Hillary Clinton Sold The Russians 20% of The US's Uranium

What we have here is one of the most valuable sorts of lies on the market: the sort of lie that is based in something that is true, then twisted into intense falsehood. These lies are really useful for propagandists because they know that most people who are inclined to believe the lie (that is to say, in this case, "already hate Hillary") aren't necessarily going to dig very deep, or even really even try to disprove a claim they want to believe.

You can easily find that 20% of the USA's uranium was sold recently, and that is factual enough to fully flesh this thing out. Hillary did it, she's the one who's really in bed with Putin, LOCK HER UP.

The truth of this uranium sale is a little more complicated than Alex Jones or the anti-Hillary crowd would have you believe.

Here is the basic truth that is inevitably twisted by right wing propaganda: In 2010, 20% of the uranium located within the United States became the property of Rosatom, Russia's nuclear agency. If that sounds scary, that makes sense, but when you realize what was actually happening, it becomes less so.

For one, the uranium was located inside the USA, but it was not owned by the US government, or even an American-owned company. As such, it was not the government's to buy and sell. It was the property of a company called Uranium One.

(Side note: Russia does not need "our" uranium. In terms of known deposits of uranium, Russia contains twice what the US does, according to the World Nuclear Association. We should be worried if they try to buy up Australia's uranium, which comprises almost 30% of the worlds known deposits. We probably don't have to worry about that because it looks like India is going to snatch up most of it to run their 20 very safe nuclear power plants.)

Secondly, Uranium One was a Canadian-based mining company. Their involvement in this deal was not that they sold actual uranium to Russians, but that Rosatom bought out 51% controlling interest in Uranium One. So technically, the Russian nuclear agency has a controlling interest in a Canadian mining operation that owns 20% of the uranium that has been found in our country.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Hillary Clinton did not set up this deal, and she could not have stopped it even if she had wanted to. That authority does not belong to the Secretary of State. The only reason she has anything to do with this at all is that she, as Secretary of State, was one of nine members of the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States (or CFIUS) who were tasked with reviewing the transaction due to the fact that it involved the transfer of a material deemed "relevant to national security."

The way the CFIUS works is that these nine people, the heads of the prominent cabinet departments, hear reports submitted to them regarding foreign interests purchasing things/companies in the US (and sometimes even not in the US). They research and deliberate, only weighing national security considerations, and then brief the president, who can choose to let the transaction proceed or, if there's an issue, halt it. In 2016, Barack Obama did just that, stopping a Chinese company from buying a Dutch company that produced microchips, out of a concern that they were doing so for nefarious reasons.

So, at this point, its pretty clear that 1) Hillary Clinton did not personally have anything to do with any sale of uranium, 2) the uranium wasn't "ours" to begin with, and 3) this isn't even about the sale of uranium, it's about a merger.

There are other lies regarding the alleged payout of $141 million that was made to the Clinton Foundation to facilitate this deal, and the reality is that timing just does not match up for this quid-pro-quo idea to make sense. $131.3 million of the donations did come from a founder of Uranium One, but he had sold off all his stake in the company three years prior to the merger.

We would go further into depth about this supposed money trail, but it feels kind of superfluous. The following is an argument for why this is not a bribery opportunity that anyone would act on:

  1. Hillary Clinton personally could not have had any impact on whether or not the purchase of controlling interest in Uranium One was approved or not by the CFIUS.
  2. If someone has no personal impact on a decision, it is incredibly unlikely (and just bad business) that someone would bribe them regarding that decision.
  3. Therefore, it is incredibly unlikely (and would just be bad business) that someone would bribe Hillary Clinton about the purchase of controlling interest in Uranium One.

If, in spite of this, you still want to posit that a company would pay $141 million to the Clinton Foundation for a bribe that Hillary clearly could not have delivered on, I suppose you can make that claim. I just don't think that anyone in business would be that dumb and nonstrategic.

In closing, it is worth noting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an agency completely independent from Hillary Clinton, approved the deal as well.

The Media Was "About To Release" A Tape of Trump Saying The N-Word

On the January 16th edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex was on the road, ostensibly in preparation for the upcoming inauguration. A piece of news broke while he was gone, however, that demanded that he call in and cover it remotely. Here is the clip of him discussing this news item, then tragically playing the victim about having to hear black people say the N-word.

In this clip, Alex breaks the news that the media has a video compilation from outtakes on the set of the Apprentice, where Trump calls his son "retarded" and uses the N-word. His argument about the situation is that "they would have already released this tape, if it was real," which then gives way to, "if it is quote real, the word is that it is so heavily edited with jump-cuts" that it is really just taking stuff out of context.

This is very defensive posturing, and given the backstory of how this came to be. You can read the whole story here, but I will endeavor to give you the truncated version here.

A Scottish marketing professional, Markus Muir realized one day that Paul Joseph Watson, the editor in chief of InfoWars, had his direct messages set to public on Twitter. He wondered how far he could push a made up story, and eventually curiosity got the best of him, so he created a fake account with no followers, posing as an NBC insider, and sent him the fake story that Alex Jones reports in the above clip.

All the elements of his messages (which are documented, and you can read in the story here) are repeated by Alex. He goes so far as to call this unsolicited random messenger on Twitter as "an NBC source who looks credible...it looks like the source is at NBC; we have quite a few sources, I'll just leave it at that."

You can read the account, and listen to the clip included above, and reflect upon the fact that no such tape was ever released. If you do so, you're forced to come to a couple conclusions:

  1. InfoWars is incredible easy to trick, and thus, every story they've ever published is suspect based on this (more suspect than they were before, that is).
  2. Alex Jones not only lied about looking into this story, but also tacitly lied about how the source "looked credible," which implies that he engaged in some kind of vetting process. He clearly did not, and this calls every statement he has made or does make in the future that relies on an unnamed source into question.
  3. Alex Jones' immediate defense of Trump, when he clearly put no effort into researching the story, proves that he places a far higher priority on rationalizing negative stories about Trump than he does on reporting the truth. This should call just about everything he says about politics into question.

All in all, this string of events is a perfect encapsulation of the type of "journalism" that InfoWars engages in. Top to bottom, their lack of interest in the truth is fully exposed, and is on full display. This is the sort of thing that would destroy the career of any actual journalist, but thankfully for Alex, the professional standards are substantially lower for liars.

George Soros Helped The Nazis Round Up Jews In The Holocaust

Alex Jones is a man whose sworn enemy is a group known as The Globalists. Among these Globalists, the target most commonly in his sights is billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

In order to make his case that the Globalists are full-on evil people, Alex consistently refers to Soros as a "Nazi collaborator," or even worse. Here is a clip of him bringing up his feelings about George Soros:

The claim that George Soros actively worked for the Nazis in World War II comes from a 60 Minutes interview he did in 1998. You can watch the full story about him below, the part involving his time in the Holocaust at about the 6:55 mark.

Before we deal with the Nazi stuff, I'd like to just say that I'm not here to fully support or defend George Soros for everything he's ever done. I admit that I do not have a sophisticated enough understanding of the stock market to know enough to speak on that issue, with or without any amount of research.

I can, however, say that definitively, based on the evidence available, claiming that George Soros rounded up Jews in the Holocaust is a horrendous, irresponsible lie. Even to say that he "willingly" worked with them would be an insult to history and truth.

This claim is difficult to debunk, if only because the only real argument that needs to be made "no he didn't." Unfortunately, that doesn't pass muster around here, so here we go.

George Soros, born in 1930, was ages 9-14 when WWII was going on in Europe. Sensing real trouble coming, his father decided to split his family up and bought them all forged papers, in the hopes that they could hide their true Jewish identity, and if they were not all in one place, the odds of some of them surviving increased.

Soros's father then bribed an official in Budapest to take in George, with the backstory being that he was this official's Christian god-son. The official in question was in charge of cleaning up after Jews were sent off to camps; he would come in and take all their valuables, and as part of maintaining his cover, young George Soros assisted in this.

Some may claim that this was an unethical thing to do, but I would posit these important points to counter that argument:

  1. George Soros was, at this point, a maximum of 14 years old. To give some prospective, that is an 8th grader here in the United States. A freshman in high school. Even in ideal circumstances, 14 year olds deserve some wiggle room.

  2. This happened during the Holocaust, and it was a part of George maintaining his cover. If he were to not go along with the confiscations, or speak out against them, he would almost certainly be found out as a Jew in hiding, and be killed.

  3. As Soros puts it in the interview linked above: "...if I weren't there, of course I wasn't doing it, but someone else would, would be taking it away anyhow. And it was, the, whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So I had no role in taking away that property."

I believe the essence of what he's saying that quote is that, no matter what he did, that property was going to be taken by the Nazis. A 14 year old boy cannot fight the will of a genocidal state.

But even beyond that, I believe that he is saying that in the actual confiscations that he went along for, he was not really an active participant, merely "a spectator." I would compare it to a "Bring Your Child To Work Day," where the kid is there, but they can't really do a whole lot, so maybe you give them some busy work to let them feel like they're helping.

But back to the major claims: 1) George Soros was a Nazi collaborator, and 2) George Soros helped round up Jews in the Holocaust.

As to the first count, there is no evidence that he was a willing participant or collaborator with the Nazis. In his biography, it is made clear that he only occasionally went our with his false god-father in his work to collect the possessions of captured Jews. He had a passing involvement in this, at best.

As for the claim that he helped "round up Jews," that is just made up out of whole cloth. It's a claim that's been repeated by every right wing blog, every bigoted talking head from Alex Jones to Glenn Beck, and the only evidence they ever provide is the 60 Minutes interview that is posted above, which does not contain any evidence to the claim.

I understand that Alex Jones has to grasp at straws to paint his enemies as terrible people, but this claim is particularly repugnant, and definitely at least borders on a slight antisemitism.

The truth, as is so often the case with these Little Lies Alex tells, is that context is incredibly important, and when you erase context, you are lying. As for the context here, I think that Matt Welch puts it perfectly in a 2010 post on reason.com

As a native son of the free world you can and damn well should cheer a person who acted bravely in the face of a pervasive and murderous totalitarian state, but with the exception of the monsters who willfully abused power there, you had better err massively on the side of reticence before casting negative judgment on the compromises that captive citizens made under a pressure we literally cannot fathom.

In this instance, as is so often the case, Alex Jones errs massively, but does so on the wrong side.

9th Circuit Court Is Overturned 80% of the Time

Alex Jones has a vested interest in attacking the 9th Circuit Court, as he views them as being responsible for stopping Donald Trump's initial travel ban in early 2017. He views them as out of control, liberal activist judges, and his evidence of this is that their decisions are overturned 80% of the time.

In this instance, Alex's statistic is not too far off, the problem is that citing the statistic without context is dishonest.

How our court system works is that when you go to court and lose, you can appeal the decision. The case then goes to one of the 50 State Courts, or one of the 13 Circuit Courts (also known as Federal Appeals Courts). If you present your case in one of these venues and lose, you can then appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is pretty busy, and they simply don't have the time to hear cases where they are unlikely to reverse the decision. Here's the thing: the end result of them upholding an Appeals Court decision, and that of them just not choosing to hear the case are identical; the Appeals Court decision stands.

According to statistics, the 9th Circuit was overturned in approximately 79% of the cases of theirs that the Supreme Court heard in between 2010 and 2015. This is compared to the average of all the Appeals Courts for that same time period: 70%

During the same time period, the 6th Circuit was overturned 87% of the time and the 11th Circuit 85% of the time. The least overturned court was the 10th Circuit with 42%.

One of the difficulties in Alex presenting this statistic as proof of anything is that the 9th Circuit Court is by far the busiest Appeals Court in the country. In 2014-2015, they heard 12,288 cases, a full 4,522 more than the next busiest court. This is largely because of the 9th Circuit having jurisdiction over California, by far the most populous state in the country.

The reason that this matters is that, for example, in 2015, the 9th Circuit was overturned 10 times by the Supreme Court. This is out of 16 cases from the 9th Circuit appealed to the SC. 10 out of 16 looks like a rough number, but in reality, that's 10 decisions overturned out of the 12,288 that the 9th Circuit heard that year, which is a much smaller number in that context.

If you want to cherry-pick statistics and take them out of context, you could just say that in 2013, the 1st, 6th, 8th, and 11th Circuit Courts were all overturned 100% of the time. (In context, each had 2 or fewer cases that got appealed to the SC).

Or, even better, in 2010, every single case brought to the Supreme Court through State Appeals Courts was overturned. This, of course, means that every single state court has been infested with out-of-control, liberal activist judges (Spoiler alert: in 2011, the state courts' decisions were only overturned 64% of the time). I just wanted to be sure I debunked my own fake claim before Alex tried to run with it).

The point here is that when you hear a statistic, it is incredibly important to know what the context of that statistic is. It's even more important to know and explain the context when you are using statistics to make arguments, because if you don't, you are lying.

9th Circuit Court Bans Wearing the American Flag

One of Alex's favorite lies is that the 9th Circuit Court put out a decision that banned students from wearing American flags on their clothing in California. He uses this lie to paint the 9th Circuit as crazy and un-American, solely because the court was the one that initially blocked President Trump's travel ban in early 2017.

Here is a clip of Alex explaining his version of the story.

Alex cites this ruling all the time, but unfortunately, it is not true. Or, at very least, the way he explains it is very dishonest. If you would like to consult the primary source, please feel free to click here to read the 9th Circuit's decision in its entirety.

The case that was before the 9th Circuit Court was not one about whether or not people can wear American flags on their clothes. The case was about a specific public high school in California, Live Oak High School. School administrators had asked specific students to remove or turn inside-out American flag clothing, and these students sued the school because they felt their free speech, due process, and equal protection were being infringed upon.

Their decision that the school did not violate the students' right to free expression hinges on the context of the case in question, and relies on these facts that you can find in the court's decision linked above:

  1. The school officials asked the students to remove their flag clothing on Cinco de Mayo.
  2. The school officials had received tips that there was going to be a racially-based fight that day, and were trying to protect all parties from this possible outcome.
  3. In addition to the school having a "history of violence among students...some drawn along racial lines," there specifically was a racially motivated incident the previous year on Cinco de Mayo, which sets a strong precedent for the officials to take the tips they received seriously.
  4. The students wearing American flag clothing were not punished.
  5. School administrators are tasked with balancing their students' rights with the need to create a safe environment for all students, and the wearing of American flag clothing on Cinco de Mayo at this specific school was deemed to put that safe environment in danger.

We can get into the weeds about the dynamics between the students, but that is irrelevant to the matter at hand.  Alex claims that the 9th Circuit Court ruled that students can't wear American flags at school, and this is patently false.

The ruling that the court affirmed was that the school officials were not impeding the students' free speech rights by insisting that they not wear American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo, especially considering the history of the school and the concrete threats that were made that day. The court further clarified that they were not ruling that students could not wear flags on their clothes, only that the officials did not act inappropriately, and that their actions were to prevent a real threat.

The Supreme Court refused to hear this case, generally an indication that they agree with the ruling.