Left Trying To Revive Equal Rights Amendment To Get Abortion In The Constitution
A trio of female leaders representing grassroots organizations with a national presence spearheaded a Capitol Hill briefing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) earlier this month to illustrate, once more, that the abortion agenda has hijacked the women’s movement, to the detriment of what women truly want and need.
Facing a renewed push for passage of the ERA, Eagle Forum and Students for Life of America (SFL) sponsored a briefing for legislators and their staff because, although the legal deadline has long passed and proponents of the ERA failed to win the hearts and minds of Americans, the abortion lobby is in full swing trying to create a constitutional foothold for abortion within the ERA.
The ‘Everything Related to Abortion’ Act
Yet fundamental problems exist with the ERA proposal, which should be renamed the Everything Related to Abortion Act. As the Daily Beast recently reported: “The ERA would provide the framework for an equality argument: Women’s equality necessarily requires reproductive and bodily autonomy, and without control over our bodies, women cannot participate as full and equal citizens in this country.”
Such phrasing is code for abortion, something feminists in the ’70s understood as well. Betty Friedan, one of the founders of the modern pro-ERA movement, stated in her March 1978 letter to the International Women’s Year Conference delegates: “The ERA has become both symbol and substance for the whole of the modern woman’s movement of equality. Further, I am convinced if we lose this struggle for the ERA, we will have little hope in our own lifetime of saving our right to abortion.”
But the ERA was unnecessary for protecting women’s great need for access to the full benefits of society and protections from unique harms. In the context of the times, many laws other than ERA were advanced to protect women’s interests in a society that had too often ignored their needs. But those laws that would be in danger should the ERA pass.
In a letter coordinated by Students for Life, leading pro-family and pro-life leaders reminded the legislators in Virginia (who recently ended the push for ERA) that women-friendly laws would suffer if the ERA were ratified. The letter noted:
ERA specifically states that a person’s sex could not be considered in making a legal preference. With that in mind, consider the many protections designed for women that would be impacted and harmed including the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972; the Federal Minimum Wage Act of 1974, and the Pregnancy Nondiscrimination Act of 1964.”
In fact, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in Sex Bias in the U.S. Code that the ERA will change 800 federal laws … The financial impact on women is incalculable, and ERA will do nothing to focus attention on sexual crimes against women, as a focus on women would be discouraged.
by Dee Wampler, attorney, former prosecutor, and author of eight books and 300 articles for law enforcement journals.
Missouri was the 32nd state to legalize “medical” marijuana, even though marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Additionally, nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Missourians approved the ballot initiative by 65 percent, and now await new rules by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Patients can purchase medical marijuana at 192 state dispensaries. A Marijuana Card Application for Certification (not to be confused with a prescription) and Marijuana Growing Applications will be available in August 2019. Patients may grow six plants and caregivers up to 18 plants.
By 2020, doctors may treat nine chronic debilitating conditions such as epilepsy, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, AIDS, migraines, Parkinson, Tourette, glaucoma or other conditions if certified by two physicians that medical pot may treat a chronic condition more effectively and serve as a safer alternative than other prescription medication.
The new law DOES NOT change existing laws concerning driving while impaired, negligent intoxication, or employment termination and discipline. Using cannabis in a vehicle is strictly prohibited for drivers and passengers just like alcohol. It is illegal to distribute or sell.
Truckers will flunk Department of Transportation tests, and heavy equipment operators, Uber or LYFT drivers, even pizza delivery drivers will be affected. Pilots, ship captains, train engineers, subway engineers, aircraft maintenance personnel, pipeline personnel, school bus drivers may be caught by surprise.
A Commercial Driver’s License driver may not consume cannabis. The law considers truck drivers with any trace of marijuana in their system as impaired. The main intoxicating ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is detectable up to 30 days after use, for which a driver will be removed immediately.
As to guns and marijuana — you cannot have both! Missourians cannot have a medical marijuana certificate and possess a firearm. ATF Federal Rules prohibit “unlawful users or those addicted to” and there is no exception for medical grow.
Nonetheless, the social stigma of both medical and recreational marijuana use is systematically being erased. A massive, silent cultural revolution has occurred revealing a deepening moral and spiritual breakdown. Our popular culture has become more violent, vulgar, cynical, remorseless, depressed, and devious. Increasingly, we refuse to judge others even if their behavior is destructive, sinful, and morally wrong.
Be faithful! A decision by judges or voters has absolutely no impact on God’s immutable, eternal truths. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to glorify Him in our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Southern Poverty Law Center gets MasterCard and Visa to stop taking donations for David Horowitz Freedom Center
This is getting very serious. It won’t stop with David Horowitz or me. The Left is moving quickly to silence all dissenting voices in the run-up to the 2018 elections. The freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society, and it is rapidly being destroyed in the United States. Not only are Horowitz, and me, and Alex Jones, and Dennis Prager, and Gavin McInnes being silenced — with this credit card action they’re trying to make sure that we cannot make a living, and will be quite literally destroyed, personally as well as professionally. And there will be more victims. This totalitarian action needs to be stopped quickly, or it will destroy all who are not doctrinaire Leftists.
We’re under attack by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)…
For years, the SPLC has labeled the Freedom Center a hate group and tried to get organizations like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter to ban us and silence our message.
Yesterday, SPLC finally convinced MasterCard and Visa to cut us off. Now we can’t process donations from any major credit card companies.
In fact, if you received Robert Spencer’s e-mail last night, you may have noticed your donation was DENIED.
Robert, this blow could be the end of the Freedom Center. Decades of work, down the drain because the hateful Left wants to squash free speech and silence an organization that dares to question them.
As we get more information and meet with our attorneys, I will keep you up-to-date.
In the meantime, please send an emergency donation in the form of a check to our PO Box:
David Horowitz Freedom Center
PO Box 98105
Washington, DC 20090-8105
Whether you can give $35, $50, $100 or more, your generous emergency support today will help keep our programs running while we fight back against the Southern Poverty Law Center and their henchmen on the Left.
Robert, we need you now more than ever. Thank you for your continued support.
‘Highly Profitable Scam’: Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Ripping Off Donors,’ Former Staffer Says
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a “highly profitable scam” that “never lived up to the values it espoused,” according to former SPLC staffer Bob Moser.
The New Yorker on Thursday published a scathing essay from Moser, now a Rolling Stone reporter, accusing the left-wing non-profit of “ripping off donors” while turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks.
The SPLC announced Dees’ firing after roughly two dozen SPLC employees previously signed a letter to the organization’s leadership expressing their alarm at “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
“The firing of Dees has flushed up all the uncomfortable questions again. Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused? Did we enable racial discrimination and sexual harassment by failing to speak out?” Moser asked in his article.
One of Moser’s former colleagues answered in the affirmative.
“Of course we did,” she told Moser. “It’s shameful, but when you’re there you kind of end up accepting things. I never even considered speaking out when things happened to me! It doesn’t feel good to recognize that. I was so into the work, and so motivated by it, I kind of shrugged off what was going on.”
A spokesman for the SPLC did not return an email seeking comment on Moser’s article.
Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees amid employee uproar
The Southern Poverty Law Center has fired its famed co-founder, Morris Dees, over unspecified misconduct, the nonprofit announced Thursday, a stunning development at an organization that became a bedrock of anti-extremism research and activism under nearly half a century of Dees’ leadership.
While the organization’s leadership did not disclose the reason for Dees’ departure, staff at its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., were told in an internal email that “although he made unparalleled contributions to our work, no one’s contributions can excuse that person’s inappropriate conduct.”
The Times has also learned that the organization, whose leadership is predominantly white, has been wrestling with complaints of workplace mistreatment of women and people of color. It was not immediately clear whether those issues were connected to the firing of Dees, who is 82.
Also Thursday, employees sent correspondence to management demanding reforms, expressing concerns about the resignation last week of a highly respected black attorney at the organization and criticizing the organization’s work culture.
WashPost Columnist: ‘Southern Poverty Law Center Has Lost All Credibility’
“After years of smearing good people with false charges of bigotry, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has finally been held to account,” Marc Thiessen writes in his latest Washington Post column, regarding the SPLC’s $3.375 million settlement and public apology to Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamic radical-turned-reformer who the SPLC included in its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”
Thiessen explains how the SPLC, “a once-storied organization that did important work filing civil rights lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s,” has in recent years become “a caricature of itself” by “labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an ‘extremist’ or ‘hate group.’”
Since abandoning Islamic radicalism, [Maajid Nawaz] has advised three British prime ministers and created the Quilliam Foundation, to fight extremism. He is not anti-Muslim. He is a Muslim and has argued that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
So how did he end up in the SPLC’s pseudo-guide to anti-Muslim bigots? His crime, apparently, is that he has become a leading critic of the radical Islamist ideology he once embraced. Thanks to his courage, the SPLC has been forced to pay a multimillion-dollar penalty and acknowledge in a statement that it was “wrong” and that Nawaz has “made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.”
Let’s hope this settlement is the first of many, because this is not the first time the SPLC has done this. In 2010, it placed the Family Research Council (FRC) — a conservative Christian advocacy group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage — on its “hate map.” Two years later, a gunman walked into the FRC headquarters with the intention to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces.” He told the FBI that he had used the SPLC website to pick his target.
The only way to stop the SPLC is if people stop giving it money and the media stop quoting it or taking it seriously. The SPLC once did important work fighting the Ku Klux Klan. But when it declares Maajid Nawaz, the Family Research Council, Ben Carson and Charles Murray as moral equivalents of the Klan, it loses all integrity and credibility.
The Southern Poverty Law Center Is in a State of Moral Collapse
Progressive media are turning on one of the Left’s most corrupt institutions.
The longer you live, the more you see that a lack of integrity often has a viral effect on an organization. Once the compromises begin, they can’t be contained. They’ll seep into every corner of the institution, corrupting good purposes and damaging people’s lives.
And so it is with the Southern Poverty Law Center — one of progressive America’s most influential and storied civil-rights organizations.
This isn’t news to conservatives, of course. For those who cared about truth, the SPLC’s transformation from a valuable anti-Klan watchdog into a glorified version of Media Matters for America was plain and obvious. It steadily expanded its definition of “hate groups” to include mainstream Christian organizations such as my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and it labeled as “extremists” men such as American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray.
These decisions had serious real-world consequences. Corporations and employers cut off relationships with groups and individuals targeted by the SPLC, and violent people used SPLC designations to justify attempted murder and assault. Remember the man who tried to commit mass murder at the Family Research Council? He found his target through the SPLC’s list of alleged “anti-gay groups.” Remember when an angry mob attacked Murray at Middlebury College and injured a professor? Because of the SPLC, those protesters thought they were attacking a “white nationalist.”
Moreover, its methods of determining hate and extremism are so shoddy and corrupt that it’s been forced to dole out a multimillion-dollar settlement to Maajid Nawaz, a British Muslim whom it hysterically dubbed an “anti-Muslim extremist.” In fact, Nawaz is a former Islamist who now dedicates his life to combating extremism. The SPLC was also forced to apologize for posting an “extremist file” on Ben Carson. Yes, Ben Carson.
Yet still the donations rolled in. Still the media and progressive corporations valued the organization enough to apply its hate labels to good and decent Americans — people I know and respect. Will they value it still, as the SPLC’s internal corruption is made plain?
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) slammed top Democrats while praising the president’s stance against Russia in an opinion piece Monday, saying that they “played right into Moscow’s hands” by continually going after President Donald Trump in “partisan investigations.”
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed posted Monday, Green tore into Democrats, saying their “tough” talk against Russian meddling in U.S. elections does not reflect their true intentions and claiming that Democrats’ “actions reveal” their sole interest is “in ‘getting’ Donald Trump”:
Democrats talk tough about getting to the bottom of election meddling and standing up to Russia, but their actions reveal they’re interested only in ‘getting’ Donald Trump. Republicans have long seen Russia as a threat, and we — including the president — have acted to counter its aggression.
The Tennessee Republican continued on to claim that “Democrats and some media figures aren’t satisfied” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that found the Trump campaign had not conspired with Russia during the 2016 election, hitting them hard for “want[ing] to continue probing and keep this conspiracy theory alive.”
Acknowledging the “13 Russian nationals” that Mueller indicted for election interference and the money “Moscow spent” on divisive Facebook ads, Green added that Trump and Republicans responded by imposing sanctions against Russia “under legislation enacted by a Republican Congress.”
Green then praised the president’s “bold moves” against Russia, citing the sanctions placed against the European nation for its backing of “weapons programs in Iran, Syria and North Korea” as well as its “actions in Ukraine and its continuing occupation of Crimea.”
The congressman also lauded Trump’s ejection of “60 Russian intelligence officers” and the closure of “multiple Russian consulates” following the Russian Federation’s “military-grade chemical weapon” attack in the United Kingdom in 2018.
Green concluded by stating Russia “in a sense” had “succeeded in its mission” of stirring “division and fear” in the U.S. before delivering a final haymaker to the Democrats:
Some top Democrats have played right into Moscow’s hands by pursuing endless partisan investigations. If Democrats care about thwarting Russian meddling and aggression, they will disavow their conspiracy theory that our president is Mr. Putin’s puppet, and stop wasting taxpayer money peddling disproved collusion narratives.
Green — a former major of the U.S. Army who had been nominated to be Secretary of the Army by Trump in 2017 — made headlines last week after he and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment to limit the number of Supreme Court justices to nine amid calls from some 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls to pack the court, as IJR Red previously reported.
78 Media Mistakes in the Trump Era: The Definitive List
Update March 24, 2019
Wethe media have “fact-checked” President Trump like we have fact-checked no other human being on the planet—and he’s certainly given us plenty to write about. That’s probably why it’s so easy to find lists enumerating and examining his mistakes, missteps and “lies.”
Our repeat mistakes involve declaring that Trump’s claims are “lies” when they are matters of opinion, or when the truth between conflicting sources is unknowable; taking Trump’s statements and events out of context; reporting secondhand accounts against Trump without attribution as if they’re established fact; relying on untruthful, conflicted sources; and presenting reporter opinions in news stories—without labeling them as opinions.
But as self-appointed arbiters of truth, we’ve largely excused our own unprecedented string of fact-challenged reporting. The truth is, formerly well-respected, top news organizations are making repeat, unforced errors in numbers that were unheard of just a couple of years ago.
What’s worse, we defend ourselves by trying to convince the public that our mistakes are actually a virtue because we (sometimes) correct them. Or we blame Trump for why we’re getting so much wrong. It’s a little bit like a police officer taking someone to jail for DUI, then driving home drunk himself: he may be correct to arrest the suspect, but he should certainly know better than to commit the same violation.
So since nobody else has compiled an updated, extensive list of this kind, here are:
78 Notable Mistakes and Missteps in Major Media Reporting on Donald Trump
1. Aug. 2016-Nov. 2016:
The New York Post published modeling photos of Trump’s wife Melania and reported they were taken in 1995. Various news outlets relied on that date to imply that Melania—an immigrant—had violated her visa status. But the media got the date wrong. Politico was among the news agencies that later issued a photo date correction.
2. Oct. 1, 2016:
The New York Times and other media widely suggested or implied that Trump had not paid income taxes for 18 years. Later, tax return pages leaked to MSNBC ultimately showed that Trump actually paid a higher rate than Democrats Bernie Sanders and President Obama.
3. Oct. 18, 2016:
In a Washington Post piece not labelled opinion or analysis, Stuart Rothenberg reported that Trump’s path to an electoral college victory was “nonexistent.”
4. Nov. 4, 2016:
USA Today misstated Melania Trump’s “arrival date from Slovenia” amid a flurry of reporting that questioned her immigration status from the mid-1990s.
5. Nov. 9, 2016:
Early on election night, the Detroit Free Press called the state of Michigan for Hillary Clinton. Trump actually won Michigan.
Nancy Sinatra via Twitter
6. Jan. 20, 2017:
CNN claimed Nancy Sinatra was “not happy” at her father’s song being used at Trump’s inauguration. Sinatra responded, “That’s not true. I never said that. Why do you lie, CNN?…Actually I’m wishing him the best.”
7. Jan. 20, 2017:
Zeke Miller of TIME reported that President Trump had removed the bust statue of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The news went viral. It was false.
8. Jan. 26, 2017:
Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported that the State Department’s “entire senior administrative team” had resigned in protest of Trump. A number of media outlets ranging from politically left to right, including liberal-leaning Vox, stated that claim was misleading or wrong.
9. Jan. 28, 2017
CNBC’s John Harwood reported the Justice Department “had no input” on Trump’s immigration executive order. After a colleague contradicted Harwood’s report, he amended it to reflect that Justice Department lawyers reportedly had reviewed Trump’s order.
10. Jan. 31, 2017:
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported the White House set up Twitter accounts for two judges to try to keep Trump’s selection for Supreme Court secret. Zeleny later corrected his report to state that the Twitter accounts had not been set up by the White House.
11. Feb. 2, 2017:
TMZ reported Trump changed the name of “Black History Month” to “African American History Month,” implying the change was untoward or racist. In fact, Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had all previously called Black History month “African American History” month.
12. Feb. 2, 2017:
AP reported that Trump had threatened the president of Mexico with invasion to get rid of “bad hombres.” Numerous publications followed suit. The White House said it wasn’t true and the Washington Post removed the AP info that “could not be independently confirmed.”
13. Feb. 4, 2017:
Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported on “Inside the White House-Cabinet Battle Over Trump’s Immigration Order,” only to have the article updatedrepeatedly to note that one of the reported meetings had not actually occurred, that a conference call had not happened as described, and that actions attributed to Trump were actually taken by his chief of staff.
14. Feb. 14, 2017:
The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo reported about supposed contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.” Comey later testified “In the main, [the article] was not true.”
15. Feb. 22, 2017:
ProPublica’s Raymond Bonner reported CIA official Gina Haspel—Trump’s later pick for CIA Director—was in charge of a secret CIA prison where Islamic extremist terrorist Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in one month, and that she mocked the prisoner’s suffering. More than a year later, ProPublica retracted the claim, stating that “Neither of these assertions is correct…Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.”
16. April 5, 2017:
An article bylined by the New York Times’ graphic editors Karen Yourish and Troy Griggs referred to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, as Trump’s wife.
17. May 10, 2017:
Multiple outlets including Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported the same leaked information: that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey shortly after Comey requested additional resources to investigate Russian interference in the election.
The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, and CNN’s Sara Murray reported the information in sentences and paragraphs that omitted attribution, as if it were an established fact. The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa wrote news articles in the style of opinion pieces and from an omniscient viewpoint as if they were somehow in the mind of Trump. For example, they reported, “Every time FBI Director James B. Comey appeared in public, an ever-watchful President Trump grew increasingly agitated that the topic was the one that he was most desperate to avoid: Russia.” (Other reporters —Reuters’ Dustin Volz and Susan Cornwell— did properlyattribute the claim.)
The Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said the media reports were untrue and McCabe added that the FBI’s Russia investigation was “adequately resourced.”
18. May 27,2018:
The BBC’s James Landale, The Guardian and others reported that Trump wasn’t bothering to listen to the translation during a speech in Italian by Italy’s Prime Minister. They drew that conclusion without asking the White House and based on a video that showed other political leaders wearing large headphones. The Guardian even claimed Trump was fake listening (smiling and nodding). After the reports circulated, the White House stated that, as always, Trump was indeed wearing an earpiece in his right ear.
19. June 4, 2017:
NBC News reported in a Tweet that Russian President Vladimir Putin told TV host Megan Kelly that he had compromising information about Trump. Actually, Putin said the opposite: that he did not have compromising information on Trump.
20. June 6, 2017:
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus; and ABC’s Justin Fishel and Jonathan Karl reported that Comey was going to refute Donald Trump’s claim that Comey told Trump three times he was not under investigation. Instead, Comey did the opposite and confirmed Trump’s claim.
21. June 7, 2017:
In a fact-check story, AP reported erroneously that Trump misread the potential cost to a family with insurance under the Affordable Care Act who wanted care from their existing doctor.
22. June 8, 2017:
The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman reported that Comey testified Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Comey not to call the Russia probe “an investigation” but “a matter.” Weisman was mistaken about the attorney general and the probe. Actually, it was Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch (not Sessions) who told Comey to refer to the Hillary Clinton classified email probe (not the Russia probe) as “a matter” instead of “an investigation.”
23. June 22, 2017:
CNN’s Thomas Frank reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.” The report was later retracted. Frank and two other CNN employees resigned in the fallout.
24. December 2, 2017:
ABC News’ Brian Ross reported that former Trump official Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was going to testify that candidate Trump had directed him to contact “the Russians.” Even though such contact would not be in of itself a violation of law, the news was treated as an explosive indictment of Trump in the Russia collusion narrative, and the stock market fell on the news. ABC later corrected the report to reflect that Trump had already been elected when he reportedly asked Flynn to contact the Russians about working together to fight ISIS and other issues. Ross was suspended.
25. July 6, 2017:
Newsweek’s Chris Riotta and others reported that Poland’s First Lady had refused to shake Trump’s hand. Newsweek’s later “update” reflected that the First Lady had shaken Trump’s hand after all, as clearly seen on the full video.
26. July 6, 2017:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, CNN and numerous outlets had long reported, as if fact, the Hillary Clinton claim that a total of 17 American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia orchestrated election year attacks to help get Trump elected. Only three or four agencies, not 17, had officially done so.
27. Aug. 31, 2017:
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian and Carol Lee reported that a Trump official’s notes about a meeting with a Russian lawyer included the word “donation,” as if there were discussions about suspicious campaign contributions. NBC later corrected the report to reflect that the word “donation” didn’t appear, but still claimed the word “donor” did. Later, Politico reported that the word “donor” wasn’t in the notes, either.
28. Sept. 5, 2017:
CNN’s Chris Cillizza and other news outlets declared Trump “lied” when he stated that Trump Tower had been wiretapped, although there’s no way any reporter independently knew the truth of the matter—only what intel officials claimed. It later turned out there were numerous wiretaps involving Trump Tower, including a meeting of Trump officials with a foreign dignitary. At least two Trump associates who had offices in or frequented Trump Tower were also wiretapped.
29. Sept. 7, 2017:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi called President Trump about an immigration issue. Trump actually made the call to Pelosi.
30. Nov. 6, 2017:
CNN’s Daniel Shane edited excerpts from a Trump event to make it seem as though Trump didn’t realize Japan builds cars in the U.S. However, Trump’s entire statement made clear that he does.
31. Nov. 6, 2017:
CNN edited a video that made it appear as though Trump impatiently dumped a box of fish food into the water while feeding fish at Japan’s palace. The New York Daily News, the Guardian and others wrote stories implying Trump was gauche and impetuous. The full video showed that Trump had simply followed the lead of Japan’s Prime Minister.
32. Nov. 29, 2017:
Newsweek’s Chris Riotta claimed Ivanka Trump “plagiarized” one of her own speeches. In fact, plagiarizing one’s own work is impossible since plagiarism is when a writer steals someone else’s work and passes it off as his own.
33. Dec. 4, 2017:
The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt and Sharon LaFraniere and other outlets reported that Trump Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland supposedly contradicted herself or lied about another official’s contacts with Russians. The story was heavily, repeatedly amended. CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, New York Daily News and Daily Beast picked up the story about McFarland’s “lies.”
34. Dec. 4, 2017:
ABC News’ Trish Turner and Jack Date reported that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had recently worked with a Russia intelligence-connected “official.” But the Russian wasn’t an “official.”
35. Dec. 5, 2017:
Bloomberg’s Steven Arons and the Wall Street Journal’s Jenny Strasburg reportedthe blockbuster that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed Trump’s bank records. It wasn’t true.
36. Dec. 8, 2017:
CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb reported that Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks in advance of the publication of damaging Democrat party and Clinton campaign emails. Many other publications followed suit. They had the date wrong: WikiLeaks and Trump Junior were in contact after the emails were published.
37. Jan. 3, 2018:
Talking Point Memo’s Sam Thielman reported that a Russian social media company provided documents to the Senate about communications with a Trump official. The story was later corrected to say the reporter actually had no idea how the Senate received the documents and had no evidence to suggest the Russian company was cooperating with the probe.
38. Jan. 12, 2018:
Mediaite’s Lawrence Bonk, CNN’s Sophie Tatum, the Guardian, BBC, US News and World Report, Reuters and Buzzfeed’s Adolfo Flores reported a “bombshell”— that President Trump had backed down from his famous demand for a wall along the entire Southern border. However, Trump said the very same thing in February 2016 on MSNBC, on Dec. 2, 2015, in the National Journal, in October 2015 during the CNBC Republican Primary debate, and on Aug. 20, 2015, on FOX Business’ Mornings with Maria.
39. Jan. 15, 2018:
AP’s Laurie Kellman and Jonathan Drew reported that a new report showed trust in the media had fallen during the Trump presidency. But the report that AP cited was actually over a year old and was conducted while Obama was president.
40. Feb. 2, 2018:
AP’s Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Chad Day reported that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s opposition research against Trump was initially funded by a conservative publication: the Washington Free Beacon. AP corrected its story because Steele only came on the project after Democrats began funding it.
41. March 8, 2018:
The New York Times’ Jan Rosen reported on a hypothetical family whose tax bill would rise nearly $4,000 under Trump’s tax plan. It turns out the calculations were off: the couple’s taxes would go actually go down $43; not up $4,000.
42. March 13, 2018:
The New York Times’ Adam Goldman, NBC’s Noreen O’Donnell and AP’s Deb Riechmann reported that Trump’s pick for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, had waterboarded a particular Islamic extremist terrorist dozens of time at a secret prison; and that she had mocked his suffering. In fact, Haspel wasn’t assigned to the prison until after the detainee left. ProPublica originally reported the incorrect details in Feb. 2017.
43. March 15, 2018:
AP’s Michael Biesecker, Jake Pearson and Jeff Horwitz reported that a Trump advisory board official had been a Miss America contestant and had killed a black rhino. She actually was a Mrs. America contestant and had shot a nonlethal tranquilizer dart at a white rhino.
44. April 1, 2018:
AP’s Nicholas Riccardi reported that the Trump administration had ended a program to admit foreign entrepreneurs. It wasn’t true.
45. April 30, 2018:
AP reported that the NRA had banned guns during Trump and Pence speeches at the NRA’s annual meeting. AP later corrected the information because the ban had been put in place by Secret Service.
46. May 3, 2018:
NBC’s Tom Winter reported that the government had wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. NBC latercorrected the story after three senior U.S. officials said there was no wiretap.
47. May 7, 2018:
CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger reported that Trump’s personal lawyer, Cohen, paid $1 million in fines related to unauthorized cars in his taxi business, had been barred from managing taxi medallions, had transferred $60 million offshore to avoid paying debts, and is awaiting trial on charges of failing to pay millions in taxes. A later correction stated that none of that was true.
48. May 16, 2018:
The New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis, AP, CNN’s Oliver Darcy and others excerpted a Trump comment as if he had referred to immigrants or illegal immigrants generally as “animals.” Most outlets corrected their reports later to note that Trump had specifically referred to members of the murderous criminal gang MS-13.
49. May 28, 2018
The New York Times’ Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein and CNN’s Hadas Gold shared a story with photos of immigrant children in cages as if they were new photos taken under the Trump administration. The article and photos were actually taken in 2014 under the Obama administration.
50. May 29, 2018
The New York Times’ Julie Davis reported the estimated size of a Trump rally to be 1,000 people. There were actually 5,500 people or more in attendance.
51. June 1, 2018
In a story about Trump tariffs, AP reported the dollar value of Virginia’s farm and forestry exports to Canada and Mexico was $800. It’s $800 million.
52. June 21, 2018
Time magazine and others used a photo of a crying Honduran child to illustrate a supposed Trump administration policy separating illegal immigrant parents and children. The child’s father later reported that agents had never separated her from her mother; the mother had taken her to the US without his knowledge and separated herself from her other children, whom she left behind.
53. June 22, 2018
MSNBC personality mistakenly stated that Trump had “banned” the Red Cross from visiting children separated from illegal immigrant parents.
54. June 28, 2018
After a newsroom shooting, a newspaper reporter falsely tweeted that the shooter “dropped his [Trump Make America Great Again] hat on newsroom floor before opening fire.”
55. July 10, 2018
NBC reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell reported that outgoing Supreme Court Justice Kennedy only retired after months of negotiations with Trump that concluded with Trump agreeing to replace Kennedy with Judge Kavanaugh.
56. July 16, 2018
Washington Post reporter implies Trump doesn’t understand NATO countries. In fact, Trump met with the Finnish President at the NATO summit. Further, Finland is a NATO partner, just not a member.
57. Sept. 14, 2018
The New York Times issues a major correction (below) to an original “unfair” article about U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
58. Tues. Sept. 18, 2018
The New York Times falsely reports that a man, Mark Judge, testified he remembered an incident more than 30 year ago in which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of assault. Judge actually said the opposite: he does not remember such an incident, and that the allegations are “absolutely nuts.” The Times corrected its article in an editors’ note.
59. Sept. 23, 2018
Multiple news outlets report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein has resigned or been fired. Neither turns out to be true. Axios and others eventually “update” and “clarify” their erroneous reports.
60. Oct. 14, 2018
NBC News falsely reports that President Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Actually, Trump had praised the Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
61. Nov. 14, 2018
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reports that President Trump has decided to fire a deputy national security adviser upon the First Lady’s demand. The Wall Street Journal reports the adviser has been “escorted out” of the White House. Later, it’s reported that neither case was true. “This did not happen. She is still here at the WH,” a senior official told the press. The adviser was reassigned to another job.
62. Dec. 24, 2018
It’s discovered that nearly everything written by a Der Spiegel reporter, who had been honored by CNN, about a supposedly racist Trump stronghold town was fabricated–like much of his other work.
63. Dec. 26, 2018
NBC reports that Trump was the first President since 2002 not to visit the troops at Christmastime. But he (and First Lady Melania) did. NBC added a note to its story but left the false headline in place.
64. Jan. 1, 2019
CBS News claimed, in June of 2018, that Trump spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders would retire by the end of the year. She didn’t. As of Jan. 3, 2019, there had been no correction or editor’s note.
65. Jan. 9, 2019
The New York Times issues a correction to a report that falsely stated former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort asked for campaign polling to be given to a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who has ties to Russia President Putin. Instead, the Times now claims, Manafort actually asked his associate Rick Gates to give polling data to Ukrainian oligarchs –not Deripaska.
While working at Politico, one of the New York Times reporters, Ken Vogel, got caught sending drafts of stories to democratic officials. Another co-author, Maggie Haberman, was considered a “friendly” by Clinton campaign officials who turned to her when she worked at Politico.
“We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. We can do the most shaping by going to Maggie,” wrote Clinton officials in emails.
66. Jan. 11, 2019
Fox TV affiliate in Seattle, Washington airs fake, doctored video of President Trump that altered his face and made it appear as though he had stuck his tongue in and out while giving an Oval Office address.
Politicians are often fact-challenged. But for us in the media— our whole business is in facts. And we’ve played too fast and loose with our own.
67. Jan. 18, 2019
The Buzzfeed exclusive with anonymous sources implicating Trump in potentially criminal behavior (that Democrats and pundits said would be the nail in Trump’s impeachment coffin) is refuted in a rare rebuke from Special Counsel Mueller’s office. Buzzfeed stands by its reporting.
68. Jan. 22, 2019
The New York Times and Washington Post are among the publications that issue corrections after falsely reporting that an anti-Trump activist had served in the Vietnam War.
Additionally, multiple news employees, including a CNN employee, apologize for mischaracterizing as the aggressors Trump-supporting teenagers at a pro-life rally.
69. Jan. 26, 2019
The UK Telegraph apologizes for all the facts it got wrong in a Jan. 19 article criticizing the First Lady.
70. Feb. 18, 2019
While some media outlets responsibly reported and properly attributed allegations in the racist attack alleged by actor Jussie Smollett, others did not. Some unskeptically furthered the narrative that Smollett, who is black, was attacked by Trump-supporting racists who put a neck around Smollett’s neck, shouted racial slurs, told him it’s “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) country, and poured bleach on him. While details are still emerging as of this date, Chicago police have stated that Smollett is no longer considered a victim of the crimes he alleged. The New York Times receives special mention here for adding a biased non sequitur in its early reporting that treated skepticism of Smollett’s story as if it were unfounded, and fit in a dig at President Trump’s son.
But the lack of progress in the investigation has fueled speculation about whether the report was exaggerated. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr., who is known to disseminate conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed, retweeted an article this week about Smollett declining to turn over his cellphone to the police.
Sopan Deb, New York Times
71. Various dates: Other faked attacks reported by the news as if confirmed
A week before Trump was elected, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Mississippi was torched and the words “Vote Trump” found painted on the outside. The mayor condemned the incident as a hate crime and stated it was “an attack on the black church and the black community.” However, police later arrested a black church member for the arson. They say the man staged the fire to look like an attack by Trump supporters. Even today, some of the corrected news reports retain headlines seeming to blame Trump.
The day after Trump was elected, an incident at Elon University in North Carolina made national news. Hispanic students found a “hateful note” written on a classroom whiteboard reading, “Bye Bye Latinos.” After the story made news, it was learned that the message was written by “a Latino student who was upset about the results of the election.”
Also the day after Trump was elected, a gay man — reportedly a filmmaker — claimed that homophobic Trump supporters smashed his face with a bottle outside a bar in Santa Monica, Calif. A bloody photo was posted on Twitter, and he was said to have been treated at a local hospital. Police investigated the media reports. They said no complaint was ever filed, there was no evidence of a crime, and a check of local hospitals showed no victim in such an incident.
The week after Trump’s election, a Muslim student at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, claimed Trump supporters pulled off her head covering, and assaulted and robbed her. She later admitted fabricatingthe story.
A month after Trump’s election, a Muslim-American woman claimed Trump supporters tried to steal her headwear and harassed her on the New York City subway. She ultimately was arrested after confessing she made up the whole story.
72. Feb. 26, 2019
It’s as good a day as any to point out that The Washington Post and others reported last November that Trump was imminently about to fire DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The Post confirmed this with five anonymous sources. The firing was said to be likely to happen the following week.
Three months later, Nielsen is still on the job.
Additionally, the media reported that the only thing standing in the way of her firing was Chief of Staff John Kelly. However, even with Kelly gone, Nielsen — for the moment — remains at work. (H/T to a viewer who flagged this).
73. Feb. 27, 2019
Testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen seemed to put the final nail in the coffin of the “dossier” claim reported by many— that Cohen had visited Prague to meet with Russians to help collude on Trump’s behalf. Cohen told Congress he’s never been to Prague or the Czech Republic, for that matter. McClatchy even reported that Cohen’s cell phone had pinged off Prague towers. Where did this apparently false information come from? “Four people spoke with McClatchy on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of information shared by their foreign intelligence connections. Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections,” reported McClatchy.
74. March 1, 2019
The Washington Post deleted a tweet containing false reporting about a January 19 incident regarding a standoff between Trump-supporting pro-life Catholic high school students and a pro-choice Native American activist. The Post wrongly stated, without attribution, that the activist had fought in the Vietnam War. The activist also falsely stated that a high school student had blocked him and “wouldn’t allow him to retreat.” These events were later called into question, and the Washington Post is being sued in a multi-million dollar libel suit over its allegedly false reporting and misrepresentations. The Post also posted an “editor’s note” on this date stating that “a more complete assessment” of the incident contradicted or failed to confirm accounts as originally reported, including that a particular student was trying to instigate a conflict.
75. Various dates
Multiple reporters and media outlets have provided false information and/or quoted incorrect anonymous sources as to the timing of the release of Special Counsel Mueller’s report on Trump-Russia collusion. The Washington Post said it would be out in summer of 2018. Bloomberg said it would be shortly after the 2018 Midterm elections. In February 2019, CNN, The Washington Post and NBC reported the report was coming the last week of February. However, it was not announced at that time.
76. Jan. 12, 2017
After publishing a story about Trump’s Russia connections, CNN issued a correction of facts it had gotten wrong.
77. May 17, 2017
In Fortune, an article by Allan Licthman on Trump’s “disturbingly deep ties to Russia” was later altered with the following correction:
78. Nov. 30, 2018
A report by NPR quoted in the Washington Post incorrectly quoted Donald Trump, Jr. on Russia negotiations.
You can help fight government overreach. Support the Attkisson v. DOJ/FBI Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund to fight the government computer intrusions. Tweet or contact @TheJusticeDept and President Trump to tell them to stop using your tax dollars to protect the computer intruders by obstructing this lawsuit.
The United States isn’t a “democracy.” Though every American should have learned this fact in high school civics class, the smart set still like to ridicule people who point it out—such a cliche and all.
Today we see why the left has worked to convince Americans that majoritarianism is a profound moral good. And it’s not just that the political class is going through another silly debate about the suddenly inconvenient Electoral College. It’s that Democrats are increasingly comfortable attacking foundational ideas of American governance.
Most of the Founding Fathers believed that a diffuse democracy would weaken the ability of politicians to scaremonger and rely on emotional appeals to take power. Most of them believed that proportional voting would blunt the vagaries of the electorate and help ensure national stability. Democrats agree, which is why they want to scrap the system.
So much for protecting norms.
Democrats prefer a system in which politicians who promise the most free stuff to the largest number of people win. Because they can’t admit it, we have to wrestle with preposterous arguments in favor of overturning the Electoral College. The most absurd is the notion that in a direct democracy, every vote “counts.”
“My view is that every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College—and every vote counts,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said this week. It looks as if most Democratic Party presidential hopefuls are following her lead.
Fact: We always “count” every vote, but “every vote” never counts.
It might come as a surprise to many Americans that their losing ballots don’t count in elections, which is why we disperse power in this country—to protect political and geographical minorities.
As anyone who’s looked at a history of electoral maps can see, the most closely fought-over states are always changing because the issues Americans care about are always changing. Today much of the divide is among urban, rural, and suburban areas, making the Electoral College even more vital.
“This is such a daft idea on its face,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes wrote, reacting to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s contention that calls for eliminating the Electoral College are meant to snuff out the political voice of rural Americans. “Every American already lives in a state that has both cities and rural areas. During statewide races, politicians campaign all over!”
It’s correct that politicians in statewide races tend to campaign everywhere. It is also true that in the end, it is urban areas that predominately elect Democrats, not rural ones.
In direct national elections—with vast spaces to cover and limited time to campaign—candidates would be incentivized to rack up as many votes as they could in accessible urban areas with huge media markets. The Electoral College, imperfect as it is, forces candidates to moderate their views, create coalitions, and appeal to voters is disparate areas.
Beto: 'I Think There’s a Lot of Wisdom' in Abolishing Electoral College
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke believes abolishing the Electoral College is a wise idea—apparently knowing better than the founding fathers.
Responding to a question posed by MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake about getting rid of the Electoral College, O’Rourke said he “sees a lot of wisdom in that" idea.
“I think there’s a lot to that. Because you had an election in 2016 where the loser got 3 million more votes than the victor,” O’Rourke said. “It puts some states out of play altogether, they don’t feel like their votes really count."
He continued: “If we really want everyone to vote, to give them every reason to vote, we have to make sure their votes count and go to the candidate of their choosing. So I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.”
The idea of abolishing the Electoral College is picking up steam among Democratic presidential candidates, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) saying Monday that the nation should move to a national popular vote for presidential elections.
"We need to make sure that every vote counts," Warren said, "and that means get rid of the Electoral College."
President Trump weighed in on the issue Tuesday night, arguing that "campaigning for the popular vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College."
The electoral college is an abomination, and Democrats should keep talking about it
Elite Democrats are finally coming out against one of the most profoundly anti-democratic institutions in the U.S. political system — the electoral college — and it’s about time.
It’s not that Democrats as a whole have ever believed in the electoral college. But until now, the ones with the highest profiles and largest megaphones have tended to treat it with resignation. Sure, it’s a ridiculous feature of the system that was intended in the first place to circumvent democracy, but what are you going to do? Amending the Constitution requires the agreement of three-quarters of the states, and the Republican-run states would never sign on because the electoral college gives them an advantage? So why even talk about it?
But today’s Democratic Party is ready to talk about it, because the party is pretty well fed up with resigning itself to the indefensible, even if undoing it would be a challenge. And at a time when Democrats have an ambitious democracy reform agenda, they can’t leave the electoral college out of the discussion.
So it was that on Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for an end to the electoral college, in addition to advocating a constitutional amendment to protect voting rights. Pete Buttigieg told this blog, “It’s gotta go. We need a national popular vote.” Beto O’Rourke said “there’s a lot of wisdom” in getting rid of it. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) told Jimmy Kimmel, “I’m open to the discussion.” In the coming days, the other candidates will probably be asked about it, and I would be surprised if nearly all of them don’t agree.
Naturally, Republicans are horrified at the thought. And why shouldn’t they be? In two of the past five presidential elections, their candidate got fewer votes but managed to win because of the electoral college. But because they can’t just say “we like it because it gives us an advantage,” they have to come up with something that sounds like a nonpartisan rationale.
[Our Tennessee Congressman] Rep. Cohen: Electoral College Was ‘Conceived in Sin,’ Meant to Perpetuate Slavery
Tuesday on CNN’s “Right Now,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) discussed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) call to abolishing the Electoral College for presidential elections in favor of a national popular vote.
Cohen said, “The country is different than it was when the Constitution was drafted. When the Constitution was drafted, a lot of it had to do with slavery. The stave states wanted equal representation in the Senate because they wanted to keep slavery. The slave states wanted to have an electoral college where the members that they had in Congress counted towards the vote for president, where the slaves counted as two-thirds and in the popular vote they would count as zero. So the slave states didn’t want a popular election because their slaves wouldn’t count toward voting and the slave states would have less votes. This is all conceived in sin and perpetuating slavery on the American people and on the African-American people directly.”
In contrast, I support the electoral college. Though I would find unobjectionable changes in the way the electoral college is calculated, I generally approve of the electoral college because it is one of the Constitution’s accidentally great procedural features for deterring the concentration of political power and the resulting abuses of such concentration.
As described below, in addition to the electoral college, the Constitution's voting system does an unexpectedly good job of deterring the concentration of political power.
The Accidental Two-Party System
Let's start with the what makes the Constitution’s voting rules accidently great.
At the time of the Constitution's ratification in the late 1700s, its proponents expected federal power to be restrained by having a wide swath of different Americans in a large republic form many factions. These diverse factions would restrain federal action by hindering consensus. In James Madison's words in Federalist #10:
"The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other."
Thus, according to Madison, having a lot of people with diverse interests restrains federal power and protects liberty by deterring the formation of oppressive majorities.
Since America has consistently had two major political parties instead of dozens of factions, Madison was, in a word, wrong. He overlooked the significance of voting rules.
When designing the Constitution, its drafters spent considerable time considering who voted when. The Constitution makes the House popularly elected by the people, the Senate appointed by the states, the President indirectly elected through the electoral college, and the judiciary nominated by the President and appointed by the Senate. Due to a skepticism of majorities, the Constitution empowers different people to choose different components of the federal government to protect against majoritarian dangers. The question of who should decide predominates.
Yet, the drafters largely overlooked how those people should be measured. In his significant (but dull) book Social Choice and Individual Values, Kenneth Arrow earned himself a Nobel Prize in economics by showing that individuals with rational preferences among multiple choices (i.e., for three choices A, B, and C, individuals who can rationally form a preference of A > B > C) will when aggregated, such as through voting, almost necessarily create collectively irrational social preferences (i.e. an outcome in which, collectively, society decides that choice A > B > C > A > B > C . . .).
Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem shows that how collective decisions are measured matters as much or more than who should be included in the group deciding.
In other words, the “will of the people” does not exist independently of the voting rules. Voting rules matter because the measure of "the will of the people" determines collective decisions.
To have a Madisonian system with many factions that deter majorities, states would need to use a system of proportional representation in voting. Under such a rule, a party with about 10% support would receive around 10% of the seats in Congress, and Congress would need to form coalitions with many factions to pass legislation—just as Madison wanted.
Currently, due to proportional representation, Spain has not had a government for almost a year because of the inability to form a coalition. Setting a world record, Belgium with its proportional representation voting system did not have an elected government for 589 days. Thus, European countries with proportional representation voting systems show how such voting rules can cause Madisonian inhibitions of government. As Madison suggests, a larger, more diverse country with a proportional representation voting system would likely have such restrains more frequently.
According to Duverger's law, basically political science’s only "law", first-past-the-post voting rules create two party systems because voters who diverge from established parties to vote for more ideologically favorable third parties can cause the election of the established party that they least prefer. So, if a voter votes for Ralph Nader, George Bush may win the election—even though the voter prefers Al Gore to Ralph Nader. Third party candidates can be “spoiler” candidates because of states’ first-past-the-post voting rules, leading this voting system to create and reinforce two-party systems.
Having underappreciated the significance of voting rules, Madison expected many factions and did not intentionally design the Constitution to restrain the unanticipated two-party system.
Drunk without Power
A two-party system poses the danger of one party taking exclusive control and exerting its unrestrained will on the population. Though not preventing this common 19th century occurrence, the Constitution's voting procedures accidentally mitigate this danger through staggered elections.
Under the Constitution, the President is elected every four years, the House every two years, and one-third of the Senate every two years. So, to control the federal government, one of the two parties probably has to be popular without interruption for at least four years—at least two election cycles—across both the population and individual states.
Even in a presidential year, a popular party that seized the House and Presidency would likely not secure the Senate because only one-third of it gets elected at a time. With the schizophrenia of American voters, the federal government now tends to be split between two parties and, when controlled by one party, not remain in its control too long. Since new legislation requires the approval of the House, Senate, and Presidency, a different party only has to hold one of these entities to create gridlock and restrain federal power.
Let me reemphasize the accident. Why is the House elected every two years? Among the rationales, during the Constitution’s ratification, its drafters feared a standing army. Thus, in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress received the qualified power "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years". By setting a two-year term limit to match the House’s term, the Constitution empowers the American people to defund and end dangerous uses of the army or ongoing wars. Voters only have to elect anti-war politicians in one branch of the government to restrain the army through the House’s power of the purse.
In American history, this neat idea has never been used to restrict the army in such a way. In part, this constitutional protection has been overlooked because a standing army is mostly a post-1945 phenomenon and, since 1945, Congress has largely ceded its authority over the army to the President. Though the House could defund the army without the President or Senate through its control over the army's purse, this intentional attempt to restrain federal power has, at least so far, not notably done so.
Though not fulfilling this intentional role, having House elections every two years has unintentionally restrained the federal government within a two-party system through gridlock. Every two years, voters can deprive any political party with concentrated power of its power by switching the House to a different party. This disperses political power because divided government empowers one party to block another party’s agenda, making the House’s two year terms a tool for dispersing political power.
Most recently, this happened in 2010 with Republicans, jettisoned by Tea Party candidates, snatching the House but neither the Senate, in which only 1/3 was elected, nor the President, which had no election. Thus, House elections deprived Democrats of their federal power without concentrating power among Republicans, largely disabling both Democrats and Republicans for the next six years. Some commentators named the resulting gridlocked Congresses the “Worst Congress Ever” due to the inaction–-apparently forgetting that Congress has passedmany, terrible, horrible, nogood, verybadlaws in American history, including inrecentmemory, when the political system has not restrained the federal government in such a way.
Similarly, with Republicans now poised to hold the House, Senate, and Presidency, the House’s two year terms give Democrats a quick opportunity to disperse Republican power in 2018.
Overall, the staggering of elections in a two-party system both deters the concentration of political power and facilitates the dispersion of concentrated political power, accidentally restraining federal power in a two-party system in a similar way to Madisonian factions.
The Supreme Court’s Lifetime Appointments
In addition to election voting rules, the process for judicial appointments also partially defends against the two-party system.
The Constitution sought to disperse political power by having the President nominate and the Senate confirm federal judges for lifetime appointments. When different parties control the Presidency and Senate, this division of power somewhat disperses concentrated political power by promoting the nomination and confirmation of more moderate, generally acceptable nominees who, whatever their other merits or demerits, do not seek to concentrate one party’s political power.
More significantly, the lifetime appointments designed to insulate the judiciary from the political process inadvertently function like staggered elections, deterring one party from concentrating its control over all three branches. A typical two-term President will appoint three or so Supreme Court Justices, preventing a single President from appointing a full majority of the Supreme Court.
When one party in power appoints Supreme Court Justices and then loses its power, those Justices remain in place to restrain future administrations with different ideological predilections. For a party to appoint anew a majority of the Supreme Court's Justices, the political party would likely need to retain both the Presidency and the Senate uninterrupted for at least ten or so years - making the concentration of political power in one party difficult and restraining potential abuses within a two-party system.
An intentional rule for dispersing political power in a two-party system might have taken the form of nine Supreme Court Justices with 18 year terms—or 11 with 22 year terms or something similar. Such a system would intentionally disperse the concentration of political power by capping the number of Supreme Court Justices a single, two-term President could appoint at less than a majority. A lifetime appointment unintentionally functions similarly. The Constitution creates a federal government that disperses political power through staggered elections and judicial appointments that hinder one party from controlling the House, Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court.
FDR’s Concentration (Camps) of Political Power
In the 1930s and 1940s, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Constitutional procedures that accidentally restrain the two-party system failed badly, showing by contrast the significance of these restraints.
Beginning in 1933 in the depths of the great depression, Roosevelt became President with a Democratic House and Senate. The Democratic party retained control of the House, Senate, and Presidency from 1933 through his death in 1945, irrespective of large losses in 1938. Over this time, one party controlled the federal government and one man controlled the presidency for twelve consecutive years.
As historians recount, his one party rule initially faced a single institutional obstacle—a Supreme Court willing to declare his legislationunconstitutional. In 1937, he threatened to pack the Supreme Court, but Congress rejected his plan. Though many people at the time believed that Justice Owen Roberts changed his vote due to Roosevelt’s court-packing plan, the so-called “switch in time that saved nine”, Justice Roberts changed his vote before the announcement of the court-packing plan, and the Supreme Court just publicly announced his switch after Roosevelt’s affront to separation of powers.
Regardless, historians fixating on Roosevelt’s intentional court-packing plan overlook the gradual and dangerous concentration of political power that empowered Roosevelt all the same. By his fourth term’s end, Roosevelt had appointed eight of the nine Supreme Court Justices—completing the Democratic party’s concentration of political power. By retaining power for a dozen years, Roosevelt’s uninterrupted control outlasted the staggered election process and gave Democrats control of the House, Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court.
With his uncontested power, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 and interned over 110,000 Japanese Americans. He signed Public Law 503 to enforce his executive order after his Democratic party discussed it for an hour in the Senate and a half hour in the House. And the Democratically-appointed Supreme Court affirmed the internment camps’ constitutionality by a 6-3 margin in Korematsu v. United States.
Many constitutional law scholars express dismay that the decision in Korematsu upheld racial discrimination against Japanese Americans using a strict scrutiny standard of judicial review because strict scrutiny usually protects minorities. They feel this shock partially because constitutional law textbooks tend (with few exceptions) to be organized by topic instead of in chronological order. Whereas organizing by topic perpetuates the myth of the rule of law by emphasizing mangled legal arguments, a chronological and institutional focus much better explains terrible Supreme Court decisions.
Focusing on the Justices’ identities instead of their legal arguments, the only remaining Justice on the Supreme Court appointed before Roosevelt’s presidency, the above-mentioned Justice Owens, voted against Korematsu as a lasting hindrance to the concentration of federal power by one party.
Of the eight Supreme Court Justices Roosevelt appointed and his party confirmed, Justices that Roosevelt intentionally nominated to rule in favor of the Democrats’ federal agenda, six of the eight—or 75% of them—sided with Roosevelt. Korematsu and the internment of Japanese Americans is the culmination of a dozen consecutive years of one-party rule.
Many people today fear that Donald Trump will do terrible things as President, as do I. Fortunately, though, the twenty-second amendment now limits the President to two terms, a particularly useful institutional restraint on the concentration of political power. Due to it, despite his desire to mimic Roosevelt, Trump likely does not have enough time to do anything as “great” as President Roosevelt’s mass internment of Japanese (and Italian and German) Americans.
Even if Trump retains a Republican Presidency, House, and Senate for eight years despite the relative ease of changing the House’s party control, the eight-year limit likely prevents him from also controlling the Supreme Court with its more staggered appointment process. With this limitation, America will hopefully never have to experience again the unusual, dangerous degree of political power exercised by President Roosevelt—no matter how much Trump may seek to make America great again.
The Electoral College’s Protection Against Political Elites
Within this narrative, the electoral college safeguards against the concentration of political power by one party because of its accidental operation within a two-party system.
At first glance, the electoral college seems like an arbitrary way of electing somebody to be President based on a close correlation to the national popular vote. Yet, with Trump winning the electoral college but losing the popular vote, the electoral college and popular vote diverged in this election for the fifth time in American history. Thus, many people wonder why we have the electoral college.
As originally envisioned, the Constitution includes an electoral college to insulate voting from the majority and enable wiser electors to choose the President. By doing so, according to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68, the electoral college would avoid “tumult and disorder” by ensuring that the small number of people who “possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations” would decide the President.
In practice, electors almost always vote based on state popular votes. Trump will win the electoral college regardless of calls for electors to defect against Hamilton’s nightmarish “man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” for President.
Despite occasional defections, such as Roger MacBride casting his electoral vote for Libertarian candidates John Hospers and Tonie Nathan in 1972 and thus giving a woman her first electoral vote, the rare electoral college defections do not affect presidential elections. Much like the belief that factions would restrain federal power, the belief that the electoral college would enable wiser electors to decide the President has proven illusory.
Regardless of the original intention, within a two-party system in a large nation, the electoral college has an important function: it transforms elections from one national election into 51 local elections. With the elections managed locally, the federal government has little control over the voting process and cannot systemically tilt the election in favor of a party in power, preventing any party from systematically expanding its power through the voting system. Thus, the electoral college protects the voting system from potentially systemic federal corruption by dispersing it across the states.
Moreover, by having 51 local elections for electoral votes instead of 51 local elections that sum into a national popular vote, local politicians do not have a powerful institutional incentive to tamper with the voting system and commit voter fraud to concentrate power in their political party, making the electoral college within a two-party system a means of restraining voter fraud and the potential resulting concentration of political power.
Consider by example. In Texas, Republicans control the Governorship and 2/3 or so of the state House and state Senate. Similarly, in California, Democrats control the Governorship and about 2/3 of both the California State Assembly and the California State Senate. In Presidential elections, Texas casts its electoral votes to the Republican, and California casts its electoral votes to the Democrat.
If presidential elections were based on the popular vote instead of electoral votes, though, then Republican Texas politicians would have a powerful incentive to manipulate the voting system in favor of the Republican presidential candidate because the additional votes could matter nationally, and politically powerless Texas Democrats would lack political recourse. Democrats in California would have a similar incentive.
Political tampering with the voting system could happen in various more and less seemingly legitimate ways. Since young people tend to vote Democrat, blue states would likely see their voting age fall to 17, 16, or lower, and red states would see it stay at 18. Similarly, since felons tend to vote Democrat, blue states would probably expand voting rights for felons, and red states would further restrict their voting rights. Since voter identification laws tend to reduce minority turnout and hurt Democrats, red states would probably expand voter identification laws and blue states would probably reduce them.
I am surely overlooking other creative ways that partisan politicians could justify expanding or contracting voter suffrage. Whatever dispassionate reasons exist for such voting laws and restrictions, the interaction of a nationwide popular vote and states with one party rule would create powerful institutional incentives for partisan rather than impartial reasoning to determine the voting rules, facilitating the concentration of political power among whichever party more successfully manipulates the voting process.
In addition to the above tampering with the voting system, politicians in red and blue states could have both the political power and the incentive to engage in outright fraud to empower their party. Considering how creative and manipulative these politicians have been in gerrymandering, such as in Texas and California, politicians governing a one party state within a two party nation would likely manufacture many legal and illegal ways to enhance their party’s national popular vote.
Thus, by creating 51 contests instead of a national popular vote, the electoral college deters red and blue states from tampering with the voting system and concentrating federal political power within their party.
Unlike Texas and California, “swing states” with close votes in presidential elections also more frequently either currently have or recently have had divided governments. In these states, both parties likely have enough political power to restrain the other party’s abuses. For example, my home swing state of Pennsylvania has a Republican legislature and a Democrat Governor.
Additionally, since states like Pennsylvania are known to be swing states, people can monitor them more closely for systemic corruption, a much easier proposition than monitoring all voting booths in the country. With political power divided between the two parties and more careful nationwide monitoring, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can likely systemically concentrate their party’s political power through legal or illegal manipulation of the voting process in swing states. The electoral college protects against politically corrupt voting systems by shifting elections to places with divided governments and more reliable voting.
Interestingly, the above electoral college defense reverses the historical case for it. Rather than having Hamilton’s politically astute elites choose the President, the electoral college disperses power by protecting Presidential elections from partisan political elites.
Arguing against the electoral college, constitutional law scholar Akhil Reed Amar has recently challenged its proponents to explain why a popular vote is “good enough for the governorship of Texas or California” but not “the presidency of the United States”. Given his well-respected stature as a constitutional law scholar and his thoughtful analysis that acknowledges “the possibility of unintended consequences of even well-intentioned reform”, I would like to explicitly answer his question.
In governor races, winning a state by a 5% or 10% or 30% margin has the same result—whether by an inch or a mile, the governor wins. In Presidential races with a national popular vote, the margin of victory within a state would matter because the entire margin affects the national popular vote.
States can reliably manage governor races, but one-party states within a two-party nation would have corrupting incentives to expand margins of victory in presidential races—and also have the political power to do so. Therefore, the repeal of the electoral college would likely have harmful unintended consequences because one-party states would have a powerful incentive to manipulate the voting system to expand their presidential party’s margin of victory, an incentive they do not have in the case of governor races.
Frances Arthur is the Teen Eagle Director for TN Eagle Forum. Below, she describes her latest trip to the Tennessee State Capitol with her group of Teen Eagles:
Yesterday, a group of Teen Eagles took a trip to the Cordell Hull Building (legislative offices) at the Capitol in Nashville. I'm insanely particular about which legislators my students shadow.
I'm also a very particular teacher. I set high standards for my students and fully expect them to rise to that level. They have to qualify to earn the opportunity of shadowing a legislator for a day.
It's difficult to explain exactly what my students do when they shadow. It's not a field trip to the hill. Unlike the teens I saw today wearing jeans, sweatshirts, and earbuds, my students dress professionally. And unlike the teens there yesterday who can say they "saw a committee meeting" since they quietly walked through the room as one took place, mine understand what is taking place and why it matters.
Today, one of my awesome students shadowed State Representative Debra Moody. Her amazing aide de camp is Colleen Curtis. Colleen made this video of Jacqueline Hahamyan, an experienced Teen Eagle from Williamson County. A million thanks Colleen! This is so much fun!
We're thrilled to see our Teen Eagles make such a great impression at the Capitol.
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday evening, she explained that she “used a poor choice of words” when she expressed her frustration about Republicans in the Tennessee House and her assertion that they are bigoted, misogynistic and homophobic.
She later apologized for the remark about Tennessee being racist.
No political party can claim a spotless record on issues of race relations
Mancini in fervor to attack the GOP fell into a dangerous trap of making gross generalizations and essentially demonizing the majority of voters in Tennessee.
The Tennessee House of Representatives has 99 members: 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats.
The Tennessee Senate has 33 members: 27 Republicans, five Democrats and one independent.
That means that 75 percent of the popularly elected General Assembly is Republican.
Democrats once dominated the General Assembly for more than a century before 2011 — during Jim Crow era and then the Civil Rights era.
A combination of factors contributed to the GOP super majority including the Affordable Care Act backlash during the 2010 election, subsequent gerrymandering, and polarizing rhetoric on immigration, former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump.
Today, political boundaries give Republicans an edge in nearly all of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
However, there are blue big population centers in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
"Tomorrow, a story might be published w/ the probable headline of “@TNDP chair calls Tennessee a ‘racist state.’ It’s true. In the heat and the frustration of seeing and hearing the constant drumbeat of bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia coming from Republican Speaker @GlenCasada"
In 2018, Republicans earned big wins in the governor’s and U.S. Senate races, while the strongest Democratic candidates the party could muster lost by double digits.
So, can the Democrats ever win statewide again?
My observations when traveling throughout the state last year was many citizens are concerned about some fairly basic issues: their quality of life, their public safety and their faith.
Many communities are homogeneous and the entry of new residents who are religious minorities, like Muslims, or LGBT has produced a clash of cultures. Some residents fear the loss of what they have always known. So, while it might be counterintuitive, it is the reason why a Southern border wall resonates with voters even though the state is 1,000 miles away from Mexico.
That does not mean that a border wall is right. It does not excuse lawmakers from proposing homophobic, misogynistic or bigoted legislation. It does not allow legislators to shirk their responsibility of defending the Tennessee Constitution.
Advocates should call out efforts to harm people who are minorities, who lack access to health care, and who do not have money or power.
Serous policy debates require thoughtful and respectful discussion
However, calling an entire state racist is not an effective way to get most residents to consider sophisticated policy ideas.
Mancini is responsible to her executive committee, not the voters, so her political future will most likely depend on internal interests.
It is worth noting this sentence in her apology statement:
“Racism is not an issue that we can shy away from addressing head-on. However, I am more aware than ever that words matter when discussing tough issues like race. I commit to continuing this conversation thoughtfully and respectfully with the voters of Tennessee.”
If she is serious about this last statement, she may survive this gaffe and lead Democrats to more thoughtful rhetoric – and possibly more electoral wins.
If she is not, however, she may have handed Republicans a roadmap to increase their super majority in 2020.
As we know from communist societies, one-party rule is never good for democracy.
Nigerian Christians Under Siege: Attacks Claim 120 Lives Since February
At least 120 people have been killed in a series of alleged attacks by the Fulani militia on Christian communities in the Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna in Nigeria since February, according to the nonprofit group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
The organization reported 52 people were killed and 100 homes were destroyed last Monday in the latest attacks on Inkirimi and Dogonnoma villages in Maro, Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA). The victims included women and children.
Survivors of the attack told CSW that their assailants divided into three groups. One group shot and killed people, another set fire to homes as people ran away, and the third waited in the bush to intercept fleeing villagers.
Later that same day, dozens of people were injured and 43 houses were destroyed in another attack by militant Fulani herdsmen on another village.
The Fulani herdsmen, also known as the Fulani militia, are a semi-nomadic group herding cattle over vast areas, living in the central regions of Nigeria. The majority of the herdsmen are Muslim and have fought with Christian farmers over grazing land for centuries.
Disagreements between herders and local farmers over land, grazing areas, and water are said to be the major source of the ongoing conflict between the two groups, according to the BBC.
Thousands of people have left their homes as a result of the recent violence. The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el Rufai, ordered a dawn to dusk curfew.
CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas appealed to both Nigeria's state and federal governments to bring a quick end to the violence.
Islamists Burn Houses, Murder Nine More Christians in Nigeria
Muslim Fulani militants killed nine more Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt over the weekend, the latest strike in a string of lethal, religiously motivated attacks.
The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, confirmed that the assault in the Sanga local government area had claimed at least nine lives, adding to the death toll of 120 Christians massacred in central Nigeria since February.
“The security agencies have so far recovered nine corpses, including children,” El-Rufai said. “The attackers also burnt several houses in the village. The government condemns this attack on the lives and security of citizens and appeals to our communities to resist those who do not want peace.”
A week ago, the Fulani jihadists, who have become a greater threat to Nigerian Christians than the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, raided the villages of Inkirimi, Dogonnoma, and Ungwan Gora in the Kajuru Local Government Area, destroying 143 homes, killing 52 people, and wounding dozens more.
From June 2015 to June 2018, Fulani militants “killed 8,800 Christians and other non-Muslims,” Nigeria’s Daily Postreported last year. During that same period, terrorists torched “not less than 1,000″ churches and other places of worship.
Despite the severity of these massacres, they went virtually unreported by international media.
Governor El-Rufai has vowed that the government, security agencies, and religious institutions will work towards creating “sustainable peace.”
“In this moment of grief, we must come together to defeat the machinations of those who have no notion of respect for the lives of others,” El-Rufai said.
That number breaks down to an average of 11 per day.
In Nigeria, more than 120 Christians have been gunned down or killed with machetes over the past three weeks, but Breitbart was the only big media outlet to report on it…
As Breitbart News alone reported among major news outlets, Fulani jihadists racked up a death toll of over 120 Christians over the past three weeks in central Nigeria, employing machetes and gunfire to slaughter men, women, and children, burning down over 140 houses, destroying property, and spreading terror.
The New York Times did not place this story on the front page; in fact, they did not cover it at all. Apparently, when assessing “all the news that’s fit to print,” the massacre of African Christians did not measure up. The same can be said for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, the LA Times, and every other major paper in the United States.
And of course Breitbart is not exactly “mainstream” media.
So why won’t anyone else report on this?
And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Last June, twelve entire Christian villages in central Nigeria were completely wiped out…
In only days, a dozen villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state were wiped out. The affected communities surround the city of Jos—known as the epicenter of Christianity in northern Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
As many as 200 Christians had been killed, however, some residents fear the death toll may be even higher, as more bodies are yet to be recovered, while others were burned beyond recognition. On Sunday, 75 of the victims were buried in a mass grave.
I’ll bet that most of you had not heard about that until now.
On the other side of the world, 20 innocent people were slaughtered when Muslim radicals bombed a Roman Catholic cathedral in January…
Marine veteran: There is no military need to draft women
Jude Eden, Opinion contributorPublished 5:49 p.m. ET March 18, 2019
The fact that combat units are now open to women who volunteer for military service doesn’t mean we should draft women who don’t: Opposing view
Now that women can serve in combat units, should they have to register in case of a draft?
It depends on what you think the draft is about: equality or war.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act refers to the purpose of Selective Service as “a mechanism to draft large numbers of replacement combat troops.” If we include women for reasons of equity, we must assign equal numbers to combat roles. After all, why should men take all the high-risk jobs?
The military’s mandate is to win at war. That precludes questions of gender equality. Having equal rights doesn’t mean we are required to do the same things in the nation’s defense. If it did, only those who could fight would have rights. The purpose of the draft is military need in a large-scale crisis, so the real question is: Would drafting women improve our military readiness and lethality in a world war? The answer is: Absolutely not.
The fact that combat units are now open to women who volunteer for military service doesn’t mean we should draft women who don’t. In fact, both are harmful for the same reasons: Women have far higher injury rates and risks than men. This hurts military personnel and our fighting capability. In warfare it means higher turnover, more casualties and lost battles.
While we always need men to fight for the nation, there is no military need to draft women. Qualifying equal numbers would create a huge and expensive bureaucratic nightmare just when we need to mobilize quickly — all for very little return.
Imagine sifting through millions of women to find the few who qualify by minimal standards, yet still have six to 10 times the injury rates. Will this set your daughter up to survive and win against the likes of the Islamic State or any peer adversary? None of them uses women in combat units.
If drafting women means more killed in action and losing the battles they were drafted for, it completely defeats the point.