A Few Advanced Search Tips

The Internet Archive’s search engine is based on Elastic Search and implemented by Aaron Ximm.  Learning how to use the search engine can help using the website, but also using the command line tools for working with the Internet Archive.  Here are some tips.

It is capable of searching in just one collection:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=Casey%20Jones%20AND%20collection%3AGratefulDead

or with a particular field set, like just searching for Patsy Montana in the 78rpm collection:
https://archive.org/details/78rpm?and[]=creator:%22patsy%20montana%22

There is title, creator, date, year, description, and many other metadata fields that can be found by looking at a particular item’s metadata like so:
https://archive.org/metadata/78_give-me-a-home-in-montana_patsy-montana-the-prairie-ramblers_gbia0005195b/metadata

Searching for external-identifiers is tricky because of dealing with the embedded colons, which can throw off the parsing of the search string. If you’re looking for a specific full external-identifier, you can “escape” the colons by enclosing the target value in double quotes, like this:

https://archive.org/details/georgeblood?&and[]=external-identifier%3A%22urn%3Apubcat%3Ano-publisher%3A39981%22

but if you want to use a wildcard, you have to drop the double quotes. in that case, you need to remove any embedded colons by replacing them with `*`, like this:

https://archive.org/details/georgeblood?&and[]=external-identifier:urn*pubcat*no-publisher*399*

ISBN Searching: https://archive.org/search.php?query=isbn%3A9780964015319 but they can also be in related-external-identifiers if you want to find different editions that are fundamentally the same (thank you to oclc’s xisbn service for the help there).

LCCN searching: https://archive.org/search.php?query=lccn%3A94072390

OCLC numbers are in two places, but mostly: https://archive.org/search.php?query=oclc-id%3A31773958

Dates: If you want to find a book with a particular date in the date field: https://archive.org/details/Boston_College_Library?&and[]=date:1914

If you want to find all books that have a date in the date field: https://archive.org/details/Boston_College_Library?&and[]=date:*

All books that do not have any date field: https://archive.org/details/Boston_College_Library?&and[]=NOT%20date:*

You can also search by the number of bytes in an item: e.g.

https://archive.org/details/georgeblood?&and[]=item_size:[300000000%20TO%201000000000]%20AND%20publicdate:[2017-04-30%20TO%202099-01-01]

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Early Macintosh Emulation Comes to the Archive

After offering in-browser emulation of console games, arcade machines, and a range of other home computers, the Internet Archive can now emulate the early models of the Apple Macintosh, the black-and-white, mouse driven computer that radically shifted the future of home computing in 1984.

While there are certainly predecessors to the computer desktop paradigm, the introduction of the Macintosh brought it to a mass market and in the 30 years since, it has been steadily adapted by every major computing platform and operating system.

The first set of emulated Macintosh software is located in this collection. This is a curated presentation of applications, games, and operating systems from 1984-1989.

If you’ve not experienced the original operating system for the Macintosh family of computers, it’s an interesting combination of well-worn conventions in the modern world, along with choices that might seem strange or off-the-mark. At the time the machine was released, however, they landed new ideas in the hands of a worldwide audience and gained significant fans and followers almost immediately.

The story of the creation of the operating system and the Macintosh itself are covered in many collections at the Archive, including this complete run of Macworld magazine and these deep-dive Macintosh books.

As for the programs currently presented, they are in many cases applications that have survived to the present day in various forms, or are the direct ancestors.

While it is a (warning) 40 megabyte download, this compilation of System 7.0.1 includes a large variety of software programs and a rather rich recreation of the MacOS experience of 1991.

Enjoy this (9-inch, black and white) window into computer history!

Many people worked very hard to bring this emulation system to bear: Hampa Hug created PCE (the original Macintosh emulator program). Experiments and work by James Friend (PCE.js) and Marcio T. (Retroweb) ported PCE to javascript via Emscripten. They all provided continued assistance as the Emularity team approached refining the emulator to work within the Archive’s framework. Much work was done by Daniel Brooks, Phil-el, James Baicoianu, and Vitorio Miliano, with Daniel Brooks putting in multiple weeks of refinement.

Posted in Emulation, News, Software Archive | 15 Comments

From Spicer to wiretapping to Sweden: does TV news fuel political rhetoric?

Cross posted from MediaShift.

A few hours after after Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, compared Syrian President Bashar Assad to Adolf Hitler, saying, “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II…You had … someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” the media speculation began. Where did Spicer get the idea to compare Assad to Hitler?

On Twitter, a liberal blogger named Yashar Ali pointed to a Fox News segment that had aired on April 10, featuring a Skype interview with Kassim Eid, a Syrian activist who has written about surviving an earlier gas attack, seen below on the TV News Archive. Eid said, “He displaced half of the country. He destroyed the country. He gassed women and children. Who can be worse than him? He’s worse than Hitler.”

Ali’s tweet was picked up later that afternoon by NJ.com in a report about the social media criticism following Spicer’s statement. At 4:50 p.m., Charlie Warzel, a reporter for BuzzFeed, posted a piece hypothesizing that the Fox Business News interview might have been the inspiration for Spicer’s statement.

Of course only Spicer himself knows if the Fox News report inspired his statement, which he eventually apologized for after several hours of harsh criticism. After all, he is certainly not the first public official to run into trouble when making statements about Hitler.
In an era where news no longer solely arrives on newsprint on front doorsteps, tracing the provenance of a statement, idea, story, or report across media platforms–social media, television, news websites–has become a common pursuit. This has been, perhaps, fueled by the president, who has made such references himself.

As a library, the Internet Archive can help. Our Wayback Machine preserves websites online, with more than 286 million websites saved overtime. And our TV News Archive provides an online, public library with 1.3 million shows and counting. Here we have the original source for many types of statements by public officials: news conferences, appearances before congressional committees, appearances on TV news shows, and more. The 60-second segment format allows for editing your own clips up to three minutes long and makes them shareable on social media and embeddable on websites.

For example, in February, Trump made a reference at a Florida rally about Sweden: “Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” Fact- checkers reported that nothing had happened in Sweden the night before.

Trump later tweeted, however, that his statement about Swedish problems was inspired by Fox News report.

In that report, Fox showed an interview by a Swedish film maker, Ami Horowitz, who asserts that refugees are responsible for “an absolute surge in both gun violence and rape in Sweden once they began this open door policy.”

Robert Farley, a reporter for FactCheck.org, wrote that this claim is contested by “Swedish authorities and criminologists.”

Several weeks later, Trump credited a “talented legal mind” on Fox news as the source for his March 2017 tweet accusing former President Barack Obama ordering wiretapping of Trump tower during the presidential election.

Following Trump’s statement, Shepard Smith, chief news anchor for Fox News, said that “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napalitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the president of the united states was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.”

The question of how political rhetoric travels across media platforms goes far beyond the Trump administration. Media researchers are developing methodologies to track messages and stories as they travel across the news ecosphere. Understanding these phenomenon is essential in figuring out effective ways to improve overall media literacy and fight the spread of misinformation.

As an early experiment in making such research easier, we’ve been developing hand-curated collections of statements by public officials, starting with the Trump Archive and now branching out to creating archives (still in development) for the congressional leadership on both sides of the party aisle: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D., N.Y.; House Speaker Paul Ryan, R., Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif.

We’re working now to develop partnerships to use machine learning approaches, such as speaker identification and natural language processing, to make our resources more useful for researchers. Ultimately, we’ll improve search to make it simpler to search across our different collections and types of media.

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TV News highlights: Hitler, Syria, NATO, and more

By Katie Dahl

This week our round up of fact-checks of TV appearances by public officials includes: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claim that Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on his own people; how President Donald Trump’s strategy on Syrian airstrikes varies from former President Barack Obama’s; the increased use by the U.S. Senate of the filibuster; whether NATO has been fighting terrorism; and the state of Social Security disability insurance.

Claim: Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on his own people (pants on fire)

In a White House press briefing on Tuesday, April 11, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the U.S. airstrikes on Syria, saying, “someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” Later in the same briefing, a reporter asked him to clarify his comment. He said, “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no … he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. I mean, there was clearly … there was not — in the — he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that.”

For PolitiFact, Jon Greenberg labeled the statement “pants on fire.” He reported that Hitler did use chemical weapons during World War II, “they pumped hydrogen cyanide gas into the killing rooms packed with Jews, Roma, and others singled out for extermination by Nazi leaders. At concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Sachsenhausen, Jews were taken from cattle cars and forced into ‘showers,’ where guards released the gas.” Greenberg went on to write, “Spicer appears to be trying to limit his definition of chemical weapons to those dropped from planes or fired through cannons, as Assad has been alleged to have done. That sells short the definition in the Chemical Weapons Convention…” He also noted: “… Spicer’s qualification that Hitler didn’t use them on his “own people,” overlooks that German Jews were full citizens until they had their rights stripped away by Hitler’s totalitarian regime.”

At FactCheck.org, Robert Farley and Lori Robertson reported that the Nazis stockpiled chemical weapons: “[W]hile Hitler never employed them in battle, historians say that was largely for tactical reasons.” Farley and Robertson also detailed how Spicer’s comment inspired a series of online fake news reports, including several manufactured Spicer quotes.

Since the briefing, Spicer has apologized on CNN, Fox, and twice on MSNBC.

Claim:  Obama’s proposed Syrian airstrike was different from Trump’s actual airstrike (false)

Asked by a reporter how the Syrian airstrike was different than the one former President Barack Obama proposed in 2013 after a chemical attack, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., said,“Secretary Kerry… said it would sort of be like a pinprick… this was a strike that was well-planned, well-executed, went right to the heart of the matter, which is using chemical weapons.” Sen. Marco Rubio, R., Fla., made a similar claim, saying Obama “had no clear objective.”

Robert Farley reported “what Obama proposed to Congress back in 2013 was very similar in scope to the attack on Syria undertaken by Trump. In a televised address, Obama called for ‘a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.’”

Lauren Carroll reported for PolitiFact that there are plenty of similarities: “Both [Barack and Trump] describe sending a message to Assad that chemical weapons use is unacceptable. Both involve a targeted attack plan designed to degrade Assad’s chemical weapon capabilities by taking out related facilities and resources.”

Claim: there were more filibusters for Obama nominees than in all U.S. history (half true)

Asked about Democrats’ role in increasing use of filibusters, Sen. Ben Cardin, D., Md., said “We’ve seen more filibusters on judicial nominees by the Republicans under President Obama than we saw in the whole history of the United States Senate. Both sides have blame here.”

Allison Graves reported for PolitiFact: “[M]easuring filibusters is troublesome, experts say, because it has an overly broad meaning. Senators tend to consider any type of obstruction to scheduling a nomination or measure as a filibuster, said Steven Smith, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.” According to the Congressional Research Service, Graves concluded “Cardin is off.” But Graves also wrote that Cardin has a point: “Less than one nominee per year was subject to a cloture filing in the 40 years before Obama took office. From 2009-13, the number of nominees subject to a cloture filing jumped to over seven per year.”

Claim: NATO didn’t fight terrorism, now it does (factually incorrect)

At a press conference on April 12 with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said,”The secretary general and I had a productive conversation about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago, and they made a change. Now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported that “NATO has been involved in counterterrorism since 1980, and especially since 9/11.”

Lauren Carroll wrote for PolitiFact that “the premise leading to Trump’s change of heart — the idea that he prompted NATO to start fighting terrorism — is false.” She described NATO’s involvement in fighting terrorism this way, “NATO has been actively dealing with terrorism since the 1980s. And since 9/11, it has played a significant role in the War on Terror, including deploying troops in Afghanistan for more than a decade.”

Claim: Social Security disability insurance grew under Obama, is wasteful (three Pinocchios)

Asked whether the president was “revising his thinking” on Medicare and Social Security, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “Let me ask you a question: Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so. It’s the fastest growing program. It grew tremendously under President Obama. It’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”

For The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Lee reported that pointing to the growth in Social Security disability insurance under Obama is “misleading.” She noted, “The program did grow since 1996, but a lot of that had to do with the shifting demographics of Americans who rely on the program.” She also reported that it’s a “stretch” to call the program wasteful: “overpayments represented less than 1 percent of total disability outlays [from 2011 to 2015].”

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Who Blocked the Archive in Jordan?

A new article at the Jordanian news site 7iber.com by Reem Al-Masri tells the story of how the Archive was blocked in the country of Jordan last year and came to be unblocked. Al-Masri highlights many of the problems inherent in the general Jordanian legal approach to censoring sites. Indeed, government censorship is an extremely worrisome issue in and of itself. But, the specific instance of archive.org’s block is all the more extraordinary because it appears to have been enacted outside of the established Jordanian legal process.

Jordanian law currently empowers a single body to issue a block order, the Jordanian Media Commission. Based on evidence from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and various user reports, it’s clear that archive.org was blocked some time in 2016. However, the Media Commission denies ever issuing a block order for archive.org or knowing why it was blocked. Fortunately, the block was lifted not long after we contacted the Media Commission (again, we don’t know how or why as the Commission has not responded to our inquiries on these points).

But if the Commission didn’t block us, is there another entity in the Jordanian government that did so extralegally? And what was the reason for the block? Right now we are in the dark, but as Al-Masri sums up in her article: “what we know is that there is a parallel window for blocking websites, through which an ‘invisible hand’ practices its authority and draws for us the Internet that it wants us to use, without any accountability.”

We hope this incident will help increase awareness of online censorship in Jordan and everywhere it occurs and how it often leads to the blocking not only specific content, but entire websites (or in our case, an entire library) with no notification or explanation. It also serves as an example of how the practical limits of authority to block sites may not always end where we are told that they will by the law and politicians’ proposals.

We want to thank Reem Al-Masri, 7iber, Citizen Lab and everyone who helped us identify, investigate, and draw attention to the block.

Posted in Announcements, News | 3 Comments

TV News highlights: stimulus package, global food demand, carbon emissions, and more

By Katie Dahl

In this week’s TV News highlight reel, fact-checkers looked into claims about construction projects resulting from former President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, global food demand, carbon emissions, a state law that may seem counter to federal law on health care protections, and how the unemployment rate is actually calculated.

Claim: Nothing was built as a result of the stimulus package (mostly false)

In a town hall for CEOs at the White House, President Donald Trump made these comments about former President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. “You know, there was a very large infrastructure bill that was approved during the Obama administration, a trillion dollars. Nobody ever saw anything being built. I mean, to this day, I haven’t heard of anything that’s been built. They used most of that money—it went and they used it on social programs and we want this to be on infrastructure.”

FactCheck.org’s Robert Farley reported that “Trump distorted the facts about President Obama’s stimulus package,” of which infrastructure projects was just one part: “[T]he overriding goal…which Trump praised at the time—was to jump-start the economy through a combination of tax cuts to spur spending, federal contracts and grants to create private-sector jobs, and federal aid to local and state governments to ease the effects of the Great Recession.”

Jon Greenberg and Louis Jacobson wrote for PolitiFact, “the idea that nothing was built is wrong. Among many other projects, the Recovery Act helped push to completion the $1 billion DFW Connector highway in Dallas-Fort Worth; a $650 million elevated truck route to the Port of Tampa; a new Cleveland Interbelt Bridge; a tunnel connecting Oakland and Contra Costa County, Calif.; a veterans’ facility at Fort Bliss in Texas; and new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard.”

Claim: Global food demand is expected to increase by 50-90 percent by 2050 (mostly true)

On March 21, National Agriculture Day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that exports from “farm production have been declining due to unwise trade policies.” He juxtaposed that with a prediction, “Global food demand is expected to increase by 50 to 97 percent by 2050.”

Gabrielle Healy reported for PolitiFact, “Both the data the White House showed us and research we found supports the claim that food demand will increase in the coming decades. Yet estimates vary surrounding the level to which it will increase.” A study in the journal Agricultural Economics, as reported by Healy, “stated food demand might increase by 59 percent to 98 percent between 2005 and 2050.” She reported on another study connected with National Academy of Sciences, which said “crop demand might rise by 100 to 110 percent between 2005 and 2050.”

Claim: Fracking helped reduce carbon emissions (yes, and)

On a Sunday program on Fox NEWS, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said about carbon emissions, “we are pre-1994 levels, and do you know why? Largely because of innovation and technology, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, because there’s been a conversion to natural gas in the generation of electricity.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker confirmed Pruitt’s claim about overall emissions levels being at pre-1994 levels, but pointed out these are not only due to greater reliance on natural gas and fracking: “The [Energy Information Administration] attributes reduction in coal emissions to the switch from coal-powered plants to more efficient natural-gas-powered plants, and the growth in renewable energy (especially wind and solar).”

Claim: In NY you can’t be charged more for health care because of your age (true)

On CNN, discussing a key element of the failed American Health Care Act plan, Rep. Chris Collins, R., N.Y., asserted, “In New York under our state insurance commissioner, we have what we call a one to one. You cannot charge an older person even one dollar more than a younger person.”

Dan Clark reported for PoltiFact, “New York state has had what’s called a ‘community rating’ model of health insurance since 1993. It requires health insurance companies to charge the same price for coverage in select regions regardless of age, gender, occupation or health status.”

Clark also examined whether federal law could override this state law. According to Rachel Morgan of the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Federal law preempts state law, but sometimes it creates a floor instead of a ceiling for actions that can be taken by the states…” Clark concluded, “The floor, in this case, is the federal cap on age-based health care premiums. New York state’s law stands because its added restriction does not change federal law but supplements it.”

Claim: When you give up looking for a job, you’re statistically considered employed (false)

Again speaking at the town hall for CEOs, President Trump said, “When you look for a job, you can’t find it and you give up, you are now considered statistically employed. But I don’t consider those people employed.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler explained, “In the most common unemployment rate, known as the U-3, you are considered unemployed only if you are actively looking for a job.” But goes on to report, “You are not considered ‘statistically employed’” if you have given up looking, but still want to be working. “[Y]ou are considered not in the labor force.”

Greenberg and Jacobson added, “There is an official statistical category for people who want and look for a job but then give up: They are called ‘discouraged workers.’ Specifically, these people ‘want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months’ but are ‘not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify.’” This subset of people who want jobs and have stopped looking make up “only about one-half of 1 percent of the ‘out of work’ Americans Trump seems to have been referring to.”

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Internet Archive to help First Draft News debunk fake news

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with First Draft News, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to ferreting out misinformation online.

In its short existence–it was founded in June 2015–First Draft News has already spearheaded innovative projects that bring together news organizations, social technology companies, and human rights organizations to verify the information that flows to online audiences. First Draft also helps define the problem: in February, Claire Wardle, the group’s research director, published a helpful taxonomy of the different types of fake news and misinformation that proliferate online.

Example: with French elections fast approaching on April 23, 2017, First Draft News launched CrossCheck, a project combining the efforts of more than 37 newsroom partners, as well as journalism students across France and beyond. They’ve been working together to debunk false rumors and news reports in a much-watched contest pitting the far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen against centrist Emmanuel Macron, defender of the European Union, as well as other candidates.

This partnership has quashed reports that 30 percent of Macron’s campaign funding comes from Saudi Arabia, that France is spending 100 million euros to buy hotels to house immigrants, and that the country is planning to replace Christian public holidays with Muslim and Jewish holidays, plus many more. These false stories had been shared thousands of times on social media.

When the elections are over, First Draft News will research whether CrossCheck’s efforts were effective, or how they may be modified to become more so. “CrossCheck is a living laboratory,” says Aimee Rinehart, manager of First Draft’s Partner Network. Wardle will lead the efforts to determine whether the CrossCheck model, where several news organizations sign off on a fact-check or verification, builds public trust in the media, an increasing problem worldwide.

Already, First Draft News partners rely heavily on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to verify information online. With our new collaboration, we hope to increase use of other Internet Archive resources, including our searchable collection of TV news and curated archives such as the Trump Archive, with its linked fact-checks by national fact checking organizations. We also hope the collaboration provides valuable input for our plans to apply more tools of machine learning to the TV News Archive that could help inform reliable news reporting in the future.

Posted in Announcements, News, Television Archive, Wayback Machine - Web Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

TV News highlights: sanctuary cities, cabinet wealth, and more

By Katie Dahl

In our weekly highlights reel of fact-checked TV appearances by public officials, we feature our fact-checking partners’ reports on sanctuary cities, what Roger Stone knew about the Podesta emails, the financial wealth of Trump’s cabinet, the loss of U.S. factories as a result of China joining the World Trade Organization, and the percentage of the Texas state budget spent on Medicaid.

Claim: 80% of Americans oppose sanctuary cities (depends on the question)

On March 27, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy: the U.S. Department of Justice would start holding back funding from cities–known as “sanctuary cities–that don’t enforce immigration law. In doing so, he cited public opinion polling: “According to one recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for a crime should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has also used this statistic.

Providing context, Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “There’s no perfect polling question, and we recognize sanctuary policies and immigration detainers are not easily distilled into one question.” She noted that other polls show that “when specifically asked about pulling federal funding from sanctuary cities” just 42 percent of Americans agreed. She also pointed out that the 80 percent figure comes from a poll using an opt-in Web panel sample, “which we often warn readers against relying on” unless other measures have proven it accurate over time.

Claim: Roger Stone predicted John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack (no evidence)

At a hearing on March 20, Rep. Adam, Schiff, D., Calif., said, “Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published, and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?”

Writing for FactCheck.org, Robert Farley reports that one of these assertions is not established fact: “There is nothing in the public record so far that proves Stone, a political operative and longtime Trump associate, predicted the Podesta email hack…”

“Stone says his Aug. 21 tweet about Podesta—that it would soon be Podesta’s ‘time in the barrel’ — had nothing to do with hacked emails, though. Two days prior, Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, quit the campaign amid media reports about prior business dealings with Russia-aligned leaders in Ukraine. Stone said he was aware that Podesta also had business ties to Russia, and that journalists were beginning to look into those. That’s what prompted the tweet, he said.”

Claim: Trump cabinet worth more than 100 million Americans (mostly true)

While talking about the president’s budget proposal and calling into question his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D., N.Y., claimed that “if you add up the net wealth of his cabinet, it has more wealth than a third of the American people total–close to 100 million people.”

PolitiFact’s Jana Heigl reported that although “[i]t is impossible to calculate the exact net wealth of Trump’s cabinet… It also doesn’t really matter how rich Trump’s cabinet members exactly are.” According to Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of Berkeley, “‘The bottom one-third of American households ranked by wealth own approximately nothing.’” Heigl added that it’s “‘because some either have a very low or even negative net wealth, due to high debt.’” She concluded “‘it does not take a lot to ‘have more wealth than a third of the American people,’ like Schumer claimed, Zuchman added.”

Claim: U.S. lost 60,000 factories since China joined WTO (mostly true)

During a speech in Louisville, Ky., President Donald Trump claimed: “Since China joined—that’s another beauty—the WTO in 2001, the U.S. has lost many more than 60,000 factories.”

Lauren Carroll reported for PolitiFact that “the United States has, in fact, lost more than 60,000 factories since 2001, when China joined the WTO and became a bigger player in the world economy. And quite a few economists believe opening up trade with China has had a significant and negative effect on American manufacturing, though it’s not a universal view.” However,  economic historian Bradford DeLong with the University of California, Berkeley, told PolitiFact, “about one-tenth of factory closures over the past decade or so have had to do with China, but that would have happened whether or not China joined the WTO.”

Claim: Texas spent close to 1/3 its budget on Medicaid last year (mostly true)

While advocating the passage of the American Health Care Act, Rep. John Cornyn, R., Tex., said,  “We know that the states and the federal government spend an awful lot of money on Medicaid. In Texas, for example, my state spent close to a third of its budget on Medicaid last year, a third of all state spending.”

According to a report from the Texas Legislative Budget Board, as reported by PolitiFact’s W. Gardner Selby, “the 2016-17 Texas budget devoted $61.2 billion in funds from all sources, including state and federal aid, to Medicaid… and that amount over the two years running through August 2017 accounted for 29.3 percent of $209.1 billion in All Funds appropriations.” If you narrow the view to Texas funds spent on Medicaid, “22 percent of state funds alone was appropriated for Medicaid.”

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Books Donated for MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Challenge from BookMooch Users

Thank you, Richard from Georgia, for Theories of Development.

Thank you to the people that are starting to send books to the Internet Archive to be digitized.  The Internet Archive digitizes already, but as semifinalists for a $100million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, we are ramping up. Our proposal is to bring 4 million of the most beloved and important books to learners by helping all libraries become digital libraries.

Bookmooch is an online book exchange community whose members list what books they have and which books they want. When you send a book, you earn a point, to receive a book you spend a point. Some people have surplus points which they have generously donated to the Internet Archive to help us build our collection.

To start on our 4 million book quest we are looking at the most assigned books on course syllabi (as aggregated by the OpenSyllabus project).  We gave this list to the founder of BookMooch, John Buckman and he found 61,000 were held by community members and hundreds available right now.

Thank you, Suzanne from North Carolina, for Independence and Nationhood: Scotland, 1306-1469

The first books are starting to arrive, and there is much rejoicing!  Onward!

Thank you to Cindy from Massachusetts for Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir

Thank you, S Krashen, from California for Language Two

Posted in Announcements, News | 4 Comments

TV News highlights: NATO, Russian influence, coal miners, and more

By Katie Dahl

This week’s highlight reel of TV News moments fact-checked by our partners at PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker feature the presidential tweet during the congressional hearing about Russian influence on the election, what Germany does and doesn’t owe to NATO and the U.S., what a coal miner and single mom do and don’t pay in taxes, whether GOP amendments were included in Obamacare, and a breakdown of the statistics we’ve been hearing about the 9th Circuit.

Claim: Germany owes money to NATO and the U.S. for defense (false)

After a face-to-face meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, President Donald Trump tweeted: “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” The tweet was featured on “BBC World News Today.”

PolitiFact’s Allison Graves’ analysis was that “Trump is misunderstanding how NATO’s joint defense is paid for, and that Germany doesn’t owe anything.” She explained that “[a]s of 2014, NATO’s collective agreement directed members to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending by 2024… Trump likely was alluding to the fact Germany has not yet met the NATO target commitment for overall defense funding… Germany only pays 1.2 percent of their GDP on defense spending.” The misunderstanding was that “Germany doesn’t pay that money to NATO or the United States… [t]he United States decides what level of military spending it wants to have, as do all other NATO  members.”

Laicie Heeley, a military budget expert at the Stimson Center, a defense policy think tank, told Graves, “‘Trump seems to represent the NATO alliance as a licensing deal — one in which countries like Germany pay the United States for its power and influence…This is not the case.’”

Claim: NSA, FBI said ‘Russia did not influence electoral process’ (false)

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael S. Rogers were asked questions about Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election. While the hearing was still going on, President Trump tweeted, “NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.”

According to Eugene Kiely and Robert Farley of FactCheck.org, “that’s not what Comey or Rogers told the committee.” Lauren Carroll wrote for PolitiFact: “Comey and Rogers said they believe Russia meddled in the race leading up to Election Day, chiefly by cyber-infiltrating the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations. Contrary to Trump’s tweet, they also said the intelligence community did not assess whether Russia’s actions actually had a measurable impact on the election outcome or public opinion.”

The president’s tweet itself became part of the hearing: “When later asked about the presidential tweet, Comey said it did not reflect what he and Rogers had said: ‘It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today,’” reported Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.

Claim: Coal miners and single moms pay for public broadcasting (it’s $.20 and $0)

While talking about the president’s proposed budget cuts, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asked, “can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

By asking the question, he seemed to insinuate that coal miners and single moms pay for public broadcasting now. Kessler looked at the numbers using the H&R Block tax calculator and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that “single mothers in Detroit, most of whom are living in poverty, likely pay no taxes at all and instead would be receiving funds from the U.S. government via the Earned Income Tax Credit.” And in three examples of coal mining jobs, Kessler reported that a coal miner “owed no income taxes,” a loading machine operator “paid about 20 cents of his taxes to the CPB,” and supervisors of production workers “paid 60 cents.”

Claim: Hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted in Obamacare (half true)

During a conversation about political maneuvering and obstructionism related to the proposed American Health Care Act, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D., Ill., defended the actions of Democrats offering amendments and said “hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted in the ACA.”

Reporting for PolitiFact, Gabrielle Healy found “788 amendments were submitted during the ACA’s markup in the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee (HELP). Three quarters of them were filed by the committee’s Republican members… Of those, 161 were adopted in whole or revised form.” She also noted that many of the Republican amendments were “technical in nature.” An expert, “Timothy Jost, emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law,” told her that ‘the basic statement that hundreds were adopted is wrong.’”

Claim: less than 1/10 of 1 percent of 9th Circuit decisions are overturned by the Supreme Court (not very helpful)

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been in the news recently because of its decision to halt the president’s travel ban executive order. President Trump said in a news conference last month that “80 percent” of the court’s decisions are overturned. Then more recently, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D., Mich., used a very different figure, saying “less than one-tenth of one percent of 9th Circuit decisions are overturned.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported “it’s more complicated than that… Most cases reviewed by the Supreme Court get reversed, so the number or rate of reversals is not necessarily reflective of the court’s performance.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker also reported that in: “the 2014-2015 term, the 9th Circuit’s reversal rate was about 60 percent, below the average rate of 72 percent. In the 2015-2016 term, the latest year of data available, the 9th Circuit court’s reversal rate was 80 percent, and the average rate was 67 percent. This is the figure that Trump cites. …But the 80 percent figure represents a small fraction of the cases that the 9th Circuit hears in a given term — roughly one-tenth of 1 percent. This is the figure that Conyers cites.” In the end, Lee wrote, the statistics both Trump and Conyers used “[do] not add much to the debate,” because they “lack context.”

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