Could It Be That Islam Has A Problem?

In today’s academia, the reigning ideology, when it is not socialism, is “multiculturalism.” Try to get a handle on what that means, and it’s not so easy. Go to Wikipedia for a definition, and you will find a string of innocuous and anodyne platitudes (“Multiculturalism as a political philosophy involves ideologies and policies which vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, through policies of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, . . .”) But you know there’s a lot more to it than that. For starters, there’s the characteristic self-loathing for all things Western. And then there’s the insistence that other cultures (however that term may be defined) are somehow inherently superior to ours and may not be criticized.

At the top of the list of cultures that may not be criticized is Islamic culture. For anyone who draws the ire of the progressive left, no list of accusatory epithets (“racist, sexist, misogynist, ageist, . . .”) is complete without the obligatory “Islamophobic.” The suffix “phobic” implies some kind of irrational fear, as in “acrophobia” (irrational fear of heights) or “germophobia” (not a real word, but you get the picture).

But could it be that Islam has a real problem — not something arising out of irrational fear, but something based in actual evidence?

The Gatestone Institute is a think tank with a daily email that covers issues of international affairs and foreign policy that “the mainstream media fail to report.” One such issue is the treatment of Christian, Jewish, and other religious minorities in majority-Islamic countries. . . .

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Manhattan Contrarian Weekend Quiz: How To Identify Racist And Sexist Remarks And Slurs

You are a decent and fair-minded person.  You strive always to treat all people fairly and with dignity.  In your heart of hearts, you know that you are not a racist, nor a sexist.  But you also know that these are highly charged times.  In spite of your pure heart and your very best efforts, you still fear that someone might unfairly accuse you of making a racist or sexist remark or slur.  You want to avoid even the slightest appearance of engaging in racism or sexism.  

And yet, it has become so complicated these days.  Accusations fly everywhere, sometimes over words that to you seemed completely innocent.  What to do?  You need some guidance!  

To help you, the Manhattan Contrarian has put together this weekend's Manhattan Contrarian Quiz.  Take the Quiz.  Study the answers.  You will then know all there is to know about what is and is not racist and sexist in today's world.

The Quiz consists of ten questions, each of which is either an actual quotation or a hypothetical fact situation.  For each question, you are to answer whether the posited fact situation or quotation does or does not demonstrate racism and/or sexism.  Answers, and explanations, below the fold.  One point for each correct answer!

Question 1:  You say, "I believe the most qualified person should get the job."  

Question 2:  Teacher "polices the language" of students in class, and insists that they do not curse.

Question 3:  "Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.  #CancelWhitePeople."  

Question 4:  You ask a new acquaintance, “Where are you from?” or “Where were you born?”

Question 5:  Teacher disciplines student for sleeping in class.

Question 6:  "I don't give a, I don't give a, I don't give a fuck.  I'm willin' to die for this shit.  I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit.  Put the Bible down and go eye to eye for this shit . . .  If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy."

Question 7:  "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'.  Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'.  I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."

Question 8:  "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'.  Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'.  I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."

 Question 9:  "Son, when I appoint a n***er to the court, I want everyone to know he's a n***er."

Question 10:  "Look at my African-American over there!"

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The Administrative State Under Siege; Or, How Much Things Can Change In Three Years

When I began this blog in 2012, one of the things I had been pondering for years was the extent to which much to most of the operation of the U.S. federal government ran directly counter to the Constitution.  Every federal officer, on taking office, swore to uphold the Constitution; and then from day one proceeded to ignore it completely.  Good friends of mine would go into jobs where everything they and everyone around them did was obviously unconstitutional, and yet nobody would so much as mention the issue.  It was taboo -- like in The Emperor's New Clothes.  Without going into detail, the three biggest issues then and now were (1) the combining of powers into agencies that would enact, and also enforce, and also adjudicate regulations (directly contrary to the Constitution's separation of powers into three branches of government); (2) agencies enacting regulations with the force of law on their own say so (contrary to the Constitution's requirement that all laws be passed by both houses of Congress and presented to the President for signature); and (3) many agencies claiming to be "independent" of the President (contrary to the Constitution's vesting all "executive power" in the President).

I'm not saying I'm the only one who had noticed these things at the time, and I should definitely mention Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and Professor Gary Lawson of BU Law School as examples of canaries in the coal mine.  But very, very few were paying attention, and certainly nobody in the Obama administration.  Left-leaning law professors had nothing but scorn for anyone daring to raise these issues, certainly including Clarence Thomas.

I trace the beginning of a shift to the publication in 2014 of the book "Is Administrative Law Unlawful?" by Philip Hamburger, Professor at Columbia Law School.  That was just over three years ago.  Hamburger raised all of the three issues I identify above, and plenty more, and pulled no punches in characterizing these things as unconstitutional and illegitimate.  Hamburger's book started to get some buzz in esoteric legal circles, but not much outside.

On March 9, 2015, two cases came down from the Supreme Court that contained significant concurring opinions raising these same issues from Justices Alito and Thomas.  I covered those opinions in a post on March 25, 2015.  Most significant was the Thomas concurrence in the case called Association of American Railoads, which included the following passage:

We have held that the Constitution categorically forbids Congress to delegate its legislative power to any other body . . . but it has become increasingly clear to me that the test we have applied to distinguish legislative from executive power largely abdicates our duty to enforce that prohibition. . . .  I would return to the original understanding of the federal legislative power and require that the Federal Government create generally applicable rules of private conduct only through the constitutionally prescribed legislative process.

Uh oh.  Right about the same time, progressive icon Professor Larry Tribe of Harvard Law School filed a comment on behalf of none other than Peabody Coal opposing EPA's Clean Power Plan on grounds that it violated the so-called and never-enforced "non-delegation doctrine."  Now, this was a serious apostasy.  It's one thing if a few conservative kooks spout crazy theories, but progressive icons must not step out of line.  The forces of orthodoxy enforcement promptly swung into action.  On March 26, 2015, an op-ed appeared in the New York Times by then recent ex-Dean of NYU Law Ricky Revesz, announcing that he and Tribe's Harvard colleagues Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus had determined that "no one would take [these arguments] seriously" except for their association with Tribe's name.  In other words, shut up Tribe, if you ever again want to be invited to the right cocktail parties.

Which brings me up to the present.  For the past three days I have been attending the annual convention of the Federalist Society in Washington, which is just now wrapping up.  The theme of the convention has been "Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State."  I hate to break it to Revesz, Freeman, et al., but suddenly lots of people are taking these issues very seriously indeed.

On Thursday night they had the big annual dinner.  The speaker was new Justice Neil Gorsuch.  About 2200 people were in attendance.  Gorsuch talked about the just-published 2017 Supreme Court Foreword from the Harvard Law Review.  He said that the article had coined a new and rather awkward term, "anti-administrativist," to describe the growing movement of those who think that much about the modern administrative state is unconstitutional.  It was clear that Gorsuch was happy to include himself in the category.

Many readers who don't follow constitutional law closely may not understand the significance of the annual Harvard Law Review Supreme Court Foreword.  It is undoubtedly the premier annual law review article.  The Who's Who of the law professoriate compete to get their articles into this spot.  All the Con Law profs read it.  It generally runs around 100 pages, and this year's is no exception.  The author is Gillian Metzger of Columbia Law School.  And the title is "The Administrative State Under Siege."

So, in the course of less than three years, the official position of the cognoscenti has gone from "no one will take this seriously" to "the Administrative State is under siege."  That was rather quick!

Metzger's 100 page article is way too long to quote here.  Suffice it to say that the gist of the article is that having the agencies adopt and also enforce and also adjudicate regulations just has to be constitutional because it's necessary, and the government is just too big and its meddling in our lives is too important to do this any other way.  If Professor Metzger had read her colleague Hamburger's book, she would know that these arguments were well-known to our framers and were explicitly rejected.  In any event, this massive article is a far cry from the condescending dismissal of the Thomas/Hamburger position that was tried in 2015.  They are now putting on the full court defense.

On Friday afternoon at the convention, the big speech was by Don McGahn, the new White House counsel.  McGahn is the main legal advisor to the President, and also leads the forces looking for judicial nominees for President Trump.    Here is a line I wrote down from McGahn's speech:  "Justice Thomas's opinions [on the constitutionality of the administrative state in cases including Association of American Railroads] are the driving intellectual force of the Trump administration."  He discussed a long list of Thomas opinions - concurrences and dissents - where Thomas has laid out in great detail his reasoning on the unconstitutionality of the main aspects of the administrative state.

On Saturday afternoon there was a big panel that featured both Lawson and Hamburger, going through their arguments in detail.  There was no appearance from Justice Thomas this year, but his intellectual contributions permeated the conference.

Just three years ago the progressive legal elite thought that anti-constitutional governance by unaccountable bureaucrats (themselves) was secure for the long term, and that powerful counter arguments of the black justice could be condescendingly dismissed as things that "no one would take seriously."  Now suddenly they are taking this very seriously.  They are right to.

Justice Department Accepts Responsibility For Deficiencies Of Baltimore Police Department

Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department, Office of Civil Rights, came out with its big (163 page) Report excoriating the Baltimore Police Department for a laundry list of outrageous, deficient, discriminatory and unconstitutional policing practices.  This is the Report that has resulted from the Justice Department investigation launched in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in the custody of Baltimore police in April 2015.

You can get some idea of the extent of the systemic deficiencies that the feds uncovered by looking at a few of the section headings in the table of contents:

BPD Engages in a Pattern or Practice of Conduct That Violates the United States Constitution and Laws . . . .; BPD Makes Unconstitutional Stops, Searches And Arrests; BPD Discriminates Against African Americans in its Enforcement Activities; BPD Uses Unreasonable Force; BPD Fails To Supervise Its Officers' Enforcement Activities; BPD Fails To Adequately Support Its Officers; BPD Fails To Hold Officers Accountable For Misconduct; BPD Lacks Adequate Systems To Investigate Complaints And Impose Discipline . . . .

And that's just a sample.  As you might suspect, there is a pervasive theme of discrimination against and unfair treatment of African Americans by the Baltimore police.  For instance, from the executive summary:

[I]n Baltimore, . . . law enforcement officers confront a long history of social and economic challenges that impact much of the City, including the perception that there are “two Baltimores:” one wealthy and largely white, the second impoverished and predominantly black. Community members living in the City’s wealthier and largely white neighborhoods told us that officers tend to be respectful and responsive to their needs, while many individuals living in the City’s largely African-American communities informed us that officers tend to be disrespectful and do not respond promptly to their calls for service. Members of these largely African-American communities often felt they were subjected to unjustified stops, searches, and arrests, as well as excessive force. 

What time period is covered by this Report?  It's very unspecific.  The Report is all written in the present tense.  The clear impression conveyed is that they are talking about both right now and at all recent times.   

Well, this is quite the disaster.  So who is responsible?

Funny, but somehow they seem to have omitted the answer to that question from this Report.  Let's consider some of the possibilities:

  • There's the Mayor.  The Police Department ultimately reports to her.  That would be Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor since 2010.  Of course, she is an African American.  So was her predecessor, Sheila Dixon (2007-2010).  Before that it was Martin O'Malley (2000-2007) -- white, but serious left-winger to make Bill de Blasio look small time.  And before that, Kurt Schmoke (1987-1999), another African American.  All of them Democrats, of course.  (Baltimore hasn't had a Republican mayor for over 50 years.)  Anyway, you won't find any of these names, let alone race or party affiliation, in this Report.
  • How about the police commissioners?  The current guy, Kevin Davis, is white; but he only got the job in October 2015, after the Freddie Gray fiasco, to clean up the perceived mess.  On whose watch did Gray's death occur?  That would be Anthony Batts (2012-2015), an African American.  Here's a review of Batts at the Marshall Project: "Batts came to town as the darling of progressive police reformers, who were excited by his PhD in public administration and the enlightened views he honed researching at Harvard rather than his record as an urban police chief. But in Baltimore he was regarded by the rank and file as a carpetbagger and an egghead — misgivings that turned to open hostility after scores of officers were injured in riots following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody."  Going  back before Batts, the police commissioner was a guy named Frederick Bealefeld (2007-2012), who was white; and before that, Leonard Hamm (2004-2007), who was black.  Anyway, you won't find any of these names in this Report either.
  • But maybe the Baltimore police force is overwhelmingly white, in a city that is majority black.  Actually not.  Again, although this Report harps at length on alleged racial discrimination by the Baltimore police, you won't find this information here.  But the Daily Caller compiled some statistics in May 2015, immediately after Gray's death:  

    Here’s what the data shows about the racial makeup of Baltimore’s finest:

    * Of the 2,745 active duty police officers in the department — 1,445 — more than half are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, according to data provided by the Baltimore police department to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

    * Four of its top six commanders are either African-American or Hispanic.

* More than 60 percent of the incumbents at the highest command levels hail from minority communities.

* Among the 46 Baltimore police officers who hold the rank of captain and above, 25 are from ethnic or racial minority groups. That constitutes 54 percent of the command leadership.

If you are looking in this Report for some explanation of why a series of African American mayors, African American police commissioners, and a majority-minority police command structure, not to mention the police rank-and-file, systematically discriminate against African Americans, you will not find it.

So could it be that there has been this completely pervasive misconduct going on totally in the open for years upon years and absolutely nobody bears any responsibility?  I would only point out that in a world where the Justice Department claims the right and privilege to tell the Baltimore police department how to behave, then the Justice Department itself must accept the responsibility for the situation.  After all, these problems all occurred right under the nose of the feds, in the nearest city of any consequence to Washington, just about 40 miles up the road.  If you have the right to tell them what to do, then you bear the responsibility if they didn't do what you think they should have done.  (Oh, the Attorneys General for the past almost-8 years have also been African Americans, not to mention the President.  So?)

UPDATE, August 12:  Somehow I had missed that the New York Times ran two big articles yesterday on this Report.  The bigger one, starting on page A10, is headlined "Police Bias Found in Baltimore, and Many Ask What Took So Long."  Excerpt:

“Mere words by officials mean little when it’s people on the ground who are living with these material conditions every day,’’ said the Rev. Heber Brown III, a Baptist pastor who was among a small group of community leaders who met privately last year with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “From the streets to the suites, everybody is skeptical and furious.’’  In one stark statistic after another, the department’s report helped validate the experiences of Mr. Brown, Mr. Kelly and countless others in poor African-American neighborhoods who regard the police as an occupying force.    

So perhaps they might at least ask the question of who here bears any responsibility?  Really, don't be ridiculous.  With one exception, they don't so much as mention the name, race or political affiliation of any individual in a position to bear responsibility, whether (starting from the top) it's Obama, Holder, Rawlings-Blake, Batts, or anyone else in the police command structure of Baltimore at the time of the Gray incident.  The one exception is Rawlings-Blake, whose name they mention, but not race or political affiliation.  And responsibility?  Don't be silly.  She is merely said to have "accepted the findings."  And don't forget, she just got rewarded with the honor of chairing the Democratic convention!

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

A couple of weeks ago Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg gave several media interviews that then rightly brought her a torrent of criticism.  In the portion that drew the most attention, she rather un-judicially stated a preference for one candidate over the other in the midst of the current presidential campaign.  But in other parts of the interviews that you may not have noticed, she engaged in even more inappropriate conduct by indicating in advance how she would rule on various issues likely to come before the Court.  Basically, she said in so many words that she has already pre-judged pretty much all of the most important issues likely to come before the Court any time soon, and don't waste your breath trying to persuade her otherwise.  OK, we already knew that, but do you have to be quite so explicit?  In one of her most over-the-top statements, she is quoted by Adam Liptak of the New York Times on July 10 as having said "I’d love to see Citizens United overruled."

Most readers here probably have heard of Citizens United, but for those who don't know the specifics, here's the gist.  A corporate entity by that name made a movie called "Hillary: The Movie," critical of Hillary Clinton, and wanted to exhibit it, and promote it with advertising, in the windows immediately preceding various of the 2008 presidential primaries.  The so-called Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (often referred to as McCain-Feingold) had a provision that explicitly prohibited the spending of corporate funds for such "electioneering communications" by corporate entities in those time windows.  Citizens United brought suit seeking to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing that provision as a violation of the First Amendment.  The lower court denied the injunction under the terms of McCain-Feingold, but the Supreme Court reversed and invalidated the relevant provision as unconstitutional.  Justice Ginsberg joined a dissenting opinion.

There are probably very few issues on which Hillary Clinton and the Notorious RBG disagree, and the desirability of overruling Citizens United is definitely not one of them.  Indeed, as reported here by John Hinderaker of PowerLine, in a speech on July 16, Hillary promised to make the overruling of Citizens United one of her top priorities, and to introduce a constitutional amendment to accomplish that goal within 30 days of taking office (assuming she is elected).  Of course, another view is that overtly political "judges" like RBG have zero respect for precedent that gets in the way of their political objectives.  All Hillary would really need to do as President would be to appoint another couple of RBG's lockstep ideological comrades to the Court, and they would promptly take care of doing away with Citizens United and the rest of the First Amendment as soon as a new case could reach them.  (The Second Amendment would not be far behind.)  

So what's the big problem with Citizens United?  To listen to the narrative of Hillary and her supporters, it's just a question of "getting too much money out of politics."  Does that sound plausible?  Or is that just some spin to justify statutory provisions cynically designed to advantage one side of the political divide and disadvantage the other?  Let's consider some of the current status of "money in politics."

First, the status of the current money-raising race between the two main presidential contenders.  The New York Times has figures in a June 22 article covering candidate FEC reports through April 30.   Hillary had raised $334.9 million, including $238.2 million by her campaign and $96.7 million by super-PACs supporting her.  Trump had raised $67.1 million, including $64.6 by the campaign and $2.5 million by super-PACs supporting him.  And how about current spending level?  Here's a Los Angeles Times article from June 19, reporting that Hillary had launched a $23 million advertising campaign in eight "battleground" states (Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire).  Trump's comparable level of spending in the same states according to the article?  $0. 

Do you think that Hillary might have strong fundraising support from so-called "small donors"?  Don't kid yourself.  The best way of looking at Hillary's campaign fundraising operation is as "protection money" from those with a lot to lose from government predation.  The FEC defines "small donors" as those who give the campaign less than $200.  Below that level, you don't have to report a donor's name.  According to this report from Politifact on March 21 (covering donations through February), Bernie Sanders had raised some 70% of all his individual donations from that category.  Hillary?  19%.  Even Trump was at 22%, and many of the Republicans were well above that.  (Cruz was at 42%.)

But put aside all these officially-reported campaign funds, and consider what else the Clintons have out there -- namely, the "Foundation" and the speaking fees.  According to this CNN report from February, the two Clintons had been paid some $153 million for 729 speeches since 2001 -- an average of a little over $200,000 per speech.  And recognize that everybody knew that Hillary was planning during that time to run for President (let alone that she was a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State for much of the time).  So when they count up the "money in politics," does any of that count?  When Citizens United gets overruled and all the McCain-Feingold restrictions go back into effect, does any of that get restricted?  Of course not.  Even if the people who paid for the speeches were people with issues before the State Department or prospective issues before a future President?  (As just one example, CNN says that at least $7.7 million of the total was from speeches to "big banks," including Goldman Sachs and UBS.)  Doesn't count.  How about if someone pays Bill Clinton $250,000 to give a speech even after Hillary has become a candidate?  Daily Caller on May 17 claims to have identified $2.7 million of such.  Also doesn't count. 

And then there's the Foundation.  According to the Washington Post from February 2015 here, the Foundation raised close to $2 billion from 2001 to 2013.  (Funny, I haven't seen anything more on this from the Post more recently.)  That's paid for lots of the Clintons' travel and lifestyle, and kept their names in public, plus kept a whole proto-campaign organization together and ready to go.  Lots of the money has come from the likes of Middle Eastern oil interests and other foreign potentates who are specifically prohibited from contributing to American political campaigns.  Anyway, don't worry, none of this counts either.

Rest assured: whatever further "campaign finance" restrictions Hillary can manage to get through -- whether via a constitutional amendment, a reversal of Citizens United, or some new statute following a new Supreme Court ruling -- it is one hundred percent certain that those restrictions will be specifically designed to disadvantage Mrs. Clinton's adversaries and silence her critics, while somehow missing whatever are her own main sources of funding and support.

Citizens United And Progressive Inability To Do Logical Thinking

A favorite whipping boy of today's progressive movement is the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of 2010, which struck down as unconstitutional that portion of the 2002 McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform" statute that limited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions in the run-up to elections.  Both Hillary and Bernie have as a main plank in their campaigns a promise to somehow legislatively reverse or otherwise find a way around Citizens United in order to "get money out of politics," and "rein in the special interests" in order to keep them from "buying elections."

Last week saw the issue again in the news.  The Senate Democrats put forth a new plan (it's not their first one) that they euphemistically call the "We The People Act" as their proposed way around the Citizens United decision.  Here is their press release.  Although the proposal contains some new tweaks to existing statutes (such as disclosure requirements for contributions to what are sometimes now called "dark money" PACs), the guts of the plan is found in a proposal to amend the First Amendment of the Constitution to give Congress and the states power to "regulate and limit" independent political expenditures:

This constitutional amendment resolution from Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) provides Congress and the states with power to enact campaign finance reforms that withstand constitutional challenges. It would fix Citizens United, McCutcheon, Buckley, and other bad precedents. Finally, it provides the authority to regulate and limit independent expenditures, including those made by corporations and Super PACs. 

The New York Times immediately weighed in on June 10 with a favorable editorial:

The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United, which opened the floodgates to the buying and selling of elections, is a ruling Democrats love to deplore but nobody ever seems able to do anything about. . . .  [T]he principle of cracking down on collusion is a good one. It has been made forcefully by good-government groups, like the Brennan Center for Justice, and by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who has sponsored a bill making similar suggestions. Senate Democrats on Thursday proposed a package of campaign reforms targeting Citizens United as well.

This has to be about their fiftieth editorial deploring Citizens United and the "opening of the floodgates to buying and selling elections."  

Call me crazy, but I just can't figure out how it is that when "independent political expenditures" by "corporations" become subject to "regulations and limits," that the New York Times won't find itself in the soup.  First, they are organized as a corporation.  Second, essentially everything they do is an "independent political expenditure" for the Democratic candidate or candidates of the moment.  OK, maybe someone could quibble over whether it's "everything" they do, or just a large percentage of what they do.  For example, perhaps the coverage of sports and the arts should be excluded, and maybe the weather.  But I wouldn't be so sure about the arts.  Consider this from an article a couple of days ago about the Broadway musical Hamilton.  Excerpt:

Mr. Miranda’s depiction of Hamilton as resourceful immigrant and talented self-made man captures an important aspect of his character. But the musical avoids an equally pronounced feature of Hamilton’s beliefs: his deeply ingrained elitism, his disdain for the lower classes and his fear of democratic politics. The musical’s misleading portrayal of Hamilton as a “scrappy and hungry” man of the people obscures his loathing of the egalitarian tendencies of the revolutionary era in which he lived.

The New York Times spends about $1.5 billion per year putting out its "news" product.  How much of that could be deemed some sort of political expenditure?  It could easily be $1 billion.  Any "limits" that might be imposed, even relatively high ones ($5000?) will of course catch them.  

Read some of their many editorials on this (here and here are a couple of more examples) and all you can think is that they have totally not recognized this as an issue.  Why?  Do they think it is because they are the Sulzberger family, and therefore "good," as opposed to, for example, the Koch family, who are obviously "bad"?  That argument won't help much in court.  The only real one they might try would be to argue that they are entitled to a blanket exemption because they are the "press."  But why isn't the Citizens United entity, and any other entity that organizes to put out information relative to a newsworthy event such as an election, part of the "press"?  You don't need a license to be part of the "press" in this country, so you can't distinguish "press" from "non-press" by whether someone has a license.  Is the distinction videos versus print?  The New York Times puts out plenty of videos.  And I'm sure that Citizens United (and every other Super PAC) could put out some kind of print newsletter in addition to its movie or ads if that's what it takes to qualify as "press."  

In short, I can't see any way that the "press/non-press" distinction could hold up to protect the New York Times and its ilk when the day comes that "independent political expenditures" are subject to "regulations and limits."  And remember, the penalties for campaign finance violations are not just civil; they are criminal.  With the proposed constitutional amendment in place, why wouldn't the next Republican president go after the Times and a few other soft targets in the mainstream media?

It's likely of course that this whole constitutional amendment thing is going nowhere, and the Times is well aware of that.  What that means is that the flood of proposals and editorials is not really about changing the law, but about getting the base fired up.  They are counting, of course, on the progressive base being too ignorant to know that the main thing protected by the Citizens United decision is the mainstream Democrat-operative media itself.