I have many pet peeves and I’m well-versed in the caring and feeding of them all. Among them are common misconceptions, misinformation and disinformation. For those who are uncertain, the difference between the latter two is that misinformation is unintentional while disinformation is deliberate and belongs in the same category as propaganda.

Misconceptions are just mis-beliefs. For example, for much of my pre-teen childhood, I genuinely believed that the term for the offspring of a deer was Bambi. I remember this because it was an embarrassing moment when my mother corrected me in front of my new best school friend. I can’t recall what happened to the friend but I’ve never forgotten from that day forward, that a baby deer is called a fawn.

This childhood reminiscence illustrates why I find misconceptions, misinformation and disinformation so extremely vexing! And that’s putting it mildly. I do not want you to suffer the same way because we at PoltiZoom care about our readers and do not want you falling foul of any mis- or dis-. We want you to be well-informed and feeling confident. Hence this handy fact-checker of common misconceptions, misinformation and disinformation.

Liz Cheney’s book Oath and Honor became an instant #1 bestseller when it sold out on Amazon after its release on December 5. True
That proves she is extremely popular and would win if she ran for office again. False

Explanation: Did anyone think to ask how many books were sold, not only at Amazon, but nationwide? It certainly wasn’t mentioned in any of the news stories. So I checked. According to the industry journal Publishers Weekly,

The top-selling book last week was Liz Cheney’s Oath and Honor, which sold more than 77,000 copies in its first week on sale.

If you convert that nationwide figure to votes, it falls far short of what she’d need in any state or national election. I don’t have the figures for state-by-state book sales, but I’d guess it sold less than 2,000 in Wyoming. That wouldn’t be enough to win her the Republican primary in her home state where 170,409 R voters participated in 2022.

As for the nationwide office, she’d need in excess of 80 million votes. (Joe Biden won in 2020 with 81,282,916 votes). 77,000 is an outstanding sales figure but it’s a long way off what she’d need in votes if she were to run for the top position in 2024.

So no, as good as it is, a sales total of 77,000 does not indicate that it’s enough popular support for Liz Cheney to convert into electoral success.

 The media expressed shock and horror at the news that Trump had paid an expert witness to appear for him in the Trump.org (aka Grift Co) fraud trial… True
…because it was yet another illegality perpetrated by Trump. False

Paying for expert witness testimony is not illegal. In fact, it’s common practice for the defense or prosecution to hire expert witnesses to testify in court proceedings. They are paid for using their expertise to analyse a particular matter and prepare a report plus travel expenses to and from the courthouse and the time it takes to give their testimony. According to Expert Institute,

After compiling expert witness fee data from more than 100,000 cases, we discovered that the average rate for initial case reviews for all expert witnesses is $356/hour, the average rate for deposition appearances is $448/hour, and the average rate for trial testimony is $478/hour.

While rates vary enormously, there’s no doubt Trump’s experts were paid lucrative remunerations for their work as was the state’s only expert. CBS reported:

[Eli] Bartov revealed that he has made approximately $877,500 for his expert testimony in this case — charging $1,350 per hour for about 650 hours of work. When questioned by lawyers for the state of New York about who was paying him, Bartov replied that his bank statements showed some of the money was paid by the Trump Organization and some came from Trump’s Save America PAC.
Another expert witness for the defense, Frederick Chin, who testified earlier in the week on real estate valuation, admitted that he billed $850 per hour for 1,000 hours of work, totalling $850,000. The state’s only expert witness, Michael McCarty, acknowledged that he was paid a rate of $950 per hour, but worked far fewer hours, estimating that he made about $350,000 for his testimony.
It’s up to the judge to determine whether the witness is an expert based on their credentials and experience. It’s up to the FEC to determine if it’s legal for a political PAC to pay for an expert witness.

The majority parties in the Senate and House also have majority membership on their committees. Partly True
Republicans have a majority of members on the current House Ethics Committee. False

The exceptions to this general rule are both Congressional Ethics Committees.

The US Senate Select Committee on Ethics, About Us:

The Select Committee on Ethics (the Committee) is unique among all Senate committees in that it is structurally bipartisan—there are a total of six Members, with three Members from the majority party and three Members from the minority party. The Committee staff is a nonpartisan professional staff hired jointly by the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

US House Committee on Ethics, Committee History:

The U.S. House Committee on Ethics, created in 1967, is unique. The Committee is the only standing committee of the House whose membership is evenly divided between each political party. The Committee includes five members of each party. Also, unlike other committees, the day-to-day work of the Committee on Ethics is conducted by a staff that is nonpartisan by rule.

The Chairpersons on each committee come from the majority parties but they don’t have the power to unilaterally decide on the fate of the members being investigated. That means that the current investigation of HazMatt Gaetz will be concluded if it hasn’t been already. Their report should be ready to deliver to the full House early next year.

Kevin McCarthy was also referred to the House Ethics Committee for investigation (by HazMatt Gaetz no less) for shoving past Rep Tim Burchett in a congressional hallway. That case closed – probably before any formal investigation was opened – when McCarthy resigned.

Congressional Ethics Committees only have the authority to investigate current members. When a Rep or Senator resigns, their membership is no longer current. If they had any matters before an Ethics Committee, their case is closed and archived on the day of their resignation.

Members have been known to resign to escape the consequences of serious Ethics violations. Michele Bachmann (illegal use of congressional staff and campaign funds to promote her book) and Jason Chaffetz (serious violation of House and Oversight Committee Rules when he made public a highly confidential letter he received from then FBI Director James Comey) are two such cases. It’s possible Devin Nunes was also prodded by the Committee to resign.

HazMatt Gaetz may also decide to jump ship if the Ethics report on his felonious activities is as bad as we all expect.

There is some confusion over HazMatt’s investigations. The House Ethics Committee, DoJ and the Special Counsel team are all investigating him though not for the same offences.

From a CNN July 13 report:

Investigators from the House Ethics Committee have begun reaching out to witnesses as part of a recently revived investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida

They are examining a range of allegations including sharing inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, converting campaign funds to personal use, accepting a bribe and illicit drug use.

The DoJ was investigating HazMatt for violating sex trafficking laws and obstruction of justice but it was widely reported in February that they’d concluded their investigation without bringing charges. From NBC, Feb 16:

The Justice Department is ending its sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., without charging him with any crimes, his attorneys and congressional office said.

Note that the announcement came from his attorneys and congressional office staff, not the DoJ. Later in the same article:

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.

It’s my understanding that DoJ’s rule banning public announcements only applies to active cases. Could it be that the Department has just paused the investigation while they focus on the backlog of Jan 6 cases? Gaetz’s political standing certainly benefitted from the interpretation his lawyers provided to the media.

I have no doubt he is also a target of the Special Counsel investigation. He was neck-deep in the seditious plotting of the Jan 6 insurrection and might well find himself in the first congressional group to be indicted next year.

Yes, HazMatt’s father Don is running for a senate seat next year, for the Florida state senate, not the US Senate. I don’t know if Don Gaetz is doing so to help Matt in a proposed run for governor but I suspect this sudden decision to come out of retirement has something to do with his only son.

Ten pallbearers carried Ivana Trump’s gilded coffin into the church. True
That it took ten pallbearers to carry it indicates that there must be something more in the coffin than Ivana’s body/ashes for it to be so heavy. False

Trump is all about appearances. So of course his superficiality dictated that there should be as many pallbearers as would fit around the coffin. He probably wanted a dozen – twice as many as the usual number – but there was only room for ten, four on each side and one at each end which, frankly, looked ridiculous.

As for the weight of the coffin… Eight military bearers were chosen to carry Queen Elizabeth’s lead-lined coffin which was estimated to weigh at least 550lbs when it was constructed 30 years ago (The British Royals are known for long-range planning when it comes to major events).

Trump would have insisted on the most expensive casket that Ivana’s money could buy – but it’s unlikely that it would have been lead-lined. In fact, there is evidence in the photos of Ivana’s casket that it didn’t weigh much at all. Look again at this photo:

The usual practice for pallbearers is for them to take the weight of a coffin on their shoulders. But no one in this or any other photo is doing that. They are using their hands to take the weight. That alone tells us this is not a heavy casket at all and likely there’s nothing inside. The number of pallbearers is just for show.

If Ivana was cremated – and that has never been officially confirmed or denied – Ivanka (who remained very close to her mother) most likely took her ashes to wherever her mother wanted to be buried, probably her birthplace in Zlín, Czechia. Trump only wanted a coffin buried on his property so he could claim it as a graveyard for tax purposes.

Since George Santos was expelled and Kev McCarthy resigned, the Republican majority in the House is shrinking. True
Their slim majority of 4 has been halved to 2 and if they lose two more, they will lose their majority. False

There’s an entire article explaining why the latter statement is false. You can find it here.

Stay safe and informed, Zoomers!

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Your ‘Bambi’ moment reminded me of out kids while I was driving past a very large scrapyard where there was a pile of junked VW ‘beetles’
    I heard the comment “Aww – look at all the poor Herbies”

    • If the Funeral Director is willing to swear in an affidavit “under pain and penalty of perjury” that a PORTIONS of the cremains are in the casket buried at the golf club Trump can get away with it. Ok, so authorities could disinter the casket to check but Trump could easily tie them up in court and it would wind up costing far more in time and money (county lawyer’s time) than they’d get back in taxes. It wouldn’t be worth the actual costs or the PR mess. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

  2. Thank you for this great article. Not only did I enjoy it, but the information is really important to know.

    Thanks for all the work that you put into these articles. I really appreciate.

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