Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Squirrel-Hair becomes more of a hot mess by the day

There was his address to the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in West Virginia. Not only did he not approach it as a chance to exemplify some dignified bearing to some 21st-century teens who are inundated with a grimly huge number of examples of a complete lack thereof, he exhibited an utter lack of focus. He meandered. He veered back and forth between whining and bragging. As others have pointed out today, it came off like one of last year's campaign speeches.

As I say, this was a perfect opportunity to show these young men that a US president prioritizes decorum. He blew that with the line, "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?" And, of course, he then proceeded to speak about politics, taking the crowd back through the popular vote and electoral-vote numbers from last November, even getting into the arcane details of Maine's vote split.

He talked about "fake news." He tried to concoct an inspirational anecdote using a decades-old Manhattan cocktail party attended by "some of the hottest people in New York" as his material.

He made a point of pointing out that Obama never attended a National Jamboree.

He tried to make a veiled threat to HHS Secretary Tom Price's face funny, saying that if Price, who was onstage with him, couldn't use his influence in Congress to deliver enough votes for "A"CA repeal, he might just have to fire Price. Ha ha.

And that last embarrassment is just one of this still-young week's examples of the bad vibes he is befouling his cabinet with.

“If he can get treated that way, what about the rest of us?” one of the President’s Cabinet secretaries asked me with both shock and anger in his voice. I am told reports about Rex Tillerson (not who I talked to) are legitimate. He is quite perturbed with the President’s treatment of his Attorney General and is ready to quit. Secretary Mattis (also not who I talked to) is also bothered by it. They and other Cabinet members are already frustrated by the slow pace of appointments for their staffs, the vetoes over qualified people for not being sufficiently pro-Trump, and the Senate confirmation pace.
In fact, the Cabinet secretary I talked to raised the issue of the White House staff vetoes over loyalty, blasting the White House staff for blocking qualified people of like mind because they were not pro-Trump and now the President is ready to fire the most loyal of all the Cabinet members. “It’s more of a clusterf**k than you even know,” the Cabinet secretary tells me about dealing with the White House on policy. It is not just Tillerson ready to bail.
Then there are the tweets chiding Sessions and Congress for not looking into Hillary Clinton's Russia connections and other shady behavior. This, from the guy who said for Sessions not to pursue that because he "didn't want to hurt the Clintons."

And now he's even bad-mouthing the acting FBI director on Twitter.

Memo to the Stupid Party and the media figures who licked the Kool-Aid off the soles of S-H's wingtips in the summer of 2015: You clearly didn't give a flying f--- about seeing conservatism prevail. You could have put the energy you expended on this buffoon into any number of fine, principled contenders.

It is so very late in the day.




Monday, July 24, 2017

A primary law of this universe: Everything is a tradeoff.

I just had one of those situations in which a social-media post about a given subject elicits an interesting, amusing comment thread, and, at a given point of said thread, someone sees an occasion to try to point out a flaw in my conservative worldview.

The thread's primary subject was my attitude and behavior. A secondary subject was the nature of bureaucracy. It's important to keep that order clear. Switching it would amount to excuse-making, as you'll see.

Here's my post:

So, before I made the phone call I just concluded - to a customer-service representative at a large bureaucratic organization - I gave myself a talk: "Okay, Barn, maintain a calm demeanor and a productive attitude. No stuttering, yelling or cussing."
I failed miserably.
I think the situation was resolved favorably, but it was ugly getting there.
There were some comments along the lines of "Man, I can relate!"

I think people liked a comment I chimed in with:

 I know you, like me, are not much for organizational formality, and I find myself put off from the get-go by their tone. They have to wade through all kinds of doo-dah ("So what is the best number to reach you?") and no matter what you're saying, they begin their response with "Mmmm-hmmmm." Hey, toots, how about if we talk to each other like a couple of human beings?
And on it went. A couple of people asked if I had to press one for English. In fact I did.

At one point, a left-leaner chimed in with this:

Capitalism, Barney. It's what you crave: the big, behemoth money engine. No soul, no integrity. Just profit.
I responded that one must remember that I, as a consumer, have an array of choices.

A couple of trains of thought left that station and I've been on them both ever since.

One has to do with her use of the term "big, behemoth money engine." Now, that's just what the company in question is, but that in and of itself does not discredit capitalism. The service that the company in question provides is only offered by a small number of companies, it's true, but why that is so matters very much.

If it's a case of the classic scenario where an industry lobbyist takes a relevant legislator out for a swank three-martini lunch and says, "So what's involved in keeping small upstart competitors out of the picture?", that is not the free market that we conservatives are championing. We're talking about the real deal, not collusion or cronyism. Everybody who wants a shot at the market has to be able to give it a go.

The other train of thought had to do with my end, my role as a consumer. If the above scenario is not in play, if the field is wide open, and due to the start-up capital required or whatever, the field of service providers is just small, then my choices are circumscribed, and, depending on my priorities, may come down to me saying, "The hell with it, I'll go without TV." (That's unlikely, since my wife has a vote on the matter equal to mine.)

After all, I have no right to television service.

There is no right to television service.

For the same reason there is no right to health care.

Television service, health care, haircuts, oil changes for your car all exist because some human beings somewhere have some kind of motivation to provide them. No human beings so motivated, no services.

We're now zeroing in on one of the most primary laws of this universe we inhabit: Everything is a tradeoff. Everything.

No one can guarantee you a satisfactory setup for your life. And it's pointless to talk about level playing fields, and how it's unfair that some people are born into comfortable circumstances and others into conditions of dire need. It was ever thus. The only kind of equality that it makes any sense to talk about is equality before the law.

And any attempt to short-circuit this given about our universe is going to entail curbing someone's freedom. We either have to make somebody provide the service we are interested in, which is called involuntary servitude, or we have to limit the choices of those interested in a particular service, if we're going to collectively try to provide it to them. We've just seen a real-world example of that, in which Charlie Gard's parents weren't able to explore an option outside of what the British Health Service and the European Union deemed acceptable.

This is why conservatism is sometimes called a tragic worldview, as juxtaposed against leftism's utopian quality.

The material world is as it is. We have over ten thousand years' experience with it, and it has yet to yield us any kind of magical endless bounty.

Big Rock Candy Mountain this ain't. But we have our freedom. Well, as long as we value it enough to defend it against those still sure the peak of that mountain is just over the horizon.

Fostering esprit de corps is not Squirrel-Hair's strong suit

The guy may have a base of brainwashed #MAGA zombies that will carry his water to the ends of the earth, but among those who sign on for paid positions in his inner circle, it doesn't appear to matter if you got on his train the moment it first blew its whistle.

Rudy, you ought to think about that before you start taking this seriously:

President Trump is reportedly considering the idea of nominating Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and an ardent Trump defender, to serve as attorney general.
Axios reported Monday Trump is exploring the possibility of tapping Giuliani, and the news comes days after the president has publicly expressed frustration with the current attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times last week, Trump said he was angry with Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into ties between Trump campaign officials from Russia.
The president said he never would've tapped Sessions for attorney general had he known the former senator would recuse himself from the probe.
"Sessions should have never recued himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else," Trump told the New York Times in an interview.
A little side observation: Conversely, it doesn't matter if S-H rips you a new one, either. He may sit down with you, as he has here with the New York Times, and give you all kinds of revealing tidbits with which to dominate a news cycle.


But with regard to dissing Sessions, he got right back into it this week:

Trump also slammed the "beleaguered" attorney general, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, in a tweet Monday morning for not investigating Hillary Clinton.
"So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?" Trump tweeted.
Perhaps the way top officials and close confidants come and go with S-H is why, according to a MediaEthics.org poll, only 27 percent of Americans think he will serve out his term.  With the flightiness he demonstrates daily, I wouldn't be surprised if many among the other 73 percent think he may just fire himself.

UPDATE: Recommended reading: Michael Brendan Dougherty's NRO piece "Donald Trump Is a Nightmare Boss."

Monday roundup

There was a moment of giddiness last November when Squirrel-Hair, with outgoing Indiana governor Pence in tow, struck a deal at Carrier's Indianapolis plant to save 800 jobs set to be transferred to Mexico. Well, pink slips are starting to be issued in a 338-job layoff there. Different reason - the jobs are being automated rather than sent to Mexico -  but the six-month bit of breathing room for middle-aged workers was somewhat, shall we say, briefer than they'd been led to believe when S-H pulled his grandstanding stunt. This is what you get when you elect a president who has never given a microsecond's thought to how the free market works.

Peter Heck at The Resurgent reports on the latest developments on the cultural-rot front:

If anyone is looking for clarification on just how stupid we have allowed ourselves to become, an actual conversation that took place between supposed American adults and that is now making its way around social media, pretty well provides it.
Fair warning, though I have substituted for some terminology in the conversation, it’s nature is raw and rather explicit:
  • Sean McManus: Isn’t trans sex inherently queer? If I were having sex with a transwoman that had a penis, and I stimulated that penis [orally] and [rectally], it would fall under [queer].
  • Shay Serenity: Nope. If you’re a cishet (cisgender heterosexual) man having sex with a woman you are having straight sex.
  • Sean McManus: Something about {orally stimulating a penis] just feels queer to me though
  • Sasha Tourk: Well, it’s not. It’s a woman’s penis. It would only define as gay if you were a woman as well.
As a father of three young children, I shutter to think all of the various versions of “the talk” I’m going to have to have with my kids. The days of an evening chat or a sitting-on-the-end-of-the-bed conversation about the birds and the bees are long past. I’m fully anticipating needing to prepare an entire lecture series that spans a couple months.
The first two weeks will be spent breaking down new vocabulary – stupid words society has recently concocted and pretends are real things when they’re not. Things like “cisgender,” “heteronormativity,” and “androgyne non-binary.”
Then we’ll have to spend a few days on what is offensive and what is not offensive terminology. When I grew up, “queer” was a derogatory term that demeaned effeminate boys. And while I think it can still be used that way, it is also employed intentionally by some as their self-professed sexual identity.
And for the love of Pete, I’m going to have to make sure I include a thorough explanation of the new pretend-reality that says sexual attractions are innate, inborn, and unchanging (and how it should be illegal and regarded as child abuse to attempt to change them through counseling), while sex (or gender) is a mere social construct that can be fluid and change daily depending on mood.
Mayonnaise-Hair's IT guy's hard drive is now in FBI hands:


FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, an individual whom FBI investigators interviewed in the case told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.
An additional source in Congress with direct knowledge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis.
Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
Tech millionaire and homosexual activist Tim Gill is the point man in the faith-haters' push to stamp out the religious-freedom-legislation movement, saying he intends to "punish the wicked."

Memo to Palestinians: If you don't want metal detectors at the Temple Mount, then don't be shooting Israeli soldiers stationed there. 

You can't just shut down the Russia investigation

I don't see how Trump can fire Mueller.

Yes, there are compelling reasons for doing so. To a person, everybody on Mueller's 14-person staff is a Democrat who has contributed to Dem campaigns. The scope of the investigation is already metastasizing. The investigation is serving as a distraction from the far more plainly discernible Russian connections of the Clinton machine, not to mention as a distraction from the agenda that Republicans would like to pursue.

But there is an undeniable stench wafting off Trump's own maneuvers throughout all this. As David French at NRO has reminded us, it was questionable Russia dealings that led to the departure of a campaign chair, national-security adviser and foreign-policy adviser. Then there is the meeting in the Oval Office with Kislyak in which, in his signature style, Trump bragged about firing Comey and called him a "nut-job" - and shared classified information. Of course, there is also the "I'd love that!" line in Jared Kushner's email exchange with Rob Goldman.

Another NRO piece on this, by Andrew McCarthy, shows that Assistant AG Rosenstein, in order to burnish his impartiality bona fides, gave Mueller a free reign in the investigation's scope that Justice Department regulations don't actually allow him to grant. You think Capitol-Hill Dems had any interest in bringing that up with him?

Then there is the latest tweet flurry from DJT himself, full of whining ("It's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President.") and gloating ("As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!"). This is not the alpha-male behavior that DJT's slavish devotees think he exhibits.

So, while there's validity to the witch-hunt view of this, there's also the recklessness factor. 

To just say, "Can Mueller and let's get on with the agenda the American people want from our government!" is to gloss over too many actual questionable developments, developments that stem from the fact that we elected as president someone unfit for the office.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Think-tank experts need to keep first principles in mind when they offer prescriptions for issues

I think a paragraph from my "Further Explorations" post this morning needs some additional fleshing-out.

A guy like Schlichter is just as culpable as any pussy-hat marcher for the death of Western civilization. The whole where-have-the-position-papers-from-the-think-tank-pointy-heads-gotten-us mentality is nothing short of Jacobin.
This is particularly so, since, along with Kurt Schlichter, someone else has been on my mind lately for his damage to actual conservatism. The kind of damage and the reason for inflicting it are different, but it's damage nonetheless.

I'm speaking of the American Enterprise Institute's James C. Capretta. Here's what I wrote about him in a recent post:

Economic viewpoints? They range from Elizabeth Warren-style redistributionism to libertarian clamorings for a pure free market. In between are odd phenomena such as the insistence of the American Enterprise Institute's James Capretta that any alternative to the "A"CA include strong tax-policy incentives for people to not let their insurance coverage lapse, a heavy-handed, government-based stance for an ostensible champion of economic liberty to take. It's the government-has-to-do-something mentality that has led to Congressional paralysis over the "A"CA's repeal.
Neo-neocon wrote about him today, remarking on Capretta's latest piece, "The GOP's Collision With Health Care Reality." The relevant part here is when she discusses . . .

 . . . Capretta’s final suggestion for the GOP, a piece of advice that seems even more divorced from reality than the GOP’s actual behavior:

To get a better result with a renewed push, the GOP should include willing Democratic senators in the conversation. The party should understand that the goal should be a plan that costs less, reduces regulations, and injects serious market discipline into the system, even while ensuring all Americans have ready access to insurance. That may mean finding a compromise approach on giving individuals strong incentives to enroll in health insurance. The party should also work with GOP governors to find a reasonable and affordable compromise on Medicaid, one that provides for significant reform of the program, with more state control and clear federal budgetary restraints, while also providing a safety net to all Americans with incomes below the poverty line.
It would have been easier, and more fruitful, to pursue a bipartisan deal of this kind in the weeks after the election. That was when Republicans had the most power. But they still have some leverage. They should use it when the time is right to begin the process of moving health policy in a direction more to their liking. That will inevitably be less satisfying to some than writing a bill entirely on their own because of the compromises that will be necessary, but this kind of legislation would be far more likely to pass, and also survive when political control inevitably changes again. 
The sole exception to the disconnect from reality expressed there is one sentence that makes sense to me: “The party should also work with GOP governors to find a reasonable and affordable compromise on Medicaid…”. Other than that, I’m not sure what world Capretta is living in, but it’s not the one I’ve been observing for well over a decade. I don’t see any possibility of compromise on the part of the Democrats, who threw down the partisan gauntlet when they passed Obamacare in the first place. On Obamacare, the only compromise they will accept is complete capitulation from the GOP. 
You may be seeing why I bring this up in a post that starts out lambasting a Trump water-carrier for pooh-poohing think tank scholars.

My point here is that a guy like Capretta makes it sticky for a guy like me to defend think-tank scholars. His view of the health-care situation is so mired in wonkery that he can no longer see what his premise ought to be (individual liberty). Indeed, he is so ate up that, as Neo points out, he actually thinks reaching across the aisle to the anti-freedom folks would have some point to it.

Fortunately, we have the likes of the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner to counteract such pointy-headedness:

1. Health care is neither a right nor a privilege; it’s a commodity. Worse, it’s a finite commodity. There are only so many doctors, so many hospitals, and so much money, and there are limits to how much these things can be expanded. That’s why no health-care system, outside Bernie Sanders’s fantasies, provides unlimited care to everyone.

Every health-care system in the world rations care in some way, either through bureaucratic fiat (Scandinavia, the U.K.), waiting lists (Canada), or price (that’s us). One can argue about which of these rationing mechanisms is fairest or most efficient, but let’s not pretend that it won’t occur.
 2. Coverage is not access. Democrats like to pretend that giving everyone a piece of paper called insurance guarantees them access to the care they need. It’s sort of like magic. Say the right words, and poof, medical care appears. But in the real world it doesn’t work that way.

For example, take Medicaid, which is responsible for more than half the increase in coverage under Obamacare. Nearly a third of primary-care physicians won’t accept Medicaid patients.
3. The uninsurable are uninsurable. Let us remember that the definition of “pre-existing condition” is: someone who is already sick. It’s a little like driving your car into a tree and then trying to retroactively buy auto insurance. It won’t work. Insurance is the business of spreading risk. But for someone who, say, has cancer, there’s no risk to spread, just cost. That’s not insurance, it’s paying for health care.

Obamacare tried to square this circle by mandating that young and healthy people buy insurance to offset the cost of providing care to those already sick. It turns out that didn’t work. Not enough healthy people signed up to pay for the influx of sick people. Insurance companies either dropped out of the market, cut back on high-quality providers, or raised premiums. All of this forced more healthy people out of the insurance pool and threatened an adverse-selection death spiral.
4. Medicare is not a success. Faced with the wreckage of Obamacare, Democrats are increasingly embracing the once controversial idea of “Medicare for all.” Most of them would start slowly, with a Trojan-horse “public option,” a taxpayer-subsidized plan that would undercut private insurance, but the result would still be a government-run national health-care plan based on Medicare. 
We need to arrange a beer summit for Capretta and Tanner so the latter can school the former - and thereby put a cork in the pie holes of "populism" fans.


That's quite a turnaround

Ed Willing at The Resurgent asks, "Am I the Only One Creeped Out By This?"

No, Ed, LITD is plenty creeped out, too.

Yesterday's gushfest at the White House was a sight to behold:

Some highlights from yesterday’s love session:
“The presidents a winner, OK? And what we’re going to do is a lot of winning.”
“I love the mission that the president has.”
“I love the president, I obviously love the country.”
“The President has very good karma, and the world eventually turns back to him.”
“He’s genuinely a wonderful human being.”
“I love the president. I’m very, very loyal to the president.”
“I love these guys. I respect these guys.”
“I love the president.”
“I’ll tell you what I find when I travel around the country, people love him.”
“The president is phenomenal with the press.”
“The president himself is always going to be the president.”
“I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world, and perhaps in history.”
“He’s done a phenomenal job for the American people.”
And the best zinger of the day…

“He’s the most competitive person I’ve ever met, OK? I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on. He’s standing in the key and he’s hitting foul shots and swishing them, ok? He sinks three foot putts.”
A somewhat different tone from that he was taking a few months ago:

President Trump is “going to be the president of the Queens County Bullies Association.”
“I don’t like the way he talks about women.”
“The politicians don’t wanna go at trump because he’s got a big mouth and they’re afraid he’s gonna light them up on FoxNews.”
“You’re an inherited-money dude from Queens County. Bring it on, Don. You’re an inherited-money dude from Queens County.”
“This is right out of Elizabeth Warren’s playbook. Are you a Democratic plant for Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren? Stand here and prove otherwise.”
“He’s a class-divider.”
There's also his track record of donating to Democrat campaigns. Oh, wait, that's actually something he has in common with his boss.

Naturally, Scaramucci gave his first interview to Breitbart, talking about a string of desired "wins" that Steve Bannon has written on a wall.

And the business about how he hopes Sean Spicer "goes out and makes a lot of money."

These people are as hollow as jack-o'-lanterns.

Further exploration of the larger point I was approaching in my last post

I could just link to the latest NRO pieces by Ben Shapiro and Jonah Goldberg, command you to read them, and have probably effectively made 70 percent of my point.

But I have a little more territory I'd like to cover.

I will set the table with a few insights from each of the above links.

Shapiro effectively reputes the argument that the agenda is proceeding in spite of the wince-inducing nature of the person who was elected president:

There have been precisely two big Trump wins for conservatives: Justice Neil Gorsuch, and regulatory reform via the Congressional Review Act and the Environmental Protection Agency.

But Trump has re-enshrined the Iran deal; his greatest defender on Fox News, Tucker Carlson, now spends his evenings browbeating commentators who suggest that Iran poses a threat to the United States. Trump has doubled down on President Obama’s policies on Russia in Syria; his cease-fire deal with the Russians was so bad that even the Israelis rejected it. Trump has not reformed taxes. There is no world in which Obamacare will be repealed. There is no wall, nor will the wall be forthcoming anytime soon.

And I daresay that if we now had a President Cruz, "A"CA repeal would be a done deal or at least underway. He would not be motivated by that which drives Trump: a willingness to sign anything that bolsters the view that he's a winner. He would have brought his understanding of economic freedom to a meeting with kindred spirits on Capitol Hill within the first week of his administration and pressed the matter relentlessly.

Goldberg makes clear the cost to principle that tribalism, of both right and left varieties, is exacting:

Clicks-from-cultists media outlets strive to justify and rationalize every failure as a success and every setback as part of the master plan. If you don’t see it, you’re part of the establishment, a globalist, or an elitist. The RNC is reportedly refusing to support Republican candidates who criticized Donald Trump in the wake of the Access Hollywood video. “[The president] is unhappy with anyone who neglected him in his hour of need,” an anonymous RNC insider explained.

This is sickening madness. If this is true, then the logical inference is that the GOP as a party believes that there was nothing wrong with the president’s conduct, even though he was a Democrat at the time. Or, perhaps, that there is nothing so wrong with what he said — and what he claimed he did — that it can justify breaking faith in the Leader.

That is moral rot on an institutional scale and the people aiding and abetting it should be ashamed of themselves. The party needs to support the president, to be sure. But it must support other things — decency, principles, truth — even more. When it ceases to do that, it ceases to be the Grand Old Party and becomes a Venal New Party.
What I'd like to do now is add some really broad cultural context.

A side gig I've had for many years is teaching rock & roll history, jazz history and blues history at my local Indiana University campus. I anticipate that my merely revealing that can be expected to engender some eye-rolls. Yes, I take state-government money to play Chuck Berry recordings to a classroom mainly comprised of twenty-somethings looking to knock out a three-credit-hour elective. But I've developed a reputation for demanding rigorous thought and the pursuit of true insight. I generally give some Fs.

When I expose the students to the reaction in some quarters of 1950s society to the rise of rock - the assessment that it was a cultural menace - I do my best to invite them to ask why such a view might be taken quite seriously.

Rock, and the sensibility that informed not only that musical genre, but cinema and literature as well, celebrated simplicity, indeed primitivism. Musical principles were learned in that realm in seat-of-the-pants fashion. Both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recount a bus ride they took across Liverpool because they'd heard some guy could teach them how to play a B seventh chord.

Yes, rock & roll as a body of musical achievement is full of some performances and compositions, and threads of influence, that are worthy of being called art, especially given the backdrop of the way overall Western culture has gone over the last 70 years, and what art had to draw upon for content. But the overall trend has been toward ever-less-dignified expressions of - well, what? What the hell is Slipknot trying to say?

And consider all the other harbingers that have been attendant to rock's permeation of our culture. I recently wrote a post on tattoos that I'd recommend if you didn't see it the first time. My main point was that they are an enshrinement of the all-about-me-ism that puts off-limits any institutional attempt to establish standards. Even the military is now agonizing over just what degree of tattoo-ed-ness it's going to accept in recruits.

Did any of you see any coverage of a recent tattoo artists' convention in Medellin, Colombia? It was nothing short of horrifying. People who have had their tongues split and bumps surgically implanted in their foreheads to look more reptilian.

This is not some kind of celebration of individual sovereignty. This is not self-invention. This is nihilism. This is the devil on the prowl. There, I said it.

A question such as "Didn't the British Invasion loosen up societal norms with the introduction of long hair on men?" is of the same type as questions such as "Isn't an impulsive little butterfly tattoo on a cute girl's shoulder a pleasant little lark?" or "Aren't most marijuana smokers mellow yet responsible citizens?" Okay, there are affirmative answers to be given to those questions, but consider that the man bun, an outward expression of acquiescence to the notion of gender fluidity, the above-mentioned tattoo-convention attendees, and the fact that heroin is now as cheap and accessible as weed have their antecedents in seemingly innocuous little cultural moves resistance to which was short-lived.

There is no resistance at all to any cultural development now.

I'm sure Tom Kavanaugh took a few moments to look over his Real Clear Politics piece today before deciding not to edit it further. He no doubt wondered whether enough people would deem it hopelessly cornball and the stuff of broad-brush nostalgia that it might not be worth the effort.

But it's an important essay. The gist is report card from his mother-in-law's childhood:

 . . . which my wife and I stumbled upon in advance of a family reunion last weekend in the Buckeye State. That’s where Loraine Bigler and her eight siblings grew up. Powhatan Point, to be specific. On a farm, to be even more precise. The Bigler kids and their widely spaced neighbors attended a one-room schoolhouse till they entered high school. Imagine that – a lone teacher instilling knowledge and character in charges ranging from age 6 (actually, 5 in Loraine’s case, thanks to a December birthday) to 14. Somehow, it worked.
Can you imagine any school, certainly any public school, holding today's youth to these standards?

Grades were given for reading and writing and ’rithmetic, of course, along with agriculture, civics and the aforementioned thrift. But the bulk of the report card – the two inside facing pages – measures growth both broader and more personal. Under the heading of “Citizenship” are nine focal areas, starting with “Manners” (“courtesy to teachers,” “kindness to associates” and something often missing in our public discourse today, “cleanliness and civility of speech”) and ending with “Punctuality.”
In between are what we might once have defined as all-American values: respect for law, order and authority; truthfulness and self-control; effort to do the best work; interest in community welfare; and, under “Reverence,” “attitude toward things sacred.”
Imagine the ruckus that last item would raise today in public school circles.
There are also seven grading areas that deal with purely personal matters. There’s neatness of dress (including “clothing clean” and “shoes clean”); neatness of person (“face clean,” “nails clean,” “hair brushed”); even posture, among others. The list ends with “weight.”
Again, imagine the uproar such grading areas would spark today, when unkempt appearance and childhood obesity are so commonplace. This is not to say anyone should ever be shamed if they fall short, only that there’s good reason to set — and meet — standards. 
Which brings me back to two really stupid columns I mentioned in the post right under this one. One is by Chris Buskirk at The Journal of American Greatness, and one is by Kurt Schichter at Townhall. Each celebrates the possibility of Kid Rock running for a Senate seat.

Now, Kid Rock is the fruition of the process whereby rock & roll's inherent primitivism has been destined to render it irredeemably worthless. He got his start in the nu-metal movement, which took heavy metal's basic ugliness to unprecedented extremes, and proceeded to incorporate elements of hip-hop and outlaw country into the stringy-haired-working-class-white-guy persona he was cultivating.

Buskirk's embrace of this I can understand. He is, after all, a leading light in the pathetic attempt to impart some kind of intellectual coherence to the Trump phenomenon.

But Schichter was not a Trump fan at all during last year's primaries, and even after Trump's nomination was a fait accompli, Schichter was of the binary-choice school that acknowledged that a Trump victory was not going to usher in a conservative paradise, and would probably be closer to a train wreck.

Lately, though, he's gone full Buskirk, relishing an in-your-face stance vis-a-vis principled conservatism:

Kid Rock? Oh, well I never!” You simpering sissies. I’ll take his nasty stringy mop and torn wife beater over your preferred weasels’ coiffed politician/newscaster hair and Gucci loafers.
No, he didn’t go to some Ivy League snob factory and all he’s got to rely on are attitudecommon sense, and a love of actual Americans (especially our troops). But wait - you want “conservatism.” A fat lot of good your version of conservatism’s done us. It’s always waiting up there ahead, just after the next election cycle, and in the meantime, we’ll compromise and make some more excuses.
No, we’re past voting for the ideology. Now we’re ready to vote for the id.
A guy like Schlichter is just as culpable as any pussy-hat marcher for the death of Western civilization. The whole where-have-the-position-papers-from-the-think-tank-pointy-heads-gotten-us mentality is nothing short of Jacobin.

I've always relied on the most rigorous thought processes I could muster to substantiate my argument. But you know what really committed me to my stance? Good old intuition. From the moment the guy hedged about running for president, saying, "I really don't have to; my businesses are doing so fantastically well, and I'm really rich," I just had a feeling that something was very wrong with what was unfolding.

And, in spite of a few moments when despair has encroached on my thought processes, I've had an attendant feeling that the think tanks and magazines of actual conservatism were going to be just fine, and that the efforts of this populist-nationalist sociocultural hiccup to scrape together some kind of legitimization for itself was going to falter.


The final verdict is far from in, but I just have a feeling I'm on the right track.

On the MRC reversing course on giving Hannity the Buckley Award

A good move:

Fox News Channel star anchor Sean Hannity will no longer receive the conservative Media Research Center's William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence at its September 21 gala, sources familiar with the situation tell CNN.

Buckley, the founder of the National Review, who died in 2008, was hailed in his day as "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States." Giving an award in his name to Hannity -- a pugnacious talk radio host who has shared conspiracy theories on his popular cable news show -- had caused hand wringing among some conservatives. 
It also caused distress among Buckley's family -- in particular his only child, best-selling author Christopher Buckley. 
A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley "expressed great dismay" at the announcement that the award would go to Hannity, who has spent a great deal of time insulting conservative intellectuals on Twitter, particularly since he became a strong supporter of Donald Trump.
Buckley, sources say, called the Media Research Center and expressed his disapproval. Sources tell CNN that the MRC acquiesced and will no longer give the award to him. Hannity has since been removed from the gala website. 
Sources tell CNN that the MRC leadership discussed ways to allow Hannity to save face by acting as if a scheduling conflict would prevent him from accepting the award. 
"It's my understanding there was a scheduling conflict," Ryan Moy, a spokesman for the MRC, told CNN. 
A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley said of the concocted scheduling excuse: "perhaps Mr. Hannity has been offered the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award on the same evening and had decided to leverage upwards." 
The MRC's founder, Brent Bozell, is William F. Buckley's nephew. 
Through a Fox News Channel spokesperson, Hannity said he is unable to attend the event that night and be there in person to accept the award. 
After the initial announcement by MRC that Hannity would receive the media award, many conservative writers and intellectuals expressed dismay. Perhaps most notably, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote an entire column about it, decrying the move as evidence of an overall trend towards anti-intellectualism among the conservative movement. 
Hannity has since taken to heaping vituperation amply laced with the Trumpian phrase "fake news" on Stephens as well as Jake Tapper on Twitter. Probably others as well.

I've never liked Hannity. I've always considered him a poor polemicist. He relies on memorized talking points, he interrupts callers and guests, and lapses into trite characterizations ("How come you and your liberal friends never . . . "). He is utterly lacking in imagination. I remember when he mourned the loss of his 15-year-old dog Snowball on his radio show, I thought, he strikes me as the kind of guy who'd name a dog "Snowball."

And since Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower two years ago, jumping into the political fray and upending the process thereby, Hannity has been the face of the phenomenon's most disturbing aspects.

I'm running short on time, so I can't expand the scope of this post, but a larger point is brewing. I think about Chris Buskirk's absolutely stupid column at The Journal of American Greatness (one of those venues, like American Affairs, that is on the fool's errand of trying to impart some intellectual coherence to the Trump phenomenon) waxing rhapsodic over Kid Rock's possible Senate run, and Kurt Schlichter's equally stupid Townhall column about the same thing. There is something dangerous going on here, an attempt to vilify intellectual rigor and the prioritization of clarity.

As I say, I have to go now, but at least I've set the table.

Conservatism is a real thing. Trying to define, let alone cultivate, some kind of Trumpism, is akin to nailing Jell-o to the wall.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How will 2017 Pubs deal with crunch time should that come about?

And bear in mind that neither of these pieces deal with the latest development: Sean Spicer's resignation, because he refused to have to report to Anthony Scaramucci.

The two pieces are one by David French at NRO, and one by Noah Rothman at Commentary.

Rothman takes us through the dizzying pace of events of the last day and a half:

The events of the last 36 hours unrolled like a cascade. Late Wednesday, the New York Times published an interview in which Trump delivered a stinging rebuke for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, scolding him for recusing himself from the investigation into the campaign’s ties to Russian operatives. In that interview, Trump appeared to warn special counselor Robert Mueller not to dig too deeply into his personal finances, or else.
Hours later, Bloomberg News revealed that Mueller’s probe was investigating Trump’s business transactions and tax records—a leak surely made in response to Trump’s arm-twisting. More leaks from the investigation confirmed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was being investigated for involvement in a money-laundering scheme, a revelation made more discomfiting by the discovery that he owed pro-Russian interests $17 million before joining the Trump campaign.
With the noose tightening, the lead attorney on Trump’s personal defense team, Marc Kasowitz, and the legal team’s spokesperson, Mark Corallo, resigned. The Washington Post reported that “Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.” Trump’s spokespeople insist the president has no intention of pursuing the dismissal of the special counsel investigating his campaign, but his every action indicates that this is a lie.
Prominent Republicans reacted to all this incredulously. “There is no possible way anybody at the White House could be seriously thinking about firing Mueller,” Sen. Bob Corker insisted. “We all know the president,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch. “He makes some of these comments that he really doesn’t mean.” Sen. Susan Collins was willing to go a bit farther: “It would be catastrophic if the President were to fire the special counsel.”
Off the record, however, Republican lawmakers are far less circumspect in relaying their fears about what the president is capable of doing to the republic. “Any thought of firing the special counsel is chilling. It’s chilling,” an unnamed GOP senator told CNN. “One gets the impression that the President doesn’t understand or he willfully disregards the fact that the attorney general and law enforcement in general—they are not his personal lawyers to defend and protect him,” another added.
French speaks plainly about a major motivator of Capitol Hill Republicans: fear.
There are very few true-believer Trump allies on Capitol Hill. Sure, there are many folks who are genuinely impressed with the man’s electoral victory and admire his intense connection with his base, but even most of them would admit that he was their last choice in the primaries, that they voted for him because they considered the alternative to be worse, and that the main attraction of his presidency is the chance to pass conservative policies and confirm conservative nominees. They don’t trust him and they don’t like him. But — and this is important — at some level many of them fear him, or at least fear what he could do to their careers.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Here we are, six months into his first term, and aside from the Judge Gorsuch nomination, meaningful conservative victories have been few and far between. Scandals and self-inflicted wounds abound. Planned Parenthood is still funded, Obamacare is still alive, and tax reform is still mainly a pipe dream. Trump has proven that he can and will blow up any and all news cycles at will. He’s proven that he sees loyalty as a one-way street: “You’re for me, and I’m for me.” No matter your record of previous support or friendship, you must do what he wants or face his public wrath. Yet still the GOP wall holds.

Already Republicans have proven their capacity to defend conduct they’d howl about if the president were a Democrat. Trump has lost a campaign chair, national-security adviser, and foreign-policy adviser as a result of deceptions or problematic ties to Russia and its allies. His campaign chair, son, and son-in law took a meeting with Kremlin-linked Russian officials in furtherance of a professed Russian-government plan to help him win. He impulsively shared classified information with the Russian ambassador to Washington. He fired FBI director James Comey, unquestionably misled America about his reason for doing so, and trashed Comey’s reputation in front of our Russian foes. He and his team have made so many false statements about Russia that an entire cottage industry of YouTube videos exists to chronicle them.

It's the same kind of fear that prevents them from putting economic liberty front and center in the quest for the way to the repeal the "A"CA.

You will notice who the most truly confident Republican federal lawmakers are. They are the ones who are willing to come in for not only howls of derision from the Left, but the Left's signature absolute viciousness. And they do it with smiles on their faces, because they know what their principles are, and they know those principles are right.

You don't have to wrap yourself in wonkish terminology and flimsy platitudes when you are right.

But the biggest test of whether there's enough of that confidence to matter may be upon us.

In any event, can anyone say that either the Republican-controlled White House or the Republican-controlled Capitol is knocking out a bold, historic agenda, undistracted by arcane investigations, petty turf battles and political fear?

No, and that doesn't speak well of the party that's the ostensible repository of free-market principles, solid moral grounding and an unflinching view of the world stage.

Which might mean handing back the reins of power to the party that is the agent of pure darkness in post-America.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday roundup

Caffeinated Thoughts has an eye-opening post about the insidious true objective of the push for "service learning" on university campuses.

The post below is about Jeff Sessions. In the situation dealt with there, he has some solid ground to stand on, as he thought he had a relationship of mutual loyalty with Trump. But there's another Sessions-related development that disturbs me greatly. If he has any compelling reason for pushing for civil asset forfeiture at a time when state governments are moving away from it, now - not five minutes from now - is the time to outline it plainly and fully. Every second he delays does palpable harm to his conservative bona fides.

The Women's March movement wishes a happy birthday to Joanne Chesimard. Its justifications for doing so are beyond lame.

The CIA is going to quit arming anti-Assad-but-also-anti-ISIS rebels in Syria. One way to look at it is that it fits into the overall incoherence of US Syria policy going back many years. The previous administration and the current one have veered back and forth from being overtly anti-Assad - to the extent, in an action a couple of months ago, of firing off 59 missiles at a Syrian government airbase - to saying the US and Russia have common aims there. It's probably the humane thing to do, given that the rebels had become pawns of a very confused policy.

And then there is Syria's neighbor to the north. Turkey's drift away from NATO will have ramifications - not good for the West, but beneficial to Russia, Iran and China.

One of his first and staunchest supporters gets thrown under the bus

The New York Times has the audio of its interview with Trump, in which he discusses the current state of his relations with Jeff Sessions as well as how the Russia investigation is encroaching on his family.

Why anybody would clamor to be in this guys' inner circle is beyond me. He talks a great deal about loyalty, but he's pretty bad about reciprocating it.

Plus, as Jay Caruso at Red State points out, recusal is not something that would have come out in the pre-nomination conversations between Trump and Sessions:



Sessions recused himself nearly a month after his confirmation. It’s a sure thing Sessions didn’t think he’d have to recuse himself when he first accepted Trump’s offer.
Notice too, the language Trump uses. Once again, the supposedly tough guy alpha-male complained twice in a minute about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself as “very unfair.”
Well, hey, the guy says that whining is an important arrow in his quiver.

Memo to the slavish devotees: Can you finally smell it?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The perilous emptiness at the center of post-American society

Here at LITD, we've long noted the fragmentation of post-America. It's occurred on numerous levels, including economic viewpoints, foreign policy viewpoints, political parties, enthusiasts of one or another figure within parties, sociocultural advocacy movements (including those focused on race, gender and sexuality), education, and popular culture.

It seems that the current atmosphere makes it prohibitive for someone to walk into the room, pick up the chalk and announce a grand vision for a way back to some semblance of unity.

Especially given what has happened this year: None of the factions that have hardened around the above points of focus is doing well.

Economic viewpoints? They range from Elizabeth Warren-style redistributionism to libertarian clamorings for a pure free market. In between are odd phenomena such as the insistence of the American Enterprise Institute's James Capretta that any alternative to the "A"CA include strong tax-policy incentives for people to not let their insurance coverage lapse, a heavy-handed, government-based stance for an ostensible champion of economic liberty to take. It's the government-has-to-do-something mentality that has led to Congressional paralysis over the "A"CA's repeal.

Foreign policy viewpoints? How about the current administration's cognitive dissonance regarding the Syria-Iran-Russia tangle? Trump meets with Putin, arrives at a southwestern Syria ceasefire, and immediately makes two good US allies, Israel and Jordan, very nervous at the protected presence of Hezbollah on their borders. Secretary of State Tillerson proclaims that the US and Russia have common aims in Syria, and his camp within the administration prevails on the question of whether to continue to be a party to the JPCOA, of which Iran is making a mockery.

Political parties? The Democrats have no bench to speak of, let alone any fresh policy proposals. The Republicans are, as mentioned above, in a state of paralysis that has led to a historically unproductive Congress even as it enjoys dominance in that branch it hasn't seen for nearly a century.

Enthusiasts for one or another figure within the parties? There is, of course, the base for Donald Trump, which harbors the delusion that there is some coherent vision for America that can be called Trumpism and even goes so far as to found a supposedly erudite but in fact idiotic venue called the Journal for American Greatness to attempt to validate that delusion. Outside of that camp, however, Trump can't seem to rise above a 40 percent approval rating. There is a Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren-Kamala Harris groundswell within the Democrat party, but it fails to appeal to anyone outside itself. Beyond a few magazines and websites (such as this one), there doesn't seem to be a critical mass of enthusiasts for the truly conservative figures in the Republican Party and Congress (Cruz, Lee, Sasse, Rubio), largely because that faction has been so effectively shouted down by the Trump water-carriers.

Sociocultural advocacy movements? Not only do they get more ridiculous by the day, but they are badly fragmented among themselves, witness the recent dustups between Black Lives Matter and the LGBT people. Then there are the devil's bargains that are struck, such as the leadership of Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing sharia advocate, of the Women's March.

Education? The identity-politics jackboots at the University of Missouri thought they were ushering in a new era of flourishing social justice in 2015. Two years later, the school is shuttering dormitories. There are now even Evergreen State College students mustering the courage to speak out about the totalitarian atmosphere on their campus.

Popular culture? Of course, it continues to be a sewer of coarseness and vulgarity, but even that realm has been subdivided into camps that cling to various genres within various entertainment forms, to the economic detriment of the companies that deliver those forms' products. The record and live performance industries are is dismal shape, as is the movie business. Stars in one genre are completely unknown to fans of any other genre.

What is the effect on daily life in post-America? Economic growth remains subpar eight years into the recovery from the last recession, with small-business startups historically low, and a huge segment of the working-age population still out of the workforce. The reason is the failure of policy-makers to unburden the economy of the regulation and taxation with which it's been yoked for decades. Social media is a minefield in which friendships are terminated over political affiliation, divergent moral codes, and even matters of aesthetic taste. College graduates can't place the Civil War within thirty years of when it actually happened. Shakespeare is demonized.

We haven't even mentioned religion, have we?  What does a snapshot of that realm look like? We see that Jewish college students are succumbing to the boycott-and-divest browbeating, and supporting Israel less and less. Mainline Protestant churches drape rainbow flags from their churchyard fences, and "We Stand With Muslims" signs adorn their lawns.

Even evangelical circles are displaying an openness to the idea of homosexual "marriage."

Is there a lesson in all this? It seems that as societal factions dig in with their insistence on Godless solutions, their ability to step up and move the needle on the overall malaise diminishes. It may be good to have society's malevolent players rendered ineffectual, but in the absence of something that is both strong and righteous, a vacuum is thereby created. And we all know how nature feels about vacuums.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Of Title IX and God's law

Real Clear Politics, in its daily lineup of front-page links to op-eds, columns and essays, often juxtaposes two divergent views on particular topics, so the reader can do an easy, side-by-side compare-and-contrast.

Such is the case today with two takes on the current state of Title IX.

Let's start with a Baltimore Sun column by a 2015 Johns Hopkins graduate named Eliza Schultz. She must be given credit for taking a cautionary tone rather than a strident one when expressing her concern for how the DeVos-era Department Education is going to treat Title IX:

The Department of Education under Ms. DeVos has signaled plans to discontinuean Obama administration practice of publishing a list of institutions under investigation for potential violations of Title IX. Our complaint prompted the administration to investigate Johns Hopkins and include it on the list updated in August of 2014. It was in part because of that policy of transparency — which went into effect just weeks before we went public with our complaint — that Johns Hopkins had to take full responsibility for, and begin to correct, its own failures. Once its name appeared on the list, administrators could no longer ignore the problem.
Secretary DeVos might also rescind the Dear Colleague letter guidance that made students across the country aware of our civil right to learn in an environment free of sexual violence. The guidance made clear that institutions like Johns Hopkins were required to provide the accommodations survivors needed to remain on campus, to ensure fair processes for both parties and to adjudicate cases in a timely manner. Before the Dear Colleague letter was issued, survivors didn’t know that they had those rights or were entitled to those resources, and so institutions routinely refused to provide them. The result, in many cases, was that students were left with no option but to drop out to avoid further harm.
Ascribing motives to what someone does or does not include in the crafting of a polemical case requires knowing as much as possible about what might be included. So we can't be sure why Schultz so cursorily describes the incident that fueled her interest in this subject:

In 2013, a gang rape was reported inside a fraternity house. The student body remained oblivious to the report — despite campus officials’ legal obligations to disclose it — and hundreds continued to attend the fraternity’s parties in the year that followed. 
Is that all the information we're going to get?

There are indeed more details to be had:

Chaz Haggins, 20, and Ethan Turner, 19, both of Reisterstown, were arrested on charges of rape and sexual assault stemming from the alleged attack at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon party the early morning of Nov. 2.
No attorneys were listed for Haggins or Turner in court records. They were being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Their arrest follows a report by a 16-year-old girl who told police that two men forced her to perform sex acts before they raped her at the party.
Haggins and Turner are not members of the fraternity, nor are they students at Johns Hopkins, university spokesman Dennis O'Shea said.

Rather important little factor in the overall implications of this story, is it not? Kind of mitigates the rape-culture-in-fraternities narrative, wouldn't you say?

And Schultz, per the above observation that she avoids some shrill indictment of DeVos, couches her argument as being that DeVos "may" undermine the relevant Title IX provisions.

But what has DeVos actually done so far, and how is it different from any previous DoE regime?

Last week, Department of Education secretary Betsy DeVos did something extraordinary: after meeting with students who said that they were sexually assaulted in college, she spoke with seven others who claimed that their institutions had found them guilty of sexual assaults that they did not commit. She also met with a group of lawyers and education administrators, including two attorneys who have represented students accused of sexual assault in subsequent lawsuits against their colleges.
Hearing both sides of a controversial issue would seem routine for any policymaker, but that hasn’t been the case for campus sexual assault. Catherine Lhamon, who headed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Obama administration, refused to meet with groups advocating on behalf of accused students. She even initially declined, in writing, to confer with representatives from FIRE, the nation’s preeminent campus civil-liberties organization. Lhamon’s approach reflected the Obama administration’s strategy of redefining Title IX—the federal law banning sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funds—without soliciting public feedback. The administration made two important policy changes—one in 2011, the other in 2014—not as regulations, which require public notice and comment, but as “guidance” documents. Then, when asked whether the Education Department expected colleges to follow blindly the documents’ demands as if they were regulations, Lhamon said yes.
Ignoring critics allowed Obama’s OCR to avoid addressing the myriad dubious assumptions, and in some cases outright myths, upon which it relied to construct its one-sided Title IX policy—especially the premise that colleges could dramatically erode due-process protections for accused students without just as dramatically increasing the chances of wrongfully finding them guilty. Up to now, the OCR mandate that has attracted the most attention is the one letting colleges use the lowest standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) in campus sexual-assault cases, even as the schools remain free to use a higher standard (beyond a reasonable doubt) for students accused of trivial offenses, such as petty vandalism. But other OCR stipulations, such as its 2014 assertion that allowing cross-examination of accusers “may perpetuate a hostile environment”—thereby violating Title IX protections—have had an even stronger negative effect. Fearful of negative media or OCR investigations, colleges have scrambled to create disciplinary systems in which students accused of sexual assault are presumed guilty and denied the tools to prove their innocence. As a California appellate judge remarked during oral argument in a due-process lawsuit: “When I . . . finished reading all the briefs in this case, my comment was, ‘Where’s the kangaroo?’”
And, sorry, Ms. Schultz, but Title IX really isn't a remedy for your concerns:


George Mason University law professor David Bernstein recently noted that, despite the Obama administration’s reading of the statute, “Title IX itself doesn’t actually speak to specific procedural protections.” More broadly, according to Bernstein, it requires an “aggressive interpretation of Title IX to think it speaks to student-on-student sexual assault at all.” 
 And calling upon it to provide such a remedy can do real damage to innocent people's lives:

Nikki Yovino was a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., last fall when she accused two of the university’s football players of raping her at a party. The football players both admitted they had sex with Yovino, but said it was consensual. Police say Yovino subsequently confessed she had fabricated the rape claim:
“She admitted that she made up the allegation of sexual assault against (the football players) because it was the first thing that came to mind and she didn’t want to lose (another male student) as a friend and potential boyfriend. She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her,” the affidavit states.
Yovino, now 19, was charged with “charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The tampering charge is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.” Last month, prosecutors offered her a plea bargain of two years in prison, followed by three years’ probation. In a court appearance Friday, however, Yovino blamed her crime on mental illness:
Nikki Yovino filed an application in court Friday saying she’s suffering from a psychiatric disability, The Connecticut Post reports.
The 19-year-old from South Setauket, New York, will undergo a psychological evaluation. A judge will decide whether she qualifies for a pretrial diversionary program. If she qualifies and completes that program she could have the charges dismissed.
Prosecutors say they’ll contest Yovino’s request. . . .
Yovino’s motive for lying — fear that she’d lose a prospective boyfriend if he found out about her romp with two football players — is reminiscent of the motive for the rape hoax at UVA, where Jackie Coakley tried to catfish a guy she liked by inventing “Haven Monahan.” Coakley’s dramatic fictional gang-rape at a frat house, a desperate attempt to gain sympathy, became a national story in 2014 amid the campus “rape culture” hysteria ginned up by the Obama administration and its feminist allies. A major factor in that hysteria was the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) using Title IX to threaten universities for allegedly failing to punish sexual assault. This witch-hunt frenzy resulted in male students being falsely accused of rape and denied their due-process rights in campus kangaroo-court disciplinary proceedings.
Since Trump’s election, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has sought to curtail the OCR’s witch-hunt, which Scott Greenfield says led to “flagrant discrimination against males” on campus. Feminists have demonized DeVos for trying to end this anti-male discrimination. DeVos was branded a “powerful handmaiden to a hegemonic white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy” by University of Kentucky lecturer Marta Mack-Washington. But the real problem on university campuses is not capitalism or patriarchy, it’s a culture of irresponsibility fueled by identity politics and “social justice” narratives of oppression and victimhood.
I gave some thought to putting the word "innocent" in quotes. Certainly, from a technical standpoint, that is what the football players were.

But, you see, there is another dimension to this, one that is pretty much off-limits for discussion in 2017 post-America: the blot those football players, and indeed, anyone engaging in sex outside the parameters established by almighty God, have entered into the divine record book. (It probably bears mentioning that it's one I live with daily.)

It would be off-puttingly corny to mention, in a context like this, the relative absence of these kinds of problems in the long-gone era of living-unit curfews and house mothers. But those conventions were based on an unflinching recognition about some truths concerning human nature.

Ditto a comparison of pop-music lyrics from such an era with those of today. But let's consider it anyway.

Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO observes the inescapable ubiquitousness of pop-culture coarseness:

But first: Have you noticed that it’s near impossible to go anywhere without noise? I find — in Ubers, in restaurants, wherever there is any kind of wait or chance to think — it tends to be one of three refrains, see if they sound familiar:

I, I love you like a love song, baby. I, I love you like a love song baby. . . . And I keep hitting re-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat . . . only to break into another triplet of I, I love you like a love song baby. 
Enough with the re-peat-peat-peat. Then fast forward to Ed Sheeran’s “love song” of the day; I’m beginning to think there’s never a moment where it’s not playing somewhere:

I’m in love with the shape of you / We push and pull like a magnet do / Although my heart is falling too / I’m in love with your body

And finally, back to Selena Gomez, who issues a protest note:

I’m so sick of that same old love, that sh**, it tears me up / I’m so sick of that same old love, my body’s had enough / Oh-oh-oh (that same old love) . . . / I’m so sick of that same old love, feels like I’ve blown apart. Some “love song.”
Then consider the inherent tension between desire and self-restraint that form the basis for such songs as "Let It Snow," in which the couple snuggling by the fire acknowledges that a moment will come when there's a final good-night kiss and one lover drives home. In the doo-wop era, one could still find such tension - witness "Goodnight Sweetheart" by the Spaniels. Even in the Brill Building era, Goffin and King, in the song "I'm Into Something Good," had the protagonist walking his new thrill home and asking to see her next week.

In 1966, long-haired guitar twangers The Standells were pushing the boundaries a bit by acknowledging the latent rascal in the boy students of Boston-area campuses:

Frustrated women / have to be in by twelve o'clock / but I'm wishin' and a-hopin' / that just once those doors weren't locked.

1966 was also the year that the National Organization for Women was founded. The sexual revolution was well underway as well. Certainly by 1973, when I entered college, the atmosphere was a confusing mix of some kind of newfound "equality" on the part of females and a not-too-well-disguised licking of chops at the unprecedented opportunities for sybaritic abandon on the part of males.

How long did anyone think it was going to take for it all to lead to false accusations of rape, as well as an uptick in real rapes?

The point, once again, as it usually turns out to be, is that there is not court ruling, no federal-agency regulation, no campus "diversity" program that can substitute for universal acknowledgement that divinely handed-down moral codes.

Men and women are different. They derive different kinds of gratification from sex. For this reason, God created marriage and family, so that lovers might be able to come together in an atmosphere of trust and commitment, and bring fort h children who live in a world where real humanity is the norm and every interaction between people does not require tiresome and dehumanizing negotiation.

If you want a world that's not quite so cold and barren, start with looking into how God wants it to be.