July 27, 2015

SO, TALKING ABOUT THE TENNESSEE CONSTITUTION ON FACEBOOK, I brought up this column from ten years ago: Religioso Ma Non Troppo. I thought it was worth a re-mention here.

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Politicos Put Graft Before Progress.

AT THE STATE LEVEL, the GOP is quietly amassing a decisive majority. “Since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Republican candidates in the states have promised that they would show the country another way of governing. They’ve delivered, and voters have responded. Judging by the evidence of 2014, the insurgency isn’t over.”

WHEN YOU LOOK AT OUR POLITICAL CLASS TODAY, who, really, are the “crazies?”

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DANGEROUS SECRETS: Mark Thiessen: “Obama’s Secret Iran Deals Exposed.

The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-releated agency.

In an interview, Pompeo told me that he and Cotton were meeting with the deputy director of the IAEA and the agency’s two top Iran negotiators just days after the nuclear accord was announced, when they asked how the agency will carry out verification at the Iranian military complex at Parchin. IAEA officials told them, quite casually, that the details were all covered in agreements negotiated between the IAEA and the Iranian government. It was the first they had heard of the side deals.

Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”

It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements (though you can see a picture of Iranian and IAEA officials holding up what appear to be the secret accords here).

In other words, Obama is gambling our national security and handing over $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, based on secret agreements negotiated between the IAEA and Iran that no U.S. official has seen.

Cutting a nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, without either realizing or revealing that there are “side deals” with the IAEA is treasonous. Members of Congress who now vote to support it without knowing the full terms of these side deals are likewise traitors.


JOEL KOTKIN: Putting climate change ahead of constituents. “Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward mobility, self-sufficiency and property ownership. This great betrayal has many causes, but perhaps the largest one has been the abandonment of broad-based economic growth traditionally embraced by Democrats. Instead, they have opted for a policy agenda that stresses environmental puritanism and notions of racial redress, financed in large part by the windfall profits of Silicon Valley and California’s highly taxed upper-middle class.”

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Politicos Put Graft Before Progress.

Cynical or not, these statements accurately describe why economic progress is so much harder today than it once was. But why is it so much harder? And why are so many politicians coming out against innovative new services such as Uber or Airbnb? The answer, I think, is simple: Those new services offer insufficient opportunities for graft. The old services they compete with — hotels or taxi companies — offer politicians a better deal, even if the deal they offer for consumers often isn’t as good. And politicians back the companies because — and be clear about this — politicians don’t care about you, they care about using their positions to accumulate money, power and prestige. . . .

One of the reasons that America enjoyed such tremendous growth over the past century was that technology outran regulators’ ability to keep up. Will that remain true over the coming decades? Let’s hope so. We can’t make it in the 21st century with a 1950s economic model, however appealing that approach might be to politicians.

Read the whole thing, to coin a phrase.

HOUSE GOP TO SENATE: We’re Not Taking Up Your Highway Bill.


CHANGE: Americans Are Finally Eating Less. “Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The number of calories that the average American child takes in daily has fallen even more — by at least 9 percent.”

Well, you know, calorie consumption probably fell during the Great Depression, too. But people also tend to eat less as they age, and the population is getting older; I can’t tell if the study addressed that.

FREE THE CHILDREN!: Lenore Skenazy in the New York Post, “Give Parents Back Their Rights to Let Their Kids Walk Free.”

I’m so old that when I was growing up, my stay-at-home mom stayed at home.

She didn’t take me to school. She just waved goodbye and off I walked, starting at age 5. When I got to the one suburban street I had to cross, who was there to ensure my safety?

A 10-year-old in an orange sash. The crossing guard.

No one witnessing this adult-unsupervised scene called 911 because — well, first of all, no one had a cellphone, and second, no one thought it was weird or wrong.

But today, we fear for kids any time they’re on their own. So even though crime is at a 50-year low — lower than when most of us parents were kids — only about 13 percent of American children walk to school. . . .

But in part it’s also because it has become downright unusual — and sometimes illegal — to let kids go outside unsupervised.


Well, you’ve probably heard about the Meitiv family in suburban Maryland. Parents Danielle and Alexander let their kids, 10 and 6, walk home from the local park and were investigated not once but twice for child neglect.

Eventually they were cleared of all charges.

But that wasn’t before one incident when the cops picked up the kids and held them for five hours without letting them call home.

Or how about the case just last month of Nicole Jensen in Westbrook, Maine? Her 7-year-old daughter was playing for an hour in the playground down the block — you can see it from the family’s porch. But someone called 911 to report an unsupervised child, and the cops swooped in.

I confess that I would never have allowed my child to walk to school, even though we live in a very safe community with sidewalks. But it would also never occur to me that allowing a child to do so should warrant an investigation by protective services.

I’ve written about this before.  In a zeal to “protect” the children, some adults are becoming super-nannies, swooping down to call protective services anytime they spy your child alone in a playground, saying the wrong words, with dirty clothes, living without modern amenities, or getting the “wrong” medical care.  They think they know how to raise your kids better than you, so your children become “the State’s children” until you can wrestle them back. We are punishing parents, too often, for being poor or bucking cultural norms rather than being physically or emotionally abusive.  The constitutional “right” to raise our children is being eroded–a goal political leftists have long sought.

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Studies supporting efficacy of “deworming” campaigns in impoverished countries turn out to be crap.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Politicos Put Graft Before Progress.

ANNALS OF IMPLAUSIBLE CLAIMS: Obama Claims Country Better Off Today?

Last week President Obama told a small group of wealthy donors that by almost every metric, the U.S. is significantly better off under his leadership than under Bush’s. Oh dear God this is just getting embarrassing! Can we please have a little reality check here?

The most basic metric for how well the country is doing is median household income – are families making more today than in years past? Errrr, not so fast there Mr. President. As the chart below shows (the red line) we are still well below we were when you took office… and that is despite the massive amount of government spending and monetary policy stimulus! Or perhaps, this is in fact because of all that insanity? In fact, median household income, after taking inflation into account, is where it was back in 1989, twenty-six years ago!

One of the reason household income is so low is that despite the often touted “unemployment rate” the more important number, the percentage of people in the country actually working is down to levels not seen since the early 80s and well below the ratio during George W Bush’s Presidency.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

SHOULD WE REALLY TRUST THAT DNC-MSM JOURNALISTS CAN SAFELY RUN WITH THEM WITHOUT HURTING OTHERS? The NH College Republicans are giving journalists “First Amendment Scissors” to cut any white rope that may appear.

FIRST THE VIDEO, NOW THIS: Anti-abortion hackers claim to have breached Planned Parenthood.

I think I’ll keep all my records on paper, and write with a mechanical typewriter.

THIS BALLOON HAS SECONDS TO LIVE! Before and after photos of a target balloon’s last moments on a timed course in Glen Rose Texas, organized yesterday by the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association:


I used a Panasonic Lumix camera with the focus racked out on a 60 frames per second burst mode; the dust and gunpowder inside the event made for lots of haze. (The faux-snapshots and woody-looking background is a slightly modified Shutterstock.com image.) The event was held this weekend at the Somervell County Expo Center, in Glen Rose, about twenty minutes from the Bullets & Bourbon event in December with Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Stephen Green, Dana Loesch, Ed Morrissey and Mark Rippetoe. More details about Bullets & Bourbon here.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 809.

THE IRAN DEAL: WEIMAR DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN, Roger Simon writes. “Only this time the final solution will be written in Farsi.”

Read the whole thing.

THE FOUR MOST EMBARRASSING THINGS CECILE RICHARDS SAID IN DEFENSE OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD: “Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards gave her first interview this weekend, to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Considering Stephanopoulos is a longtime buddy of the Clintons, who are devoted to Planned Parenthood, the interview wasn’t as servile as you might expect. Richards was unrelenting in her robotic repeating of a few talking points, but Stephanopoulos tried in his own way to push back a bit,” Mollie Hemingway writes at the Federalist. “Amidst a flurry of words, the main point Richards said over and over and over and over again was that Planned Parenthood’s top doctors only appear monstrous because of entrapment and the magic of video editing. ‘Yeah, that’s the ticket!’ she should have added.”

And as Mollie notes, “One major difference between Jon Stewart, who actually doctors videos, splicing answers from one question to a completely separate question, and the undercover journalists hitting Planned Parenthood hard is that only one releases full footage for all to see.”

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: The Coming — And Hilarious — Democrat Implosion. “Republicans fear a repeat of 1992, with a squishy Bush at the head of the ticket watching helplessly as some populist businessman/novelty act hands the election to a Clinton. But Democrats should fear the far more likely repeat of 1968. . . . Nineteen sixty-eight was the year normal Americans saw the Democrats for what they were, and that’s the danger for them in 2016 too.”

Plus: “Hillary is America’s First Wife, a sour, sexless, disapproving presence eager to spend the next eight years telling us all how we are failing to measure up to her exacting standards.”


On the margin, it’s probably going to affect investment if you raise capital gains taxes by a lot — and nonetheless, this is not going to do much to shift the incentives toward longer-term thinking at companies. That’s because Clinton seems to fundamentally misunderstand the reason that public companies are so focused on short-term results that impact their stock price, rather than longer-term growth. To the extent that you think this phenomenon is real, and a problem, the issue is not that American investors, for reasons known only to themselves, have developed the attention spans of gnats. Instead, I’d argue that the problem is the massive shift toward institutional management of equity assets.

Here’s SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar on this phenomenon in 2013: “The proportion of U.S. public equities managed by institutions has risen steadily over the past six decades, from about 7 or 8 percent of market capitalization in 1950, to about 67 percent in 2010.” Stocks used to be the province of affluent people who might hold them for decades — and might well take it into their head to show up at your shareholder meeting and delicately inquire why the chief executive officer is getting paid so much when quarterly results look pretty dismal. Now they’re the province of everyone — and everyone is in the hands of professional managers who don’t care how much the CEO is getting paid, would rather sell and buy something else than chivy the board into doing its job, and need to deliver price appreciation pretty regularly, lest their Morningstar profile become tarnished, or the regulators start asking the company to increase contributions.

Add to that the fact that you can now log in every day to see exactly how your 401(k) is doing, and you can see how short-termism might come to dominate executive offices.

But whether or not you think that institutional management is actually unleashing a great plague of short-termism upon the land, the important point is that the prevalence of institutional management will prevent you from fixing this problem by manipulating the capital gains rates. Pension funds do not pay taxes on the assets in their funds. Neither is your tax-deferred retirement fund subject to these taxes. And even taxable mutual funds are probably not going to be very responsive to this change, for a few reasons.

How are cattle futures treated under her plan?

MARK LEVIN: It is time for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to resign.

IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO DEFENSE, BUT PUBLISHING THE LAW IS ILLEGAL: State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State’s Own Laws. Personally, I don’t think that laws should be copyrightable.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh emails: “It turns out the Georgia copyright lawsuit is about the copyright in annotations, not in the laws themselves; see https://ia801504.us.archive.org/1/items/gov.uscourts.gand.218354/gov.uscourts.gand.218354.1.0.pdf and http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/State_of_Georgia_sues_Carl_Malamud_says_he_published_its_annotated_code_of. If the annotations were owned by LexisNexis, which creates them, it seems to me pretty clear that they could sue for infringement. But for some reason that I haven’t yet been able to figure out, Georgia has LexisNexis create the annotations and takes the copyright itself, though it then lets LexisNexis sell the annotated code and make money from it. My tentative sense is that this fact should not preclude the lawsuit, again because the material – annotations, rather than the underlying law – is copyrightable regardless of whether it’s owned by the state or a private party.” That would make sense.

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RASMUSSEN: Voters Aren’t Buying Obama’s Story About IRS Scandal. Well, it’s not only a lie. It’s an unconvincing lie.

WAPO: Why Hillary’s Numbers Are Down In States That Matter.

“LAWLESS” PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP: David Rivkin and Lee Casey in the Wall Street Journal, “The Lawless Underpinnings of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

The Iranian nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make. However, because of the way the deal was pushed through, the states may be able to derail it by enacting their own Iran sanctions legislation. . . .

The Constitution’s division of the treaty-making power between the president and Senate ensured that all major U.S. international undertakings enjoyed broad domestic support. It also enabled the states to make their voices heard through senators when considering treaties—which are constitutionally the “supreme law of the land” and pre-empt state laws.

The Obama administration had help in its end-run around the Constitution. Instead of insisting on compliance with the Senate’s treaty-making prerogatives, Congress enacted the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015. Known as Corker-Cardin, it surrenders on the constitutional requirement that the president obtain a Senate supermajority to go forward with a major international agreement. Instead, the act effectively requires a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress to block elements of the Iran deal related to U.S. sanctions relief. The act doesn’t require congressional approval for the agreement as a whole.

Last week the U.N. Security Council endorsed the Iran deal. The resolution, adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, legally binds all member states, including the U.S. Given the possibility that Congress could summon a veto-proof majority to block the president’s ability to effect sanctions relief, the administration might be unable to comply with the very international obligations it has created. This is beyond reckless. . . .

The administration faces another serious problem because the deal requires the removal of state and local Iran-related sanctions. That would have been all right if Mr. Obama had pursued a treaty with Iran, which would have bound the states, but his executive-agreement approach cannot pre-empt the authority of the states.

That leaves the states free to impose their own Iran-related sanctions, as they have done in the past against South Africa and Burma. The Constitution’s Commerce Clause prevents states from imposing sanctions as broadly as Congress can. Yet states can establish sanctions regimes—like banning state-controlled pension funds from investing in companies doing business with Iran—powerful enough to set off a legal clash over American domestic law and the country’s international obligations. The fallout could prompt the deal to unravel.

Rivkin and Casey are right about the Constitution’s treaty power being circumvented, with the unfortunate blessing of a cowardly Congress. They’re also right that the Administration’s decision to obtain a speedy U.N. Security Council resolution prior to the Corker-Cardin congressional vote is a blatant and reckless end-run around U.S. sovereignty, bypassing our national legislature in favor of a multi-lateral, extra-sovereign body. Any future President wishing to unravel the Iranian nuclear deal–which Secretary of State has assured us repeatedly is “not legally binding“– will now be branded by the U.N. as an international “law breaker,” a point I made back in April.

I hope States do, indeed, continue to refuse to do business with companies doing business with Iran. The financial impact probably won’t be enough to trigger an Iranian accusation that the Obama Administration isn’t enforcing the deal, however, and consequently the Administration is unlikely to march into court claiming that the Supremacy Clause trumps States’ actions.  So I doubt States’ doing this will “prompt the [nuclear] deal to unravel.”  Nonetheless, this is one interesting and creative way that States can constitutionally push back.

HEY SEATTLE! HOW’S THAT $15 AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING OUT FOR YA? “The law of unintended consequences is a bitch, ain’t it?”

Unexpectedly so.

WELL, YES: No rest for the candidates in this summer of discontent.

Dissatisfaction and protest are roiling the politics of summer 2015. They are evident in the response to the angry rhetoric from Donald Trump, in the crowds that come to hear Bernie Sanders bash Wall Street and in the rallies demanding racial justice. For presidential candidates, there is no safe harbor. Ignore the mood at your peril; engage it at your peril.

The discontent is real, whether economic, racial or cultural. It knows no particular ideological boundaries. It currently disrupts both the Republican and Democratic parties. It reflects grievances that long have been bubbling. It reflects, too, the impatience with many political leaders — what they say and how they say it.

The economic collapse of 2008 continues to ripple through the lives of many families, despite the drop in unemployment. Steady but slow growth has not been balm enough to give these families, many of whom see a system rife with inequity, much optimism about the future. Instead, they see the American Dream as part of the nation’s past.

Welcome to the era of Hope & Change.


FOX BUTTERFIELD, IS THAT YOU? “Scholar-activists must be ready to fend off the perception that their activism taints their scholarship, or that they’re going to indoctrinate students.”

Err, because they are? And note this:

Juggling the two identities isn’t new, but the task seems tougher today. The crowd was perhaps thicker during and just after the civil-rights and political movements of the 1960s and ’70s, which drew in so many young people, future professors among them. Now activists are more visible, their protests or remarks potentially bringing unwanted attention on social media or cable news — and prompting complaints to universities.

Yes, we wouldn’t want uncomprehending lay people to discover what’s going on inside the cloister; best keep the liturgies in Ecclesiastical Latin for that reason.

BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE DEATH WISH-TAXI DRIVER 1970s: Full Giuliani Rollback: New York Court Orders Re-Pornification of Times Square.

Just a reminder, this is what a certain Weimar-ish clique of dissipated elite New Yorkers have wanted ever since Giuliani cleaned the city up.

BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: “Bernie Sanders’ campaign speech in this suburb of New Orleans felt more like a union organizing rally from 1915 than a modern American presidential campaign pitch in 2015:”

“At the top of my list is the issue of income and wealth inequality … it’s the great moral issue of our time, it’s the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time,” he said at the top of his speech, before spending most of his hour-plus time on stage repeatedly hammering away at progressive economic issues.

There were nods to social issues, though Sanders rarely spoke about them separate from economic concerns, instead repeatedly linking social concerns to fundamental economic issues.

“For kids who graduated high school, who are between the ages of 17 and 20 if those kids are white their real unemployment is 36 percent. If they are Hispanic, 37 percent. If they are African American … the real unemployment rate is 51 percent,” Sanders said to boos.

Similarly, on women’s issues, Sanders said, “Speaking to my brothers here today, you’ve got to stand with us on this issue … when women earn nothing more than the same level as men, we’re going to take a huge chunk out of poverty.”

Bernie makes the country sound like it’s still at perigee of FDR’s Great Depression. Will the media ever explore the cognitive dissonance separating their own feel-good economic reporting post-November of 2008 and Hillary’s running as Obama’s successor, versus Sander’s nostalgic sepia-toned fire-and-brimstone doomsday rhetoric?

DRIP, DRIP: Watchdogs: Clinton emails ‘never’ should’ve been sent on private system.

Two government watchdogs at the center of an investigation over Hillary Clinton’s personal email server say she shouldn’t have sent classified information over her private system while serving as secretary of State.

“This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community said in a joint statement on Friday.

True. Related: Hillary’s Email Troubles Deepen.


To explain the inexplicable rise of Donald Trump is to calibrate the anger of fed-up crowd that is enjoying the come-uppance of an elite that never pays for the ramifications of its own ideology. The elite media, whose trademark is fad and cant, writes off the fed-up crowd as naïve and susceptible to demagoguery as the contradictory and hypocritical Trump manipulates their anger. In fact, they probably got it backwards. Trump is a transitory vehicle of the fed-up crowd, a current expression of their distaste for both Democratic and Republican politics, but not an end in and of himself. The fed-up crowd is tired of being demagogued to death by progressives, who brag of “working across the aisle” and “bipartisanship” as they ram through agendas with executive orders, court decisions, and public ridicule. So the fed-ups want other conservative candidates to emulate Trump’s verve, energy, eagerness to speak the unspeakable, and no-holds barred Lee Atwater style — without otherwise being Trump.

Read the whole thing.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: WSJ: Advice For Parents With Children Living At Home After College. “Now that they’re out of college, you realize what wasn’t included in that $240,000 education: classes in life skills and decision-making.”

I have to say, this isn’t my experience at all. But then, we raised the Insta-Daughter with an eye toward independence.

July 26, 2015

I WROTE ABOUT THIS PHENOMENON IN ARMY OF DAVIDS: Meet The Teen Who Pays For College With A Jewelry Business. “LeiLei Secor, a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, is her own boss at her Etsy and online shop, Designed by Lei. Secor doesn’t simply sell the jewelry, she makes it herself with tools and supplies that are stashed under her dorm room bed and desk. Oh, and to top that off, she was the winner of the 2013 National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Now that’s what we call an extracurricular.”

INSTEAD, WE GOT OSHA, EPA, AND INCREASED WELFARE BENEFITS: What Didn’t Happen After Men Walked on the Moon.

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SALENA ZITO: Domestic terror, fear & voters’ anger.

What if fear is the origin of all the anger that voters feel toward Washington? Not just fear over economic stability in our homes and communities, but fear for our personal safety, our nation’s security? When was the last time that felt stable?

Numerous terror attacks have occurred in Main Street America since 2009. In June of that year, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot at a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting office, killing one soldier and wounding another.

Five months later, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan shouted “Allahu-akbar!” (“God is great!”) as he opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

The Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, carried out by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, took four lives.

In 2014, an aspiring jihadist beheaded an Oklahoma woman, and Ali Muhammad Brown went on a killing spree in two states in the name of his faith.

As each awful event occurred, the Obama administration refused to state the obvious — that each was an act of terrorism based on a fundamentalist version of Islam; it even insisted that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence.”

In January of this year, during his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that the greatest threat to America’s future was neither terrorism nor nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran. “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” he said.

Just once, we’d love a little honesty and a lot less political division from the White House, so that guys like Larry Fitzpatrick know that Obama has the backs of our military — and so they don’t feel compelled to arm themselves and protect a military recruitment center.

Well, the security situation — like the economic situation — is a constant reminder to ordinary Americans that the folks in charge don’t really care what happens to them. And yeah, that makes people upset.

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THIS SEEMS FAKE, BUT IT’S REAL: At Anti-Bullying Conference, Iowa Middle Schoolers Learn About Lesbian Strap-On Anal Sex, Fake Testicles.

In rural, small-town Iowa, a group of parents and community leaders is seeking to prevent students from the local taxpayer-funded middle school and high school from attending future versions of an anti–bullying conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

The last one — in April — left many of the denizens of Humboldt, Iowa up in arms, reports Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV.

Iowa Safe Schools, an activist group out of Des Moines, hosted the conference.

It was quite something.

Among the nearly two dozen speakers, “only two” addressed bullying, one attendee estimated, according to EAGnews.org.

The rest of the sessions involved issues such as “how to pleasure their gay partners.”

Middle school girls from Humboldt (pop.: 4,690) had the opportunity to learn “how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys.”

One speaker wore a dress made out of condoms to which could be “used as needed.” . . .

Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, said parents who worry about middle school kids hearing about anal sex with strap-ons and analingus are “disgusting.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating that adults are being the problem and being the bully,” Monson told the Des Moines NBC affiliate. “

If I were a parent in this district, I would not stop until heads rolled. I looked up Iowa Safe Schools, the organization that sponsored this “event,” and discovered that, despite a moniker suggesting that it’s aimed at reducing bullying, it’s actually a LGBT promotion organization, with its mission statement as follows:

The mission of Iowa Safe Schools is to: a) improve school climate in order to increase the personal safety, mental health, and student learning of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied (LGBTA) and all other students; b) increase awareness and understanding among current and future educators, school administrators, and key community agents of inequities regarding the safety of LGBTA students and their family member(s) in schools and communities throughout Iowa.  Iowa Safe Schools also seeks to empower these key actors with effective, research-based tools and strategies to combat intolerance and safety inequities.

No one wants LGBT–or any other kids–to be bullied at school. But there is a huge difference between promoting LGBT tolerance and promoting LGBT sex, and the event in Humboldt crossed the line. And the line-crossing doesn’t seem to be limited to the Humboldt event. Back in April, at an event in Des Moines called “The Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth”–also sponsored by Iowa Safe Schools–students were similarly shocked to find that an event billed as “anti-bullying” turned out to be LGBT promotion:

What one student thought was going to be a day to support anti-bullying at the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, turned out to be much more graphic.

A metro high school student who attended the conference says she was overwhelmed by a sexually explicit question and answer forum at one of the workshops. She was so shocked that she recorded a portion of the Q&A, where someone anonymously asked if anal sex was painful.

The conference hosted by Iowa Safe Schools. Executive Director Nate Monson defends the open forum and says it’s the only chance many LGBTQ teens have to get answers.

Since when does a teen’s desire to “get answers” mean that all fellow students must hear a graphic answer, down to specifics about sexual toys and positions?  When did sexual education turn into sexual proselytizing?

Iowa Safe Schools and other similar LGBT “safe schools” efforts aren’t about preventing bullying or even sexual education, but about promotion of LGBT sex.  Yes, students need to learn the specifics about body parts, how they work, and how babies are made. Such education became integral, after all, to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. But unwanted pregnancy is not possible with LGBT sex. So teaching about specific LGBT sexual techniques and practices isn’t sexual education, it’s sexual promotion. And many parents are, understandably, not comfortable with the public school system being used for such promotion. Those parents who are comfortable with teaching sexual promotion–learning the means of sexual pleasure–are of course free to discuss these matters with their children.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (a Republican) and the Iowa legislature should immediately ban all “safe school” efforts sponsored by Iowa Safe Schools.

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DEMOCRATS’ BLUE COLLAR BLUES: Nolan Finley at Detroit News opines, “Democrats’ Handout Strategy is Failing.”

Blue collar white voters believe the Republican Party is better equipped to make the economic system more fair by an overwhelming margin, according to a new Washington Post poll.

In the survey of non-college educated whites, 50 percent had more faith in GOP policies, while 29 percent favored the Democratic strategy.

These are among the workers hit hardest by the economic shifts of the past quarter century, and in particular by the failed polices of the Obama administration.

They’ve seen good paying jobs in Appalachian coal mines become casualties of the president’s war on coal. They’ve lost solid, middle class work on the oil rigs of the Gulf to a president more obsessed with tomorrow’s temperatures than today’s families. And they’ve bid goodbye to Midwestern factory jobs while the president saddles employers with oppressive taxes and regulations. . . .

Mitt Romney, the failed GOP standard bearer in 2012, bemoaned the prospects for selling a message of smaller government when 47 percent of the population is receiving some form of government assistance.

But many of these blue collar whites are among the 47 percenters. They may be getting Obamacare subsidies, or unemployment benefits, or even food stamps.

And that’s not what they want. They’re looking for the opportunity to take care of themselves and their families. They want jobs, not another Big Government giveaway designed to replace the paychecks Democratic policies have killed.

They’ve lost faith — if they ever had any — in the government’s ability to solve their problems. And who can blame them?

All true. Handouts never create opportunity, only dependency. Blue collar workers aren’t hardwired to want handouts; it demeans their humanity and self-sufficiency.  And I should add that blue collar workers comprise 61% of the U.S. working population.

I would also add that Democrats’ incessant demeaning of blue collar workers because of their race (predominantly white), religion, gender (predominantly male), or values isn’t helping a whole lot, either. If you keep suggesting that white, male, Christians who believe in earning a dollar are racist, ignorant, xenophobic, homophobic or otherwise evil, they probably won’t vote for you. 

MORE LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Stretchable Conducting Fiber Provides Super Hero Capabilities. “The list of potential applications for a new electrically conducting fiber—artificial muscles, exoskeletons and morphing aircraft—sounds like something out of science fiction or a comic book. With a list like that, it’s got to be a pretty special fiber… and it is. The fiber, made from sheets of carbon nanotubes wrapped around a rubber core, can be stretched to 14 times its original length and actually increase its electrical conductivity while being stretched, without losing any of its resistance. An international research team based at the University of Texas at Dallas initially targeted the new super fiber for artificial muscles and for capacitors whose storage capacity increases tenfold when the fiber is stretched. However, the researchers believe that the material could be used as interconnects in flexible electronics and a host of other related applications.”

SOCIAL JUSTICE BULLIES: THE AUTHORITARIANISM OF MILLENNIAL SOCIAL JUSTICE.  A self-confessed liberal engages in some long-overdue reflection on the price society is now paying for political correctness and the self-righteous zeal for “social justice”:

And perhaps it’s my liberal heart speaking, the fact that I grew up in a liberal town, learned US history from a capital-S Socialist, and/or went to one of the most liberal universities in the country, but I view this is a good thing. The idea that societal ills should be remedied such that one group is not given an unfair advantage over another is not, to me, a radical idea.

But millennials are grown up now — and they’re angry. As children, they were told that they could be anything, do anything, and that they were special. As adults, they have formed a unique brand of Identity Politics wherein the groups with which one identifies is paramount. With such a strong narrative that focuses on which group one belongs to, there has been an increasing balkanization of identities. In an attempt to be open-minded toward other groups and to address social justice issues through a lens of intersectionality, clear and distinct lines have been drawn between people. One’s words and actions are inextricable from one’s identities. For example: this is not an article, but an article written by a straight, white, middle-class (etc.) male (and for this reason will be discounted by many on account of how my privilege blinds me — more on this later).

And while that’s well and good (that is — pride in oneself and in one’s identity), the resulting sociopolitical culture among millennials and their slightly older political forerunners is corrosive and destructive to progress in social justice. And herein lies the problem — in attempting to solve pressing and important social issues, millennial social justice advocates are violently sabotaging genuine opportunities for progress by infecting a liberal political narrative with, ironically, hate. . . .

This particular brand of social justice advocacy assaults reason in a particularly frightening way — by outright denying it and utilizing fear-mongering to discourage dissent. There is no gray: only black and white. One must mimic the orthodoxy or be barred forcibly from the chapel and jeered at by the townspeople. To disagree with the millennial social justice orthodoxy is to make a pariah of oneself willingly. Adherence to the narrative is the single litmus test for collegiate (and beyond) social acceptance these days. . . .

To the social justice advocate of our time, conclusions are not contingent on facts; rather, facts are contingent on conclusions. In a global example of confirmation bias, the truth is malleable. The malleable truth is molded around the theoretical viewpoints of social justice. In order to uphold the sanctity of this viewpoint, adherents ostracize dissension. It’s nothing new — it’s a tactic as old as religion itself. Instead of holy texts, though, the millennial social justice advocate bows at the altar of the currently-in-vogue ideological Trinity: Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism.

Yep. It’s the new religion of the political left, and it insists on rigid orthodoxy. How ironic that a group of post-modern atheists whose entire identity is wrapped around a notion of “social justice” have become the most fervent religious zealots whose primary tactic is bullying and intimidation? There are odd parallels between this western social justice movement and radical jihad of Islam. Is it just something in the water (or the parenting) that is causing the millennial generation to be angry, convinced they are right, and willing to use whatever means necessary to prove it?

And I wonder if we can count on Michelle Obama to help us stop the bullying by these social justice warriors? According to the government’s new website, StopBullying.gov, bullying “includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” So basically this would include virtually everything SJWs do, plus much of the mainstream media. But it would be interesting for our young people, particularly those in high school and college, to start pushing back against social justice tactics by reframing their behavior as bullying (which it undoubtedly is).

IN THE MAIL: Linda Goodman’s Love Signs: A New Approach to the Human Heart.

Plus, today only at Amazon: “Psych: The Complete Series,” $74.99 (63% off).

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 808.

MATT WELCH: Admit it, Dems: Hillary Could Strangle a Puppy on Live TV, and You’d Still Back Her (UPDATED: It’s worse than you think).

A quick recap: Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, violated guidelines from the National Archives and her own State Department by using her own private email server for professional correspondence, and then destroying whatever messages she deemed destructible.

At first Clinton claimed that she needed a single non-governmental email account for “convenience,” because she only had one phone. That claim turned out to be provably false. Next, she claimed that it didn’t matter much, because “The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.” The latter half of that claim turned out to be provably false, too. She further insisted that none of the emails contained classified information, a claim that many people with intimate knowledge of such things—such as a former senior State Department official—described with phrases like “hard to imagine.” And her assertion in a CNN interview this month that she went “above and beyond” the email disclosure requirements was—wait for it—false.

In sum, the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential frontrunner brazenly violated government transparency policy, made a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act, placed her sensitive communications above the law, and then just lied about it, again and again. Now comes word that, unsurprisingly, two inspectors general are recommending that the Department of Justice open a criminal inquiry into the matter. One of their findings was that the private server, contrary to Clinton’s repeated claims, contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”*

So how much do Democrats value basic transparency, accountability, and honesty in their presidential candidates? Not bloody much, if you go by the handy polls over at RealClearPolitics.

Party first, party always.

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ASHE SCHOW: Columbia student accused of rape amends lawsuit to include ‘the mattress attends graduation’.

Former Columbia University student Paul Nungesser, who was accused of being a “serial rapist” by mattress-toter Emma Sulkowicz, has amended his lawsuit to include his graduation ceremony, where Sulkowicz carried her mattress across the stage.

The amended complaint, filed on Tuesday, includes a section titled “The mattress attends graduation,” and describes how Columbia allowed Sulkowicz to continue her harassment campaign against him through graduation, where she carried her art project, a mattress, across the stage.

“In the weeks and months before graduation, Paul reached out repeatedly to Columbia administrators, requesting detailed information regarding whether Defendant Columbia would allow Emma to carry the mattress at the graduation ceremony,” the lawsuit says. “Despite repeated requests, Defendant Columbia refused to provide him with any information.”

The night before graduation, university administrators sent an email informing students they could not bring “large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people.” Despite Sulkowicz’s mattress clearly falling into that category, she did in fact carry her mattress during the ceremony.

It’s a hostile environment for male students. And it was intended to be so.

HAS HE SAID ANYTHING SIMILAR ABOUT HILLARY? Trump launches offensive against Walker.

“Wisconsin is in turmoil,” Trump told a boisterous crowd at a rally in Iowa. He pointed to the state’s roads, schools and hospitals, which he said were all “a disaster.”

Walker, who is leading polls in Iowa, remains one of Trump’s biggest rivals in the race.

If Trump worries about people thinking that he’s a Hillary shill, maybe he should dispel those rumors by going after Hillary.

SCOTT RASMUSSEN: Opposing Sharing Economy Is Big Mistake for Democrats.

It’s not just consumers who like the Uber experience and the sharing economy; it’s the drivers, as well.

The New York Daily News recently headlined a column, “Uber Job Beats Working for Yellow Cab,” by one such driver. Rabiul Karim said, “With Uber, it’s like 50 percent stress is gone right there, because you don’t have to look for passengers.” Reducing stress among drivers is a good thing for all of us!

But Karim added another reason he prefers driving for Uber. “I have flexibility with time. Suppose my daughter has a doctor appointment. I can take her without having to pay the day rate for yellow cabs.”

On the other coast last week, in California, I heard that exact same theme while chatting with my Uber driver. His first reaction was to talk about how much he loved the flexibility. With three kids under 7, he appreciated the ability to schedule his work around other family needs. And when he needs a little extra money, he can work a little bit more.

Despite all of this, a lot of Democratic politicians really dislike Uber and the entire sharing economy. The latest to try to stand in the way of progress was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The New York Daily News described the mayor’s anti-Uber plan as “a protectionist crusade for an entrenched industry, absurdly claiming to stand for the thousands of New York passengers and drivers who have flocked to Uber.”

The New York Post noted that the beneficiaries of the mayor’s plan would have been “a yellow-cab monopoly, and fleet owners who’d donated more than $550,000 to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.”

Like I say, Uber’s problem is insufficient opportunity for graft.

LOSE WEIGHT BY EATING Avocados And Other Fatty Foods.


MAYBE THIS IS WHY TRUMP’S ATTACKS ON HIM DIDN’T BACKFIRE: Sen. Heller: John McCain ‘Wouldn’t Accept’ Amendment to Arm Troops on Bases Before Chattanooga Attack.

CRUISE SHIP ASSOCIATION not exactly bursting with excitement over Cayman cruise ship dock proposal.

Related: Cayman Islands Tourism Association Adds Voice to Cruise Port Opposition.

I’ve written about this before.

MICKEY KAUS: How Trump Could (Perversely) Save the GOP.

Related: How Jeb Can Hurt The GOP.

CHANGE: Walmart announces infant car seat designed to prevent hot car deaths. “In most new cars, an alert sounds if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt or if headlights are left on. Using a similar idea, a sensor on the infant seat harness triggers a series of tones if a child is still buckled in when the ignition is switched off. The feature is meant to remind drivers who might forget that a child is in the vehicle.”

This is kid stuff. You need a motion sensor in the car, coupled with a thermometer. When the temp gets above 100 degrees and the sensor shows the car’s occupied, the windows should automatically roll down, or the AC come on. Coming soon to Teslas, probably.

IRAN DEAL IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE: So says Andrew McCarthy in his latest NRO post.

The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.” One can imagine hearing such counsel from a contemporary United States senator on the receiving end of President Obama’s “full disclosure” of the nuclear deal with Iran. But the admonition actually came from James Iredell, a champion of the Constitution’s ratification, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington.

Iredell was addressing the obligations the new Constitution imposed on the president in the arena of international affairs. Notwithstanding the chief executive’s broad powers to “regulate all intercourse with foreign powers,” it would be the president’s “duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives.” Indeed, among the most egregious offenses a president could commit would be fraudulently inducing senators “to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them.” . . .

After a few days of misdirection, administration officials now admit that there are “side deals” that the administration has not revealed to Congress and does not intend to make public. So far, we know of two “side deals” — who knows how many more there may actually be? As the Center for Security Policy’s Fred Fleitz writes in National Review, they involve (a) a full accounting of Iran’s prior nuclear activities (many of which are believed to have been in blatant violation of international law) and (b) access to the Parchin military base, where Iran has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear missiles. . . .

Now consider this: Under cover of this IAEA ruse, Obama ran to the Security Council and rammed through a resolution commencing implementation of his Iran deal before Congress or the American people could consider it. He thus undermined American sovereignty and the Constitution by scheming to impose an international-law fait accompli. And he thus undermined American national security by transferring his inspection commitments to an international agency that he knows is not close to being capable of executing them — an agency that will be further hampered by notice restrictions that, as Charles Krauthammer concludes, render the inspections “farcical” in any event.

The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.


McCarthy’s right, of course. But as his ending query reveals, no one realistically expects the Republican establishment to call for impeachment, despite the fact that the House GOP could issue articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote, sending the case to the Senate for conviction (which would require 2/3 supermajority).

Why not? Because the GOP leadership has given up, and like a jilted lover, is trying so hard to “look the other way” that it no longer sees the obvious, and has lost all self-confidence in its own power, and the power of the truth. It also is betting the farm–i.e., the country–that the U.S. can survive another 18 months of an Obama presidency, and that the next (hopefully) GOP President can magically “cure” all of the Obama-induced cancers. It’s a risky and stupid gamble.

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UNEXPECTEDLY: Fall in gas prices hasn’t led to increased consumer spending. “Visa CFO Prabhu also said the company felt that the money being conserved at the pump was being funneled into savings accounts, a trend that has been backed up in various economic data reports. . . . But just a few months ago, the collapse in gas prices was supposed to be the next big thing for the US economy. Instead, it seems like nothing has happened.”

Maybe consumers realize that we can’t expect any real economic improvement until after January 2017 at the earliest.

JUDGING BY RECENT NEWS REPORTS, NEITHER ONE HAS EXACTLY BEEN OVERPERFORMING: IRS Directors Of Professional Responsibility And Whistleblower Offices Swap Jobs.

POLITICO: Tennessee Is the Capital of American Jihad.

Well, we may have had the wrong U.S. Attorney.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix.

ANALOGIZING UNIONS TO COMMUNISTS: Dana Milbank at the Washington Post draws an amusing (even if unintended) parallel in his latest column, “Why Scott Walker is so dangerous.

This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.­­ Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy, but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting the United States), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the U.S. workforce and have been at a low ebb. . . .

But deception is the demagogue’s tool. Walker spoke Thursday about “the death threats not just against me and my family but against our lawmakers” and about the nails put in the driveway of one lawmaker to puncture his tires. Such behavior is beyond the pale — though hardly unique to Walker’s opponents. And some of Walker’s claims — including the alleged threat to “gut” his wife “like a deer” and of protesters “beating” and “rocking” a car he was in — could not be substantiated by independent authorities.

Such deception, however, is in the service only of the larger deceit at the core of his candidacy: By scapegoating toothless trade unions as powerful and malign interests, he enlists working people in his cause of aiding the rich and the strong.

Notice how Milbank himself engages in outlandish deception: He insinuates that Walker is somehow lying about the death threats he has received, saying that they “could not be substantiated by independent authorities.” But the threats made by union thugs against Walker and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans do, indeed, appear to have been substantiated, as evidenced here, here, here and here. For Milbank to suggest that Walker is lying because Milbank failed to even conduct a cursory Google search to confirm the validity of the threats tells you everything you need to know about Milbank’s far-left agenda and lack of veracity. 

On the larger level, Milbank is trying to convince the low information reader that Walker’s campaign to end outlandish, expensive, taxpayer-funded perks for public union workers is somehow analogous to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s campaign against Communism. The only think McCarthy and Walker have in common is that they’re both from Wisconsin. But Milbank’s unintended analogy between Unions and Communists is on point, as they both encourage working the minimum amount, guaranteed jobs for life (regardless of merit), and redistributing wealth. So maybe Milbank is right, after all: Scott Walker’s willingness to take on public sector unions is dangerous indeed– to these liberal/progressive/Marxist values. No wonder Milbank is afraid.

NOW UP: The Carnival Of Nuclear Energy.


I was born into a family of famous gay pagan authors in the late Sixties. My mother was Marion Zimmer Bradley, and my father was Walter Breen. Between them, they wrote over 100 books: my mother wrote science fiction and fantasy (Mists of Avalon), and my father wrote books on numismatics: he was a coin expert.

What they did to me is a matter of unfortunate public record: suffice to say that both parents wanted me to be gay and were horrifed at my being female. My mother molested me from ages 3-12. The first time I remember my father doing anything especially violent to me I was five. Yes he raped me. I don’t like to think about it. If you want to know about his shenanigans with little girls, and you have a very strong stomach, you can google the Breendoggle, which was the scandal which ALMOST drummed him out of science fiction fandom.

It’s a sad story.

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SPACE: New Horizons mission shares more high-res Pluto images. “The images are the last of the initial download splurge, as scientists will now focus on processing the data streaming in slowly but surely from the probe and as it continues to speed away from Earth. NASA will release more imagery and data in September.”

AWKWARD! The Hill: Kenyan President Rebukes Obama’s Gay Rights Message.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Building a Single-molecule Transistor from Scratch.

MSNBC: Poll: Do You Think People Should Be Allowed To Carry Guns In Public? Guess which answer I gave.


But in Iraq we cared what the population thought of us.

BECAUSE THEY’RE HYPOCRITES: Ace at Ace of Spades on the Race-Baiting Hypocrisy of Jon Stewart:

Jon Stewart’s Only Black Writer Told Him He Was Uncomfortable With Stewart’s “Black Guy” Impression; Racist Jon Stewart Told Him to “F*** Off,” Angrily.

I kind of understand Stewart’s reaction — it is, in fact, annoying to be accused of bad motives (racism has in fact been defined as the worst possible motive in existence) over things that are, or at least seem, harmless, and without harmful intent.

On the other hand, this jackass is, like Seth Rogen, a reliable cheerleader for SJW attacks so long as they’re directed at other people; only when such attacks are directed at themselves do they suddenly feel that maybe this censorship-by-contrived-hypersensitivity is stultifying, anti-creativity, anti-thought and ultimately anti-human.

But per the rules Jon Stewart inflicts on others: He’s a g*d-damn racist. . . .

F*** you, Jon Stewart. You’re a hypocrite, a liar, and — by your own rules — an unrepentant racist who not only won’t check his privilege, but who uses his privilege to silence any black voices who dissent against you.

Way to speak truth to power, Ace. These liberal/progressives deserve to be called out–every single time–on their hypocrisy. Don’t hold back calling them the “r” word, because they surely would not, if the tables were turned.

DRIVING TO THE SOUTH POLE in hybrid Hummers.

MAD AS HELL AND NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE: Matthew Continetti over at the Washington Free Beacon on “Revenge of the Radical Middle: Why Donald Trump Isn’t Going Away.”

Two decades ago, in the spring of 1996,Newsweek magazine described a group of voters it called the “radical middle.” Formerly known as the Silent Majority, then the Reagan Democrats, these voters had supported Ross Perot in 1992, and were hoping the Texas billionaire would run again. Voters in the radical middle, Newsweek wrote, “see the traditional political system itself as the country’s chief problem.”

The radical middle is attracted to populists, outsiders, businessmen such as Perot and Lee Iacocca who have never held office, and to anyone, according to Newsweek, who is the “tribune of anti-insider discontent.” Newt Gingrich rallied the radical middle in 1994—year of the Angry White Male—but his Republican Revolution sputtered to a halt after the government shut down over Medicare in 1995. Once more the radical middle had become estranged from the GOP. “If Perot gets in the race,” a Dole aide told Newsweek, “it will guarantee Clinton’s reelection.”

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a presidential campaign in which the Republican Party, having lost its hold on the radical middle, is terrified of the electoral consequences. . . .

What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? The men and women in the uppermost ranks of the party, who have stood by Trump in the past as he gave them his endorsements and cash, are inclined to condescend to a large portion of the Republican base, to treat base voters’ concerns as unserious, nativist, racist, sexist, anachronistic, or nuts, to apologize for the “crazies” who fail to understand why America can build small cities in Iraq and Afghanistan but not a wall along the southern border, who do not have the education or skills or means to cope when factories move south or abroad, who stare incomprehensibly at the television screen when the media fail to see a “motive” for the Chattanooga shooting, who voted for Perot in ’92 and Buchanan in ’96 and Sarah Palin in ’08 and joined the Tea Party to fight death panels in ’09.

These voters don’t give a whit about corporate tax reform or TPP or the capital gains rate or the fate of Uber, they make a distinction between deserved benefits like Social Security and Medicare and undeserved ones like welfare and food stamps, their patriotism is real and nationalistic and skeptical of foreign entanglement, they wept on 9/11, they want America to be strong, dominant, confident, the America of their youth, their young adulthood, the America of 40 or 30 or even 20 years ago. They do not speak in the cadences or dialect of New York or Washington, their thoughts can be garbled, easily dismissed, or impugned, they are not members of a designated victim group and thus lack moral standing in the eyes of the media, but still they deserve as much attention and sympathy as any of our fellow citizens, still they vote.

Amen. Read the whole thing.

My own preference isn’t to describe this middle as “radical” (because I don’t think they are) but “patriotic.” They abhor the cronyism of Washington elites, and reflect a major “values gap” between DC and Main Street, USA.  The irony, of course, is that Trump does not share their values, really–except perhaps on immigration and a few other patriotism-centric issues upon which he’s wisely capitalizing. But at least Trump is finally giving a voice to the Silent Majority’s deeply felt patriotism. The great middle is craving a leader who is unafraid to be unabashedly patriotic.

The question is: Why aren’t more GOP presidential hopefuls getting a clue and matching Trump’s vigor on these issues? Are they simply too weak, and are waiting for Trump to stop stealing “their” spotlight? Or are they too weak on these issues to really care?