Monday, February 29, 2016

Hobby Lobby's David Green on Donald Trump: Without Decency in the Way He Gets Ahead in Life

Trump: ISIS R US

Donald Trump is upset about ISIS chopping off heads. So, Trump is for torture. Why?

1. "Torture works."

Trump is right on that.* Ask ISIS. Torture does work to intimidate and enslave people. It doesn't do much for building a peaceful, happy society though. Trump believes we need to be like ISIS to defeat ISIS.

2. "Because our country is in trouble. We are in danger. We have people who want to do really bad things."

Because others want to do really bad things, we should do really bad things? So we should chop off hands? arms? legs? Gouge out eyes? Or maybe only small things like pulling out fingernails?

If you like the kind of society that ISIS and North Korea builds, Trump is your guy.

Some might say he's only for doing that to people who aren't American citizens. So, it would be constitutional since the Constitution only applies to people residing in the U.S. That wouldn't help with people like the San Bernadino couple, or even the 9/11 killers.

Becoming like bad people in order to defeat them is a perverse form of "If you can't beat them, join them."

As for me, I like the type of society set up by the U.S.Constitution:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (Amendment VIII)
Those who adopted the Constitution were not only against cruel and unusual punishment, but even such small potato things as excessive bail and fines. Those are my kind of guys. Not Trump.

Trump about two weeks ago:

*Torture is effective except if:
a. the person you are torturing is innocent
b. the person you are torturing does not have the information you think he has
c. the person you are torturing believes deeply in his cause (as Christian martyrs have not caved under torture)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Portland Tree Regulations Changed Allowing Private Trees to Be Pruned without a Permit

In January of 2015 MaxRedline pointed out that the City of Portland was requiring a permit to prune any tree with the City of Portland--on private property as well as street trees in the right-of-way.

Portland has revoked/amended the code. It now reads that trees on private property may be pruned without a permit except in p, v, c overlay zones. Here's a portion of the chart explaining the new provisions:

The City finally got some brains on the issue. In part it had to be due to the lack of personnel to oversee proper pruning of all private trees. Though the City still requires permits for pruning street trees except for very small branches.

Trump Treats Christie Like a Six Year Old: Get in the plane. Go Home.

Poor Governor Chris Christie. He was the headliner on Friday with his surprise endorsement of Donald Trump. His political reputation and power were on display. Now Trump treats Christie like a six year old. At a big campaign event, Trump doesn't want Christie around while Trump is speaking. So, Trump says to Christie: "Get in the plane and go home. It's over there. You go home." Though Christie does say, "Got it." So, he might be okay with being Trump's underling with a chance at Vice President or Attorney General.

Still one hypothesizes why Trump uses that phrasing.

First, of course, the only person in Donald Trump's universe of value is Donald Trump. So telling Christie to get lost when he's of no further use is reasonable.

Second, Trump is a showman and vain. He cares about optics. He never learned that people who don't look good (e.g., Abraham Lincoln) can be truly great and much superior to Trump himself. Christie isn't visually attractive. So, all that Christie has accomplished is as nothing to Trump. Having Christie in the background messes up the image for Trump.

It's not safe to be either Trump's supporter or opponent. He unleashes direct insults at opponents. But because Trump is utterly dense about how to treat people with kindness and respect, his high profile supporters get indirect blasts too.

Two days ago it was Sarah Palin. We learned that Trump thinks people who quit a campaign for a political office defraud the public they supposedly agreed to serve. Palin resigned the governorship of Alaska in 2009 and was called a quitter by many but not until Trump was she indirectly called a defrauder. Palin's offense was much greater because she actually quit her elected position. Rubio only declined to run again.

Yesterday it was Chris Christie. The story is that Christie chose Trump over Rubio because he was offended that 44 year old Rubio was patronizing in telling Christie in a private voice mail message that Christie had a bright future in public service. Oh boy, from the frying pan to the fire. Trump publicly tells him the equivalent of get in the car and go home.

Apparently there's no safe place to stand when Trump is around. Somehow it brings to mind the scenario in Proverbs 26:18: Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death,

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Trump Is Ignorant Even in His Area of Expertise

Okay, I'm just a little blogger who writes on issues that catch my interest. I don't claim to be an expert on anything. Still, I know more about the healthcare insurance business than Donald Trump the big, billionaire businessman.

Business is supposed to be Trump's strong point, and yet Trump spouts not only drivel but lies and distortions on the healthcare business. He doesn't know that the whole industry is in crisis because of Obamacare. About 2/3rds of insurers are asking for $2.9 billion in help to make up for losses. Yet Trump claims they are raking in the profits. From the CNN debate in Houston Thursday:
Donald Trump: “The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do. . . . Right now they are making a fortune. . . . I know the insurance companies. They’re friends of mine. The top guys they’re friends of mine. . . . The insurance companies are making an absolute fortune.” (1 hour mark)
One would think that was right given the individual mandate (which Trump likes) which is supposed to require every tax payer to have health insurance. But, that's not true. Healthcare insurers are on the ropes. Even some big players like Moda have had to drop out of the business in certain states and have required big influxes of parent company cash to be allowed to continue to offer individual coverage in Oregon and Alaska

In Oregon only two providers made a profit in 2014. Two. Even Kaiser had a small loss. The biggest profit margin: 2%.

Nationally, healthcare insurers are in similar trouble.

That's why defunding automatic reimbursement from taxpayer money that Marco Rubio talked about stopping in the last debate has had such dramatic consequences. It may very well bring Obamacare down because it will bankrupt or severely cripple so many healthcare insurers.

Donald Trump knows nothing about the health insurance business. He hasn't done research, and his "friends" in the industry haven't given him good information. Even in business profitability and making payroll, Trump's supposed area of expertise, he is ignorant.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Jerry Falwell Jr. Doesn't Understand How Crucial Moral Policy Is

Alert: This post is more for evangelicals. So, it may not be of interest to conservatives at large.

Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Today on Greta Van Susteren’s show Jerry Falwell, Jr., said evangelical Christians are pro-Trump because they believe the country itself is at stake in terms of the economy and national security. They think Trump can save the U.S. in those areas so they are not as interested in social issues (read: Christian values) as they have been in the past. Falwell said:
I think this time evangelicals are looking at different issues than they have in the past because they are trying to save the country. I think the security of the country, the economy, maybe next time they will be looking at social issues more like they did in the past. But I think this time, I heard a very prominent pastor . . . tell me just this week that if we don’t save the country then abortion, traditional marriage, all those social issues are going to be a moot point. We’ve got to save the country first. And I believe and many evangelicals, a majority of evangelicals, believe that Donald Trump is best equipped to save the country in those areas. 
Sarah Palin argued something similar in her devotional book, Sweet Freedom. She implied that God may want Christians to support candidates without Christian values because those candidates can protect the nation best.
“In the Bible, the leaders God chooses to advance His purpose are a diverse bunch, and none of them is perfect. In the Old Testament, God even used Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar to protect and promote Daniel and his Jewish friends to important, influential positions over the city.”
(Day 50) 
Well, not exactly. The same Nebuchadnezzar tried to throw Daniel’s three friends into a fiery furnace because they wouldn’t bow down and worship the image he set up. (Daniel 3) It took divine intervention to save them and their fellow Jews from Nebuchadnezzar’s wicked policy.

Nebuchadnezzar was chosen as an instrument of punishment for Judah and destruction if the people of Judah didn’t return to God. (Jeremiah 27, Ezekiel 23:23-31) Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t chosen as an instrument to lead the Jewish nation to a safe, profitable existence. Nor were Cyrus (Ezra 1) and Darius (Ezra 6) chosen for that even though each had an important role in providing for the return of some of the Jewish captives to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.

Greta, being the polite person she is, did not ask Falwell about Trump’s praise for Planned Parenthood. But, embarrassment over that praise seems to be the reason Falwell was trying to explain why abortion wasn’t a big deal to evangelicals this election.

Planned Parenthood is responsible for the murder of 6 million babies in the United States in the last 40 years. The ongoing killing of those babies at a current clip of 325,000 a year is one of the social issues Falwell and evangelicals are not concerned about until economic and security problems are handled. A candidate who has made a payroll is more important than a candidate who opposes an organization which kill 325,000 babies a year.

The remnant of Judah tried something similar after the fall of Jerusalem. They fled to Egypt for protection from Nebuchadnezzar despite God clearly telling them not to do so. They also said they were going to continue worshiping other gods since worshiping Jehovah had not worked out so well for them. (Jeremiah 42-44) They did not seek to follow God, stop killing babies, treat the poor right, or turn from idolatry. (Jeremiah 7)

They thought their very existence was in the balance, so they disobeyed Jeremiah’s instructions and went to Egypt which looked like a going society that could keep Nebuchadnezzar at bay. Egypt was making its payroll.

The remnant Jews were right. Their very existence was in grave danger. They just chose the wrong way to insure their safety and prosperity. They trusted in practical measures rather than in God.

One doesn't get security by ignoring God’s laws and values until the “big” crisis is over. Ignoring them is the crisis. That’s a lesson Jerry Falwell, Jr., and too many other evangelical voters have not learned.

Marco Rubio Shows the Emperor Has No Clothes

Loose Cannon Trump Wounds Endorser Palin

Donald Trump lets fly whatever come into his head. Today, taking aim at Senator Marco Rubio, Trump berated Rubio for quitting his Senate job thereby having "defrauded" the people of Florida. Trump's reasoning is that being voted in is an agreement to represent the people. If you quit, in breaking the agreement with them you are defrauding them.

Gov. Sarah Palin announcing resignation
July, 2009
Well, guess which high profile Trump endorser also quit her elected position? Yep, Sarah Palin. People called her a quitter. But, this is the first time that a major political figure has said directly that resigning a political position defrauds the voters. By Trump's logic Palin defrauded Alaskans by resigning.

It has been clear it is not safe to be a Trump opponent. But, it's becoming clear that friends and endorsers are in danger too. Trump uses any weapon at hand without regard to who it wounds.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trump Promotes Korean Jobs Over American Jobs

In the recent dust up over Apple being forced to create a way to break into their product, Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple until they caved and agreed to create a new service.

Here's one of his tweets about the issue:

Trump is the guy who has promised to create American jobs. But, given the chance to promote American jobs, he chooses promoting Samsung, a Korean company. In his own buying he supports foreign jobs. Why does he have a Samsung? He could have promoted Motorola among cell phone makers. Or he could have focused on Apple computers and said he urges people to buy Dell computers. But, no. He promotes Samsung.

People have already noted that his clothing line is made in Mexico and China.

Trump doesn't lead by example in his business, his personal buying practices or what he promotes as an example for others. Maybe he too leads from behind. More likely, he has no real principles on this core issue of his campaign. It would have been so easy to promote an American business in this. But, Trump didn't even think of it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump Doesn't Know What the Supreme Court Ruled on Obamacare

Remember when Trump accused Ted Cruz for being responsible for Obamacare because Cruz supported the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts?

Recently we learned that Donald Trump likes the mandate part of Obamacare.

Trump obviously doesn't know that Roberts' vote saved the individual mandate.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS concluded in Part III–B that the individual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.
Hopefully in the next debate one of the moderators or one of the candidates will question Trump on his ignorance about Obamacare, the individual mandate and Chief Justice Roberts.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A President Trump Will Use Big Government to Punish Opponents

Trump's call for a boycott of Apple products is scary.

First, the case is complex. Trump's response is knee jerk. It comes from what he feels. He gave no clear, detailed reasoning about why Apple is wrong. He just called for a boycott.

Second, Trump is willing to use the bully pulpit of a front running presidential candidate to go after individual businesses. It's not much different that the Obama administration using the IRS to go after conservative groups who applied for 501(c)(3) and (4) status.

Third, Trump is not willing to wait for due process. He wants to punish unofficially before there has been any official ruling.

This is not the Donald Trump who will make deals. It's the Donald Trump who will openly bully into submission people he disagrees with.

And it's not a one-off. He says he will tax Carrier for moving its production to Mexico. Trump doesn't point to a plan to encourage businesses like Carrier to stay in the U.S. (say, by lowering their taxes). His first impulse is to punish them if they do not stay. A little like a business Berlin Wall.

Trump does not stop at organizations like Apple and Carrier. He has and will continue to berate individuals. Another example today: Trump's threat against the Ricket[t]s family. (H/T Ben Sasse)

That's who Donald Trump is. It's not the art of the deal. It's the art of power to coerce others by threats of punishment. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Friday, February 19, 2016

For Trump Truth Is a Moving Object

Update 2: Donald Trump was enthusiastic about the Iraq war on day 2 of the war.

"On the second day of the Iraq War in 2003, Donald Trump said that the effort begun by President George W. Bush appeared to be 'a tremendous success from a military standpoint.'

"Trump, now the Republican presidential front-runner, told Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Channel that the conflict would help Wall Street.

"'Wall Street's waiting to see what happens, but even before the fact they're obviously taking it a little bit for granted — and it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint, and I think this is really nothing compared to what you're gonna see after the war is over,' Trump said, BuzzFeed News reports."

Update: Now Trump says he wasn't calling Cruz's faith into question.
"I'm not questioning his faith," Trump told NBC's "Today" show reporters Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist. "I did say that Ted Cruz holds up the Bible and then lies. He's been caught on almost all occasions. He did voter violation forms, which is a fraud. He did so many things so bad. I've never seen anything like it."
But in a tweet (which Newsmax didn't quote) Trump said: "How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?"

Trump doesn't seem to know what he says or what he believes. He just says whatever comes into his mind at the moment.

Donald Trump's answer in CNN's town hall tonight was illuminating. A man asked Trump if he was willing to walk back his assertion that George W. Bush lied. (about the 22 minute mark in the town hall tape) Trump tried to change the subject, but Anderson Cooper pressed him.

Finally Trump said he would have to review the documents before he could give an answer. In other words, Trump called President Bush a liar without having clear evidence of a lie.

A woman questioner asked him if he could exercise self-control. (about the 10 minute mark) He answered that he went to a good school and has an uncle who was an MIT professor. In other words, he comes from a good family and can easily act appropriately. I can do whatever I want. . . . I can act differently for different people." Donald Trump is like an alcoholic who says he can easily stop drinking, but his daily life shows the opposite.

He changes his views from interview to interview. This morning in a carefully read speech he called the Pope's comments on Trump not being a Christian "disgraceful". Tonight at the town hall he had a very mild response to the Pope. Even starting with a carefully read statement, Trump's position changed from morning to evening.

Trump has also said he was against the war in Iraq from the beginning. Then when confronted with evidence that he did support invading Iraq in 2002, he said he wasn't a politician then. As though that has anything to do with what his early position was.

Though I think the Pope was wrong ethically and doctrinally to say Trump is not a Christian, it's ironic that this comes after Trump has been calling Ted Cruz's Christianity into question. What goes around comes around.

Trump is as unstable as water. Truth is a moving object to him. It is whatever is convenient.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thomas Sowell Endorses Ted Cruz

Here's what Thomas Sowell says about the three leading Republican candidates:

On Ted Cruz:
If the Republicans are to avoid having Donald Trump lead them -- and the country -- to disaster, they are going to have to have the majority of non-Trump supporters get behind some given candidate.
Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized in this column before, and will undoubtedly be criticized here again. But we can only make our choices among those actually available, and Senator Cruz is the one who comes to mind when depth and steadfastness come to mind. 
As someone who once clerked for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he will know how important choosing Justice Scalia's replacement will be. And he has the intellect to understand much more.
(emphasis added) 
On Marco Rubio:
The governors among the Republican candidates can at least be judged by how their track record stands up in running a governmental organization. So can Senator Ted Cruz, who was solicitor general in Texas. But Senator Marco Rubio has no comparable experience -- and his inexperience has shown up in his abortive attempt to join Democrats in promoting amnesty.
(emphasis added)
On Donald Trump:
Unfortunately, the way the Republican primaries are set up, Trump can win all the delegates from some states without having to get a majority of the votes in any state. But in the general election in November, a candidate usually has to win a majority in a state, in order to win that state's votes in the Electoral College.
The Republicans can end up with a candidate who cannot even get a majority of Republicans' votes, much less a majority of the votes in the general population.
If, by some miracle, Trump became president, what kind of president would he be? Do we need another self-centered know-it-all in the White House to replace the one we have now?
(emphasis added)

H/T Mark Levin 

Monday, February 15, 2016

We've Lost a Great Man in Scalia's Passing

A tribute to a great man, a great American, a great Christian.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ted Cruz Shows His Cool

There was a lot in tonight's debate. Of interest was Ted Cruz showing real self-control. The kind of self-control that makes a person able to deal honestly with opponents and weaken Washington gridlock.

First there was Marco Rubio's taunt that Cruz doesn't speak Spanish. Cruz answered by asking in Spanish if Rubio wanted to continue the argument in Spanish. Cruz didn't call Rubio out as a twerp who obviously knows nothing about Cruz least of all whether Cruz speaks Spanish or not. Then Rubio had the audacity to follow up by saying Cruz had shown a "disturbing pattern" of telling lies after Rubio himself had just been caught in a lie about Cruz.

Then there was Donald Trump's calling Cruz a liar and "nasty". Cruz didn't reply in kind. Instead he showed how Trump was lying about not supporting tax payer funding for Planned Parenthood. Trump in the exchange showed himself to be "nasty" and a liar without Cruz making the accusations.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Almost All U.S. Presidents Have Been Christians

From Pew Research Center:

On Lincoln, Jefferson, Andrew Johnson, and Hayes:
Two of the most famous presidents in American history had no formal religious affiliation. The first, Thomas Jefferson, lost his faith in orthodox Christianity at an early age, but continued to believe in an impersonal God as the creator of the universe. Jefferson famously edited the New Testament by removing references to the miracles and leaving in Jesus’ teachings.
The second, Abraham Lincoln, was raised in a religious household and spoke frequently about God (particularly as president), but never joined a church. Scholars have long debated Lincoln’s beliefs, including the question of whether or not he was a Christian, and some aspects of his faith remain a mystery.
Lincoln is not the only president for whom there is some uncertainty surrounding his affiliation and beliefs. Some presidents were more private than others about their religious leanings and some may have evolved in their beliefs during their life.
For example, Lincoln’s second vice president and ultimately his successor, Andrew Johnson, identified himself as a Christian, but never was formally part of a denomination or congregation. Another 19th century president, Rutherford B. Hayes, sometimes attended Methodist churches, but “moved among Protestant denominations during his life,” according to the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Jimmy Carter Would Choose Trump Because Trump Is "Completely Malleable" Without "Fixed Opinions" He Would "Fight For". Ouch!

Trump picks up Sen. Scott Brown and Sen. Tim Scott and then President Jimmy Carter?

Worse yet, is Trump's response to Carter's "endorsement". "He's got good taste." Carter has good taste in liking completely malleable people without fixed opinions they would fight for? Trump didn't even think to say that President Carter picked the right man for the wrong reasons. Heh.

This comes after "Trumpertantrum".

Not a good couple of days for Donald Trump.

How Rumors Get Started--Not So Smart Rubio Email

Update: Rubio campaign doubles down on stupid on an email sent out today. This is the way rumors and misunderstandings begin. Sigh.

I received this today in my inbox from the Rubio folks. Not too bright. I did a double take before taking the time to read the email.

It's a reminder of how the Carson folks shot themselves in the foot by letting CNN know Carson was not going to New Hampshire but back to Florida and then to Washington, D.C., after the Iowa primary. CNN's first reaction (which apparently was the same as some of the anchors at Fox News) was that Carson was no longer a serious candidate.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Cruz Shows How to Deal with "Trumpertantrums"--with Wit

Update: video below (H/T Patterico)

Ted Cruz responds with almost Reaganesque wit to Donald Trump's demand for a new election in Iowa. This guy is proving he deserves to be in the top tier.

From National Review:
At a press conference before a meeting with voters in Goffstown, New Hampshire, the new frontrunner in the Republican race pulled no punches. “It is no surprise that Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum – or if you like, another Trumpertantrum,” Cruz said. “It seems his reaction to everything is to throw a fit, and I understand that Donald finds it very hard to lose. But at the end of the day, the people of Iowa spoke.” 
“There’s a reason that Donald engages in insult after insult – because he can’t debate the substance,” Cruz continued. “He doesn’t actually want to talk about issues.” 
The Texas senator wasn’t done. “Donald’s insults get more and more hysterical the more and more upset he gets,” Cruz said. “I think they’re very funny. I wake up every day and laugh at the latest thing Donald has tweeted.” He questioned Trump’s temperament for the job of commander-in-chief, saying “we’re liable to wake up one day and Donald, as president, will have nuked Denmark.” 
“You know, my girls are five and seven,” Cruz said. “And I got tell you, Caroline and Catherine are better behaved than a presidential candidate who insults people every day.” The line drew cheers and huge applause from the assembled New Hampshirites waiting to meet him. 
Asked whether Cruz planned to fire the staffers accused of misleading Iowa caucus-goers, the senator demurred. “This is not a campaign that scapegoats our staffers, that holds someone out and fires them for political purposes,” he told a reporter. “And I would not that the news story we passed on was true and accurate . . . is it a dirty trick to pass on your news stories?”
That's got to leave a mark.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Ted Cruz First Hispanic to Win a U.S. Presidential Primary

Iowa primary winner Ted Cruz with his father Rafael Cruz on the eve of his historic victory
Mark Levin points out that we just had a U.S. history first. A Hispanic candidate has won a U.S. presidential primary for the first time in the nation's history. Did you hear any major news networks interviewing Cruz about how it felt to be a trailblazer as they did to Barack Obama? Or celebrating the history of it? Neither did I.

The media is not interested. Firsts are only for liberals.

What a great day for Hispanics to place first and third in a U.S. presidential primary. But, yawn, who cares about Hispanics--except when they vote Democrat.

Ben Carson Not Ready for Prime Time

Update 3: Back to square one. Carson is again blaming Cruz with an anger he does not have for CNN. No mention of CNN in this "Here are the facts". Very sad.

Update 2: A Ben Carson email to supporters today names CNN as culprit, and there is no mention of Cruz. Maybe Carson listened to what O'Reilly was saying. This is a good sign.

I post this sadly because I have supported Dr. Carson since last August.

Dr. Ben Carson is a smart man and a good man. But, in the midst of a storm, he is apparently guided by others or not able to think through an issue clearly.

Doctor Carson was on the O'Reilly Factor tonight talking about tactics that the Cruz campaign used during the Iowa caucuses. Apparently CNN tweeted out false information that Carson was quitting the race. Cruz people then argued at some of the caucuses that Carson voters should support Cruz in light of that information.

Carson is mad that Cruz people did this and that Cruz didn't have better control over his people. But, under Bill O'Reilly's questioning, Carson did not appear a bit incensed at CNN and the person in their organization who sent out the false information. Carson is only angry at Cruz and wants to see Cruz organization heads tumble. Nothing about CNN heads. Actually, nowhere in the entire interview does Carson show anger at CNN or question their reporting/tweeting ethics.

Hmm. This sounds totally political. Carson doesn't want to say bad things about CNN because they have power to really hurt his campaign beyond losing a few votes in Iowa. O'Reilly, of course, is very interested in blacking CNN's eye as a Fox News competitor. O'Reilly showed more interest in the media lie than Carson.

All in all, Carson's reaction seems to be that the lie itself is a tempest in a teacup, but the people who believed the lie are the real villains. Sort of like blaming IRS functionaries for carrying out targeting orders given to them and letting the higher decision makers go free. Not the kind of man who should be making hard decisions in the White House.

Note: Updated with video of the entire interview.

Monday, February 01, 2016