Today in Liberty: Attacks on Koch brothers aren’t working, Millennials trust in gov’t falls to new low

“One of the reasons you’re seeing so many people interested in libertarian ideas is the failure of the Republicans, the failure of the Democrats, but also the ability to go get the information for yourself: You’re not waiting for the [parties] to tell you what you think anymore.” — Matt Kibbe

— White House opposes even the smallest Obamacare changes: On Tuesday, the House passed the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act, a bipartisan measure introduced by Rep. John Carney (D-DE) that loosens health insurance rules on expatriates and Americans who travel frequently outside the country. The bill appears to be tailored for Cigna, a Delaware-based insurer. But the White House is having none of it. In a statement issued yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget stated that “[t]he administration does not support House passage of H.R. 4414 in its current form because it would reduce consumer protections and create even more loopholes in the tax code.” We’re not saying that this is necessarily a worthy bill, but the White House’s opposition to any changes to the law is just ridiculous.

— Anti-Koch brothers rhetoric falling flat: Try as Democrats may to make the billionaire libertarian brothers an issue in the election, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that most Americans don’t know who the Koch brothers are. “Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found a full half of Americans didn’t recognize the names of Charles and David Koch. Another 20% have neutral feelings about them – leaving just 21% with negative feelings and 10% with positive opinions,” the Journal notes. “The unknown rating is the highest among political figures in the WSJ/NBC poll – four percentage points more than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and nearly twice as high as likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul (R., Ky.)”

— Here’s why the “check your privilege” bullshit needs to stop: Tal Fortgang, a freshman at Princeton University, completely takes apart the new thing among social justice activists on both the left and, sadly, in some libertarian circles. “So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today,” Fortgang writes. “Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.”

— Never waste a good crisis: The Congressional Black Caucus wants the NBA to have more power over team owners, including the authority to strip ownership of teams. Some of the powers they have over players should be applicable to owners as well,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). “So I think the league will have to strengthen their standing for owners so that, going forward, they will have to look at other sanctions, including forcing the sale of the franchise.” Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist remarks. It’s likely that the NBA will pressure him to sell the team. The guy is a racist. He’s been dealt with, for the most part, with already available avenues, and yet we have a “do more” crowd? Makes sense.

— On WaPo’s Tea Party hit piece: RedState’s Erick Erickson weighed in on the recent Washington Post piece highlighting conservative and Tea Party groups’ expenditures on candidates. “If the groups engage in voter education, policy education, issue analysis, etc. they are not engaged in electioneering communication. Some of the groups listed focus on policy and issue education. Likewise, without deep pockets to float an organization, some of the groups spend a lot on emails and direct mail, neither of which is cheap,” Erickson explains. “Unlike many of the establishment groups, these tea party groups do not have millionaire or billionaire donors who can write single large checks. They spend a lot to raise small dollar donations. They spend a lot of money organizing rallies, teaching volunteers how to be effective on the ground, training activists on get out the vote procedures — none of that is listed as electioneering, independent expenditures to benefit candidates, direct candidate outreach.” Erickson does note that there are some Tea Party groups that are bad apples, but, basically, that gotcha that many establishment-types thought they had isn’t actually a big deal in most of these cases.

— Millennials’ trust in the government has tanked: Well, one could argue that we shouldn’t trust the government very often anyway, but that’s another topic for another day. But a new survey of Millennials from Harvard University finds that young people’s trust in their government is at an all-time low. “Harvard’s poll showed millennials, which the pollsters defined as peopled aged 18 to 29, have lost trust in a variety of different major public institutions including the President, the military, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the federal government as a whole. Of all the institutions tracked by the poll, the President and the military lost the most trust among young Americans with a seven point drop,” Business Insider notes. “Overall, the pollsters said the level of trust millennials have in ‘most American institutions tested in our survey’ had dropped below even ‘last year’s historically low numbers.’”

— Bureaucrats play politics to help Democrats: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) charges that bureaucrats at the EPA may have delayed proposed limits on power plants to soften the blow for Democrats in the mid-term election. “The EPA announced the proposed rule on Sept. 20, the day Obama had requested. But the agency did not submit it for publication in the Federal Register until Nov. 25, far longer than the usual time-frame, Inhofe said,” per The Hill. “It was formally published Jan. 8. The Clean Air Act mandates that EPA finalize the rule a year after it is proposed, so the final rule cannot be published until Jan. 8, 2015.”

— 2014 is gonna cost Dems a lot of money and volunteer time: If you want to nerd out for a few minutes, check out this pretty neat look at state-by-state Senate races from The New Republic. They ranked the from easiest to most difficult, looking at the monetary cost plus volunteer hours needed for Democrats to win. It’s more an “on paper” look, given that West Virginia is ranked first, where Democrats have a huge registration advantage but aren’t doing so well in the polls. Still, though, it’s interesting.

— Louis C.K. isn’t a fan of Common Core: The comedian took to Twitter on Monday evening to slam the standardized testing mandated by Common Core State Standards Initiative. “My kids used to love math,” C.K. tweeted. “Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!”  That was just one of several tweets the C.K. sent about Common Core, calling it a “massive stressball that hangs over the whole school.”

-- Matt Kibbe urges libertarians to takeover the GOP: Forget third parties, Matt Kibbe says, libertarians should take over the Republican Party. The FreedomWorks president had that and more to say in an interview with Reason Magazine about his new book, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.

Other items we’re reading this morning:

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