Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

The federal government’s blank check

Three articles this morning about actions taken by Congress in connection with the budgets for NASA and NOAA illustrate the bankrupt nature of our federal government.

The first story describes how several legislators from the House Appropriations Committee have inserted amendments into their budget bill that will restore a $10 million NASA climate monitoring program that the Trump administration had shut down.

The second story describes how that same budget bill generously funds both NASA and NOAA at levels far above their own requests.
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Commercial space has won

Today the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, chaired by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), held the third of a series of hearings on the future regulatory framework required for American commercial space to prosper.

My previous reviews of the past two hearings can be found at these links:

In today’s hearing the witnesses in general once again called for a variety of reforms that would simplify the regulatory process for private enterprise. Dr. Moriba K. Jah, associate professor from University of Texas at Austin, suggested removing NOAA’s veto power on remote sensing, something that the proposed House bill I analyzed in my Federalist op-ed actually does). Jeffrey Manber of Nanoracks suggested giving the private sector a certain date when ISS will be decommissioned so that they can more easily obtain investment capital for building the privately-built space facilities that will replace it. Tim Ellis of Relativity, a company trying to build rocket engines manufactured entirely by 3D printing, called for more American spaceports, accessible by private companies, as well as a simplification of the FAA permitting process. Robert Cabana, Director at the Kennedy Space Center, talked about the need for government facilities to provide the infrastructure for private companies, as the center has done for the private launch sites and manufacturing facilities they have helped get established at Kennedy since the retirement of the shuttle.

Tim Hughes from SpaceX topped them all.
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Senate to hold third hearing on commercial space

The Senate next week will hold the third in a series of hearings, organized by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), to examine the state of the present partnership between the government and the private sector.

Like the previous hearings, the witnesses cover a wide range, though most this time represent companies in the private sector (including Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX). It appears that what Cruz is doing is using these hearings to get as much feedback from as many private companies as possible, so that their preferences will dominate any decisions Congress eventually makes.

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Washington rallies around the Outer Space Treaty

Yesterday Senator Ted Cruz (D-Texas) held the second in what he says will be a series of hearings on the future government regulation of the commercial space industry. The specific focus of this hearing was the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and its effect on private enterprise.

The hearing saw two panels of witnesses, the first three legal experts on the Outer Space Treaty, the second four industry experts from a variety of private space businesses.

Like the first hearing on April 27, the witnesses this time were once again unanimous in their call for a simplification of the present regulatory arrangement. They also emphasized repeatedly that private enterprise should not be required by Congress to get permission to do things in space. Instead, Congress should merely provide regulation that will facilitate private enterprise while helping them avoid interfering with each other.

Unlike the first hearing, however, the atmosphere was decidedly less interested in improving the overall international regulatory framework created under the Outer Space Treaty. Instead, the witnesses in unison were supportive of the treaty and did not want the U.S. to either pull out of it or try to change it. All advocated the position that the treaty as written allowed the U.S. to regulate private businesses in a manner that could protect property rights in space.

As I watched the hearing I was struck by this unity of position. To me, it appeared that the Washington elitist community was circling its wagons in order to protect the status quo.

The witnesses from the business community appeared afraid of the consequences of any effort to change the Outer Space Treaty. As Mike Gold, Vice President of Space Systems Loral, noted,
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Cruz to hold hearing on updating Outer Space Treaty

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) revealed today that he plans to hold a hearing next week on reviewing the Outer Space Treaty.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in an on-stage interview during The Atlantic magazine’s “On the Launchpad” event here that the hearing, scheduled for May 23, would explore modifications to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to better enable commercial space activities. “We’ll be hearing testimony both from lawyers who have studied the issues and also from business leaders that want to expand commercial investment in space,” he said, “considering how do we update and modernize the treaty to reflect the realities of the modern world.”

He said he was concerned that the treaty, crafted at the height of the superpower space race of the 1960s, does not reflect the needs and interests of emerging commercial space companies. “The central focus of that treaty was preventing nuclear weapons in space. That’s a very good thing,” he said. “But, 50 years later, we’re in a very different environment.”

Cruz said he didn’t have specific changes to the treaty in mind. “I don’t want to start by making decisions before we hear testimony and before we think through it,” he said. He added he hoped that, like recent space-related legislation that has passed Congress, including the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015, to win bipartisan agreement to pursue efforts to “modernize it to create the incentives for continued investment.”

I had sensed this might be Cruz’s next move, based on the last hearing, and it is gratifying that he is going to go forward with it.

Update: The list of witnesses can be found here. The committee webpage also says they will be focusing on Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty, which does not discuss the issue of sovereignty (Article II). Instead, Article VI says this:

States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization.

I begin to sense the direction this negotiation will head. Rather than claim sovereignty, they will rework this clause to allow each nation’s laws to apply to the activities of their citizens. In a sense, this is an end-around Article II.

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Space, regulation, the Outer Space Treaty, and yesterday’s Senate hearing

Yesterday the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce committee held a hearing, organized by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), entitled “Reopening the American Frontier: Reducing Regulatory Barriers and Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space.”

You can watch the hearing here. There have also been a number of stories last night and today that summarized the testimony during this hearing.

Having watched the full hearing, I think that most of these stories did not capture well the full political context and significance of yesterday’s event. They focused on Cruz’s advocacy for private space and the call for less and more streamlined regulation by the witnesses. They missed a great deal else.
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Another NASA authorization bill this year?

Less than a day after President Trump signed the first NASA authorization bill since 2010, it appears that two major players, one in industry and one in Congress, would like to revisit this bill again this year.

The first story summarizes and quotes from a series of tweets sent out by Elon Musk reacting to the bill, of which the most important noted ““changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing. Existing programs stay in place and there is no added funding for Mars,” and adding, “Perhaps there will be some future bill that makes a difference for Mars, but this is not it.”

The second story describes comments made by Cruz at a Commercial Spaceflight Federation breakfast on March 22, where he noted that in 2017 Cruz hoped to do it all over again, with a different focus: “In this coming Congress, I hope to take up another commercial space launch piece of legislation, and a longer-term NASA authorization.”

I suspect that both want and expect some changes in how NASA has been doing things, and the just-signed authorization did not accomplish that. The bill was written last year, as Cruz also noted in his remarks, and thus could not reflect any policy changes we can expect from Trump. I also suspect that both Musk and Cruz want to influence that policy, which is not yet determined. I am hoping that Capitalism in Space, which their offices have both received, is having some of its own influence here, even if it is tiny.

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A Ted Cruz telecon

Last night I did a long radio appearance with Robert Pratt in Texas. While I was on the air with him he received a notice from Senator Ted Cruz’s office, announcing a press telecon today on the just-passed NASA authorization bill. Pratt asked me if I would be willing to attend that telecon as his press correspondence. I agreed.

The telecon has just ended. Cruz’s statements about that NASA authorization were very uncommitted and vague, though he clearly wants to encourage private space. He also was careful not to say bad things about SLS/Orion, since it sends a lot of money to Texas.

I asked him about the lack of any mention of Earth science research in the authorization bill. He noted that during the Obama administration NASA’S climate research had become politicized, and it is his hope that this will now end, that NASA will continue to do this research but that “it will no longer be used for political purposes.” Like his comments about SLS/Orion, this was a careful answer that avoided setting off a firestorm of controversy.

Cruz did say two things of note however during the press teleconference.

  • Cruz and family is having dinner with Trump tonight
  • Cruz has reservations about the Republican proposal on Obamacare

It appears that Cruz is putting aside the ugly events of the campaign in order to try to exert influence on Trump now. It also appears that he intends to discuss the bad Obamacare replacement bill with Trump, pushing for changes to it.

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Cruz visits NASA

In taking his family on a tour of the Johnson Space Center, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also met with some local industry businessmen where he expressed support for NASA as well as a desire to get ISS extended to 2028.

Cruz did not take questions from the media, though they were present during the meeting with businessmen. In reviewing the local press reports of that meeting (of which the above link is the most detailed), it appears that Cruz was mostly there to firm up his local constituent support by mouthing vague but strong support for NASA. It also appears that he as yet does not have a clear understanding of NASA’s full circumstances, or if he does he is leaning down the pork road to gain votes.

When my policy paper appears I intend to make sure his office gets it. By his actions after that we shall then see how sincere Ted Cruz really is about fiscal responsibility and private enterprise.

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Trump considers funding super-PACs to defeat Cruz and Kasich in later elections

Update on the November Democratic primary: Donald Trump is considering creating two super-pacs expressly focused at destroying the political careers of Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

During an event in Cleveland on Friday, Trump hinted at the prospect of funding an outside group against Cruz in the future.“Maybe I’ll set up a super-PAC if he decides to run,” Trump said of Cruz. Turning to his running mate Mike Pence he asked rhetorically, “Are you allowed to set up a super-PAC…if you are the president, to fight someone?”

The source close to Trump’s thinking indicated that Trump would consider forming the super-PAC whether or not he wins the presidential election in November.

This sure doesn’t sound like the actions of a Republican and conservative looking for allies within his party. Instead, it sounds like a Democrat who, having gotten the Republican nomination for President, can now stop pretending and begin the process of using his position to destroy the conservative movement in the United States in order to make it easier to impose liberal policies.

Trump’s supporters keep screaming that Cruz should have endorsed Trump for party unity. Well, the same applies to Trump — to bring the party together — only more so, since he has the nomination for president and as such is the de facto leader of the party. Moreover, while Cruz’s speech could have been more carefully worded, it nonetheless laid out the arguments for voting against Hillary Clinton and supporting all Republicans nationwide, even Trump (though unstated). Trump however is clearly doing the exact opposite, considering the investment of millions of his own money to actively work to defeat two of the party’s more conservative Republicans.

But hey, Trump can win! Who cares what he stands for!

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Cruz’s speech at the convention

My first reaction to Ted Cruz’s exhortation that Republican’s vote their conscience in his speech at the Republican Convention last night was distress, as I expected the response to be mostly hostile (which it was) and unnecessary, as to my mind he could have gone there and simply said that “When Donald Trump becomes the next president I will be ready and waiting in the Senate to work with him to make sure the Constitution is defended and the federal government is brought under control.” Worded in this way, Cruz would not have been endorsing Trump, but he also would have not made himself an enemy of a significant percentage of the Republican voting bloc.

However, these two articles have changed my mind:

Cruz did the right thing. As noted at the first link,

If you’re voting for Donald Trump because you think he’s the lesser of two evils; because you think Hillary is clearly worse; because you reject leftism and know Hillary will foist leftism on us and only suspect Trump might . . . then you and I are cool. I respect that position. It’s not my position — but if it’s yours, I respect it, and I respect you.

But if you’re going to knock Ted Cruz for standing up against a man who bullied his family, I don’t respect you. I don’t want you here. Feel free to leave. It may make this place smaller, but it will make it better.

The second link also noted the unhealthy nature of today’s politics, where somehow one is not allowed to take a stand on conscience because of politics. Well to hell with that. There are things worth dying for, and one’s family is surely one of them.

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Astronaut touts space at Republican convention

American astronaut Eileen Collins spoke last night at the Republican convention, calling for a renewal of the American space effort.

Her remarks were very short, essentially calling for an end to the American reliance on the Russians to get our astronauts into space. Her speech also differed from her prepared remarks in that she left out the part where she specifically endorsed Donald Trump.

According to a transcript of her prepared remarks provided by the GOP Convention to Syracuse University (her alma mater) and posted on the university’s website, however, the ending was supposed to be “We need leadership that will make America first again. That leader is Donald Trump. Thank you and God bless the United States of America.” Thus, although she did not read the line endorsing Trump, she did use his slogan “make America great again” instead of “make America first again” as in the prepared remarks.

The press will make a big deal about this, but I suspect that when it came time to say the words, Collins’ decades of training at NASA, where astronauts as government workers are specifically forbidden by the Hatch Act from lobbying for specific political candidates, took over. She clearly was supporting Trump. Habits just made it hard for her to become political, even though she is now retired from NASA.

What is important is that both she and Ted Cruz in their convention remarks both invoked the need for a vibrant American space effort, but both were vague about how to do it. Combining that with Trump’s already noted position, that we need a space effort but we also have to find ways to do this efficiently because the government has bigger priorities, suggests to me once again that, should Trump win, SLS and Orion will die quickly while commercial space will get a boost.

On a personal note, I am hoping that my policy paper, Exploring Space in the 21st Century, due out in about a month and focused very much on this precise issue, will land on these politicians’ desks at exactly the right moment, and help convince them to make what I think are the right decisions.

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Why no one should be surprised by AG Lynch’s failure to uphold the law

This story, about how Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused during testimony to Congress this week to admit the clear illegality of giving classified information to people without clearance, should not surprise anyone. Nor should her partisan willingness to protect Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton.

Before she was even ratified by the Republican-led Senate in 2015, she was exposed as someone who was easily willing to ignore the law during her nomination hearings. As I wrote then,

The video of Lynch’s non-answer to Cruz’s question is quite shocking. I dare you to watch it and tell me afterward that this administration and Democratic Party is not a threat to your freedom and rights.

Cruz was not afraid to buck the trend and vote against her. The majority of the Republicans in Congress however were, as always, wimps, and let the Democrats get her approved. We are paying for this now.

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A blunt honest appraisal of America today

The coming dark age: This op-ed encapsulates perfectly my despairing sense of today’s American culture, and what it will bring to the future.

After noting the effort by Obama and the Democrats these past eight years to divide Americans by race, party, gender, religion, and creed, he then adds:

Into this, Republicans are responding not with a candidate who will rise above the fray and try to unite us all back into common culture, but a man with no temperament to do anything other than divide. His loudest supporters embrace a “convert or die” mentality. We are either with him or against him.

Republicans have embraced a man who takes tribalism to new levels and, in the process, have put on blinders and willfully ignored how much he excites white nationalists and the race baiters of the right. For every New Black Panther in love with Barack Obama there are two white nationalists willing to march through hell for Donald Trump.

In his conclusion he adds

I’m afraid 2016 is the beginning of a chaotic time and not a one off occasion. We may look back on 2016 as the calm before the storm. What is most galling to me is that my party, the party I once served as an elected official, has turned to a man who has no intention of uniting the nation, who brings out the worst in absolutely everybody, and with so much on the line has so little a chance of even winning. But to point this out is to be accused of being a traitor and helping a woman I find equally offensive.

All of this is to say we get the government and national character that reflects us and right now it is all a damning indictment of our American character. How many more will die? How many more Americans will turn against each other? How many will seek blame instead of reconciliation?

Meanwhile, I am reminded of how, during the primary campaign, Ted Cruz was always willing to graciously reach out to protesters and debate the issues with them politely, face-to-face. That behavior, in modern America, has now been called “creepy” and the act of a liar.

We get the government we deserve. Be prepared for bad things in the future.

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Senate to vote Monday on four gun control bills

Call your senator! The Senate will take up four gun control bills on Monday, all useless in preventing the Orlando mass killing but all very useful in denying innocent Americans their second amendment rights.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., authored the terror watch list measure. It would allow federal investigators to block gun purchases by people who they are scrutinizing for possible links to terrorism. The Senate will also vote on an alternative to Feinstein, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, that would put in place a three-day delay for gun purchases by people on the terror watch list. Cornyn’s bill would require the federal government to prove in court that the purchaser should not own a weapon.

A third measure, sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., would require background checks at gun shows. Senators will also consider legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that aims to increase prosecutions of people who try to illegally purchase guns, and ensure those will mental illness can’t buy them.

The first and second are blatantly unconstitutional. The third is bull because background checks are already required at gun shows. And the third is both unconstitutional as well as an empty gesture accomplishing nothing. All four would have done nothing to prevent the Orlando murders, since the madman there had followed the law very carefully, was screened heavily, and was not even on a terrorist watch list.

And once again, the useless Republican quislings in Congress, instead of standing up for our rights, offer incremental compromises that serve to squelch our freedoms only a little. No wonder the pubic wants an outsider for President.

Speaking of outsiders, below the fold is Ted Cruz’s response today in Congress to the Democratic fascist push to deny us our right to keep and bear arms. No compromise on freedom from him.
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Cruz supporters dominate Washtington state convention

The real Republican election: Though Donald Trump is likely to win the upcoming Washington primary and thus its delegates, at the state’s convention this weekend the party chose a slate of Ted Cruz backers to be those delegates, even if they have to vote for Trump.

This is how we change things, regardless of who wins the election in November. Get conservatives into government at the ground level. Have them dominate policy issues. Have them move up the ranks and dominate the state legislatures. Have those winners move up and dominate Congress.

We do that, and it won’t matter much who is president, because it will be these legislators who will control the agenda. In a sense, this is why Trump’s liberal tendencies are probably less of a threat than Clinton’s committed socialism. Give them both a conservative Congress and Trump, being more malleable, will bend to its will while Clinton, a hardline leftist, will fight it every step of the way. This is another reason I like Cruz. He understands this, which is why he worked so hard to build a grass-roots foundation for his campaign. He might not be the president, but when the next president starts trying to make policy it will be Cruz’s people who will guide him.

It is thus very important that conservatives do not boycott the upcoming elections, even if they choose not to vote for a presidential candidate. It is essential the Congress and the state legislatures remain firmly conservative, and for that to happen conservatives have to vote.

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Why Trump and Cruz dominated campaign

Three stories today illustrate forcefully why voters in 2016 chose Donald Trump first as their Republican presidential candidate, with Ted Cruz a very strong second, while rejecting forcefully the establishment standard-bearers such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.

The first story shows video of Hillary Clinton baffled because a businesswoman’s health insurance costs doubled since Obamacare was passed. Watch the video. She can’t even consider the possibility that Obamacare is the cause. She in fact says it is “a big step forward” only to have hostile groans ripple through the audience. Later she bluntly says “”What could have possibly raised your costs $400? That’s what I don’t understand?” and members of the audience once again laugh at this blindness.

Everyone knows that Obamacare has been a disaster that is driving costs up. Clinton refuses to recognize that, which is why she is having so much trouble clinching her party’s nomination, and why people dislike her so much.

The second story is about an investigation being launched by Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Senate Republicans into the squelching of conservative news stories by Facebook. Rather than figure out how to get some control over the budget, these clowns want to harass a private company. Facebook’s actions might have been politically motivated, dishonest, and aimed at censoring conservative viewpoints, but they were also entirely legal under the first amendment. As noted here, the Senate has no business investigating Facebook. The Republicans calling for this investigation should sit down and shut up. Moreover, by even focusing on this Thune is demonstrating why the Republicans who now run Congress have failed so miserably in garnering voter support.

The third story is an example why Cruz, and Trump, were successful and popular with voters In his return to Washington, Ted Cruz didn’t whine about his defeat by Trump, or attack or insult the voters. Instead, he focused in on why Trump and he did well.

“All across this country people are hungry for change. This election cycle should be a wake-up call to Washington, D.C.,” the senator from Texas said outside his office. “The frustration and volcanic anger with Washington was echoed throughout this election.”

If the Republicans had for example simply done what Ted Cruz has tried to do in Congress these past few years, get Obamacare defunded, even if it meant closing down the government, they might not now be faced with having Donald Trump as their standard-bearer. By refusing to fight for the things the voters wanted, they disqualified themselves in the voters eyes, which is why they lost.

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Future Republican battle leans right and anti-establishment

Three more stories today, in addition to this already posted story (Cruz’s political stature enhanced by campaign) suggest that the Republican Party is going to move rightward and anti-establishment.

The headline of the last story is misleading. What it is really about is how Cruz’s yearlong effort to enlist conservatives who agree with him as Republican delegates will result in giving him and his views a great deal of influence at the convention and within the party. Similarly, Trump as nominee puts him in a powerful position to influence policy. Meanwhile, the old guard establishment of moderate Republicans who specialized in failure theater and giving Democrats everything they want are not showing up.

So, what will we have? We will have a Republican convention dominated by either Cruz conservatives or Trump outsiders. This is good news, even if I myself am not enthused about Trump. It likely means that the days of nonchalant surrender to liberal demands are ending. Though what will happen instead remains unknown, and might very well be as bad, the change is more likely to be a good thing.

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Cruz’s political stature enhanced by campaign

Good news: Ted Cruz’s strong campaign has positioned him to likely be “a leading GOP voice for the foreseeable future.”

Read it all. The article’s main point, which I had noticed earlier when Cruz was doing the hard work to forge allies throughout the grassroots Republican Party, is that Cruz’s success during the campaign, becoming a strong #2 while all establishment picks (Bush, Rudio, Walker, Huckebee, Christie) did poorly, places him in the position to dominate the loyal opposition against either Trump or Clinton.

Note also that the conventional wisdom, that shutting down the government would hurt a candidate and the Republican Party, did no such thing for Cruz. In fact, it helped him. The anger the public feels because of the Republican Party’s unwillingness to stand up to Obama and the Democrats, was reflected in the fact that in the end Trump and Cruz were the top vote getters.

Sadly, I do not expect the rest of the Republican Senate to learn this lesson.

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The stupid party, part 2

Update: Thomas Sowell chimes in, expressing some of the same thoughts I do below.

As we approach the Indiana primary next Tuesday, it appears that we are also approaching the moment of truth for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the Republican Party. And not surprisingly, that party appears ready to once again shoot itself in the foot, as it did in 1996, 2000, 2008, and 2012.

Polls show that the race is very tight, though the momentum seems to be favoring Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, national polls as well as the analysis of most political insiders say that Trump will lose to Hillary Clinton in November, while those same polls and insiders say that Ted Cruz has a far better shot at winning the national election.

In other words, it looks like Republican voters are going to pick the weaker of the two candidates for their nominee.

Pretty dumb, eh? What makes it even dumber is that even the slightest honest appraisal of the political beliefs of Donald Trump quickly reveals himself to be a RINO, a liberal Democrat with many ties to the corrupt political establishments of both parties. In addition, his political positions both before and during the campaign have revealed himself repeatedly to be a liberal Democratic in all things except illegal immigration, and even here he has shown indications that he will go soft once in office.

Trump is not a corrupt lying politician like Hillary Clinton. He would definitely be a better choice than her. Moreover, the insiders and the polls might be wrong about his chances against her, but I do not think so. Trump’s primary election results suggested to me that he has the support, like Mitt Romney, of a large minority of moderate Republicans and moderate former Democrats (concentrated in the northeast) that will not translate into a majority in the general election. If anything, he has set himself up to be a nice target for the press to destroy, once he is the Republican candidate.

For the Republican Party to favor him over Ted Cruz, a committed conservative who has repeatedly proven his willingness to stand up for these ideals, even under terrible fire from the press, the left, and the Republican leadership that really doesn’t want the right to win, is either madness, or it shows that the country in general no long believes in the ideals that founded it.

I’m not sure which it is, but either way, the future does not look good.

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Take-aways from Cruz’s win in Wisconsin

Link here. Key quote, which I think accurately predicts what will happen in the next few months:

Trump will not win 1237 delegates before the convention. The question is whether Cruz can catch him in a plurality or get close to it and win a mandate. It’s quite obvious that Trump’s victories during the first half of the race were a result of unprecedented name ID and a divided field. He would have lost most states had this been a one-on-one contest, which tells you that the majority of voters don’t want him. Thus, even if Cruz comes up short of a plurality, as long as he wins the aforementioned states, the Texas Senator will have a moral mandate when he likely wins a delegate race on the second ballot. Trump will argue that it doesn’t reflect the will of the voters, but it’s clear that 60% of voters in most states don’t want him. He only won in previous states because of Rubio, and the remaining wins come as a result of Kasich staying in the race or non-Republican voters.

The article has lots of good information and analysis. It correctly notes that if John Kasich would do the sensible and honorable thing and end his campaign now, Cruz’s path to the nomination would be significantly cleared.

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“We don’t need another lecture about Islamophobia.”

Mohammad the bomber

The religion of peace strikes again: Thirty-four are dead and almost 200 injured in suicide attacks in Belgium today.

ISIS has claimed credit for the attacks.

I think the reactions of our politicians here is of some significance, as by contrasting them we can learn a bit about each. Obama inserted a short pro-forma statement of sympathy during his prepared remarks at the start of a press conference in Cuba, then appeared to forget about the entire horrific attack. Donald Trump called for greater border security and a renewed consideration of the use of waterboarding to obtain information from captured terrorists. Hillary Clinton (at the previous link) expressed some incoherent blather about following “our values”.

Ted Cruz possibly spoke with the most clarity.

“Today’s attacks in Brussels underscores this is a war,” Cruz said. “This is not a lone war. ISIS has declared jihad. It is way past time we have a president who will acknowledge this evil and will call it by it’s name and use the full force and fury to defeat ISIS,” he continued. “Until they are defeated, these attacks will continue. Their target is each and every one of us.”

Cruz, one of five remaining presidential candidates, urged America needs a leader who is not afraid to speak about terrorism in bold terms. “We need a president who sets aside political correctness,” Cruz insisted. “We don’t need another lecture about Islamophobia.”

Cruz also criticized Trump’s proposal yesterday that we pull back from NATO.

I leave it to you to decide who appears to have the greatest grasp of the situation. And if you think I am spinning this to favor Cruz, go to the links and get a closer look at the other reactions. Note for example that, other than a twitter comment, I could not even find a story that specifically discussed Hillary Clinton’s reaction.

Update: I have added the cartoon showing Mohammad with a bomb in his turban because I think the response to these thugs has to be to defy them as blatantly as possible. I need to remember to do this more often.

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“The Republican Establishment is Worse Than Trump.”

Link here. This article is a nice bookend to my previous post, as it outlines quite nicely the reasons why Donald Trump is doing so well. As the author says,

Donald Trump is not the candidate I want to see Republican voters select, but I do love the fact that he’s raised a giant middle finger two inches from the face of the Republicans who prefer to mock, ignore and alienate those of us who put them into power rather than fight for God, country and conservatism.

The author also does a nice job of reviewing the history of the past six years, starting with the 2010 election when the voters gave the Republicans control of the House in one of the biggest landslides in decades, followed four years later by an even bigger landslide to give them the Senate. What did that Republican leadership do with those victories? Nothing. And when a handful of Senators and Congressmen (included Ted Cruz) tried to fight back against the Democratic Party’s agenda, the Republican leadership in Congress acted horrified and appalled.

The article at the link is also interesting in that it opens with a very telling quote from Cruz, noting how that Republican leadership only has outrage against anyone who tries to give the voters what they were promised.

What’s considered unpleasant in the Senate is not lack of civility – you can insult the heck out of each other although I don’t engage in that. What’s considered unpardonable is actually speaking the truth and doing what you said you would do and even worse making clear, shining the light on the fact that there are a whole lot of other people willing to do exactly the opposite of what they said they would do. That’s treated as the unpardonable sin, how dare you be so selfish – and it’s funny they use the term selfish – as to actually honor the commitments to your constituents.

Which is why it doesn’t bother me in slightest that Cruz is rumored to be hated in the Senate. He should be hated in the Senate. He hasn’t been playing their corrupt game.

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A Ted Cruz surge tonight

As predicted a few days ago, Ted Cruz surged against Donald Trump in tonight’s four closed primaries.

Though each won two primaries, the numbers gave Cruz the win over Trump in delegates, 69 to 44 (the numbers now adjusted after all the votes have been tallied). Moreover, as noted at the link, Trump’s voting totals remain flat or have declined, while Cruz’s have been rising steadily. It appears that among Republicans either the love affair with Trump is fading, or there never was one and that his support in the previous open primaries came from cross-over Democrats..

In addition, the numbers for both Kasich and Rubio are going nowhere, which means voting for them in future primaries will essentially give Trump an undeserved win. Thus, expect the movement from them to Cruz to increase.

More here, confirming my analysis above.

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Trump winning open primaries, Cruz winning closed ones

Link here.

If true, why does this matter? Because so far the primary calendar has been heavily tilted toward open primaries. But there have been four closed elections: the Iowa caucus, the Nevada caucus, and Super Tuesday’s Oklahoma primary and Alaska caucus. Ted Cruz won three of those four closed elections.

This suggests that, as a number of polls have indicated, Trump’s victories have largely been aided by moderate Democratic voters crossing over to vote for him, mostly I suspect out of disgust at the extreme leftist tilt of their own party.

A more important factor to consider, however, is that the primaries will be increasingly shifting to closed primaries in the coming weeks. This weekend alone there are four primaries/caucuses, and they are all closed. No Democrats can vote in them. If Cruz tops Trump in most, it will indicate Trump’s true weakness within the Republican Party, a fact that could make it far more difficult for him to achieve the nomination than presently indicated.

And if Trump does well in these closed primaries? Then the nomination is likely his.

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The stupid party

The nickname for the Republican Party for the past few decades has been that of the “stupid” party. Why it has this reputation can be explained in numerous ways, from how its leadership in Congress routinely gets hosed in negotiations with Democrats, from how its Presidents since Reagan have routinely allowed liberals from the Democratic Party to dictate policy, from how the party since 2000 has routinely picked losers as its Presidential picks, and from how it has squandered every election victory it has earned since the day Ronald Reagan retired in 1988.

I think two stories today demonstrate that the stupidity is not limited just to the party’s leadership. In the first, we find that in every poll taken comparing a head-to-head election with Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz does better than Donald Trump.

Polling has consistently shown Cruz to have an advantage over Trump in this regard: Fox News found that Cruz would fare 4 points better than Trump, beating Clinton by 7 points (50 to 43 percent) to Trump’s 3 (47 to 44 percent). NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that Cruz would fare 6 points better than Trump, losing to Clinton by 4 points (49 to 45 percent) to Trump’s 10 (51 to 41 percent). And Quinnipiac found that Cruz would fare 5 points better than Trump, tying Clinton (at 45 percent apiece) while Trump would lose by 5 points (46 to 41 percent).

Nor should we be surprised by this. Trump might sound good now, but when he has to face Clinton (or anyone) in the election, his negatives, which are yuge (to coin a phrase) will sink him. Meanwhile, Cruz’s smart campaign strategy and his remarkable skill at debate make him a wonderful candidate. To paraphrase what he has said numerous times on the campaign trail, I can’t wait to get him in a head-to-head debate with Clinton or Sanders. He will make them look like fools.

In the second story, we find that Trump is crushing all opposition in South Carolina. Cruz comes closest, but even his best poll there so far has him losing by a good margin.

It appears no one is considering the eventual election. Instead, Republicans appear posed to pick a cool reality television star who happens to have a lot of money, merely because he is a cool television star that happens to have a lot of money.

There is madness here, and that madness can only lead to the kinds of villainy that eventually led to the deaths of millions, in places that also put their faith in strong personality cults.

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Carter would pick Trump if he had no other choice

Heh: When asked by a reporter about the Presidential campaign, former President Jimmy Carter said he’d pick Donald Trump over Ted Cruz if they were his only choices. And why would he do that?

If he had to choose between Cruz and Trump for the Republican nomination, Carter chuckled, “I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you.” (It did, judging by the loud laughter from the audience.)

“The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable,” Carter explained. [emphasis mine]

I think this might one of those very rare moments when Jimmy Carter has correctly analyzed the situation.

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Iowa results suggest strong Cruz future

Ted Cruz’s strong win in the Iowa caucuses tonight, combined with a record turnout of Republican voters (180K+) indicates that his support is far deeper than any poll or expert had predicted. Every prediction had insisted that if the turnout was big, Donald Trump would win. As noted at the second link, “By Team Cruz’s own admission, turnout of 175,000 tonight would strongly favor a Trump win.”.

Instead, the turnout was 180,000, and Trump lost to Cruz handily and was almost beaten by Marco Rubio.

On the other side of the aisle Clinton appears to have barely squeaked by Sanders. To me the more significant number is that the Democrats could only marshal about 10,000 voters, far less than in the past and suggesting that the enthusiasm for either of their candidates is weak.

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Two thoughtful endorsements of Ted Cruz

While cable television and the general media goes nuts of the childish feud between Donald Trump and Fox News, Ted Cruz today got two different endorsements that not only supported his nomination for president, but also outlined in detail two completely different reasons for supporting him.

The first, at the website Legal Insurrection, outlined Ted Cruz’s consistent and long term history as a trustworthy constitutional conservative. Not only does the article review Cruz’s history in the Senate, where he did whatever he could to fulfill his campaign promises (often prevented from doing so by his own Republican caucus), the article also looks at his background before becoming a senator. Its conclusion?

In short, Cruz has a long (dating back to his early teens) record of being a conservative in both principle and action.  He didn’t bound out of bed one day, put his finger to the wind, and decide to become a conservative (as was charged against Mitt Romney, among others); he’s always been a conservative. [emphasis in original]

Conservatives have been complaining for decades that they can’t get a reliable conservative nominated to run for president. With Cruz, we actually have that chance, and he will be running against the weakest Democratic candidate since George McGovern.

The second article outlines Cruz’s particular advantages for cleaning out the bureaucratic corruption in the Justice Department and elsewhere in the federal government.
» Read more

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