Fact Checking − Searching for the Truth

All truths are easy to understand
once they are discovered;
the point is to discover them.
Galileo Galilei







Clicking a link typically opens a site in a separate window.

Clicking the ball to the left of the link opens it on the same page.






Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve Jobs

Chain E-mail: Suggested Response

Fact Checking

Comment is free, but facts are sacred.
C. P. Scott, editor Manchester Guardian, 1921

PolitiFact - St. Pburg Times; truth-o-meter
Fact Checker - Washington Post

OnTheIssues Everyone on every issue 
CIA Fact Book 
Military Spending by Country; CIA FB
Congressional Budget Office

Sites That Have Some Bias

Political Correction - Media Matters
FAIR - Not really a fact check site
Health Ins. Reform Reality Check

Hoaxes, Urban Legends, Chain Mail
Urban Legends 
UrbanLegends - About.com

Campaign Money

Federal Election Commission
FollowTheMoney - States
FundRace - Huffington Post
OpenSecrets.org - Money's influence
Project Vote Smart - State money
CFI Research
Public Campaign
Public Citizen
Moneyed Politicians
Center for Competitive Politics
Democracy Now! video
The Campaign Legal Center

LegiStorm - Salaries, etc.

It is only common sense to recognize that the great bulk of Americans, whether Republican or Democrat, face many common problems and agree on a number of basic objectives.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Extremes to the right and left of any political dispute are always wrong.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Extreme opposites resemble the other. Each believes that we have only two choices: appeasement or war, suicide or surrender, humiliation or holocaust, to be either Red or dead.
John F. Kennedy

Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We are all Republicans; we are all Federalists.
Thomas Jefferson

I have always sought for the middle ground.
James Madison

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, it to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.
John Adams

The future lies with those wise political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in Government than in politics.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Partisanship must end at the waters edge.
Harry S. Truman

This is a time for courage and a time of challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a Party is not to our Party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.
John F. Kennedy, Undelivered Speech,
November 22, 1963

Extremists on the left tend to be just as critical of pragmatism as extremists on the right.
Richard Nixon

When we put aside partisanship, embrace the best ideas regardless of where they come from and work for principled compromise, we can move America not left or right, but forward.
Bill Clinton

The choice we offer is not conservative or liberal. In many ways its not even Republican or Democratic. Its different. Its new. And it will work.
Bill Clinton

To be locked into partisan politics doesn't permit you to think clearly.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on the right.
Senator John McCain


Political Chain E-mail Notes

About this page. To all who care about the truth, I have set up this Web page with special links to help you verify information that you are pummeled with from all corners of the Internet. Be skeptical and check things out.

"I’ve noticed that chain e-mails, particularly those about politics, have a lot of things in common: urgent and frightening messages; spelling errors; a tendency to blame mainstream media for not telling the real story; and false, misleading, utterly bogus, and completely off-base claims. "If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it. Be skeptical about politicians’ claims. With these e-mails, outright cynicism is justified. Assume all such messages are wrong, and you’ll be right most of the time. "Yes, there are a few chain e-mails floating around the Web that are actually true – but not many."
Lori Robertson, FactCheck.org

"In a study of reactions to political rumors propagated during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Ohio State University communications assistant professor R. Kelly Garrett found that people were much more likely to believe false statements when contained inside messages from family and friends. While people tended to check out rumors posted on Internet sites and news portals, bringing to bear old-fashioned skepticism, they appeared willing to suspend disbelief when the information came from someone they knew well. "The more often people received e-mails with false rumors, the more of the rumors they believed. And as they increasingly bought into these false statements, they sent out even more e-mails that contained them. But here's the twist: This dynamic only worked when it involved candidates the person already disliked or opposed. 'The problem is that we are more likely to let our defenses down when we're dealing with our friends, which is why e-mail can have such harmful consequences,' Garrett said. 'We don't normally question what our friends tell us.' "More than 90 percent of participants had heard the false rumor that 'Barack Obama is a Muslim,' and 55 percent had heard the refutation. But 22 percent―disproportionately Obama opponents who got their info via e-mails― still believed it. "Almost 60 percent had heard the false statement that 'Barack Obama does not qualify as a natural-born citizen of the U.S.,' and 30 percent had heard that it was wrong. But 10 percent still believed it. "Regarding a statement involving Palin: 'While serving as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin successfully banned several books from the local library.' Some 40 percent had heard the rumor, and 15 percent knew it had been reported as false. But 13 percent, disproportionately Palin opponents who got their info via email, believed it anyway." 'Although most individuals do not thoughtlessly forward every rumor they encounter online, they are prone to spread falsehoods that strike them as plausible and that are consistent with their political predispositions and this practice rapidly and repeatedly reinforces political biases.'
Doug O'Harra, Alaska Dispatch

It took me a matter of seconds to verify that this whole story is FALSE. I repeat: FALSE. It's a hoax. It stems from a piece of political satire published by John Semmens for the Arizona Conservative in October 2007. Yet, months later, people are still trotting out this piece of false garbage in an attempt to smear Obama.
Frequent Critic Blog

Frankly, I now perceive the people who forwarded me this email as uneducated, lazy idiots who probably don’t even have enough brains to be responsible to vote. Yet, sadly, they do vote, and they probably make their choices based on this kind of false information. Aside from responding to them to set the record straight, I am not sure what else can be done to stop this behavior on a wider scale. But it does need to be stopped. It’s easy to drop acquaintances off your list of contacts when they send emails like this, but it’s almost impossible to cut off a family member if that’s who has sent the email. (It wasn’t a family member in this case.)

All I can do us strongly suggest—especially to those Republicans and/or bigots out there (they can be mutually exclusive)—that to avoid looking like complete idiots, do your homework and check out those chain emails before you send them on. Why? Because while one may be looking to make a political candidate look stupid, it’s the person sending the email that looks like the dummy

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.
Oscar Wilde

What we think, we become.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.
Anthony de Mello

Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.
Phil Jackson

I consider all proposals for government action with an open mind before voting "no."
Ronald Reagan  

Dictionaries and Glossaries

Comment: These have not been analyzed for bias
Wikipedia Politics Portal (dirty tricks note)
Taegan Goddard 

Polling Organizations

Gallup -   
Harris Poll
NORC (Natl. Opinion Research Center)
Pew Research Center
Rasmussen Reports  
Zogby International