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Donald Trump V. Megyn Kelly…
Conservatives grapple with surprise Trump snub
Michael Pemberton, a 65-year-old conservative from Kentucky, started the day in a good mood. He was attending his second RedState Gathering, and ready to hear from 10 of the Republican Party’s presidential candidates. He dug into breakfast — coffee and fruit — and sat down with another conference-goer.
“One of the chaps across me asked, ‘Did you hear the news?'” recalled Pemberton. “I thought he was going to tell me that a sinkhole opened up in Kentucky and I couldn’t go again. But no: He said, they disinvited Donald Trump. I lost my appetite.”
Pemberton grabbed a sharpie and a note card and scrawled out “I AM DONALD TRUMP.” He affixed it to his jacket with an American flag pin and grudgingly walked into the conference, determined never to come again.
More than 700 activists had signed up for the gathering, and up to a thousand of them had been expected to join Trump at a Saturday night party at the College Football Hall of Fame. On Saturday morning, the reaction to Trump’s exclusion was mixed — and distracting. Annoyance at what seemed to be a politically correct purge competed with annoyance at Trump himself.
“It was really inappropriate to attack Megyn Kelly,” said Richard Fonte, 70, an activist who split his time between Texas and Illinois, and strongly supported Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) for president. “That and the fact that he’s taking the position that he might run as a third party — that would automatically elect Hillary Clinton.”
Fonte’s wife, Dulsey, 68, was even happier to see Trump gone: “I find him crude,” she said. “I have no sympathy for his candidacy.”
5 times Donald Trump has insulted women(2:08)
During the first GOP presidential debate, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump about his insulting remarks toward women over the years. Here are five examples, from Rosie O’Donnell to Brande Roderick. (The Washington Post)
Those sentiments had been burbling up on the right, but even 12 hours earlier, Trump’s Republican critics had started to soften their tone, and say that the billionaire candidate had tapped into a well of legitimate voter anger. Saturday’s burst of anger at Trump was jarring; not everyone at the conference could agree what Trump had even said. Was he making a crude joke about menstruation or wasn’t he?
“It’s wrong to exclude him and insult him on what people interpret he said as opposed to what he said,” said Pemberton. “He was saying that Megyn was seeing blood, in her eyes. As far as ‘blood coming out all over,’ the first thing I think of is not a woman’s menstrual cycle. I think of Jesus Christ, thorns on his head, nail holes in his hands, stigmata.”
In an interview with The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Erickson defended his Trump snub by attacking the overall tone of the candidate’s post-debate rants. The CNN “blood” interview came after a series of jabs at Kelly, which started in the spin room behind the debate stage. To Erickson, it all sounded sexist and dismissive. “I’m not going to have a guy on stage with my wife and daughter in the crowd who thinks a tough question from a woman is because of hormones,” he said.
In a Saturday morning tweet, Trump clarified, saying he was talking about blood coming from her nose. (His campaign had failed to convey this to Erickson.)
His campaign later released a statement, credited to Trump, that ripped into the RedState editor-in-chief personally.
“The guy (Erick Erickson) who made the decision about RedState called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a ‘goat [expletive] child molester’ and First Lady Michelle Obama a ‘Marxist Harpy,'” Trump said. “He was forced to make a humbling apology. Also, not only is Erick a total loser, he has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns so it is an honor to be uninvited from his event.”
People and groups Donald Trump has denounced
Not one to back down easily from controversial statements, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s list of disapproved-of people continues to grow.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who opened Saturday’s session of the Gathering, found himself pulled into the Trump frenzy. He did not mention Trump in his speech, nor did Erickson ask any questions about the candidate or his remarks. Yet when Huckabee walked into a short news conference, he hit a wall of Trump queries.
“Rather than say something about the criticism, I’ll tell you there’s not a more professional, more savvy, and more brilliant person in television today than Megyn Kelly,” Huckabee insisted.
He refused to speak on Trump’s behalf. He rejected a question about whether the Trump outrage fed into Democratic accusations that the GOP waged a “war” on women.
“The Republican Party is not engaged in a war on women,” said Huckabee. “The Republican Party is not engaged in saying things about Megyn Kelly. One individual is. I’m a Republican. I’ve been one since a teenager. I think what I say about Megyn Kelly has more gravity.”
It sounded as though Huckabee was attacking Trump, until he got a question about whether the tycoon was too “thin-skinned” to be president.
“I don’t know what his skin looks like,” said Huckabee. “I haven’t been that close. Do we have another non-Donald Trump question?”
A few reporters obliged, asking Huckabee about gay marriage, abortion, and the upcoming block of Southern Republican contests that have become known as the “SEC primary.” Then came another Trump question.
“I’m running for president,” said Huckabee. “I’m not running to be the social media critic of someone else who’s running for president. You guys can ask him all day. Talk to me about issues. Talk to me about my tax plan. Talk to me about Iran. There’s plenty of people who can talk about Donald Trump. I’m the only one who can talk about Mike Huckabee running for president.”
PUBLISHED: 09:16 EST, 8 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:05 EST, 8 August 2015
Donald Trump has publicly lashed out after he was banned from one of the biggest gatherings of conservative activists over controversial comments he made about Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, the GOP frontrunner appeared to imply that Kelly ‘unfairly’ grilled him about his history of insulting women during a televised debate because she was menstruating.
He remarked that there ‘was blood coming out of her… wherever’, sparking outrage and causing RedState’s Erick Erickson to boot him off the line-up of the high-profile event in Georgia.
On Saturday, Trump took to Twitter to hit back at his critics, writing: ‘So many “politically correct” fools in our country. We have to all get back to work and stop wasting time and energy on nonsense!’
In a later post on Saturday morning, the 2016 presidential candidate added that his remarks about Kelly were not made in reference to her menstrual cycle – but to the host’s nose.
Scroll down for video
Donald Trump taking part in Thursday’s GOP debate, hosted by Fox News’s Megyn Kelly (right). A day later Trump lashed out at the way Kelly had questioned him about his history of insulting women. He said on Friday: ‘You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever’
In a tweet on Saturday morning, the Republican frontrunner hit back with the tweet: ‘So many “politically correct” fools in our country. We have to all get back to work and stop wasting time and energy on nonsense!’
He also rejected claims that he had been referring to Kelly’s menstrual cycle during his interview with CNN, saying that his quote – [there] was blood coming out of her… wherever’ – was actually referring to her nose
Then in a tweet to RedState, he said: ‘I miss you all, and thanks for all of your support. Political correctness is killing our country. “weakness”‘
Trump on CNN: ‘There was blood coming out of her… wherever’
‘Re. Megyn Kelly quote: “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” (NOSE). Just got on w/thought,’ he tweeted his 3.58million followers.
Trump had taken umbrage to the way Kelly questioned him during Thursday night’s televised debate involving GOP candidates – which was watched by a record 24million viewers.
On Saturday, he also wrote a public message to RedState’s official Twitter page, saying: ‘I miss you all, and thanks for all of your support. Political correctness is killing our country. “weakness”.’
A Trump campaign spokesman said that the controversy is ‘just another example of weakness through being politically correct’ – and Trump will now go elsewhere to spread his message.
‘For all of the people who were looking forward to Mr Trump coming, we will miss you,’ the spokesman told Daily Mail Online on Saturday. ‘Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader. We’ll now be doing another campaign stop at another location.
Meanwhile, a campaign press release sent to Daily Mail Online describes how Trump made Kelly look ‘really bad’ in the GOP debate, saying: ‘She was a mess with her anger and totally caught off guard.’
It continues: ‘Mr Trump said “blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever” meaning nose, but wanted to move on to more important topics. Only a deviant would think anything else.
The release also deems Erickson a ‘total loser’ who ‘has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns’. Therefore, it ‘is an honor to be uninvited from his event’, it reads.
It even goes so far as to mention a tweet posted by Erickson in 2009, in which the conservative blogger allegedly described Supreme Court Justice David Souter as a ‘goat f***ing child molester’.
And it cites Erickson’s former description of First Lady Michelle Obama as a ‘Marxist harpy wife’.
Erickson has since apologized for both remarks. Daily Mail Online has reached out to his communications team for comment following the release of Trump’s campaign statement.
Throughout Saturday, Kelly, who previously hosted America Live, appeared to be resisting temptation to fight back against Trump’s continued outbursts, remaining silent on social media.
Frontrunner: Trump participates in the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday
Moderators: During the televised debate, Kelly, center, asked candidates questions along with Fox hosts Chris Wallace (left) and Bret Baier (right). Trump also attacked Wallace, but much more mildly than Kelly
Jibe: Trump reposted this message from a supporter, which brands Kelly a ‘bimbo’, to his 3.58m followers
Outrage: Trump’s comments sparked a storm of outrage that led to RedState’s Erick Erickson booting him from the high-profile Georgia event’s Saturday line-up. Above, Erickson tweeted this post on Friday night
She is due to appear on MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz at 11am on Sunday, a Fox spokesman pointed out. The interview was apparently filmed in advance on Friday night and discusses Trump’s remarks.
On Friday night, Erickson declared that ‘there are just real lines of decency a person running for President should not [cross]’ and that Trump’s comments about Kelly had been ‘inappropriate’.
‘It is unfortunate to have to disinvite him. But I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal. It just was wrong,’ he said.
And on Saturday, Erickson noted on stage – as he kicked off the second full day of the RedState conference – that Trump’s rescinded invitation would likely serve as a distraction for speakers.
TRUMP CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON THE MEGYN KELLY CONTROVERSY
‘Mr Trump made Megyn Kelly look really bad – she was a mess with her anger and totally caught off guard.
‘Mr Trump said “blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever” meaning nose, but wanted to move on to more important topics.
‘Only a deviant would think anything else.
‘This related to the debate, which because of Mr Trump had 24 million viewers – the biggest in cable news history.
‘According to TIME, Newsmax, Drudge Report, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Hill and many others, Mr Trump won the debate.
‘By the way, the guy (Erick Erickson) who made the decision about RedState called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat [expletive] child molester” and First Lady Michelle Obama a “Marxist Harpy.”
‘He was forced to make a humbling apology.
‘Also, not only is Erick a total loser, he has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns so it is an honor to be uninvited from his event. Mr Trump is an outsider and does not fit his agenda.
‘Many of the 900 people that wanted to hear Mr Trump speak tonight have been calling and emailing – they are very angry at Erickson and the others that are trying to be so politically correct.
‘To them Mr Trump says, “We will catch you at another time soon.”‘
He urged the audience and the media at the Atlanta-based gathering to keep their questions to the morning’s keynote guest, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and his plans for America.
But despite his request, there was only one topic on most reporters’ minds at Huckabee’s press conference: Trump.
Huckabee avoided commenting directly on Trump’s explosive comments about Kelly – his former Fox News colleague – while praising her journalistic standards and professionalism.
Kelly, he said, is one of the ‘most beloved people in the building’ at Fox.
‘She is also one of those people you don’t tangle with,’ he said.
He described her as a tough, ‘hands-on’ journalist, who is passionate about her job.
‘It doesn’t matter who you are, she’s gonna try to get to the story,’ he said. ‘And I respect her for that. And she has pressed me hard on many things. That’s fine. That’s what she’s supposed to do. And that’s why she is a successful journalist. She deserves it. She’s earned it.
‘So rather than say something about the criticism, I’ll tell you that there’s not a more professional, a more savvy and more brilliant person in television today than Megyn Kelly.’
During the exchange that incited the all-out assault on Kelly from Trump, the host had asked Trump if his comments about the opposite sex fed into liberals’ claims that the Republican Party is engaged on a ‘War on Women.
But at Saturday’s press conference, Huckabee defended his party from the line of attack, saying: ‘The Republican Party is not engaged in a “War on Women”.
‘The Republican Party is not engaged in saying things about Megyn Kelly.
‘One individual is. I’m telling you what I say about a woman, and I think she’s one of the most remarkable people I know.’
He then took an unprompted swipe at Trump over his evolving views on the issues (the GOP frontrunner has changed his party affiliation multiple times throughout his life).
‘I think what I say about Megyn Kelly probably has more gravity than what anyone else says about Megyn Kelly, not only because I have known and worked with her, but I’ve been a Republican long enough to understand what it takes to be a Republican,’ he said.
And while he wouldn’t take the bait to take a KO shot at Trump, he distanced himself from the candidate’s derogatory remarks about women. ‘I certainly wouldn’t say them,’ Huckabee said.
Asked if Trump should apologize to the media maven, he added: ‘I’ll have to leave that up to him.’
Major conference: Erickson kicks off the second full day of the RedState gathering in Atlanta on Saturday
Erick Erickson’s Twitter response after he disinvited Trump and invited Megyn instead to the RedState event
However, at one point, Huckabee appeared to lose his cool, snapping at a reporter who had asked him why he was declining to criticize Trump’s blatant remarks about Kelly during the GOP debate.
The former Governor of Arkansas cut off the reporter, saying: ‘I didn’t in anyway support them, and I haven’t declined to criticize them… I’m running for president.
‘I’m not running for the social media critic for somebody else who’s running for president.
‘You guys can ask him all day, talk to me about issues,’ he added, listing off some topics he felt were fair game such as his tax plan or the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
He finished: ‘I’m running for president, not to evaluate one of the other 16 people, or 323 people running for president. So, there’s plenty of people who can talk about Donald Trump.
‘I’m the only person who can talk about what Mike Huckabee’s doing, running for president.’
So many ‘politically correct’ fools in our country. We have to all get back to work and stop wasting time and energy on nonsense!
Donald Trump, Twitter
Texas Senator Ted Cruz was likewise bombarded with questions about Trump’s spat with Kelly at an early-afternoon news conference following his own speech at the conservative gathering.
‘I think every candidate should treat everyone else with civility and respect, that’s the standard I try to follow as a senator,’ he told a reporter looking for a reaction to Trump’s comments about Kelly.
He also refused to weigh in on conference organizers’ decision to disinvite Trump.
‘Well, I think that’s a decision for RedState to make,’ he said.
Cruz spent much of the gaggle filibustering as reporters shouted over each other to ask him questions about Trump, diving into a long statement on the crimes against Americans of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani.
‘We’re not going to solve the problems of this country, we’re not going to defeat the Washington cartel, by obsessing over, the politics of personality,’ he said.
‘This is about real challenges facing the American people. This is about bankrupting our kids and grandkids, defending the bill of rights, and restoring America’s leadership in the world. That’s where my focus has been, and it’s where I intend to keep it.’
He finally commented on the drama with Kelly, but never mentioned Trump by name.
‘I think Megyn Kelly is a terrific journalist,’ he said, ‘and I think she does a great job. I think she did a very good job moderating the debate.’ Continuing, he said, ‘I’m not going to engage in a back and forth on personalities,’ as he tried to get reporters to write about something ‘infinitely more important that the momentary bickering between different political’ candidates – Suleimani.
Keynote guest: Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaking at the RedState Gathering on Saturday
Huckabee shakes hands with Erickson as he steps on to the stage to talk about his plans for America
‘She was a mess with her anger’: Trump’s press office sent this release to Daily Mail Online on Saturday
Before leaving the room, Cruz did take a question on charges that Trump’s disparaging comments toward women were playing right into the hands of Democrats’ ‘War on Women’ attacks on the Republicans.
‘You know I’ve gotta say you’re exactly right that women across this country are deeply dismayed with the direction this country goes,’ he said, noting that as the father of two little girls, he cares ‘very much’ about not only them, but women in America.
That millions of women are in poverty, their median wages stagnate, and single moms are struggling to feed their children, ‘that is the war on women,’ Cruz said.
‘And I look forward to getting back to the sort of environment where small businesses are prospering, and women have every opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams,’ he added.
Trump’s remarks about Kelly during Friday night’s CNN interview were the latest in a series of upsets in which the politician has turned on female targets.
Following the interview, Trump was attacked by Carly Fiornia, the only woman in the GOP field, who tweeted: ‘Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse.’ and ‘I stand with Megyn Kelly.’
The latter tweet – and its accompanying hashtag #istandwithmeg – have since gone viral.
And on Saturday, Governor Rick Perry said in a statement to Daily Mail Online that Trump ‘has proven once again that he doesn’t have the temperament to hold our nation’s highest office.’
Questions: Texas Senator Ted Cruz (seen at RedState on Saturday) was bombarded with questions about Trump’s spat with Kelly at an early-afternoon news conference following his speech at the major gathering
Supporters: Cruz, right, has his photo taken with Betsy Shaw Kramer, from Georgia, following his speech
‘Attacking veterans, Hispanics and women demonstrates a serious lack of character and basic decency, and his comments distract from the serious issues facing our country,’ Perry said.
In Friday’s CNN exchange Trump roundly attacked Kelly, saying: ‘I don’t have a lot of respect for Megyn Kelly, she came out, reading her little script, trying to be tough and sharp.
‘When you meet her you realize she is not very tough or very sharp. She is zippo.’
When Lemon asked him to expand, he said: ‘I just don’t respect her as a journalist. I have no respect for her, I don’t think she’s very good. She’s highly overrated.
‘I got out there they start saying all this stuff… she gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever… you could see she was off-base.’
‘It is unfortunate to have to disinvite him. But I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal. It just was wrong
He concluded: ‘She’s a lightweight, I couldn’t care less about her’. Some commentators online criticized Lemon for not asking Trump to explain himself.
However, the disparaging remarks did irk some influential Republicans, including Erickson, who runs the RedState political website.
Trump was due to appear at a special three-and-a-half-hour ‘tailgate’ towards the end of Erickson’s RedState gathering in Atlanta – but was booted from the lineup close to midnight on Friday.
In a response to the blackballing, Trump’s campaign called him ‘weak’, ‘pathetic’ and said they would organize another event.
Most of his rivals, including Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio will be there.
Kelly was asked to fill in for Trump.
In an interview with the Guardian, Erickson said that he thought Trump’s remarks were so objectionable that he has effectively ‘disqualified himself’ from the race.
He added that the dispute would be ‘the beginning of the end’ of Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s dispute with Kelly began with a tense exchange on Thursday night’s Republican contenders’ debate, where he appeared onstage with other 2016 candidates.
These included Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Scott Walker.
The scrap began after Kelly tried to force Trump to address his history of insulting women, whom he has previously called ‘pigs’ and ‘disgusting animals’.
Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham, who are also hoping to become the Republican presidential candidate, posted tweets against Trump on saturday
Donald Trump arrives for the GOP presidential debate
She said: ‘You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals…’
‘Only Rosie O’Donnell’, Trump intervened, before Kelly could finish speaking.
She continued: ‘No, it wasn’t… Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks.
‘You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?’
Trump attempted to laugh the question off, and said he doesn’t ‘have time for total political correctness’.
He also characterized the insults as ‘fun’ and ‘kidding’ before adding that he’d be ‘very nice’ to Kelly – but could turn on her.
In a later question she confronted him again, this time with past remarks where he’d said he was a Democrat and pro-choice – before asking ‘when did you actually become a Republican?’
Trump began attacking her almost immediately after the debates.
According to the Washington Post, Trump hit out at Kelly immediately in the so-called ‘spin room’ where reporters gather after the contest.
He said: ‘The questions to me were not nice. I didn’t think they were appropriate. And I thought Megyn behaved very badly, personally’.
Donald Trump spoke for the longest period of time at the GOP debate, taking up 10 minutes and 32 seconds
Trump has since threatened to boycott future Fox debates after being treated ‘unfairly’.
He later continued the backlash on social media, repeating a comment by one supporter that branded Kelly a ‘bimbo’. He also asserted that she ‘really bombed’.
Kelly has yet to address the remarks, although she did post messages on her Twitter account noting the debate’s record viewership of 24million people, as confirmed by Nielsen data.
On Saturday, Marcy Stec, the communications director of EMILY’s List – a political action committee that was founded in 1985 and aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office – said that Trump and Erickson are ‘just symptoms of a larger problem’.
‘At its core, the ideology that Republican Party policies are grounded in is a fundamental distrust of women. Republicans have shown us time and time again: They don’t trust women,’ she said.
‘They don’t respect women. They don’t understand women. And even more importantly, they don’t want to… Republicans are simply unfit to address the challenges faced by women in this country.’
She added: ‘Today’s outrage over extreme rhetoric is justified – but tomorrow we’re still going to be stuck with a field of candidates whose collective agenda threatens the health and well-being of women and families. And that is truly outrageous.’
‘SHE’S DISGUSTING’: A HISTORY OF TRUMP INSULTING WOMEN
‘If someone screws you, screw them back’: Trump (seen on Thursday) has a track record of lobbing insults at those he feels have treated him unfairly
Trump has a track record of lobbing insults at those he feels have treated him unfairly, and advises those who buy his books to do the same.
‘For many years I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back,’ he wrote in Trump: How to Get Rich. ;’When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.;
When doing so, he has repeatedly targeted women and their physical appearance.
‘Rosie O’Donnell’s disgusting, I mean both inside and out. You take a look at her, she’s a slob. She talks like a truck driver,; he said in 2006 during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. ‘I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say, “Rosie, you’re fired” from her television show, The View.
During the debate, Trump acknowledged making such comments — but only about O’Donnell.
When Kelly said Trump’s comments had gone beyond O’Donnell and asked about his use of such insults on Twitter, Trump replied that he didn’t ‘have time for total political correctness’.
A review of Trump’s writings, televised interviews and Twitter feed show he’s long used harsh language to describe women – and occasionally men.
In tweets sent last year, Trump called Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington ‘a dog who wrongfully comments on me’ and said she is ‘ugly both inside and out!’
In 2012, Trump wrote on Twitter of singer Bette Midler: ‘But whenever she sees me, she kisses my ass. She’s disgusting.’
Trump has also said the same of men. ‘Little @MacMiller, I’m now going to teach you a big boy lesson about lawsuits and finance. You ungrateful dog!’ he tweeted in 2013 at a rapper who wrote a song titled Donald Trump.
And to former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank in 2011: ‘Barney Frank looked disgusting – nipples protruding – in his blue shirt before Congress. Very very disrespectful.’
During the debate, Kelly also referenced a boardroom scene from Trump’s NBC’s realty show, Celebrity Apprentice, in which Trump was told by one contestant that a female teammate had gotten down on her knees to beg.
‘That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,’ Trump said in response.
In the book, Trump declared that ‘All the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.’
And he had this to say about women’s victories on the show: ‘It’s certainly not groundbreaking news that the early victories by the women on The Apprentice were, to a very large extent, dependent on their sex appeal’.
On some occasions Trump appears to have recognized he’s gone too far. In April, he retweeted, then deleted, a tweet that read ‘If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?’
Claiming a spike in fundraising since Thursday night’s debate, Carly Fiorina threw a punch at Donald Trump while also making an appeal to voters currently inclined to support him.
“We certainly have seen an uptick in financial support. We’ve seen an uptick in support generally and so, it’s very exciting,” Fiorina told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “We’re going to talk to as many people as we can through every medium there is. I will continue to do what I’ve done from day one. I will answer any question. I will talk to anyone. I’m not afraid to talk about anything.The more people get to know me, the more people support me. So, that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”
NBC conducted an online survey that suggests Fiorina and Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) were the two candidates who gained the most support from their debate performances, although Trump still led the field. “22 percent said Fiorina won or had the best performance in the debate, followed by 18 percent who said Trump had the best performance,” per MSNBC. “However, another 29 percent said Trump did the worst in the debate, clearly showing how polarizing he is. When the candidates’ negative performance percentages are subtracted from their positive percentages, Fiorina notched a positive 20, whereas Trump scored a negative 11.”
Trump insulted Fiorina on Sunday following her defense of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who asked the real estate mogul and reality TV star if he could defend making derogatory comments about women. “I just realized that if you listen to Carly Fiorina for more than ten minutes straight, you develop a massive headache. She has zero chance!” Trump tweeted.
I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of a railway station
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie-la-lie . . .
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Lie-la-lie . . .
Now the years are rolling by me
The are rocking easily
I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be
But that’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are
More or less the same
Then I’m laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the remainders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains
Lie-la-lie . . .
Trump says CAN’T promise not to run third party campaign
2016 Republican Party President Debate – 6 August 2015
Post debate analysis of 1st Republican Presidential Debate 2016 – The Kelly File
Rand Paul Closing Statements – FOX GOP Debate
FULL Debate: First Republican Presidential Debate: Lower Tier Candidates (8-6-15)
First GOP Debate: Rick Perry & Carly Fiorina BASH Donald Trump
How presidential contenders stack up before first debate
Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Central Park – Thanks
SIMON & GARFUNKEL – Sound of silence (1967 Live)
Who Won the Republican Presidential Debate?
Ten leading candidates for the nomination faced off in Cleveland, and some fared better than others.
John Minchillo / AP
THE EDITORS AUG 6, 2015
Anyone who thought that Donald Trump would take a conciliatory tack in the first Republican debate was quickly disillusioned. Chris Wallace, one of the Fox News moderators, asked if any candidate was unwilling to pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. And Trump, offering his best, most dramatic shrug, happily refused to take the pledge.
That set the tone for the rest of the night: First, the moderators weren’t going to pull any punches. Throughout the evening, they probed the candidates’ greatest perceived weaknesses. And second, Trump had no intention of abandoning the act that’s carried him from perennial joke to the top of the Republican presidential-nomination field.
It was a debate marked by conversations about immigration, abortion, and foreign policy—especially about Iran. The discussion of race relations, the biggest news story of the last year, was notably sparse. It took more than 90 minutes until a candidate received a #BlackLivesMatter question, and when it came, the candidates opted to tread lightly, avoiding unforced errors.
The evening also lacked many direct battles between the candidates. That was partly a factor of the format, but when asked to critique or speak directly to an onstage rival, the hopefuls often demurred.
That made the two big battles of the night all the more notable. In the first, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul battled over terrorism and civil liberties, with Christie accusing the senator of failing to understand the threat to the nation—and Paul tartly responding that Christie failed to understand the Bill of Rights. Later, Christie tangled with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has presented himself as a defender of entitlements for workers and seniors.
And there was Trump, of course. He was, inevitably, one of the standouts of the night. Although he mostly avoided taking direct shots at his opponents, he couldn’t resist battling the moderators. They hardly relented, asking him about boorish comments about women; his slurs against Mexican immigrants; his previous Democratic allegiance; his past description of himself as pro-choice; and his donations to Hillary Clinton.
Trump repeatedly took issue with questions and interrupted the hosts, and what he lacked in coherence or detail, he made up for in bluster and grievance. Some of the questions seemed to play directly into his hands. Whether the night was good or bad for Trump remains to be seen—I’ve learned better in recent weeks than to try to predict whether the real-estate mogul’s comments will redound to his benefit or disadvantage.
But it’s interesting to watch Trump turn his weaknesses into strengths, which he does with an ease that eludes some long-time politicians. And he has plenty of weaknesses. He seems to be betting that his clear anger can, well, trump all of those flaws. Asked about donating to Clinton, for example, Trump delivered what amounted to a rousing defense of crony capitalism, saying that as a businessman he did what he had to. Later, asked about his companies declaring bankruptcy, he insisted he was just shrewdly taking advantage of the system.
He seems to be saying to the disaffected everyman Republican who’s angry at Washington and angry at his leaders: Yes, you’re right. The system is rigged. Would you rather elect a guy who’s part of that, or a guy who sits outside it and is shrewd enough to get rich from it? The hope is that they’ll respect his hustle and his ability to take advantage of that rigging, rather than viewing him as an elite charlatan.
Among the other candidates, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was able to make a strong impression and get lots of camera time but he also faced several difficult questions from the moderators, and he didn’t always have ready answers. Despite being asked repeatedly about the war in Iraq, Bush still doesn’t have a punchy and persuasive response (a problem he shares with Hillary Clinton). He also stumbled in replying to questions about his membership on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies and about the Common Core.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave one of the best performances of the night, showing why so many commentators remain bullish on his prospects despite his middling poll numbers. Rubio delivered strong and detailed answers, appearing poised and in command of his material. His best line of the night came early on, when he noted that he’d only recently paid off his student loans and asked, “How is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?”
Yet perhaps the most surprising showing came from Chris Christie. His presidential campaign has widely been viewed as past its expiration date. But he was able to capitalize on his everyman persona Thursday night—speaking in detail, delivering his responses with passion, and picking his fights without letting his temper get the better of him.
Not everyone had such a strong night. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has consistently run alongside Bush and Trump atop polls, but his answers on Thursday night were forgettable. In his closing statement, he promised he was “aggressively normal,” but Walker’s problem in Cleveland was that the “aggressive” hardly came through. That’s not the worst-possible scenario for him: He avoided committing a serious gaffe, despite repeated questions that seemed aimed at testing his knowledge of foreign policy, and his strong showing to this point means this debate is unlikely to prove decisive for his prospects.
Ben Carson, a first-time debater and candidate, seemed listless and low-energy, and while he faithfully repeated the culture-war mantras that have won him fans, he didn’t have direct answers to almost any of the questions he fielded. (Carson did score some late points with a couple of funny jokes about brain removal in his closing statements.) Rand Paul also seemed a bit lost on stage. At his best, Paul is able to use the rest of the field as his foil, but on Thursday, he fumbled questions about Iran and foreign aid to Israel, passing up opportunities to land punches on his rivals. Beset by campaign scandal and fundraising struggles, Paul needed a strong performance, and he failed to produce one.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Huckabee, meanwhile, made up the middle of the pack and presented an interesting contrast. Both are charismatic figures vying for the social conservative vote. Cruz stuck mostly to his tried and true lines, and boasted of the long list of legislation that he has proposed in the Senate (without emphasizing the fact that none of it has become law). Huckabee, meanwhile, threw red meat to religious conservatives while playing up a populist case for entitlements.
The biggest question mark of the night is John Kasich. The Ohio governor was the last man to make it onto the stage, polling lowest among the 10 candidates who made the cut. At times, he seemed in command, but he also didn’t have a good answer to a question about accepting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Was his performance enough to make it to the next stage, or will a standout from the “kids’ table” debate earlier—perhaps consensus champion Carly Fiorina—take his spot? —David A. Graham
Republican debate veers between two subjects: America and Trump
By David A. Fahrenthold and Sean SullivanAugust 6 at 11:05 PM
At times, the other nine candidates on stage debated serious policies—immigration, the nuclear deal with Iran, government surveillance, the future of Social Security. And then, at times, the debate veered to Trump himself: a sharp-edged candidate who can say things that would torpedo anybody else on stage.
Earlier in the debate, Trump defended himself against questions about his companies’ multiple bankruptcy filings during Thursday night’s first major Republican primary debate, saying that he had “taken advantage” of the country’s bankruptcy in order to help his businesses.
“Out of hundreds of deals—hundreds–on four occasions, I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people,” Trump said, in response to a question from moderator Chris Wallace. “The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, it’s like, ‘Oh, Trump, Trump, Trump.”
In one of the non-Trump-related exchanges, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Paul (got into a heated argument about the limits of government surveillance during Thursday night’s first major Republican debates, in an exchange that showcased two competing poles of Republican thought about security and privacy.
“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” said Paul, the son of libertarian icon Ron Paul, and one of the party’s strongest advocates for limiting government collection of Americans’ phone records and other data.
“That’s a completely ridiculous answer,” said Christie, a former federal prosecutor, who has said that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks illustrated the need for broad-ranging collection of intelligence. “How are you supposed to know?”
“Use the Fourth Amendment! Get a warrant!” Paul responded.
Christie countered with the age-old insult that governors use against senators: “When you’re sitting in a subcommittee, blowing hot air about this,” the problem might seem easy, he said.
Paul retorted with the age-old insult that other Republicans use against Christie. “I don’t trust President Obama,” with records, he said. “I know you gave him a big hug.”
On a stage with 10 candidates, some seemed almost to disappear—neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) all struggled for air time. Others broke with the hard-edged cultural conservatism that dominated the 2012 Republican primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he had attended a same-sex wedding, and described that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage should be accepted as the law of the land.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush defended an earlier statement calling immigration—including illegal immigration—“an act of love.”
“I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option, and they want to provide for our family. But we need to control our border,” Bush said, pivoting to his plans to crack down on illegal immigration. He also returned to an idea that other Republicans have rejected: “There should be a path to earned legal status,” for illegal immigrants already in this country, Bush said. Others have rejected any pathway to legal status as “amnesty.”
But, time and again, the debate returned to Trump—and his long history of over-the-top statements, and flirtations with Democrats and Democratic ideas. At one point, Trump reiterated what—for any other candidate—would be a radioactive statement. He liked nationalized-single-payer health-care system—at least, as it worked in other countries.
“It works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked” in the U.S. at one point, Trump said. Still, he said, he now supports a more modest set of health-care reforms, including allowing consumers to buy insurance across state lines.
Paul spoke up, saying that Trump was on the wrong side of everybody by praising a single-payer system. Trump brushed him off. “I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time tonight,” he said.
In the debate’s second hour, there was a civil exchange between Christie and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee about how to reform Social Security. Christie urged some reforms: raising the age at which seniors are eligible for the benefits, and allowing well-off seniors to collect less. Huckabee resisted those changes, saying that any reduction in anyone’s Social Security benefits was “fundamentally lying to the people, and stealing from them.”
“He’s complaining about the lying and stealing–the lying and stealing has already occurred,” Christie said, meaning that the Social Security trust fund was already under-funded.
Earlier in the debate, Trump took credit for bringing the subject of immigration into the 2016 presidential campaign during the first major GOP candidates’ debate on Thursday evening, in a sharp-edged performance in which he also indicated he might run as a third-party candidate if Republicans don’t choose him.
“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t be talking. This wasn’t a subject,” Trump said to one moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Wallace also tried to press Trump to produce evidence for a key Trump claim: that the Mexican government was actively dispatching illegal immigrants over the border. Trump cited only conversations with “Border patrol. People, that I deal with, that I talk to, they say, this is what’s happening.”
He said he remained convinced that the Mexican government was orchestrating immigration, in order to avoid paying benefits and other costs associated with its own citizens. “The stupid leaders of the United States will do it for ‘em, and that’s happening, whether you like it or not.”
At the beginning of the debate, Paul had shown himself willing to attack Trump. But not everyone thought that was wise.
“They say we’re outspoken, we need to take lessons from Donald Trump,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said, when Wallace asked him to critique Trump’s assertion. “He’s hitting a nerve.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), also prompted to criticize Trump, also refused.
“People are frustrated,” he said.
As the debate’s first question, moderators asked candidates to raise their hand if they would not forswear running a third-party campaign against the GOP candidate. None of the 10 onstage raised their hand. And then, after theatrical pause, Trump did.
“I cannot say, ‘I have to respect the person, who is not me,’” Trump said, as the crowd booed him. “We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.”
Immediately, Paul attacked, saying that Trump was “hedging his bets,” and accusing him of being too close to the Clinton family. “He’s already hedging his bets on the Clintons,” Paul said, pointing in Trump’s direction. “He’s already hedging his bets, because he’s used to buying politicians.”
Just as in 2012, the primary showcased the GOP’s combative side. The crowd cheered when a moderator mentioned that Cruz had called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)—one of the top Republicans in Washington—a “liar.” And onstage, Trump continued to be the best at embodying that edge. When moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about past statements criticizing women for their appearance, Trump responded by saying, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”
He then turned on Kelly herself, suggesting she was on thin ice by even asking the question.
“I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either,” Trump said, as the crowd cheered. “If you don’t like it, Megyn, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you. Although I could maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me.”
Other candidates sought to distinguish themselves in the debate’s first few minutes. Huckabee attacked Planned Parenthood by saying that it sold parts of aborted fetuses “like parts to a Buick.” Rubio, whose parents were Cuban immigrants, said that he could debate Hillary Rodham Clinton about what’s best for families living paycheck-to-paycheck, because he had lived that way.Bush—the son and brother of presidents—responded to a question about his family legacy by saying that “They called me Veto Corleone,” in Florida, he said, because he had vetoed so many bills. “I’m my own man.”
The two-hour debate, which began at 9 p.m. on Fox News Channel, ties the record for most candidates in any primary-season debate. And that’s not even the whole field: earlier Thursday evening, seven other, lower-polling candidates held a separate debate in the same Cleveland arena.
In that undercard, former tech executive Carly Fiorina stood out, with pointed attacks on Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton–and on Trump himself.
“I didn’t get a call from Bill Clinton before the campaign,” she said, referring to a phone call reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday, in which Clinton encouraged Trump to get more involved in GOP politics. As it turned out, Trump has kneecapped the major projected rivals for the Democratic front-runner, who happens to be Clinton’s wife.
Fiorina also noted Trump’s history of position changes: “Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, ‘What are the principles on which he will govern?’”
In the evening’s first debate among second-tier candidates, the person who seemed to do herself the most good was Fiorina, the only woman in the debate, and the only non-politician on a stage full of current and former senators and governors.
Fiorina talked about her experience meeting with foreign leaders, and urged greater cooperation with Israel, and with Arab countries that want to fight the Islamic State. She said she would personally call Iran’s Supreme Leader on her first day in office, to let him know that the U.S. would insist on tougher inspections of nuclear facilities, regardless of the deal recently negotiated by the Obama administration.
Fiorina said that, under her leadership, people would know “America is back in the leadership business.”
She stood out.
But, in this undercard, it was a low bar. The candidates largely agreed with each other, about wanting to undo President Obama’s policies on health care, immigration and Iran. The next 10 candidates will likely say something similar.
And, in this debate, the seven candidates had to begin by answering some version of a humiliating question: If you’re here, at the matinee, why don’t you just give it up?
“Has your moment passed, senator?” a moderator asked former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum at the beginning.
“If the people of Louisiana are not satisfied, what makes you think the people of this nation should be?” a moderator asked Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), after describing his dismal poll numbers.
“Is it time for new blood?” was the question for former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, who hasn’t run for office in more than a decade.
Did you miss your moment? the moderator asked former New York governor George E. Pataki, who had considered, then abandoned a presidential bid in the past. Pataki’s answer was a strange contortion: “I was ready to lead” back then, Pataki said. “But I wasn’t ready to run.”
The most pointed moment came when Santorum compared the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage to one of the most infamous decisions in American history.
Asked if the same-sex marriage decision was “settled law,” Santorum responded, “It is not, any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln.”
He meant the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, in which the court declared that African Americans could not be citizens. President Lincoln later–during the middle of a Civil War fought over the issue of slavery–issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in defiance of the Scott ruling’s racist logic.
For the most part, however, the group did little to move themselves out of the back of the pack.
Meanwhile, Democrats announced Thursday that their debate season will kick off Oct. 13 in Nevada. The first debate will be followed by five others for the Democrats, a schedule that led a pair of underdog candidates to swiftly complain that there should be more.
Ed O’Keefe and Philip Bump contributed to this report.
Fox News Couldn’t Kill Trump’s Momentum and May Have Only Made It Stronger
Aug 7, 2015 5:30 AM CDT
Judging by Thursday’s electric debate, he may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: the network.
A few hours before Thursday’s Fox News debate, a friend of Donald Trump’s confided to me that Trump was nervous. Not about the competition—he could handle them. No, Trump worried about Fox News, and in particular, debate moderator Megyn Kelly. She’d been hammering him all week on her show, and he was certain she was out to get him. He’d canceled a Fox News appearance on Monday night, the friend said, in order to avoid her. (Trump’s spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm or deny this.)
It turns out Trump was right. His toughest opponents Thursday night weren’t the candidates up on stage, but the Fox News moderators, who went right after him—none with more gusto than Kelly.
Kelly, the whip-smart queen of Fox News’ blonde stunners, went straight for the jugular. “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” she admonished Trump. “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
But Trump saw her coming a mile away and cut her off. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he barked, drawing cheers from the crowd. When Kelly tried to point out that he had insulted more women than O’Donnell, Trump, as he would all night, steamrolled right past her. “The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Trump practically shouted, invoking conservatives’ favorite term of disdain. “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness and to be honest with you this country doesn’t have time either.” The crowd went wild.
Maybe they were cheering because the question was apropos of something Rachel Maddow would ask, and they were, after all, Republicans. But I think they were cheering because it was clear, at that moment, that Trump was going to be Trump, and wasn’t going to heed the pundits and phonies to tone down his act. According to a report in New York magazine, even his own daughter, Ivanka, was making that case.
When it became clear last week that Trump was the Republican front-runner, everyone assumed that the big battle shaping up in Republican politics was going to be between Trump and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. But judging by Thursday’s raucous, electric debate, Trump may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: It’s Fox News. Throughout the evening, Trump and his inquisitors battled back and forth like gladiators. Both parties emerged as huge winners. Though nearly devoid of substance, it was the most entertaining debate I’ve ever seen.
Trump led the way. His ethos—the blustering bravado and aggression—became the ethos of the whole affair. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went bananas on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The crowd was roaring throughout. There was none of the stilted, awkward talk of the junior debate earlier in the evening. Political Twitter was throbbing with joy and satisfaction.
Hurling insults, Trump went after O’Donnell, political reporters, Bowe Bergdahl, China, Mexico, Japan, money lenders, and practically everyone in Washington. “Our leaders are stupid,” he said, “Our politicians are stupid.” He did stop short of calling Mexicans “rapists,” but not by much. “We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly,” he said. “We need to keep illegals out.”
While the moderators went after Trump, the candidates mostly shied away from him. In fact, consciously or otherwise, several echoed his points and nearly everyone tried to match his energy. Some even seemed to genuflect. “Donald Trump is hitting a nerve in this country,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said at one point. “Mr. Trump is touching a nerve because people want to see a wall being built.”
Only Paul mustered the nerve to launch a pair of (pretty weak) direct attacks. He might have regretted it. Trump dispatched him with a single, withering aside (“You’re having a hard time tonight”) that was all the more effective because it was true.
Trump’s Fox News antagonists had their moments, too. When moderator Chris Wallace invoked the four bankruptcies his companies have suffered, Trump, seeming genuinely angry, repeatedly fell back on an oddly phrased legalism: “I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people you read about in the business section,” he said.
But it was Kelly who inflicted the deepest cut by rattling off the liberal positions Trump once held and stopping him cold with the question: “When did you actually become a Republican?” Trump’s bluster escaped him. He stammered nervously and seemed lost. “I’ve evolved on many issues over the years, and do you know who else has? Ronald Reagan,” he said feebly. “Very much evolved.” That’s as un-Trump-like a phrase as I’ve heard from him, something more befitting 2012 nominee Mitt Romney.
What’s more interesting than any Trump question or answer, though, was the larger dynamic at play. If Fox News has really turned on Trump, it will add a fascinating new twist to the race. Right now, Trump is the dominant candidate in the field because he has exerted a broad appeal to every part of the Republican Party. How might those Republicans react to Fox News—their own network!—aggressively trying to take down their favorite candidate?
To find out, I called Janet Roberts, 69, a nurse in Bellville, Ohio, who participated in last week’sBloomberg Politics poll and supported Trump (“He has the balls to stand up to the career politicians”). She had agreed to give me her reaction immediately after the debate. When I called, Roberts was furious. “I had more emotion about Fox News tonight than I did about Donald Trump,” she told me. “Those questions were not professional questions. They were bullying. They were set up to purposely make them all look bad. Our country is a mess and I feel like the debate was an example of that. I’m still with Trump.”
In fact, Roberts said, after watching the debate, she felt even more strongly than before. “He was very composed,” she said. “It’s probably difficult for him, because he’s a very opinionated person.”
We won’t know for a few more days if other Republicans reacted to the debate as Roberts did. But my guess is that Trump didn’t hurt himself and might even emerge stronger than before. There’s an unspoken accord between Trump and his supporters that Thursday’s debate can only have intensified. Trump rants and raves in language that upsets and scandalizes the establishment. In return, his fans annoy the elite know-it-alls by rallying to him anyway. Together, they raise a big middle finger to everyone. That’s the art of the deal.
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Kasich, Christie In as Debate Field Is Finalized
After all the media blitzes, viral stunts, and Trump maneuverings, the race to the prime-time debate stage has come to a close.
Fox News has announced the Top 10 roster for Thursday night’s main event in Cleveland based on an average of five recent national polls. The list includes the New York real estate mogul—which comes as no surprise, as he has been consistently leading the field of late—along with other top-tier dwellers Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.
Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie also made the cut.
But the most competitive spot was No. 10, as several low-polling candidates within decimal points of each other have been vying for the prime-time spotlight. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose campaign is just three weeks old, nabbed the final place on the podium for the 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) debate, marking one of the fastest rises by a candidate this cycle. (Though, in this climate, a “substantial” rise is one measuring less than three percentage points.)
“It’s only fitting that this phase of the Republican presidential nomination begins in Ohio—the Mother of Presidents,” Kasich said after the roster was announced. “After all, no Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio.”
The five national polls used for determining the lineup were conducted by Fox News, Bloomberg, CBS News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.
Left off the list are two candidates who have run for president before. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for whom the debates have taken on an especially important role, given his performance in the 2012 race, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the often forgotten runner-up for the GOP nomination in 2012.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also failed to make the cut, which was determined by an average of the five most recent and vetted national surveys. The candidates who do not qualify for the main stage will participate in a separate debate on Fox News at 5 p.m., also in Cleveland.
In a statement released after the field was announced at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the overall field “the biggest and most diverse of any party in history,” adding that “Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues.”
A candidate forum Monday night in New Hampshire, designed to showcase the field in the nation’s first primary state and protest the focus on national polls, underscored how difficult it is to host a crowded field (14 of the 17 candidates participated) in one setting. The format, with each contender given just a few minutes onstage at a time, was more akin to speed dating than a substantive discussion of the issues.
With so many candidates and so little time, the debate outcome on Thursday may boil down to who came up with the most memorable zingers and one-liners. Some observers have argued that the less-populated “happy hour” debate may turn out to have more meaningful exchanges.
The qualification system was crafted after the RNC and national network hosts struggled to find a suitable format to handle the unprecedented large field of candidates this cycle. Both the RNC, which delegated most of the planning to the networks, and Fox News have come under fire for allowing national polls to determine the lineup. Low-polling candidates have been especially vocal in their frustrations with the system.
The RNC decided to limit the number of debates this primary season after seeing the negative impact that too many televised forums had on the party’s chances in 2012 and on the Republican Party brand. But then came the issue of having too many candidates to fit on a stage. The RNC has argued that the new process is the most suitable format for the crowded field.
“This system may not be perfect, but had the RNC not tried to improve the debate process, I can assure you that the debates would be neither this inclusive nor this orderly,” RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, also noting that the committee has secured a wider variety of states for venues along with conservative media outlets to help host the nine scheduled debates.
CNN, which will host the second debate next month in California, is also dividing the field into two slates based on national polling.
Angelo Codevilla – Does America Have a Ruling Class?
1. America’s Ruling Class
2. Has Homeland Security Been a Failure?
3. What’s Wrong with the CIA?
4. Are We Winning the “War on Terror”?
5. The Superiority of the Founders’ Foreign Policy
America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution
The only serious opposition to this arrogant Ruling Party is coming not from feckless Republicans but from what might be called the Country Party — and its vision is revolutionary. Our special Summer Issue cover story.
By Angelo M. Codevilla – From the July 2010 – August 2010 issue
As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.
When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.
Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government’s agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about “global warming” for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class’s continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The Political Divide
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled. Whereas in 1968 Governor George Wallace’s taunt “there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republican and Democratic parties resonated with only 13.5 percent of the American people, in 1992 Ross Perot became a serious contender for the presidency (at one point he was favored by 39 percent of Americans vs. 31 percent for G.H.W. Bush and 25 percent for Clinton) simply by speaking ill of the ruling class. Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans’ conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so.
While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people’s realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers — easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious.
Far from speculating how the political confrontation might develop between America’s regime class — relatively few people supported by no more than one-third of Americans — and a country class comprising two-thirds of the country, our task here is to understand the divisions that underlie that confrontation’s unpredictable future. More on politics below.
The Ruling Class
Who are these rulers, and by what right do they rule? How did America change from a place where people could expect to live without bowing to privileged classes to one in which, at best, they might have the chance to climb into them? What sets our ruling class apart from the rest of us?
The most widespread answers — by such as the Times’s Thomas Friedman and David Brooks — are schlock sociology. Supposedly, modern society became so complex and productive, the technical skills to run it so rare, that it called forth a new class of highly educated officials and cooperators in an ever less private sector. Similarly fanciful is Edward Goldberg’s notion that America is now ruled by a “newocracy”: a “new aristocracy who are the true beneficiaries of globalization — including the multinational manager, the technologist and the aspirational members of the meritocracy.” In fact, our ruling class grew and set itself apart from the rest of us by its connection with ever bigger government, and above all by a certain attitude.
Other explanations are counterintuitive. Wealth? The heads of the class do live in our big cities’ priciest enclaves and suburbs, from Montgomery County, Maryland, to Palo Alto, California, to Boston’s Beacon Hill as well as in opulent university towns from Princeton to Boulder. But they are no wealthier than many Texas oilmen or California farmers, or than neighbors with whom they do not associate — just as the social science and humanities class that rules universities seldom associates with physicians and physicists. Rather, regardless of where they live, their social-intellectual circle includes people in the lucrative “nonprofit” and “philanthropic” sectors and public policy. What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government. They vote Democrat more consistently than those who live on any of America’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Streets. These socioeconomic opposites draw their money and orientation from the same sources as the millions of teachers, consultants, and government employees in the middle ranks who aspire to be the former and identify morally with what they suppose to be the latter’s grievances.
Professional prominence or position will not secure a place in the class any more than mere money. In fact, it is possible to be an official of a major corporation or a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (just ask Justice Clarence Thomas), or even president (Ronald Reagan), and not be taken seriously by the ruling class. Like a fraternity, this class requires above all comity — being in with the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side, and joining in despising the Outs. Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment’s parts.
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about “global warming” to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.
Much less does membership in the ruling class depend on high academic achievement. To see something closer to an academic meritocracy consider France, where elected officials have little power, a vast bureaucracy explicitly controls details from how babies are raised to how to make cheese, and people get into and advance in that bureaucracy strictly by competitive exams. Hence for good or ill, France’s ruling class are bright people — certifiably. Not ours. But didn’t ours go to Harvard and Princeton and Stanford? Didn’t most of them get good grades? Yes. But while getting into the Ecole Nationale d’Administration or the Ecole Polytechnique or the dozens of other entry points to France’s ruling class requires outperforming others in blindly graded exams, and graduating from such places requires passing exams that many fail, getting into America’s “top schools” is less a matter of passing exams than of showing up with acceptable grades and an attractive social profile. American secondary schools are generous with their As. Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges. And it is an open secret that “the best” colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages. No, our ruling class recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but rather by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in. The most successful neither write books and papers that stand up to criticism nor release their academic records. Thus does our ruling class stunt itself through negative selection. But the more it has dumbed itself down, the more it has defined itself by the presumption of intellectual superiority.
Its attitude is key to understanding our bipartisan ruling class. Its first tenet is that “we” are the best and brightest while the rest of Americans are retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained. How did this replace the Founding generation’s paradigm that “all men are created equal”?
The notion of human equality was always a hard sell, because experience teaches us that we are so unequal in so many ways, and because making one’s self superior is so tempting that Lincoln called it “the old serpent, you work I’ll eat.” But human equality made sense to our Founding generation because they believed that all men are made in the image and likeness of God, because they were yearning for equal treatment under British law, or because they had read John Locke.
It did not take long for their paradigm to be challenged by interest and by “science.” By the 1820s, as J. C. Calhoun was reading in the best London journals that different breeds of animals and plants produce inferior or superior results, slave owners were citing the Negroes’ deficiencies to argue that they should remain slaves indefinitely. Lots of others were reading Ludwig Feuerbach’s rendition of Hegelian philosophy, according to which biblical injunctions reflect the fantasies of alienated human beings or, in the young Karl Marx’s formulation, that ethical thought is “superstructural” to material reality. By 1853, when Sen. John Pettit of Ohio called “all men are created equal” “a self-evident lie,” much of America’s educated class had already absorbed the “scientific” notion (which Darwin only popularized) that man is the product of chance mutation and natural selection of the fittest. Accordingly, by nature, superior men subdue inferior ones as they subdue lower beings or try to improve them as they please. Hence while it pleased the abolitionists to believe in freeing Negroes and improving them, it also pleased them to believe that Southerners had to be punished and reconstructed by force. As the 19th century ended, the educated class’s religious fervor turned to social reform: they were sure that because man is a mere part of evolutionary nature, man could be improved, and that they, the most highly evolved of all, were the improvers.
Thus began the Progressive Era. When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”
World War I and the chaos at home and abroad that followed it discredited the Progressives in the American people’s eyes. Their international schemes had brought blood and promised more. Their domestic management had not improved Americans’ lives, but given them a taste of arbitrary government, including Prohibition. The Progressives, for their part, found it fulfilling to attribute the failure of their schemes to the American people’s backwardness, to something deeply wrong with America. The American people had failed them because democracy in its American form perpetuated the worst in humanity. Thus Progressives began to look down on the masses, to look on themselves as the vanguard, and to look abroad for examples to emulate.
The cultural divide between the “educated class” and the rest of the country opened in the interwar years. Some Progressives joined the “vanguard of the proletariat,” the Communist Party. Many more were deeply sympathetic to Soviet Russia, as they were to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Not just the Nation, but also the New York Times and National Geographic found much to be imitated in these regimes because they promised energetically to transcend their peoples’ ways and to build “the new man.” Above all, our educated class was bitter about America. In 1925 the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a legal challenge to a Tennessee law that required teaching the biblical account of creation. The ensuing trial, radio broadcast nationally, as well as the subsequent hit movie Inherit the Wind, were the occasion for what one might have called the Chautauqua class to drive home the point that Americans who believed in the Bible were willful ignoramuses. As World War II approached, some American Progressives supported the Soviet Union (and its ally, Nazi Germany) and others Great Britain and France. But Progressives agreed on one thing: the approaching war should be blamed on the majority of Americans, because they had refused to lead the League of Nations. Darryl Zanuck produced the critically acclaimed movie [Woodrow] Wilson featuring Cedric Hardwicke as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who allegedly brought on the war by appealing to American narrow-mindedness against Wilson’s benevolent genius.
Franklin Roosevelt brought the Chautauqua class into his administration and began the process that turned them into rulers. FDR described America’s problems in technocratic terms. America’s problems would be fixed by a “brain trust” (picked by him). His New Deal’s solutions — the alphabet-soup “independent” agencies that have run America ever since — turned many Progressives into powerful bureaucrats and then into lobbyists. As the saying goes, they came to Washington to do good, and stayed to do well.
As their number and sense of importance grew, so did their distaste for common Americans. Believing itself “scientific,” this Progressive class sought to explain its differences from its neighbors in “scientific” terms. The most elaborate of these attempts was Theodor Adorno’s widely acclaimed The Authoritarian Personality (1948). It invented a set of criteria by which to define personality traits, ranked these traits and their intensity in any given person on what it called the “F scale” (F for fascist), interviewed hundreds of Americans, and concluded that most who were not liberal Democrats were latent fascists. This way of thinking about non-Progressives filtered down to college curricula. In 1963-64 for example, I was assigned Herbert McCloskey’s Conservatism and Personality (1958) at Rutgers’s Eagleton Institute of Politics as a paradigm of methodological correctness. The author had defined conservatism in terms of answers to certain questions, had defined a number of personality disorders in terms of other questions, and run a survey that proved “scientifically” that conservatives were maladjusted ne’er-do-well ignoramuses. (My class project, titled “Liberalism and Personality,” following the same methodology, proved just as scientifically that liberals suffered from the very same social diseases, and even more amusing ones.)
The point is this: though not one in a thousand of today’s bipartisan ruling class ever heard of Adorno or McCloskey, much less can explain the Feuerbachian-Marxist notion that human judgments are “epiphenomenal” products of spiritual or material alienation, the notion that the common people’s words are, like grunts, mere signs of pain, pleasure, and frustration, is now axiomatic among our ruling class. They absorbed it osmotically, second — or thirdhand, from their education and from companions. Truly, after Barack Obama described his opponents’ clinging to “God and guns” as a characteristic of inferior Americans, he justified himself by pointing out he had said “what everybody knows is true.” Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives into a class long before they took power.
The Agenda: Power
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it. Let us now look at what this means in our time.
By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu. Eventually, pretending forcibly that valueless things have value dilutes the currency’s value for all.
Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, far from setting univocal rules for the entire financial industry in few words, spends some 3,000 pages (at this writing) tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others. Even more significantly, these and other products of Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses empower countless boards and commissions arbitrarily to protect some persons and companies, while ruining others. Thus in 2008 the Republican administration first bailed out Bear Stearns, then let Lehman Brothers sink in the ensuing panic, but then rescued Goldman Sachs by infusing cash into its principal debtor, AIG. Then, its Democratic successor used similarly naked discretionary power (and money appropriated for another purpose) to give major stakes in the auto industry to labor unions that support it. Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws. They don’t have to. Because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion, all anybody has to know about them is whom they empower.
By making economic rules dependent on discretion, our bipartisan ruling class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. Thus in the 1990s and 2000s, as Democrats and Republicans forced banks to make loans for houses to people and at rates they would not otherwise have considered, builders and investors had every reason to make as much money as they could from the ensuing inflation of housing prices. When the bubble burst, only those connected with the ruling class at the bottom and at the top were bailed out. Similarly, by taxing the use of carbon fuels and subsidizing “alternative energy,” our ruling class created arguably the world’s biggest opportunity for making money out of things that few if any would buy absent its intervention. The ethanol industry and its ensuing diversions of wealth exist exclusively because of subsidies. The prospect of legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions and allot certain amounts to certain companies set off a feeding frenzy among large companies to show support for a “green agenda,” because such allotments would be worth tens of billions of dollars. That is why companies hired some 2,500 lobbyists in 2009 to deepen their involvement in “climate change.” At the very least, such involvement profits them by making them into privileged collectors of carbon taxes. Any “green jobs” thus created are by definition creatures of subsidies — that is, of privilege. What effect creating such privileges may have on “global warming” is debatable. But it surely increases the number of people dependent on the ruling class, and teaches Americans that satisfying that class is a surer way of making a living than producing goods and services that people want to buy.
Beyond patronage, picking economic winners and losers redirects the American people’s energies to tasks that the political class deems more worthy than what Americans choose for themselves. John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America as “private wealth amidst public squalor” (The Affluent Society, 1958) has ever encapsulated our best and brightest’s complaint: left to themselves, Americans use land inefficiently in suburbs and exurbs, making it necessary to use energy to transport them to jobs and shopping. Americans drive big cars, eat lots of meat as well as other unhealthy things, and go to the doctor whenever they feel like it. Americans think it justice to spend the money they earn to satisfy their private desires even though the ruling class knows that justice lies in improving the community and the planet. The ruling class knows that Americans must learn to live more densely and close to work, that they must drive smaller cars and change their lives to use less energy, that their dietary habits must improve, that they must accept limits in how much medical care they get, that they must divert more of their money to support people, cultural enterprises, and plans for the planet that the ruling class deems worthier. So, ever-greater taxes and intrusive regulations are the main wrenches by which the American people can be improved (and, yes, by which the ruling class feeds and grows).
The 2010 medical law is a template for the ruling class’s economic modus operandi: the government taxes citizens to pay for medical care and requires citizens to purchase health insurance. The money thus taken and directed is money that the citizens themselves might have used to pay for medical care. In exchange for the money, the government promises to provide care through its “system.” But then all the boards, commissions, guidelines, procedures, and “best practices” that constitute “the system” become the arbiters of what any citizen ends up getting. The citizen might end up dissatisfied with what “the system” offers. But when he gave up his money, he gave up the power to choose, and became dependent on all the boards and commissions that his money also pays for and that raise the cost of care. Similarly, in 2008 the House Ways and Means Committee began considering a plan to force citizens who own Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to transfer those funds into government-run “guaranteed retirement accounts.” If the government may force citizens to buy health insurance, by what logic can it not force them to trade private ownership and control of retirement money for a guarantee as sound as the government itself? Is it not clear that the government knows more about managing retirement income than individuals?
Who Depends on Whom?
In Congressional Government (1885) Woodrow Wilson left no doubt: the U.S. Constitution prevents the government from meeting the country’s needs by enumerating rights that the government may not infringe. (“Congress shall make no law…” says the First Amendment, typically.) Our electoral system, based on single member districts, empowers individual voters at the expense of “responsible parties.” Hence the ruling class’s perpetual agenda has been to diminish the role of the citizenry’s elected representatives, enhancing that of party leaders as well as of groups willing to partner in the government’s plans, and to craft a “living” Constitution in which restrictions on government give way to “positive rights” — meaning charters of government power.
Consider representation. Following Wilson, American Progressives have always wanted to turn the U.S. Congress from the role defined by James Madison’s Federalist #10, “refine and enlarge the public’s view,” to something like the British Parliament, which ratifies government actions. Although Britain’s electoral system — like ours, single members elected in historic districts by plurality vote — had made members of Parliament responsive to their constituents in ancient times, by Wilson’s time the growing importance of parties made MPs beholden to party leaders. Hence whoever controls the majority party controls both Parliament and the government.
In America, the process by which party has become (almost) as important began with the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision in Baker v. Carr which, by setting the single standard “one man, one vote” for congressional districts, ended up legalizing the practice of “gerrymandering,” concentrating the opposition party’s voters into as few districts as possible while placing one’s own voters into as many as possible likely to yield victories. Republican and Democratic state legislatures have gerrymandered for a half century. That is why today’s Congress consists more and more of persons who represent their respective party establishments — not nearly as much as in Britain, but heading in that direction. Once districts are gerrymandered “safe” for one party or another, the voters therein count less because party leaders can count more on elected legislators to toe the party line.
To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose privileged interlocutors, representing those in society whom they find most amenable. In America ever more since the 1930s — elsewhere in the world this practice is ubiquitous and long-standing — government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each of society’s sectors as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules for those sectors. The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector’s true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class.
Thus in 2009-10 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported the new medical care law, which the administration touted as having the support of “the doctors” even though the vast majority of America’s 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA’s officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes tamps down rebellion in the doctor ranks. When the administration wanted to bolster its case that the state of Arizona’s enforcement of federal immigration laws was offensive to Hispanics, the National Association of Chiefs of Police — whose officials depend on the administration for their salaries — issued a statement that the laws would endanger all Americans by raising Hispanics’ animosity. This reflected conversations with the administration rather than a vote of the nation’s police chiefs.
Similarly, modern labor unions are ever less bunches of workers banding together and ever more bundled under the aegis of an organization chosen jointly by employers and government. Prototypical is the Service Employees International Union, which grew spectacularly by persuading managers of government agencies as well as of publicly funded private entities that placing their employees in the SEIU would relieve them of responsibility. Not by being elected by workers’ secret ballots did the SEIU conquer workplace after workplace, but rather by such deals, or by the union presenting what it claims are cards from workers approving of representation. The union gets 2 percent of the workers’ pay, which it recycles as contributions to the Democratic Party, which it recycles in greater power over public employees. The union’s leadership is part of the ruling class’s beating heart.
The point is that a doctor, a building contractor, a janitor, or a schoolteacher counts in today’s America insofar as he is part of the hierarchy of a sector organization affiliated with the ruling class. Less and less do such persons count as voters.
Ordinary people have also gone a long way toward losing equal treatment under law. The America described in civics books, in which no one could be convicted or fined except by a jury of his peers for having violated laws passed by elected representatives, started disappearing when the New Deal inaugurated today’s administrative state — in which bureaucrats make, enforce, and adjudicate nearly all the rules. Today’s legal-administrative texts are incomprehensibly detailed and freighted with provisions crafted exquisitely to affect equal individuals unequally. The bureaucrats do not enforce the rules themselves so much as whatever “agency policy” they choose to draw from them in any given case. If you protest any “agency policy” you will be informed that it was formulated with input from “the public.” But not from the likes of you.
Disregard for the text of laws — for the dictionary meaning of words and the intentions of those who wrote them — in favor of the decider’s discretion has permeated our ruling class from the Supreme Court to the lowest local agency. Ever since Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in 1920 (Missouri v. Holland) that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the people who wrote and ratified it could not have foreseen, it has become conventional wisdom among our ruling class that they may transcend the Constitution while pretending allegiance to it. They began by stretching such constitutional terms as “interstate commerce” and “due process,” then transmuting others, e.g., “search and seizure,” into “privacy.” Thus in 1973 the Supreme Court endowed its invention of “privacy” with a “penumbra” that it deemed “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” The court gave no other constitutional reasoning, period. Perfunctory to the point of mockery, this constitutional talk was to reassure the American people that the ruling class was acting within the Constitution’s limitations. By the 1990s federal courts were invalidating amendments to state constitutions passed by referenda to secure the “positive rights” they invent, because these expressions of popular will were inconsistent with the constitution they themselves were construing.
By 2010 some in the ruling class felt confident enough to dispense with the charade. Asked what in the Constitution allows Congress and the president to force every American to purchase health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” No surprise then that lower court judges and bureaucrats take liberties with laws, regulations, and contracts. That is why legal words that say you are in the right avail you less in today’s America than being on the right side of the persons who decide what they want those words to mean.
As the discretionary powers of officeholders and of their informal entourages have grown, the importance of policy and of law itself is declining, citizenship is becoming vestigial, and the American people become ever more dependent.
Disaggregating and Dispiriting
The ruling class is keener to reform the American people’s family and spiritual lives than their economic and civic ones. In no other areas is the ruling class’s self-definition so definite, its contempt for opposition so patent, its Kulturkampf so open. It believes that the Christian family (and the Orthodox Jewish one too) is rooted in and perpetuates the ignorance commonly called religion, divisive social prejudices, and repressive gender roles, that it is the greatest barrier to human progress because it looks to its very particular interest — often defined as mere coherence against outsiders who most often know better. Thus the family prevents its members from playing their proper roles in social reform. Worst of all, it reproduces itself.
Since marriage is the family’s fertile seed, government at all levels, along with “mainstream” academics and media, have waged war on it. They legislate, regulate, and exhort in support not of “the family” — meaning married parents raising children — but rather of “families,” meaning mostly households based on something other than marriage. The institution of no-fault divorce diminished the distinction between cohabitation and marriage — except that husbands are held financially responsible for the children they father, while out-of-wedlock fathers are not. The tax code penalizes marriage and forces those married couples who raise their own children to subsidize “child care” for those who do not. Top Republicans and Democrats have also led society away from the very notion of marital fidelity by precept as well as by parading their affairs. For example, in 1997 the Democratic administration’s secretary of defense and the Republican Senate’s majority leader (joined by the New York Times et al.) condemned the military’s practice of punishing officers who had extramarital affairs. While the military had assumed that honoring marital vows is as fundamental to the integrity of its units as it is to that of society, consensus at the top declared that insistence on fidelity is “contrary to societal norms.” Not surprisingly, rates of marriage in America have decreased as out-of-wedlock births have increased. The biggest demographic consequence has been that about one in five of all households are women alone or with children, in which case they have about a four in 10 chance of living in poverty. Since unmarried mothers often are or expect to be clients of government services, it is not surprising that they are among the Democratic Party’s most faithful voters.
While our ruling class teaches that relationships among men, women, and children are contingent, it also insists that the relationship between each of them and the state is fundamental. That is why such as Hillary Clinton have written law review articles and books advocating a direct relationship between the government and children, effectively abolishing the presumption of parental authority. Hence whereas within living memory school nurses could not administer an aspirin to a child without the parents’ consent, the people who run America’s schools nowadays administer pregnancy tests and ship girls off to abortion clinics without the parents’ knowledge. Parents are not allowed to object to what their children are taught. But the government may and often does object to how parents raise children. The ruling class’s assumption is that what it mandates for children is correct ipso facto, while what parents do is potentially abusive. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Only sheer political weight (and in California, just barely) has preserved parents’ right to homeschool their children against the ruling class’s desire to accomplish what Woodrow Wilson so yearned: “to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.”
At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what? Implicit in Wilson’s words and explicit in our ruling class’s actions is the dismissal, as the ways of outdated “fathers,” of the answers that most Americans would give to these questions. This dismissal of the American people’s intellectual, spiritual, and moral substance is the very heart of what our ruling class is about. Its principal article of faith, its claim to the right to decide for others, is precisely that it knows things and operates by standards beyond others’ comprehension.
While the unenlightened ones believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that we are subject to His and to His nature’s laws, the enlightened ones know that we are products of evolution, driven by chance, the environment, and the will to primacy. While the un-enlightened are stuck with the antiquated notion that ordinary human minds can reach objective judgments about good and evil, better and worse through reason, the enlightened ones know that all such judgments are subjective and that ordinary people can no more be trusted with reason than they can with guns. Because ordinary people will pervert reason with ideology, religion, or interest, science is “science” only in the “right” hands. Consensus among the right people is the only standard of truth. Facts and logic matter only insofar as proper authority acknowledges them.
That is why the ruling class is united and adamant about nothing so much as its right to pronounce definitive, “scientific” judgment on whatever it chooses. When the government declares, and its associated press echoes that “scientists say” this or that, ordinary people — or for that matter scientists who “don’t say,” or are not part of the ruling class — lose any right to see the information that went into what “scientists say.” Thus when Virginia’s attorney general subpoenaed the data by which Professor Michael Mann had concluded, while paid by the state of Virginia, that the earth’s temperatures are rising “like a hockey stick” from millennial stability — a conclusion on which billions of dollars’ worth of decisions were made — to investigate the possibility of fraud, the University of Virginia’s faculty senate condemned any inquiry into “scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards” claiming that demands for data “send a chilling message to scientists…and indeed scholars in any discipline.” The Washington Post editorialized that the attorney general’s demands for data amounted to “an assault on reason.” The fact that the “hockey stick” conclusion stands discredited and Mann and associates are on record manipulating peer review, the fact that science-by-secret-data is an oxymoron, the very distinction between truth and error, all matter far less to the ruling class than the distinction between itself and those they rule.
By identifying science and reason with themselves, our rulers delegitimize opposition. Though they cannot prevent Americans from worshiping God, they can make it as socially disabling as smoking — to be done furtively and with a bad social conscience. Though they cannot make Americans wish they were Europeans, they continue to press upon this nation of refugees from the rest of the world the notion that Americans ought to live by “world standards.” Each day, the ruling class produces new “studies” that show that one or another of Americans’ habits is in need of reform, and that those Americans most resistant to reform are pitiably, perhaps criminally, wrong. Thus does it go about disaggregating and dispiriting the ruled.
Meddling and Apologies
America’s best and brightest believe themselves qualified and duty bound to direct the lives not only of Americans but of foreigners as well. George W. Bush’s 2005 inaugural statement that America cannot be free until the whole world is free and hence that America must push and prod mankind to freedom was but an extrapolation of the sentiments of America’s Progressive class, first articulated by such as Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson and Columbia’s Nicholas Murray Butler. But while the early Progressives expected the rest of the world to follow peacefully, today’s ruling class makes decisions about war and peace at least as much forcibly to tinker with the innards of foreign bodies politic as to protect America. Indeed, they conflate the two purposes in the face of the American people’s insistence to draw a bright line between war against our enemies and peace with non-enemies in whose affairs we do not interfere. That is why, from Wilson to Kissinger, the ruling class has complained that the American people oscillate between bellicosity and “isolationism.”
Because our ruling class deems unsophisticated the American people’s perennial preference for decisive military action or none, its default solution to international threats has been to commit blood and treasure to long-term, twilight efforts to reform the world’s Vietnams, Somalias, Iraqs, and Afghanistans, believing that changing hearts and minds is the prerequisite of peace and that it knows how to change them. The apparently endless series of wars in which our ruling class has embroiled America, wars that have achieved nothing worthwhile at great cost in lives and treasure, has contributed to defining it, and to discrediting it — but not in its own eyes.
Rather, even as our ruling class has lectured, cajoled, and sometimes intruded violently to reform foreign countries in its own image, it has apologized to them for America not having matched that image — their private image. Woodrow Wilson began this double game in 1919, when he assured Europe’s peoples that America had mandated him to demand their agreement to Article X of the peace treaty (the League of Nations) and then swore to the American people that Article X was the Europeans’ non-negotiable demand. The fact that the U.S. government had seized control of transatlantic cable communications helped hide (for a while) that the League scheme was merely the American Progressives’ private dream. In our time, this double game is quotidian on the evening news. Notably, President Obama apologized to Europe because “the United States has fallen short of meeting its responsibilities” to reduce carbon emissions by taxation. But the American people never assumed such responsibility, and oppose doing so. Hence President Obama was not apologizing for anything that he or anyone he respected had done, but rather blaming his fellow Americans for not doing what he thinks they should do while glossing over the fact that the Europeans had done the taxing but not the reducing. Wilson redux.
Similarly, Obama “apologized” to Europeans because some Americans — not him and his friends — had shown “arrogance and been dismissive” toward them, and to the world because President Truman had used the atom bomb to end World War II. So President Clinton apologized to Africans because some Americans held African slaves until 1865 and others were mean to Negroes thereafter — not himself and his friends, of course. So assistant secretary of state Michael Posner apologized to Chinese diplomats for Arizona’s law that directs police to check immigration status. Republicans engage in that sort of thing as well: former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev tells us that in 1987 then vice president George H. W. Bush distanced himself from his own administration by telling him, “Reagan is a conservative, an extreme conservative. All the dummies and blockheads are with him…” This is all about a class of Americans distinguishing itself from its inferiors. It recalls the Pharisee in the Temple: “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men…”
In sum, our ruling class does not like the rest of America. Most of all does it dislike that so many Americans think America is substantially different from the rest of the world and like it that way. For our ruling class, however, America is a work in progress, just like the rest the world, and they are the engineers.
The Country Class
Describing America’s country class is problematic because it is so heterogeneous. It has no privileged podiums, and speaks with many voices, often inharmonious. It shares above all the desire to be rid of rulers it regards inept and haughty. It defines itself practically in terms of reflexive reaction against the rulers’ defining ideas and proclivities — e.g., ever higher taxes and expanding government, subsidizing political favorites, social engineering, approval of abortion, etc. Many want to restore a way of life largely superseded. Demographically, the country class is the other side of the ruling class’s coin: its most distinguishing characteristics are marriage, children, and religious practice. While the country class, like the ruling class, includes the professionally accomplished and the mediocre, geniuses and dolts, it is different because of its non-orientation to government and its members’ yearning to rule themselves rather than be ruled by others.
Even when members of the country class happen to be government officials or officers of major corporations, their concerns are essentially private; in their view, government owes to its people equal treatment rather than action to correct what anyone perceives as imbalance or grievance. Hence they tend to oppose special treatment, whether for corporations or for social categories. Rather than gaming government regulations, they try to stay as far from them as possible. Thus the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo, which allows the private property of some to be taken by others with better connections to government, reminded the country class that government is not its friend.
Negative orientation to privilege distinguishes the corporate officer who tries to keep his company from joining the Business Council of large corporations who have close ties with government from the fellow in the next office. The first wants the company to grow by producing. The second wants it to grow by moving to the trough. It sets apart the schoolteacher who resents the union to which he is forced to belong for putting the union’s interests above those of parents who want to choose their children’s schools. In general, the country class includes all those in stations high and low who are aghast at how relatively little honest work yields, by comparison with what just a little connection with the right bureaucracy can get you. It includes those who take the side of outsiders against insiders, of small institutions against large ones, of local government against the state or federal. The country class is convinced that big business, big government, and big finance are linked as never before and that ordinary people are more unequal than ever.
Members of the country class who want to rise in their profession through sheer competence try at once to avoid the ruling class’s rituals while guarding against infringing its prejudices. Averse to wheedling, they tend to think that exams should play a major role in getting or advancing in jobs, that records of performance — including academic ones — should be matters of public record, and that professional disputes should be settled by open argument. For such people, the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ricci, upholding the right of firefighters to be promoted according to the results of a professional exam, revived the hope that competence may sometimes still trump political connections.
Nothing has set the country class apart, defined it, made it conscious of itself, given it whatever coherence it has, so much as the ruling class’s insistence that people other than themselves are intellectually and hence otherwise humanly inferior. Persons who were brought up to believe themselves as worthy as anyone, who manage their own lives to their own satisfaction, naturally resent politicians of both parties who say that the issues of modern life are too complex for any but themselves. Most are insulted by the ruling class’s dismissal of opposition as mere “anger and frustration” — an imputation of stupidity — while others just scoff at the claim that the ruling class’s bureaucratic language demonstrates superior intelligence. A few ask the fundamental question: Since when and by what right does intelligence trump human equality? Moreover, if the politicians are so smart, why have they made life worse?
The country class actually believes that America’s ways are superior to the rest of the world’s, and regards most of mankind as less free, less prosperous, and less virtuous. Thus while it delights in croissants and thinks Toyota’s factory methods are worth imitating, it dislikes the idea of adhering to “world standards.” This class also takes part in the U.S. armed forces body and soul: nearly all the enlisted, non-commissioned officers and officers under flag rank belong to this class in every measurable way. Few vote for the Democratic Party. You do not doubt that you are amidst the country class rather than with the ruling class when the American flag passes by or “God Bless America” is sung after seven innings of baseball, and most people show reverence. The same people wince at the National Football League’s plaintive renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Unlike the ruling class, the country class does not share a single intellectual orthodoxy, set of tastes, or ideal lifestyle. Its different sectors draw their notions of human equality from different sources: Christians and Jews believe it is God’s law. Libertarians assert it from Hobbesian and Darwinist bases. Many consider equality the foundation of Americanism. Others just hate snobs. Some parts of the country class now follow the stars and the music out of Nashville, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri — entertainment complexes larger than Hollywood’s — because since the 1970s most of Hollywood’s products have appealed more to the mores of the ruling class and its underclass clients than to those of large percentages of Americans. The same goes for “popular music” and television. For some in the country class Christian radio and TV are the lodestone of sociopolitical taste, while the very secular Fox News serves the same purpose for others. While symphonies and opera houses around the country, as well as the stations that broadcast them, are firmly in the ruling class’s hands, a considerable part of the country class appreciates these things for their own sake. By that very token, the country class’s characteristic cultural venture — the homeschool movement — stresses the classics across the board in science, literature, music, and history even as the ruling class abandons them.
Each of the country class’s diverse parts has its own agenda, which flows from the peculiar ways in which the ruling class impacts its concerns. Independent businesspeople are naturally more sensitive to the growth of privileged relations between government and their competitors. Persons who would like to lead their community rue the advantages that Democratic and Republican party establishments are accruing. Parents of young children and young women anxious about marriage worry that cultural directives from on high are dispelling their dreams. The faithful to God sense persecution. All resent higher taxes and loss of freedom. More and more realize that their own agenda’s advancement requires concerting resistance to the ruling class across the board.
Not being at the table when government makes the rules about how you must run your business, knowing that you will be required to pay more, work harder, and show deference for the privilege of making less money, is the independent businessman’s nightmare. But what to do about it? In our time the interpenetration of government and business — the network of subsidies, preferences, and regulations — is so thick and deep, the people “at the table” receive and recycle into politics so much money, that independent businesspeople cannot hope to undo any given regulation or grant of privilege. Just as no manufacturer can hope to reduce the subsidies that raise his fuel costs, no set of doctors can shield themselves from the increased costs and bureaucracy resulting from government mandates. Hence independent business’s agenda has been to resist the expansion of government in general, and of course to reduce taxes. Pursuit of this agenda with arguments about economic efficiency and job creation — and through support of the Republican Party — usually results in enough relief to discourage more vigorous remonstrance. Sometimes, however, the economic argument is framed in moral terms: “The sum of good government,” said Thomas Jefferson, is not taking “from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” For government to advantage some at others’ expense, said he, “is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association.” In our time, more and more independent businesspeople have come to think of their economic problems in moral terms. But few realize how revolutionary that is.
As bureaucrats and teachers’ unions disempowered neighborhood school boards, while the governments of towns, counties, and states were becoming conduits for federal mandates, as the ruling class reduced the number and importance of things that American communities could decide for themselves, America’s thirst for self-governance reawakened. The fact that public employees are almost always paid more and have more generous benefits than the private sector people whose taxes support them only sharpened the sense among many in the country class that they now work for public employees rather than the other way around. But how to reverse the roles? How can voters regain control of government? Restoring localities’ traditional powers over schools, including standards, curriculum, and prayer, would take repudiating two generations of Supreme Court rulings. So would the restoration of traditional “police” powers over behavior in public places. Bringing public employee unions to heel is only incidentally a matter of cutting pay and benefits. As self-governance is crimped primarily by the powers of government personified in its employees, restoring it involves primarily deciding that any number of functions now performed and the professional specialties who perform them, e.g., social workers, are superfluous or worse. Explaining to one’s self and neighbors why such functions and personnel do more harm than good, while the ruling class brings its powers to bear to discredit you, is a very revolutionary thing to do.
America’s pro-family movement is a reaction to the ruling class’s challenges: emptying marriage of legal sanction, promoting abortion, and progressively excluding parents from their children’s education. Americans reacted to these challenges primarily by sorting themselves out. Close friendships and above all marriages became rarer between persons who think well of divorce, abortion, and government authority over children and those who do not. The homeschool movement, for which the Internet became the great facilitator, involves not only each family educating its own children, but also extensive and growing social, intellectual, and spiritual contact among like-minded persons. In short, the part of the country class that is most concerned with family matters has taken on something of a biological identity. Few in this part of the country class have any illusion, however, that simply retreating into private associations will long save their families from societal influences made to order to discredit their ways. But stopping the ruling class’s intrusions would require discrediting its entire conception of man, of right and wrong, as well as of the role of courts in popular government. That revolutionary task would involve far more than legislation.
The ruling class’s manifold efforts to discredit and drive worship of God out of public life — not even the Soviet Union arrested students for wearing crosses or praying, or reading the Bible on school property, as some U.S. localities have done in response to Supreme Court rulings — convinced many among the vast majority of Americans who believe and pray that today’s regime is hostile to the most important things of all. Every December, they are reminded that the ruling class deems the very word “Christmas” to be offensive. Every time they try to manifest their religious identity in public affairs, they are deluged by accusations of being “American Taliban” trying to set up a “theocracy.” Let members of the country class object to anything the ruling class says or does, and likely as not their objection will be characterized as “religious,” that is to say irrational, that is to say not to be considered on a par with the “science” of which the ruling class is the sole legitimate interpreter. Because aggressive, intolerant secularism is the moral and intellectual basis of the ruling class’s claim to rule, resistance to that rule, whether to the immorality of economic subsidies and privileges, or to the violation of the principle of equal treatment under equal law, or to its seizure of children’s education, must deal with secularism’s intellectual and moral core. This lies beyond the boundaries of politics as the term is commonly understood.
The Classes Clash
The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.
In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards: because it has established itself as the fount of authority, its primacy is based on habits of deference. Breaking them, establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics. Though the country class had long argued along with Edmund Burke against making revolutionary changes, it faces the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done? Sweeping away a half century’s accretions of bad habits — taking care to preserve the good among them — is hard enough. Establishing, even reestablishing, a set of better institutions and habits is much harder, especially as the country class wholly lacks organization. By contrast, the ruling class holds strong defensive positions and is well represented by the Democratic Party. But a two to one numerical disadvantage augurs defeat, while victory would leave it in control of a people whose confidence it cannot regain.
Certainly the country class lacks its own political vehicle — and perhaps the coherence to establish one. In the short term at least, the country class has no alternative but to channel its political efforts through the Republican Party, which is eager for its support. But the Republican Party does not live to represent the country class. For it to do so, it would have to become principles-based, as it has not been since the mid-1860s. The few who tried to make it so the party treated as rebels: Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. The party helped defeat Goldwater. When it failed to stop Reagan, it saddled his and subsequent Republican administrations with establishmentarians who, under the Bush family, repudiated Reagan’s principles as much as they could. Barack Obama exaggerated in charging that Republicans had driven the country “into the ditch” all alone. But they had a hand in it. Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side. Because, in the long run, the country class will not support a party as conflicted as today’s Republicans, those Republican politicians who really want to represent it will either reform the party in an unmistakable manner, or start a new one as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party in the 1850s.
The name of the party that will represent America’s country class is far less important than what, precisely, it represents and how it goes about representing it because, for the foreseeable future, American politics will consist of confrontation between what we might call the Country Party and the ruling class. The Democratic Party having transformed itself into a unit with near-European discipline, challenging it would seem to require empowering a rival party at least as disciplined. What other antidote is there to government by one party but government by another party? Yet this logic, though all too familiar to most of the world, has always been foreign to America and naturally leads further in the direction toward which the ruling class has led. Any country party would have to be wise and skillful indeed not to become the Democrats’ mirror image.
Yet to defend the country class, to break down the ruling class’s presumptions, it has no choice but to imitate the Democrats, at least in some ways and for a while. Consider: The ruling class denies its opponents’ legitimacy. Seldom does a Democratic official or member of the ruling class speak on public affairs without reiterating the litany of his class’s claim to authority, contrasting it with opponents who are either uninformed, stupid, racist, shills for business, violent, fundamentalist, or all of the above. They do this in the hope that opponents, hearing no other characterizations of themselves and no authoritative voice discrediting the ruling class, will be dispirited. For the country class seriously to contend for self-governance, the political party that represents it will have to discredit not just such patent frauds as ethanol mandates, the pretense that taxes can control “climate change,” and the outrage of banning God from public life. More important, such a serious party would have to attack the ruling class’s fundamental claims to its superior intellect and morality in ways that dispirit the target and hearten one’s own. The Democrats having set the rules of modern politics, opponents who want electoral success are obliged to follow them.
Suppose that the Country Party (whatever its name might be) were to capture Congress, the presidency, and most statehouses. What then would it do? Especially if its majority were slim, it would be tempted to follow the Democrats’ plan of 2009-2010, namely to write its wish list of reforms into law regardless of the Constitution and enact them by partisan majorities supported by interest groups that gain from them, while continuing to vilify the other side. Whatever effect this might have, it surely would not be to make America safe for self-governance because by carrying out its own “revolution from above” to reverse the ruling class’s previous “revolution from above,” it would have made that ruinous practice standard in America. Moreover, a revolution designed at party headquarters would be antithetical to the country class’s diversity as well as to the American Founders’ legacy.
Achieving the country class’s inherently revolutionary objectives in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with its own diversity would require the Country Party to use legislation primarily as a tool to remove obstacles, to instruct, to reintroduce into American life ways and habits that had been cast aside. Passing national legislation is easier than getting people to take up the responsibilities of citizens, fathers, and entrepreneurs.
Reducing the taxes that most Americans resent requires eliminating the network of subsidies to millions of other Americans that these taxes finance, and eliminating the jobs of government employees who administer them. Eliminating that network is practical, if at all, if done simultaneously, both because subsidies are morally wrong and economically counterproductive, and because the country cannot afford the practice in general. The electorate is likely to cut off millions of government clients, high and low, only if its choice is between no economic privilege for anyone and ratifying government’s role as the arbiter of all our fortunes. The same goes for government grants to and contracts with so-called nonprofit institutions or non-governmental organizations. The case against all arrangements by which the government favors some groups of citizens is easier to make than that against any such arrangement. Without too much fuss, a few obviously burdensome bureaucracies, like the Department of Education, can be eliminated, while money can be cut off to partisan enterprises such as the National Endowments and public broadcasting. That sort of thing is as necessary to the American body politic as a weight reduction program is essential to restoring the health of any human body degraded by obesity and lack of exercise. Yet shedding fat is the easy part. Restoring atrophied muscles is harder. Reenabling the body to do elementary tasks takes yet more concentration.
The grandparents of today’s Americans (132 million in 1940) had opportunities to serve on 117,000 school boards. To exercise responsibilities comparable to their grandparents’, today’s 310 million Americans would have radically to decentralize the mere 15,000 districts into which public school children are now concentrated. They would have to take responsibility for curriculum and administration away from credentialed experts, and they would have to explain why they know better. This would involve a level of political articulation of the body politic far beyond voting in elections every two years.
If self-governance means anything, it means that those who exercise government power must depend on elections. The shorter the electoral leash, the likelier an official to have his chain yanked by voters, the more truly republican the government is. Yet to subject the modern administrative state’s agencies to electoral control would require ordinary citizens to take an interest in any number of technical matters. Law can require environmental regulators or insurance commissioners, or judges or auditors to be elected. But only citizens’ discernment and vigilance could make these officials good. Only citizens’ understanding of and commitment to law can possibly reverse the patent disregard for the Constitution and statutes that has permeated American life. Unfortunately, it is easier for anyone who dislikes a court’s or an official’s unlawful act to counter it with another unlawful one than to draw all parties back to the foundation of truth.
How, for example, to remind America of, and to drive home to the ruling class, Lincoln’s lesson that trifling with the Constitution for the most heartfelt of motives destroys its protections for all? What if a country class majority in both houses of Congress were to co-sponsor a “Bill of Attainder to deprive Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and other persons of liberty and property without further process of law for having violated the following ex post facto law…” and larded this constitutional monstrosity with an Article III Section 2 exemption from federal court review? When the affected members of the ruling class asked where Congress gets the authority to pass a bill every word of which is contrary to the Constitution, they would be confronted, publicly, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s answer to a question on the Congress’s constitutional authority to mandate individuals to purchase certain kinds of insurance: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?” The point having been made, the Country Party could lead public discussions around the country on why even the noblest purposes (maybe even Title II of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964?) cannot be allowed to trump the Constitution.
How the country class and ruling class might clash on each item of their contrasting agendas is beyond my scope. Suffice it to say that the ruling class’s greatest difficulty — aside from being outnumbered — will be to argue, against the grain of reality, that the revolution it continues to press upon America is sustainable. For its part, the country class’s greatest difficulty will be to enable a revolution to take place without imposing it. America has been imposed on enough.
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UN ENDORSES IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL WITH 6 WORLD POWERS
The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and authorized a series of measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy.
But the measure also provides a mechanism for U.N. sanctions to “snap back” in place if Iran fails to meet its obligations.
Both U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo called the agreement an important achievement for diplomacy, the Iranian promising to be “resolute in fulfilling its obligations” and the American pledging to be vigilant in ensuring they are carried out.
The resolution had been agreed to by the five veto-wielding council members, who along with Germany negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. It was co-sponsored by all 15 members of the Security Council. The European Union’s foreign ministers endorsed the agreement later Monday in Brussels and pledged to implement it.
Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.
Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful, aimed at producing nuclear energy and medical isotopes, but the United States and its Western allies believe Tehran’s real goal is to build atomic weapons. U.S. President Barack Obama has stressed that all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon are cut off for the duration of the agreement and Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of uranium.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said “the world is now a safer place in the knowledge that Iran cannot now build a nuclear bomb.” But Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told reporters immediately after the vote that the Security Council had “awarded a great prize to the most dangerous country in the world,” calling it “a very sad day” not only for Israel but the entire world.
The document specifies that seven resolutions related to U.N. sanctions will be terminated when Iran has completed a series of major steps to curb its nuclear program and the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that “all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.”
All provisions of the U.N. resolution will terminate in 10 years, including the “snap back” provision on sanctions.
But last week the six major powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and the European Union sent a letter, seen by The Associated Press, informing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that they have agreed to extend the snap back mechanism for an additional five years. They asked Ban to send the letter to the Security Council.
Obama told reporters the vote will send a strong message of international support for the agreement as the best way to ensure “that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.” He faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress and expressed hope that members will pay attention to the vote.
Power, the U.S. ambassador, said the nuclear deal doesn’t change the United States’ “profound concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program, from its support for terrorist proxies to repeated threats against Israel to its other destabilizing activities in the region.”
She urged Iran to release three “unjustly imprisoned” Americans and to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007.
The message that diplomacy can work ran through many speeches from council members.
Iran’s Khoshroo stressed that only if commitments are fully honored “can diplomacy prevail over conflict and war in a world that is replete with violence, suffering and oppression.”
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the agreement “clearly demonstrates that where there’s a political will based on realism and respect for legitimate mutual interests of the international community, the most complex tasks can be resolved.”
“Today, the Security Council has confirmed the inalienable right of Iran to develop its peaceful nuclear program, including to enrich uranium, while ensuring the comprehensive control by the IAEA,” Churkin said.
[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…
One of three types of international accord
In the United States, the term “treaty” is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively. The Treaty Clause  empowers the President to make or enter into treaties with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of theSenate. In contrast, normal legislation becomes law after approval by simple majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Throughout U.S. history, the President has also made international “agreements” through congressional-executive agreements (CEAs) that are ratified with only a majority from both houses of Congress, or sole-executive agreements made by the President alone. Though the Constitution does not expressly provide for any alternative to the Article II treaty procedure, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution does distinguish between treaties (which states are forbidden to make) and agreements (which states may make with the consent of Congress). The Supreme Court of the United States has considered congressional-executive and sole-executive agreements to be valid, and they have been common throughout American history. Thomas Jefferson explained that the Article II treaty procedure is not necessary when there is no long-term commitment:
It is desirable, in many instances, to exchange mutual advantages by Legislative Acts rather than by treaty: because the former, though understood to be in consideration of each other, and therefore greatly respected, yet when they become too inconvenient, can be dropped at the will of either party: whereas stipulations by treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent….
A further distinction embodied in U.S. law is between self-executing treaties, which do not require additional legislative action, and non-self-executing treaties which do require the enactment of new laws. These various distinctions of procedure and terminology do not affect the binding status of accords under international law. Nevertheless, they do have major implications under U.S. domestic law. In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court ruled that the power to make treaties under the U.S. Constitution is a power separate from the other enumerated powers of the federal government, and hence the federal government can use treaties to legislate in areas which would otherwise fall within the exclusive authority of the states. By contrast, a congressional-executive agreement can only cover matters which the Constitution explicitly places within the powers of Congress and the President. Likewise, a sole-executive agreement can only cover matters within the President’s authority or matters in which Congress has delegated authority to the President. For example, a treaty may prohibit states from imposing capital punishment on foreign nationals, but a congressional-executive agreement or sole-executive agreement cannot.
In general, arms control agreements are often ratified by the treaty mechanism. At the same time, trade agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and United States accession to the World Trade Organization) are generally voted on as a CEA, and such agreements typically include an explicit right to withdraw after giving sufficient written notice to the other parties. If an international commercial accord contains binding “treaty” commitments, then a two-thirds vote of the Senate may be required.
Between 1946 and 1999, the United States completed nearly 16,000 international agreements. Only 912 of those agreements were treaties, submitted to the Senate for approval as outlined in Article II of the United States Constitution. Since the Franklin Roosevelt presidency, only 6% of international accords have been completed as Article II treaties. Most of these executive agreements consist of congressional-executive agreements.
American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. Consequently, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law. This was held, for instance, in the Head Money Cases. The most recent changes will be enforced by U.S. courts entirely independent of whether the international community still considers the old treaty obligations binding upon the U.S.
Additionally, an international accord that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution is void under domestic U.S. law, the same as any other federal law in conflict with the Constitution. This principle was most clearly established in the case of Reid v. Covert. The Supreme Court could rule an Article II treaty provision to be unconstitutional and void under domestic law, although it has not yet done so.
In Goldwater v. Carter, Congress challenged the constitutionality of then-president Jimmy Carter‘s unilateral termination of a defense treaty. The case went before the Supreme Court and was never heard; a majority of six Justices ruled that the case should be dismissed without hearing an oral argument, holding that “The issue at hand … was essentially a political question and could not be reviewed by the court, as Congress had not issued a formal opposition.” In his opinion, Justice Brennan dissented, “The issue of decision making authority must be resolved as a matter of constitutional law, not political discretion; accordingly, it falls within the competence of the courts”. Presently, there is no official ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress, and the courts also declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002, six months after giving the required notice of intent.
Scope of presidential powers
Presidents have regarded the Article II treaty process as necessary where an international accord would bind a future president. For example, Theodore Roosevelt explained:
The Constitution did not explicitly give me power to bring about the necessary agreement with Santo Domingo. But the Constitution did not forbid my doing what I did. I put the agreement into effect, and I continued its execution for two years before the Senate acted; and I would have continued it until the end of my term, if necessary, without any action by Congress. But it was far preferable that there should be action by Congress, so that we might be proceeding under a treaty which was the law of the land and not merely by a direction of the Chief Executive which would lapse when that particular executive left office. I therefore did my best to get the Senate to ratify what I had done.
A sole-executive agreement can only be negotiated and entered into through the president’s authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, (3) from a prior act of Congress, or (4) from a prior treaty. Agreements beyond these competencies must have the approval of Congress (for congressional-executive agreements) or the Senate (for treaties).
In 1972, Congress passed legislation requiring the president to notify Congress of any executive agreements that are formed.
Although the nondelegation doctrine prevents Congress from delegating its legislative authority to the executive branch, Congress has allowed the executive to act as Congress’s “agent” in trade negotiations, such as by setting tariffs, and, in the case of Trade Promotion Authority, by solely authoring the implementing legislation for trade agreements. The constitutionality of this delegation was upheld by the Supreme Court in Field v. Clark (1892).
HAMILTON’S WARNING AGAINST OBAMA AND THE IRAN DEAL – FEDERALIST NO. 75
“An ambitious man might make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treachery to his constituents.” Thus did Alexander Hamilton warn the American people, in Federalist No. 75, against allowing the president to make treaties alone.
Hamilton, while a supporter of executive power, nevertheless argued for the Senate’s treaty role, because “it would be utterly unsafe and improper to intrust that power to an elective magistrate of four years’ duration.”
It would be unsafe, he said, because even the most virtuous individuals, with the best of intentions, would fall prey to the temptations that negotiations with foreign powers would certainly provide.
How much more so does his advice apply to a president of lesser virtue, such as Barack Obama, who intends to decrease the power of the United States as a matter of ideological conviction, and who seeks narcissistic satisfaction in the attention a deal with Iran would temporarily provide!
Hamilton also anticipated the greed allegedly displayed by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, whose perambulations around the globe in service of the president’s dubious foreign policy agenda coincided with generous donations from foreign governments to her family’s personal foundation.
“An avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the acquisition of wealth,” Hamilton warns, prescribing the review powers of the Senate as the remedy.
And lest apologists for Obama argue that the nuclear deal with Iran is not actually a “treaty,” but merely an “executive agreement,” Hamilton leaves no doubt as to the scope of arrangements to which the Senate’s review power applies.
“The power of making treaties,” he says, concerns “CONTRACTS with foreign nations, which have the force of law, but derive it from the obligations of good faith” (original emphasis).
Congress should heed Hamilton’s warning before it is too late.
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
Story 2: McCain Calls Trump Supporters Crazies — Trump Calls McCain A War Hero Four Times, Loser and Dummy — Accurate Statements All — Videos
Actual Voice of General Patton starting at 1:15 vs. Hollywood
CRAZY – PATSY CLINE – HQ Stereo
Donald Trump on Fox & Friends Defends His Sentator McCain Not A Hero Comments
Donald Trump: McCain’s a War Hero Because He Was Captured, ‘I Like People That Weren’t’
Todd Starnes McCain started all of this mess
McCain: ‘Term Of Endearment’ To Call Trump Supporters ‘Crazies’
Trump: John McCain Is A Dummy & Rick Perry Needs IQ Test
Did John McCain Lie About His P.O.W Record?
McCain POW Cellmate Speaks Out on McCain’s Heroism
Former POW says McCain is “not cut out to be President”
John McCain Losing His Cool
Mean spirited McCain is known for throwing temper tantrums, flying off the handle, blowing his top,seething with anger, accusing others of lying, and of mistreating POW/MIA family members. So how will he treat U.S.? POW/MIA families report…You decide
John Mccain Exposed By Vietnam Vets And POWs
Fact Check: The Washington Post on Donald Trump and John McCain
By SHARYL ATTKISSON
Donald Trump appears to have gotten under the skin of not only Democrats, but also fellow Republicans and the news media. Has that subjected Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, to unfair and/or inaccurate reporting?
An article in the Washington Post today is headlined, “Trump slams McCain for being ‘captured’ in Vietnam.”
The article’s lead sentence states, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, on Saturday by saying McCain was not a war herobecause he was captured by the North Vietnamese [emphasis added].”
Is this report accurate?
In fact, Trump’s actual quote is the opposite of what is presented in the Post’s first sentence.
1. The Post did not provide context at the outset disclosing that McCain and Trump have been feuding, with McCain characterizing some Trump supporters as “crazies” and Trump stating that McCain graduated last in his class in Annapolis. The charged rhetoric continued at the conservative Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa this weekend.
2. When a panelist characterized McCain as a “war hero,” the Post is accurate in reporting that Trump initially said McCain is “not a war hero.” But then, Trump immediately modified his statement saying– four times– that McCain is a war hero:
“He is a war hero.”
“He’s a war hero because he was captured.”
“He’s a war hero, because he was captured.”
“I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero. But right now, he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.”
3. Did Trump say McCain is not a war hero because he was captured? No, not in the exchanges represented in the Post.
4. Is the Post’s characterization an accident? It would appear not, because it is repeated in the Post’s caption of the video clip, which also states: “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam war veteran, was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese [emphasis added].”
Further, in the Post’s second sentence, Trump is quoted as stating of McCain, “He’s not a war hero…He’s a war hero because he was captured,” but the article selectively left out the phrase Trump had uttered in between: “He is a war hero.”
Trump actually said the opposite of what the Post lead sentence and video caption claim. The Post might have been able to get away stating that Trump “implied” McCain was not a war hero because McCain was captured, but even that would have been a subjective interpretation since Trump had actually stated the opposite.
It’s true that Trump stated one time that McCain is not a war hero. But Trump stated four times that McCain is a war hero–and that was not accurately characterized in the article.
For interpreting and characterizing Trump’s true quote in a way that is at best questionable, and for selectively using some quotes and leaving others out, the Post receives Two Little Devils. (Ratings scale at end of article.)
Obviously, all are free to draw conclusions about any candidate or politician. But the news media has a responsibility to do its best to report accurately and fairly–even when reporters find a candidate and/or his positions to be personally distasteful.
Trump: I don’t need to be lectured
Donald Trump6:46 p.m. EDT July 19, 2015
McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.
John McCain has called his own constituents who want a secure border “crazies.” No one in the news media or the establishment, including the Republican National Committee, criticized the senator for those comments.
Now, as respected reporter Sharyl Attkisson has proved point by point, the news media are also distorting my words. But that is not my point. McCain the politician has failed the state of Arizona and the country.
Trump’s low-class outburst: Our view
During my entire business career, I have always made supporting veterans a top priority because our heroes deserve the very best for defending our freedom. Our Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are outdated dumps. I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world. The current medical assistance to our veterans is a disaster. A Trump administration will provide the finest universal access health care for our veterans. They will be able to get the best care anytime and anywhere.
Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.
The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obamawith the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.
A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector. Some, however, I have great respect for.
My record of veteran support is well-documented. I served as co-chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission and was responsible, with a small group, for getting it built. Toward this end, I contributed over $1 million so our warriors can be honored in New York City with a proper memorial. I also helped finance and served as the grand marshal of the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, which honored over 25,000 veterans. It was one of the biggest parades in the history of New York City, and I was very proud to have made it possible.
I will continue to fight to secure our border and take care of our veterans because these steps are vital to make America great again!
A Monmouth University poll of Iowans released Monday and conducted over the weekend showed Scott Walker continues to maintain a solid lead in the Iowa Republican caucus, though Trump has gained an edge over the rest of the field and now stands alone in second place.
Of likely caucus attendees, 22% told pollsters that they’d support the Wisconsin governor in next winter’s matchup, but 13% said they would back Trump, who has suddenly catapulted to the front of some national polls. Trump only earned 4% of Republicans’ support in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg survey conducted in May, a month before Trump announced his campaign and made a string of controversial comments that came alongside his rise.
The Monmouth poll was fielded while Trump found himself embroiled in a new controversy over a remark that seemed to disparage the military record of 2008 nominee McCain while at an event in Iowa. The poll found no change in Trump’s support before and after he made his comment this weekend in Iowa.
“Walker has been a favorite of Iowa voters ever since his well-received appearance at the Iowa Freedom summit in January. More recently, Trump has outmaneuvered the rest of the field to earn the second spot despite his controversial statements over the weekend,” said Patrick Murray, who conducted the poll.
Trailing Walker and Trump is Ben Carson at 8%, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz at 7%, and 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee at 6%.
Monmouth polled 452 Iowans from Thursday to Sunday for a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.
Story 1: Planned Parenthood’s Evil of Killing, Butchering and Selling Baby Parts Regrets Their Tone Not Their Actions– Reminds Me of The Nazis (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) Discussing The Final Solution for The Jewish Question — The Killing of Babies Supported By Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Progressives and Ruling Political Elites — Stop Killing Babies And Lying To The American People — Videos
He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
~Henry David Thoreau
The resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.
The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
Planned Parenthood: Cecile Richards’ Official Video Response
Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry
Senator Lankford Speaks about the Planned Parenthood Video on the Senate Floor
Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts
What So-Called Pro-Choicers Cannot Watch From Start To Finish
The Silent Scream (Full Length)
FULL FOOTAGE: Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts
Abby Johnson Exposes The Lie of Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards’ Attempt To Dismiss Viral Video Backfires!
Caught on Camera: Planned Parenthood Harvesting Babies Organs
Die Wannseekonferenz (1984)
A real time recreation of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, in which leading SS and Nazi Party officials led by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich gathered to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”.
MAAFA 21 THE BLACK HOLOCAUST
Abortion Inc: Promoting Black Genocide in US?
Planned Parenthood Banks on Fraud
Planned Parenthood’s New Image
Fit vs. UnFit, Eugenics, Planned Parenthood & Psychology, Mind Control Report
Sex Control Police State, Eugenics, Galton, Kantsaywhere, Mind Control Report
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Planned Parenthood head apologizes for ‘tone’ of doctor in covert video
The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America on Thursday apologized for remarks captured on video that show Deborah Nucatola, an executive of the organization, casually discussing abortion techniques aimed at preserving the internal organs of fetuses for use in research.
But Richards also emphatically defended the organization’s tissue donation program, which she said is purely voluntary for the women and does not yield a profit for Planned Parenthood. And she condemned the group that covertly recorded Nucatola’s remarks, which she said heavily edited the video to make “outrageous claims.”
“We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women,” she said. “Their mission is to ban abortion completely and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers.”
Richards’s apology came a day after a little-known anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress unveiled the video as part of what its leader said was a 30-month investigation into Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation program. The group alleges Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal body parts to companies that use the tissue for research.
While the video did not prove this claim, it still painted Planned Parenthood in an unflattering light that reignited controversy over the women’s health organization, the nation’s largest abortion provider and a longtime target of anti-abortion activism. It showed Nucatola, the organization’s senior director of medical services, discussing graphically the ways in which abortions can be completed to preserve a fetus’s liver, lungs, heart and other materials for research.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” she says in the video, drinking wine and eating salad with anti-abortion activists posing as medical company representatives.
Later in the video, she continues: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
The Center for Medical Research distilled the video into a nine-minute clip, but also posted a longer cut lasting more than two-and-a-half hours showing a fuller context of the discussion. It also posted some supporting documents on its site, and the group’s leader has promised more evidence in the coming weeks.
Planned Parenthood’s president apologized Thursday for a top official’s tone in a controversial video, but she also denied the clip’s allegation that her organization profits from tissue donation.
“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,” said Cecile Richards, the group’s president, in a video out Thursday. “As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and we take swift action to address it.”
Since the video’s release on Breitbart earlier this week, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents and called for congressional hearings on the incident, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“I hope that everyone in the country watches it,” said Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, who called the video “the most horrifying and heartbreaking undercover video I have ever seen” during a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday.
But allegations that Planned Parenthood sells baby body organs and tissue are unfounded, she said.
“I want to be really clear: The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs — like any other high-quality health care providers — follow all laws and ethical guidelines.”
On Wednesday, Richards used Twitter to criticize lawmakers and presidential candidates
Richards said political attacks are nothing new for her organization, the country’s largest abortion provider.
“Spreading false information is an age-old strategy of people hell-bent on denying women care & shaming them for exercising their rights,” she tweeted.
Several Republican candidates have promised to defund federal dollars to Planned Parenthood if elected. Richards argued that would keep millions from breast exams, sexually transmitted infection exams and sex education.
“Reminder: 1 out of every 5 women has been to PP in her life. Threatening our patients’ care & rights will get politicians nowhere real fast,” she tweeted. “We’ve fought for our patients before, and we’ll fight for them again and again.”
Planned Parenthood exec, fetal body parts subject of controversial video
By Steve Almasy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
An anti-abortion group has released an online video that it says documents how Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for a profit, a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures so as to preserve the organs.
Planned Parenthood has countered that it donates the tissue for scientific research and receives only reimbursement for its expenses, which is legal. The group also says it helps people donate tissue “with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards,” according to a statement from spokesman Eric Ferrero.
Later, Ferrero issued another statement saying, “These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Women and families who make the decision to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving scientific research should be honored, not attacked and demeaned.”
The group leveling the accusation, the Irvine, California-based Center for Medical Progress, says it shot the video a year ago at a California restaurant. On it, two people purporting to be with a human biologics company speak with a Planned Parenthood doctor over what appears to be a lunch meeting. The Center for Medical Progress says the pair, who are off-camera and never seen, are paid actors.
“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said statement from David Daleiden, who led the undercover project.
The video has drawn the ire of GOP lawmakers in Washington, with House Speaker John Boehner calling for hearings on Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices.
“When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child — and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video — we must all act,” he said.
On the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is seen talking matter-of-factly about the organization’s participation in tissue-donation programs.
Though Planned Parenthood has described the Center for Medical Progress footage as a hit piece by “a well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services,” Nucatola acknowledges in the video that Planned Parenthood’s national office sees the potential for controversy.
“So, we tried to do this, and at the national office we have a Litigation and Law Department that just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she said. “And so we had a conversation, and we said, ‘What if we go out and find everyone who is doing this and present everybody with a menu?’ And at the end of the day they just decided that right now, it’s just too touchy an issue for us to be an official middleman.”
In another part of the video, the doctor tells the undercover actors that “behind closed doors,” Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are discussing how to handle the matter.
“Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as ‘This clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this,’ ” she said.
The edited version of the video appears to be missing important context that’s provided in the longer video. For instance, one of the actors asks Nucatola about prices for the organs.
“OK, so when you are, or the (Planned Parenthood) affiliate is determining what that monetary … so that it doesn’t raise any question of ‘This is what it’s about; this is the main,’ what price range would you …” the woman asks, her question trailing off.
Nucatola responds that the price would be between $30 and $100 per specimen, with consideration for what facility is used and “what’s involved.” It’s not clear if a specimen constitutes the entire organ or only samples of it.
Nucatola doesn’t specifically say that the price is for the purchase of the tissue, but the comment troubled bioethicist Art Caplan of New York University, who said after watching the edited version of the video it sounds like Planned Parenthood might be trying to make a profit.
But in the longer version of the video, Nucatola elaborates and appears to say the price is related to the cost of performing the procedure and shipping.
“It just has to do with space issues. Are you sending someone there who is going to be doing everything or is their staff going to be doing it? What exactly are they going to be doing? Is there shipping involved or is someone coming to pick it up?”
Selling fetal body parts — or any body parts — is against federal law, but Planned Parenthood said it makes no profit.
“In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field,” the group said.
Another part of the video also raised concerns for Caplan. Nucatola talks about doctors performing abortions in which ultrasound is used to ascertain the best location to grab the fetus with forceps.
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver because we know that, I’m not going to crush that part,” she says.
Altering procedures in order to get tissue in the best condition would be a “big no-no,” the bioethicist said, because the patient’s health is paramount and that should be the only concern for doctors. Caplan did not comment specifically on whether the ultrasound procedure would endanger the mother, but he made it clear that any deviation from normal procedures is unacceptable.
“In abortion the primary goal is to give the safest abortion possible,” Caplan said. “Your sole concern has to be the mother and her health.”
There’s a parallel in patient care, he said. When someone is dying, doctors shouldn’t change how they treat the patient in order to harvest good tissue for donation after death.
Doctors should treat the patient as they normally would, and then use whatever is available after death. If a provider is considering how to get the tissue that’s in the best shape, “that’s a huge conflict of interest. … If you modify how someone dies, that’s unethical.”
The Center for Medical Progress also alleges that Nucatola describes a method — using ultrasound to manipulate the fetus so it comes out feet first, or breech presentation, instead of head first, or vertex presentation — that “is the hallmark of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure.”
Partial birth abortions are illegal, according to U.S. law, which defines them as procedures “in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus.”
On the video, Nucatola describes the best strategy to extract calavarium, or skulls, intact, but it is not clear if she is speaking in general terms or if she is describing Planned Parenthood’s methods. And then, she says nothing about whether the fetus is still alive when it’s delivered.
“And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”
The Center for Medical Progress responded to Planned Parenthood’s written statement about the video and accused Planned Parenthood of lying about obtaining consent from patients and not making a profit on the tissue transactions. It did not offer any further evidence of either claim.
Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, said the anti-abortion group was the one that was lying.
“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research,” it said.
The statement continued, “Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. (PPAF) is a related organization which lobbies for pro-choice legislation, comprehensive sex education, and access to affordable health care in the United States. In recent years, Planned Parenthood has begun to move away from the pro-choice label to words and phrases that more accurately reflect the entire range of women’s health and economic issues.
Planned Parenthood is the largest U.S. provider of reproductive health services, including cancer screening, HIV screening and counseling, contraception, and abortion. Contraception accounts for 34% of PPFA’s total services and abortions account for 3%; PPFA conducts roughly 300,000 abortions each year, among 3 million people served.
The organization has its roots in Brooklyn, New York, where Margaret Sanger opened the country’s first birth-control clinic. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which in 1942 became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Since then, Planned Parenthood has grown to have over 820 clinic locations in the U.S., with a total budget of US $1 billion. PPFA provides an array of services to over three million people in the United States, and supports services for over one million clients outside the United States.
Margaret Sanger (1922), the first president and founder of Planned Parenthood
The origins of Planned Parenthood date to October 16, 1916 when Margaret Sanger, her sister Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. All three women were immediately arrested and jailed for violating provisions of the Comstock Act– for distributing “obscene materials” at the clinic. The “Brownsville trials” brought national attention and support to their cause, and although Sanger and her co-defendants were convicted, their convictions were eventually overturned. Their campaign led to major changes in the laws governing birth control and sex education in the United States.
In 1938, the clinic was organized into the American Birth Control League, which became part of the only national birth control organization in the US until the 1960s, but the title was found too offensive and “against families” so the League began discussions for a new name. By 1941, the organization was operating 222 centers and had served 49,000 clients. By 1942 the League had become part of what became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Following Margaret Sanger, Alan Frank Guttmacher became president of Planned Parenthood and served from 1962 till 1974. During his tenure, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the original birth control pill, giving rise to new attitudes towards women’s reproductive freedom. Also during his presidency, Planned Parenthood lobbied the federal government to support reproductive health, culminating with President Richard Nixon‘s signing of Title X to provide governmental subsidies for low-income women to access family planning services. The Center for Family Planning Program Development was also founded as a semi-autonomous division during this time. The center became an independent organization and was renamed the Guttmacher Institute in 1977.
Faye Wattleton was the first woman named president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1978 and served till 1992. She was the first African-American to serve as president, and the youngest president in Planned Parenthood’s history. During her term, Planned Parenthood grew to become the seventh largest charity in the country, providing services to four million clients each year through its 170 affiliates whose activities were spread across 50 states.
A Planned Parenthood supporter participates in a demonstration in support of the organization.
From 1996 to 2006, Planned Parenthood was led by Gloria Feldt. Feldt activated the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the organization’s political action committee, launching what was the most far reaching electoral advocacy effort in its history. She also launched the Responsible Choices Action Agenda, a nationwide campaign to increase services to prevent unwanted pregnancies, improve quality of reproductive care and ensure access to safe and legal abortions. Another initiative was the commencement of a “Global Partnership Program” with the aim of building a vibrant activist constituency in support of family planning.
PPFA is a federation of 85 independent Planned Parenthood affiliates around the U.S. These affiliates together operate more than 820 health centers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The largest of these facilities, a $26 million, 78,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) structure was completed in Houston, Texas in May 2010. This serves as a headquarters for 12 clinics in Texas and Louisiana. Together, they are the largest family planning services provider in the U.S. with over four million activists, supporters and donors. Planned Parenthood is staffed by 27,000 staff members and volunteers.
They serve over five million clients a year, 26% of which are teenagers under the age of 19. According to Planned Parenthood, 75% of their clients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
In 2009, Planned Parenthood provided 4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total), 3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total), 1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total), 1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total), 332,278 abortion services (3% of total), and 76,977 other services (1% of total), for a total of 11,383,900 services. The organization also said its doctors and nurses annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.
Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information. The law enjoyed bipartisan support from liberals who saw contraception access as increasing families’ control over their lives, and conservatives who saw it as a way to keep people off welfare. Nixon described Title X funding as based on the premise that “no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, total (consolidated) revenue was $201 million: clinic revenue totaling $2 million, grants and donations of $190 million, investment income of $2 million, and $7 million other income. Approximately two-thirds of the revenue is put towards the provision of health services, while non-medical services such as sex education and public policy work make up another 16%; management expenses, fundraising, and international family planning programs account for most of the rest.
Planned Parenthood receives about a third of its money in government grants and contracts (about $360 million in 2009). By law, federal funding cannot be allocated for abortions, but some opponents of abortion have argued that allocating money to Planned Parenthood for the provision of other medical services “frees up” funds to be re-allocated for abortion.
A coalition of national and local pro-life groups have lobbied federal and state government to stop funding Planned Parenthood, and as a result, Republican federal and state legislators have proposed legislation to reduce the funding levels. Some six states have gone ahead with such proposals. In some cases, the courts have overturned such actions, citing conflict with federal or other state laws, and in others, the federal executive branch has provided funding in lieu of the states. In other cases, complete or partial defunding of Planned Parenthood has gone through successfully.
Planned Parenthood is also funded by private donors, with a membership base of over 700,000 active donors whose contributions account for approximately one quarter of the organization’s revenue. Large donors also contribute a substantial portion of the organization’s budget; past donors have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Turner Foundation, the Cullmans and others. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s contributions to the organization have been specifically marked to avoid funding abortions. Some, such as the Buffett Foundation, have supported reproductive health that can include abortion services. Pro-life groups have advocated the boycott of donors to Planned Parenthood.
Stand on political and legal issues
Planned Parenthood and its predecessor organizations have provided and advocated for access to birth control. The modern organization of Planned Parenthood America is also an advocate for reproductive rights. This advocacy includes contributing to sponsorship of abortion rights and women’s rights events and assisting in the testing of new contraceptives. The Federation opposes restrictions on women’s reproductive health services, including parental consent laws. Planned Parenthood has cited the case of Becky Bell, who died following a septic abortion after failing to seek parental consent, to justify their opposition. Planned Parenthood also takes the position that laws requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor are unconstitutional on privacy grounds. The organization also opposes laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions, stating that their only purpose is to make abortions more difficult to obtain. Planned Parenthood has also opposed initiatives that require waiting periods before abortions, and bans on late-term abortions including intact dilation and extraction, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 2003.
Planned Parenthood argues for the wide availability of emergency contraception (EC) measures. It opposes conscience clauses, which allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs against their beliefs. In support of their position, they have cited cases where pharmacists have refused to fill life saving drugs under the laws. Planned Parenthood has also been critical of hospitals that do not provide access to EC for rape victims. Planned Parenthood supports and provides FDA-approved abortifacients such as mifepristone.
Citing the need for medically accurate information in sex education, Planned Parenthood opposes abstinence-only education in public schools. Instead, Planned Parenthood is a provider of, and endorses, comprehensive sex education, which includes discussion of both abstinence and birth control.
Planned Parenthood also has a political action committee called Planned Parenthood Action Fund. The committee was founded in 1996 by then new president Gloria Feldt for the purpose of maintaining reproductive health rights and supporting political candidates of the same mindset. In 2012 election cycle the committee gained prominence based on its effectiveness of spending on candidates.
Planned Parenthood regional chapters have been active in the American courts. A number of cases in which Planned Parenthood has been a party have reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Notable among these cases is the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the case that sets forth the current constitutional abortion standard. In this case, “Planned Parenthood” was the Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter, and “Casey” was Robert Casey, the governor of Pennsylvania. The ultimate ruling was split, and Roe v. Wade was narrowed but upheld in an opinion written by Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens concurred with the main decision in separately written opinions. The Supreme Court struck down spousal consent requirements for married women to obtain abortions, but found no “undue burden”—an alternative to strict scrutiny which tests the allowable limitations on rights protected under the Constitution—from the other statutory requirements. Dissenting were William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Byron White. Blackmun, Rehnquist, and White were the only justices who voted on the original Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 who were still on the Supreme Court to rule on this case, and their votes on this case were consistent with their votes on the original decision that legalized abortion. Only Blackmun voted to maintain Roe v. Wade in its entirety.
Other related cases include:
Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth (1976). Planned Parenthood challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, spousal consent, clinic bookkeeping and allowed abortion methods. Portions of the challenged law were held to be constitutional, others not.
Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City v. Ashcroft (1983). Planned Parenthood challenged the constitutionality of a Missouri law encompassing parental consent, clinic record keeping, and hospitalization requirements. Most of the challenged law was held to be constitutional.
Planned Parenthood v. ACLA (2001). The American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) released a flier and “Wanted” posters with complete personal information about doctors who performed abortions. A civil jury and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals both found that the material was indeed “true threats” and not protected speech.
Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (2003). Planned Parenthood sued Attorney General Gonzales for an injunction against the enforcement of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Planned Parenthood argued the act was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment, namely in that it was overly vague, violated women’s constitutional right to have access to abortion, and did not include language for exceptions for the health of the mother. Both the district court and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed, but that decision was overturned in a 5–4 ruling by the Supreme Court.
Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (2006). Planned Parenthood et al. challenged the constitutionality of a New Hampshire parental notification law related to access to abortion. In Sandra Day O’Connor’s final decision before retirement, the Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts with instructions to seek a remedy short of wholesale invalidation of the statute. New Hampshire ended up repealing the statute via the legislative process.
Controversy and criticism
Planned Parenthood has occupied a central position in the abortion debate in the U.S., and has been among the most prominent targets of U.S. pro-life activists for decades. Congressional Republicans have attempted since the 1980s to defund the organization, nearly leading to a government shutdown over the issue in 2011. The federal money received by Planned Parenthood is not used to fund abortion services, but pro-life activists have argued that the funding frees up other resources which are, in turn, used to provide abortions.
Planned Parenthood is the largest single provider of abortions in the U.S. In 2009, Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions (for comparison, 1.21 million abortions were performed in the US in 2008), from which it derives about $164,154,000, or 15% of its annual revenue as of their 2008–2009 calculations. According to PPFA’s own estimates, its contraceptive services prevent approximately 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions annually. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has argued that the organization’s family planning services reduce the need for abortions. Megan Crepeau of the Chicago Tribune said that, because of its birth control and family planning services, PPFA could be “characterized as America’s largest abortion preventer.” Anti-abortion activists dispute the evidence that greater access to contraceptives reduces abortions.
In the 1920s various theories of eugenics were popular among intellectuals in the United States. For example, 75% of colleges offered courses on eugenics. Sanger, in her campaign to promote birth control, teamed with eugenics organizations such as the American Eugenics Society, although she argued against many of their positions. Scholars describe Sanger as believing that birth control, sterilization and abortion should be voluntary and not based on race. She advocated for “voluntary motherhood”—the right to choose when to be pregnant—for all women, as an important element of women’s rights. Opponents of Planned Parenthood often refer to Sanger’s connection with supporters of eugenics to discredit the organization by associating it, and birth control, with the more negative modern view of eugenics. Planned Parenthood has responded to this effort directly in a leaflet acknowledging that Sanger agreed with some of her contemporaries who advocated the voluntary hospitalization or sterilization of people with untreatable, disabling, hereditary conditions, and limits on the immigration of the diseased. The leaflet also states that Planned Parenthood “finds these views objectionable and outmoded” but says that it was compelled to discuss the topic because “anti-family planning activists continue to attack Sanger . . . because she is an easier target” than Planned Parenthood.
Periodically pro-life activists have tried to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood does not follow applicable state or federal laws. The groups called or visited a Planned Parenthood health center posing as victims of statutory rape, minors who would need parental notification for abortion, racists seeking to earmark donations for abortions for black women to abort black babies, or pimps who want abortions for child prostitutes. Edited video and audio productions of these dialogues seem to capture employees being sympathetic to potentially criminal acts, leading to allegations that the health centers in question are violating the law. An official federal inspection in 2005 by the Bush administration‘s Department of Health and Human Services “yielded no evidence of clinics around the nation failing to comply with laws on reporting child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape or incest.”
In 2011, the organization Live Action released a series of videos that they said showed Planned Parenthood employees at multiple affiliates actively assisting or being complicit in aiding the underage prostitution ring of actors posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Planned Parenthood conducted a frame-by-frame analysis of the recordings, and said they found instances of “editing that dramatically alter[ed] the meaning of the recorded conversations.”
None of these stings have led to criminal conviction. However, a small number of Planned Parenthood employees and volunteers were fired for not following procedure, and the organization committed to retraining its staff.
State and local court cases against Planned Parenthood
In some states, anti-abortion Attorneys General have subpoenaed medical records of patients treated by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has gone to court to keep from turning over these records, citing medical privacy and concerns about the motivation for seeking the records.
In 2006, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a strongly anti-abortion Republican, released some sealed patient records obtained from Planned Parenthood to the public. His actions were described as “troubling” by the state Supreme Court, but ultimately Planned Parenthood was compelled to turn over the medical records, albeit with more stringent court-mandated privacy safeguards for the patients involved. In 2007, Kline’s successor, Paul J. Morrison, notified the clinic that no criminal charges would be filed after a three-year investigation, as “an objective, unbiased and thorough examination” showed no wrongdoing. Morrison stated that he believed Kline had politicized the attorney general’s office. In 2012, a Kansas district attorney dropped all of the remaining criminal charges against the Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of performing illegal abortions, citing a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. In all, the Planned Parenthood clinic had faced 107 criminal charges from Kline and other Kansas prosecutors, all of which were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.
In Indiana, Planned Parenthood was not required to turn over its medical records in an investigation of possible child abuse. In October 2005, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota was fined $50,000 for violating a Minnesota state parental consent law.
On December 31, 2012, Judge Gary Harger ruled Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights.
In 1994, John Salvi entered a Brookline, Massachusetts Planned Parenthood clinic and opened fire, murdering receptionist Shannon Elizabeth Lowney and wounding three others. He fled to another Planned Parenthood clinic where he murdered Leane Nichols and wounded two others.
William Sanger (1902–1921)[note 1]
James Noah H. Slee (1922–1943).
Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American birth control activist, sex educator, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger was also a writer. She used this method to help promote her way of thinking. She was prosecuted for her book Family Limitation under the Comstock Act in 1914. She was afraid of what would happen, so she fled to Britain until she knew it was safe to return to the US. Sanger’s efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Sanger is a frequent target of criticism by opponents of abortion and has also been criticized for supporting eugenics, but remains an iconic figure in the American reproductive rights movement.
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, which led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception. Her subsequent trial and appeal generated controversy. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent unsafe abortions, so-called back-alley abortions, which were common at the time because abortions were usually illegal. She believed that while abortion was sometimes justified it should generally be avoided, and she considered contraception the only practical way to avoid the use of abortions.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In New York City, she organized the first birth control clinic staffed by all-female doctors, as well as a clinic in Harlem with an entirely African-American staff. In 1929, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, which served as the focal point of her lobbying efforts to legalize contraception in the United States. From 1952 to 1959, Sanger served as president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She died in 1966, and is widely regarded as a founder of the modern birth control movement.
Sanger was born Margaret Louise Higgins in 1879 in Corning, New York, to Michael Hennessey Higgins, an Irish-born stonemason and free-thinker, and Anne Purcell Higgins, a Catholic Irish-American. Michael Hennessey Higgins had emigrated to the USA at age 14 and joined the U.S. Army as a drummer at age 15, during the Civil War. After leaving the army, Michael studied medicine and phrenology, but ultimately became a stonecutter, making stone angels, saints, and tombstones. Michael H. Higgins was a Catholic who became an atheist and an activist for women’s suffrage and free public education. Anne Higgins went through 18 pregnancies (with 11 live births) in 22 years before dying at the age of 49. Sanger was the sixth of eleven surviving children, and spent much of her youth assisting with household chores and caring for her younger siblings. Anne’s parents took their children and emigrated to Canada when she was a child, due to the Potato Famine.
Supported by her two older sisters, Margaret Higgins attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, before enrolling in 1900 at White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer. In 1902, she married the dashing architect William Sanger and gave up her education. Though she was plagued by a recurring active tubercular condition, Margaret Sanger bore three children, and the couple settled down to a quiet life in Westchester, New York.
Sanger’s political interests, emerging feminism and nursing experience led her to write two series of columns on sex education entitled “What Every Mother Should Know” (1911–12) and “What Every Girl Should Know” (1912-13) for the socialist magazine New York Call. By the standards of the day, Sanger’s articles were extremely frank in their discussion of sexuality, and many New York Call readers were outraged by them. Other readers, however, praised the series for its candor, one stated that the series contained “a purer morality than whole libraries full of hypocritical cant about modesty. Both were later published in book form in 1916.
During her work among working class immigrant women, Sanger was exposed to graphic examples of women going through frequent childbirth, miscarriage and self-induced abortion for lack of information on how to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Access to contraceptive information was prohibited on grounds of obscenity by the 1873 federal Comstock law and a host of state laws. Searching for something that would help these women, Sanger visited public libraries, but was unable to find information on contraception. These problems were epitomized in a (possibly fictional) story that Sanger would later recount in her speeches: while Sanger was working as a nurse, she was called to the apartment of a woman, “Sadie Sachs,” who had become extremely ill due to a self-induced abortion. Afterward, “Sadie” (whose marital status Sanger never mentioned) begged the attending doctor to tell her how she could prevent this from happening again, to which the doctor simply advised her to remain abstinent. A few months later, Sanger was called back to “Sadie’s” apartment — only this time, “Sadie” died shortly after Sanger arrived. She had attempted yet another self-induced abortion. Sanger would sometimes end the story by saying, “I threw my nursing bag in the corner and announced … that I would never take another case until I had made it possible for working women in America to have the knowledge to control birth.” Although “Sadie Sachs” was possibly a fictional composite of several women Sanger had known, this story marks the time when Sanger began to devote her life to help desperate women before they were driven to pursue dangerous and illegal abortions.
Accepting the connection proposed between contraception and working-class empowerment by radicals such as Emma Goldman, Sanger came to believe that only by liberating women from the risk of unwanted pregnancy would fundamental social change take place. She proceeded to launch a campaign to challenge governmental censorship of contraceptive information. She would set up a series of confrontational actions designed to challenge the law and force birth control to become a topic of public debate. Sanger’s trip to France in 1913 exposed her to what Goldman had been saying. Sanger’s experience during her trip to France directly influence The Women Rebel newsletter. The trip to France was also the beginning of the end of her marriage with William Sanger.
In 1914, Sanger launched The Woman Rebel, an eight-page monthly newsletter which promoted contraception using the slogan “No Gods, No Masters“.[note 2] Sanger, collaborating with anarchist friends, popularized the term “birth control” as a more candid alternative to euphemisms such as “family limitation” and proclaimed that each woman should be “the absolute mistress of her own body.” In these early years of Sanger’s activism, she viewed birth control as a free-speech issue, and when she started publishing The Woman Rebel, one of her goals was to provoke a legal challenge to the federal anti-obscenity laws which banned dissemination of information about contraception. Though postal authorities suppressed five of its seven issues, Sanger continuing publication, all the while preparing, Family Limitation, an even more blatant challenge to anti-birth control laws. This 16-page pamphlet contained detailed and precise information and graphic descriptions of various contraceptive methods. In August 1914 Margaret Sanger was indicted for violating postal obscenity laws by sending the The Woman Rebel through the postal system. Instead of standing trial, she jumped bail and fled to Canada. Then, under the alias “Bertha Watson”, sailed for England. En route she ordered her labor associates to release copies of the Family Limitation.
Margaret Sanger spent much of her 1914 exile in England, where contact with British neo-Malthusianists helped refine her socioeconomic justifications for birth control. She was also profoundly influenced by the liberation theories of British sexual theorist Havelock Ellis. Under his tutelage she formulated a new rationale that would liberate women not just by making sexual intercourse safe, but also pleasurable. It would, in effect, free women from the inequality of sexual experience. Early in 1915, Margaret Sanger’s estranged husband, William Sanger, was entrapped into giving a copy of Family Limitation to a representative of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock. William Sanger was tried and convicted, he spent thirty days in jail, while also escalating interest in birth control as a civil liberties issue.
This page from Sanger’s Family Limitation, 1917 edition, describes a cervical cap.
Some countries in northwestern Europe had more liberal policies towards contraception than the United States at the time, and when Sanger visited a Dutch birth control clinic in 1915, she learned about diaphragms and became convinced that they were a more effective means of contraception than the suppositories and douches that she had been distributing back in the United States. Diaphragms were generally unavailable in the United States, so Sanger and others began importing them from Europe, in defiance of United States law.
On October 16, 1916, Sanger opened a family planning and birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States. Nine days after the clinic opened, Sanger was arrested. Sanger’s bail was set at $500 and she went back home. Sanger continued seeing some women in the clinic until the police came a second time. This time Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, were arrested for breaking a New York state law that prohibited distribution of contraceptives, Sanger was also charged with running a public nuisance. Sanger and Ethel went to trial in January 1917. Byrne was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse but went on hunger strike. She was the first woman in the US to be force fed. Only when Sanger pledged that Byrne would never break the law, she was pardoned after ten days. Sanger was convicted; the trial judge held that women did not have “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.” Sanger was offered a more lenient sentence if she promised to not break the law again, but she replied: “I cannot respect the law as it exists today.” For this, she was sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse. An initial appeal was rejected, but in a subsequent court proceeding in 1918, the birth control movement won a victory when Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals issued a ruling which allowed doctors to prescribe contraception. The publicity surrounding Sanger’s arrest, trial, and appeal sparked birth control activism across the United States, and earned the support of numerous donors, who would provide her with funding and support for future endeavors.
Sanger became estranged from her husband in 1913, and the couple’s divorce was finalized in 1921. Sanger’s second husband was Noah Slee. He followed Sanger around the world and provided much of Sanger’s financial assistance. The couple got married in September 1922, but the public did not know about it until February 1924. They supported each other with their pre-commitments.
American Birth Control League
Sanger published the Birth Control Review from 1917 to 1929.[note 4]
After World War I, Sanger shifted away from radical politics, and she founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL) in 1921 to enlarge her base of supporters to include the middle class. The founding principles of the ABCL were as follows:
We hold that children should be (1) Conceived in love; (2) Born of the mother’s conscious desire; (3) And only begotten under conditions which render possible the heritage of health. Therefore we hold that every woman must possess the power and freedom to prevent conception except when these conditions can be satisfied.
Sanger’s appeal of her conviction for the Brownsville clinic secured a 1918 court ruling that exempted physicians from the law that prohibited the distribution of contraceptive information to women—provided it was prescribed for medical reasons—she established the Clinical Research Bureau (CRB) in 1923 to exploit this loophole. The CRB was the first legal birth control clinic in the United States, and it was staffed entirely by female doctors and social workers. The clinic received a large amount of funding from John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family, which continued to make donations to Sanger’s causes in future decades, but generally made them anonymously to avoid public exposure of the family name, and to protect family member Nelson Rockefeller‘s political career since openly advocating birth control could have led to the Catholic Church opposing him politically. John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated five thousand dollars to her American Birth Control League in 1924 and a second time in 1925. In 1922, she traveled to China, Korea, and Japan. In China she observed that the primary method of family planning was female infanticide, and she later worked with Pearl Buck to establish a family planning clinic in Shanghai. Sanger visited Japan six times, working with Japanese feminist Kato Shidzue to promote birth control. This was ironic since ten years earlier Sanger had accused Katō of murder and praised an attempt to kill her.
In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well received by the group, and as a result, “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.”
In 1928, conflict within the birth control movement leadership led Sanger to resign as the president of the ABCL and take full control of the CRB, renaming it the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB), marking the beginning of a schism in the movement that would last until 1938.
Sanger invested a great deal of effort communicating with the general public. From 1916 onward, she frequently lectured—in churches, women’s clubs, homes, and theaters—to workers, churchmen, liberals, socialists, scientists, and upper-class women. She wrote several books in the 1920s which had a nationwide impact in promoting the cause of birth control. Between 1920 and 1926, 567,000 copies of Woman and the New Race and The Pivot of Civilization were sold. She also wrote two autobiographies designed to promote the cause. The first, My Fight for Birth Control, was published in 1931 and the second, more promotional version, Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, was published in 1938.
During the 1920s, Sanger received hundreds of thousands of letters, many of them written in desperation by women begging for information on how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Five hundred of these letters were compiled into the 1928 book, Motherhood in Bondage.
In 1929, Sanger formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control in order to lobby for legislation to overturn restrictions on contraception. That effort failed to achieve success, so Sanger ordered a diaphragm from Japan in 1932, in order to provoke a decisive battle in the courts. The diaphragm was confiscated by the United States government, and Sanger’s subsequent legal challenge led to a 1936 court decision which overturned an important provision of the Comstock laws which prohibited physicians from obtaining contraceptives. This court victory motivated the American Medical Association in 1937 to adopt contraception as a normal medical service and a key component of medical school curriculums.
This 1936 contraception court victory was the culmination of Sanger’s birth control efforts, and she took the opportunity, now in her late 50s, to move to Tucson, Arizona, intending to play a less critical role in the birth control movement. In spite of her original intentions, she remained active in the movement through the 1950s.
In 1937, Sanger became chairman of the newly formed Birth Control Council of America, and attempted to resolve the schism between the ABCL and the BCCRB. Her efforts were successful, and the two organizations merged in 1939 as the Birth Control Federation of America.[note 5] Although Sanger continued in the role of president, she no longer wielded the same power as she had in the early years of the movement, and in 1942, more conservative forces within the organization changed the name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a name Sanger objected to because she considered it too euphemistic.
In 1946, Sanger helped found the International Committee on Planned Parenthood, which evolved into the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952, and soon became the world’s largest non-governmental international family planning organization. Sanger was the organization’s first president and served in that role until she was 80 years old. In the early 1950s, Sanger encouraged philanthropist Katharine McCormick to provide funding for biologist Gregory Pincus to develop the birth control pill which was eventually sold under the name Enovid.
While researching information on contraception Sanger read various treatises on sexuality in order to find information about birth control. She read The Psychology of Sex by the English psychologist Havelock Ellis and was heavily influenced by it. While traveling in Europe in 1914, Sanger met Ellis. Influenced by Ellis, Sanger adopted his view of sexuality as a powerful, liberating force. This view provided another argument in favor of birth control, as it would enable women to fully enjoy sexual relations without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. Sanger also believed that sexuality, along with birth control, should be discussed with more candor.
However, Sanger was opposed to excessive sexual indulgence. She stated “every normal man and woman has the power to control and direct his sexual impulse. Men and women who have it in control and constantly use their brain cells thinking deeply, are never sensual.” Sanger said that birth control would elevate women away from a position of being an object of lust and elevate sex away from purely being for satisfying lust, saying that birth control “denies that sex should be reduced to the position of sensual lust, or that woman should permit herself to be the instrument of its satisfaction.” Sanger wrote that masturbation was dangerous. She stated: “In my personal experience as a trained nurse while attending persons afflicted with various and often revolting diseases, no matter what their ailments, I never found any one so repulsive as the chronic masturbator. It would not be difficult to fill page upon page of heart-rending confessions made by young girls, whose lives were blighted by this pernicious habit, always begun so innocently.” She believed that women had the ability to control their sexual impulses, and should utilize that control to avoid sex outside of relationships marked by “confidence and respect.” She believed that exercising such control would lead to the “strongest and most sacred passion.” However, Sanger was not opposed to homosexuality and praised Ellis for clarifying “the question of homosexuals… making the thing a—not exactly a perverted thing, but a thing that a person is born with different kinds of eyes, different kinds of structures and so forth… that he didn’t make all homosexuals perverts—and I thought he helped clarify that to the medical profession and to the scientists of the world as perhaps one of the first ones to do that.” Sanger believed sex should be discussed with more candor, and praised Ellis for his efforts in this direction. She also blamed the suppression of discussion about it on Christianity.
Sanger’s 1920 book endorsed eugenics.
As part of her efforts to promote birth control, Sanger found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit. In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the educated and informed class that regulated the size of their families, the intelligent and responsible who desired to control their families however did not have the means or the knowledge and the irresponsible and reckless people whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes “there is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.” Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods and full family planning autonomy for the able-minded, and compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating. Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.
In contrast with eugenicist William Robinson, who advocated euthanasia for the unfit,[note 8] Sanger wrote, “we [do not] believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent breeding.” Similarly, Sanger denounced the aggressive and lethal Nazi eugenics program. In addition, Sanger believed the responsibility for birth control should remain in the hands of able-minded individual parents rather than the state, and that self-determining motherhood was the only unshakable foundation for racial betterment.
Sanger also supported restrictive immigration policies. In “A Plan for Peace”, a 1932 essay, she proposed a congressional department to address population problems. She also recommended that immigration exclude those “whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race,” and that sterilization and segregation be applied to those with incurable, hereditary disabilities.
Sanger’s writings echoed her ideas about inferiority and loose morals of particular races. In one “What Every Girl Should Know” commentary, she references popular opinion that Aboriginal Australians were “just a step higher than the chimpanzee” with “little sexual control,” as compared to the “normal man and Woman.” Elsewhere she bemoaned that traditional sexual ethics “… have in the past revealed their woeful inability to prevent the sexual and racial chaos into which the world has today drifted.”
Such attitudes did not keep her from collaborating with African-American leaders and professionals who saw a need for birth control in their communities. In 1929, James H. Hubert, a black social worker and leader of New York’s Urban League, asked Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem. Sanger secured funding from the Julius Rosenwald Fund and opened the clinic, staffed with black doctors, in 1930. The clinic was directed by a 15-member advisory board consisting of black doctors, nurses, clergy, journalists, and social workers. The clinic was publicized in the African-American press and in black churches, and it received the approval of W. E. B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP. In 1939 Sanger wrote, “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” She did not tolerate bigotry among her staff, nor would she tolerate any refusal to work within interracial projects. Sanger’s work with minorities earned praise from Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1966 acceptance speech for the Margaret Sanger award.
From 1939 to 1942 Sanger was an honorary delegate of the Birth Control Federation of America, which included a supervisory role—alongside Mary Lasker and Clarence Gamble—in the Negro Project, an effort to deliver birth control to poor black people. Sanger wanted the Negro Project to include black ministers in leadership roles, but other supervisors did not. To emphasize the benefits of involving black community leaders, she wrote to Gamble “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” This quote has been cited by Angela Davis to support her claims that Sanger wanted to exterminate black people. However, New York University’s Margaret Sanger Papers Project, argues that in writing that letter, “Sanger recognized that elements within the black community might mistakenly associate the Negro Project with racist sterilization campaigns in the Jim Crow South, unless clergy and other community leaders spread the word that the Project had a humanitarian aim.”
Freedom of speech
Sanger opposed censorship throughout her career, with a zeal comparable to her support for birth control. Sanger grew up in a home where iconoclastic orator Robert Ingersoll was admired. During the early years of her activism, Sanger viewed birth control primarily as a free-speech issue, rather than as a feminist issue, and when she started publishing The Woman Rebel in 1914, she did so with the express goal of provoking a legal challenge to the Comstock laws banning dissemination of information about contraception. In New York, Emma Goldman introduced Sanger to members of the Free Speech League, such as Edward Bliss Foote and Theodore Schroeder, and subsequently the League provided funding and advice to help Sanger with legal battles.
Over the course of her career, Sanger was arrested at least eight times for expressing her views during an era in which speaking publicly about contraception was illegal. Numerous times in her career, local government officials prevented Sanger from speaking by shuttering a facility or threatening her hosts. In Boston in 1929, city officials under the leadership of James Curley threatened to arrest her if she spoke—so she turned the threat to her advantage and stood on stage, silent, with a gag over her mouth, while her speech was read by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr.
Sanger’s family planning advocacy always focused on contraception, rather than abortion.[note 9] It was not until the mid-1960s, after Sanger’s death, that the reproductive rights movement expanded its scope to include abortion rights as well as contraception.[note 10] Sanger was opposed to abortions, both because she believed that life should not be terminated after conception, and because they were dangerous for the mother in the early 20th century. In her book Woman and the New Race, she wrote: “while there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”
Historian Rodger Streitmatter concluded that Sanger’s opposition to abortion stemmed from concerns for the dangers to the mother, rather than moral concerns. However, in her 1938 autobiography, Sanger noted that her opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: “[In 1916] we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.” And in her book Family Limitation, Sanger wrote that “no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable but they will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. This is the only cure for abortions.”
Books and pamphlets
What Every Mother Should Know – Originally published in 1911 or 1912, based on a series of articles Sanger published in 1911 in the New York Call, which were, in turn, based on a set of lectures Sanger gave to groups of Socialist party women in 1910–1911. Multiple editions published through the 1920s, by Max N. Maisel and Sincere Publishing, with the title What Every Mother Should Know, or how six little children were taught the truth …Online(1921 edition, Michigan State University)
Family Limitation – Originally published 1914 as a 16-page pamphlet; also published in several later editions. Online (1917, 6th edition, Michigan State University)
What Every Girl Should Know – Originally published 1916 by Max N. Maisel; 91 pages; also published in several later editions. Online (1920 edition); Online (1922 ed., Michigan State University)
The Case for Birth Control: A Supplementary Brief and Statement of Facts – May 1917, published to provide information to the court in a legal proceeding. Online (Internet Archive)
Fight for Birth Control, 1916, New York]  (The Library of Congress)
Birth Control A Parent’s Problem or Women’s?” The Birth Control Review, Mar. 1919, 6-7.
The Woman Rebel – Seven issues published monthly from March 1914 to August 1914. Sanger was publisher and editor.
Birth Control Review – Published monthly from February 1917 to 1940. Sanger was Editor until 1929, when she resigned from the ABCL. Not to be confused with Birth Control News, published by the London-based Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress.
Collections and anthologies
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 1: The Woman Rebel, 1900–1928, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2003
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 2: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928–1939, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2007
Sanger, Margaret, The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 3: The Politics of Planned Parenthood, 1939–1966, Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, Peter Engelman (eds), University of Illinois Press, 2010
Story 1: Breaking News: 5 Dead including 4 Marines and gunman killed in shootings and 3 wounded at Navy Reserve Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee –Gun Free Zone Except For Killer — Gunman Identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez — Lone Wolf Terrorist? — Videos
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Clendenen guards the top of the C.B. Robinson Bridge at Amnicola Highway after a morning shooting near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said there’s “an officer down” at a military reserve center. (Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP) THE DAILY CITIZEN OUT; NOOGA.COM OUT; CLEVELAND DAILY BANNER OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
4 Marines Killed In Chattanooga Shooting; Suspect Also Dead
4 U.S. Marines, gunman dead in Chattanooga shooting
Chattanooga shooting: 4 Marines killed, gunman dead
Raw: Police at Home Near Chattanooga Shooting
Donald Trump Reacts to Chattanooga Shootings on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’
Gun Grabbers Responsible for Chattanooga Shooting
News Wrap: Chattanooga military sites targeted by gunman
More Information Discovered About Chattanooga Shooting Suspect
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‘Heartbreaking’: President Obama Speaks on Chattanooga Shooting
Chattanooga Shooting Naval Military Reserve – 4 Marines Killed
Shooting At Military Centers In Chattanooga (VIDEO) Tennessee
BREAKING 4 Marines, gunman killed in Chattanooga shootings Military Reserve Centers, Tennessee
Police Pursue Tenn. Navy Recruiting Shooting
Four servicemen dead and one critical after gunman opens fire on military recruitment center
Mimi’s Interview with Jeffrey Simon “Lone Wolf Terrorism”
Mimi’s Interview with Jeffrey Simon “Lone Wolf Terrorism”
LIVE UPDATES: Attacker identified in shooting attack on military installations that killed four
Two military centers attacked by UTC engineering graduate
ONFIRMED: TVA says Chattanooga Shooting suspect Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeez was a student intern while he attended UTC.
Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez’s family photo in Chattanooga. Via Facebook.
The federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority confirms to BuzzFeed News Chattanooga suspect was an intern there pic.twitter.com/DynSWsz42s
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke on CNN: “Today our hearts are breaking in this city.”
Ryan Smith, who wrestled with Andulazeez at Red Bank High School, said he was a “swell guy.”
“He was an unbelievable nice person,” Smith said. “He was honestly one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.”
Smith said that Abdulazeez was very religious, and that he would argue “back and forth” with the boys’ high school wrestling coach during fasting rituals.
“His whole family was really religious,” Smith said. “His family, they all wore the drapes and stuff, all the women in his family wore the little hoods.”
Andulazeez became an mixed martial artist after high school, Smith said. Smith did not know what motivated his former friend to attack the military installations in Chattanooga.
“You’ve got to make good decisions, and he didn’t make a good decision,” Smith said.
The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center is reporting no apparent nexus to terrorism has been uncovered in the investigation of the fatal shootings in Tennessee, but intelligence officials are monitoring the investigation closely.
It also says there has been no credible claim of responsibility so far for anyone who might have influenced the gunman, who also was killed.
Those details were in a report the counterterrorism center circulated Thursday evening to U.S. law enforcement agencies. The Associated Press reviewed the report.
Even though the report says there was no connection uncovered so far to terrorism, it described efforts by the Islamic State group to revitalize homegrown extremists to conduct physical attacks inside the United States.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is expressing condolences for four Marines killed in shootings in Tennessee. He called the victims “four heroes.”
Maybus says “the tragedy in Chattanooga is both devastating and senseless.”
The Marines were killed at the Navy Operational Support Center, often referred to as a “reserve center.” It’s used by both Navy and Marine personnel to provide training and readiness support for reserve components to support the services. The Navy maintains 123 such facilities across the United States and its territories.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she’s directing the FBI to take the lead on a “national security” investigation into the Chattanooga attacks.
In a statement, she said the two shootings at military sites in Chattanooga represented a “heinous attack.”
Federal authorities have not identified a motive but have said they are investigating the possibility it was an act of terrorism.
Crissy Essex, left, 44, Sabrina Cupell, and Cheyenne Essex bring signs and an American flag to a building memorial at the 6215 Lee Highway location where a gunman fired multiple rounds into the Armed Forces Career Center.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St., will remain open until 8 p.m. tonight. All are welcome to enter through the front doors for prayer in the Nave.
BREAKING: Two women were led away in handcuffs from the suspect’s home. It’s not clear at this time who these females are.
Vice President Joe Biden says the United States will get to the bottom of the shootings that killed at least four Marines in Chattanooga.
Biden says the young Marines killed were part of what he’s calling “probably the most incredible generation that this country has seen.” He’s pointing out that more than 4 million Americans have signed up for military service since 9/11, even though they knew they’d almost certainly be put in harm’s way.
Biden says the families of those troops have already given a lot to the country.
Biden is asking Americans to keep the families of the victims in their prayers.
The vice president was speaking at a summit of liberal activists in Washington.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has described the shootings as an episode of “senseless violence” that she linked to other recent mass shootings.
“It’s terrible when we lose Marines anywhere in the world. But to lose four in Chattanooga, Tennessee is just heartbreaking,” she told reporters after holding her first town hall event in New Hampshire.
“I hope that we can find a way to stop this kind of violence that is stalking our children and people in study and people who wear the uniform of our country,” Clinton said.
BREAKING: Shooting suspect did wrestling and mixed marial arts. Video here.
Chattanooga Police Department instructor Ricky Ballard guards the front door at the Chattanooga Fire Training center prior to a news conference about a domestic terror incident that killed four Marines at the nearby Naval Reserve facility on Amnicola Highway.
BREAKING: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is coming to Chattanooga this evening for a briefing from TEMA Director Purkey at the Emergency Operations Center.
‘We expect that to take place around 7:30 p.m. ET,’ Dave Smith says
Statement by President Obama:
I just received a briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as my White House team, about the tragic shooting that took place in Chattanooga today. We don’t know yet all the details. We know that what appears to be a lone gunman carried out these attacks. We’ve identified a name. And at this point, a full investigation is taking place. The FBI will be in the lead, working closely with local law enforcement.
We’ve also been in contact with the Department of Defense to make sure that all our Defense facilities are properly attentive and vigilant as we sort through exactly what happened. And as details of the investigation proceed, we’ll make sure that the FBI, as well as local law enforcement are providing the public with all the information that’s involved.
My main message right now is, obviously, the deepest sympathies of the American people to the four Marines that have been killed. It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion.
And although the families are still in the process of being contacted, I want them to know that I speak for the American people in expressing our deepest condolences, and knowing that they have our full support as they try to overcome the grief that’s involved here.
I also want to say that there are reports of injuries to Chattanooga local law enforcement officials. Thankfully, as far as we know at this point, they have survived the assault. And we want to make sure that they know that we’re thinking of them. They’re in our thoughts and prayers.
We take all shootings very seriously. Obviously, when you have an attack on a U.S. military facility, then we have to make sure that we have all the information necessary to make an assessment in terms of how this attack took place, and what further precautions we can take in the future. And as we have more information, we’ll let the public know.
But in the meantime, I’d ask all Americans to pray for the families who are grief-stricken at this point. And I want everybody to understand that we will be thorough and prompt in figuring out exactly what happened.
A Hamilton County Sheriff’s officer carries a rifle out of Erlanger Hospital’s emergency room when the lockdown is ended after a shooting at both the Amnicola Highway Armed Forces Career Center and the Naval Operational Support Center on Amnicola Highway.
Carol, we’re still working to gather the details on that. Stay here for the latest details.
Comment From Carol L
Where did the shooter work?
TN House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick: I am deeply saddened to hear of today’s horrific events in our hometown of Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I have been in contact with state and local officials to monitor any developments. I have the utmost confidence in our law enforcement agencies to handle this situation in a swift and professional manner.
Congressman Marsha Blackburn:
I am deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence that has been carried out on our military facilities in Chattanooga today, resulting in the deaths of four Marines. This is a heartbreaking loss for our nation’s military and the entire Chattanooga community. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved and the people of Chattanooga. I know that the community will come together to help each other heal.
Rep. Tom Graves: My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines who were killed in the horrific attack in Chattanooga today. These Marines perished while serving our country and I know that our community in Northwest Georgia is forever grateful for their sacrifice.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann: “This has been a tragic day for Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee. My heart and prayers go out to everyone involved in this horrendous situation. I have spoken with local, state and federal officials and will continue to monitor this situation closely.”
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on the shooting in Chattanooga.
POTUS said he was briefed by FBI director and White House team on Chatonooga shooting. We don’t yet know all details, POTUS said. The attacker appears to be a lone gunman, he said.
POTUS said he’s in contact with DOD. FBI is taking lead in investigation along with local law enforcement, POTUS said.
POTUS said his main message is “deepest sympathies to the American people” and the death of four Marines is “heartbreaking.” POTUS asked all Americans to pray for families of victims, who are still in process of being contacted.
Multiple people who said they went to Red Bank High School with Abdulazeez sent the Times Free Press photos of what appears to be his senior picture and senior quote in the school’s yearbook.
“My name causes national security alerts,” the quote reads. “What does yours do?”
Obama: “I’d ask all Americans to pray for tHe families that are grief stricken.” #ChattanoogaShooting
Violence Policy Center Statement on Chattanooga Shooting
Washington, DC — Following today’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee which left four U.S. Marines dead, Violence Policy Center (VPC) Executive Director Josh Sugarmann issued the following statement:
“Another day in America, another mass shooting. While we are still learning the facts behind this latest mass murder, easy access to increasingly lethal firearms is the one factor that is almost constant in these attacks. Lives are lost, families are devastated, and communities are scarred, yet all too often we look for answers while ignoring the very tools that are commonly used to perpetrate these heinous acts. Until this changes, such horrific events are inevitable.”
BREAKING: President Obama is expected to make a statement on the Chattanooga shooting from the Oval Office shortly.
The shooting suspect’s father was appointed as a special policeman (unarmed) by the Chattanooga City Council.
It’s confirmed that shooter’s father works for the City of Chattanooga Public Works Department.
Abdulazeez means “servant of the almighty” in Arabic.
Comment From tn wife
We need not forget to pray for the young man doing the shooting. How sad to get to this point
BREAKING: Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeer was arrested on a DUI charge on April 20, 2015.
4 Marines, gunman killed in Chattanooga shootings Military Reserve Centers, Tennessee
Four U.S. marines are dead after a gunman opened fired at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Thursday.
Authorities say the shooter was also killed. One police officer was being treated after he was shot in the ankle while “actively and enthusiastically engaging” the gunman.
“This is a nightmare for the city,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said at a news conference. “It is incomprehensible to see what happened.”
Gunfire was reported at a military recruitment centre in a strip mall as well as the Navy Operational Support Center. The two scenes are roughly 10 kilometres apart.
Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee, told the he was treating the shootings as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
FBI special agent Ed Reinhold later clarified that investigators weren’t clear on motive and were treating the shooting as a “terrorism investigation until it can be determined that it was not.”
“We are looking at every possible avenue — whether is as terrorism, whether it was domestic or international, or whether it was a simple criminal act,” Reinhold said.
U.S President Barack Obama was briefed on the shootings Thursday.
Photos of the recruiting centre at the strip mall showed its doors were riddled with more than 20 bullet holes.
Chattanooga’s Lee University was in lockdown around noon Thursday, advising all on campus to “stay inside until further notice.” A woman who answered the phone at Chattanooga State Community College said the campus was also in lockdown.
“Somebody brutally and brazenly attacked members of our armed services,”Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said at the Thursday news conference.
Loretta Blevins, head server at the Track’s End Restaurant less than a kilometre down the road from the recruiting centre, said there was about 16 people huddled inside the restaurant as emergency vehicles streamed up and down the road.
“It’s breathtaking when you see all the emergency vehicles and you have no idea what’s going on or how close it is to you,” she said.
Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command out of Fort Knox, Kentucky, said the recruiting centre on Old Lee Highway in Chattanooga has recruiting services for all four branches of the military. The Army recruiters told Lepley they were not hit and not injured. They have evacuated and are safe. He has no information about recruiters for the other branches.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, was working at the recruitment centre and heard “one single shot, which kind of sparked our attention.”
“Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds,” he said. “We realized it was an actual shooting, so we then initiated our active shooter drill: getting down low to the ground, moving to a safe location. And we waited until everything seemed to be clear.”
Four Marines and gunman killed in Tennessee shooting that officials call ‘domestic terrorism’
By Mark Berman
Four Marines were killed when a gunman opened fire at a Naval facility and an armed forces recruiting center in Tennessee on Thursday morning, a violent spree that authorities say they are investigating as a possible terrorist attack.
The gunman, who has not been identified, was also killed.
“While we expect our sailors and Marines to go into harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home, in our community, is insidious and unfathomable,” Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, said in a statement.
In addition to the four Marines, the gunman injured another military service member, a Chattanooga police officer and one other person, according to military officials.
“Somebody brutally and brazenly attacked members of our armed services,” Fred Fletcher, the Chattanooga police chief, said at at a news conference.
The Marine Corps said four Marines were killed in the shootings. Ed Reinhold, the special agent in charge for the FBI, declined to discuss details of the investigation, which he described as in its initial stages.
“We will treat this as a terrorism investigation until we determine it was not,” he said. He added: “We have not determined if it was an act of terrorism or a criminal act.”
Reinhold said that the shooting appeared to be the work of a lone gunman, who he said was from the area or at least lived in the area. This gunman, who did not work at either facility, had “numerous weapons” on him, Reinhold said, and was not wearing body armor.
One of the shootings occurred at a Navy Operational Support Center, which the U.S. Navy said was a facility that provides support for reserve component personnel. The other shooting took place at an armed forces recruiting center. The Pentagon said Thursday afternoon the Marines would be identified after next of kin were notified.
The shooting is being viewed as “an act of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said. However, Killian said the investigation would bear out precisely what kind of crime this was, cautioning people not to get caught up in the label.
4 Marines killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities
Last Updated Jul 16, 2015 4:11 PM EDT
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire at two military facilities Thursday in Tennessee, killing at least four Marines and wounding a soldier and a police officer, officials told CBS News.
The shooter also was killed. Two law enforcement sources told CBS News that the shooting suspect was identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.
“Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga,” Mayor Andy Berke said. “As a city, we will respond to this with every available resource that we have.”
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said officials were treating the attacks as an “act of domestic terrorism,” though FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive. The first shooting happened around 10:45 a.m.; the attacks were over within a half-hour.
Berke said five people died in all, including the gunman. A police officer was shot in the ankle, and others were wounded, he said.
U.S. officials told CBS News correspondent David Martin that four U.S. Marines were among the dead.
A Marine recruiter was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg, the Marine Corps said on its Facebook page.
“Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country, and I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.
The shootings began at a recruiting center on Old Lee Highway in Chattanooga where five branches of the military all have adjoining offices. A gunshot rang out around 10:30 or 10:45 a.m., said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, the center leader for U.S. Army recruiting at the center.
“Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds. We realized it was an actual shooting,” he said.
He and his colleagues then got on the ground and barricaded themselves in a safe place. Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired.
He did not see the shooter or a vehicle. The Army recruiting office was not damaged, but doors and glass were damaged at the neighboring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices, he said.
Law enforcement officials told recruiters that the shooter was in a car, stopped in front of the facility, shot at the building and drove off, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
One witness told CBS affiliate WDEF that a man who was in a silver Mustang convertible was “just unloading a large gun on the Naval recruiting office.”
The recruiting center sits in a short strip between a Cricket Wireless and an Italian restaurant with no apparent additional security. Nearby, Nicholas Donohue heard a blast of gunshots while working at Desktop Solutions. But he had music playing and wasn’t quite sure what the noise had been. He turned off the music and seconds later, a second blast thundered. He took shelter in a back room.
“Even though it knew it was most likely gunfire I heard, you also don’t want to believe it’s happening in the moment,” he said. “Since I didn’t see anything, I couldn’t be sure.”
By the time he emerged, police were cordoning off the area.
Within minutes of that attack, the shooter then opened fire at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga, about 7 miles away. Reinhold said all of the dead were killed there.
The center sits between the highway and a pathway that runs through Tennessee RiverPark, a popular park at a bend in the Tennessee River northeast of downtown Chattanooga. It’s in a light industrial area that includes a Coca-Cola bottling plant.
The two entrances to the fenced facility have unmanned gates and concrete barriers that require approaching cars to slow down to drive around them.
Five dead, including gunman, in Tennessee military facilities shootings
The other four killed were Marines at a Naval Reserve Center, a military official said in Washington, DC.
Shooting at Charlie Hebdo’s news office. (photo credit:REUTERS)
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Five people were killed on Thursday including a suspected gunman who opened fire at two military-related facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee in an attack local officials described as brazen, brutal and an act of domestic terrorism.
CBS News quoted two law enforcement officials as saying the suspect was Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. No motive has yet been given. The suspected shooter, who has not been officially identified, is believed to have lived in the area and acted alone, local police said.
The other four killed were Marines at a Naval Reserve Center, a military official said in Washington, DC.
“We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, adding that no official determination of the nature of the crime had yet been made.
The suspect, seen driving in an open-top Mustang, is believed to have first gone to a joint military recruiting center in a strip mall, and peppered the facility with gunfire. No one was injured in the attack.
“Everybody was at a standstill and as soon as he pulled away everyone scrabbled trying to make sure everyone was OK,” said Erica Wright, who works two doors down from the center.
The gunman then drove off to a Naval Reserve Center about 6 miles (10 km) away, fatally shooting the four Marines before being fatally shot himself in a firefight with police.
Three others were wounded in the attacks, including a police officer and a Marine. The shootings began at about 10:45 a.m. local time and ended about 30 minutes later.
“There were numerous Chattanooga and Hamilton County officers who responded. They arrived on the scene extremely quickly. They actively and enthusiastically engaged this brazen criminal, and one of those officers was injured by gunfire from this criminal,” Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher told a news conference.
A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama had been told about the shooting.
“The President has been briefed by his national security staff on the Chattanooga shooting, and will continue to get updates as warranted,” said spokesman Eric Schultz.
Lockdowns had been put in place at businesses, a college and other facilities near the shooting sites.
The city along the Tennessee River is in the southeastern section of the state just north of the Georgia border. Just over 173,000 people live there, according to a 2013 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A common definition of terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence in order to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change. This article serves as a list and compilation of acts of terrorism, attempts of terrorism, and other such items pertaining to terrorist activities within the domestic borders of the United States by persons acting in the interests of states or non-state actors. It does not include actions by agents of the U.S. government itself, such as the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia or the 1993Waco Massacre in Texas, which are regarded by some as acts of state terrorism.
October 16, 1859: Anti-slavery Pottawatomie massacre – In response to the sacking of Lawrence, John Brown led a group of abolitionists in the murders of five pro-slavery Kansas settlers.
April 14, 1865: Pro-slavery Abraham Lincoln assassination – Part of a conspiracy by Confederate supporters John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward in Washington, D.C. to create chaos for the purpose of overthrowing the Federal Government. Booth succeeded in assassinating Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre, Seward survived numerous stabbings by Powell who stabbed others as he was chased out of Seward’s home, and Atzerodt failed to carry out the planned murder of Johnson. Booth was killed by soldiers when he failed to surrender. Eight conspirators were tried and convicted for their role in the conspiracy by a military tribunal, including Powell and Atzerodt. Four defendants were executed for their roles including Powell, Azterodt and Mary Surratt, the first woman ever to be hanged by the U.S. government.
October 28, 1893: Carter Harrison assassination-Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast was upset that the Mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrison, Sr., advocated for the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, seeing it as an action against the citizenry and acting under the influence of England, the Rothschild bankers of Europe, and Wall St. Prendergast imagined this as part of a larger conspiracy that betrayed the will of Jesus Christ. As a delusional newspaper man, he found himself unable to influence policy in Washington or Chicago and ultimately took it upon himself to change the course of history by assassinating the powerful mayor. He felt that his inevitable acquittal would establish a precedent wherein Christian law would be established throughout the city. Prendergast was found sane by a jury and hanged on July 14, 1894.
July 2, 1915: Frank Holt (also known as Eric Muenter), a German professor who wanted to stop American support of the Allies in World War I, exploded a bomb in the reception room of the U.S. Senate. The next morning he tried to assassinate J. P. Morgan, Jr. the son of the financier whose company served as Great Britain’s principal U.S. purchasing agent for munitions and other war supplies. Muenter was overpowered by Morgan in Morgan’s Long Island home before killing himself in prison on July 7.
July 22, 1916: The Preparedness Day Bombing killed ten people and injured 40 in San Francisco. Two radical labor leaders, Warren K. Billings and Thomas Mooney, were convicted of the crime and sentenced to hang, but with little evidence of their guilt both sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. They were eventually pardoned, and the actual bombers’ identities remain unknown.
1916, July 30: The Black Tom explosion in Jersey City, New Jersey was an act of sabotage on American ammunition supplies by German agents to prevent the material from being used by the Allies in World War I.
November 24, 1917: A bomb exploded in a Milwaukee police station, killing nine officers and a civilian. Anarchists were suspected.
1919 United States anarchist bombings: A series of package bombs were mailed to prominent business and government leaders around the country. Most were intercepted and did not go off, with only one person killed. Italian Galleanist anarchists were suspected, but not convicted.
1920 Wall Street bombing: A horse-drawn wagon filled with explosives was detonated in front of the J. P. Morgan bank on Wall Street, killing 38 and wounding 143. Galleanist anarchists were again suspected, but the perpetrators were never caught.
May 31, 1921: During the Tulsa race riot, there were reports that whites dropped dynamite from airplanes onto a black ghetto in Tulsa. The riot killed 39–300 people and destroyed more than 1,100 homes.
May 18, 1927: The Bath School disaster (bombings) killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–12 years of age) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history. The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe.
October 10, 1933: A Boeing 247 was destroyed in mid-flight over Indiana by a nitroglycerin bomb. All seven people aboard were killed. This incident was the first proven case of air sabotage in the history of aviation. The identity of the perpetrator and the motive for the attack are unknown.
July 4, 1940: Two New York City policemen were killed and two critically wounded while examining a bomb they had found at the British Pavilion at the World’s Fair
1940–1956: George Metesky, the Mad Bomber, placed over 30 bombs in New York City in public places such as Grand Central Station and The Paramount Theatre injuring ten during this period in protest of the high rates of a local electric utility. He also sent many threatening letters to various high profile individuals.
1951: A wave of hate related terrorist attacks occurred in Florida. African-Americans were dragged and beaten to death, with 11 race-related bombings, the dynamiting of synagogues, and a Jewish School in Miami and explosives found outside of Catholic Churches in Miami.
The most active perpetrators of terrorism in New York City were Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN), a Puerto Rican separatist group, responsible for 40 NYC attacks in this decade. The Jewish Defense League (JDL), which engaged in attacks against targets it perceived to be anti-Semitic, launched 27 attacks during this period. Both the Independent Armed Revolutionary Commandos (CRIA), another Puerto Rican separatist group, and Omega 7, an anti-Castro Cuban organization, were also each responsible for 16 attacks during this period.
April 1970: At Stanford University over a period of several nights bands of student radicals systematically set fires, break windows and throw rocks.
November 21, 1970: Bombing of the City Hall of Portland, Oregon in an attempt to destroy the state’s bronze Liberty Bell replica. The late night explosion destroyed the display foyer, blew out the building doors, damaged the council hall, and blew out windows more than a block away. The night janitor was injured in the blast. The crime remains unsolved, though a number of local anti-war and radical leftist groups of the era remain the primary suspects.
June 13, 1974: The 29th floor of the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was bombed with dynamite at 9:41 pm resulting in no injuries. The radical leftist group Weatherman took credit, but no suspects have ever been identified.
Summer 1974: “Alphabet Bomber” Muharem Kurbegovich bombed the Pan Am Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, killing three and injuring eight. He also firebombed the houses of a judge and two police commissioners as well as one of the commissioner’s cars. He burned down two Marina Del Rey apartment buildings and threatened Los Angeles with a gas attack. His bomb defused at the Greyhound Bus station was the most powerful the LAPD bomb squad had handled up until that time. His personal vendetta against a judge and the commissioners grew into demands for an end to immigration and naturalization laws, as well as any laws about sex.
January 24, 1975: A bomb was exploded in the Fraunces Tavern of New York City, killing four people and injuring more than 50 others. The Puerto Rico nationalist group FALN, the Armed Forces of Puerto Rican National Liberation, which had other bomb incidents in New York in the 1970s, claimed responsibility. No one was ever prosecuted for the bombing.
September 11, 1976: Croatian terrorists hijacked a TWA airliner and diverted it to Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, and then Paris, demanding a manifesto be printed. One police officer was killed and three injured during an attempt to defuse a bomb that contained their communiques in a New York City train station locker.Zvonko Bušić who served 32 years in prison for the attack, was released and returned to Croatia in July 2008. In September 2013 Bušić shot himselfand was given a hero’s funeral by the Croatian government.
1976 September 21: Orlando Letelier, a former member of the Chilean government, was killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. along with his assistant Ronni Moffitt. The killing was carried out by members of the Chilean Intelligence Agency, DINA.
1980 June 3: Bombing of the Statue of Liberty. At 7:30 pm, a time delayed explosive device detonated in the Statue of Liberty’s Story Room. Detonated after business hours, the bomb did not injure anyone, but caused $18,000 in damage, destroying many of the exhibits. The room was sealed off and left unrepaired until the Statue of Liberty restoration project that began years later. FBI investigators believed the perpetrators were Croatian seeking for media coverage of living conditions of Croats in Yugoslavia, though no arrests were made.
1981 December 7: James W. von Brunn served 6 years in prison for attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. He testified his motive was to raise awareness of alleged “treacherous and unconstitutional” acts by the Federal Reserve.
1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack: In what is believed to be the first incident of bioterrorism in the United States the Rajneesh movement spreads salmonella in salad bars at 10 restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon, to influence a local election which backfired as suspicious residents came out in droves to prevent the election of Rajneeshee candidates. Health officials say that 751 people were sickened and more than 40 hospitalized. All but one of the establishments attacked went out of business. Investigators believed that similar attacks had previously been carried out in Salem, Portland and other cities in Oregon.
1984 July 18: Alan Berg, Jewish lawyer-talk show host was shot and killed in the driveway of his home on Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado, by members of a White Nationalist group called The Order. Berg had stridently argued with a member of the group on the show earlier who was convicted in his murder.
1993 September 5: Charles F. Hockenbarger of the Westboro Baptist Church assaults the Rev. W. Gerald Weeks while the Reverend was counter-protesting a WBC anti-homosexuality protest outside Topeka‘s First Lutheran Church by carrying a sign that read “God’s Love Speaks Loudest”. Hockenbarger receives a sentence of 5 days in jail, appeals the sentence, and loses the appeal.
1994 December 10: Advertising executive, Thomas J. Mosser, was killed after opening a mail package from the Unabomber, being the second fatality of the mailbomb campaign.
1994 December 30: Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, two receptionists in abortion and family planning clinics, were killed by John Salvi.
1997 February 24: 69-year-old Palestinian Ali Hassan Abu Kamal opened fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland and France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claims this was a punishment attack against the “enemies of Palestine“. His widow claimed he became suicidal after losing $300,000 in a business venture. In a 2007 interview with the New York Daily News his daughter said her mother’s story was a cover crafted by the Palestinian Authority and that her father wanted to punish the United States for its support of Israel.
2001 September 11: the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by Muslim extremists. The attacks killed 2,507civilians, 72 law enforcement officers, 343 firefighters, and 55 military personnel, and were carried out using hijacked commercial airplanes to damage the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. The 110-story skyscrapers in New York City were ultimately destroyed, and the Pentagon received extensive damage in the western side of the building. Building 7 of the World Trade Center was also destroyed in the attack, though there were no casualties. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania before it could reach its target.
2001 September 18 – November: 2001 anthrax attacks. Letters tainted with anthrax killed five across the U.S., with politicians and media officials as the apparent targets. On July 31, 2008 Bruce E. Ivins a top biodefense researcher committed suicide. On August 6, 2008, the FBI concluded that Ivins was solely responsible for the attacks, and suggested that Ivins wanted to bolster support for a vaccine he helped create and that he targeted two lawmakers because they were Catholics who held pro-choice views. However, subsequent evaluations have found that the FBI’s investigation failed to provide any direct evidence linking Ivins to the mailings.
October 2002 Beltway sniper attacks: During three weeks in October 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and critically injured 3 others in Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Virginia. The pair were also suspected of earlier shootings in Maryland, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Washington state. No motivation was given at the trial, but evidence presented showed an affinity to the cause of the Islamic jihad.
2006 July 28: Seattle Jewish Federation shooting, Naveed Afzal Haq, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, killed one woman and shoots five others at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle. During the shooting, Haq told a 911 dispatcher that he was angry with American foreign policy in the Middle East.
2007 October 26: A pair of improvised explosive devices were thrown at the Mexican Consulate in New York City. The fake grenades were filled with black powder, and detonated by fuses, causing very minor damage. Police were investigating the connection between this and a similar attack against the British Consulate in New York in 2005.
2008 February: In the first reported incident of animal-rights extremists physically assaulted the family members of animal researchers, six masked activists attempted to force their way into the home of a University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher and injured the researcher’s husband.
2008 March 6: A homemade bomb damaged a Recruiting Office in Times Square. In June 2013 The FBI and New York City police offered a $65,000 reward for information in the case and revealed that ammunition used for the bomb is the same as is used in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. On April 15, 2015 the F.B.I increased the award to $115,000 and said they have persons of interest
2008 May 4: Multiple pipe bombs exploded at 1:40 am at the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse in San Diego causing “considerable damage” to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away, but causing no injuries. The F.B.I. is investigating links between this attack and an April 25 explosion at the FedEx building also in San Diego.
2009 April 8: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, intruders left malware in power grids, water, and sewage systems that could be activated at a later date. While the attacks which have occurred over a period of time seem to have originated in China and Russia, it is unknown if they are state-sponsored or errors in the computer code.
2009 May 25: 17-year-old Kyle Shaw sets off a crude explosive device at a Starbucks at East 92nd Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, shattering windows and destroyed a bench at the coffee shop. There were no injuries. The attack was a “bizarre tribute” of the movie Fight Club, in an attempt to emulate “Project Mayhem”, a series of assaults on corporate America portrayed in the film. Shaw took a plea agreement and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in November 2010.
2009 November 5: 2009 Fort Hood shooting: Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army Major serving as a Psychiatrist, opens fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and wounding 29. On August 23, 2013 Hasan was convicted by a Military tribunal. Hasan acted as his own attorney and took responsibility for the attack saying his motive was jihad to fight “illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims”. On August 28 Hasan was sentenced to death.
2010 February 18: Austin suicide attack: Andrew Joseph Stack III flying his single engine plane flew into the Austin Texas IRS building killing himself and one IRS employee and injuring 13 others. Stack left a suicide note online, comparing the IRS to Big Brother from the novel 1984.
2013 April 15: Boston Marathon bombings: Two bombs detonated within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 180 people. Late in the evening of April 18 in Cambridge, Massachusetts an MIT campus police officer was shot and killed while sitting in his squad car. Two suspects then carjacked an SUV and fled to nearby Watertown, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. A massive police chase ensued, resulting in a shootout during which several IED‘s were thrown by the suspects. A Boston transit police officer was critically wounded and suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Russian immigrant of Chechen ethnicity, was killed. The second suspect, Tsarnaev’s younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, escaped. A “Shelter in place” order was given for Boston, Watertown, and the surrounding areas while house-to-house searches were conducted, but the suspect remained at large. Shortly after the search was called off Tsarnaev was discovered by a local resident hiding inside a boat parked in the resident’s driveway less than three blocks from the scene of the shootout. He was taken into custody after another exchange of gunfire and taken to nearby Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was treated for injuries received during his pursuit and capture. Tsarnaev was arraigned on federal terrorism charges from his hospital bed on April 22, 2013. Preliminary questioning indicated the Tsarnaev brothers had no ties to terrorist organizations. A note written by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the boat where he was captured said the bombings were retaliation for US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan against Muslims. On April 8, 2015 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to the bombing and shootout with police. On May 15, 2015 Tsarnaev was sentenced to death.
2014 June 8: 2014 Las Vegas shootings: Two police officers and one civilian died in a shooting spree in the Las Vegas Valley committed by a couple, identified as Jerad and Amanda Miller, who espoused anti-government views and were reportedly inspired by the outcome of the Bundy standoff. The Millers both died during a gunfight with responding police; Jerad Miller was fatally shot by officers, while Amanda Miller committed suicide after being wounded.
2014 October 23: 2014 New York City hatchet attack: Zale Thompson injured two New York City police officers, once critically at a Queens, New York shopping district by striking them with a hatchet. 4 officers were posing for a photograph when Thompson charged them. The police opened fire killing Thompson and injuring a bystander. Thompson who converted to Islam 2 years before the attack posted “anti-government, anti-Western, anti-white” messages online.
2014 November 28: Austin, Texas: Right-wing and anti-government extremist Larry Steven McQuilliams set a fire at the Mexican Consulate and shot towards several government buildings. Police arrived on scene and shot him dead. McQuilliams had a prior criminal history including drug possession and robbery.
2014 December: “The Guardians of Peace” linked by the United States to North Korea launched a cyber attack against SONY pictures. Embarrassing private emails were published and the organization threatened attacks against theaters that showed The Interview a satire which depicted the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Following the refusal of theater chains to show the movie, SONY Pictures withdrew release of the movie, a decision that was criticized by President Obama and others. Obama said the USA will respond. North Korea denied responsibility for the attack and proposed a joint investigation with the U.S.
2014 December 20: Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a reported gang member, allegedly assassinated New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in theBedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Brinsley was reported to have walked up and fired directly into the officers squad car. Other officers chased the suspect into a nearby subway station, where Brinsley fatally shot himself in the head. Prior to the shooting, Brinsley had written Instagram messages calling for revenge attacks in response to the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. He also allegedly shot his girlfriend in Maryland earlier that day.
1927: The Ku Klux Klan launched a wave of political terror in Alabama, attempting to undermine African American rights.
1951 December 25: Harry T. Moore state co-coordinator of the Florida NAACP and his wife were killed by dynamite bomb in his Mims, Florida home. Despite extensive FBI investigation no one was arrested but Orlando KKK suspected.
March 25, 1965: The Ku Klux Klan murdered Viola Liuzzo, a Southern-raised white mother of five who was visiting Alabama from her home in Detroit to attend acivil rights march. At the time of her murder, Liuzzo was transporting Civil Rights Marchers.
March 20, 1981: Michael Donald was randomly selected to be lynched by two Ku Klux Klan members near his Alabama home. He was beaten, had his throat slit, and was hanged.
1951 Wave of hate related terrorist attacks in Florida. Blacks dragged and beaten to death, 11 race related bombings, dynamiting of synagogues and a Jewish School in Miami and explosives found outside of Catholic Churches in Miami.
1984 July 18: Alan Berg, Jewish lawyer-talk show host was shot and killed in the driveway of his home on Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado, by members of a White Nationalist group called The Order. Berg had stridently argued with a member of the group on the show earlier who was convicted in his murder.
2015 June 17: Charleston church shooting a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The church is one of the United States’ oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights. Nine people were killed, including the senior pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney, a state senator. A tenth victim was also shot, but survived. The FBI has not classified the act as terrorism, which was met with controversy.
Anti-government, Anti-liberal, and fascist extremism
2002 May: Lucas John Helder rigged pipe bombs in private mailboxes to explode when the boxes were opened. He injured 6 people in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Iowa. His motivation was to garner media attention so that he could spread a message denouncing government control over daily lives and the illegality of marijuana, as well as promote astral projection.
2014 June 8: Two Las Vegas police officers while eating pizza in a restaurant and one civilian were shot to death allegedly by Jerad and Amanda Miller a married couple in a suicide attack. A Gadsden flag, swastika and a note promising “revolution,” was placed on the deceased officers bodies. The couple were thrown out a patriot group defending rancher Cliven Bundy
2014 September 16- Eric Matthew Frein described as a survivalist is alleged to have killed a Pennsylvania State trooper and critically wounded another at theBlooming Grove barracks. Life was disrupted in the region during the ensuing manhunt. On October 30 Frein was captured near an abandoned airport hangar and was shackled with the handcuff belonging to the trooper he is accused of killing. Prosecutors said they would pursue the death penalty.
1996–98: anti-abortion extremist Eric Rudolph cited biblical passages as his motivation for a series of bombings, including Atlanta’s Olympic Centennial Park, aLesbian bar, and several abortion clinics. Rudolph acknowledges his attacks were religiously motivated, but denies that his brief association with the racistChristian Identity movement was a motivation for his attacks.
1998: James Kopp killed at least one and went on a series of anti-abortion shooting sprees, both in the U.S. and Canada.
Between 1993 and 2001, the major attacks or attempts against US interests stemmed from militant Islamic jihad extremism except for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In 2001 nearly 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks organised by al-Qaeda and largely perpetrated by Saudi nationals, sparking the War on Terror. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden considers homegrown terrorism to be the most dangerous threat and concern faced by American citizens today. As of July 2011, there have been 52 homegrown jihadist extremist plots or attacks in the United States since the September 11 attacks.
2013 April 15: Boston Marathon bombings: Two bombs detonated within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 180 people. Late in the evening of April 18 in Cambridge, Massachusetts an MIT campus police officer was shot and killed while sitting in his squad car. Two suspects then carjacked an SUV and fled to nearby Watertown, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. A massive police chase ensued, resulting in a shootout during which several IED’s were thrown by the suspects. A Boston transit police officer was critically wounded and suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Russian immigrant of Chechen ethnicity, was killed. The second suspect, Tsarnaev’s younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, escaped. A “Shelter in place” order was given for Boston, Watertown, and the surrounding areas while house-to-house searches were conducted, but the suspect remained at large. Shortly after the search was called off Tsarnaev was discovered by a local resident hiding inside a boat parked in the resident’s driveway less than three blocks from the scene of the shootout. He was taken into custody after another exchange of gunfire and taken to nearby Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was treated for injuries received during his pursuit and capture. Tsarnaev was arraigned on federal terrorism charges from his hospital bed on April 22, 2013. Preliminary questioning indicated the Tsarnaev brothers had no ties to terrorist organizations. A note written by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the boat where he was captured said the bombings were retaliation for US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan against Muslims. On April 8, 2015 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts related to the bombing and shootout with police. The death penalty phase of the trail is scheduled to follow.
2015 May 3: Garland, Texas. Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi roommates from North Phoenix, Arizona killed by a security guard when they started shooting at a building holding a Mohammad cartoon contest sponsored by Stop Islamization of America. A school security helping with security at the event was shot in the leg.
1974 June 13: The 29th floor of the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was bombed with dynamite at 9:41 pm resulting in no injuries. The radical leftist group Weatherman took credit, but no suspects have ever been identified.
1970 October 22: An antipersonnel time bomb explodes outside a San Francisco church, showering steel shrapnel on mourners of a patrolman slain in a bank holdup; no one is injured. The Black Liberation Army is suspected.
1971: During this year the Black Liberation Army is suspected of killing three policemen one at his desk in San Francisco, shooting four others and opening fire on three patrol cars and rolling a grenade which heavily damages a police car and injures two officers. An attempt is made to bomb a police station. These incidents happen in various cities around the country. In August the group runs a one-month-long guerrilla warfare school in Fayetteville, Georgia. Seven are arrested in January 2007 in connection with the San Francisco desk shooting incident.
1972 January 22: Two St. Louis policemen, Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, are shot in the back by at least three persons; four suspects in the case are members of the Black Liberation Army; one suspect is later killed in a street battle with police; the recovered pistol matches Laurie’s.
1972 December 28: A Brooklyn, New York bartender is held for $12000 ransom by the Black Liberation Army.
1973 January 7: After shooting a police officer a week earlier Mark Essex a former Black Panther party member shoots nineteen people, ten of them police officers, in retaliation for police killings in and around a Howard Johnson’s hotel in New Orleans. He also set fires in the hotel before being killed by police.
1973: A New York City transit detective is killed and ten law enforcement personnel are shot four by machine gun during the year mostly in and around New York City by the Black Liberation Army. Also two members of that organization are arrested with a car full of explosives. In the next few years there are a number of violent incidents involving this organization but they are more criminal in nature.
1975 January 24: FALN bombs Fraunces Tavern in New York City, killing four and injuring more than 50.
1975 December 29: A bomb set off by FALN in East Harlem, New York, permanently disables a police officer while causing him to lose an eye.
1977 August 3: FALN bombs exploded on the twenty-first floor of 342 Madison Avenue in New York City, which housed United States Department of Defensesecurity personnel, as well as the Mobil Building at 150 East Forty-Second Street, killing one. In addition the group warned that bombs were located in thirteen other buildings, including the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center resulting in the evacuation of one hundred thousand people. Five days later a bomb attributed to the group was found in the AMEX building.
May 3, 1979: FALN exploded a bomb outside of the Shubert Theatre in Chicago, injuring five people.
1980 March 15 Armed members of FALN raided the campaign headquarters of President Jimmy Carter in Chicago and the campaign headquarters of George H. W. Bush in New York City. Seven people in Chicago and ten people in New York were tied up as the offices were vandalized before the FALN members fled. A few days later, Carter delegates in Chicago received threatening letters from FALN.
1981 May 16: One was killed in an explosion in the toilets at the Pan Am terminal at New York’s JFK airport. The bombing is claimed by the Puerto Rican Resistance Army.
1864 November 25: Confederate Army of Manhattan Fires were set at 19 New York City hotels, P.T. Barnum‘s Museum, and 2 hay barges resulting in minor damage. Plot to burn down New York City organized by Confederate Lieutenant Colonel Robert Martin failed because the Greek fire incendiary devices were defective and the Lincoln Administration had been tipped off by a double agent and intercepted telegraph messages. After the conspirators found out the plot had been discovered they escaped to Canada. Confederate Captain Robert C. Kennedy became the only conspirator apprehended when he was arrested following his return to the U.S. Kennedy was tried by a military tribunal and hanged.
1920 September 16: The Wall Street bombing: A suspected attempt to kill financier J.P. Morgan by exploding the first car bomb. Bomb was created by putting scrap metal and 100 pounds of dynamite on a horse-drawn cart and blowing it up on Wall Street. Morgan was out of town but 38 people were killed. Responsibility for the attack has never been firmly established.
1970 March 6 Three members of the Weather Underground are killed when their “bomb factory” located in New York’s Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO members Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins die in this accident. The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer’s dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb was packed with nails to inflict maximum casualties upon detonation. See Greenwich Village townhouse explosion.
1971 April Pipe bombs found at the embassies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in Washington, D.C.
1972 Two Jewish Defense League members were arrested and charged with bomb possession and burglary in a conspiracy to blow up the Long Islandresidence of the Soviet mission to the United Nations
1972 March 7 4.5 pounds of C-4 explosives found on a plane by New York City Police Bomb Squad.
1975 September 22: Sarah Jane Moore tries to assassinate President Gerald Ford outside of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The attempt fails when a bystander grabs her arm and deflects the shot. Moore has stated the motive was to create chaos to bring “the winds of change” because the government had declared war on the left wing.
March 1995: Charles Ray Polk is arrested while attempting to buy a quantity of plastic explosives and machine guns in order to assassinate four police officers and a female judge, and to use in a planned bombing of the IRS offices in Tyler, Texas.
April 1996: Anti-government activist & survivalist Ray Hamblin is arrested after authorities find 460 pounds of the high explosive Tovex, 746 pounds of ANFOblasting agent, and 15 homemade hand grenades on his property in Hood River, Oregon during an investigation into a series of explosions in his storage sheds.
July 1996: Washington State Militia leader John Pitner and seven others are arrested on weapons and explosives charges in connection with a plot to build pipe bombs for a confrontation with the federal government. Pitner and four others will be convicted on weapons charges, while conspiracy charges against all eight will end in a mistrial. Pitner will later be retried on that charge, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.
1997 March 17: anti-abortion extremist Peter Howard puts 13 gas cans and three propane tanks in his truck, and drives it through the door of a California women’s clinic in a failed attempt to fire bomb the clinic.
September 1999: anti-abortion extremist Clayton Lee Waagner was pulled over by the Pennsylvania State Police, but fled into the woods and evaded capture, leaving behind a stolen car that contained firearms, explosives, fake ID, and a list of abortion clinics. Later in September 1999, while on a self-described “Mission from God”, he took his wife and their nine children on a cross-country road trip headed west in a stolen Winnebago, planning to murder various abortion doctors, beginning with one in Seattle, Washington. However, after crossing into Illinois his vehicle broke down, and Waagner was arrested when Illinois State Policestopped to investigate. Waagner was convicted on charges of interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle and for being a convicted felon in possession offirearms. Waagner later escaped and used a cross country crime spree to continue to fund his anti-abortion mission.
2001 December 22: British citizen and self-proclaimed Al Qaeda member Richard Reid attempted to detonate the C-4 explosive PETN concealed in his shoeswhile on a flight from Paris to Miami. He was subdued by crew and passengers with the plane landing safely in Boston.
June 2006: The Animal Liberation Front targets UCLA professor Lynn Fairbanks with a firebomb due to her research on animals. The bomb was placed on the doorstep of a house occupied by her neighbor and a tenant. According to the FBI, the device was lit but failed to ignite and was powerful enough to have killed the occupants.
2006 September 11: A man rammed his car into a women’s clinic that he thought was an abortion clinic and set it ablaze in Davenport, Iowa causing $20,000 worth of damage to the building.
2009 December 25: British and Nigerian citizen and self-described Al-Qaeda member Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in flight over Detroit by igniting his underpants which were filled with the C-4 explosive PETN. He has been indicted in a U.S. federal court; charges include the attempted murder of 289 people. Several days later, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia claimed responsibility for the attempted attack. Addressing America, the group threatened to “come for you to slaughter.” On January 24, 2010 an audio tape that US intelligence believes is authentic was broadcast in which Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing. The intelligence officials expressed doubt about the veracity of bin Laden’s claim. On October 12, 2011 Abdulmutallab plead guilty to all counts against him and read a statement to the court saying “I attempted to use an explosive device which in the U.S. law is a weapon of mass destruction, which I call a blessed weapon to save the lives of innocent Muslims, for U.S. use of weapons of mass destruction on Muslim populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and beyond”.
2010 May 1 2010 Times Square car bomb attempt and plot: An attempted evening car bombing in crowded Times Square in New York City failed when a street vendor saw smoke emanating from an SUV and called police. The White House has blamed Tehrik-e-Taliban the Pakistani Taliban for the failed attack and saidFaisal Shahzad aged 30, an American of Pakistani origin who has been arrested in relation to the incident was working for the group. In July 2010, the Pakistani Taliban released a video featuring Shahzad in which he urged other Muslims in the West to follow his example and to wage similar attacks. On May 3, Shahzad was arrested at Kennedy Airport as he was preparing to fly to Dubai. The device was described as crude and amateurish but potent enough to cause casualties. On May 13 the F.B.I. raided several locations in the Northeast and arrested 3 on alleged immigration violations. Several suspects were arrested in Pakistan including the co-owner of a prominent catering firm used by the US embassy. On June 21 Shahzad plead guilty to 10 counts saying he created the bomb to force the US military to withdraw troops and stop drone attacks in a number of Muslim countries. Shahzad said he chose the location to cause mass civilian casualties because the civilians elected the government that carried out the allegedly anti Muslim policies. On October 4, 2010 Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison. During his sentencing, he threatened that “the defeat of the U.S. is imminent” and that “we will keep on terrorizing you until you leave our lands.” Shahzad planned on detonating a second bomb in Times Square two weeks later.
2013 April 8: Letters believed to contain the poison Ricin were sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker and a Mississippi Justice official. Tests on the granular substance found in the letters tested positive for “low grade” ricin.
2015 January 15: Washington, DC. U.S. Capitol Terror Attack Stopped By FBI. Investigators say a 20-year-old Ohio man now in FBI custody wanted to set off pipe bombs at the U.S. Capitol as a way of supporting ISIS. Federal authorities identified the man as Christopher Lee Cornell, also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah. Cornell, who lives in the Cincinnati area, allegedly told an FBI informant they should “wage jihad,” and showed his plans for bombing the Capitol and shooting people, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. The FBI said Cornell expressed his desire to support the Islamic State. Authorities say Cornell was arrested Wednesday after buying two semi-automatic rifles and about 600 rounds of ammunition, but an FBI agent says the public was never in danger.
2015 May 3: Garland, Texas. Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi roommates from North Phoenix, Arizona killed by a security guard when they started shooting at a building holding a Mohammad cartoon contest sponsored by Stop Islamization of America. A school security helping with security at the event was shot in the leg.
1864 November: Plan by Confederate Lieutenant Colonel Robert Martin and the Copperheads organization Sons of Liberty to attack New York City and disrupt elections collapsed when the Sons of Liberty backed out upon seeing large numbers of Union troops.
1865 February 28 Dahlgren Affair: Alleged plot by Union General Judson Kilpatrick to burn down Richmond, Virginia and kill Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet. Allegations based on papers recovered by a 13-year-old member of the Confederate home guard. The authenticity of the papers have been a matter of dispute.
1940 January: The FBI shuts down the Christian Front after discovering its members were arming themselves for a plot to “murder Jews, communists, and ‘a dozen Congressmen'” and establishing a government modeled after Nazi Germany.
1943 March 31: Clarence Cull arrested and charged with attempting to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt by suicide bombing. Cull blamed Roosevelt for lost convoys of Merchant Ships.
1996 January 1: Members of the Viper Team militia are arrested after they caught surveying government buildings in Arizona.
1996 July 13: John J. Ford, 47, of Bellport, Long Island, a former court officer and president of the Long Island U.F.O. Network, and Joseph Mazzachelli plotted to poison local politicians with radium and shoot them if that did not work. They believed the government was covering up knowledge of UFO landings.
1997 July 4: Members of the splinter militia group the Third Continental Congress are arrested while planning attacks on military bases which they believed were being used to train United Nations troops to attack U.S. citizens.
1997 July 30 Two men who were planning to bomb the New York City subway the next day arrested. A resident of their apartment informed police after he overheard the men discussing the plot.
1998 March 18: Members of the North American Militia are arrested in plot to bomb Federal Buildings in Michigan, a television station and an interstate highway intersection.
1999 December 5: Members of the San Joaquin Militia are arrested on charges of plotting to bomb critical infrastructure locations in hopes of sparking an insurrection. The leaders of the group plead guilty to charges of plotting to kill a Federal judge.
1999 December 8: The leader of the Southeastern States Alliance militia group is arrested in plot to bomb energy faculties with the goal of causing power outages in Florida and Georgia.
2000 March 9: The former leader of the Texas Militia is arrested in a plot to attack the Federal Building in Houston.
2002 February 8: Two members of Project 7 are arrested plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officials in order to kick off a revolution.
2003 April 24: William Krar is charged for his part in the Tyler poison gas plot, a white supremacist related plan. A sodium cyanide bomb was seized with at least 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
2003 May 1: Iyman Faris pleads guilty to providing material support to al-Qaeda and plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting through cables with blowtorches. He had been working as a double for the FBI since March, but in October was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2005 August 31 2005 Los Angeles bomb plot: Kevin James, Hammad Samana, Gregory Patterson, and Levar Washington were indicted on charges to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism in California. The men planned attacks against Jewish institutions and American military locations in Los Angeles during the Yom Kippur holiday.
2006 February 21: The Toledo terror plot where three men were accused of conspiring to wage a “holy war” against the United States, supply help to the terrorist in Iraq, and threatening to kill the US president.
2006 June 23: The Miami bomb plot to attack the Sears Tower where seven men were arrested after an FBI agent infiltrated a group while posing as an al-Qaeda member. No weapons or other materials were found. On May 12, 2009 after two mistrials due to hung juries five men were convicted and one acquitted on charges related to the plot. Narseal Batiste, the groups ringleader, was convicted on four charges, the only defendant to be convicted on all four charges brought against the defendants.
2007 March 5 A Rikers Island inmate offered to pay an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to behead New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly and bomb police headquarters in retaliation for the controversial police shooting of Sean Bell. The suspect wanted the bombing to be considered a terrorist act.
2007 May 1: Five members of a self-styled Birmingham, Alabama area anti-immigration militia were arrested for planning a machine gun attack on Mexicans.
2007 May 7: Fort Dix attack plot. Six men inspired by Jihadist videos arrested in a failed homegrown terrorism plot to kill soldiers. Plot unravels when Circuit Cityclerk becomes suspicious of the DVDs the men had created and report it to authorities who place an informant in the group. In October 2008 one man pleaded guilty to charges related to the plot. On December 22, 2008 five other men were convicted with conspiracy to kill American soldiers but were acquitted of attempted murder. Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka were sentenced to life in prison.
2007 June 3: John F. Kennedy International Airport terror plot. Four men indicted in plot to blow up jet-fuel supply tanks at JFK Airport and a 40-mile (64 km) connecting pipeline. One suspect is a U.S. citizen and one, Abdul Kadir, a former member of parliament in Guyana. The airport was targeted because one of the suspects saw arms shipments and missiles being shipped to Israel from that locale. In a recorded conversation one of the suspects allegedly told an informant that “Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow…. They love JFK – he’s like the man”. Plot unraveled when a person from law enforcement was recruited. On June 29, 2010 Abdel Nur plead guilty to material support charges. Due to health reasons Kareem Ibrahim was removed from the case and will be tried separately. On August 2 Russell M. Defreitas and Abdul Kadir were convicted for their role in the plot.
2008 March 26: Michael S. Gorbey who was detained in January 2008 for carrying a loaded shotgun two blocks from the Capitol Building has been charged planning to set off a bomb after a device containing can of gunpowder duct-taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle containing buckshot or BB pellets was found in the pickup truck he was driving. The pickup truck was moved to a government parking lot where for a three-week period the device inside it went unnoticed. Michael Gorbey gets 22 years prison, but he insisted that police planted weapons.
2009 September New York City Subway and United Kingdom plot: Najibullah Zazi of Denver was indicted on charges of trying to build and detonate a weapon of mass destruction by purchasing hydrogen peroxide, acetone and other chemicals. He and two others allegedly planned to detonate the homemade explosives on the New York City subway system. On February 22, 2010 Zazi plead guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. Zazi said he was recruited by al-Qaeda as part of a “martyrdom plan”.Zazi agreed to cooperate with authorities and has told them that the groups planned to walk into the Times Square and Grand Central stations with backpack bombs at rush hour and then choose which subway lines to attack. Several days later Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay high school classmates of Zazi were indicted and plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. On April 12 a fourth man was arrested in Pakistan. On April 23 Prosecutors said that two Senior Al Queda officials who were reportedly later killed in drone attacks ordered the attacks and Zarein Ahmedzay pled guilty to plot related charges. On July 7 five others were indicted including al-Qaeda leader Adnan Shukrijumah, and it was alleged the United Kingdom was also a target of the plot. While in Pakistan, Zazi, Ahmedzay and Medunjanin were allegedly recruited and directed by Shukrijumah, a former Florida student who is designated as one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, to conduct a terrorist attack in the U.S. On August 6 new charges were brought against Medunjanin and 4 others including Shukrijumah. Medunjanin pled not guilty.
2009 August – September: On September 24 William Boyd and Hysen Sherifi charged with “conducting reconnaissance of the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia and obtaining armor-piercing ammunition with the intent to attack Americans”. Boyd, two of his sons and several other suspects had been charged on international terrorism charges in August, but at the time there was no indication that they wanted to plot a United States attack. An audio tape of Boyd decrying the U.S. military, discussing the honor of martyrdom, and bemoaning the struggle of Muslims was played at an August hearing. It is the first case of a ring ofhomegrown terrorists having specific targets.
2010 May Paul Rockwood Jr. a meteorologist who took official weather observations and his pregnant wife Nancy from King Salmon, Alaska compiled a list of 20 targets, including members of the military and media and had moved to the operational phase of their plan plead guilty to lying to FBI about the list and making false statements to the FBI. Under a plea agreement Mr. Rockwood will serve eight years in prison and three years probation while Ms. Rockwood will serve probation. Motive was revenge for alleged descecration of Islam.
2010 September 20: Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, a Lebanese citizen living in Chicago, was charged with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device after placing a backpack with what he thought was a bomb near Wrigley Field. Alleged plot was foiled by FBI informant. Hassoun discussed other ideas for mass destruction attacks with informant.
2010 December 8: Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad Hussain arrested after a sting operation in an alleged plot to bomb a military recruiting center inCatonsville, Maryland. The 21-year-old suspect is an American who converted to Islam. The suspect was reported to be upset that the military continues to kill Muslims.
2010 December 21: Internet radio broadcaster Hal Turner sentenced to 33 months in prison after he published the work addresses and photographs of three judges who had upheld gun control laws and advocated for their assassination.
2011 February 24: Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student arrested for building bombs to use in alleged terrorist attacks. Targets allegedly were home of George W. Bush, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, nightclubs and the homes of soldiers who were formerly stationed at the Abu Ghraib prison. In Aldawsari’s journal he wrote he was inspired by the speeches of Osama bin Laden. Alleged plot uncovered when supplier noticed suspicious purchases.
2011 May 11: In the 2011 Manhattan terrorism plot, Ahmed Ferhani resident of Queens, New York and native of Algeria and Mohamed Mamdouh aged 20 also from Queens and Moroccan native arrested in a lone wolf plot against a New York Synagogue that had yet to be chosen. It also alleged that they hoped to attack the Empire State Building. The pair were arrested after buying two Browning semi-automatic pistols, one Smith & Wesson revolver, ammunition and one grenade. The pair disguised themselves as Jewish temple goers and pretended to pray. The suspects were said to be “committed to violent jihad“.
2011 June 23: Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh of Long Beach, California are arrested on charges of buying machine guns and grenades and conspiring to attack a federal building housing a Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle, Washington.Plot was uncovered by informent. Motive was to send message in protest of US action abroad. On April 8, 2013 Walli Mujahidh apologized and was sentenced to 17 years for his role in the plot.
2011 July 27: AWOL U.S. Army Private, and conscientious objector, Naser Jason Abdo from Garland, Texas was arrested in an alleged plot against Fort Hood, Texas. Materials for up to two bombs were found with jihadist materials in Abdo’s motel room. Investigation began when owner of a local gun store called police after becoming suspicious when Abdo asked questions indicating he did not know about the items he was purchasing.
2011 September 28: Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen,was indicted for allegedly plotting to use remote-controlled aircraft carrying explosives to bomb the Pentagon and the US Capitol. He also allegedly planned to hire people to shoot at people fleeing the Pentagon. Ferdaus was said to be motivated by Al Queada videos and the alleged plot was uncovered by an F.B.I. sting operation. In July 2012 he pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Under a plea bargain, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison and then 10 years of supervised release.
2011 October 11: Operation Red Coalition. Alleged plot that was “conceived, sponsored and was directed from Iran” to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir with a bomb and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. It is not known if Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had knowledge of the plot. The alleged plot was disrupted by an FBI and DEA investigation. The investigation began in May 2011 when an Iranian-American approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. Iran has denied the allegations.
2011 October–November: Georgia terrorist plot Four elderly men from a Georgia militia arrested for plotting to buy ricin in preparation for an attack they claimed would “save the Constitution”. They allegedly discussed blowing up IRS and ATF buildings, dispensing ricin from a plane over Atlanta and other cities, and assassinating “un American” politicians. Informant used to break up alleged plot.
2011 November 20: Jose Pimentel aged 27 an American citizen and a convert to Islam from New York City arrested and accused of being the process of building pipe bombs (and one hour away from his building his first bomb) to target post offices police cars and U.S. military personnel returning from abroad in New York City and Bayonne, New Jersey. Was said to be a follower of the late al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. The FBI did not consider Pimentel who was said to be radicalized via the internet by enough of a threat to investigate but NYC police considered him a 2 on a threat scale of 1 to 5.
2012 January 7: Sami Osmakac a naturalized American from Kosovo arrested in plot to create mayhem in Tampa, Florida by car bombing, hostage taking and exploding a suicide belt. Allege bomb targets included by night clubs in the Ybor City, a bar, and the operations center of the sheriff’s office and South Tampabusinesses. Osmakac allegedly told an FBI undercover agent “We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?”. Osmakac plead not guilty on February 8.
2012 February 17: Amine El Khalifi a Moroccan man from Alexandria, Virginia arrested in alleged suicide bombing plot of U.S. Capital. Was arrested was a result of F.B.I. sting operation. As a result of a plea agreement El Khalifi was sentenced to 30 years in prison on September 14.
2012 May 1: 5 self described anarchists were arrested in an alleged plot to blow up a bridge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, Ohio. The group was being monitored as part of an F.B.I. undercover operation and had considered other plots previously. One of the suspects expressed a desire to cause financial damage to companies while avoiding casualties.
2012 August 27: Four non-commissioned officers from Fort Stewart in Georgia, along with five other men, were charged in an alleged plot to poison an apple orchard and blow up a dam in Washington State, seize control of Fort Stewart, set off explosives in a park in Savannah, Georgia, and assassinate President Barack Obama. The alleged plot was on behalf of the “FEAR” militia for the long term purpose of overthrowing the government.
2012 October 17: Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis age 21 arrested in plot to bomb the Manhattan office of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of “our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden”. Motive was to destroy the economy and possibly force cancellation of the Presidential election. Suspect who has a student visa is a Bangladeshi national who come to the U.S. to launch a terrorist attack. Arrest was result a joint FBI-New York City police sting operation. Suspect was pulling detonator on disabled 1000 pound van bomb when arrested. On August 9, 2013 Nafis was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Prior to his sentencing Nafis wrote a letter apologizing to the people of America and New York for his actions which he said were caused by personal and family problems and said he is now pro American.
2012 November 29 Raees Alam Qazi and his brother Sheheryar Alam Qazi of Florida naturalized citizens of Pakistani descent arrested for being in the aspirational stages of a plot to attack New York City. Raees Alam Qazi is alleged be inspired by Al Queda and of trying to contact terrorists abroad. On June 11, 2015 Reees and Sheheryar were sentenced to 35 and 20 years respectively for the plot and attacking federal officials while in custody.
2013 June 19 Two middle aged upstate New York men Scott Crawford and Eric J. Feight arrested by FBI in alleged plot to target a political figure reported to be President Obama and a Muslim group deemed enemies of Israel by constructing and using an X-Ray Gun that was described by the FBI as “useful and “functional”. Obama was believed by the pair to be allowing Muslims into the country without background checks. Investigation was launched when a synagogue and the Ku Klux Klan whom Crawford was a member of told authorities that Crawford tried to recruit them to take part in the alleged plot.
2015 March 26 Hasan R. Edmonds an Illinois National Guardsman and his cousin Jonas M. Edmonds arrested in an alleged terrorist plot against a Northern Illinois military base. The alleged plot involved Hasan leaving the country and Jones using Hasan’s uniform to gain access. Motive was to bring “the flames of war to the heart” of America. Alleged plot broken up by sting operation.
2015 April 2 Two women from Queens, New York 28-year-old Noelle Velentzas and 31-year-old Asia Siddiqui arrested on charges of trying to detonate explosives in the US. They had purchased propane tanks. It is believed to be first case of a women only conceived terror plot in the US. Suspected busted by sting operation. Siddiqui alleged to have Al Quaeda contact. On May 7 the two plead not guilty.
2015 April 10 the FBI arrested Robert Rankin Doggart, a 63-year-old Tennessee man who ran as a congressional candidate in 2014. He was wiretapped explaining plans to raise a militia to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria and gun down Muslims in an enclave called Islamberg in New York. He planned to amass M4 carbines, pistols, Molotov cocktails and machetes, saying “We will offer [our] lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God,” and “We shall be Warriors who inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies,” and “If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.” He has a Ph.D. from a diploma mill and an ordination from an ordination mill.
2015 May 15 Robert Doggart of Signal Mountain, Tennessee and a former candidate for the 4th Congressional District plead guilty to interstate communication of threats after confessing to plotting to firebomb a school, a mosque and a cafeteria in a Muslim community in upstate, New York.
2015 June 15, 17 Fareed Mumuni of Staten Island and Munther Omar Saleh of Queens arrested for allegedly trying to conspire to assist ISIS in committing an attack in the New York area. Both suspects allegedly charged at law enforcement trying to arrest them with a knife.
2015 July 3-5 F.B.I. Director James Comey said his agency disrupted multiple July 4th weekend terror plots.
2015 July 13 Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Massachusetts a son of a Boston police captain arrested in plot to attack a state college and broadcast executions of students on the internet. Suspect who was turned in by his father is said to be inspired by ISIS and reportedly characterized America as “Satan” and “disgusting”. Ciccolo has guns and possible bomb making equipment.