Saturday, May 21, 2016

Lt. General Jerry Boykin Rehired After Support from Senator Ted Cruz

Lt. General Jerry Boykin
Lt. General Jerry Boykin was fired from all male Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia after he half joked in a March speech about transgender bathroom policies: “The first man who goes into the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery.” He was fired when LGBT activists demanded Boykin be let go.
[Boykin] said he was fired without warning and without being afforded the opportunity to defend himself. A representative for the college told Fox that his contract was “simply not renewed” and denied that the comments about transgender bathrooms were the “determining factor” in his firing. The representative did, however, expressed concern that the statement “appeared to advocate or approve of violence.”
The only national figure to weigh in on the case was Senator Ted Cruz. From people currently getting tons of media attention like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin (who, to be fair, isn't speaking out all that much right now), and, of course, Donald Trump--crickets.
Boykin received an outpouring of support, including from Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a one-time presidential candidate.
“Hampden-Sydney College has fired General Boykin. At a time where young people are desperately seeking hope and inspiration, you would think General Boykin (who had taught there nine years) would be one of their most valued faculty. But instead, he fell victim to the PC police,” Cruz wrote in a Facebook post.
Senator Ted Cruz
Cruz's support was based on principle.

1. "our universities are losing their souls. College should be about learning, and that requires a diversity of views"

2. "free speech matters. If you disagree with someone, disagree with them. Don't silence or punish them. Censorship is the refuge of the weak-minded (those who cannot defend their views) or the tyrannical (those who simply want to force submission and compliance)."

3. "young people need heroes like General Boykin. Ironically, Hampden-Sydney's motto is Huc venite iuvenes ut exeatis viri, which translates to: Come here as boys so you may leave as men. This storied institution, founded the year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has decided that warriors and heroes are no longer welcome on its faculty."

Hampden-Sydney College changed its stance and rehired Boykin. General Boykin thanked Cruz for his support.

It seems the tone of this presidential race is sucking all the air out of the room as regards morals and principles. Ted Cruz was the only conservative and major Republican political figure to mount a campaign supporting General Boykin's First Amendment rights.

Too bad most Republican voters and leaders aren't that turned on by the Constitution.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bobby Knight’s (and Trump's) Big Mistake: Guts to Drop the Atomic Bomb

This was undoubtedly one of the worst photo ops in U.S. presidential campaign history. Bobby Knight lauds the policy of dropping atomic bombs while candidate Donald Trump nods in agreement.

Dropping atomic bombs didn’t take all that much “guts” in World War II when only the U.S. had them. There was no risk to the U.S. homeland or to U.S. troops. It would be horrific in 2016 with at least nine nations having nuclear weapons and more waiting in the wings (including a shove from Trump to include Japan and South Korea).

Bobby Knight's historical knowledge seems to stop at 1945. In 1949 the Russians got the atomic bomb. Thereafter in international conflicts President Harry Truman, though not taking nuclear weapons off the table as an option, would go out of his way not to provoke the Russians (who had them) or the Chinese (who didn't). Truman had a clear-headed assessment of the horrific danger of the use of nuclear weapons.
After affirming that the president always had to consider the use of nuclear weaponry in any scenario involving U.S. troops, Truman went on to assure the press that day that he never wanted to see the bomb used again. “It is a terrible weapon, and it should not be used on innocent men, women, and children.” Truman continued to be mindful of the dangers of the nuclear arms race through the end of his tenure in office. In fact, in his farewell address to Congress in 1954 he warned, “we are being hurried forward, in our mastery of the atom…toward yet unforeseeable peaks of destructive power [when man could] destroy the very structure of a civilization…such a war is not a possible policy for rational men.”
That Bobby Knight and Donald Trump seem to know nothing of Truman's change of thinking on using nuclear weapons is a big political vulnerability.

Since the Russians got the atomic bomb every president since Harry Truman has had to think about hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of American casualties as the result of American use of nuclear weapons. Using nuclear weapons is not courageous; it's appallingly dangerous. It could result in national annihilation. Reagan’s greatness was in winning the Cold War not only without nuclear conflict, but with no military conflict.
Note: I don’t think Trump on women or other insults will have a major effect on this election. Rather, as in the 1964 Johnson/Goldwater election, Democrats will link Trump’s unsteady, retaliative personality to the threat of nuclear weapons. That will be the strongest attack they have.

Especially damaging:
1. the Bobby Knight footage above with Trump nodding in agreement as Knight talks about the courage of using the atomic bomb.
2. Senator Marco Rubio was especially forceful (erratic, con artist) as was Governor Bobby Jindal (narcissist, egomaniac) on Trump's lack of character fitness, Governor Jeb Bush brought up the issue as did Senator Ted Cruz (with a joking reference to waking up one morning to find that President Trump had nuked Denmark). Even lesser known high level Republicans have commented on fearing Trump in charge of nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ted Cruz Only National Republican Leader to Take on Culture/PC Issues which Endanger Women?

Senator Ted Cruz
It's pathetic that there seem to be no national Republican leaders now except for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. When Trump didn't speak out forcefully against the idiocy of allowing men/boys in public school bathrooms with women/girls, none of the other major Republicans who used to speak out on such issues did--except for Ted Cruz. 

The day after it was reported that the Obama administration would issue a directive to public schools that they "must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity", Ted Cruz blasted the policy.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) skewered President Barack Obama for his administration’s transgender bathroom directive, saying in a statement that it represented a “dangerous departure” from “common sense” that “must not stand.”
“America has woken up to yet another example of President Barack Obama doing through executive fiat what he cannot get done through our democratic process,” said Cruz, a former candidate for the Republican nomination. “Today, he decreed that schools across the country must allow men and boys to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities previously reserved for girls. Not only is this decree contrary to law, but it makes no sense.”
“There is a reason that we give girls access to their own changing rooms: It is for their privacy, safety, and security,” he added. “The administration’s dangerous departure from that common-sense norm must not stand.”
Sadly, the dangers of men in the women's bathroom were in the news last week. A little girl was attacked by a man who went in a store's women's restroom.

Cruz also voted against a provision Senator John McCain slipped into a defense appropriation bill to require women to register for the draft.
. . . Sen. Mike Lee put forth an amendment to strike out the provision including women in the draft. The amendment was defeated 7-19. Every Democrat on the committee, along with GOP Sens. McCain, Ayotte, Fischer, Ernst, Tillis, Sullivan, and Graham voted to include women in Selective Service. Sens. Inhofe, Sessions, Wicker, Cotton, Rounds, and Cruz voted with Lee to strike out this pernicious provision.
. . .
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, was so vehemently opposed to this provision that he voted against the underlying bill. In a statement provided to Conservative Review, the Texas senator noted that although the committee adopted 12 of his amendments related to an array of foreign policy and national security issues, he could not “in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat.” “I will continue my efforts to speak out against the effort to force America’s daughter into combat,” wrote the former presidential candidate in a statement. 
Update: Sens. Mike Lee and Deb Fischer also voted against final passage.
From Donald Trump, crickets. From other national Republican leaders, crickets. Guess Cruz will have to do all the heavy lifting from here on out.

Monday, May 16, 2016

David Horowitz's Attack on Bill Kristol, Whitewashing of Mike Tyson, Justification of Linking Rafael Cruz to JFK Shooting

David Horowitz
Update: Jonathan S. Tobin on Horowitz/Breitbart's flaws:
That Horowitz might be attracted to Trump doesn’t surprise me because he has been an exponent of applying the vicious tactics of the left that he grew up with on behalf of the right. Like many who like Trump because he is gutter fighter with no scruples when it comes to fighting dirty, the man who helped launch[ed] the “slap Hillary” game on the Internet not only on the side of the billionaire but is ready, like the candidate, to say just about anything to discredit an opponent.
That is the only way to understand why Horowitz would write and would publish the “Renegade Jew” smear of Kristol.

David Horowitz has published an article at which attacks Bill Kristol's case against Donald Trump.

Breitbart headlines it by calling Kristol a "renegade Jew"--a slur (like calling Ronald Reagan a "renegade Christian"). Horowitz never uses the phrase "renegade Jew" in his piece, but does call Kristol's position a "betrayal":
To weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her, is a political miscalculation so great and a betrayal so profound as to not be easily forgiven.
Horowitz seems to have missed Hillary Clinton's stated solidarity with Israel in contrast to Donald Trump's neutrality.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pilloried Donald Trump on Monday for his intention to take a “neutral” position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, telling AIPAC that Israeli security was not negotiable and anyone who thought otherwise “has no business being our president.”
“All of this work defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, taking our alliance to the next level, depends on electing a president with a deep personal commitment to Israel’s future as a secure, democratic Jewish state, and to America’s responsibilities as a global leader,” Clinton said.
Bill Kristol
“We need America to remain a respected global leader, committed to defending and advancing the international order, an America able to block efforts to isolate or attack Israel. The alternative is unthinkable. Yes, we need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable. Well, my friends, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”
Then, of course, there is Trump's declaration that he will keep Obama's agreement with Iran which fast tracks Iran to nuclear weapons that can obliterate Israel and which Horowitz called "worse than [the 1938] Munich" agreement. Maybe Horowitz has changed his mind on that and thinks that strict enforcement will make Obama's Iran agreement workable. But, the question arises as to whether Horowitz himself is joining the ranks of Jewish commentators who might be miscalculating and inadvertently* betraying Israel.

But there is no question about Horowitz's disgusting whitewashing of Mike Tyson's noxious fantasies. David Horowitz claims that Mike Tyson is a new man who repented of his past and is committed to "humility and service to others."
But as anyone familiar with the sports world would know, Mike Tyson had a dramatic change of heart following his release from prison — rejected the life he had led, repented his past, and committed himself to a course of humility and service to others.
Here is an online news summary of the transformation: “Former boxing champ Mike Tyson has dedicated the rest of his life to caring for others – because he considers himself a ‘pig’ who has ‘wasted’ so many years of his life.”
That might come as a surprise to Donald Trump supporter Sarah Palin. In a 2011 ESPN radio interview Tyson made public his wish that Palin be brutally sexually attacked**.  How's that for humility and service to others? So, if David Horowitz (who apparently "is familiar with the sports world") thinks that's okay, his definition of humility and service to others is quite different than that of most decent people.

Speaking of decent people, one should compare Jake Tapper's view with Horowitz's opinion of Trump's vile linking of Ted Cruz's father with the "shooting" of John F. Kennedy. Tapper called it "shameful" and made not only without evidence but in the face of contrary evidence. For Horowitz it was just "campaign mischief".
So it might be, if Trump were actually putting forward a conspiracy theory. But what we have here, obviously, is not a theory but some Trumpian campaign mischief — not dissimilar in form to his earlier suggestion that because Ted Cruz was born in Canada, he might not be able to actually run for president even if he were to win the nomination. These were both campaign tricks — dirty tricks if you like — to throw a rival off balance and gain an advantage.
Horowitz's NewsReal writer Cassy Fiano wasn't so placid about campaign "dirty tricks" when Sarah Palin was linked to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords shooting in 2011.
"These unhinged reactions show that left will use anything to smear their enemies and promote their sick, twisted agenda. Six people are dead, and all these moonbats could do was try to find ways to pin this on conservatives, engage in race baiting, blame America, and exploit the tragedy to further their own agenda. If one ever needed a primer on the sickness that infects the American left today, all they would need to do is read the examples listed here."
Though a usually insightful, well-informed, decent man, Horowitz seems to have a Trump-based amnesia on things said and done in 2011 and horrible attacks on Sarah Palin. Certainly this can lead to political miscalculation. As to whether it will amount to an inadvertent but profound betrayal of Jews is still to be seen.
*inadvertent - giving Horowitz the consideration and respect he does not give Kristol
**"raped" according to Palin's daughter's point of view

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trump's Republican Approval Rating Rises; National Rating Still Down

It looks as though Republicans have very little effect on national approval trends. In terms of approval for Trump, a 24% rise in Republican approval pans out to a 3% national rise.

In June of 2015 44% of Republicans favored Donald Trump compared to 32% of all Americans. This month 68% of Republicans approve of Trump, a rise of 24%. But, only 35% of all Americans favor him, a rise of only 3%.

Using this ratio, the good news for Trump supporters is that the #nevertrump folks will have minimal impact on the election. If it takes 8 Republicans to move general sentiment up 1 tick, the 32% of Republicans opposing Trump probably only account for 4% of the general unfavorable rate.

The bad news may be that Republicans as a whole don't matter that much.

H/T Harry Enten

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Minimum Wage Jobs Going . . . Going . . .

Leon H. Wolf notes that Wendy's is installing automated terminals in 6,000 of their restaurants. Higher minimum wage worker cost widens the impetus to shutting no experience and unskilled workers out of jobs.
And thus we see that Wendy’s has announced a massive program to install automated terminals in 6,000 of their restaurants – terminals that won’t walk out of work on random days demanding to be paid $15 an hour.
On the whole, this is a net benefit for society. The invention of the automatic ditch digger means better ditches can be dug faster and cheaper, and isn’t it great that we don’t have to dig ditches in the hot sun every day? But if you’re a person who’s never learned to do anything for a living but dig a ditch, it’s a problem.
But, politicians are lying to them. A higher minimum wage won't fix anything. It just leads to mechanized employees who don't need wages or benefits. Neither will "bringing jobs back" to the United States help things. Those are jobs which have wages in the US that have risen far above the market. Who is going to buy products with super-inflated prices necessary to pay for a living wage and the benefits that go along with it?

And technology has made some jobs, including coal jobs, not competitive any more. So promises for jobs there are both dishonest and manipulative.
The problem is only made worse by fundamentally dishonest politicians who are peddling false dreams to people who need to come to grips with economic reality. Donald Trump stands in front of huge rallies in West Virginia and promises laid off coal workers that he’s going to get them back to work again, but he can’t. Fracking has made natural gas cheap enough that coal simply can’t compete on price, so unless Trump plans to outlaw it and drive up energy costs, there simply aren’t enough people who want coal for that to happen. And even if they did, mountaintop removal processes have made it so much quicker (and less human labor intensive) to mine coal that there simply isn’t a massive demand for human coal miners anymore, even if the whole world ran on coal.
There's no such thing as a free lunch or easy fix solutions to hard issues. Voters continue the time honored practice of being gullible, then cynical, then open to even more audacious snake oil salesmen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Trump Is Against the GI Bill (or Doesn't Know What It Is)

Donald Trump has declared himself against the 1944 law called the GI Bill that gives veterans special benefits as thanks for their service to the country.
In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump said that he does not support the G.I. Bill.

The G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act, was implemented in 1944 following World War II. It was designed to help service members returning from war cover the costs associated with getting an education or training. It includes low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational program, as well as one year of unemployment compensation.

In the exchange with Cuomo, Trump asserted that he did not want to hurt our vets and that he was going to help them. But when pressed as to whether he supported the G.I. Bill, Trump said he did not.

CHRIS CUOMO: “Is that a yes, “I do support the current GI bill?”
DONALD TRUMP: “No. I want to bring jobs back to our country and make the country grow again. I just traveled. I won so many states in a row in massive landslides and part of the reason was trade.”

Though, to be fair, it has been suggested that Trump doesn't have any idea what the GI Bill is and fell into his basic pattern of going to his memorized speech when he's confused.

However, it does go along with Trump not regretting saying John McCain was not a hero and not liking people who are captured (like POW's) because his polling went up seven points. Donald J. Trump doesn't like to regret anything no matter what the fallout.

H/T Thomas Lamb and Josh Perry