s up to the task. I also believe he is. One very important advantage, is Joe Biden’s ability to bring people together to solve America’s and the world’s monumental problems. With the highly qualified and diverse people he’s brought into his administration (none of them indicted, resigned, fired or in prison), to the 50 countries he’s help assembled to defend Ukraine against trump’s brother from another mother, the Biden administration has more than risen to the task over the last 3 1/2 years. But Uncle Joe can’t do it himself, everyone in his administration must step up. And the voters must award the President with a big D Democratic House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Joe Biden is remarkably adept at overcoming trying times.

Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe. I was petrified.” — The Wizard of Oz

trump, on the other hand, hires people not for their expertise at governing or solving problems, but for their ability to dismantle the critical Democratic institutions they’re tasked with running, for their talent at ignoring laws and regulations, for engaging in self-serving financial enrichment, and for turning a blind eye to trump’s chaotic reign of terror. During his administration, the media had flow charts of the dozens of trump appointees who were fired, resigned, indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison. And all of them had to hire lawyers, and their lawyers had to hire lawyers, and their lawyers, lawyers had to hire lawyers.

And a Final Word From the Library of Congress Blog:

“Another source of Elizabeth Willing Powel’s influence was her own social and political dexterity, which she deployed to make her home a gathering place for the city’s political elite from the revolutionary period through George Washington’s presidency. Among the regulars at Powel’s dinners and parties were George and Martha Washington, with whom the Powel’s became close friends. Letters exchanged between the couples are in the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress. One of these, from Elizabeth Powel to George Washington, dates from the third year of Washington’s first term as president, a time when he was hoping he would be able to resign the presidency and go home.

Detail of letter from Elizabeth Willing Powel to George Washington
“May you, till the extremest old age, enjoy the pure Felicity of having employed your whole Faculties for the Prosperity of the People for whose Happiness you are responsible, for to you their Happiness is intrusted.” Elizabeth Willing Powel to George Washington, November 17, 1792, George Washington Papers, Manuscript Division.

In his 1789 inaugural address, and in many private letters as well, Washington made clear that he was longing to return to his retirement at Mount Vernon. Less than a week after his inauguration, he wrote to former military officer and South Carolina legislator Edward Rutledge that when he accepted his “duty to embark” on the presidency, which he described as “the tempestuous and uncertain Ocean of public life,” he “gave up all expectations of private happiness in this world.” In the fall of 1792, seeing the end of his first term in sight, Washington began planning his exit. Elizabeth Willing Powel was among the friends who convinced him to stay. In her letter she warned him that his political opponents would see his resignation as a sign that he believed the republican experiment had failed and, fearing for his own reputation, had “withdrawn from it that you might not be crushed under its Ruins.” She pleaded with him: “For Gods sake do not yield . . . to a Love of Ease, Retirement, rural Pursuits.”

Please don’t retire Joe !

“Honest Don” Honestly???

John Hanno – Tarbabys – March 16, 2024

“Honest Don” just threw down the debate gauntlet for President Biden to chuckle at. During trump’s 6-year long reign of deceit, disinformation and disdain for the truth, media organizations from far and wide, created whole departments just to keep track of trump’s lies. After tallying more than 40,000, most gave up. The Washington Post made a valiant attempt 3 years ago, (“Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims as president. Nearly half came in his final year.”) (article attached below). Why would President Biden even consider debating someone who isn’t remotely capable of rational discussions of policy or governance? trump refused to debate any of his republican primary opponents, especially Nicki Haley, who would have beaten him like a rented mule.

It’s crystal clear to anyone who has successfully passed the age of reason; trump’s dishonesty and lies, his criminal activity of all sorts, nor his conspiracies to destroy our Democracy and Democratic institutions, has had a miniscule effect on trump’s MAGA core of sheeple. Critical thinking folks know full well, who trump is, the carnage he’s capable of invoking and where his patriotic loyalties lie. He will conspire with any person, group or country, hostile or otherwise, foreign or domestic, in order to get back into the White House, in order to dismiss or pardon any conviction in the 91 felony counts, in his criminal cases pending in 4 different jurisdictions. Just as he’s done to anyone stupid enough to throw in with this sociopathic, moronic human being, trump is fully capable of throwing his country and our Democracy under the bus, in order to inflate his ego and his cratering business reputation and wealth. Anyone foolish enough to get entangled in the trump mystique, has regretted their gamble at fame and fortune.

“Honest Don” “honestly” believes, that the majority of American’s he’s slandered and persecuted since sailing down that escalator in 2016, including women, people of color and naturalized immigrants, will somehow embrace his march to a trumpian Kleptocratic Autocracy. Why shouldn’t he, the MAGA republicans in congress, and more than half of our Supreme Court have acquiesced, hook-line-and sinker.

But how can you agree to a political debate with someone who doesn’t believe in the notions of political compromise, Democratic governance or even presenting a platform designed to help solve America’s and the world’s myriad of complicated and urgent problems. Any debate will only reinforce MAGAnians maniacal devotion, no matter the outcome. President Biden should present his case directly to voters who are still able to ascertain the truth.


CNN – Facts First

Trump’s avalanche of dishonesty: Fact-checking 102 of his false claims from this fall

By Daniel Dale, CNN  – December 1, 2023

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - OCTOBER 07: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally on October 07, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – OCTOBER 07: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally on October 07, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

For the third straight presidential election, Donald Trump is campaigning on an avalanche of dishonesty.

CNN fact-checked 12 of the former president’s October and November speeches. We found, as we did during his 2016 campaign and his presidency, that Trump’s fall remarks were teeming with false claims – a staggering quantity and variety of misrepresentations, exaggerations and outright lies that made sheer wrongness a central feature of each of his addresses.

As in the past, Trump is in a league of his own. The frequency of his mendacity vastly exceeds that of either President Joe Biden or any of Trump’s rivals in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

In the October and November speeches, Trump was serially untruthful on the subject of his record in office. He continued to tell long-debunked lies about the 2020 election he lost and the integrity of elections more broadly. He repeatedly fabricated and embellished on the subjects of energy, the environment, foreign affairs and the economy.

He launched incorrect attacks against Biden, other Democrats and Republican presidential rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. He deployed various fictions to support his denunciations of the criminal and civil court cases against him. And he continued his traditional practice of wildly exaggerating statistics, this time on topics ranging from the price of bacon to the cost of an aircraft carrier to the size of his rally crowds.

Below is a fact check of 102 of Trump’s false claims from the 12 speeches. He repeated many of the false claims on multiple occasions.

This is not intended as a comprehensive list. And it does not include gaffes that were clearly unintentional, claims that were misleading but not outright wrong, or claims for which there was no public evidence but which we could not definitively declare incorrect.

Trump’s record

Terrorist attacks under Trump

Trump claimed in numerous speeches that there were no terrorist attacks during his time as president. “We didn’t have an attack for four years,” he said in an October speech in New Hampshire while touting his ban on travel from a group of (mostly Muslim-majority) countries he described as “horrendous, dangerous nations.” “We didn’t have one incident in four years, because we kept bad people the hell out of our country,” he said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that “we didn’t have an attack for four years” isn’t true.

Trump’s own Justice Department alleged that a mass murder in New York City in 2017, which killed eight people and injured others, was a terrorist attack carried out in support of ISIS; Trump repeatedly lamented this attack during his presidency. Trump’s Justice Department also alleged that a 2019 attack by an extremist member of Saudi Arabia’s military, which killed three US servicemembers and injured others at a military base in Florida, “was motivated by jihadist ideology” and was carried out by a longtime “associate” of al Qaeda.

In addition, there were a variety of other terrorist attacks during Trump’s presidency. Notably, Trump’s Justice Department said it was a “domestic terrorist attack” when one of Trump’s supporters mailed improvised explosive devices to CNN, prominent Democratic officials and other people in 2018.

In 2019, a White supremacist pleaded guilty to multiple charges in New York, including first-degree murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism, for killing a Black man in March 2017 to try to start a race war. And Trump’s Justice Department described a 2019 shooting massacre at a Walmart in Texas as an act of domestic terrorism; the gunman who killed 23 people was targeting Latinos.

Trump’s wall promise

In an October speech in Iowa, Trump claimed he had run in 2016 on a promise that Mexico would pay for “a piece” of a new border wall. He repeated the claim in a November speech in Florida, saying, “I said Mexico’s gonna pay for a piece of the wall.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims about what he said in the past are false. During his 2016 campaign, Trump promised over and over again in his public remarks, with no qualifications, that Mexico would pay for the entire wall, not for only “a piece” of it. (In the end, Mexico didn’t pay for any of it.) You can read a longer fact check on this claim here.

Mexico and the cost of the wall

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump tried to respond to critics who have noted that he did not get Mexico to pay for the wall as he had promised. Pointing out that Mexico did deploy thousands of its own troops during his presidency to deter migrants heading toward the US, Trump said, “Then they say, ‘Oh, Mexico didn’t pay.’ Mexico paid a fortune for that wall. When they tell you, ‘Trump didn’t get the money.’ Remember, I used to say Mexico will pay for it. Well, that’s what I did.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that he “did” get Mexico to pay for the wall and that “Mexico paid a fortune for that wall” are false. Mexico deploying troops simply isn’t the same as Mexico paying for a construction project; even with the Mexican deployment, the US had to pay for the wall with its own money. The Trump administration directed more than $16 billion toward the project – including about $6 billion directly appropriated by Congress and about $10 billion the administration repurposed from the Defense Department – before Biden halted construction upon taking office in 2021.

The final bill for the project is unclear; more than $4.7 billion of the former Defense Department money had not been spent at the time Trump left office. Regardless, it is clear that Mexico spent nothing at all on the project.

“The US government paid for what was built of Trump’s wall out of our own treasury. Mexico did not directly pay for any portion of the wall,” Theresa Cardinal Brown, an immigration and border policy expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank, said in a July email.

The size of the wall

Touting his wall on the border with Mexico, Trump claimed in speech after speech that he had built “561 miles of wall” or, more vaguely, that the total was “over 500 miles.”

Facts FirstTrump’s “561 miles” and “over 500 miles” claims are false, both exaggerations. An official report by US Customs and Border Protection, written two days after Trump left office and subsequently obtained by CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, said the total number built under Trump was 458 miles (including both wall built where no barriers had existed before and wall built to replace previous barriers). Even in his recent speeches, Trump sometimes put the figure, more correctly, at “nearly 500 miles.”

For example, in one October speech in Iowa, Trump said, “We built 561 – they said 460, 460. But no, it’s 561.” Later in the speech, though, when he appeared to be reading from his prepared text, he said, “Built nearly 500 miles.”

Trump and the military

In speech after speech, Trump repeated a claim he had made during his presidency – saying “I fully rebuilt the US military,” “I’ve rebuilt the entire military,” or “we rebuilt our whole military.” He periodically made clear that he was talking about military equipment, saying that, before he came along and did this rebuilding, the country had “48-year-old fighter jets.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim to have rebuilt the entire military is false. “This claim is not even close to being true. The military has tens of thousands of pieces of equipment, and the vast majority of it predates the Trump administration,” said Todd Harrison, an expert on the defense budget and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

Harrison said in a November email: “Moreover, the process of acquiring new equipment for the military is slow and takes many years. It’s not remotely possible to replace even half of the military’s inventory of equipment in one presidential term. I just ran the numbers for military aircraft, and about 88% of the aircraft in the U.S. military inventory today (including Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft) were built before Trump took office. In terms of fighters in particular, we still have F-16s and F-15s in the Air Force that are over 40 years old.”

Trump’s policy on damage to monuments

In an October speech in New Hampshire and a November speech in Florida, Trump claimed that, as president, he had found and “signed” an “old law” or “old statute” to impose a severe penalty – an automatic 10 years in jail – for people who damage monuments.

“It said if you so much as touch one of our statues or memorials, you go to jail for 10 years with no probation, no anything – you go for 10 years. And you all remember that,” he said in the Florida speech.

Facts FirstTrump’s claims are false. He didn’t sign any “law” on damage to monuments, and he did not impose automatic 10-year sentences for monument damage. In fact, he issued an executive order on the subjectin 2020, that did not mandate any increase in sentences.

Rather, the executive order simply directed the attorney general to “prioritize” investigations and prosecutions of monument-destruction cases and declared that it is federal policy to prosecute such cases to the fullest extent permitted under existing law – including an existing law that allowed a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for willfully damaging federal property if the damage exceeds $100. The executive order did nothing to force judges to impose a 10-year sentence.

Trump and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

As he has on multiple previous occasions, Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that “we filled up the national reserve, strategic reserves.” He went into more detail in a November speech in Houston, saying of the reserve, “We filled that thing and nobody ever saw anything like it.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that he filled the Strategic Petroleum Reserve are false.
While he did propose to buy 77 million barrels for the reserve in 2020 as oil prices cratered because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Democratic-controlled Congress rejected the $3 billion in funding that would have paid for the purchase, describing it as a subsidy to big oil companies, so it didn’t happen. The reserve contained fewer barrels when Trump left office in early 2021 (about 638 million) than when he took office in early 2017 (about 695 million).

That’s in large part because of oil sales that Congress had mandated by law. But nonetheless, Trump’s claims about how he “filled up” the reserve are meritless.

“It would have been a smart policy to refill the SPR at very low prices, but it didn’t happen because Congress did not approve that purchase. I suppose Trump can take credit for a good idea, but not for execution,” Ben Cahill, a senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, told CNN earlier this year when Trump made a similar claim.

Trump and manufacturing jobs, part 1

Trump claimed in a November speech in Texas: “We created an incredible 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs. Nobody said that was possible.” He repeated the number a bit later and said, “Everybody said that was impossible.”

Facts FirstTrump’s number is false. The US actually lost 170,000 manufacturing jobs during Trump’s presidency, largely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if you were to stop the count in February 2020, before the pandemic crash, the US would have gained 419,000 manufacturing jobs since the beginning of Trump’s presidency in January 2017, not the 1.2 million he claimed here.

In speeches in late 2019 and early 2020, Trump claimed that the US had created 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs during his tenure. That would still be true today if you stopped the clock in February 2020. But Trump didn’t mention construction jobs in this speech; his omission made his performance with manufacturing jobs sound much better than it was.

Trump and manufacturing jobs, part 2

Trump vowed in the same speech in Texas to “accelerate our manufacturing resurgence,” then said, “We were setting records – not only were we building and doing it, we were setting records at doing manufacturing jobs.”

Facts FirstThis is false. Trump did not come close to setting records for the creation of manufacturing jobs. Again, US manufacturing employment actually declined by 170,000 jobs during his presidency. While that’s largely because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US was not even setting records before that; the country lost manufacturing jobs in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

And while the US did see a 430,000-job gain in manufacturing employment under Trump in 2017 and 2018, that was nowhere near a record increase. For example, there were more than 1.5 million manufacturing jobs added in 1977 and 1978, Jimmy Carter’s first two calendar years as president.

Household income under Trump

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Under President Trump, real family income increased over $6,000 a year.”  He had made a similar claim in a speech in Iowa that month, saying real family income “went up by more than $6,000 a year.”

Facts FirstThis is false. Real median household income actually increased by $5,820 in total over Trump’s four years in office, from $70,840 in 2016 to $76,660 in 2020 – so not $6,000 “a year” as he claimed here.

Trump’s campaign has previously confirmed he was referring to real median household income when making such claims. The increase in real median household is over $6,000 if you just look at the period from 2016 to 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but Trump’s presidency includes 2020 as well.

Trump and the defeat of ISIS

As he has in the past, Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “I defeated ISIS. I defeated ISIS. Three weeks, I defeated ISIS.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim of having defeated ISIS in “three weeks” isn’t true; the ISIS “caliphate” was declared fully liberated more than two years into Trump’s presidency, in 2019. Even if Trump was starting the clock at the time of his visit to Iraq in late December 2018, as he has sometimes suggested, the liberation was proclaimed more than two and a half months later. In addition, Trump gave himself far too much credit for the defeat of the caliphate, as he has before, when he said “I defeated ISIS” with no caveats or credit to anyone else: Kurdish forces did much of the ground fighting, and there was major progress against the caliphate under President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016.

IHS Markit, an information company that studied the changing size of the caliphate, reported two days before Trump’s 2017 inauguration that the caliphate shrunk by 23% in 2016 after shrinking by 14% in 2015. “The Islamic State suffered unprecedented territorial losses in 2016, including key areas vital for the group’s governance project,” an analyst there said in a statement at the time.

The cost of an embassy move

In October speeches to the Republican Jewish Coalition and at a campaign event in Florida, Trump repeated a story he used to tell during his presidency about how moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was supposed to cost $1 billion or $2 billion but that he “got it done for $500,000” by using an existing US diplomatic facility in Jerusalem.

Facts FirstTrump’s claim is false. While the final cost of the embassy move isn’t publicly known, it is clear that the cost was much more than $500,000. The State Department awarded a $21.2 million contract in 2018 for a company to design and build “compound security upgrades” related to Trump’s decision to turn the existing Jerusalem facility into an embassy. The initial modification that allowed the building to open as an embassy cost just under $400,000, but that was not the final total.

Trump and the construction of Nord Stream 2

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, after he “stopped” Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, “it was totally dead” before Biden allowed it to proceed.

Facts FirstTrump did not render Nord Stream 2 “totally dead.” While he did approve sanctions on companies working on the project, that move came nearly three years into his presidency, when the pipeline was already around an estimated 90% complete – and the state-owned Russian gas company behind the project said shortly after the sanctions that it would complete the pipeline itself. The company announced in December 2020 that construction was resuming. And with days left in Trump’s term in January 2021, Germany announced that it had renewed permission for construction in its waters.

The pipeline never began operations; Germany ended up halting the project as Russia was about to invade Ukraine in early 2022. The pipeline was damaged later that year in what has been described as a likely act of sabotage.

Trump and awareness of Nord Stream 2

In a November speech in Houston, Trump said of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline: “Nobody ever heard of Nord Stream 2 until I came along. Nobody knew they were building the biggest pipeline anyone’s ever seen, I guess – covering all of Europe.”

Facts FirstBoth parts of this claim are wrong.

It’s not true that “nobody” had heard of Nord Stream 2 before Trump began discussing it. Nord Stream 2 was a regular subject of media, government and diplomatic discussion before Trump took office. In fact, Biden publicly criticized it as vice president in 2016. And Nord Stream 2 was nowhere close to “the biggest pipeline anyone’s ever seen.”

Trump and deportations to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador

In a November speech in Florida, Trump talked about how his administration was able to deport gang members to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – and repeated his familiar false claim about how the Obama administration was supposedly unable to do so: “Under the Obama administration, they wouldn’t take anybody back. They put airplanes, big commercial planes on the runways, so we’d put them in a plane, we’d fly, we couldn’t land, came back. And this went on for years; never took ‘em back.”

Facts First: This claim remains false. In 2016, Obama’s last calendar year in office, none of these three countries was on the list of countries that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) considered “recalcitrant” (uncooperative) in accepting the return of their citizens from the US.

The Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, noted to CNN in 2019 that in the 2016 fiscal year, ICE reported that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ranked second, third and fourth for the country of citizenship of people being removed from the US. The same was true in the 2017 fiscal year, which encompassed the end of Obama’s presidency and the beginning of Trump’s. ICE did not identify any widespread problems with deportations to these countries.

ICE officials said there were some exceptions to the three countries’ general cooperativeness, but Trump’s general declaration that the countries were uncooperative was never true.

Trump and the word ‘caravan’

In November speeches in Texas and Florida, Trump spoke of migrant caravans – and claimed, as he has in the past, that he was the one to come up with the name “caravan.”

In Florida, he said caravan is “a name I came up with.” In Texas, he said, “I came up with the name. I believe. They’ll say, ‘Oh, it wasn’t really you, it’s somebody,’ but I believe I came up with the name.”

Facts FirstTrump did not come up with the word “caravan,” either in general or to describe groups of migrants traveling together toward the US border during his presidency.

Merriam-Webster says the word caravan “came to English in the late 16th century, from the Italian caravana, which itself came from the Persian kārvān.”

Trump first publicly used a variation of the word as president in a tweet on April 1, 2018 (he wrote, in a tweet about immigration, “’caravans’ coming”). The word had been used by various others in the same context in the days and weeks prior, including in a BuzzFeed News feature article, two days prior to Trump’s tweet, that was headlined, “A Huge Caravan Of Central Americans Is Headed For The US, And No One In Mexico Dares To Stop Them.”

Trump’s claims about Covid-19

Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Once Covid came in from China – Wuhan. Remember I said it came in from Wuhan. Everyone said, ‘Why would he say that? It came in from caves.’ First they said it came in from Italy, which was not nice. Then they said it came in from France. Then they said the American soldiers brought it in, and then they admitted it came in from China – but it came in from Wuhan.”

Facts FirstTrump’s recounting is inaccurate. It’s not true that, when he said Covid-19 came from Wuhan, “everyone said, ‘Why would he say that?’” In reality, when Trump first used the word “Wuhan” as president in March 2020, saying the virus came from there was not at all controversial; Trump’s comments came more than two months after Chinese authorities publicly identified Wuhan as the first place it had an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. And in January and February 2020, before Trump started speaking about Wuhan, major media outlets such as CNN  and The New York Times referred to the virus as “the Wuhan coronavirus.”

The situation before Right to Try

In a November speech in Texas, Trump touted the “Right to Try” law he signed in 2018 to give terminally ill patients easier access to experimental medications that haven’t yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. As he did during his presidency, though, Trump also painted an inaccurate picture of the situation prior to the Right to Try era.

He said, “People would be terminally ill. They’d try to get a medicine; they couldn’t get it in this country. It’s totally illegal. If they had money, they’d go to Europe or they’d go to China, go to some of the places where they supposedly had cures. It never worked, by the way, almost never. And they’d end up dying. Sometimes they’d die in foreign lands. If you didn’t have money, you’d go home and you’d die.”

Facts FirstIt is not true that terminally ill patients would simply have to go home and die without any access to experimental medications or would have to go to foreign countries seeking such treatments until Trump signed the Right to Try. Prior to the law, patients had to ask the federal government for permission to access experimental medications – but the government almost always said yes.

Scott Gottlieb, who served as Trump’s FDA commissioner, told Congress in 2017 that the FDA had approved 99% of patient requests under its own “expanded access” program.

“Emergency requests for individual patients are usually granted immediately over the phone and non-emergency requests are generally processed within a few days,” Gottlieb testified.

The Middle East under Trump

Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “Less than four years ago, we had peace in the Middle East with the historic Abraham Accords. Today we have an all-out war in Israel and it’s gonna spread very quickly. What a difference a president makes, isn’t it amazing though?” He said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition: “The experts said our pro-Israel policies would produce terror and chaos, but I knew the opposite was true. I turned out to be right.
We got the historic Abraham Accords and peace in the Middle East. Peace in the Middle East.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that there was “peace in the Middle East” during his presidency and that his administration “got” peace in the Middle East are both false. Whatever the merits of the Abraham Accords, in which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates agreed in 2020 to normalize relations with Israel (Morocco and Sudan followed), there was still lots of unresolved armed conflict around the Middle East – notably including the conflicts between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, between Israel and Hezbollah on its border with Lebanonbetween Israel and Syria, and what former State Department official Aaron David Miller called “the war between the wars between Israel and Iran on air, land and sea.”

“It’s a highly inaccurate statement,” said Miller, who worked on Mideast peace negotiations while in government and is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Miller also noted that various Middle Eastern states were in “varying phases of dysfunction or failure” at the end of the Trump presidency. As Trump left office, civil wars in Syria and Yemen were ongoing, Libya was precariously emerging from its own civil war, and US forces and diplomats in Iraq continued to be attacked.

Dana El Kurd, senior nonresident fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC think tank, also called Trump’s claim “false.” She said in an email: “The Abraham Accords did not achieve peace in the Middle East. In fact, violence escalated in Israel-Palestine in the aftermath of the Accords (using any metric you can think of – death tolls, settlement violence, etc).”

Trump and wars

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that while there are “all of these wars” today under Biden, during the Trump presidency, “We had no wars. I got out of every war. We defeated ISIS, we got out.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that he “got out of every war” is false. At the end of his presidency, US troops remained in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, though he had reduced the size of the US presence in all three. And Trump kept a contingent of troops in Syria throughout his presidency, even after he claimed US troops were “out” (other than to protect oil sites, he added); in fact, two US troops died in vehicle rollovers in Syria in 2020.

Trump was also commander-in-chief for US airstrikes, including drone strikes in SomaliaYemenLibya and Pakistan, plus a drone strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, that prompted Iranian retaliation against US service members.

Trump and Veterans Choice

In a November speech in New Hampshire, Trump claimed, “I also signed – about 59 years they’ve been trying to get this one – VA Choice, which made it permanent, so that veterans can get medical care at the private health care provider of their choice.”

Facts FirstTrump’s “59 years they’ve been trying to get it” claim is false. The Veterans Choice program was actually signed into law in 2014 by his predecessor, Obama. Trump signed a law in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the program established under Obama, and, as Trump said, made the initiative permanent. But contrary to Trump’s claim, it’s not true that people had been attempting for decades to create such an initiative. 

During Trump’s presidency, he falsely took credit for the Choice law more than 150 times.

Trump’s aid to farmers

In speech after speech, Trump claimed that he had given US farmers $28 billion from China. For example, he claimed in a November speech in New Hampshire, “How can the farmers vote against me? I got them $28 billion from China.” He added, “I got the money from China out of the tariffs that I got.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims are wrong in two ways. First and most critically, this money wasn’t from China. Though the Trump administration made the payments because farmers had been hurt by his trade war with China, the aid money came from US taxpayers: Study after study, including one this year from the federal government’s bipartisan US International Trade Commission, has found that Americans have borne almost the entire cost of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products. (And it is US importers, not Chinese exporters, who make the actual tariff payments to the government.)  Second, as The Washington Post noted in a recent fact check, the payments to farmers under Trump’s program totaled $23 billion, not “$28 billion,” per the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

Previous presidents and tariffs on China

In October speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump boasted of the revenue produced by his tariffs on China and repeated his familiar claim that not a single previous president had gotten China to pay the US “10 cents.”

Facts FirstTemporarily leaving aside the fact that Americans, not China, overwhelmingly paid for Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products, it’s not true no previous president had generated “10 cents” from tariffs on China. The US has had tariffs on goods from China since the late 1700s; Obama imposed new tariffs on goods from China; reported that the US generated an “average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb.”

Trump’s aid to the lobster industry

Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire that, of the money he supposedly secured from China, he “gave the farmers and New England lobstermen $28 billion. You know, I gave your lobstermen $28 billion.”

Facts First: This is false. Trump’s trade-aid package for the seafood industry was a $530 million program covering the entire country. So while it’s not clear how much New England lobstermen in particular ended up receiving, the total was clearly far less than the “$28 billion” he claimed he gave to farmers or the $23 billion he actually did give to farmers. (Lobstermen were not eligible for money from the trade-aid package for farmers.) And it’s worth noting that the money for the seafood industry, like the money for farmers, was compensation for losses incurred because of Trump’s own policies.

China’s oil purchases from Iran under Trump

In speech after speech, Trump told a story about how he supposedly got China to completely stop buying oil from Iran by telling China that if they bought any, the US would no longer do business with China. For example, he said in an October speech in Florida: “I said, ‘If you buy oil, any oil, from Iran, we’re never doing business. You have all the stuff that you take out of this country and rip us off. We’re not going to do any more business with China.’ They stopped immediately. No more oil.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that China completely stopped buying oil from Iran during his presidency is false. China’s oil imports from Iran did briefly plummet under Trump in 2019, the year the Trump administration made a concerted effort to deter such purchases, but they never stopped – and then they rose sharply again while Trump was still president. “The claim is untrue because Chinese crude imports from Iran haven’t stopped at all,” Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, a market intelligence firm, said in November.

China’s official statistics recorded no purchases of Iranian crude in Trump’s last partial month in office, January 2021, and also none in most of Biden’s first year in office. But that doesn’t mean China’s imports actually ceased; industry experts say it is widely known that China has used a variety of tactics to mask its continued imports from Iran. Smith said Iranian crude is often listed in Chinese data as being from Malaysia; ships may travel from Iran with their transponders switched off and then turn them on when they are near Malaysia, Smith said, or transfer the Iranian oil to other ships.

Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, said in a November email: “China significantly reduced its imports from Iran from around 800,000 barrels per day in 2018 to 100,000 in late 2019. But by the time Trump left office, they were back to upwards to 600(000)-700,000 barrels.”

Vaez’s comments were corroborated by Kpler data Smith provided to CNN. Kpler found that China imported about 511,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude in December 2020, Trump’s last full month in office. The low point under Trump was March 2020, when global oil demand crashed because of Covid-19. Even then, China imported about 87,000 barrels per day, Kpler found. (Since data on Iranian oil exports is based on cargo tracking by various companies and groups, other entities may have different data.)

Iran’s oil sales under Trump and Biden

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that Biden’s soft approach to sanctions on Iran “allowed them to sell massive amounts of oil, making them $80 billion a year. Congratulations; they were making nothing with us.”

Facts FirstBoth of Trump’s claims – that Iran is making $80 billion a year from oil sales under Biden and that it was making “nothing” from these sales under Trump – are false.

The federal government’s Energy Information Administration reported that Iran generated an approximate total of $110 billion in net oil export revenues in 2021, 2022 and the first five months of 2023. The 2021 figure was $37 billion and the 2022 figure was $54 billion. That’s not “$80 billion a year.”

Similarly, the conservative Washington Free Beacon reported in October that the group United Against a Nuclear Iran had calculated that Iran had generated about $80 billion in oil sales over the course of the Biden administration. The group confirmed to CNN in November that this $80 billion was for the period from February 2021 to September 2023, not for a single year alone.

And Iran made money from oil exports under Trump as well. Data provided to CNN by the Energy Information Administration shows that Iran had $55 billion in net oil export revenues in 2017, $66 billion in 2018, $29 billion in 2019 and $16 billion in 2020.

Elections, campaigns and voting

Groceries and identification

In an October speech in Iowa, Trump reprised a claim for which he was widely mocked during his presidency – his assertion that Americans are required to show identification to buy groceries. “If you buy a loaf of bread, you gotta have your ID out, but for voting, you don’t,” Trump said.

Facts FirstTrump remains wrong. Americans do not need to show identification to buy bread or other foods.

Grocery stores generally require identification for purchases of alcohol or tobacco, for purchases of certain medications and for the small percentage of purchases made with a check. They may sometimes ask for ID when customers are using credit cards.  But those are exceptions rather than the rule. Contrary to Trump’s declarations, Americans can and do purchase loaves of bread, and otherwise fill their grocery bags with food, without ever having to tell anyone who they are – much less show official proof of identity.

The legitimacy of the 2020 election

In speech after speech, Trump claimed the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen,” sometimes specifying that “radical left Democrats” rigged the election and once saying “they cheated like a bunch of dogs.”

Facts First: These claims are all false. The 2020 election was not rigged, Trump lost fair and square to Biden by an Electoral College margin of 306 to 232, and there is no evidence of any fraud even close to widespread enough to have changed the outcome in any state.

The 2020 vote count

In October and November speeches in New Hampshire and a November speech in Florida, Trump rejected the legitimacy of the vote count in the 2020 presidential election He said in New Hampshire in November: “I got 75 million votes, I got – and that’s their count, OK, which is a phony count.” He said in Florida in November: “I went from 63 million to, I believe, over 75 million – and that’s been recorded by them, not by me. How about the real number?”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim of a “phony count” is false, as is his suggestion that the official numbers are not the “real number.” The vote count was legitimate and accurate.

A minor side note: Trump got 74,223,975 votes, not “over 75 million”; Biden got 81,283,501.

Election Night in 2020

Falsely claiming that he watched the 2020 election get “stolen,” Trump said in a November speech in Florida that, on Election Night, “at 9 o’clock it was over, 10 o’clock it was really over” – suggesting, as he has repeatedly before, that he had been shown to be the winner at those times. He added, “And then…’We have found some additional votes.’”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim is false. The 2020 election was not “over” at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. on November 3, when millions of legitimate votes still needed to be counted – and it was widely known in the lead-up to Election Day that some states’ early results might create the illusion that Trump had big leads, since it would take time to count the mail-in votes that tended to heavily favor Biden (in part because Trump had spent months disparaging mail-in voting). Some populous urban areas, which also tended to support Biden, also took a while to finish their counting simply because they had so many votes.

Trump has been making similar false claims since Election Night 2020 itself, when he wrongly claimed that he had won Georgia and won Michigan as votes continued to be counted. Trump ended up losing both states.

A film about the 2020 election

Repeating his false claim that the 2020 election was rigged, Trump claimed in a November speech in Iowa: “We don’t even have to go into all of the ballot-stuffing that is on tape from the ‘2000 Mules.’ You look at ‘2000 Mules’ and you see thousands and thousands – hundreds of thousands actually – of votes being stuffed into ballot boxes.”

Facts FirstThis is false. The film ‘2000 Mules’ has been widely debunked, and it doesn’t show thousands of votes, let alone hundreds of thousands, “being stuffed into ballot boxes.”

The film, which is filled with misleading claims and dubious analysis, focuses on footage of ballots being submitted into drop boxes in public places (after which they are put through various verification measures to make sure they are legitimate), not into ballot boxes at in-person voting centers where ballots are placed for final counting – and, regardless, the film fails to prove any widespread wrongdoing even involving the drop boxes.

The security of mail-in ballots

Trump said in a November speech in Florida, “Anytime you have mail-in ballots, you have corrupt elections. I don’t care what it is. Anybody that wants it, they’re corrupt. And that includes Republicans, by the way. Anytime you have mail-in ballots, you are going to have really corrupt elections.”

Facts FirstThis is all false. While elections experts say the occurrence of fraud is relatively higher with mail-in ballots than with in-person voting, they also say that fraud of any kind in American state and federal elections represents a miniscule percentage of total votes cast. Voters have been casting ballots by mail for decades, including in Republican-dominated states; there is nothing inherently corrupt about supporting the use of such ballots.

‘Fake ballots’

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said the only way he can be beaten in the November 2024 election is “if they cheat.” He added moments later, “The biggest problem is they make fake ballots. Okay? That’s the biggest problem. And a lot of Republicans are very naive when they don’t say that. They say, ‘Oh, vote early. Vote early. We want to build…’ No, no: the big problem we have to do, we gotta stop fake ballots from being made.”

Facts FirstThis is entirely baseless. Federal elections do not have any “big problem” with “fake ballots.” Every state has numerous safeguards in place to ensure that someone who tries to manufacture and use a phony ballot will be caught.

What a Jimmy Carter commission said

Criticizing the use of mail-in ballots, Trump invoked a commission on election reform that was co-chaired by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

Trump said in a November speech in Florida that Carter “had a commission with some other prominent senators, and they came to one conclusion: you can’t do mail-in ballots.” Trump said in a November speech in New Hampshire: “Even Jimmy Carter, he had a commission. He said if you have mail-in ballots, you’re going to have massive corruption.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims significantly exaggerated what Carter’s commission said.
Though the commission Carter co-chaired was generally skeptical of mail-in ballots, it did not say “you can’t do mail-in ballots” or that “massive corruption” is inevitable with the use of mail-in ballots; in fact, it highlighted an example of successful mail-only elections.

The commission’s 2005 report said that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.” It also said mail-in voting increases the risks of fraud and that absentee ballots are “vulnerable to abuse in several ways.”

But it did not say all mail-in voting should be prohibited. It said that Oregon, a state that has been conducting elections exclusively by mail-in voting since the late 1990s, “appears to have avoided significant fraud in its vote-by-mail elections by introducing safeguards to protect ballot integrity, including signature verification.” The report also offered some recommendations for making the use of mail-in ballots more secure and called for “further research on the pros and cons” of voting by mail (as well as early voting).

Fifteen years after the release of the report, Carter said in a 2020 statement: “I approve the use of absentee ballots and have been using them for more than five years.” His organization, The Carter Center, said in a 2020 statement: “Fortunately, since 2005, many states have gained substantial experience in vote-by-mail and have shown how key concerns can be effectively addressed through appropriate planning, resources, training, and messaging.”

Democrats and elections

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that Democrats can’t win legitimately, given their policy preferences, and “the only way they know how to win is by cheating.”

Facts FirstThis is false. Just like Republicans, Democrats have won elections around the country – including the 2020 presidential election – fair and square. There is simply no basis for Trump’s claim.

Trump’s 2016 margin in Alabama

In a November speech in Florida, Trump spoke of how some of his opponents claimed that the 2016 election he won was rigged. He then said, “In 2016, they even tried to get me on Alabama and I won it by like 45 points. They said, ‘He cheated on Alabama.’ I said, ‘I won it by 45 points, I must have cheated by a lot.’”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that he won Alabama by 45 percentage points in 2016 is false – a major exaggeration. His margin over Hillary Clinton was big, but it was about 27.8 points (62.08% to 34.36%), not 45 points.

It’s not clear who he was claiming had accused him of cheating to win Alabama.

Maricopa County in 2022

In a November speech in Florida, Trump mentioned Kari Lake, a Republican US Senate candidate in Arizona who ran unsuccessfully for Arizona governor in 2022. He made reference to a technology problem that marred Election Day 2022 in Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa County, saying that “unfortunately over 50% of the machines, in the Republican areas only, didn’t work. So they always find something.”

Facts FirstTrump’s specifics were wrong: the Maricopa County technology problem affected about 27% of its voting locations – and these locations were scattered around the county, in heavily Democratic areas as well as Republican areas, a Washington Post analysis found. And Trump’s suggestion that the technology problems were intentionally designed to damage Republicans is baseless. At the time, Maricopa County had a Republican-controlled board of supervisors and a Republican county recorder.

“We were having these issues coming up around Maricopa County,” Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the board of supervisors, told reporters at the time. Noting the Republican affiliations of the recorder and the majority of the board, Gates said, “So there was no partisan bias in what happened here. This was a technical issue.”

Chris Wallace and a 2020 debate

In two October speeches in New Hampshire and October and November speeches in Florida, Trump told a story in which he claimed that 2020 presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace, who was then a host for Fox News and is now a host for CNN, had tried to stop him from asking Biden a question about a supposed payment from the wife of the mayor of Moscow to Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

“Chris Wallace said, ‘He’s not allowed to answer that question,‘” Trump said in one of the New Hampshire speeches; in the other, he said Wallace said “you’re not allowed to ask that question” and told him “it’s inappropriate.” In Florida in November, Trump said, “Biden couldn’t answer the question, but Chris Wallace came in and helped him. ‘You’re not allowed to ask that question.’”

Facts FirstAll of these Trump claims are false. Wallace did not tell him that he was not allowed to ask the question or that Biden was not allowed to answer it.
Rather, as the transcript 
shows, Wallace interjected during this debate exchange to try to get Trump to allow Biden to answer the question after Trump had asked it, rather than continue to speak when Biden tried to offer a response. Wallace never said the question was “inappropriate.”

Rather, Wallace made comments like, “Sir, you’ve asked him a question, let him answer it” and, “Well, you have raised an issue, let the vice president answer.”

Energy and the environment

Climate change and sea levels

In a November speech in Florida, Trump delivered another version of a familiar claim he has used to minimize the threat of climate change. He said that others, rather than talk about the potentially catastrophic threat of nuclear weapons, instead “talk about global warming – because in 250 years our ocean’s gonna be a hundredth of an inch higher.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that the ocean will be just a hundredth of an inch higher “in 250 years” is false. As the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has noted, the global sea level is currently rising at a rate of about an eighth of an inch per year. In other words, the sea level rise Trump claimed will happen “in 250 years” is already being vastly exceeded on an annual basis. NOAA says that, along the US coastline in particular, sea level rise is expected to average a total of 10 to 12 inches between 2020 and 2050 alone.

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump criticized Biden for canceling Trump-era oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He said, “Can you believe that? It was so much work to get that approved. We got it approved. They were ready to start drilling.”

Facts FirstIt’s not true that anybody was “ready to start drilling” in the refuge, either before the Biden administration suspended leases there in 2021 or before the administration canceled leases in 2023. There is no drilling infrastructure in place in the refuge, major oil companies have shown little interest in the site, and the seven leases the Biden administration canceled were all held by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state entity that is not an oil company. “To quote our friends at PolitiFact, what Trump said in this case qualifies as ‘pants on fire,’” Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst at Raymond James & Associates, said in a November email. He said, “No one was ready to start drilling there, in 2017 or at any other point in time.”

Molchanov explained that the idea of drilling in the refuge would be a textbook example of “frontier exploration,” drilling in an area that has no previous activity by the oil industry. “This means there is no first-hand knowledge of how to go about drilling there. Everything would have to be learned along the way. This translates into lengthy time for preparation and elevated costs for actual drilling, if and when it were to take place. Also, there is no infrastructure – it would have to be developed from scratch.”

Tim Woody, communications manager for the Alaska regional office of The Wilderness Society conservation group, also called Trump’s claim false and noted “there is no infrastructure in place” in the refuge. And Woody said that no company had “gone through any of the steps that occur between acquiring a lease and actually beginning development,” including conducting seismic analysis and obtaining permits.

Demand for electric cars

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said, “Can you believe what we’re doing with the electric cars? All electric. Nobody wants them.”

Facts FirstIt’s not true that “nobody wants” electric cars. US purchases of electric vehicles continue to set records; Cox Automotive reported in October that “EV sales have now increased for 13 straight quarters” in the US and were “firmly on track to surpass 1 million for the first time ever” in a year. Electric vehicle sales also make up a growing share of total US vehicle sales; Cox Automotive reported that they accounted for a record 7.9% of total sales in the third quarter of 2023, up from 6.1% a year prior and up from 7.2% in the second quarter of this year.

A Pew Research Center survey earlier this year found that 38% of Americans said they are very likely or somewhat likely to seriously consider an electric vehicle for their next vehicle purchase. Even if the poll result is off, it’s clear that Trump’s claim that “nobody wants them” is not true.

The US and electric car manufacturing

Trump, saying he thinks he will earn the support of union autoworkers, claimed in a November speech in Iowa that it is “preposterous” for the US move to all electric cars – and then said, “You can’t make them here, because we don’t have the minerals, we don’t have the materials for it. We have a thing called gasoline, that’s what we have.”

Facts FirstIt’s not true that “you can’t” make electric cars in the US. Electric cars are already being assembled here by various companies. And domestic electric vehicle manufacturing is expected to grow substantially: companies have made major recent investments in US factories to assemble electric vehicles and make batteries for them, spurred in part by provisions of Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
Many of the recent investments have been in 
Republican-led states in the South.

While the US does need to import some critical minerals and materials for electric vehicle manufacturing, that clearly doesn’t mean domestic production of the vehicles is impossible. There are global supply chains for all sorts of products whose final assembly is done in this country.

– CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this item.

Biden and electric vehicles

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire: “On day one, I will repeal Joe Biden’s insane electric vehicle mandate. ‘Everybody has to have an electric car.’” He said that, in a second Trump administration, “gasoline-powered engines will be allowed.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim is false. Biden has not mandated that “everybody has to have an electric car” or outlawed cars powered by gasoline, though his administration has made an aggressive push to try to get automakers and consumers to move toward electric vehicles.

The Biden administration has proposed ambitious new tailpipe emissions regulations for automakersoffered tax credits to people who buy certain electric vehiclesinvested in new electric vehicle charging stations and ordered federal entities to purchase electric vehicles, among other policies promoting the adoption of these vehicles. But there is no Biden requirement that “everybody” has to drive an electric vehicle and no Biden proposal to prohibit citizens from continuing to use gasoline-powered engines.

Depending on how automakers were to respond, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new tailpipe rules could, if adopted, require electric vehicles to make up two-thirds of new cars sold in the US by 2032.

Electric vehicles and the military

In a November speech in Texas, Trump criticized the Biden administration for imposing “insane mandates” and lamented that “Army tanks have to go electric, OK?…Because the tanks, if they’re electric, you’re going into a country blasting the hell out of it, but at least we’re doing it in an environmentally friendly way.”

Facts FirstThis is false. The Biden administration is not requiring tanks to be all-electric, as pointed out in its own November fact check.
The Army released a climate strategy in 2022 that called for a move toward various kinds of electric vehicles, including “fully electric tactical vehicles by 2050,” but that would not include tanks
And, regardless, a strategy is not a mandate.

Biden and boats

During the same part of the Texas speech, Trump also claimed that “all boats have to go electric.”

Facts FirstThis is false. There is no Biden mandate requiring boats to be powered by electricity, as The New York Times noted in its own fact check of this Trump speech.

A federal boat speed limit

After complaining in an October speech in New Hampshire about offshore wind turbines, and alleging without evidence that these turbines are killing whales, Trump added, “Then they say that, for boat manufacturers, the boat can’t go more than two miles an hour because we don’t want to hurt the whales.”

Facts FirstThis claim is false in two ways.

To try to protect whales, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed to require a greater number of boats to abide by a speed limit in certain areas of the East Coast during certain months of the year; the expansion would apply the speed limit to boats at least 35 feet long rather than the current minimum of 65 feet long.

But Trump’s “two miles an hour” claim is not true. The speed limit involved is 10 knots, or roughly 11.5 miles per hour. Second, the speed limit applies to people operating boats, not to “boat manufacturers” as Trump said. In other words, the government is not trying to force companies to make boats that cannot go faster than this speed limit.  

In other recent speeches, Trump has attributed his two-miles-per-hour claim to something he said he was told while visiting a boat company in South Carolina in September. That company and South Carolina’s boating industry advocacy group did not respond to CNN requests for comment.

California and electricity

Criticizing Democrats’ push for the adoption of electric vehicles, Trump repeatedly claimed that California already has constant blackouts because it has insufficient power to serve its population.

He said in a November speech in Texas: “Did you see, they had blackouts all over the place this summer?” He said in an October speech in New Hampshire: “In California, they want to go with all-electric, but they can’t even – every weekend, they have a blackout. They don’t have enough electricity.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that California “had blackouts all over the place this summer” and has a blackout “every weekend” are false. California has been able to meet its electricity demand throughout the year, including during the peak-demand summer season.

“California didn’t experience any outages this year because of a load imbalance. We haven’t since 2020,” Erin Mellon, spokesperson for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, said in an email earlier in November. Mellon added, “We’ve drastically expanded our clean energy portfolio, and recently CA hit 6,600 MW of battery storage – enough for 6.6 million homes for 4 hours.”

Vonette Fontaine, spokesperson for the California Independent System Operator, which manages the power grid for about 80% of the state, said in an email earlier in November: “The California Independent System Operator did not experience any grid emergencies this summer requiring electricity outages.”

You can read more here.

– CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this item.

Biden and energy production

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, with regard to US energy production, Biden “stopped it – just no more.” In an October speech in Iowa, he more specifically accused Biden of stopping energy production from fossil fuels, saying, “Biden – by stopping all the energy coming out – you know, he wants to put windmills all over the place and he wants to do things that are very expensive, but he doesn’t want any petroleum, he doesn’t want any petroleum product, and he doesn’t want oil and gas.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims are false. Biden has not stopped US production of oil and gas, which has continued to boom under Biden. US crude oil production in 2022 was the second-highest year on record, behind only Trump-era 2019, and domestic crude production in the first eight months of 2023, the most recent data that is currently available, was the highest on record for the first eight months of any year.

As CNN’s Matt Egan reported in August, the federal government’s Energy Information Administration is projecting annual records for both 2023 and 2024. US production of dry natural gas also set a record in 2022 and outpaced 2022 levels in the first eight months of 2023.

None of this is to say that Biden is the reason that domestic production has increased; market factors are the key driver of companies’ investment and production decisions. (“It’s perhaps less about the administration in power and more about the entrepreneurial nature of the oil industry,” Matt Smith, Kpler’s lead oil analyst for the Americas, told Egan.) And Egan wrote: “The American Petroleum Institute, an oil trade group that has been critical of the Biden administration’s regulatory efforts, noted that approved federal permits and new federal acres leased have both fallen sharply under Biden.”

Still, despite Biden’s often critical rhetoric about fossil fuel companies, some policy moves to get tougher on those companies and his major investments in initiatives to fight climate change, he certainly has not “stopped it.”

Biden has also approved some significant and controversial fossil fuel projects, including the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska and the Mountain Valley gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia.

Biden and oil exports to Europe

Trump said in a November speech in Texas: “We’re going to supply Europe, all over the world. We were going to send our oil and gas. And then they ended it, they ended it.”

Facts FirstThis is false. Biden did not end oil and gas exports to Europe or the rest of the world. In fact, the federal government’s Energy Information Administration reported in October that US crude oil exports in the first half of 2023 were the highest on record since the ban on these exports was repealed in 2015 – and that “Europe was the largest regional destination for U.S. crude oil exports by volume, at 1.75 million” barrels per day. Also, the Energy Information Administration reported in September that European Union countries and the United Kingdom “remained the main destination” for US exports of liquefied natural gas after reaching that status in 2022.

Oil prices

Talking about oil prices, Trump claimed in an October 9 speech in New Hampshire: “Now it’s $100 and going higher.” He claimed in a speech in Florida two days later: “We’re hitting $100 now, and we’re going to probably hit $115 a barrel.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that “now it’s $100” and that “we’re hitting $100 now” are false, both exaggerations. On the days he spoke, West Texas Intermediate crude did not exceed $87.24 per barrel and Brent crude did not exceed $89 per barrel. While Brent crude briefly passed $97 per barrel in late September, it had fallen substantially by the time Trump made this claim.

Some analysts have said in recent months that oil could potentially exceed the $100 per barrel mark next year. But Trump used the word “now,” twice, and that’s not true.

Energy costs

Trump claimed in a November speech in Florida: “We’re gonna bring down your costs. We are bringing down your energy costs. We have the highest energy costs anywhere now.”

Facts FirstIt’s not true that the US now has the highest energy costs “anywhere.” Even with an increase in the Biden era, US household electricity prices have remained substantially lower than prices in many European countries, plus a variety of other nations. Pavel Molchanov, the Raymond James energy analyst, said in an email that Trump’s claim is not even close to correct; citing data you can see here, he said, “U.S. electricity prices are lower than in practically every other industrialized economy.” (US household prices for natural gas are also nowhere near the world’s highest.)

The state of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Criticizing Biden for releasing a large quantity of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2022, Trump said, “Now it’s at the lowest level…the lowest level in history. There’s almost nothing there.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that “there’s almost nothing there” is false. Though the reserve is at its lowest level since the early 1980s, it still has more than 351 million barrels of crude and is still the world’s largest national oil reserve. Three-hundred-fifty-one million barrels is just not “almost nothing” by any reasonable standard. (Trump has previously claimed this year that the reserve is now “totally empty.”)

Wind turbines and house values

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump railed once more against wind turbines, a longtime subject of his criticism. This time, he said, “If you have one near your house, your house is worthless, because you can’t sell it. Between the noise and the look, you can’t sell it.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that “your house is worthless” if a wind turbine is nearby is not true, though there may be some cases where people have more trouble selling their house because of a nearby wind turbine. Various US studies have found either no statistically significant impact on house values or even an increase in house values related to the proximity of wind power.

Even if there was a decline in house values in some neighborhoods or counties because of nearby wind turbines, that wouldn’t justify Trump’s categorical claim that a nearby wind turbine makes your house “worthless.”

Gas prices

Trump made repeated false claims in October and November about how much gas cost at the time.

For example, he said in an October 16 speech in Iowa that gasoline “just hit $5.50 a gallon” after being $1.87 or lower under Trump. He also made the claim about having had gas at $1.87 in an October 11 speech in Florida – and said that “today, you have $5, $6 and $7.” In a November 11 speech in New Hampshire, Trump again boasted of low gas prices during his tenure and said, “And now you have $5 gasoline.” And in the October 16 speech in Iowa, Trump also said that, in California, gasoline is “up to $7 and $8” per gallon.

Facts FirstThese Trump claims are all false.

On the day he spoke in Iowa and said prices had “just hit $5.50 a gallon,” the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Iowa was about $3.29, and the national average was about $3.60, per data provided to CNN by the American Automobile Association. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at the firm GasBuddy, said that, on the day Trump spoke, GasBuddy did not see gas being sold for $5 or more per gallon at any of the 2,036 stations it tracks in Iowa.

On the day he spoke in Florida and said that today’s prices were $5, $6 and $7, the state’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $3.42 per gallon, and the national average was about $3.66 per gallon, according to data provided by AAA. De Haan said none of the 8,237 Florida stations tracked by GasBuddy were selling for $5 or higher that day.

On the day he spoke in New Hampshire and said that “now you have $5 gasoline,” the state’s average for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $3.34, while the national average was about $3.38, according to data provided by AAA. De Haan said none of the 875 New Hampshire stations tracked by GasBuddy were selling for $5 or higher that day.

And when he made the claim about California prices going up to $7 and $8, the state’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was about $5.62; De Haan said that, of 10,526 California stations tracked by GasBuddy, the firm did not see a single station selling that day at $8 per gallon or higher, with only four, well known for their high prices, at $7 or higher. Just four stations in California – two rural, two in Los Angeles – were selling for over $7 per gallon that day.

Also, Trump’s claim about having had gas at $1.87 is misleading.
While the national average did go that low and lower after gasoline demand crashed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the national average was $2.393 per gallon on the day Trump left office in January 2021.

Venezuelan oil and US refineries

In October speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire and in a November speech in Houston, Trump spoke of the US importing heavy, sour crude oil from Venezuela under Biden after imports stopped under Trump as a result of his sanctions.
He claimed in Iowa that Houston has “the only refineries in the entire world” that can refine the oil, and claimed in New Hampshire that Houston has “the only refinery in the world that can do it.” In the speech in Houston, he claimed the city has the “only one refinery in the country that can refine” it.

Facts FirstIt’s not true that Houston has the only refinery or refineries – in the US or the world – that can refine oil from Venezuela. Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, provided CNN with a chart of US refineries that have taken Venezuelan crude this year; they include facilities in MississippiLouisiana and elsewhere in Texas.

– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this item.

The Keystone XL pipeline and jobs

Criticizing Biden for canceling the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in 2021, Trump said in a November speech in Texas, “Forty-eight thousand jobs, 48,000 people. They gave their life for that, and they never really sort of recovered. That’s what they wanted to do.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that 48,000 people “gave their life” for Keystone XL jobs is false. The company behind the pipeline said after Biden’s cancellation decision that it would cut 1,000 unionized jobs in Canada and the US as a result.

A 2014 report from the Obama administration’s State Department had estimated that “a total of 42,100 jobs throughout the United States would be supported by construction of the proposed Project.” But that’s still not 48,000, and it doesn’t mean that 42,100 people were actually working on the project in 2021.

The key word is “supported.” The 42,100-jobs estimate wasn’t an estimate of people who would actually be devoting their workdays to the pipeline. It included an estimated 26,000 jobs that would supposedly have resulted “from indirect and induced spending” by people connected to the project, like spending by employees of construction contractors or suppliers.

China and the Paris climate accord

In a November speech in Texas, Trump criticized the Paris climate accord, calling it “one of the greatest rip-offs.” As he did as president, he also made false claims about China in relation to the accord – saying this time that “China was exempt” from the accord. He added, “China didn’t have to do anything until 2035, think of it.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false.

China was not “exempt” from the Paris accord; the agreement came into effect for all participating countries, including China, in November 2016. The accord simply allowed each nation to set its own targets for reducing carbon emissions.

And though China picked approximately 2030 as the time by which it planned to have carbon emissions peak (later saying the goal was to hit the peak before 2030), that did not mean China didn’t have to do anything until 2030, much less not do anything until 2035. Similarly, when the Obama administration set a target of reducing US emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, that did not mean that the US was exempt or didn’t have to do anything until 2025.

China has made massive investments in wind and solar energy since its commitment to the Paris accord – while also drawing criticism from environmentalists for ramping up its use of coal.

Foreign affairs

Military equipment left in Afghanistan

Trump said in speech after speech that the US left $85 billion worth of military equipment to the Taliban when Biden pulled American troops out of Afghanistan in 2021.

Facts First: Trump’s $85 billion figure is false. While a significant quantity of military equipment that had been provided by the US to Afghan forces was indeed abandoned to the Taliban upon the US withdrawal, the Defense Department has estimated that this equipment had been worth about $7.1 billion – a chunk of the roughly $18.6 billion worth of equipment provided to Afghan forces between 2005 and 2021. And some of the equipment left behind was rendered inoperable before US forces withdrew.

As other fact-checkers have previously explained, the “$85 billion” is a rounded-up figure (it’s closer to $83 billion) for the total amount of money Congress appropriated during the war to a fund supporting the Afghan security forces. A minority of this funding was for equipment.

Guns and Afghanistan

Trump claimed in a November speech in New Hampshire that the US had left “700,000 rifles” to the Taliban upon the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. In an October speech in Florida, he said it was “700,000 guns and rifles.”

Facts FirstTrump’s “700,000” figure is inaccurate, an exaggeration. An inspector general report to Congress in 2022 said: “Since 2005, the DoD procured 427,300 weapons worth $612 million for the Afghan military and security forces, including 258,300 rifles, 6,300 sniper rifles, 64,300 pistols, 56,155 machine guns, 31,000 rocket propelled grenade launchers, and 224 howitzers. [The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy] noted that 316,260 of these weapons, worth $511.8 million, were in the Afghan forces’ stocks when the former government fell, but their operational condition was unknown.”

China and Taiwan

In a November speech in Florida, Trump claimed of China: “The day I left, they flew 28 bombers right over the middle of Taiwan, because that was a signal.”

Facts FirstTrump was wrong about key details of this incident. On the third and fourth days of the Biden presidency, not the very day Trump left office, China sent military planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone over the Taiwan Strait – not “right over the middle of Taiwan,” a major difference. And the incident involved 28 Chinese planes but not “28 bombers”; The New York Times reported at the time that the Taiwanese military said eight Chinese bombers were involved; the other planes were fighters, anti-submarine aircraft and a reconnaissance plane.

It’s worth noting that China also sent planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone during Trump’s presidency. In early 2021, Taiwan News reported that, according to a recent report funded by Taiwan’s government, “In 2020, the Chinese military violated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) more times than in any year since 1996.”

US alliances under Biden

Trump claimed in an October speech in New Hampshire that, under Biden, “Relations with other countries – we’ve lost every country; we don’t even have any allies anymore, they don’t respect us. I mean, we don’t have any. We have nothing going. You take a look, and China is our best ally, I think, with him.”

Facts FirstBoth of these Trump claims are false. The US continues to have numerous allies around the world and continues to have numerous points of friction with China. There is simply no basis for claiming that China, which Biden describes as a competitor to the US, has become the closest US ally under Biden. “China is a strong trading partner with the US, but it is as far from an ally a country can be,” said Krista Wiegand, director of the University of Tennessee’s Center for National Security and Foreign Affairs.

Wiegand said: “From the beginning of his administration, Biden has worked hard to repair relations with US allies that were weekend under the Trump administration. US relations with its allies are closer than they have been in years especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Netanyahu and the assassination of an Iranian general

In an October speech in Florida, Trump criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for supposedly pulling Israel out from its planned involvement in the Trump-ordered 2020 assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Then, using Netanyahu’s nickname, Trump said: “And then Bibi tried to take credit for it. That wasn’t good. That didn’t make me feel too good. But that’s alright.”

Facts FirstNetanyahu did not try to take credit for the 2020 assassination of Soleimani. In fact, he explicitly said the day of the assassination that “President Trump deserves all the credit” – emphasizing the “all” – “for acting swiftly, forcefully, decisively.”

NBC News reported in 2020 that Israeli intelligence had played a role in the killing; the former head of Israeli military intelligence said the same in 2021. But Netanyahu has not made such comments himself, let alone take credit for the killing itself. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2022 that “although NBC News and Yahoo News had published detailed pieces about Israel’s role, all official Israeli echelons had been mum on the issue” until the former intelligence chief spoke out.

Iran’s retaliation for Soleimani’s death

In various speeches, Trump hinted or explicitly claimed that Iran intentionally avoided hitting a base that housed US troops in Iraq when Iran launched missiles toward the base in January 2020 in retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani.

In an October speech in New Hampshire, Trump said the missiles “all landed a little outside the base” and that Iran “needed some kind of reply, I guess, but they didn’t hit us.” In a November speech in Houston, he claimed that Iran had called the US to assure them that none of the missiles would strike the base, and indeed all of the missiles either blew up before arrival or landed “outside the base area.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims that all of Iran’s missiles landed outside the base are false. As The Washington Post noted in its own recent fact check, 11 Iranian missiles hit the al-Asad base Iran had targeted in the retaliatory attack. The fact that missiles hit the base was confirmed by satellite imagesby the Pentagon, and by a CNN visit to the base days after the attack. CNN reported from the scene: “Ten of the 11 missiles struck US positions at the sprawling desert Iraqi airbase. One struck a remote location on the Iraqi military’s side.” CNN reported that “the Iranian missiles, which used on-board guidance systems, managed to shred sensitive US military sites, damaging a special forces compound, and two hangars, in addition to the US drone operators’ housing unit.”

While no US troops were killed, more than 100 were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries. Gen. Mark Milley, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, told reporters that he believed Iran’s intent was to kill; he credited “the defensive techniques that our forces used” for the absence of deaths.

Trump has provided no substantiation for the claim that Iran called the US to telegraph the strike and offer reassurance; as the Post reported, Iraq’s prime minister said he received a general warning from Iran that it was about to begin its response and target US troops.

Trump’s claim that Israel had abandoned the assassination operation has also been disputed.

What the Biden administration said about Israel and Hezbollah

Trump repeatedly claimed that a top Biden national security official, or multiple officials, had foolishly said that they hoped Hezbollah did not attack Israel from the north because Israel is especially “vulnerable” there.

For example, Trump said in an October speech in New Hampshire:
“How about the person, the security person, top security person for Biden, said, ‘I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack us from the north because that’s where we’re most vulnerable.’ Can you believe it? The following morning, we get attacked from the north. No, can you believe the guy, he’s a national security advisor. ‘I hope that Hezbollah doesn’t attack Israel from the north because that’s where we’re the most vulnerable.’ The following morning they got attacked. But this is what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with stupid people.”

Facts FirstTrump was misstating what Biden administration officials said. They did urge Hezbollah to refrain from attacking Israel from Lebanon after Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza, and expressed “concern” about the possibility of a Hezbollah attack – but contrary to a central component of Trump’s stories, they did not say Israel is “most vulnerable” in the north.

Asked what Trump was referring to when he made these claims, campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung pointed to October comments from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby and a senior defense official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. But neither of them said what Trump claimed.

Cheung pointed to this comment from Kirby at an October 11 press briefing: “And, you know, we’ve been watching with concern some of the rocket attacks that have come across the northern border of Israel from Lebanon, which obviously were coming from – from Hezbollah. So we’re – we’re clearly concerned about that.”

But Kirby said nothing there about the north being a particular vulnerability for Israel. Similarly, the anonymous senior defense official told reporters on October 9: “We are deeply concerned about Hezbollah making the wrong decision and choosing to open a second front to this conflict.” The official did not point to the north as a special vulnerability.

The size of Iran’s military

Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida: “You know, Iran’s got close to a 3 million person army, military. That’s big stuff. You know, that’s no longer the minor leagues.”

Facts FirstTrump’s “3 million” figure is false. “Iran’s army is about a million strong, with 1/3 of that number comprised of reservists,” Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group think tank, said in an email. In 2019, the US government’s Defense Intelligence Agency used similar numbers in a report on Iran’s military power, estimating that Iran’s military had a total of 1.06 million people, including 610,000 active personnel.

Singapore and drugs

Promoting his proposal to give the death penalty to drug dealers, Trump said in a November speech in New Hampshire, “Why wouldn’t you do it as Singapore does, the death penalty. They have no drugs whatsoever, no drugs whatsoever.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that Singapore has “no drugs whatsoever” is false. Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau said in an official report on the local drug situation in 2022: “Methamphetamine, heroin, and cannabis were the three most commonly abused drugs in 2022, with 95% of drug abusers arrested abusing at least one of these three drugs.” The report also noted that the bureau had made seizures of heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine and various other drugs, and it said that “in Singapore, the rise of cannabis abuse is of major concern.”

In the same speech, Trump claimed that China, which also executes some drug dealers, has “no drug problem” as a result. Joseph Amon, director of the Office of Global Health at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, said in a November email: “There is no specific definition of what is a drug ‘problem,’ but both in both China and Singapore there are people who use illicit drugs and in both countries illicit drug use is seen as a significant concern requiring government resources in terms of policing, surveillance, prevention and treatment.”

An Iraqi judge

In an October speech in Florida, Trump claimed that the Justice Department recently invited an Iraqi judge to visit Washington – and “after that, the foreign judge issued a warrant for my arrest for blowing up the number one terrorist in the world, Soleimani. So he came in, he was invited by this incompetent president. ‘Please come in.’ And he ended up issuing an arrest for my – he wanted to arrest me because I killed the number one terrorist in the world.”

Facts FirstTrump’s narrative is thoroughly inaccurate. The judge, Faiq Zidan, head of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, did not issue a warrant for Trump’s arrest over the Soleimani assassination “after” he visited Washington – and, in fact, Zidan’s spokesperson told Fox News in October that Zidan’s planned visit to Washington had been postponed. What actually happened was that in early 2023, while marking the third anniversary of the assassination, Zidan gave public remarks in which he discussed how Trump was already wanted for the assassination (which took place in Iraq and also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces). An Iraqi court had issued an arrest warrant for Trump in 2021.

There is no indication that Biden himself had invited Zidan to Washington. (The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment about the matter.) Regardless, Trump’s claim that Zidan visited Washington and then issued an arrest warrant isn’t true.

A memo about migrants

Trump said in an October speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition: “Just days ago, Customs and Border [Protection] – who are incredible people by the way – distributed a memo warning that Hamas, Hezbollah fighters and jihadists are infiltrating across our wide-open border.
They’re all over the place.”

Facts FirstTrump inaccurately described this memo, which was produced by the intelligence unit at the Customs and Border Protection office in San Diego. The memo, a “situational awareness” brief for employees that was obtained by right-wing media outlets, suggested that foreign fighters affiliated with Middle East militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah “may” try to enter the US across the Mexican border.
Contrary to Trump’s claim, the memo did not say these fighters “are” coming across the border or are “all over the place.” 

Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington subsequently issued an official statement to media outlets saying, “CBP has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States.”

The San Diego memo warned that people “inspired by, or reacting to, the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border.” The memo mentioned the possibility of attempted entry by “foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune.”

Migration from China

Trump spoke in a November speech in Florida about young male migrants crossing the border into the US. He said, “And they’re coming from China – 16% come from China.”

Facts FirstTrump’s “16%” figure is inaccurate. Official data from US Customs and Border Protection shows that Chinese nationals were involved in about 1.6% of nationwide border encounters in the 2023 fiscal year, an increase from 1% in the 2022 fiscal year but nowhere near Trump’s claim. At the southwest border in particular, Chinese nationals made up just under 1% of encounters in fiscal 2023 – a spike from fiscal 2022, when they made up less than 0.1% of encounters, but again far from what Trump said.

The federal data is not broken down by sex.

US and European aid to Ukraine

Trump said in an October speech in Iowa that although “everybody feels badly for Ukraine,” he has a “problem with” Europe’s level of assistance to Ukraine compared to US assistance to Ukraine: “So if you look at it, Europe – so they’re at $25 billion and we’re $200 billion. Only a stupid person would make that deal.”

Facts FirstTrump’s figures are grossly inaccurate. Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks aid to Ukraine, found that, through July 31, the European Union was the largest contributor of aid to Ukraine since late January 2022 (including military, humanitarian and financial aid), at $85.1 billion in direct commitments, while the US was second at $76.8 billion – and the total for Europe is even higher if you add in contributions by individual EU member states directly and through EU institutions. For example, Germany had made $23.1 billion in its own commitments, per the Kiel Institute datain addition to providing another $19.2 billion via EU institutions.

The US was the largest contributor of military aid in particular, at $46.6 billion in commitments compared to about $18.9 billion for Germany.

Trump’s New York civil case

Criticizing the civil fraud trial against him in New York, Trump claimed in an October speech in Florida that “it’s the first time they’ve ever used the statute” and that “they used the statute that’s never been used before.”

Facts FirstThis is false. New York Executive Law 63(12), the 1956 statute that New York Attorney General Letitia James invoked in filing the lawsuit that led to the civil trial, has been used for decades by New York attorneys general against a wide range of entities, ranging from an e-cigarette company to school bus companies to oil and gas giant ExxonMobil (which won its case). In fact, it had also been used against Trump University and the Trump Foundation, generating millions in settlements.

The law gives the state attorney general broad powers against people thought to be engaged in alleged “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts” or who have otherwise shown “persistent fraud or illegality.” Some experts have said that this James lawsuit against Trump over business fraud (as opposed to consumer fraud) is a novel use of the statute, but Trump’s claim was that the statute had never been used before, period.

A lawyer at the Manhattan DA’s office

In a November speech in New Hampshire, Trump claimed that Biden is behind the criminal case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump also complained that Bragg’s office had hired a former senior official in the federal Justice Department, Matthew Colangelo.

Speaking of Biden, Trump said, “He took his top person from the Department of Justice and put him into the local New York, Manhattan DA’s office – running it. You’re not even allowed to do that. But they took the top person, as you know; I believe the name is Colangelo. They took the top person and put him into the Manhattan DA’s office.”

Facts FirstThere is no evidence that Biden had anything to do with Colangelo’s decision to join the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2022 as senior counsel to Bragg. Regardless, Trump’s claim that Bragg’s hiring of Colangelo was “not even allowed” is wrong. Colangelo was free to get a new job.

Colangelo and Bragg knew each other before Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney. They worked at the same time in the office of New York’s state attorney general – where Colangelo investigated Trump’s charity and Trump’s financial practices and was involved in bringing various lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Colangelo served as acting associate attorney general in the first months of the Biden administration in early 2021 and then as principal deputy associate attorney general. As acting associate attorney general, he was third in command of the Justice Department.

Trump’s federal gag order

Trump criticized the gag order imposed on him by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over his federal election subversion case. Before Trump noted that the gag order was put on hold by an appeals court in early November (pending oral arguments later in November), he said in a November speech in New Hampshire: “I mean, I have a judge in Washington DC who put a gag order on me – I cannot speak. So if the fake news asked me a question about, like, something, I cannot speak. ‘I’m sorry.’ How do you think that would be in a campaign?…‘Uh what do you think about the campaign?’ ‘I’m sorry, I can’t comment.’”

Facts FirstTrump’s claims are false. Even before the gag order was put on hold, it’s not true that the order meant Trump couldn’t comment on the election campaign or that it meant he “cannot speak” in general. The gag order was limited, tailored to restrict speech the judge believed could jeopardize the integrity of the case. It clearly permitted Trump to opine on the campaign.

The order explicitly said that Trump was free to assert his innocence on the charges against him and to criticize the government, the Biden administration, the Justice Department, and the platforms and policies of his “current political rivals.”

The order specifically prohibited all “interested parties” in the case, which include Trump, from making statements (or directing others to make statements) targeting special counsel Jack Smith or his staff, court staff and supporting personnel, defense counsel or their staff, or “any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.”

The Presidential Records Act

Trump, who has been charged with illegally retaining classified documents after his presidency, claimed in an October speech in Florida that, as a former president, “I come under the Presidential Records Act” and so “I can do whatever I want.”

Facts FirstThis is false. The Presidential Records Act does not say a president can do whatever they want with official documents. Rather, it says that all presidential records belong to the federal government the moment the president leaves office. By having official records at Mar-a-Lago after his presidency, Trump was in clear contravention of the law.

The key sentence from the Presidential Records Act is unequivocal: “Upon the conclusion of a President’s term of office, or if a President serves consecutive terms upon the conclusion of the last term, the Archivist of the United States shall assume responsibility for the custody, control, and preservation of, and access to, the Presidential records of that President.”

Trump didn’t mention it in the October speech, but he has previously claimed that a district court decision in a civil case related to former President Bill Clinton gave Trump the right to do whatever he wants with presidential records. That’s not true.

Trump’s New York civil trial

Trump claimed in a November speech in Florida that Biden is behind his civil fraud trial in New York: “Even that stupid trial going on in New York which has been totally discredited – everybody’s been discredited – that all comes out of the White House; that’s to discourage people from voting.”

Facts First: There is no basis for the claim that Biden or the Biden White House is behind the civil trial. The case was brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James – after an investigation she began in 2019, roughly two years before Biden became president. As Trump has repeatedly noted, James, a Democrat, campaigned in 2018 on a pledge to pursue Trump. (Also, federal agencies do not have jurisdiction over state cases like this.)

James filed the lawsuit that led to this trial in September 2022 – about two months before Trump launched his 2024 campaign.

Al Capone’s indictments

Trump repeatedly denounced the four criminal cases against him  as unfounded and politically motivated – and, to underscore his point, he claimed in speech after speech that he has been indicted four times while the legendary gangster Al Capone only got indicted once.

For example, Trump said in an October speech in Florida: “Did anybody ever hear of Al Capone? The greatest of all time, right. The greatest gangster of all time. If you look at him wrong, he’d kill you, and he’d kill you with his hands. He was a tough guy. He got indicted one time. I got indicted four times.”

Facts FirstTrump’s claim that Capone was indicted only one time is false. Capone was indicted at least six times, as A. Brad Schwartz, the co-author of a book on Capone, told CNN.

And that doesn’t include various criminal charges against Capone that did not involve an indictment, such as some misdemeanors, or obscure Capone cases for which CNN couldn’t immediately determine whether there was an indictment, which you can read more about here.

Capone was indicted three times in 1931 alone, the year he was famously convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Schwartz, co-author of the book “Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago,” explained that these three indictments were: “A secret indictment for tax evasion handed down in March 1931 (before the statute of limitations ran out for charges from the year 1924)”; a larger indictment in June 1931, with more than 20 counts, for tax evasion in the period from 1925 to 1929; “and a bootlegging conspiracy indictment, based on the work of Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, later that same month.”

Before the landmark 1931 conviction, Capone was arrested, indicted and convicted in 1929 for carrying concealed weapons in Philadelphia. Schwartz also noted two lesser-known indictments of Capone that did not result in a conviction: a 1926 federal indictment for conspiracy to violate Prohibition laws and a 1933 county indictment for racketeering.

Trump faces 91 total counts over his two federal indictments and two local indictments in Georgia and New York. Schwartz said: “This isn’t a race, of course, but it may be worth noting that Capone is also way ahead in individual counts (the 1931 Prohibition indictment alone added up to five thousand conspiracy charges).”

Trump’s false or misleading claims total 30,573 over 4 years

Washington Post

Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly – January 24, 2021

Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims as president. Nearly half came in his final year.

The Fact Checker counted a total of 30,573 false or misleading claims made by President Trump during his White House tenure. Here’s what we learned.

He overstated the “carnage” he was inheriting, then later exaggerated his “massive” crowd and claimed, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that it had not rained during his address. He repeated the rain claim the next day, along with the fabricated notion that he held the “all-time record” for appearing on the cover of Time magazine.

And so it went, day after day, week after week, claim after claim, from the most mundane of topics to the most pressing issues.

Over time, Trump unleashed his falsehoods with increasing frequency and ferocity, often by the scores in a single campaign speech or tweetstorm. What began as a relative trickle of misrepresentations, including 10 on his first day and five on the second, built into a torrent through Trump’s final days as he frenetically spread wild theories that the coronavirus pandemic would disappear “like a miracle” and that the presidential election had been stolen — the claim that inspired Trump supporters to attack Congress on Jan. 6 and prompted his second impeachment.

The final tally of Trump’s presidency: 30,573 false or misleading claims — with nearly half coming in his final year.

Read and search the full database of Trump’s false or misleading claims

For more than 10 years, The Fact Checker has assessed the accuracy of claims made by politicians in both parties, and that practice will continue. But Trump, with his unusually flagrant disregard for facts, posed a new challenge, as so many of his claims did not merit full-fledged fact checks. What started as a weekly feature — “What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week” — turned into a project for Trump’s first 100 days. Then, in response to reader requests, the Trump database was maintained for four years, despite the increasing burden of keeping it up.

The database became an untruth tracker for the ages, widely cited around the world as a measuring stick of Trump’s presidency — and as of noon Wednesday it was officially retired.

Whether such a tracker will be necessary for future presidents is unclear. Nonetheless, the impact of Trump’s rhetoric may reverberate for years.

“As a result of Trump’s constant lying through the presidential megaphone, more Americans are skeptical of genuine facts than ever before,” presidential historian Michael Beschloss said.

Trump speaks during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on July 28. By the end of 2020, he had made more than 2,500 false or misleading claims related to the virus. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

An assessment of the Fact Checker database shows the dramatic escalation in the rate of Trump’s dishonesty over time. Trump averaged about six claims a day in his first year as president, 16 claims day in his second year, 22 claims day in his third year — and 39 claims a day in his final year. Put another way, it took him 27 months to reach 10,000 claims and another 14 months to reach 20,000. He then exceeded the 30,000 mark less than five months later.

Scroll a visual timeline of the false claims Trump made during his time in office

Trump made false claims about just about everything, big and small, so the Fact Checker database provides a window into his obsessions (and the news cycle) at the time. When he felt under siege or in trouble, he responded by trying to craft an alternative reality for his supporters — and to viciously attack his foes. Nearly half of the false claims were communicated at his campaign rallies or via his now-suspended Twitter account.

Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Washington, Mich., on Nov. 1. Many of his false claims were communicated at his campaign rallies. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Claims about immigration spiked just before the 2018 midterm elections, as Trump unsuccessfully tried to keep the House of Representatives in GOP hands with exaggerated claims about “caravans” of undocumented immigrants approaching the border. Then in late 2019 he responded to the uproar over a phone call in which he urged Ukraine’s president to announce an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden with more than 1,000 false and misleading claims on the issue in just four months.

False and misleading claims about the coronavirus pandemic emerged in 2020, so that by year’s end he had made more than 2,500 coronavirus-related claims — more than all of his trade claims over four years, even though trade has been one of the animating features of his presidency. Trump touted phony metrics to claim he successfully defeated the virus, pitched ineffective “cures” and constantly attacked former president Barack Obama for alleged failures, such as leaving a “bare cupboard” of ventilators (there were almost 17,000) and bungling the response to the swine flu pandemic in 2009-2010 (the response was considered a success).

In October, Trump was largely quiet for six days as he recovered from his own bout with covid-19. But even so, he made nearly 4,000 false or misleading claims that month, an average of 150 a day on the days he was not ill.

In speech after speech, he laid the groundwork for challenging the election, making baseless claims of potential election fraud, while attacking Biden as a mental incompetent — and a “grimy, sleazy and corrupt career politician” — who could not possibly emerge as the victor.

“It’s going to be a fraud,” Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News a month before voters went to the polls. “This is a terrible thing that’s happening to our country.”

After his election defeat, Trump spoke or tweeted about little except to offer lies about a stolen election, even as he or his supporters lost more than 60 court cases as judges repeatedly rejected his claims as bogus. After Nov. 3, he made more than 800 false or misleading claims about election fraud, including 76 times offering some variation of “rigged election.”

At his Jan. 6 speech at the Ellipse, in which he incited the attack on the Capitol, Trump made 107 false or misleading claims, almost all about the election.

The aftermath of what Biden and other Democrats now call the “big lie” hovers over Washington as both parties figure out whether there can be a return to a shared set of facts undergirding national debate, or whether one of the major political parties will remain captive to the sorts of conspiracy theories that marked so many of Trump’s final year of claims.

The events of Trump’s final weeks demonstrated the extent to which his alternate reality became woven into the fabric of the Republican Party, with the majority of GOP lawmakers voting against certifying Biden’s victory even after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

One hallmark of Trump’s fibs was his willingness to constantly repeat the same claims, no matter how often they had been debunked. One-fifth of his nearly 2,500 claims about the economy was the same falsehood — that he was responsible for creating the greatest economy in U.S. history. After the coronavirus outbreak tanked the economy, he amped up the rhetoric to say he had created the greatest economy in world history. Neither claim is true; under just about every metric, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton had more robust economies during their presidencies. Even before the pandemic, Trump’s economy was already faltering because of his trade wars, with the manufacturing sector in a technical recession.

During his presidency, Trump made nearly 2,500 false or misleading claims about the economy. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Nearly 300 times Trump falsely said that he passed the biggest tax cut in history. Even before his tax cut was crafted, he promised that it would be the biggest in U.S. history — bigger than President Ronald Reagan’s in 1981. Reagan’s tax cut amounted to 2.9 percent of the gross domestic product, and none of the proposals under consideration came close to that level. Yet Trump persisted in this fiction even when the tax cut was eventually crafted to be the equivalent of 0.9 percent of the gross domestic product, making it the eighth-largest tax cut in 100 years. 

Trump’s penchant for repeating false claims is demonstrated by the fact that the Fact Checker database has recorded about 750 instances in which he has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times.

The Fact Checker also tracked Three- or Four-Pinocchio claims that Trump has said at least 20 times, earning him a Bottomless Pinocchio. Trump completed his term with 56 of those entries, including three — about the “rigged election,” allegations that Dominion voting machines changed votes and the falsehood that GOP poll watchers were denied access to vote-counting — that only emerged in the final months of his presidency.

The Bottomless Pinocchio list gives a rough approximation of the types of major falsehoods Trump said during his presidency. Roughly 25 percent exaggerated about his accomplishments, and 15 percent misled about his policies. Another 15 percent dissembled about the Russia investigation or the probe into the Ukraine phone call. Roughly 10 percent each were fibs made out of whole cloth, attacks on people he considered foes, falsehoods about the coronavirus, phony claims about the election, or false statements about Biden and his proposals.

As the 2020 election neared, Trump nearly 50 times falsely reassured his supporters that Mexico was footing the $15 billion bill for his barrier along the southern border. U.S. taxpayers are paying, mostly via money Trump diverted from authorized military construction projects. This was perhaps Trump’s most famous campaign promise — during the 2016 campaign, he said more than 200 times that Mexico would pay for the wall — so he simply pretended he had fulfilled it in an effort to reassure his base that he had succeeded.

Many repeated claims just barely missed the cutoff for a Bottomless Pinocchio, such as the claim that he repealed a provision of the U.S. tax code that prohibits religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. (All he did was issue a toothless executive order, but he obviously thought it was so important to evangelical groups that he falsely claimed he achieved one of their key political objectives.)

Rain falls at the White House on Nov. 30. One of Trump’s false claims early on as president was when he disputed that it rained during his inauguration. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Trump rarely abandons his falsehoods, so as he neared the end of his presidency his campaign rallies became longer and longer. Each speech had a familiar pattern. He would cycle through various grievances about the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the impeachment over his Ukraine call. He trashed Obama, various Democrats and of course Biden. He falsely extolled his achievements in trade, foreign policy, the economy and immigration. He offered false assurances about the pandemic and warned darkly about fraud in the upcoming election.

The growth of falsehoods over the course of Trump’s presidency is illustrated by one remarkable statistic.

The Fact Checker team recorded 492 suspect claims in Trump’s first 100 days. Just on Nov. 2, the day before the 2020 election, Trump made 503 false or misleading claims as he barnstormed across the country in a desperate effort to save his presidency.

The database website has a search engine that will quickly locate suspect statements made by Trump. Readers can also isolate claims by time period, subject or venue.

Maintaining the database over four years required detailed examination of every Trump speech, news conference, press gaggle, campaign rally and interview, as well as more than 25,000 tweets. The fact checks of Trump’s statements in the database amount to about 5 million words.

The database includes any statement that might merit two or more Pinocchios under The Fact Checker’s rating scale. Trump often would repeat the same falsehood two or more times in a speech but only one instance of a claim per venue would be counted. The database did not include Facebook posts because they were often duplicative of tweets and likely staff-generated. The tally also generally did not count retweets, except for retweets of false or misleading videos.

The fact checks in the Trump database were written by a team that also included Salvador Rizzo, Meg Kelly and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. Graphics reporter Leslie Shapiro created the database website.

Law & Dis-Order – Crime and Punishment

Law and Disorder – Crime and Punishment

John Hanno – The Tarbaby’s blog – April 2, 2023

Trump indicted live updates: Ex-president expected to appear before judge Tuesday

The opening disclaimer for NBC’s Law & Order reads, “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Never the less, regular viewers recognize recent story lines “ripped from the headlines” on a regular basis. We can reliably predict, the “Trump indicted by New York Grand Jury; becomes the first U.S. President in history to be prosecuted” headline, will soon spark future crime-time episodes.

MAGA World quickly pounced on Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg as being, nasty, on a vendetta, a pawn of George Soros, a racist, an animal and above all, a political tool. Some on the left believe he should have waited his turn on the Trump indictment train, but they fail to appreciate the element of statute of limitations.

How often have we faithfully followed story lines from our favorite crime shows, depicting serial (killers- rapists- drug kings -abusers etc. etc.) continued week after week, with the investigative authorities assembling an elaborate white board of circumstantial evidence, but unable to quite convince the D.A. / prosecutor to bring charges on the most serious violations, before the legal clock runs out. They’re convinced the career criminal is as guilty as sin but can’t quite close the deal. That’s when they must, by hook or crook, charge the bastards with any even minor infraction, in order to take them off the streets, before they can continue their carnage and mayhem. And then just when we think all is lost, they uncover the smoking gun, the final nail in the coffin that will put them away for life.

During his half century plus of life in New York and then in the White House, Trump seems to have left no criminal enterprise untapped. Insurrection and attempts to overthrow American Democracy, conspiring with a foreign enemy during his campaigns, theft of confidential government documents, business and bank fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, obstruction of justice in multiple cases, witness intimidation, bribery, campaign violations, perjury, sexual assault, violations with his school and charities, real estate discrimination, slander etc. etc. are just some of allegations leveled against Trump and his various business enterprises. There’s no doubt a list of crimes they haven’t discovered yet.

In the Trump Organization trial, two entities were found guilty by a jury in December of a combined 17 counts related to criminal tax fraud. They were fined the maximum allowed. And his CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is currently incarcerated in New York City’s Rikers Island jail, entered a guilty plea last year and admitted to receiving more than $1.7 million in untaxed compensation. Who can forget all the fines for Trump family financial malfeasance. And who can forget all the Trump miscreants, cronies and conspirators who were hired, fired, indicted, convicted, jailed and utterly defamed.

D.A. Bragg campaigned and won his election on a platform of fairness and equity in the system of justice he’s now responsible for. He pledged to turn the page on a two tier system of justice. Both the right and the left forget that New York, New York is at the top of the list of world class banking, business and financial centers of the world. Trump and his enterprises have been a constant assault against and black eye for that reputation. Enough is enough they said.

After a two year long investigation of Trump and all of his Inc’s, they believe they have the goods and will attempt to take them off the streets of New York forever. Rumors are the good citizen street sweepers of New York have found at least 30 criminal count violations this serial criminal is guilty of. MAGA members of congress cry political persecution, and threaten to tar and feather D.A Bragg, without even seeing the sealed indictment.

Who is Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg?

The cast of Presidential contenders, previously Trump enablers, often critics, and then turned demonizers, and now turned staunch defenders can’t figure out whether to pee their pants , pray for Trump, or go dumb. Lindsey Graham, Mike Pence, DeSantis and others, must bow to the MAGA monster Trump unleased and which they and others glorified and anointed. The MAGA faithful will not be denied their perceived grievances’.

The Benghazi wing of the Republi-con House of Representatives spends their waking hours trying to out Trumpit their outraged colleagues. They have no one to blame for tomorrows karmatic political awakening but their own cowardice. They turned a blind eye to their twice impeached President’s unending assault on our American Democratic Institutions.

Trump’s entourage leaves South Florida today on a journey most American believe is long overdue. Who knows what happens when he lands in Manhattan. Too many in the MAGA cult hierarchy pray for violence and chaos. Lindsey Graham was particularly apoplectic: “They are trying to drain him dry. He’s spent more money on lawyers than most people spent on campaigns. They’re trying to bleed him dry. Donald J. Trump dot com. Go tonight. Give the president some money to fight this bullshit! This is going to destroy America!”

Wow, that’s richy rich! No doubt Trump has spent more on lawyers (billed but probably not paid) than any single entity by far, but that’s because not only is he allegedly the head of the most complex criminal enterprise in American History, legal warfare is also his primary modus operandi. Sooner or later, some news organization will attempt to add up the cost to all Federal and State Governments and to various businesses and individuals, for them to rein in and take to task, Trump Inc. and his many conspirators and enablers in congress. I’m guessing the bill is closing in on a billion dollars. This is not your Grandfathers conservative, penny pinching GOP.

Trump will try to blame everyone in sight for his legal predicaments, including D.A. Alvin Bragg and his team of prosecutors, Judge Juan Merchan , who will oversee his case, the New Yorkers who indicted him, and probably the jury of his peers who will convict him. But Trump has no one to blame but his own egomaniacal self. His rein of amateurish governing Apprenticeship is being recorded in history, as we speak, as the very biggest prime time “Loser” to ever occupy the White House.

But the biggest blame must be laid at the feet of the MAGA base of nationalistic, racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti government, anti Democratic bomb throwers. They seriously need to ask themselves what kind of a country they want to live in. Some seriously think Vladimir Putin is a better leader than Joe Biden. And that Russia and the autocratic Kremlin leaders promise a more agreeable way of life. Most of the civilized world would disagree. And since Putin unleashed a campaign of war crimes and genocide by invading their peaceful Democratic neighbor Ukraine, more than a million Russian citizens have fled the country; and still many more are trying. And as the MAGA crowd likes to point out on a daily basis, millions of folks flock to our Southern border and now to our Northern border trying to become part of this American Democratic Experience.

American’s need to allow our Justice System protect it’s citizens from serial evildoers. Serial bizzaro man, Lindsey Graham pleads with the MAGA faithful to quickly send in their rent and utility money, so billionaire Trump can mount a legal defense, and also suggests “How can President Trump avoid prosecution in New York?,” asked Graham. “On the way to the DA’s office on Tuesday, Trump should smash some windows, rob a few shops and punch a cop.” MAGA World responded with donations of $5 million within 48 hours.

I don’t believe there’s a single, reputable Fortune 50, 100, 500, 50,000 or any mom and pop business anywhere, who would employ Trump, or pay him any amount, to do any job. Isn’t there an ethical, and reasonable, true conservative Republican anywhere in America that this toxic MAGA crowd would nominate to represent the party?

This sad state of our political climate clearly represents how low, the once “Law and Order” Republican party, has sunk. Heaven help us.

Yes, Putin has already lost his war against humanity, but he’s still capable of devastating a world that see’s him as irrelevant.

John Hanno, – March 10, 2022

Putin and Ukraine backfire by Dave Granlund,

Putin has commenced blaming (firing, exiling to Siberia, jailing or who knows what else) those he believes failed his vision of a reborn Soviet Empire. Based on a keen sense of self preservation, browbeaten close advisors surely decided to refrain from trying to stop him blundering into the senseless and self destructive war/invasion of a Democratic, peaceful, industrious and successful neighbor, for merely exposing Putin and his Kleptocratic criminal enterprises tenuous hold on an emerging partially-woke Russian populace.

Putin believed Ukrainian’s would welcome his poorly trained military conscripts with open arms and kisses of gratitude for rounding-up all the Nazi’s left over from WWII. Unfortunately, no one with an ounce of authority dared remind him Ukraine was a Democratic nation led by a Democratically elected Jew, who’s great grand-parents died when the Nazis burned their village and his grandfather and his grandfather’s brothers all entered the Soviet Red Army, but only his grandfather survived.

He also believed those hoodwinked low paid conscripts would engender as much nationalistic determination as the patriotic Ukrainian’s fighting for their lives and loved ones and their nation and Democracy.

Likewise, the cowed generals seated at the block long conference table, peed their highly decorated uniforms every time they had to fend off taunts and darts fired by Putin at 60 paces. No one had the courage to stop a madman bent on destroying a peaceful neighbor, and with it their own Russian Federation.

Putin can’t blame the Russian zombie nation he keeps behind his Iron Curtain of propaganda, but the rest of the world can and will. His facade though, is showing as many cracks as the vaunted Russian war machine. In spite of Putin’s flashback to Czarist Russia, this is the 21st Century, where information grapevines steeped with minute-by-minute news and world views are influenced and possibly distorted by Facebook, Instagram, twitter, Snapchat etc. etc.

Putin’s information wack-a mole isn’t keeping pace with modern day technology. Each time he quashes another independent media source, a couple more pop up.

It could be Radio Free Europe broadcasting through the maze. It might be a courageous state sponsored news room producer dancing across the nightly news set behind an unaware spokesperson, with a sign begging viewers to open their eyes and ears.

Or Arnold Schwarzenegger using Twitter and Telegram to speak directly to his Russian followers, telling them about his fathers actions during the siege of Leningrad, which caused him a lifetime of both physical pain from a broken back and shrapnel and mental pain from guilt, for participating in an unjust war. He pleaded for the Russian soldiers to keep from making the same tragic mistakes his father made.

It might even be a few reformed self preserving oligarchs clearing their conscience and or spilling the beans in return for titles to their confiscated multimillion dollar condos, yachts and jets.

It could be the more than 200,000 Russians fleeing the country, a massive brain drain not witnessed since the worst of the Soviet Union’s dark days. It could be the growing thousands of Russian protestors courageous enough to risk a quick trip to a gulag and 15 years in prison for calling Putin’s invasion and war just what it is.

Yes, the lack of information/abundance of ignorance will be a challenge to overcome; approximately 65% of the Russian public believe Putin is acting responsibly, is standing up for and preserving the mother-land, is not a diabolical monster, is going god’s work faithfully endorsed by the State Sponsored Russian Orthodox Church Military Industrial Kleptocratic Complex, all based on what stories Putin jambs down their throat.

It’s unlikely Putin’s ultra ego will allow him to turn tail and flee back to Russia in disgrace; he will continue to pummel and plunder innocent civilians until the heavily sanctioned citizens of Russia get tired of living in terror, in financial depravation and in national disgrace. Will Putin take a bullet, fire himself, hang himself, flee the country, maybe to one of his yachts and just drift into oblivion.

During an interview, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked spokesperson for Putin, Dmitry Peskov, about his intension of using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

“I need to ask you this, because the world is afraid, and I want to know whether Putin intends the world to be afraid of the nuclear option. Would he use it?” the CNN anchor asked Peskov.

Putin “intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns” about the perceived “anti-Russia” threat from the West, said Peskov.

“I want to ask you again. Is President Putin, because, again, the Finnish president said to me that when he asked Putin directly about this, because President Putin has laid that (nuclear) card on the label, President Putin said that, if anybody tries to stop him, very bad things will happen. And I want to know whether you are convinced or confident that your boss will not use that option.”

“Well, we have a concept of domestic security, and, well, it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov responded. “So, if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used, in accordance with our concept.”

But since the only existential threat to the Russian Federation is clearly Putin himself, I guess he should nuke himself and all the cowards in the Kremlin and the Federal Assembly, who failed to stop him from blundering into his existential threat to humanity.

Putin claimed he was invading Ukraine in order to save it from Nazi overlords who disdain Russian speaking Ukrainians. But what exactly does President Putin and the Russian war mongers have to offer Ukraine, or anyone for that matter? Terrorized families, more than 10 million refugees, millions of women and children fleeing for their lives, grand parents hiding in cellars because they’re too disabled or feeble to flee. Beautiful historic cities bombed into dust. Starving innocent people dogging rockets and missiles, and mass graves when they fail that. A ruling government that commanders 85% of a nations wealth and hands it over to a handful of connected oligarchs. Leadership that invests the balance of that GDP in military weapons of war and a domestic police state apparatus that suppresses descent, choice, individualism and above all, freedom. Ukraine has clearly seen this playbook before and are determined to fight with every ounce of their battered bodies to preserve their Democracy.

Putin has no one to blame but himself, for creating this Putinopia of his own imagination and for investing in a brutally structured Kleptocratic czarism, instead of in the Russian people.

When and if Putin finally cries uncle, there must be no plausible justifications or excuses condoned and no face saving plea deals negotiated this time. Ukraine, Europe and the entire world demands long overdue justice from this Russian marauder. Only a reckoning before the World Criminal Court for the perpetrators and supporters of this conflagration will suffice, and reparations for a plundered, innocent, sovereign nation must be exacted.

This time, for the good of the world and human existence, the civilized world cannot let this megalomaniac off the hook; the businesses who pulled out of Russia must refuse to return until Putin and his lot are disposed of. A free and fair election of all government officials supervised by a United Nations tribunal could go a long way to eventually returning Russia to some semblance of respect and legitimacy.

The crippling sanctions must remain in place until Ukraine is guaranteed security, reparations and justice. The thousands of war protestors, including political prisoners like Alexis Navalny must be exonerated. I guess it’s better late than never that countries who prospered from riches stolen from Russia are finally taking international money laundering laws serious, but if they and the U.S. had done more to crack down on Russia’s ruling Kleptocrats during the last two decades of Putin’s criminal reign, maybe he wouldn’t have had the means to launch this war.

America and the West must also come to terms with it’s own failings. Access to Russia’s oil and gas can no longer justify allowing Vladman the Madman to threaten the entire world order and existence with a nuclear holocaust. And if the Russian people and their cowed institutions can’t keep Putin or his successors in check, NATO and the United Nations must.

And blindly obedient Trump cult followers, far right government haters and our right wing media must also wake up. Idolizing, enabling and refusing to hold Autocrats and tyrants like Putin and his adoring want-a-be Donald J. Trump accountable for criminal conduct encourages and enables catastrophic tragedies like we’re witnessing in Ukraine today.

The blatant lies used by Putin to invade a peaceful, sovereign Democratic nation reminds us of the 2020 election “Big Lie” Trump still propagates to delude his faithful. But as Ukraine and the world tragically now realizes, condoning lies and ignoring the truth and facts can have apocalyptic consequences. In addition to Putin’s senseless war of choice, Trump and his sheeple used lies and conspiracies to try to overturn a free and fair election and attempt to overthrow our own Democracy. Putin and Trump are one in the same when it comes to truth telling.

Fake news collaborators can’t be ignored or downplayed. The Foxification of Russia’s state run media and the Russification of our own far right wing nationalistic media, undermines democratic fundamentals and the rule of law in both countries.

The Biden administration just finally passed a $1.2 trillion long overdue infrastructure bill. If Russia stopped the war today, it would probably cost more than that to rebuild Ukraine. And how many generations will it take before the millions of tons of forever chemicals and toxic military materials can be scrubbed and leached from Ukraine’s homeland soil and water. This war has set back environmental and climate change progress in Europe for a decade or more and self serving maniacs like Putin and Trump couldn’t care less.

I’ve written about tarbabys many times and said that a certain one might be the biggest one yet, but this Ukraine tarbaby latched on by Putin might just top all those others combined. Brer Rabbit Putin thought he could just waltz into his neighbors backyard and take by force what the industrious and forward thinking Ukrainians have nurtured since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But considering the crippling lasting sanctions on Russia’s economy and Russian society, Putin’s blatant disregard for anyone but himself, the consequential damages inflicted on Ukraine and it’s defenders, the pain and grief and misery suffered by so many, this tar on Russia’s national reputation will take many generations to erase.

Russia, are you listening?

John Hanno, – February 22, 2022

No one seems to know why your President wants to invade your sovereign neighbor to the West. Maybe Russia has run out of riches Vlad and his buddies can siphon off and send over to Democratic nations to be laundered.

Reports are that Vladimir Putin is one of the richest Kleptocrats in the world, with between $85 and $100 billion in net worth. That’s quite an accomplishment on a reported government salary of about $250,000 a year, even after a 20 year run as Pillager in Chief.

Although that seems like more than enough money for any one person to squander for at least a couple of hundred lifetimes, some people are just not satisfied with any amount of wealth. We have someone in America who’s exactly like that, and is a matter of fact one of Vlad’s best buds.

America’s deposed ex-president, Donald J. Moneybags, has been bragging about his worth, for as long as he’s foisted his material ego on the American public, even before the Apprentice T.V. show. But news flash, the Donald’s accounting firm Mazars USA just trimmed his sales and his purported net worth, claiming that the last decade of financial statements they prepared were, not surprisingly, unreliable. His accountants rude awakening probably had something to do with the investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James and a hearing this week in a Manhattan court.

A.G. James is investigating whether Trump or the Trump Organization falsified asset values to obtain loans, to bamboozle investors, and to pay lower taxes.

During the hearing, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. to comply with the A.G’s subpoenas and to testify under oath about the Trump organization’s business practices.  

Engoron stated in the ruling, that when a state Attorney General investigates a “business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake,” they have a right and a duty to do so. Apparently Mazars sees the writing on the wall, has unceremoniously kicked trump to the curb and is going into full self preservation mode.

Maybe Vlad Putin is just a school-yard bully who wants to beat up on the neighborhood weakling and take his lunch money, because well, he just can.

Vlad Farkus

Vlad’s Cousin Skut Farkus

This reminds me of the movie “Christmas Story”, in which Ralphie and his school-mates Flick and Schwartz are tormented by the neighborhood bullies Scut Farkus and Grover Dill.

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Scut Farkus and Grover Dill waylay Ralphie and his friends on their way home from school

Ralphie, his little brother and school-mates are confronted by Farkus

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Ralphie and his mates are terrified of the bullies.

But Ralphie eventually decides he’s taken the bullying and a beating once too often. He finally snaps and beats up Farkus, giving him a black eye and a bloody nose. The Ukrainian people might have reached that same juncture, living under the thumb of their Russian bully.

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Ralphie surprises even himself when he stands up to Farkus.

America, NATO and the European Union have emphatically stated that should Putin invade their sovereign neighbor, they will help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his country men and women, give Putin and his 190,000 lackeys two nasty public black eyes and a world-wide size financial bloody nose. Those threatened sanction have as yet not dissuaded Putin from his military buildup but may still avert a war that no one can win.

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Vlad, er Scut will rue the day they pick on the weakling.

It’s hard to discern what goes through the head of a megalomaniac like Putin. The world has been under assault from the coronavirus pandemic for more that two years, almost a million Americans have perished and more that 6 million world-wide, but Putin has decided this is a perfect time to start World War III. The civilized world wonders what kind of a human being is this.

We’re trying to dissect the addled mine of our own egomaniac ex president Donald J. Trump. After losing handily to Joe Biden in 2020, and in spite of more than 60 U.S. courts (including our Supreme Court) having ruled against his efforts to challenge that fair election, he conspired to illegally overturn the election by inciting an insurrection, by firing-up his MAGA storm-troopers to attack our Nations Capitol, assault it’s defenders and hang his own vice president.

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And trump’s lackeys in the U.S. Congress still fawn over him with unwavering devotion.

We must apologize to the Russian people for not doing a better job of prosecuting their Kleptocrats who violate international money laundering laws, but it’s not for the lack of trying. Unfortunately there are some business and political leaders in our country who flaunt those laws and hinder the prosecution of those criminals enterprises.

I believe the primary reason Putin has decided now is the time to invade the Ukraine, is because their burgeoning Democratic Westward leanings are a threat to his tight grip on his Russian monopoly and money train. If the Russian populace can sort through the propaganda maze enough to see what life could be under a more Democratic governance, we might witness another Russian revolution.

We understand it won’t be easy. Putin holds ultimate control over your elections and the media. When Putin is routinely reelected with more than 90% of the vote, it’s virtually impossible for any opposition candidates to win anything. And anyone who stands up to Putin ends up in prison, in a hospital or in a cemetery. We understand that once the right to vote is usurped and the ability to protest against an Autocratic government or criticize a tyrannical despot is stifled, it may be impossible to regain any slim thread of democratic choice.

That’s why our Democratic Party, some true Republicans and those bracing the pillars of our democracy and democratic institutions, are staunchly defending American’s ability to vote and our ability to fairly count those votes. Unfortunately, trump’s Grand Old Party has relinquished constitutional and conservative Democratic principles to an Autocratic self serving cult leader who demands slavish allegiance. The right to vote in America is under assault in dozens of states and endorsed by most of the cowardly republi-cons in Congress.

We know one thing for sure, if trump would have prevailed over Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Vlad and his 150,000 – 190,000 storm troopers would have already set up camp in Kiev, already begun rounding up opposition leaders, religious leaders and activists who preach Democracy. They would have already begun pillaging Ukraine’s wealth and national treasures, quickly transferred most of it westward for safekeeping and extinguished all civil opposition and inclination towards Democracy.

But in spite of Putin’s stranglehold over every aspect of your society, we know the Russian people are capable of courageous opposition.

Putin blamed the 200,000 protestors who flooded the streets of Moscow in 2014 on Hillary Clinton, but a thirst for Democracy was the real impetus.

Anti-Putin Protests

Britannica: Silencing critics and actions in the West

“On February 27, 2015, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down within sight of the Kremlin, just days after he had spoken out against Russian intervention in Ukraine. Nemtsov was only the latest Putin critic to be assassinated or to die under suspicious circumstances. In January 2016 a British public inquiry officially implicated Putin in the 2006 murder of former Federal Security Service (FSB; the successor to the KGB) officer Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko, who had spoken out against Russian government ties to organized crime both before and after his defection to the United Kingdom, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea in a London hotel bar. Britain ordered the extradition of the two men accused of carrying out the assassination, but both denied involvement and one—Andrey Lugovoy—had since been elected to the Duma and enjoyed parliamentary immunity from prosecution.”

Boris Nemtsov
Flowers, condolence messages, and a memorial photograph marking the spot in Moscow’s Red Square where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated on February 27, 2015.
Ivan Sekretarev/AP Images

In January 2021, protests against Putin took place across Russia for imprisoning Alexei Navalny. Navalny, 44 year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner who has dedicated himself to toppling Putin’s reign of terror, has stood fast in spite of being intimidated, poisoned, doused with dye and jailed. Navalny has accused the Russian president of using state cash to enrich himself and his family, including building a £1billion palace at Gelendzhik on the Black Sea.

Russian police are arresting protesters demanding the release of top Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Russian police are arresting protesters demanding the release of top Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Credit: AP:Associated Press

The Sun reported in January 2021: “The Kremlin has denied being “afraid” of Navalny and his pro-democracy campaigners but are concerned to act tough to prevent mass support growing for a Ukrainian-style revolution.”

Alexei Navalny and his Supporters

Navalny’s eye will take months to recover after surgery

Alexei Navalny Poisoned
What does Russia represent? How do the Russian people want to be viewed by the entire civilized world.

The latest intelligence reports released by the White House yesterday claim that Putin fully intends to invade their sovereign peaceful neighbor Ukraine and then target activists, journalists, religious leaders and others for extermination or prison camps. This sounds exactly like Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Is this what the Russian people want to be remembered for in history? Hitler’s plan for world domination caused between 20 and 27 million Soviet Union citizens to perish in WW II, from all war related causes, a terrible toll. Where does Putin’s plans for empire stop?

In the U.S. and most of the West, Russia is viewed as a tyrannical Kleptocracy who’s despots stalk and murder civil activists around the world, who imprisons peaceful protestors, and as an international bully who infiltrates and overthrows democratic nations, who engages in cyber warfare in Democratic countries, including meddling in our own democratic elections. Russia represents a failed nation, with an economy less that half of our state of California, less than Italy, a much smaller country. What does Russia manufacture, besides weapons of war? What does Russia export except fossil fuels that pollute the world and contribute to global warming. It seems like the only other things Russia exports is pain, grief, terror and doped athletes, including a talented and tragic 15 year old Olympic skater who probably had no say on what went into her body.

Editorial cartoon

Putin couldn’t care less for anyone or anything but himself and his own ego. Is he attacking his countries own enormous social, civil and financial problems? No, he’s attacking a peaceful neighbor.

We had our own Putinesque Kleptocratic leader who couldn’t care less for his country, its Constitution, it’s laws and institutions, it’s reputation around the world or it’s people. Trump’s “I alone can fix it” motto was as hollow as his promises to MAGA. His main goal was enriching himself and his family.

America came to its senses and kicked it’s Autocratic want-a-be bully to the curb in 2020. He’s not quite gone yet but our Democratic institutions and courts are working around the clock on that. The Republican enablers in our Congress are in full defense mode behind trump’s assault on our Democracy but we have an election this year and another in 2024, so maybe the less radical right trump sycophants will take note of Putin’s Russia death wish and vote for more Democracy minded candidates.

Trump’s MAGA faithful cry “Freedom” at every turn, but they have no idea what real freedom is until they live under a despot like Putin, Hitler or trump. These self-serving Autocrats steal your voice, your vote, your opinion, your thoughts, your humanity and your treasures and wealth.

What a large majority of America’s voters are wondering is, how much better off our country, the world and even the Russian people would be if Hillary Clinton had been elected instead of Donald Trump. Can we even count the ways? A few jump off the page of history; our withdrawal from The Iran Nuclear Treaty and their renewed race for nuclear weapons, ditto The Paris Accord and worsening global warming, and just as important, the assent of Autocratic governments and sympathizers who disdain Democracy, free choice and a real authentic “Freedom.” And Trump’s admiration for Putin only encouraged his expansionist ambitions of Russian empire.

To all the Democratic leaning Russians, activists and empathetic citizens, it’s obvious Putin listens to no one but himself, not his flunkies, his neighbors, the European Union, NATO, the United Nations and especially not the United States, but maybe he’ll listen to the Russian people. He’s amassed almost 200,000 soldiers on your far Western border, more than half of his entire army. This would be an extremely opportunistic time for the Russian people to engage in civil disobedience and peaceful protests. Save the Ukrainian people from a catastrophic invasion, blood bath and refugee crisis. Ukrainians, especially the younger generations dream of a more equitable and Democratic future. Save your Ukrainian brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins from a more tragic history. And save your own soldiers from coming home in body-bags. Stand up to Putin and change the direction of your Nation, civil society and economic well being. Save the Ukrainians, the Russian people and the entire world from Putin’s diabolical plans of empire.

I did a 2 1/2 year U.S. Army tour in Germany during the height of the early 60’s cold war. I was a Sergeant stationed in a nuclear artillery unit as a communications section chief. We had our nuclear missiles aimed at the Soviets and they had theirs aimed at us. We were on high alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I sometimes feel like I went to sleep almost 60 years ago, just woke up and nothing has changed with Russia; a once great nation with a back-ward looking leader stuck in the 19th century.

I remember one night out with friends; I guess we had too much to drink and I got lost driving. We ended up near the East German border. The thing I remember most vividly was the darkness; very few lights were visible on the East German side. Bleak would be an understatement.

We have too many people in our own country who want to turn off the lights on America’s Democratic experiment; many of them are republi-cons in the U.S. Congress. Courageous American’s will not let them succeed.

The world is wondering what he’s thinking, or if he’s thinking?
Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin on Saturday, February 19 alongside his ally, Belarusian president Lukashenko watched the Russian military perform nuclear drills, while the U.S. announced that Russian forces were ‘poised to strike’ Ukraine. The nuclear bomb drills were carried out simultaneously from the sea, land and the air. 
I’m surprised Putin didn’t use a big fat Sharpie to sign the documents and then show it to the cameras, like Trump’s televised spectacles.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin signs decrees to recognize independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed decrees to recognize independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk. Moscow ordered troops into these areas on Monday, escalating the prospect of outright war between Russia and Ukraine.Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Note to Mr. Putin: Your false flag operations in Eastern Ukraine aren’t fooling anyone; hopefully the Russian people can see through your propaganda.

Starting a war under false pretenses never turns out well; we proved that by invading Iraq and are still paying the costs and consequences.

And you Mr. Putin should have learned that in Afghanistan; the beginning of the downfall of the Soviet Empire.

You claim the West is against the Russian people, so you believe you alone must reconstitute the Soviet empire in order to save it from the dust bin of history. That’s nonsense. Were against your reckless assault and invasion of sovereign Democratic nations and your disregard of human misery and death.

You want to go down in history as the great leader who brought Russia back from the dead, but the only thing you’ll accomplish is to strengthen the EU, NATO and the worlds resolve in Defending Democracy. You will live in infamy as a radical lunatic who started a needless war and destroyed his country.

Russia are you listening; America are you listening?

 G— O— P—- Party

John Hanno,     October 4, 2018


                G— O— P—- Party

The Grand Old Party was on a downward trajectory long before trump Inc. commandeered the controls and turned it into a cult of Kleptocrats, climate deniers, spendthrifts, fiscally responsible cynics, evangelical back-sliders, sexual predators, and morally reprehensible apologists. Compassionate Conservatism, although never a plausible Republi-con policy, is now a form of pure political derision by what’s left of your grandfathers GOP.

America is tragically being governed by it’s crazy uncle; that loon who shows up at family events and ruins everyone’s party. He’s inconsolable, unapproachable, uncompromising, unhinged and unapologetic when he spews out bigoted or nonsensical dribble. He lies with abandon and nominated a kindred coagulated mini me in brett kavanaugh.

America endures the most shameful era in it’s highly respected and emulated Democratic history. Decadence is too mild a word.

It’s not just that trump is undeniably the worse president in history; and not just that trump is clearly one of the worst business executives in U.S. history (read the Times 38 page history of trump’s Fraudland); it’s that he’s one of the most despicable humans ever to aspire to public office and allege reverence for public service.

There’s no adjective too strong to describe what trump and his enablers in Congress represent – Despicable 3 Are We!

Like a crack addict who will do absolutely anything for his next fix; trump’s fix of course is “winning” the moment. Pushing any crazy conspiracy, telling any lie, belittling or degrading any person, even victims of sexual abuse, just to achieve any edge, or gain, no matter how insignificant, inconsequential; no matter how disruptive or destructive to our Republic.

trump and his entire administration spends most waking hours, and even unconscious dreams, scheming ways to make themselves richer and more powerful; and trump has used the presidency to heal his failing business ventures and cash in before the justice department shows up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with an arrest warrant or articles of impeachment.

I have to save room to criticize the Republi-cons in congress and trumps unwavering lemmings. I find myself frequently checking thesaurus, looking for words strong enough to adequately describe what they allow as just normal trump behavior.

The Republi-con party and along with them, their depraved Evangelicals, will be forever  tainted as the party of Nationalists, racists, abusers, moral degenerates and grifters.

trump brags about violating our constitution, breaking the law and ignoring centuries of U.S. precedent by turning desperate asylum seekers away from our borders. He conducts U.S. foreign policy so as to enrich himself, his family, his billionaire friends and his political donors. He attempts to use the justice department to protect him and his cronies and punish his enemies. He nominated kavanaugh solely for the purpose of ensuring his corrupt usurpation of our Democratic institutions will continue unchecked.

Progressive, critical thinking Americans must brush aside the nonsensical flotsam and jetsam ebbing daily from trump’s white house and keep their eye on the damage undermining our constitution, our institutions and our environment.

trump attempts to scare the bejesus out of his faithful and proclaims “only I can fix it,” instead of working together democratically; the M.O for despotism 101.

If kavanaugh is confirmed before a full and fair investigation by the FBI or some other legitimate fact finding body, the political whitewash will further divide the county; and the GOP will forever be labeled as the Grab Our Pussy Party. Sadly, I think most trump supporters couldn’t care less.

Will the few semi-moderate republi-cons in the Senate finally decide they’ve had enough and put America and kavanaugh’s family out of their misery and vote against his confirmation. Not likely; but hope springs eternal.

I would like to pose a few questions for the republi-con Senators who adamantly refused to be swayed. If your daughters or grand-daughters, maybe like kavanaugh’s two daughters, Elizabeth age 10 and Margaret age 13, were victims of a bunch of privileged, marauding, mean drunks who believe they’re entitled to get naive young women drugged or drunk and stand in line for their turn at ‘boys will be boys’ rights of passage, would they demand justice for their children? Would they still want justice 35 years later if their loved ones suffered in silence but finally found the courage to come forward so someone else could be spared a similar fate? Would you want a full and fair investigation or is it more important to toe the party line?

North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, locked in a tight reelection campaign, displayed extreme courage today by announcing she will not vote to confirm kavanaugh, saying:  “In my judgment, Judge Kavanaugh is not someone we want on the Supreme Court.”

Senators Manchin, Flake, Murkowski and Collins should do the right thing and stand with Sen. Heitkamp.


Senators Heitkamp and Murkowski both voted against kavanaugh. The rest will have to live with their decision to confirm a right-wing zealot, climate denier and serial abuser for the United States Supreme Court. The truth usually exposes itself eventually. Hopefully, justice will be done.

Earth Day 2018 – Many Thanks to All The Earth Protectors.

John Hanno     April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018 – Many Thanks to All The Earth Protectors.

                                                                                        Credit: Saving water – clean natural environment – ocean campaign concept with collaborative woman’s hands in droplet shape on blurred wavy clean water background: Love earth, save water – conceptual idea picture.

All the remarkable progress Earth Protectors have made over the last 4 decades is under siege, from this toxic fossil fuel administration, from the do nothing Republi-con fossil fuel enablers in congress and from Republi-con controlled legislatures and governor offices around the country. But these energy Luddites are waging a losing battle.

Earth, water and air protectors will not be deterred. We’ve come too far. Concerned and energized environmental – journalists, activists, entrepreneurs, educators, Native Americans, liberators and patriots will not allow environmental backsliding.

Forward thinking business executives understand the threats from climate change and global warming. They’re directing their investments and expertise toward alternative and sustainable energy research and development. Green investors and smart capitalists are divesting from toxic and stranded fossil fuel losers and embracing the new sustainable industries. Real conservatives realize the benefits of cleaner and cheaper alternative energy. Every day brings notable and momentous successes in these new industries.

But over-leveraged fossil fuel interests and their funders will not go quietly into the scrap heap of history. They’re not afraid to suborn politicians willing to bow down and disregard the best interests of the American people.

                                                                                            Family Holding Earth in their hands -Earth Day. NASA Image

Earth day, celebrated at the beginning of spring, is the perfect opportunity to refocus our environmental bona fides. This Earth Day emphasizes the monumental battle against plastic pollution, highlighted here and at dozens of upstanding environmental organizations.

Stay vigilant and resist protectors.      John Hanno,

Juz whaa kine ah Merica da yah wann pepul?

John Hanno,      April 10, 2018    

Juz whaa kine ah Merica da yah wann pepul?

trump’s bait n switch, 3 card monte, pig in a poke, catfishing presidency, and his cabal of Republi-con enablers, have reneged on every boast he used to scam his desperate supporters. Hood, meet Wink! “I know and will hire the best and brightest people.”  “I’ll repeal and replace Obamacare with something much, much better and cheaper on my first day in office.” “I’ll build the best wall and have Mexico pay for it.” “Nobody knows infrastructure better than me.” “I’m the best deal maker; I wrote the best book on the subject.” “I know more than the generals.” “We passed the biggest tax cut in history and it’ll pay for itself.” “I will protect your Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unlike all the other Republicans running against me.” “I will bring back all the jobs.” “Manufacturer’s will no longer take their jobs off shore.” “I’m really an environmentalist.” “I’ll probably never see any of my golf clubs while I’m in office; I’ll never leave the White House because I’ll be working too hard,” “… draining the swamp.”

I could go on and on and on but I just don’t have the time or energy. I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag here; most of us have been on to this flim flamery even before trump’s “greatest” inauguration

It took more than 14 months of catastrophic overreaching, obsessive repeals of necessary environmental and consumer regulations and Obama era achievements, unchecked self enrichment and gross malfeasance, but the donald’s entrenched voters are finally starting to peal off. Unfortunately we can’t say the same for the Republi-con leadership in congress. They never fail to wear their American flag pins on their lapels and champion their constitutional fealty, especially the 2nd Amendment, but then show their true patriotic stripes by ignoring their duty to reign in their party’s morally and ethically bankrupt commander in chief.

No far right political donor wish or demand has gone unfulfilled. Potential administration employees, no matter how unqualified or flawed, were ever rejected as long as they pledged allegiance to the leader. Every undaunted loyalist was rewarded in spades.

trump’s world view is “flat” again. Beware progressive libtards, his idea of new and improved is to return Merica to it’s white Christian roots. The good old Robber Baron era was just fine by the rich and powerful, and black folks were “really happier and better-off during slavery.” No need for civil rights, workers rights, women rights or voters rights. And forget the “Great American Melting Pot;” immigration is passé, especially for black and brown folks. trump knows what’s best for us and will “Make America Great Again.” Believe him!

Forget public education and science and climate change and global warming and facts and figures and by the way, the “truth” is in the eye of the beholder. Evolution is just another unproven theory, no better than Creationism. Just ask his Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.

The new Evangelicals associated with trumpism have embraced a new paradigm. They’re no longer tethered to a moral compass. They’ve found a new Jesus Christ, one who shuns the poor and downtrodden. They forget the teachings of Jesus and the Bible when its convenient. Women are just another commodity to be used and abused. And greed is actually Godly.

Move over renewable, sustainable energy, there’s a “new” more toxic agenda oozing from the American landscape and environment; like more expensive and unclean – clean coal, and with it a financial boost to black-lung health care professionals, but not to miners pensions. Un-stranding stranded fossil fuel assets held by trump and republican corporate and billionaire donors is job one.

Move aside blossoming and cheaper wind and solar energy, unreliable and toxic tar-sand oil is pulsing through 100’s of thousands of miles of risky pipelines again, Obama and Native American’s be damned. Never mind that America’s precious lakes, rivers and aquifers are necessary for drinking water and vital for our survival. Yes, “Water is Life” Mni Winconi, but their greedy benefactors must be repaid.


Our National Parks and public lands will finally be exploited yall; we will leave no stone or pristine, pastoral vista unturned, undrilled or unplundered. ANWR is just a bunch of letters.

Gunsmoke is not just a legacy rerun on WeTV, Dodge City is back pardner. The wild west is back pilgrim. Step aside Matt Dillon, the new sheriff in town is gunnin for you and your namby pamby gun control rules and ‘regalations’ and he’s packing an AR-15 with high capacity magazines and a bump stock. Snowflake Barack Husain Obama is old school gentlemen, our teachers and preachers are armed and dangerous. Our bartenders will settle all drunken disputes.

This new GOP is also all in favor of Putin and his thievin oligarchs, because well, they’re really just like them. trump and most of his administration is deferential to Putin and the Russians because they all seem to have had previous contacts or business dealings. trump’s advisers admonished him: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” Putin on his sham of an election win during a recent phone call. trump ignored them and congratulated him anyway. Sure, he’s an autocratic tyrant and leader of the largest criminal enterprise in the world, one who thinks nothing of murdering opponents and members of the press but trump says we do bad things too. During the call, trump refused to discuss Putin’s interference in our election and their poisoning of the father and daughter in the UK. Apparently just collateral damage.

In this new trump world order, you can have all the guns you want, if it gives you a false sense of security or makes you feel safe in a sanctuary city Republi-cons tout as overrun with dangerous Muslims and immigrants….But that won’t protect your children and grandchildren from the young white terrorists bent on reaping as much carnage as their readily available military weapons will afford.

You can support trump’s and his conflicted Climate Denier in Charge Scott Pruitt’s war on our environment and the Obama administration’s clean water and clean air legislation…But that will only increase America’s health care costs and your own health insurance premiums.

You can ignore the corruption and self dealing, rampant in trump’s white house and cabinet…But that won’t give you a living wage or protect your hard earned Social Security and Medicare entitlements.

trump admires and praises profiteering dictators around the world, because he’s on the same wavelength with these tyrants and his goals and ethics are diametrically opposed to democratic principles and our democratic institutions. Will you support a kleptocratic despot or American Democracy?

You can ignore trump’s unabashed self dealing campaign to enrich himself, his family, his wealthy friends, his billionaire donors and his cabinet’s fortunes…but that won’t trickle down to your substandard wages and benefits; we’ve been there done that, time and again. Never worked and never will.

USA Today

trump said he’s “unbelievably” rich, and if you hired him, he would work to make America rich again, make you rich again. But you should have doubted when he refused to show you his audited income taxes; he was probably on the verge of his seventh bankruptcy. You wouldn’t believe Mr. “Government Should Be Run As a Business” has mucked up every business enterprise he’s ever floated. You refused to see through the BS.

But Robert Mueller and his steadfast team of investigators are tightening the noose, having focused the bright lights on trump’s favorite and impolite personal attorney Michael Cohen.

The donald has impulsively fired most of the moral and sensible checks and balances to his presidential derangement. You may be witnessing the end of America’s constitutional nightmare. I’m sure the Vegas line on his impending demise no longer favors the (White) house.

You can still prefer to sate your implied moral and ideological indignation’s, with the diversionary atonement emanating from the trump / Fox News State Press every day…but America’s calamities grow intransigent. You can choose to believe trump and Fox when they call the outraged and determined free press, critical thinkers and skeptics fake news, but the real truth may just set you free.    John Hanno,

The American Republiban

John Hanno       January 20, 2018

           The American Republiban

The self imposed burden Republi-cons are saddled with, their mis-educated and anti-fact base of supporters they fawn over and rely on to remain relevant, is shrinking and becoming ever more extreme. Almost 60,000 of these elderly voters die every month. They proclaim to represent an alternative to the Grand Old Party –  the Eisenhower / Rockefeller Republicans, an alternative “Alt Right” doctrine. What they really expound, is an ultimate “Ult Right” ideology. This new, poorly educated Republiban, immune to critical thinking, is much older and almost exclusively white and Christian. They profess racial purity, nativism, intolerance to humanism or secularism or other religions, exhibit a reckless aversion to history and science and exalt a single minded worship of wealth and exclusivity. Their moral compass has flipped true North.

Having drifted so far from traditional conservative principles, they’ve clearly forfeited any traditional fiscal argument, and with it, the cudgel routinely used to browbeat Democrats trying to help the poor or bolster America’s crumbling middle-class social and monetary infrastructures.

To embellish millionaires and billionaires and thriving multi-national corporations and their investors, who’ve all prospered like never before, with generous tax cuts that balloon the national debt, is not fiscally conservative. To prescribe their tax cut scam as a stimulus to an already thriving economy is not fiscally conservative and might achieve just the opposite. To work day and night for years, to cripple the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which finally slowed escalating insurance premiums and our national healthcare burden, is not fiscally conservative.

To wontonly repeal bipartisan regulations, implemented after decades of debate and evaluation, to guard against the monumental and costly remedies required to correct catastrophic environmental and fiscal disasters, is not fiscally conservative. These Republibaners disregard sound climate science and years of bipartisan environmental legislation culminating in Republican president Nixon signing the bill establishing the Environmental Protection Agency on December 2, 1970.

They disregard milestones of American environmental calamity and redemption, including Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, exposing widespread pesticide poisoning of man and nature; and Congress passing the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), charging the government to “become the protector of earth, air, land and water.” The law declared Congress’s intentions to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and “assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings.

New York City before EPA

New York Harbor 1970

The law also compelled all federal agencies to submit reports (Environmental Impact Statements, EIS’s) for all projects bearing on the environment, and also directed the President to prepare annual Environmental Quality Reports for Congress. When President Nixon signed the bill on New Years Day 1970, he said: “he had become further convinced that the 1970’s absolutely must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of it’s air, it’s waters and our living environment.” “It is literally now or never.”

In short, America’s environment had become a giant shit-hole.

Highlighting this new focus in his State of the Union a few weeks later, Nixon “proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation.” Nixon’s first Environmental Quality Report to Congress on February 10th, contained 37-points. Included in this report, he requested $4 billion for improvements to water treatment facilities. He asked for national air quality standards, a program to lower motor vehicle emissions and federally funded research on reducing automobile pollution. He also ordered a clean-up of federal facilities that contributed to the pollution of the air and water. He sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes. He proposed a tax on lead in gasoline. He sent congress a plan on strengthening safeguards on the transportation of oil over the seas. He instituted a National Contingency Plan for remediation of oil spills.

First Earth Day 1970

Public protest and demonstrations on Earth Day 1970 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 were the turning points in America’s environmental consciousness – the realization that air and water pollution must be a national priority; and also the impetus for the creation of the EPA and Nixon’s confirming signature on December 2, 1970. And the scores of toxic super-fund sites discovered throughout the 1980’s, supercharged efforts to begin healing our environment.

The Cuyahoga River Ignites. Cleavland, Ohio –  1969.

But every one of these environmental programs and more, are under siege, face elimination or reductions by our current, non-conservative and toxic, fossil fuel pandering Republi-con president, the Republi-con controlled congress and Environmental Protection Agency destroyer in charge, Scott Pruitt.

                                                                                    Los Angeles Air Pollution

They’ve quickly rolled back the latest automobile CAFE standards implemented by the Obama administration. This administrations relentless attacks on environmental regulations, began during their first few days in power, with trump reversing President Obama’s rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline completion, without waiting for the Congressionally mandated Environmental Impact Statement. trump also quickly reversed President Obama by approving the Keystone XL pipeline without a full and comprehensive environmental impact study.

Scott Pruitt, who’s vigorously tried to dismantle environmental regulations and downsize the agency, has also attempted to undermine environmental enforcement actions by the Justice Department. He removed critical climate change and global warming information on the agencies website and ordered employees to not use those words or speak on those issues. Coupled with the attacks on President Obama’s Clean Water Act, the opening of America’s oceans and wilderness areas to oil exploration, and the trump administrations plans to hand over America’s public lands and National Monuments and Parks to fossil fuel and mining interests, these anti-conservatives will single-handedly attempt to reverse much of the progress made since the early days of the environmental movement.

No National Park or Monument or section of public land, set aside over the centuries by past presidents, is safe from these evildoers. Many of the regulations and protections proposed and passed for our environment and public lands were both Republican and conservative bipartisan initiatives. But this administration is not interested in protecting Americans, their environment or their National treasures, only in paying back their omnipotent campaign donors like the Koch brothers.

How far has this Ult Right, alternative reality, alternative fact collection of anti-conservatives, drifted from the Grand Old Party? The 1956 Republican Party Platform is but a distant memory.

Americans overwhelmingly believe in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, believe health care is a right, not a privilege, believe in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid for those who need it, believe in protecting our environment – our air and water, believe in sensible regulations, want work place protections for workers, believe Dreamers should be protected and offered a path to citizenship, want our National Parks and Monuments preserved, not exploited for private corporate gain and believe in a fair tax system, not one heavily favoring the rich and politically connected.

These Ult Right, flag waving Republi-con pseudo Constitutional purists  don’t believe in responsible governance or, for that matter, in government at all, don’t believe in entitlement programs or welfare, don’t believe in fair play or a level playing field, couldn’t care less about America’s ballooning income inequality, don’t really believe in Democratic principles and honestly believe political compromise in any form is just total capitulation.

This Ult Right only lauds our founding fathers, their Democratic blueprints – our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, if it suits their political agenda. They tout States Rights when the Federal Government finds it necessary to step into the fray to protect American’s rights, as they did during the Civil Rights movement in the South. But then extol Federal supremacy, when Progressive States find it necessary to protect their citizens from Federal malfeasance like the trump administrations attacks on environmental and workplace regulations and policies; or when cities or States attempt any sensible gun regulations.

Their latest vitriol is directed at the First Amendment. Republican Senator Jeff Flake took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this week to call out trump for constantly referring to the media as “enemies of the people,” and to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Flake opened with the Declaration of Independence, by saying Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident”. He said trump infamously uses words spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. He said: “it bears noting that so fraught with malice, the phrase “enemy of the people,” that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party, that the phrase was introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

He also quoted a John F. Kennedy speech for the 20th anniversary of The Voice Of America. “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let it’s people judge the truth and falsehoods in an open market, is a nation afraid of its people. He said a free press is not the enemy of the people. Despotism is the enemy of the people and a free press is the despots enemy. He referred to George Orwell’s book 1984 and said Orwell warned: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Based on the number of lies trump has told (over 2,000 since entering the White House) and the fairy tales that his cabinet, the Republican controlled congress and his supporters have applauded, excused and disregarded, the GOP is in for a whole bunch of hate, especially from the trump voters who were hoodwinked and who may come to their senses before the 2018 mid-term elections.

The Republi-con “family values platform”, arguably always a false identity, has been blown apart. To support a president who’s so far removed from Christian doctrine and the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ, is not family values. And wayward Evangelicals have cast their lot with a devilish messiah who may deliver them unto oblivion. The latest blasphemy exhibited by prominent Evangelical leaders was exposed by the Wall Street Journal this week. To excuse and justify the $130,000 payment to a porn star to cover up a year long affair while trump was married to Melania and just after she gave birth to their son is the height of hypocrisy. These same religious popinjays spent years preachifying about Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.

trump’s attempts at reimaging, this pandering political party of the rich and powerful and multi-national, connected corporations, with a phony populist agenda, is laughable, if it weren’t so destructive. Supporting the Koch Brothers anti-labor ALEC legislative agenda breaks every promise he made to desperate rust belt workers during the election. And for con-man-in-chief trump to offer false hope to out of work steel workers and coal miners shackled to a dying industry is beyond cruel.

trump has no core set of beliefs, no modicum of integrity; he cares for no one but himself. His egocentric self obsession is boundless. He only admires people who’ve amassed fortunes, no matter how they attained that wealth, and dismisses and devalues anyone who labors for a paycheck.

Nothing is normal, or traditional or conservative about this president, his Ult Right administration or the Republi-con controlled congress. Those who’ve attempted to normalize trump’s un-presidential antics, his immoral character flaws, his obsession with undermining everything President Obama accomplished, his unfailing allegiance to Vladimir Putin and the Russians, his infatuation with autocratic despots and  anti-democratic fiat, and his self dealing and conflicted and criminal business ethics – will regret, like the dozens of folks already expelled from his administration, any association with this trump travesty.

America will survive trump but the GOP and the Christian Right may not.

Donald J. Trump May Be Enshrined in American History as The Tarriest of Political Tarbabys


Donald J. Trump May Be Enshrined in American History as The Tarriest of Political Tarbabys

John Hanno           October 31, 2017

The list of folks who probably wished they never associated with Trump, his campaign, or his administration grows daily. The latest I’m sure, are Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. Trump’s entire administration and campaign team have had to hire personal legal defense. During the entire 8-year Obama Administration, not one single person was embroiled in scandal or had to hire defense lawyers.

During a news conference on July 22, 2016, Trump said Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and assistant chairman Rick Gates “were doing a fantastic job” and had earlier called Papadopoulos an “oil and gas consultant and an excellent guy.”

These first indictments appear just the beginning. The allegations against Manafort and Gates look iron clad and serious enough to induce their full cooperation in the possible implication and prosecution of others. And Papadopoulos’s guilty plea, in the works since July, ratted out other campaign operatives.

What implores these people to sell their souls to a devil like Trump? Is it the money; most of them are already wealthy beyond reason? Is no amount of wealth enough for them? Or are they attracted to the absolute power of the American presidency?

Trump’s stated goal is to “Make America Great Again” but everything he’s done, every executive order he’s signed has done just the opposite. He and the Republi-cons in congress have tried to make American’s sicker again by attacking the ACA and taking health care away from the 10’s of millions of poor Americans who finally acquired health insurance under Obama.

Its attack on the Consumer Protection Agency and its handouts to Wall Street will make most Americans poorer. They’ve made America’s air and water dirtier and more detrimental to its citizens. It works day and night proposing ways to plunder America’s natural resources and national treasures and turn them over to profit seeking fossil fuel and mining interests.

It’s proposed tax bill, will attempt to make incredibly rich people and corporations even richer. And it will starve the federal governments ability to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. It’s policies will take power and resources away from workers, organized labor, consumers and anyone who supports the Democrats and their progressive agenda to rebuild our middle class.

Its obvious their main goal is to reverse every progressive accomplishment of the Obama Administration. And at the same time, to “Make Trump Inc. Great Again.”

Most of us, including progressive Democrats, critical thinkers, cheated business acquaintances of Trump, folks who bought into the bogus Trump University, women subjected to Trump’s sexual abuse, unrepentant Never Trumpers, and most of the rest of the entire world, saw the tar right from the start. Trump clearly showed us “who he really was”; and the dubious types he admired, praised and brought into his campaign and administration emphasized his flawed morality and character.

The swamp he promised to drain was obviously just another blatant Trump campaign lie. And the conflicts and mingling of his questionable business empire with his Executive Branch responsibilities, which he quite publicly promised to separate, was never perfected.

The Republican’s wholly tainted by Trumpism, are for the most part hanging on for dear life, hoping to rehabilitate their damaged reputations with their mythical tax reform legislation. They’re looking for a brier patch to escape into but the options are limited at this late date. A very few of the Republicans in Congress have managed to extricate themselves from the dirty tarbaby. Sen. John McCain, never a Trump fan, finally stood up and decided to make peace with his conscience before he meets his maker. Sen. Bob Corker, a principled conservative, decided that two 6-year senate terms were enough, and is attempting to clean his moral slate during the balance of his term. Sen. Jeff Flake, another principled conservative and very popular in his caucus, decided one term is all he could stomach when someone like Trump was steering the party into the abyss.

As the chips continue to fall, maybe others in congress will come to Jesus. There’s a good chance the promised monumental tax reform Trump and the Republi-cons promise will be as successful as their 7 year campaign to repeal President Obama and the Democrats efforts to heal our sick health care system.

Many of us, soon after Trump was elected but long before he took office, realized these Republi-cons would get drunk on their newfound power trifecta and couldn’t help but overreach. The insane promises this radical right cabal trumpeted during and since the campaign sealed their legislative fate long before the first vote was cast. The promises were so far removed from reality that even Trump’s bamboozled base supporters are even now beginning to drift back to Earth.

The Putinistic propaganda being spewed from the White House, from spokes-person Sarah Huckabee Sanders and from the ult-right media, rings more incredulous every day. Attempting to shift the focus from Trump’s Russia thing to Hillary’s Russia thing will fail on the facts Mr. Mueller and his team are uncovering by the hour.

Still, I can’t understand, that in spite of Trump’s historically low approval ratings, why are more than 80 percent of Republicans still solidly behind him. What will it take to finally turn his supporters from co-indicted treasonous co-conspirators into the courageous American patriots they pretend to be.

I can’t even imagine the hue and cry from the Republi-cons in congress if an Obama or Clinton Administration were implicated in 1/10th the scandals and conspiracies as Trump World. Articles of Impeachment would have already issued from every Republi-con controlled congressional committee.

When all is said and done, the list of criminal conduct and conspiracy will be impressive and substantial. But Robert Mueller may have a legal tight rope to walk, so that all the work his investigative team undertakes getting to the bottom of Putin’s attack on our Democracy, and the Trump campaign’s collusion, couldn’t be undone by pardons from Trump. Mr. Mueller may have to somehow slow-walk some of the prosecutions until after Trump is impeached, in order to bring all these criminals to justice.

John Hanno