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And We Do Classes, Too!

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Harvard has increasingly become a place in Cambridge for bright students to gather-that happens to offer lectures on the side," a student named Aden Barton wrote in Harvard Magazine recently. Colleges and universities have traveled this path for some time. In 2011, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published Academically Adrift, which found that the time college students spend studying had dropped by about half since the 1960s, from 25 hours a week to roughly 12.

'America First' Right Coalesces To Change Foreign Policy

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"The people we elect to government should run the government, and their first and sole moral duty is to the citizens of this nation, not any other one," former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said at the "What a Foreign Policy for the Middle Class Looks Like" conference on Thursday.

Liberate the Debate

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The U.S. Constitution does not mention political parties. One might easily forget that, at a time when the Democratic and Republican parties so dominate the American political landscape.

Posts Misleadingly Link Town Clerk’s Case to 2020 Presidential Election

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Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

Quick Take

A Michigan town clerk pleaded no contest in 2023 to a charge of misconduct in office. Social media posts misleadingly highlight her case to push the false narrative that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged.” The clerk’s case was related to her local primary race, not the presidential election.

Full Story

Kathy Funk, who was up for reelection as a town clerk in Michigan, in 2020, took a plea deal in a case accusing her of hampering the recount in her primary.

Funk was the clerk in the Township of Flint — which is next to, but separate from, the City of Flint, which garnered national attention in 2015 for its lead water crisis. She had won the Democratic primary for that August 2020 race by 79 votes.

Prosecutors accused her of breaking the seal on a canister of election ballots so that they couldn’t be recounted.

In January 2023, Funk pleaded no contest to one count of misconduct in office, which means that she accepted the punishment but didn’t admit guilt. The punishment, in this case, was two years of probation and six months of house arrest. Prosecutors dropped a charge of ballot tampering.

Funk’s primary election in August 2020 was not related to the general election in November or the Michigan presidential primary, which was held on March 10, 2020.

But the Epoch Times, a conservative publication with a history of spreading misinformation, has posted a video on social media suggesting that this case — which received news coverage when it was resolved a year ago — is new. The video also vaguely refers to Funk’s crime “during the 2020 election cycle,” leaving some viewers to wrongly conclude her actions affected the 2020 presidential election.

A shorter, promotional video for the full five-minute video doesn’t identify Funk — who had left her job as clerk in 2021 to become the elections supervisor for Genesee County. She was placed on administrative leave from her county job when criminal charges were filed against her, and she was terminated in late 2022.

The promotional video uses vague language, saying only, “A woman who was both a county election official as well as a former township clerk, she was convicted of tampering with ballots during the 2020 election cycle.”

It goes on to say, “Specifically during a recount process, this woman, using her official access, spoiled a batch of ballots in order to make them ineligible to be recounted.”

Posts on social media sharing links to the video falsely suggested that Funk’s behavior impacted the 2020 presidential election, a claim that contributes to the ongoing false narrative that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump, who is a primary proponent of this falsehood.

One post on Facebook, for example, said, “TRUMP WAS RIGHT Election Official busted for rigging the 2020 election!!” The page that shared the post is run by a Minnesota-based marketing company called Making Web, which runs conservative digital properties — including a website called Trending Politics that has published false claims we’ve written about before and a website that sells pro-Trump merchandise, such as a flag with the slogan, “make votes count again.”

Another Facebook post said, “RIGGED FROM THE START Election Official busted for rigging the 2020 election!!”

Both of those posts linked to the Epoch Times’ video hosted on the outlet’s website, which requires users to sign in to watch.

The title of the video says only, “Former Election Official Convicted for Ballot Tampering.” The full video gives more details, including Funk’s name and the fact that her case involved only her own primary election. But the comments on the Epoch Times’ video and the social media posts indicate that the details were lost on users, many of whom expressed anger at the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

President Joe Biden won that election with 306 electoral votes, compared with 232 for Trump, according to the Federal Election Commission. Biden also won the popular vote, 51% to 47%.

But the false narrative that the election was stolen has persisted, and claims like the ones made in social media posts about Funk contribute to its longevity.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

State of Michigan v. Kathy Funk. Docket. Accessed 22 May 2024.

Genesee County, Michigan. Primary Election, Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Official results. 18 Aug 2020.

Michigan Department of Attorney General. Press release. “AG Nessel Charges Former Flint Township Clerk with Ballot Tampering.” 11 Mar 2022.

Michigan Department of Attorney General. Press release. “Former Flint Twp. Clerk Funk Sentenced for Misconduct in Office.” 25 Apr 2023.

Norris, Pippa. Lecturer in Comparative Politics, Harvard University. “Electoral Integrity in the 2020 U.S. Elections.” The Electoral Integrity Project. 1 Dec 2020.

Federal Election Commission. “Federal Elections 2020.” Oct. 2022.

The post Posts Misleadingly Link Town Clerk’s Case to 2020 Presidential Election appeared first on FactCheck.org.

Trump, Allies Misrepresent FBI Order on Document Search at Mar-a-Lago

FactCheck -

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

Quick Take

FBI agents who searched for classified documents held by former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2022 followed standard protocol. But Trump supporters and social media posts now falsely claim the search was an “attempted assassination” of Trump. The claim is based on a misquote of FBI policy in a legal motion — and Trump wasn’t in Florida during the search.

Full Story

The standard policy of the U.S. Department of Justice on the use of deadly force is spelled out in the department’s Justice Manual.

The section on deadly force begins by stating, “Law enforcement officers and correctional officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

That basic policy is reiterated on the FBI website in its section on frequently asked questions.

But lawyers for former President Donald Trump misquoted the policy in a motion, which was unsealed on May 21, in Trump’s classified documents case, the Associated Press reported. The motion said the operations order for the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 stated that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force when necessary” — omitting the word “only.”

The release of the unsealed motion, with the misquoted order, was then shared by Julie Kelly, a writer with RealClear Investigations, according to Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler. Kelly posted on X, “Oh my god. Armed FBI agents were preparing to confront Trump and even engage Secret Service if necessary. … Gestapo.”

But the operations order was just repeating standard Department of Justice policy, and there was no plan to “confront Trump,” who was in New York City during the search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force,” the FBI said in a statement to the Associated Press. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.”

In his fact-checking article for the Post, Kessler noted that Steven D’Antuono, a former FBI assistant director in charge of the Washington field office when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, told the House Judiciary Committee in a June 7, 2023, interview that the FBI coordinated the search with the Secret Service “to make sure we could get into Mar-a-Lago with no issues.” D’Antuono said he was “adamant” that there would be no show of force — let alone use of force — at the former president’s resort.

“It wasn’t even a show of force, right, because we were all in agreement. We didn’t do a show of force, right. I was adamant about that, and that was something that we agreed on, right, the FBI agreed on, right. No raid jackets, no blazed FBI,” D’Antuono, who has since retired, said. “We made sure we interacted with the Secret Service to make sure we could get into Mar-a-Lago with no issues. We’re not banging down any doors. We weren’t bringing any like FBI vehicles, everything that was reported about helicopters and a hundred people descending on, like a Die Hard movie, was completely untrue, right. That is not how we played it.”

The release of the motion, with its mention of “deadly force,” sparked a firestorm from the former president and his allies.

A May 21 post on Trump’s Truth Social account claimed, “Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE.” A fundraising appeal on the Trump National Committee web page said, “BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of Trump, posted on X on May 21, “The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light.”

The claim spread on other social media accounts associated with Trump adviser Steve Bannon, including a May 22 Instagram post by the account @bannonswarroom, which said, “The FBI Raid At Mar-A-Lago Was An Attempted Assassination On President Trump.”

But, as we said, the DOJ order contained standard language for a search like the one conducted at Mar-a-Lago in 2022, and the FBI coordinated its operation with the Secret Service.

Trump and two of his employees, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, were indicted in 2023 on charges of mishandling sensitive classified documents and obstructing federal officials who tried to retrieve them, as we’ve written. The case is being heard in Florida by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who has not yet set a date for the trial.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Dawsey, Josh, et al. “Trump’s secrets: How a records dispute led the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago.” Washington Post. 13 Aug 2022.

Farley, Robert, D’Angelo Gore and Eugene Kiely. “Q&A on Trump’s Federal Indictment.” FactCheck.org. Updated 31 Jul 2023.

Feuer, Alan. “Judge’s Decisions in Documents Case Play Into Trump’s Delay Strategy.” New York Times. 8 May 2024.

FBI. “What is the FBI’s policy on the use of deadly force by its special agents?” fbi.gov. Accessed 23 May 2024.

Goldin, Melissa. “FACT FOCUS: Trump distorts use of ‘deadly force’ language in FBI document for Mar-a-Lago search.” Associated Press. 23 May 2024.

Kessler, Glenn. “How Trump used his own court filing to claim an ‘assassination’ attempt.” Washington Post. 23 May 2024.

RealClear Investigations. Author Archive: Julie Kelly. Accessed 23 May 2024.

U.S. Department of Justice. Justice Manual.

U.S. Department of Justice. Justice Manual. 1-16.200 – Deadly Force. Accessed 23 May 2024.

The post Trump, Allies Misrepresent FBI Order on Document Search at Mar-a-Lago appeared first on FactCheck.org.

Inflation Is Settled as an Election Issue. Biden Lost

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While six months is admittedly a lifetime in politics, as the head of a Wall Street macroeconomic research firm, I can say with great confidence that, as far as the November election is concerned, the issue of inflation is settled, and President Biden has lost. There is not enough time to change the fact that over the last three years, the average person's purchasing power has declined meaningfully.

The Strategy Behind Trump's Bronx Rally

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Thursday on the RealClearPolitics radio show, Andrew Walworth, Tom Bevan, and White House correspondent Phil Wegmann discuss the strategy behind Donald Trump's campaign rally in the Bronx tonight and Nikki Haley revealing that she plans to vote for Trump.

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