PolitiFact - Rulingshttp://www.politifact.com/The latest factchecks PolitiFact.com has revieweden-usWed, 23 Aug 2023 21:32:52 +0000https://static.politifact.com/img/pf_rss_logo.png<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - No evidence that a video showing planes leaving a trail was weather-modifying ‘geoengineering’]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/23/facebook-posts/no-evidence-that-a-video-showing-planes-leaving-a/ Facebook posts - No evidence that a video showing planes leaving a trail was weather-modifying ‘geoengineering’Wed, 23 Aug 2023 21:32:52 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/23/facebook-posts/no-evidence-that-a-video-showing-planes-leaving-a/

A TikTok video labeled "GeoengineeringWatch.org" showed what a narrator claimed were three U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemasters over Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 20, 2019, "dispersing materials into the atmosphere" for climate "geoengineering."

Such operations "are nothing short of weather and biological warfare against completely unsuspecting populations all over the world," the narrator said.

An Aug. 9 Facebook post sharing the video was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We found no evidence to support the claim. 

An Air Force Air Mobility Command spokesperson told PolitiFact the command had no record of C-17s in the Nashville area on Dec. 20, 2019, but said it is possible that training missions by other aircraft could have been conducted over Nashville then.

Since at least 2014, the Air Force has called claims that its planes spray the U.S. population "with mysterious substances" a "hoax."

Geoengineering manipulates the Earth’s environment to offset some effects of climate change. For example, cloud brightening, or putting sunshades in space, could increase Earth’s reflectivity, reduce incoming solar radiation and curb increasing greenhouse gas concentration.

In June, the White House released a congressionally mandated report on one type of geoengineering — solar radiation modification — which seeks to reduce the Earth’s temperature by reflecting more sunlight back into space. The report supported studying solar radiation modification, but the White House said "there are no plans underway to establish a comprehensive research program focused on solar radiation modification." 

The video shared on Facebook was posted along with an article on GeoengineeringWatch.org alleging visual "confirmation" of planes spreading materials for climate engineering. 

Neither cited evidence to support the claim that the Air Force dispersed materials into the air for geoengineering. 

PolitiFact could not determine the origin of the video’s images, nor whether the video consisted of one or more pieces of footage.

A Nashville police spokesperson said she knew of no such incident.

Absent evidence to back the claim, we rate it False.

PolitiFact staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

RELATED: Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy

Tom Kertscher
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Directed energy weapons weren’t used to start the fires in Hawaii and these photos don’t rebut that]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/instagram-posts/directed-energy-weapons-werent-used-to-start-the-f/ Instagram posts - Directed energy weapons weren’t used to start the fires in Hawaii and these photos don’t rebut thatTue, 22 Aug 2023 21:58:53 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/instagram-posts/directed-energy-weapons-werent-used-to-start-the-f/

A recent Instagram post perpetuates the debunked conspiracy theory that "direct energy weapons" were used to intentionally start recent wildfires in Hawaii. 

Appearing before an image of burned cars on a street in Lahaina, Maui, a man in a video shared Aug. 17 on Instagram suggests that because the cars’ doors are closed, it’s "proof there was a direct energy weapon used" and its passengers were killed before they could flee.  

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Directed energy weapons are real and use energy fired at light speed: Think high-energy lasers and high-powered microwave weapons that use concentrated electromagnetic energy. Countries including the United States have been researching the use of these weapons, but we’ve already fact-checked and rated false claims that "Hawaii is being attacked by direct energy weapons." 

So what explains the images of burned cars in Lahaina? 

Michael Gollner, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies fire spread, told PolitiFact that fires in the wildland-urban interface, a zone of transition between wilderness and land, can move "very quickly" as high winds both drive flames through vegetation and homes and spread embers "that continuously ignite new fires ahead of the fireline." 

"This can result in rapid spread that quickly cuts off evacuation routes," Gollner said in an email. "Homes, vegetation and everything around becomes fuel in these fires, with that built up around the roadways it would be easy to overwhelm a vehicle."

As the fire spread Aug. 8 in Lahaina, hydrants ran dry, emergency sirens never sounded and the town’s 911 emergency calling system went down, The New York Times reported

"Many of those who evacuated said they were corralled by road closures and downed power lines into traffic jams that left some people to burn alive in their cars and forced others to flee into the Pacific," the Times said.

We rate claims that photos of burned cars with closed doors are evidence that directed energy weapons were used to start the wildfires in Hawaii False. 

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ TikTok posts - Video shows reflected light from wet surface, not flooded Dodger Stadium]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/tiktok-posts/video-shows-reflected-light-from-wet-surface-not-f/ TikTok posts - Video shows reflected light from wet surface, not flooded Dodger StadiumTue, 22 Aug 2023 21:56:16 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/tiktok-posts/video-shows-reflected-light-from-wet-surface-not-f/

The center of Tropical Storm Hilary passed through downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 20, bringing with it record-breaking rainfall and strong winds. It was the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years.

Los Angeles recorded its wettest August day ever with 2.48 inches, according to the National Weather Service. But some social media users used news of the storm and video taken from a helicopter to falsely claim that Dodger Stadium was left flooded in the storm’s wake.

"Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium is flooded after mocking God!" read sticker text on an Aug. 21 TikTok video that showed an image of Dodger Stadium seemingly surrounded by water. "#GodWon," the caption said.

We found numerous other social media posts claiming that the image showed payback for when the Dodgers honored the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — an LGBTQ+ activist group that satirically dresses as nuns — before a Pride Night event in June. That game drew protesters who said the group is offensive to Catholics.

The images of a supposedly flooded stadium came from an Aug. 20 video posted to an account called Los Angeles Dodgers Aerial Photography on X, formerly Twitter. It went viral on that platform, amassing more than 780,000 views by Aug. 22. The video was also shared on the Instagram account Dodger Aerial.

Text with the video said "Dodger Stadium this morning," and showed about a 30-second clip of footage taken from a helicopter. 

So was Dodger Stadium actually flooded? If so, it was news to the Dodgers. The team didn’t return a request for comment, but Aug. 21 shared a cheeky post showing photos of a dry stadium and parking lot the morning after the storm. "Dodger Stadium trending? We get it. It looks beautiful this morning."

A Dodgers spokesperson told other news outlets that there was no flooding at the stadium and that the field would have been playable Aug. 21 if the Dodgers were in town. (The Dodgers were traveling Aug. 21 and were scheduled to play in Cleveland Aug. 22.)

Dodger Stadium trending? We get it. It looks beautiful this morning. pic.twitter.com/oIrZjndZoZ

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 21, 2023

Esteban Jiménez, the helicopter’s pilot, who is briefly seen in the video, told PolitiFact he filmed the footage on his iPhone 14 Pro Max.

"In my observation, the video primarily displays wet concrete reflected by light," said Jiménez. "The term ‘flooding’ might be subjective, but I believe the visuals depict a significant amount of water on the surface post-rain."

In the video, there doesn’t appear to be any flooding inside the stadium when zooming in on a still image. The infield dirt and the field’s grass are visible; they would presumably also be covered by water if the parking lot were flooded.

The Los Angeles Times reported that one of its photographers took a similar image of Dodger Stadium after a 2005 storm. A caption in the article described the old photo as "Dodger Stadium surrounded by wet parking lots, reflecting the light of the sky." The story is behind a paywall, but the 2005 photo can be seen here.

Times photographer Robert Gauthier took new images Aug. 21 of Dodger Stadium that show not a drop of water outside the stadium. In the article, he said the viral images were likely a "reflection of light."

We spoke with Mark Holtzman, the president of West Coast Aerial Photography.

"I would bet that viewing a higher-resolution clip without any compression would be easier to see that it is just wet concrete," Holtzman said, adding that he’s flown over the stadium after rains before and has never seen flooding at Dodger Stadium.

Holtzman said he viewed a digital elevation model of Dodger Stadium from the U.S. Geological Survey that shows "there is a distinct slope to the parking lot and the only place where flooding could occur would be at the very bottom of the image."

The stadium’s sloped parking lot, which was designed so fans could park about the same level as their seats, is visible in a terrain view of Dodger Stadium on Google Maps, a topographic map from the Geological Survey and on a Dodgers website.

Our ruling

A TikTok video claimed that Dodger Stadium was flooded after Tropical Storm Hilary hit Los Angeles.

The image in the video comes from real footage captured from a helicopter, but the pilot who took it said the video shows "wet concrete reflected by light" and copious water on the parking lot’s surface.

The Dodgers posted images of a dry parking lot and stadium the next morning. We rate the claim that Dodger Stadium was flooded False.

Jeff Cercone
<![CDATA[ TikTok posts - It’s not a cover-up: Maui arrests made after people allegedly trespassed in disaster area]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/tiktok-posts/its-not-a-cover-up-maui-arrests-made-after-people/ TikTok posts - It’s not a cover-up: Maui arrests made after people allegedly trespassed in disaster areaTue, 22 Aug 2023 21:55:35 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/tiktok-posts/its-not-a-cover-up-maui-arrests-made-after-people/

"That’s why we can’t have you walking down there," Maui, Hawaii, Police Chief John Pelletier says in a video recently shared on TikTok. "We had to arrest somebody for trespassing. And so, if we want to keep doing this and slowing it down, keep doing that. Do a Freedom of Information Act and figure out who that person is and tell that story. Knock it off." 

A narrator then cuts in and says, "All right, breaking news: The police chief in the region affected by these fires has started arresting witnesses, and he tells the press to dox the witnesses that he arrested. So very concerning, the Maui police are now arresting witnesses. They’re telling people to stay away, and that they’ll arrest them if they show up. Are they trying to cover up key evidence?" (Doxxing is publicly identifying or publishing private information about people, especially to exact punishment or revenge.)

The Maui Police Department told Politifact the post’s claim is "100% false."

Josepha Toakala was arrested Aug. 18 in connection with rules and orders outlined in the Maui County mayor’s emergency proclamation related to the fires, the department said. Toakala had been warned Aug. 14 to avoid the wildfire disaster area in Lahaina and was taken into custody after being found there again, the department added. 

"We would also like to take this opportunity to remind the public about the importance of adhering to the rules and orders designed to maintain the safety and order of our community as we continue our search and recovery efforts within the area," the statement said. 

On Aug. 13, another person was arrested and charged with criminal trespass after he was discovered exiting the restricted area, news outlet Maui Now reported

The mayor’s emergency proclamation, which limits movement within the wildfire disaster area, was signed Aug. 11 and cited "continuing catastrophic conditions that affect the health and safety of a large number of people."

Claims these people were arrested as part of a cover-up are unfounded. 

We rate them False.

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[Social Media - Video doesn’t show President Joe Biden dozing during event with Maui, Hawaii, wildfire survivors]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/social-media/video-doesnt-show-president-joe-biden-dozing-durin/Social Media - Video doesn’t show President Joe Biden dozing during event with Maui, Hawaii, wildfire survivorsTue, 22 Aug 2023 20:49:11 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/social-media/video-doesnt-show-president-joe-biden-dozing-durin/

President Joe Biden’s critics often inspect his public appearances for signs that he is unfit to lead. A common false claim is that he falls asleep during important events. The latest iteration is no different. 

Posting a clip on X, formerly Twitter, from an event with survivors of the recent Maui, Hawaii, wildfires, Fox News host Sean Hannity wrote Aug. 22, "Biden appears to fall asleep during a ceremony in Hawaii honoring the hundreds of Americans killed by the fires."

Another X user posted the same video and wrote, "Joe Biden appears to be sleeping while listening to survivors speak about their homes burning to the ground."

At first glance, it seems Biden might have dozed off. But a closer look at the full video showed that this wasn’t so. 

At the 5:13 mark of a video of the event uploaded by KITV, a Honolulu ABC News affiliate, Biden bowed his head. Zooming into the video shows that he was still blinking. After about 10 seconds, Biden nods as the speaker says, "We are a community that relies on family, on ohana, whether by blood or by friendship." (Ohana is a Hawaiian word for family.)

We rate the claim that Biden fell asleep during an event with the Maui wildfire survivors False.

Loreben Tuquero
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - Old video about Biden impeachment articles is misleadingly repackaged as breaking news]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/old-video-about-biden-impeachment-articles-is-misl/ Facebook posts - Old video about Biden impeachment articles is misleadingly repackaged as breaking newsTue, 22 Aug 2023 20:46:49 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/old-video-about-biden-impeachment-articles-is-misl/

Articles of impeachment weren’t filed against President Joe Biden on Aug. 19, despite the claim of a Facebook post published that day.

"BREAKING Articles Of Impeachment To Be Filed Against President Joe Biden Today!" the post says. 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The post’s video — which also says "Breaking: Articles of impeachment to be filed against President Joe Biden today! — is old. 

It was posted on YouTube on May 18, when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., introduced articles of impeachment against Biden over how he’s handled migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., introduced articles of impeachment against Biden in June, and Rep. Greg-Steube, R-Fla., filed articles of impeachment against the president Aug. 11. 

But no such articles were filed against Biden on Aug. 19. We rate that claim False.

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[Mike Pence - Pence’s misleading claim that Biden sent US official to China after surveillance balloon was spotted]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/mike-pence/pences-misleading-claim-that-biden-sent-us-officia/Mike Pence - Pence’s misleading claim that Biden sent US official to China after surveillance balloon was spottedTue, 22 Aug 2023 20:37:03 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/mike-pence/pences-misleading-claim-that-biden-sent-us-officia/

Former Vice President Mike Pence said at a conservative conference that President Joe Biden’s stance wasn’t strong enough after a Chinese surveillance balloon entered U.S. airspace earlier this year. Pence, who is running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, said he would be tougher against China if elected president.

"I think it is incomprehensible after China sent a balloon over strategic sites in the United States, and their ships cutting off our ships in the South China Sea, and their aircraft cutting off our aircraft in the Asian Pacific that President Biden literally sent the secretary of state hat in hand to go kowtow and ask for a meeting," Pence said at the Aug. 18 conference in Atlanta with conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson.

Pence said if such a thing happened on his watch, "I wouldn’t have sent my secretary of state. I would have sent an aircraft carrier. And I would have said, ‘You are going to knock this stuff off now, or we will send more until you want to sit down and have a conversation.’"

Pence’s comments could be interpreted to mean that Biden dispatched Secretary of State Antony Blinken to arrange a meeting with China immediately after the balloon was spotted in U.S. airspace. That’s not what happened. 

Blinken’s February visit to China was postponed due to balloon

The Pentagon said Feb. 2 that a Chinese surveillance balloon had entered continental U.S. airspace a couple of days before. 

Blinken had planned to go to Beijing the night of Feb. 3, but on that day, the State Department said the trip was postponed. That planned meeting stemmed from a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali in November 2022. The New York Times reported that Blinken’s meeting was meant to keep communication lines open and discuss problematic issues to avoid conflict.

A senior State Department official told reporters Feb. 3 that after consulting with different U.S. government agencies and Congress, the department decided "that the conditions are not right at this moment" for Blinken to go to China. The State Department transcript does not identify the official, who added that the balloon’s presence was "a clear violation of our sovereignty, as well as international law, and it is unacceptable that this has occurred."

On Feb. 4, the U.S. military shot down the balloon off the South Carolina coast.

Blinken met Chinese officials in June

Pence’s campaign said he was referring to Blinken’s meeting with Chinese officials in June.

We asked Pence spokesperson Devin O’Malley whether Pence believes that Blinken should not meet with China officials at all, but we did not get a direct answer.

During the June visit, Blinken and Chinese officials discussed a long list of issues including global topics such as the war in Ukraine, human rights violations in China, the flow of drugs and the continuation of the United States’ "One China" policy

"We are working to put some stability into the relationship, to put a floor under the relationship, to make sure that the competition that we’re in doesn’t veer into conflict," Blinken told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria after the trip. A conflict, Blinken said, "would not be in our interest, their interest, or anyone else’s."

Whether it was in the U.S,’ best interest to cancel the meeting in February and reschedule for June is a matter of opinion and politics, said Yun Sun, director of the China Program at the Stimson Center, a Washington D.C.-based foreign affairs think tank. 

It was politically untenable for the U.S. to keep the February meeting after the balloon incident, Sun said. But if the U.S. wanted to "maintain the momentum of engagement and improvement of relations since the Bali Summit last November, some level of exchanges, interactions and visits are necessary and inevitable." 

Diplomacy is not a gift to the other side; it’s a necessary means of addressing difficult challenges, said Jessica Chen Weiss, a China and Asia-Pacific Studies professor at Cornell University.

"The postponement of Blinken's visit was an unfortunate reflection of domestic political pressure, not our best interests," Weiss said. "The Biden administration's efforts to reestablish channels of communication is necessary to reduce miscalculation and ensure that efforts to support Taiwan within the context of our longstanding unofficial relationship do not inadvertently provoke the very conflict we are trying to deter." 

It is standard practice for the U.S. secretary of state to visit Beijing, and it would be normal for such visits to alternate with Chinese officials visiting the U.S., said Susan Thornton, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School and a retired senior U.S. diplomat.

"The visit of Secretary Blinken to Beijing was long overdue, mostly because of the pandemic," Thornton said. 

Our ruling

Pence said that "after China sent a balloon over strategic sites in the United States … President Biden literally sent the secretary of state hat in hand to go kowtow and ask for a meeting."

Pence’s remarks creates the misleading impression that immediately after the surveillance balloon was spotted, Blinken sought a meeting with officials in China. That’s not what happened. 

Blinken’s February meeting with China’s President Xi was planned months before the balloon was noticed. Once the balloon was spotted, that meeting was postponed and the U.S. military shot the balloon down.

Blinken visited China in June, about four months later.

We rate this statement Mostly False.

RELATED: Checking GOP presidential candidates' attacks on Joe Biden, Democrats ahead of first primary debate

RELATED: Fact-check: How accurate are 2024 Republican presidential candidates' attacks on one another?

RELATED: Who pays for US tariffs on Chinese goods? You do

Amy Sherman
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - Claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin was assassinated is Pants on Fire!]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/claim-that-russian-president-vladimir-putin-was-as/ Facebook posts - Claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin was assassinated is Pants on Fire!Tue, 22 Aug 2023 20:08:27 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/claim-that-russian-president-vladimir-putin-was-as/

An Aug. 20 Facebook post made a confusing claim about the demise, or near demise, of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It said:

"Official Statement — Putin Assassinated in the Kremlin! Russian President Hospitalized!"
The post also shared a 26-minute video criticizing Putin and Russia’s war with Ukraine. But the video mentioned neither assassination nor hospitalization.

The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Putin’s assassination would be major news worldwide. But we found no credible reports, official or otherwise. There also have been no recent reports of Putin being hospitalized.

The New York Times reported in April that a leaked confidential document revealed a Ukrainian official’s unsubstantiated claim that Putin was undergoing chemotherapy. 

Russia in May claimed that it foiled a Ukrainian drone attack on the Kremlin, the site of  the president’s official residence and his main office. The Kremlin said the effort was intended to assassinate Putin; Ukraine denied it launched any such attack.

In March 2022, bloggers claimed Putin had been assassinated. Our rating was Pants on Fire

Here, we rule the same way: Pants on Fire!

RELATED: Social media post misleadingly presents old news as a recent attempt to assassinate Donald Trump

Tom Kertscher
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - No, the World Economic Forum did not say the Maui wildfires were orchestrated]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/no-the-world-economic-forum-did-not-say-the-maui-w/ Facebook posts - No, the World Economic Forum did not say the Maui wildfires were orchestratedTue, 22 Aug 2023 19:21:09 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/no-the-world-economic-forum-did-not-say-the-maui-w/

Is there proof that the World Economic Forum is behind the wildfires that devastated the island of Maui? Did the organization itself admit to it? No, but a video circulating on Facebook said otherwise.

"WEF Admits Maui Wildfires Orchestrated To Transform Hawaii Into 15 Minute Cities," read the headline on a video posted on Facebook Aug. 19.

In the video, a man speaking into a camera says, "The fake Maui wildfires were orchestrated by the globalist elite to poison our air, water and soil and redistribute property into the hands of the elite."

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The video did not show any evidence of the World Economic Forum "admitting" that the wildfires in Maui were orchestrated. The World Economic Forum is a Switzerland-based organization that brings together world business and political leaders annually in Davos to discuss global issues. There are no such statements on the organization’s website or social media accounts. The only mention of the Maui wildfires found on its website was an Aug. 14 update on the death toll.

The video showed a screenshot of a World Economic Forum article published Aug. 20, 2018, titled, "How Hawaii plans to be the first US state to run entirely on clean energy." It said that  Maui’s former mayor was one of four mayors across the state to sign an agreement to operate Hawaii’s public transport system using only clean energy by 2045. 

It has nothing to do with a so-called "15-minute city," an urban planning concept that has been the target of conspiracy theories falsely alleging they are government plots to control citizens. But the idea behind the concept is to design cities so that residents’ basic needs can be met within a short walk or bike ride from their homes. Some proponents use the same concept but refer to it as a 20-minute city

PolitiFact and other fact-checkers have looked into numerous claims that suggest the wildfires were orchestrated to pave the way for such a plan on Maui, and there is no evidence any of them are true.

The cause of the wildfires has not been identified, but the Hawaii Army National Guard pointed to dry conditions, low humidity and high winds as contributing factors. Investigators are also increasingly focused on the role the island’s aging electric power infrastructure played in the disaster.

We rate the claim that the World Economic Forum admitted that the Maui wildfires were orchestrated False.

Loreben Tuquero
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - La vacuna contra COVID-19 no tiene óxido de grafeno]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/la-vacuna-contra-covid-19-no-tiene-oxido-de-grafen/ Facebook posts - La vacuna contra COVID-19 no tiene óxido de grafenoTue, 22 Aug 2023 15:14:29 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/22/facebook-posts/la-vacuna-contra-covid-19-no-tiene-oxido-de-grafen/

Un video en Facebook dice falsamente que la vacuna contra COVID-19 contiene óxido de grafeno, un material hecho de la oxidación del grafito.

"Si te pusiste la vacuna sabemos que esta vacuna contiene óxido de grafeno, que es sumamente tóxico para el cuerpo"… dice la publicación del 19 de agosto. "Hay tres cosas que puedes hacer para ayudar a tu cuerpo a desintoxicarse de esta vacuna, de los daños de esta vacuna, una de ellas es el dióxido de cloro".

La narradora añadió que el dióxido de cloro tiene que ser "así de amarillo (mostrando una botella con una solucion amarilla), estar potente… tomen 20 mililitros al día diluidos en un litro de agua, una toma cada hora, por los próximos tres, cuatros meses".

La publicación fue marcada como parte del esfuerzo de Meta para combatir las noticias falsas y la desinformación en su plataforma. (Lea más sobre nuestra colaboración con Meta, propietaria de Facebook e Instagram).

Un vocero de Pfizer le dijo a PolitiFact en el 2021 que a pesar de que el óxido de grafeno — un material hecho de la oxidación del grafito —  es usado en algunas vacunas, este no es usado por Pfizer y no está en su vacuna contra COVID-19.

Los otros fabricantes de vacunas aprobadas en los Estados Unidos por la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos, (FDA, por sus siglas en inglés) como Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (la cual ya no está disponible en los Estados Unidos) y Novavax tampoco contienen el ingrediente.

Un reporte del 2021 de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) también dijo que era falso que la vacuna de Pfizer contra COVID-19 tenía óxido de grafeno. 

Los CDC dicen en su página web que las vacunas contra el COVID-19 son seguras y efectivas. 

Los CDC también dijeron que los efectos secundarios graves son poco frecuentes después de recibir cualquier vacuna y que los beneficios superan los riesgos.

La publicación en Facebook también incita a los usuarios a tomar dióxido de cloro para "desintoxicarse" de la vacuna. 

El dióxido de cloro es un gas peligroso que se usa como blanqueador en las fábricas que producen papel y en las plantas de tratamiento de agua que producen agua potable y para descontaminar edificios, según la Agencia para Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades, (ATSDR, por sus siglas en inglés). 

La ATSDR dice que si las personas se exponen a cantidades muy altas de dióxido de cloro pueden sufrir falta de aliento y otros problemas respiratorios debido al daño que causa a la capacidad de la sangre para transportar oxígeno a través del cuerpo. 

La FDA también advirtió en 2020 sobre el consumo de productos que contienen dióxido de cloro, ya que no han sido demostrados seguros o efectivos en ningún usó para tratar o curar el COVID-19 u otras enfermedades. La FDA dice que el consumo de la sustancia puede cambiar la actividad eléctrica del corazón, bajar la presión arterial a un nivel peligroso para la vida, insuficiencia hepática aguda, y diarrea y vómito severo.

Nuestro veredicto

Un video en Facebook dice que la vacuna contra COVID-19 "contiene óxido de grafeno" y para desintoxicarte toma "dióxido de cloro".

Las vacunas contra COVID-19 aprobadas en los Estados Unidos no contienen óxido de grafeno, según la FDA.

El dióxido de cloro es un gas peligroso y varias agencias gubernamentales han advertido sobre los efectos dañinos al consumir productos con esta sustancia. La FDA dice que no hay evidencia de que el dióxido de cloro sea efectivo o seguro contra el COVID-19 u otras enfermedades. 

Calificamos esta publicación como Falsa.

Lea más reportes de PolitiFact en Español aquí.

Debido a limitaciones técnicas, partes de nuestra página web aparecen en inglés. Estamos trabajando en mejorar la presentación.

Maria Briceño
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - Debunked rumors about former President Barack Obama’s sexuality resurface on social media]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/21/facebook-posts/debunked-rumors-about-former-president-barack-obam/ Facebook posts - Debunked rumors about former President Barack Obama’s sexuality resurface on social mediaMon, 21 Aug 2023 22:09:59 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/21/facebook-posts/debunked-rumors-about-former-president-barack-obam/

Long debunked rumors that former President Barack Obama is gay continue to spread on social media, and a recent Facebook post teases a premise of marital discord as a result. 

"Michelle Obama finally responds to Obama’s hidden gay secret!!!" reads the description of a 10-minute video in an Aug. 19 Facebook post

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The video itself neither suggests former first lady Michelle Obama responded to such a secret, nor does it show evidence of her doing so. 

Instead, the video retreads unfounded conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s sexuality and Michelle Obama’s gender. It also alludes to a 2020 Snopes fact-check about a claim that Michelle Obama filed for divorce after her husband said he was gay. That claim originated on a satire site.

We looked for news stories or other credible sources corroborating this post about Michelle Obama responding to the former president’s alleged "hidden gay secret" and found none. 

We rate this post Pants on Fire!


Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[Joe Biden - Fact-checking Joe Biden on the murky topic of employment statistics]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/21/joe-biden/fact-checking-joe-biden-on-the-murky-topic-of-empl/Joe Biden - Fact-checking Joe Biden on the murky topic of employment statisticsMon, 21 Aug 2023 20:39:51 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/21/joe-biden/fact-checking-joe-biden-on-the-murky-topic-of-empl/

President Joe Biden recently visited Milwaukee to tout "Bidenomics" — the economic policies he’s instituted during his two and a half years in office, which he says have produced significant employment gains. 

"We’ve recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, and we’ve added millions more," Biden said Aug. 15 during a visit to Ingeteam Inc., an electronics producer serving the energy sector. "People are coming off the sidelines and getting back into the workplace. Remember, a while there they were saying, ‘Well, Biden is just allowing people not to work and get paid.’ Guess what? A higher percentage of American workers are working today than ever before."

Biden is correct about the United States having surpassed the pre-pandemic number of jobs during his tenure. But Biden’s statement that "a higher percentage of American workers are working today than ever before" is murkier, because there is no single statistic that correlates to his exact phrasing.

When we looked at several broad statistics that offer approximations of what Biden was claiming, we found that none are at record levels. One narrower statistic — the percentage of employed women ages 25 to 54 — has hit a record in recent months.

Here are some relevant statistics that fit with Biden’s statement.

Employment-population ratio

This statistic takes the number of people employed and divides it by those who are civilians and noninstitutionalized to produce a percentage of the population that is employed. (People who are considered institutionalized, and thus excluded from this statistic, include those in prison and nursing homes.)

By this measure, employment not only trails the record (set in 2000) by a significant amount but hasn’t even climbed back to pre-pandemic levels.

Labor force participation rate

This statistic takes the total number of people who are employed, adds them to the number of people who are unemployed but are actively seeking work, and divides the sum by the civilian, noninstitutionalized population.

Like the employment-population ratio, this statistic is also well short of the historical high (also set in 2000) while also below the pre-pandemic level.

Working-age labor force participation rate

The federal government also calculates some subcategories of the labor force participation rate. One includes only people ages 25 to 54. Many economists like this statistic because it neutralizes demographic changes that can skew broader employment calculations.

As the baby boomers age, more retire every year. This means that they are counted in the civilian noninstitutionalized population even though, over time, they are increasingly unlikely to work. Therefore, even if everything else stays the same, the baby boomer population’s aging can send overall labor force participation downward.

Looking only at people 25 to 54 skirts this problem because it focuses on "working-age" Americans.

Using this statistic, Biden’s accuracy still falls short.

In July 2023, the most recent month with available data, 83.4% of working-age Americans were in the labor force, meaning they were employed or unemployed and actively seeking work. That’s high by historical standards, but lower than the record of 84.6% set in 1999.

A related statistic — and one the White House cited when we asked for Biden’s evidence — looks at the employment-population ratio for the same 25-to-54 working-age range. It shows a similar pattern, and it doesn’t work for Biden’s statement, either: The statistic hit 80.9% in July 2023, just below the record of 81.9% set in 2000.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is likely the most familiar statistic to noneconomists. This statistic is also favorable by historical standards — the current 3.5% unemployment rate is near a 50-year low — but the record low was 2.5% in 1954.

Working-age employment-population ratio for women

The one statistic for which Biden can claim a record on his watch is narrower: the employment-population ratio for women aged 25 to 54.

In July 2023, this ratio hit 75.1%, or slightly above the pre-pandemic level of 74.6% and narrowly above the previous record of about 75% in April 2000.

But Biden didn’t refer to this cut of data in his Milwaukee speech. 

"It’s a niche record," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank in Washington, D.C.

Our ruling

Biden said, "A higher percentage of American workers are working today than ever before."

No specific statistic perfectly matches Biden’s phrasing, but several broad labor market measurements can be used as approximations.

In each case, the current level of these statistics trails the record, though two measurements that look only at Americans ages 25 to 54 come close to a record. 

One narrower measure that looks just at working-age women has set a record under Biden, but he was speaking more broadly in his Milwaukee remarks.

We rate the statement Mostly False.

Louis Jacobson
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No evidence direct energy weapons caused Maui wildfires]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/18/instagram-posts/no-evidence-direct-energy-weapons-caused-maui-wild/ Instagram posts - No evidence direct energy weapons caused Maui wildfiresFri, 18 Aug 2023 23:02:49 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/18/instagram-posts/no-evidence-direct-energy-weapons-caused-maui-wild/

The wildfires that ignited Aug. 8 in Maui, Hawaii, have killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of structures in the historic town of Lahaina.

But social media is rife with claims the fires were ignited by direct energy weapons. "Hawaii is being attacked by Direct Energy Weapons," an Aug. 16 Instagram post said. "Everyone neads to hear this, spread the truth!" read a separate, spelling-challenged post Aug. 16 on Facebook. "D.E.W. Direct Energy Weapon — Hawaii Lahaina Maui — Not wild Fires." 

The posts and others like them were flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) 

Investigators have not yet determined a single cause for the fires, though drought conditions and high winds likely contributed to their quick spread. Attention is increasingly focused on the role of the area’s electric company: The Washington Post reported that 10 sensors in the town of Makawao recorded a significant incident in Hawaiian Electric’s grid. And video captured by the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Makawao on Aug. 7 showed a bright flash in the woods that the center’s senior research coordinator said in an Instagram video may have been a tree falling on a power line. 

But there has been no suggestion from credible sources that direct energy weapons are to blame. Some of the posts we saw falsely attributing the cause to direct energy weapons used old and misidentified photos as proof.

Direct energy weapons are real — they can be such things as lasers, radio frequency devices and high-powered microwaves — and the U.S. and other governments are exploring using them for military purposes.

But Scott Savitz, senior engineer at RAND Corporation, said the notion that these weapons played a role in the Hawaiian wildfires is baseless: "The idea that the U.S. military started these fires using directed-energy weapons, either deliberately or accidentally, is absurd."

Joseph Wilkins, assistant professor of atmospheric science at Howard University, said it takes time to determine a cause, but that there is no credible evidence pointing to a "beam energy weapon."

"This is more than likely a standard case of too many invasive or non-native species of plants on the landscape, rising temperatures, and dry conditions," Wilkins said.

Arnaud Trouvé, chair of the department of fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland said fires "occur on a regular basis due to natural phenomena (lighting) or human activities, like domestic use of flames, hot work, and failure of power lines among others. "I do not believe in extraordinary sources such as a beam of light coming from the sky to explain ignition," he said.

Major Gen. Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard, on Aug. 16, said the National Weather Service had alerted authorities in advance "that we were in a red flag situation — so that's dry conditions for a long time, so the fuel, the trees and everything, was dry."

We rate claims the Hawaii wildfires were caused by direct energy weapons False.

PolitiFact Staff Writers Jeff Cercone and Madison Czopek contributed to this report.

Marta Campabadal Graus
<![CDATA[Donald Trump - Did Fulton County DA Fani Willis campaign to ‘get Trump'? No, she didn’t say that]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/18/donald-trump/did-fulton-county-da-fani-willis-campaign-to-get-t/Donald Trump - Did Fulton County DA Fani Willis campaign to ‘get Trump'? No, she didn’t say thatFri, 18 Aug 2023 20:05:05 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/18/donald-trump/did-fulton-county-da-fani-willis-campaign-to-get-t/

In the early morning hours after he was indicted in Georgia, former President Donald Trump had some words to share about Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. 

"So the witch hunt continues!" he wrote Aug. 15 on Truth Social. Trump said he was prosecuted by "an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, ‘I will get Trump.’"

Trump and 18 co-defendants were indicted by a grand jury for their alleged illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Willis, who took office in January 2021, is running for re-election in 2024.

Trump made similar attacks on other attorneys investigating him, including New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

But we found no evidence that Willis said she would "get Trump" as she fundraised for reelection.

Trump has routinely fundraised off of the investigations. On the day of the Fulton indictment, he sent a fundraising email that said: "What better way to show just how unbreakable we truly are than countless patriots proudly wearing their support for our movement and their favorite president." The email then asks for a $47 contribution for a "free" "I stand with Trump" T-shirt.

Trump team's objections are more subtle than what Trump said

Willis ran for district attorney in the August 2020 primary, months before the plot unfolded to try to overturn Trump’s loss in Georgia. She defeated her former boss, incumbent Paul Howard, in the Democratic primary and ran unopposed in the general election in the heavily Democratic county. 

We read news articles about the Willis 2020 campaign and didn’t find she campaigned on anything Trump-related. (During the primary, an anonymous mailer bizarrely said she was "supported by Donald Trump.") It doesn’t appear that Willis has any serious challenger for her reelection so far, but the official qualifying period is not until spring 2024.

So what is Trump’s evidence?

The Trump presidential campaign sent us links to a news article about Willis’ website and social media posts that it framed as support for Trump’s claim.

None backed up what he said.

Atlanta News First, a local news website, reported Aug. 10 that Willis "launched a new fundraising website." The story cited an email from Willis to her supporters inviting them to see the new website and volunteer.

Faniforda.com doesn’t mention Trump directly in any of the descriptions of Willis’ background or work as the district attorney. The only mention of Trump we found was an "in the news" section with links to news articles about Willis in The New York Times and Time. Her website also linked to local news articles about a back-to-school event, a crackdown on crime at apartment complexes and an event to restrict or seal certain criminal history records. 

It is a typical campaign website, registered in 2022, with a "donate" button and her career biography. We looked for earlier versions of the Wayback Machine, and the only capture was taken Aug. 14.

The Trump campaign also directed us to July 2022 posts by Willis’ campaign account on X, formerly Twitter. The campaign also highlighted these posts in its pending July Fulton County lawsuit seeking to quash Willis’ investigation. The Georgia Supreme Court previously dismissed a similar lawsuit, finding that Trump failed to make his case. 

In July 2022, as the special grand jury was subpoenaing witnesses, Willis tweeted a political cartoon that depicted Willis on a "fishing expedition," pulling in a fish version of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., into her boat. The cartoon shows Trump also as a fish saying, "I know you’ll do the right thing for the swamp, Lindsey." 

Steve Stegelin, a longtime cartoonist for the weekly Charleston City Paper, drew the cartoon.

Willis wrote: "This is my first cartoon, and likely the only time a boat will ever bear my name. #Embracinghumor #talentedartist #FCDA #FirstwomanDA #Nolaughingmatter." 

This is my first cartoon, and likely the only time a boat will ever bear my name. #Embracinghumor #talentedartist #FCDA #FirstwomanDA #Nolaughingmatter pic.twitter.com/QhfVGcyuNt

— Fani T. Willis (@FaniforDA) July 18, 2022

This does not support what Trump said about Willis fundraising off of this case.

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit also pointed to tweets by Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko encouraging people to contribute to Willis’ campaign

"She is exactly the kind of candidate we must not only elect but re-elect," Parkhomenko tweeted July 11, 2022. In a subsequent post, he wrote, "Republicans will do everything they can to stop her when she is up for re-election."

Parkhomenko told PolitiFact that he has not worked for Willis’ campaign and has "never even volunteered for her, talked to her or talked to her staff."

Following Parkhomenko’s tweets, Willis’ account grew by tens of thousands of followers and her fundraising surged. Willis thanked him for his support July 14 and 17. She did not mention Trump or comment on tweets that mentioned him.

Thank you so much for the support and kind words, Adam. https://t.co/niw5WiHlry

— Fani T. Willis (@FaniforDA) July 14, 2022

Adam, I am so humbled by your support. This week has been amazing! 60k - WOW. THANK YOU. https://t.co/gerM1z6lr5

— Fani T. Willis (@FaniforDA) July 17, 2022

We asked two Georgia political scientists for their thoughts about the Trump prosecution’s potential effect on Willis’ fundraising.

Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University, said Willis’ "prosecution of Trump will raise her profile and her fundraising." 

Swint said, "Did she send mailers or have web sites advertising her prosecution of Trump? No. But it has absolutely been a constant refrain among her, her staff, and her network in GA and elsewhere."

Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, said Willis won’t want to appear that she is raising money off the case, something that could be weaponized against her. Instead, she may talk about her conviction rate or high-profile convictions, Gillespie said.

As for Willis’ tweets, Gillespie said, "People will view this behavior through their partisan lenses."

"You can make a case that Willis is just thanking an independent supporter who alone is responsible for his rhetoric and behavior (though it helps her) and acknowledging an artist who immortalized her in an editorial cartoon," Gillespie said. "Others, though, will see political motivations behind Willis’ responses. That is a matter of perspective."

Our ruling

Trump said Willis "campaigned and raised money on, ‘I will get Trump.’"

Trump’s words on Truth Social created the impression that Willis literally said, "I will get Trump," but the Trump campaign hasn’t proved she did.

Instead, the campaign sent two examples of tweets, including one of her trying to find the humor in a political cartoon and another thanking a Democratic strategist who urged people to give her money, highlighting her investigation. Willis did not say, "I will get Trump."

We rate this statement False. 

RELATED: Who is Fani Willis, the prosecutor in Trump’s Fulton County, Georgia, election interference case?

RELATED: Fact-check: Donald Trump’s misleading attack ad on Fani Willis’ ‘relationship with a gang member’

Amy Sherman
<![CDATA[Social Media - Book is not proof Maui wildfires were planned]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/social-media/book-is-not-proof-maui-wildfires-were-planned/Social Media - Book is not proof Maui wildfires were plannedThu, 17 Aug 2023 20:44:16 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/social-media/book-is-not-proof-maui-wildfires-were-planned/

Social media users sounded alarms about the Aug. 10 publication of a book about the Maui wildfires that started Aug. 8, baselessly claiming the island may have been intentionally set on fire as part of a conspiracy.

"You guys wanna think that this is all an accident? OK. You wanna think that our government wasn’t involved? OK… But this, this is bugging me," a woman said in an Aug. 15 TikTok video. "How in the actual F did they write and release a book about the fires in Maui?"

Another man in an Aug. 15 Instagram post said, "Anyone else find this weird? So the Maui fire started on Aug. 8. Yet there’s a book about it already. Even in the description of the book, the book chronicles the events from Aug. 8 to Aug. 11 of 2023, the Maui fires. But the publication of the book was Aug. 10, so how did you chronicle the events of Aug. 11 when the book was published on Aug. 10?"

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) 

The book, titled, "Fire and Fury: The Story of the 2023 Maui Fire and its Implications for Climate Change," was released on Amazon

But the existence of a book that was independently published — by an author whose name appears to be a pseudonym and who includes no identifying details — is not proof that the wildfires were planned. A person using the same pseudonym published at least 15 other books within a three-month period, including one the day after the Maui book was published. 

Other social media users speculated that the books might have been produced using artificial intelligence, which draws from information already available online. There has been an increase of AI-written e-books on Amazon because tools such as ChatGPT allow users to create books in a matter of hours. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service allows authors to publish books on their own, without requiring literary agents or publishing houses. 

Details in the book’s summary — that the fire was fueled by drought, heat and hurricane winds; experiences of people who lived through the fire; and the efforts of firefighters and rescuers — have been reported by the media and local government. In fact, the summary said that the book draws on "scientific research, eyewitness accounts, official reports and media coverage," all of which are publicly available.

The book’s author is identified as "Dr Miles Stones," whose author bio on Amazon reads, "I’d rather not say." 

The introduction of the "Fire & Fury," which can be viewed on Amazon as a sample, said the fire "took the lives of six individuals" and "decimated over 270 structures." Maui County had provided this information in press releases published Aug. 9.

According to the Maui Police Department, the death toll has risen to 106 as of Aug. 15.

Officials have not identified the cause of wildfires, but dry conditions, low humidity and high winds were factors. Evidence also pointed to power lines as a likely source.

PolitiFact has debunked other posts that falsely suggested the fires in Maui were intentionally ignited.

We rate the claim that a book published Aug. 10 on Amazon about the Maui wildfires is proof the wildfires were planned False.

Loreben Tuquero
<![CDATA[Joe Biden - Joe Biden says he declared a national climate emergency, but he hasn’t]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/joe-biden/joe-biden-incorrectly-says-he-declared-a-national/Joe Biden - Joe Biden says he declared a national climate emergency, but he hasn’tThu, 17 Aug 2023 19:25:34 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/joe-biden/joe-biden-incorrectly-says-he-declared-a-national/

President Joe Biden touted his efforts to stem climate change on a trip to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

In an Aug. 9 interview, Stephanie Abrams, a Weather Channel meteorologist, told Biden that the World Health Organization projects climate change will cause an additional quarter million deaths a year starting in 2030. 

"Are you prepared to declare a national emergency with respect to climate change?" Abrams asked.

Biden responded, "I’ve already done that. … We’ve conserved more land. We’ve … rejoined the Paris climate accord. … We’re moving. It is the existential threat to humanity."

Abrams then asked Biden again whether he had declared a national climate emergency.

After swatting a bug off Abrams’ shirt, Biden responded, "Practically speaking, yes."

Many environmentalists have applauded Biden’s policies on climate change, including the clean infrastructure funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Biden was visiting Arizona to announce the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni/Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, which conserves 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon that Indigenous people consider sacred.

But he has not declared a national climate emergency.

What would a national climate emergency do?

Environmental groups have been urging Biden to take this step. The March to End Fossil Fuels, a coalition of dozens of environmental and other progressive groups, listed a national emergency declaration as one of several demands of Biden, hoping it would halt fossil fuel exports and lead to more renewable energy.

Our children deserve a safe climate future to grow up in. Fossil fuels harm our health, our families, and our lives. @POTUS it's time to declare a climate emergency.

📢 @ClimateFamsNYC pic.twitter.com/G9NhIBCCzo

— People vs. Fossil Fuels (@FightFossils) August 15, 2023

Legislation is pending in Congress to urge Biden to declare a national climate emergency. The House version, offered by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., has 79 co-sponsors, all Democrats. The Senate version, offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has six Democratic co-sponsors. A similar effort during the previous Congress failed, and the odds are considered long in the current Congress, too. In any case, the resolution would be nonbinding.

Environmental reform supporters in Congress and the environmental movement say that as president, Biden could implement powers granted under three laws to respond more forcefully to climate change: the National Emergencies Act, the Defense Production Act, and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Using the National Emergencies Act, Biden can reinstate a ban on crude oil exports that Congress lifted in 2015, said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups urging Biden to act.

Biden can reinstate the crude oil export ban on a year-by-year basis, Siegel said. "The only prerequisite is the national emergency declaration," she said.

Biden could also invoke the Stafford Act to deem heat a major disaster event. (The act lets presidents access money and disaster relief assistance set aside by Congress.) 

"This will allow states to access more heat-relief funds for things like cooling and water centers in areas accessible to those most affected by heat, including poor and unhoused people, as well as agricultural and other workers." Siegel said. "These funds could also be used to build out resilient clean energy systems."

Using the Defense Production Act, Biden has already sought to leverage federal procurement to manufacture renewable energy and clean transportation technologies, citing "U.S. national and climate security" concerns. But this did not require invoking a climate emergency. 

Siegel’s group also believes Biden could use disaster powers to suspend oil and gas drilling in the outer continental shelf and restrict international trade and private investment in fossil fuels. It urged him to do so as early as December 2020, shortly after he was elected.

Although some of the biggest environmental groups have backed the push for a climate emergency declaration by partnering with the March to End Fossil Fuels, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, others have not, including Earthjustice, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, the National Audubon Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Nature Conservancy.

Legal experts say a climate disaster declaration might not withstand scrutiny at the U.S. Supreme Court. The court is increasingly critical of efforts to extend presidential authority in cases that are not explicitly authorized by Congress.

"I think that makes it iffy whether the Supreme Court really would allow sweeping use of any of these emergency powers in a climate emergency," Dan Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, recently told the environmental publication Grist.

Asked for evidence to back Biden’s claim, the White House press office focused on the other policies Biden has implemented on climate change, including returning the U.S. to the Paris climate accords, the climate-related provisions of the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, and his use of the Defense Production Act for renewable energy technologies.

Our ruling

Biden said he has "already" declared a national climate emergency.

Biden has not signed a formal emergency declaration, a step that many environmental groups and some lawmakers have been urging him to take.

We rate the statement False.

Louis Jacobson
<![CDATA[Maria Bartiromo - The FDA didn’t reverse course. Ivermectin is still not approved as a COVID-19 treatment.]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/maria-bartiromo/the-fda-didnt-reverse-course-ivermectin-is-still-n/Maria Bartiromo - The FDA didn’t reverse course. Ivermectin is still not approved as a COVID-19 treatment.Thu, 17 Aug 2023 16:11:33 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/17/maria-bartiromo/the-fda-didnt-reverse-course-ivermectin-is-still-n/

Conservative pundits, politicians and social media users are claiming that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently reversed its guidance on the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

"We learned this morning that the FDA is now saying that it’s OK to take ivermectin if you have COVID," said Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on an Aug. 11 "Mornings with Maria" segment with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

In response, Johnson pushed baseless conspiracy theories about COVID-19, claiming the pandemic was "preplanned" by unnamed elites. After the segment, Johnson posted on X, formerly Twitter, "Now the FDA quietly approves ivermectin’s use? What’s going on?"

PolitiFact reached out to Bartiromo for comment, but did not receive a reply before publication.

The Bartiromo-Johnson exchange prompted misleading claims about the FDA’s ivermectin guidance to go viral on social media.

@politifact Replying to @johnmatlock58 Conservative pundits, politicians and social media users are misrepresenting an FDA attorney’s remarks about ivermectin. The federal agency has not approved the drug as a treatment for COVID-19. #fda #ivermectin #covid #fatcheck #fyp #learnontiktok ♬ Flight of the Mitoglider - Myriad of Trees

Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk shared the Fox Business clip on X and said, "The FDA has now endorsed treating COVID with Ivermectin!"

These posts were flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

But the claims misrepresent an FDA attorney’s recent remarks about ivermectin.

The agency has not changed its guidance on the drug. A spokesperson told PolitiFact that the FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19.

The ivermectin debate has persisted since the start of the pandemic, but there’s no conclusive evidence that the drug is effective in treating COVID-19. And the FDA says that in large doses, it can be dangerous.

The federal agency has approved the use of ivermectin to treat humans with certain parasitic infections, such as pediculosis caused by head or body lice, or skin conditions, such as rosacea. The FDA urges people to take ivermectin only as prescribed by a health care provider.

The claims follow recent testimony in a federal court case involving the FDA and ivermectin proponents.

In June 2022, three doctors who support using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 filed a federal lawsuit in Texas, claiming the FDA exceeded its authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs federal agencies’ process of developing and issuing regulations, by interfering with their practice of medicine.

A judge at the Texas district court dismissed the case in December 2022, and the plaintiffs appealed to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A panel of three judges heard oral arguments Aug. 8.

Jared Kelson, the plaintiffs’ attorney, argued the FDA lacks the authority to influence or interfere with how physicians prescribe ivermectin, even if it is for purposes different than what the FDA has approved.

Ashley Cheung Honold, a Justice Department attorney representing the FDA, argued the agency has the authority to provide guidance on drugs and convey that information to the public, and the FDA was doing so with its statements on ivermectin. Honold said these statements were not regulations and carry no legal consequences.

When the FDA approves a medication, it means the drug is safe and effective for its intended use, according to the agency’s website.

Honold was not saying that the FDA recommends using ivermectin to treat COVID-19; she was arguing that the agency’s guidelines about how to use ivermectin do not prevent doctors from prescribing the drug off-label, or for different uses than what the FDA has approved.

Here is Honold’s full quote, which is about 22 minutes into the oral arguments: "Your Honor, the FDA has multiple overlapping sources of authority that I'm happy to walk through that gives the FDA authority to convey information to the public, but here the FDA is not regulating the off-label use of drugs. These statements are not regulations, they have no legal consequences.

"They don't prohibit doctors from prescribing ivermectin to treat COVID or for any other purpose."

Our ruling

Bartiromo claimed that "the FDA is now saying that it’s OK to take ivermectin if you have COVID."

Bartiromo and social media users took out-of-context remarks made during federal court proceedings involving the FDA. The attorney representing the FDA said the agency’s ivermectin guidelines do not prevent doctors from prescribing the drug off-label, or for uses different from what the FDA has approved.

The attorney did not say ivermectin is approved by the FDA as a treatment for COVID-19.

The FDA has not changed its guidance on ivermectin. The agency has not authorized the drug for use in treating or preventing COVID-19.

We rate this claim False.

Sara Swann
<![CDATA[ Facebook posts - US did not issue a ‘food shortage emergency’ declaration]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/facebook-posts/us-did-not-issue-a-food-shortage-emergency-declara/ Facebook posts - US did not issue a ‘food shortage emergency’ declarationWed, 16 Aug 2023 22:00:40 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/facebook-posts/us-did-not-issue-a-food-shortage-emergency-declara/

A man inside a vehicle began a 22-minute video by claiming that the U.S. declared a "food emergency" and imploring viewers to stock up on canned goods.

"The federal government has just declared a major food shortage emergency in multiple states," he said in the video, shared Aug. 8 on Facebook. "Major emergency, 40% reduction is what we are dealing with right now, at least 40%, and this has been declared in six different states that I can find so far."

The video was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The video was made by a YouTuber who goes by Patrick Humphrey and has more than 90,000 subscribers. First posted Aug. 7 on YouTube, it represents a larger theme on Humphrey’s channel: He regularly posts videos about alleged emergencies and warnings from federal officials.

But two federal agencies, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told PolitiFact they had made no such food shortage declaration. 

"This is absolutely false," FEMA said in an email.

About eight minutes into the video, the narrator claimed that the Agriculture Department made the declaration for Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Maine. He displayed an image that included headlines from an Aug. 3 news article from the Storm Lake Times Pilot in Iowa and another from the same newspaper a year earlier. 

Both articles said the Agriculture Department had allowed for "emergency grazing and haying" in parts of Iowa due to drought conditions. 

The USDA declaration is part of a federal program that allows farmers to temporarily take hay from, or have livestock graze on, land that is usually restricted.

We found similar news stories in July and August 2023 for federal "grazing and haying" declarations in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. A news story said Maine made a similar declaration because of excessive rain.

The additional grazing or haying is allowed when there is at least 40% loss in production of forage, such as hay, according to the Agriculture Department. Forage is a plant, such as hay, eaten by livestock. 

Humphrey has made similar claims that PolitiFact has debunked, including one about "massive explosions" and one about a poison emergency.  

There was no federal declaration of a food shortage emergency. We rate the Facebook post False.

PolitiFact staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Tom Kertscher
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Shortened video distorts Hawaii governor’s comments about preserving Lahaina]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/instagram-posts/shortened-video-distorts-hawaii-governors-comments/ Instagram posts - Shortened video distorts Hawaii governor’s comments about preserving LahainaWed, 16 Aug 2023 21:24:51 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/instagram-posts/shortened-video-distorts-hawaii-governors-comments/

Some Maui residents displaced by wildfires said that developers are approaching them to buy their properties, leading to concerns among locals about an outsider-led land grab.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green addressed those concerns in a recent interview, suggesting that the state could buy some land in the historic city of Lahaina to preserve it and protect it from outside developers. 

Now, some social media users are presenting a shortened clip of his comments to falsely claim his comments show a state plan to usher in smart cities.

Sticker text on an Aug. 15 Instagram video read, "Governor (Josh) Green wants to turn Lahaina Maui into state lands. All planned for smart city.

The video played an Aug. 12 clip from local TV news station KHON showing Green talking to reporters in Lahaina. 

"I’m already thinking about ways for the state to acquire that land, so that we can put it into workforce housing," he said in the clip. The Instagram video then cut to a man speaking in a TikTok video.

"Let me get this straight," he said. "The houses burned down. Most of the trees are fine. The governor’s talking about how to acquire the land and turn it into smart homes. Am I understanding correctly?"

We found multiple examples of social media users sharing the video and making similar claims about smart cities.

This Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

But this video distorted Green’s comments by cutting them short and sharing them out of context.

A full KHON report shows Green’s full comments:

"I’m already thinking about ways for the state to acquire that land, so that we can put it into workforce housing, to put it back into families, or to make it open spaces in perpetuity as a memorial to people who were lost. We want this to be something that we remember, after the pain passes, as a magic place. And Lahaina will rebuild. The tragedy right now is the loss of life. The buildings can be rebuilt over time; even the Banyan tree may survive.

"But we don’t want this to become a clear space where then, yes, people from overseas come and decide they’re going to take it. The state will take it and preserve it first."

Green mentioned neither smart cities nor smart homes in his response.

The term "smart cities" generally refers to cities that use technology to collect data to help them run more efficiently, such as by improving transportation or electric grids. Instituting smart city technologies in a city would not require destroying existing properties or taking them over.

The concept has become a common target for conspiracy theorists who falsely claim it’s a government plan to track residents or limit their freedom. PolitiFact recently debunked a similar claim that the Maui fires were intentionally set by the government to clear the way for transitioning to smart cities.

In an Aug. 14 news conference, Green made similar comments about preserving land in Lahaina when asked about what’s being done to keep "generational property" local amid concerns from residents about predatory real estate agents. 

Green responded by saying, "That’s very important to us." 

"I actually reached out to our attorney general to explore options to do a moratorium on any sales of properties that have been damaged or destroyed," said Green, cautioning that it will be a long time before anything can be rebuilt. "You will be pretty poorly informed if you try to steal land from our people and then build here."

Green said he hopes to create a memorial in the town and "invest state resources to preserve and protect this land for our people, not for any development."

Again, he did not mention smart cities in his response.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that video showed that Green "wants to turn Lahaina Maui into state lands. All planned for smart city."

A look at Green’s full comments shows the Hawaii governor said he was thinking about ways the state could buy land to preserve it and prevent people from overseas moving in to buy property.

Green has since spoken about the state preserving land for locals and talked of a possible moratorium on property sales to protect against predatory real estate agents.

We rate the claim False.

Jeff Cercone
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No proof that the Marines ‘captured’ Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/instagram-posts/no-proof-that-the-marines-captured-pfizer-ceo-albe/ Instagram posts - No proof that the Marines ‘captured’ Pfizer CEO Albert BourlaWed, 16 Aug 2023 14:53:04 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/aug/16/instagram-posts/no-proof-that-the-marines-captured-pfizer-ceo-albe/

If you see a headline proclaiming that a notable personality has been suddenly arrested, there’s a strong chance it might have come from Real Raw News, a website notorious for fabricating such sensational stories.

In a recent instance, an Aug. 15 Instagram video showed a screenshot of an Aug. 9 article with the headline, "Military Arrests Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla."

The article said the U.S. Marine Corps arrested Bourla and killed two bodyguards during a military-sanctioned operation, citing a source from the office of Gen. Eric M. Smith, the Marine Corps’ assistant commandant. 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

In an email to PolitiFact, Pfizer’s media relations team described the claims as false.

If Bourla had been arrested or captured by the military, it would surely make news. But we found no such news reports or press releases. Bourla’s name is not listed among federal prison inmates. And though the article said Bourla was captured in Newport Beach, his name was not listed among the inmates of Orange County, California, either.

This is no surprise as the claim originated on Real Raw News, a website with a disclaimer that says it "contains humor, parody and satire." PolitiFact has debunked dozens of claims from the website, which often involve claims that politicians and other personalities have been arrested. 

The site is operated by Michael Tuffin, who previously ran at least three other sites and associated YouTube channels that promoted conspiracy theories, a PolitiFact investigation showed.

Bourla’s latest tweet was Aug. 14, five days after the claim was posted.

PolitiFact asked the U.S. Marines for a comment on this claim but received no response.

We rate the claim that the Marines arrested Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Pants on Fire!

Loreben Tuquero