Cruz Is A Loser

If Ted Cruz is the best candidate the Republican Party can come up with, it is a failure as a political party.  Cruz represents a narrow base of very conservative, very religious, uneducated or intellectually uninterested voters.  In an interview with Steve Inskeep of NPR, Cruz said that scientific evidence does not support global warming.  He would not directly answer the question of whether evolution is scientific fact.  A PBS summary said that he would mandate a balanced budget. Paul Krugman reported that Cruz wants to return to the gold standard, adding, “there’s no sign in current asset prices that investors see a significant chance of the catastrophe that would follow a return to gold.”  Cruz would repeal ObamaCare.  He would move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS.

Cruz must be a smart man.  He graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law.  He clerked for the Supreme Court.  How can he cling to ideas that are so out of touch with reality.  Apparently he uses his brilliant intellect to defend indefensible positions.  His arguments ring hollow to many, but his devotees accept them.  This is true of many Republicans.  Wisconsin looks like an intelligent state, but it has elected Scott Walker as governor and Paul Ryan as a congressman, despite the fact that they adhere to many of the non-fact-based ideas that Cruz espouses.  As Speaker, Paul Ryan is considered somewhat of a moderate, although his ideas are well out on the political fringe compared to Republican ideas for the last hundred years.

While Cruz is terrible, my poster child for what’s wrong with the Republican Party is Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader.  I see his policies in the Senate as unabashed hatred of the United States.  If the government won’t do what he wants it to do, he will tie it up and choke it to death, by cutting of funding, blocking appointments, blocking legislation, etc.  He throws sand into the gears of government so that it cannot operate.  But the United States cannot exist without some government.  One of the main results of his intransigence has been the prolonged slow growth of the economy.  If we could have funded some infrastructure projects, we could have created jobs much faster than we did.  As it is, we are approaching full employment, but American infrastructure is deteriorating badly.  Mitch McConnell doesn’t care if your bridge falls down, your passenger train goes off the tracks, or your flight runs into another one on the ground because of inability to monitor taxiways.  He would fund some things, like the military, particularly military hardware, but not if it means funding things like education or pollution control.

The Republican Party had a chance to bring itself into the 21st century this election, but chose not to.  As it did four years ago, it had public debates that included a number of total losers with no qualifications to be President.  If they don’t like Donald Trump, they have no one to blame but themselves.  The idea that in order to stop Trump they have crowned Cruz as the man who represents the very best of the Republican Party is moronic.  Everybody knows that his fellow Senators hate him.  Like McConnell he is ready to destroy the government if he doesn’t get his way.  If American schools insist on teaching evolution, he may abolish public schools.  Every child will be on his own to learn wherever he can.

Compared to Cruz, Mitt Romney looks like a liberal philosopher and a master politician.  How can there be no competent CEOs (that leaves out Carly Fiorina) who are willing to be President?  This is essentially how Donald Trump puts himself forward.  Republicans have been less inclined to talk about his management skills than his personality, which they hate.  The country could use a good manager; if they don’t like Trump, find one.  It’s not Cruz or Kasich.

One problem is that the President’s salary is a pittance compared to what CEOs make.  But thay also have no interest in governing, like Mitch McConnell.  They are motivated solely by avarice and greed, and violate either the letter or spirit of every law they can to enrich themselves without going to jail.  If America were destroyed by a nuclear war, J.P. Morgan’s Jamie Dimon would be on a plane leaving the country before the bombs hit, and would set up shop in London or Hong Kong, making money off of the war and never shedding a tear for the millions of Americans who died.  He and his follow CEOs represent the nadir of humanity, the darkest depths to which mankind has sunk in the 21st century.  There are no Republican leaders to be found there.

In the old days, the military often was a source of national leaders, but after Vietnam, the military has fallen into such disrepute that it cannot attract high caliber people to its ranks.  No one who graduated from Harvard or Stanford would think of making a career in the military.  The military has some good people, but they are not of the first quality.



Trump on Nuclear Proliferation

Everybody is making fun of Donald Trump for suggesting that perhaps Japan and South Korea should be allowed to develop their own nuclear weapons to defend themselves from North Korea.  Most of this criticism is just more ignorance.  Obama is not ignorant, but he has to campaign for Hillary, and so he just allows himself to look stupid in order to defend her.

George W. Bush has already done something much worse than what Trump has proposed.  In 2005 the US signed an agreement with India that allowed India to develop its own nuclear weapons, despite a history of decades of international pressure on India not to do so.  The US agreed to accept Indian nuclear weapons despite its proximity to Pakistan and China, both of which it has fought wars with in recent history.  Pakistan is as unstable and dangerous a nuclear neighbor as North Korea, and Pakistan has many more nuclear weapons.  Japan is certainly more reliable as an ally than India, and South Korea probably is, too.  In addition, the US undoubtedly knows that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, which it openly accepts.  Of course Israel denies it has them, but this denial is universally regarded as a lie, or at best a thinly veiled fiction.  The US accepts Israel’s nuclear weapons because of the enormous political influence of Jews in America, particularly the AIPAC lobby.  Japan certainly has a more reliable, responsible, stable government than Israel.  I don’t think any leader of Japan has publicly humiliated the President of the United States as Netanyahu did to Obama.

Under the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement negotiated by Bush, which could be a model for the arrangements proposed by Trump, India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and to place its civil facilities under IAEA safeguards.  The US had to pass a new law in 2008 to allow nuclear cooperation with a state that had nuclear weapons and was not one of the five existing nuclear states recognized when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968.  Ambassador Nicholas Burns, who negotiated the India agreement, should speak out in favor of Trump’s proposal.  According to Wikipedia, opponents of the India deal argued that “it gave India too much leeway in determining which facilities were to be safeguarded and that it effectively rewarded India for continuously refusing to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”   One of the arguments for the deal is that it will enable India to build up its nuclear arsenal so that it will be better able to fight a nuclear war with China.  This argument would clearly apply to any other nation that is threatened by a nuclear neighbor, including Japan and South Korea.

Both Japan and South Korea are signatories of the NPT and have been much more responsible states in the nuclear field than India.  Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that negotiations with Japan and South Korea on this issue would be much more favorable to the US, the non-proliferation regime, and international peace and stability than the US-India agreement negotiated by Bush.  Trump is more responsible on the nuclear non-proliferation issue than Bush was.

I do not favor giving Japan and South Korea nuclear arms.  I think the current arrangement is better for world peace and stability.  The commentariat’s condemnation of Trump’s idea without mentioning Bush’s negotiation of the India deal and the US Congress’ approval of it illustrates their same lack of understanding of the nuclear arms race that they accuse Trump of.  Trump’s idea is not ridiculous; it builds on the work of previous Republican administrations.

Trump on Abortion

Trump’s statements on abortion have helped me see the irrationality of those who want to make abortion illegal.  First, abortion is a bad thing.  It’s not something that anyone should do, and certainly should not do lightly.  In most cases, I don’t think is something that a woman wants to do; it’s something that she feels forced to do by some situation.  If she is a young woman just starting her own life, a baby may end her chances of improving herself by finishing school, or working hard at her first job.  An older woman may feel that she is not able to cope with a baby at this later stage of her life.  A woman may be married to a man who abuses her and does not want a child to grow up in that atmosphere.  There are any number of reasons.

In any case, it is the woman who decides to end the pregnancy.  A doctor does not just pull women off the street randomly and force abortions on the ones who are pregnant.  Trump correctly stated that the woman is at least partly responsible for the abortion.  She is morally guilty, if not legally guilty. Chris Matthews failed to discuss the moral issue with Trump because he is so messed up by his Catholic church’s teaching on the issue, as Trump pointed out.  Chris Matthews has basically cursed his church, his God, in his heart by breaking with it on the abortion issue.  He is morally damaged goods, which is part of the reason his interview was so bad.

But the fact that the woman is morally guilty does not mean that she is legally guilty.  This to some extent explains Trump’s “clarification” that the law should continue to stand as it does.  He’s saying that although the woman may be morally guilty, I don’t want her to be legally guilty, which is the current position of the law.  Two pieces on the New York Times op-ed page defend the position that if you find abortion to be morally wrong, then you should find the woman complicit in the abortion.  One reason to exempt women is probably the one pro-lifers use, that they love the woman who is under great stress.  It is also likely that it is just a carryover from the old days when abortion was illegal.  The charlatans who performed the illegal abortions often killed or injured the women who came to them, and thus they were properly punished for the injury they did and if nothing else, for practicing medicine without a license.  When licensed doctors were penalized it might be because they were caught up in laws mainly meant to punished unlicensed practitioners.

The two op-eds are Gail Collins’ “Trump, Truth and Abortion” and Katha Politt’s “Abortion andPunishment.”  Both point out the illogic of the pro-life stance that only the doctor and not the woman should be punished for a illegal abortion.  Of course, if the abortion is not illegal, then nobody should be punished, neither the doctor nor the woman.