America does not have a national election. We have a national election day.

POSTED ON Sep 08th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Law, Politics

I’m invoking spousal privilege of a sort to swipe husband’s post from Facebook. Some Electoral College law geekery in response to the great Rivkin/ Grossman story on the Electoral College in the Wall Street Journal and related to my America Watch intro today.


A colleague sparked a debate in March of this year with this comment “The reason the founding fathers designated the Electoral College as the elector of the President, was in hopes that they would become a thoughtful deliberative body that was not beholden to Congress, etc. and would use wisdom and judgement in selecting the head of the Executive Branch”. A dear, but hard left friend doubted that; he was still an opponent of the EC, well, because Bush (he still suffers from Stage 3 BDS). He hadn’t got the memo from “I’m With Her” that the new view was pro-EC, because otherwise Herself’s margin ain’t looking so good.

Anyway, there’s been a fair amount of poor reporting about the EC. So, here’s a short note on things about the EC that most don’t know or ignore because it is politically inconvenient.

My colleague’s statement of purpose comes pretty much straight out of Federalist No. 68 – one of three primary goals that are identified. Rivkin and Grossman have explained the first idea: that the Electors would be able to prevent a person from becoming President by populism and demagoguery. The EC was intended as a check on the potential for a popular tyrant or demagogue. The Founders had read their Roman history, you know. The second was to ensure that smaller states, as the political sovereigns, retained an important role in the process. The third purpose was to avoid having a standing body in a single location that could be lobbied or influenced in the periods between elections (we’re looking at you, Congress).

The point that a lot of people miss is that Presidency is not a popularly- or nationally-elected office, and it was never intended to be so. It is a National office. But it was – and it remains – a National office filled by the States. Each state is allocated Electors and each State determines how those Electors will be selected. (But not, as the WSJ article points out, how they must vote.)

The rules on Electors highlight the role of the States in the selection of the President and Vice-President – see Art. II, section 1 and the 12th Amendment:

· Electors are determined “in such Manner as the Legislature” of each State “may direct”.*

· Electors may not be federal officials (note: state officials are ok, just not federal ones).

· Electors “shall meet in their respective states” – i.e., not in Washington. They meet, vote and send the ballots to the President of the Senate. No lobbying at the federal seat, thank you. **

· If no one gets a majority for President (or Vice-President), then the House (or Senate) chooses from among the 3 (or 2) leaders in the Electoral vote – i.e., the Congress may only select from those candidates voted for by the States. And the part that always seems to get lost….

· The House votes by State, with each State getting 1 vote (and there are quorum and majority rules for that vote, all intended to make sure that each State has a voice). Idaho and Nebraska have the same vote as New York and California – and that is not a bug, but a feature, in our federal system. If there is no majority in 2016, well, it will be interesting in the House.

Can you say #GodBlessMadison?

There is in fact no provision whatsoever in the Constitution for a national vote for President. The only Constitutionally provided date and vote is the date for “chusing” Electors in the manner that each State provides and having those Electors vote for the two offices on that date.*** The Constitution does not require that a popular vote be held at all – indeed, a State could by statute provide that, on the appointed date, the Legislature will select that State’s Electors with no other instructions whatsoever. Those Electors would then be free to vote in the College for whomever they decided to (and in the manner specified in Article 2 and the 12th Amendment). That was in fact how it was done in earlier years, although all States now have a system of “chusing” Electors by popular vote.

The only conclusion you can reach from reviewing the EC provisions of the Constitution is that this important National event is one in which the States choose a President. This illustrates why various anti-EC ideas, such as the awful National Popular Vote arrangement, are deeply and directly contrary to the fundamental structure of our political system.
*This was one of the keys to the complex Bush v Gore decision in the Supreme Court in 2000. The Court ruled 7-2 that the Equal Protection Clause did not permit different recount methods for different counties in Florida (and thus different persons) and 5-4 that the Florida Legislature was the sole authority for determining the method of Florida’s selection of Florida’s Electors and that the Florida Legislature had determined to comply with the deadline in 3 USC §5, and the Florida Supreme Court had no power to alter that process, and thus terminated the recount. The people of Florida could affect that process through their elections, but the power to change Florida’s system of selecting Electors rested solely with Florida’s Legislature. That is a clearly correct statement of the Constitutional system.

** Yes, delicious irony: Al Gore was the official who, as VP and thus the then-President of the Senate, counted the votes and helped certify the election of George W. Bush. I could watch that C-Span moment forever and never tire of him reading Florida’s ballot on the floor of the Senate. At least Nixon had the grace not to challenge Illinois or Texas in 1960 and to resign when the party told him he’d lost Congress; Gore should be ashamed for what he did to the country.

*** Even the federal statute on Presidential elections acknowledges that nearly everything about the conduct of the election is a State matter. Federal law governs the reporting of results and the conduct of the official election in Congress.

A Supplemental Post for the Supplemental School Supply List

POSTED ON Aug 24th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Footnote Post, Housewifery, Motherhood, PJLifestyle links, US/UK compare and contrast

school suppliesEvery year the kids come home from the first day of school with a supplemental school supply list. (For my UK mother friends who wonder about a school supply list beyond the uniform, no classroom supplies are not a part of tuition. Parents provide everything from pencils to boxes of tissues.)

This year’s Day Two shopping trip annoyed me and a few other ladies I met at the store, so much so that I wrote about it here. But the story continues!

On son’s supplemental list this year: 5 wide ruled composition notebooks. Easy enough, except for the fact that the stores were almost out. Yesterday, I got some of the last 5 they had. When son arrived home, he told me the teacher would not accept these. Parents more efficient than I had gone out and purchased these 70 page Mead notebooks the night before. The teacher rejected them. She wanted the books with 100 pages.

There might have been some yelling to son, not at son, that if she wanted 100 pages then she should have specified that detail. I would not be going out in Houston rush hour to do a third school supply run. He said the books were due tomorrow. I said he would get the books when he got the books. Someone else’s lack of organization is not my emergency. I wasn’t even sure stores would have them in stock at this point. It had been slim pickings earlier. Discussion ensued.

Luckily, hubs had to stop by Target for some Rx refills. He offered to get the 100 page, wide rule composition notebooks. He got the last 5 in the store that weren’t pink or Ninja Turtle. (Son is almost 13. Too cool for cartoon branded stuff.) Checking out took half an hour because 3 of the books were in a set without a barcode. Price checks are rarely speedy, certainly not at 6pm on a Tuesday when a bunch of parents are dealing with the blasted supplemental school supply list.

Is sending out a complete list before school starts really that difficult?

My Taxi Driver Told Me…

POSTED ON Aug 09th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Footnote Post, US Foreign Policy, US/UK compare and contrast

Another blog post by footnote, this one for tomorrow’s America Watch.

I know that New Yorkers consider taxi driver stories cliché, but I see that as just one more way that bubble dwellers maintain their bubble. It makes seeing through the eyes of others uncool. It both puts other perspectives out of reach and elevates the opinion of people who can pay for taxi services above the observations of those who provide those services. I once thought this just annoying but these contrived separations (see also, “never read the comments”) laid the foundation of this terrible election cycle, and I’m done ignoring them.

A guy made me think about something from a fresh perspective. I don’t care if he was a taxi driver.

Oh, and about that comment that if you can’t find inspiration in the Virgin Islands then you need to get out of creative business, this was my office for the week, complete with daughters building in the sand.

BVI Office

Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and other footnotes

POSTED ON Jul 20th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Law, Politics, UK Media, US Media

Footnotes by blogpost [UPDATED below]. These are for my America Watch column the week of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Regarding Trump and the GOP’s unauthorized use of “We are the Champions” for Trump’s entrance 1) yes, they need a license, 2) in other contexts, I’ve researched licensing Queen songs and they are much more reserved about granting licenses than other artists, and 3) representatives for Queen are looking into legal recourse, but perhaps the song will be too popular to protect, something George Lucas discovered when a journalist dubbed Ronald Reagan’s strategic defense initiative “Star Wars”. Regardless, this is a headache that is easy to avoid and that a campaign this far behind in funding and staffing does not need.

Satire, however, is a fair use defense to copyright infringement, so here are some choice re-dubs of Trump’s entrance, Hitchcock, Imperial March…Shrek is my favorite.


Regarding Victor Davis Hanson and Trump’s chances of winning: VDH underestimates how many and how much some want to believe Obama and Hillary. In a year when everything is negative, people will look for the one thing that can make them feel good about voting. Eight years ago, that was the power of voting for the first black president. This year, it is the first woman.

His arguments that Obama’s statements are divisive and her sins so significant might play against someone other than Donald Trump. Outside of those already opposed to Clinton, Trump negates their negatives, Clinton’s in particular. I could write article after article about how terrible Hillary Clinton is for women—I planned just that actually—but the arguments will fall on deaf ears when compared to the alternative, a man facing an active suit that he raped a 13 year old girl. It does not matter if the allegations are true. He has an R next to his name now. He will get no benefit of the doubt or complicit media failing to cover the story. (And while writing this post after submitting my article, I find another sexual harassment allegation high up at the Daily Mail. It is Bill Clinton all over again, but this time post Bill Cosby and when the accused is running as a Republican.)

There is one set of events that might work in Trump’s favor: a continued wave of terrorist attacks here at home. To our horror, that is possible. Regardless, I don’t think Trump enjoys the old Republican assumption of more trustworthiness in national security as much as previous Republican’s did. And I do not think that the FBI report on Hillary Clinton hurts her as much as we think it does when compared to Trump. Most independents/lean right folks I know have focused more on the recommendation not to indict and find her Secretary of State experience more reassuring in this world in meltdown than his blustery proclamations. I find this absurd given how her experience is in forging the meltdown, but that doesn’t change that it is a common view.

As Nate Silver counsels, we will know more in a month, but Trump’s chances of winning are low. Republicans, you chose poorly.


And an additional related note because in this blog to footnote idea, I can. Regarding another display of Trump campaign incompetence, Ted Cruz’s speech in Cleveland last night:

Another piece of BS that has been circulated by the RNC to throw dirt on Ted Cruz is that he gave different remarks on stage than the prepared ones he submitted to the RNC for review. Unfortunately, the RNC screwed themselves on this score by sending to media organization prepared copies of Ted Cruz remarks which show that Cruz said exactly what his prepared remarks indicated.

In fact, in response to the news that Cruz was going to make a speech that did not explicitly endorse him, Trump intentionally chose to escalate the situation by leaking the news to friendly delegations and instructing them to boo Cruz to make this a bigger deal that it otherwise would have been. If Trump’s delegates had not booed and caused a ruckus, but instead had remained silent or applauded at Cruz’s exhortation to vote for down ticket races, everyone today would be talking about Pence and his speech, and the discussion would be about positive things associated with Trump and Pence and how they are going to move forward after the convention to at least possible victory.

A totally typical mom-blog post

POSTED ON Jul 05th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Adult Beverages, Holidays, Hosting, Motherhood, Village Restoration

…wondering if I remember how to do these.

So, the Lofti village restoration by party plan continues. We do two big bash, mix and match everyone parties, New Year’s Eve and July the 4th.

4th of July decorations

Pre-party prep

As it is the 5th of July, today is recovery day, and this year we are not flying off to London the next day. Well, Jim is but the rest of us are having a quiet, if hot, July. So no fun adventures with passports. (Come to think of it, no fun adventures with possums, either.)

Since we stayed, there were lots of sleepover requests. I had six supplemental children last night. That’s fine, and much less crazy than previous Lofti 4ths (see posts about passports and possums). It’s good summer fun and they were great. Even were asleep before midnight. Long afternoon of sun, pool, and fireworks will do that for you. But there was no sleeping in.

Boys, the eldest, went off to a service project at church this morning. It’s every Tuesday so it just happened to fall after the 4th this year. I got up, got them up, fed them hotdogs and coffee—we have a lot of leftover hotdogs—and took them to church. Got back and fed the younger girls and nephew hotdogs, toast and berries for breakfast. (Hey, they ate it.)

Started on the camp laundry, which I had delayed until after the party so the laundry room was not a wreck for the 4th. That backfired because the trunks sat in front of the trash towel cabinet.

summer camp trunksThirty-40 wet kiddos running through the stone floor kitchen during the party—I needed those trash towels. Anyway, now have two loads of just towels to add to the 4 kids and 2 weeks worth of camp laundry, which by the way, smells unpleasant. But it is now underway.

I also cleaned the kitchen twice, or once really. Eldest daughter, Peyton, did the second post-lunch cleaning. They made mac n cheese hot dog casserole. (I wasn’t kidding about the lots of hot dogs. The kids don’t know it yet, but I googled “recipes for leftover hotdogs” and we are having hot dog hash tonight.)

The girls dropped some mac on the floor and Peyton, the ever helpful child, cleaned it up and decided to mop the whole kitchen. It was a mess from yesterday, so Yea! But she mopped it with dish soap, so not Yea! “A” for effort. But now the floor is quite sticky.

Add in a sliced finger from watermelon carving, and one of my children complaining of boredom the second my nephew/her partner in crime went home—it’s not even three and I would just like to go back to sleep. Granted the adult beverages list from yesterday might have something to do with that. (The militia offerings are actually my husband’s. He’s perfecting the craft.)

4th of July beer lists

Liam Fox Running For Conservative Leader

POSTED ON Jun 29th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Diplomacy, London, Motherhood, Politics, UK Media, US/UK compare and contrast

We moved home too early, I think. I wish we had stayed in London for primary school. We loved ours in London. We are less pleased with primary eduction here. But that’s all regret I’ve covered previously.

This regret is new. Lately, I have far more hope in British politics than our own. While I’m stuck choosing between Clinton or Trump over here, Liam Fox will announce his run for Tory leader over there. Oh, to be able to vote for him!

I was never a Cameron fan. He seemed so pliable. Back in 2011, Liam Fox was still Defence Minister. Fox was not pliable. I wrote at least two posts on Fox back at my expat blog. They are good background and I enjoyed revisiting them when one of my editors sent me a heads up that Fox was announcing. The first, Keep an Eye on the Fantastic Mr. Fox, is from June 3, 2011, back when bloggers used to fisk things.


Utter nonsense and wishful thinking for the day: What Cameron Can Teach American Conservatives: [comments mine]

British Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged as the most admirable of anomalies: the budget-cutter as leader of conscience. [This will go well.]

If relocated to America, Cameron’s program of austerity would make him an unrivaled Tea Party darling. [Crap.  Tea splattered all over computer. Hang on a sec… Clean computer so I can type witty actual response: What?!]  What serious American has made detailed proposals to cut spending in each government department by an average of nearly 20 percent during the next four years? [I assume that by the “serious” qualifier, the writer is excluding all the republican proposals which have proposed deep cuts?  Neat trick, that.]  Who would choose to simultaneously slash government jobs, social services and military spending? [No one. But sometimes choice isn’t a choice.]

The extremity of Britain’s fiscal crisis, of course, left few alternatives to budget-cutting ambition. [Precisely.  But it isn’t much good to claim what a great guy you are for remaining seated when it is no longer possible to stand.]  Yet many British politicians have opted for less-responsible approaches. Cameron campaigned, won and generally has governed on a platform of fiscal discipline. [Campaigned and won, yes, generally governed?  Does he have an NHS plan yet?  I mean one he hasn’t backtracked on or scrapped?  He did cut defence and then had to back door funds when he went into Libya.  The VAT went up.  That “generally” seems to be hiding a lot of details, no?  That Cameron might be one of the least bad options isn’t really cause for optimism.]

Still, Cameronism is defined not only by austerity but by a few notable exceptions to austerity. The prime minister has protected some spending categories from reductions, erecting what’s called a “ring-fence” around health programs and foreign assistance. [And here is why Cameron would not be a Tea Party darling.  If you don’t understand that these are things the Tea Party types would not ring fence, then you aren’t informed enough to be writing political commentary.]

[Little did we know then how under informed the bubble dwellers were. The fisking continued for a while, and then I got to Fox.]

Giving away other people’s money is not generosity. (h/t The Corner)  The British pol who figures that out, that person might be a Tea Party darling.  Daniel Hannan comes to mind.  Then there is the Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Noted last week, the Fox is the one to watch.  (h/t Conservative Home)

But the biggest factor in Dr Fox’s favour is the growing perception that he was prescient to warn of the impact of defence cuts. Mr Cameron’s zealous intervention in Libya, which came just a few months after he signed off on the spending reductions, has drawn attention to the gap between British ambitions and British resources. There is thought to be concern in Washington at the prospect of a close ally downgrading its military capabilities. (America, incidentally, captures the gap between Dr Fox and the Tory leadership like nothing else: he strives to maintain contact with the Republicans; Mr Cameron’s people are fervent fans of Barack Obama.)


Cameron had to smear Fox out of office for asking too many questions, causing too many problems over British defenses. Downgrading British military readiness while America retreats—that has tuned out as the experts expected, no?

That “noted last week” link with more Fox is still up, but here it is so you don’t have to click:


After the US State Visit

The basic take: British pols are still in thrall to Obama, but the public is wary. I made a great effort last week to get a read on public opinion of Obama. Mind, I am an experienced expat and did not go around asking direct questions to any Brits, save M&M. I have long since learned to be a shameless eavesdropper.  I have also learned how to ask leading, suggestive questions that don’t mention the topic I really want to discuss. During the US election and the previous Obama visit, getting a read on public opinion on Obama this way was easy.  

This time, there was complete British silence. The only people to mention the visit were Americans, and only two of them at that. Yasha suggests two reasons for this. One, people no longer trust Obama.  The Guardian article I posted on last week is probably an overly optimistic version of this. The Guardian is a leftist paper whose readers want to trust Obama.  Non-leftists, however, aren’t so invested in trusting Obama and gave up on him a while back.  (Time Traveller says the Nobel Prize did it for him, and I think that might have been a pivot point for Brits.)  Two, the UK has her own problems and while the rest of the world does pay attention to US politics, they pay less attention than the American press would have us believe. They will pay more attention during the election.

British pols and press, however, are another story.  Are they really that gullible? George Bush gives Tony Blair a nickname and pals around a bit after they had spent years in the political trenches getting shelled for the Iraq War, and that makes him a strangled poodle on a short leash and prompts sneers about a “special relationship.”  Obama and Cameron high five after a photo op ping-pong match in an unveiled attempt to look like best mates after three years of frosty and ham-handed diplomatic exchanges, and the pols and press believe it indicates some genuine bond?!  

The only pol not fooled was Liam Fox, the UK Defence Secretary.  While Obama was hanging out at the Palace and in No 10’s rose garden, Fox was in the states.  (h/t Conservative Home) The Mail wrote: 

As the President prepared for talks with Cameron and Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday, Fox was about to jet off to the States.

One bemused No 10 source says: ‘He didn’t go to any of the main meetings with Obama. 

‘One of the advantages of going to Washington is to see the key players. But the key player, the President, was here.’

That “key player”, the one who devastated the Middle East peace process then headed out of town while Netanyahu gave a powerful speech to Congress?  The one who has acted decisively on Libya?  The one that rumors suggest had to be dragged into the OBL raid?  Perhaps Mr. Fox knows something about the “key player” that others don’t, like perhaps he isn’t really all that “key.”  

For my American friends, Mr. Fox is the man who has battled with Cameron over the defence cuts.  

UPDATE October 2011: He was soon after forced out on a trumped up scandal about him using government funds to entertain a—whisper-whisper, this is the real scandal—secret gay lover. I’m with this guy

David Pasley, a Tory councillor in Mr Fox’s North Somerset constituency, described the MP as “hard working” and “diligent”, and said he was “deeply saddened” by Friday’s events.
But he added: “He’s someone who you can’t keep down.
“He has got such experience in his political career that I’m sure it will just be a question of time before he’s back, and I hope he’s back very soon in a high profile position.”

One can hope.

And sometimes that hope pays off. Good luck, Mr. Fox, some of us over here are rooting for you.

From Days of Long Ago…

POSTED ON Jun 10th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Motherhood, Pop culture, storytelling

Today is June the 10th, when Netflix takes its shot at rebooting an epic tale. I have a little more faith in Netflix than Hollywood. They do more homework. Still, I did not wake up this morning and start binge watching Voltron, Legendary Defender. After the disappointment of The Force Awakens, I’ve lost faith. But the Voltron buzz sounds promising. So it seems a binge is in order for tonight, but I’ll likely end up reading fan fic by weekend’s end.

I dove into the reading fanfic rabbit hole a few years ago when I was looking for new shows for my kids and discovered what WEP had done to my one of my favorite fandoms from the 80’s, Voltron. Provided with a timeless tale of good vs. evil, loyalty, hardship, duty, and passion, WEP served up a music concert for the environment and peace. They obviously had no clue about what made the original cartoon successful, much less why it still had fans 20 years later.

I quickly learned that women had retreated into fan fiction to preserve epic stories and characters. (And un-PC as that sex observation was/is, it is no less true. Fan fiction is to women what sports radio is to men, one of the few places where one can hear them speak freely.)

Authors, screenwriters, and other assorted Hollywood powers that be have forgotten how to write myth. From a death of the blockbuster article:

They often start with a good premise, but then bend the story to tell a modern morality tale that they, the good little Relativists they are, believe morality to be. Any storyteller worth his salt should know that ‘there are fates far worse than death’ is one of the central themes of the Harry Potter books, yet the significant line was dropped from the film. The Twilight screenplays were penned by a woman who had difficulty comprehending the ideals of the hero and heroine; the lukewarm fan reception to Prince Caspian came out of TPTB worrying about the story’s religious basis. At least they learned the lesson for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but then it was just to literally transpose Lewis’s dialogue to screen.

SupermanEnder’s Game—is there a franchise in which the Hollywood adaption got the story right?

I get particularly annoyed at the trashing of heroines. 

Hollywood writers don’t recognize what makes heroines iconic to the fans. They pay attention to the feminist formula for the Strong Independent Woman (TM) and write guys who happen to be female. They often modify women to give them mystical powers in order to explain why they can hang with the men in battle.

The heroine shouldn’t be too beautiful and certainly not sexy—unless she is going for empowerment sexy, a la Wonder Woman teaches men to submit style. And she can’t be dependent in any way or men. No rescuing. No romance. Either she does it all on her own or it doesn’t count.

Outside of Game of Thrones, the woman who doesn’t need a man like a fish doesn’t need a bicycle because a woman is just a man with boobs is everywhere. Pan from ‘don’t hold my hand, I can do this myself’ Rey to Wonder Woman as backdrop in Superman v Batman.

Such heroines are predictable and dull. They are also lies. They present young women with role models who overcome every and all hardship with a confident attitude, as if merely thinking you can is ever enough.

The Force Awakens is the worst offender. When we seen ‘new and improved’ Princess General Leia in TFA, she is a ruler without a planet, a daughter without parents, a sister without a brother, a wife without a husband, and a mother without her child. Any one of those could, and has, broken a woman. Any combo of two would see a real woman struggle. But carrying all of them, Leia is still quipping. Because that’s what we are told strong women do—endure everything, on our own.

And then we wonder why women are so exhausted. We do as we are told and chase the impossible with no option of grace.

I really, really hate modern heroines. They forge brittle women.


A wretched HIVE of scum and villainy

POSTED ON Jun 03rd 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Federalism, Houston, Law, Motherhood, Texas, US Media

Vanity Fair has a new email newsletter, HIVE. The tagline is “Where Wall Street, Washington, and Silicon Valley meet.” I’d bet more than a dime that the name is a play on the famous description of Mos Eisley, the “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” It does fit.

I note, too, the bubble assumptions of it all. Granted, Houston would be better poised to take her place as urban leadership if we had managed to elect a strong leader mayor last year. But still, we get written off as some backwater. Few appreciate how we influence the country.

Joel Kotkin noted this in Battle of the Upstarts. New York City will its influence because of its history and Wall Street, DC because of government. He thinks the San Francisco Bay Area will square off against Houston for significance.

Throw on the dual challenges to Washington DC, lead in significant part by Texas, and the problems facing some of the Silicon Valley powerhouses (see assorted links at HIVE) and Houston will end up leading, whether it is ready or not.


I also note the banner ad for the HIVE newsletter, Shinola, high end fashion leather goods…from Detroit. Not usually the city one thinks of for fashion, but I respect the initiative of a company trying to grow in that city. And the blue shoulder bag is a beauty.

You just don’t know what feminism means.

POSTED ON May 16th 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Feminism, Motherhood

This is a post for an answer I repeatedly have to give.

Almost every time I point out weaknesses in feminist positions, someone replies with “you just don’t know what feminism means.” That is, they assume I disagree with them because they are well informed while I am ignorant.

Actually, I’ve researched historical feminism, Second Wave feminism of the 60’s, the debatable Third Wave and the growing New Wave. I’ve written on modern developments from fertility to misandry to free bleeding, which, contrary to blustering defenses, is really a thing. I have original copies of Red Stockings. The Feminine MystiqueI’ve actually read it.

I am quite familiar with the variety of definitions of feminism, how they conflict, and generally who promotes which one. Anyone who comes at me with a “just” definition of feminism, I know they are a pop feminist. And I know that by their overriding concern for the term, they intend, knowingly or not, to put discussion out of reach. Like the intersectionalists, they might cry “My feminism will be happy “just” feminism or it will be bu!!sh*t!”

Trouble is, we cannot have a productive discussion about community breakdown, family, or women’s success without addressing feminism’s negative effects over the past 50 years. I know that isn’t a pleasant thought. It isn’t affirming, and women want affirming. But it is the truth. We can avoid being rude about it, but if we continue to avoid confronting it, then young women will continue to crash.

So no, I do not fall for the “feminism is just about equality” nonsense. And I do not believe that the term will return to full favor until those who claim it expend more effort calling out the misandrists, the traitors, the pitiable, and the precious rather than insulting women like me who live out the equality that pop feminists so desire.


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Chumps on the Right [Updated]

POSTED ON May 03rd 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Motherhood, Politics, The Federalist Links

From yesterday’s Transom:


As with so many of the phenomena surrounding Donald Trump that demand further investigation, it is only as he is about to become the Republican nominee that the press is taking interest in his prior dealings, and developing new curiosity for the activity surrounding the candidate. The general rule that journalists only become interested in digging into things when they have a personal experience with the matter also holds true for the online Trump army, which went after journalist Julia Ioffe this past week. The amount of surprise expressed by journalists for an experience many writers on the right have had for months is one of the odder elements of this cycle, as was illustrated last week in the reaction to Ioffe facing a barrage of anti-Semitic attacks after profiling Melania Trump. “But why?”, the Washington Post asks.

I recommend reading the WaPo link, but two thoughts. First, the surprise has long since gotten old. This has been going on for months, and not just for anti-Trump commentary, but for pro-Cruz commentary. They threaten female journalists with adding them to the list of Cruz’s alleged mistresses. There isn’t even an attempt at plausibility as some of these women have never even met Cruz in person. Plus, Trump’s run isn’t the first time legacy journalists have been horrified by what is standard fare against their colleagues in right media.

Second, this is another instance of needing to analyze when to blame a group. How accountable are Trump’s supporters—or Trump—for the abhorrent behavior of a subset of supporters?

Here is the “When to blame a group” matrix I published in The Federalist:

  • When was the act done? Centuries ago or last week?**

  • Who is doing the act? A leader of the group or a follower?

  • How many are doing the act? A large group or a lone wolf?

  • What is the nature and magnitude of the act? Words or violence? A slap or a slit throat?

  • And how do other members of the larger group respond? With silence, condemnation, or celebration? Calls to imitate or to cease?

In this instance, we have words by a loud, perhaps small, group. The words are slander and anti-Semitism, not just insults. And the leader and the others respond with silence or excuse. That’s leaning pretty culpable for me.

I have been sympathetic to Trump’s supporters for most of this cycle. Early on I asked others to understand their anger and frustration. I liked my editor Joy Pullman’s description of forgotten Americans in Indiana. They do feel forgotten, forsaken.

But that sympathy dissolves for those who will not condemn the tactics of their allies and Trump’s complicity, especially since his candidacy has made sure that their concerns got air. His run has had some positive results. Among others, even David Brooks, the poster boy for GOP elites in a bubble, has admitted that if he missed Trump’s rise then he needs to completely reassess how he does his job.

Now, Trump’s supporters are sacrificing the sunlight his run brought. And Cruz is right, Trump is playing them for chumps. When he tries to win the election by betraying them in moving left and Hillary Clinton wins anyway, they will still be powerless. Worse, they will be powerless and completely discredited. Even Trump himself won’t respect them because they were just gullible folks that he used to make the deal. Big, swinging power doesn’t respect rubes. It uses them. (And Trump is a user.)

Hillary will occupy the top office and have all of the federal bureaucracy at her disposal. The recoil from Trump’s run will likely devastate the down ticket as well.

I will fight against his nomination until the bitter end.  Should Trump win the nomination, I will divert all of my election efforts to state and local races and the Convention of States. If the federal government can be headed by a criminal, then I certainly want it back on its leash. This holds true even if Trump could win and the federal government headed by a charlatan.

A final note about those who would hope to keep the GOP together. I have to laugh. Their deafness and power preserving nomination rules and their self-serving power plays best seen in Kasich and Rubio’s refusal to rally to the conservative candidate and Boehner and Christie currying favor with Trump brought us here.* What fool would trust them? Some pundits are also advocating for Clinton over Trump. When the choice is slippery un-convicted criminal or fickle robber baron, one works against the criminal. To do otherwise does not inspire leadership.

A Trump nomination will kill the party. Not conservatism. That will survive in a new coalition. Where and how remains to be seen. But the chumps, both high and low, cannot lead it. Their credibility is shot.

UPDATES: I came to fix a typo and decided to add a few links that came after I wrote this post on May 3.