Breaking Down the Foreign Policy Case Against Trump

I know very little about foreign policy, but I’ve noticed that Trump’s stances are being highlighted more and more as a primary reason not to vote for him. As a reasonable person, I want to know more. It’s hard, however, to find well reasoned pieces that aren’t filled with all kinds of hyperbolic tripe.

Let’s go through one of the articles that I found:

We do not transgress Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment lightly.

That’s a good start. I’m on the lookout for well-reasoned, thoughtful articles. If you write something that I completely disagree with, but you do it in a manner supported by facts, I’m completely cool with that.

Let’s see how they justified their transgression.

But whether or not he believes his own words, merely uttering them renders him unfit to be commander-in-chief.

They’re not exactly winning me over to their ability to be reasonable from the outset.

Every modern presidential candidate who is realistically attempting to attain the Oval Office shares one trait: They will say whatever they need to say in order to get elected. During the primaries, they preach to their base. During the general election, they move toward the middle, most of the time in ways that directly contradict everything they said in the primary.

Is this an admirable trait in any candidate? Nope. Is it a reasonable trait considering that their doesn’t seem to be any way around the necessity? Yes.

Just by the fact that his words have propelled him into the driver’s seat for the nomination proves that the words were reasonable.

Under a Trump presidency, our allies would detest us and our enemies would have contempt for us, or even pity us.

Great. Now we’re getting to the meat of the issue. Tell me more.

Nope. That’s it. The authors simply made that statement and let it stand.

Literally, the entire article contains not one word that actually supports and explains their position.

Did they not write this:

as signatories to that letter, and as co-editors of Shadow Government, we want to elaborate on that statement in explaining to our readers why our role as the “loyal opposition” may well put us in the uncomfortable yet necessary role of standing in loyal opposition to our own party’s presidential nominee

Where, then, is the explanation that they promised?

Now, being reasonable, I have to say that they linked to other letters that promise some type of actual policy statements, and I’ll have to find time to delve into those. For the moment, though, I’m left with this thought, “What, exactly, was the point of their article?”

EDIT: I followed the link from the original article that was supposed to bring up the actual letter. The link didn’t work for me.

 

The Religious Right’s Leadership Isn’t Feeling So Hot Today

Bias Disclaimer – I’m a Christian, and because of that, my take on the subject of the Religious Right isn’t nearly as impartial as it is with most subjects.

With that out of the way, let’s start with this CNN article:

In the days before Super Tuesday, conservative Christian leaders cautioned, cajoled and pleaded with evangelicals to reject Trump, saying the New York businessman epitomized the opposite of their values.

Tuesday was supposed to be the religious right’s last stand, a day when the Bible Belt would enter the voting booth and christen the most God-fearing candidate. Christian conservatives were the last best hope to halt Trump’s momentum.

They didn’t.

According to exit polls, Trump won a plurality of evangelical and born-again Christians in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

While I’m not sure about the rest of the article considering the author’s clear bias on the subject, I think that the quoted paragraphs are right on the money.

As I read post after post of Christian pundits and bloggers criticizing Trump in the last week or so, I was struck by a) how many of them there were and b) the uniformity of their talking points. I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between their unified action and Jim Taylor’s takedown of James Stewart’s Mr. Smith.

(In fact, a young boy was delivering pro-Trump newspapers in my neighborhood the other day when a car cut him off. A pastor jumped out, shoved the boy to the ground, and took the newspapers!)

I’m not sure that I agree that Christian leaders, morally, should be acting in the same way as any other political interest group’s leaders. If the heads of the NRA or NAACP had acted the same way, I’d probably shrug it off as politics as usual. To see that from people who should hold themselves to a higher standard feels seriously icky to me.

Then, in the end, their duplicity didn’t even work.

Sucks to be them.

Does Big Business Own the Republican Party?

Big business owns the Republican Party.

It’s a common thought, but this blog is all about being reasonable. Is it a reasonable thought or just symptomatic of the tin foil hat I’m wearing?

Here’s what Fortune has to say (here):

But I am prepared to declare a loser: big business. The so-called “establishment” Republican candidates – Rubio and Kasich – got trounced (Rubio won only in Minnesota.) Donald Trump is prevailing by trampling all over the business agenda – freer trade, more high-skilled immigration, balanced budgets – and demonizing an ever longer list of the Fortune 500companies – Pfizer was back in his sights last night.

I can’t see how to read the statement that big business lost because the establishment candidates lost as anything other than an admission that the Republican Establishment is firmly in the corner of big business. It’s not such a far leap from being the corner of to owned by.

Maybe or maybe not on the fact of the matter, but I think it’s reasonable to say that big business owns the Republican Party.

 

Dear Tom, the only political rant I’ll give ya- I grok Trump.

Here at one reasonable person, I believe that it’s important to understand what drives people. Instead of thinking of Trump supporters as stupid or evil, I think we should delve into what they see in the man. Here’s as good an explanation as I’ve seen:

I’m not saying I’m a Trump supporter, or that I have been a Trump supporter or that I will be a Trump supporter. Neither am I sold on Sanders. But I’ll tell you this~ I NEVER want…

Source: Dear Tom, the only political rant I’ll give ya- I grok Trump.

Rubio’s Minnesota-only strategy pays off handsomely

If you need a good laugh this morning, read this post:

ST. PAUL, Minnesota—putting all doubts about his candidacy to rest, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) swept to victory last night in the Minnesota caucuses, with more than 41,000 votes and a solid margin of …

Source: Rubio’s Minnesota-only strategy pays off handsomely

You’re Evil or You’re an Idiot

(Look at me using a clickbait title. Go me!)

Based on what I’m reading, I’m absolutely positive that the statement I made in the title is 100% correct. How do I know? Follow my logic:

Logic Step 1: No one in the world agrees with me on every single possible subject.

Even if you happen to hit all the majors, how can you possibly agree with me on every position for an infinite number of subjects? For example, ice cream. My favorite flavor is pistachio. If you said, rocky road, you’re out.

Logic Step 2: There are only two possible reasons that you could disagree with me – either you’re evil or you’re an idiot.

I know this because I’ve read it on just about every blog and in every internet news opinion piece. Since so many people are saying it, it must be true.

Logical Conclusion: Since you can’t possibly agree with me on everything and the only explanation for disagreement is evilness or stupidity, you must be either evil or an idiot. Period.

Okay, my position in the title is logical, but is it reasonable? Unfortunately, it appears to be what passes for reason on the internet.

Respect for all human life

The blogger below passionately makes the point that I’ve been trying to get across:

A meme just came across my Facebook page, and it really saddened me. It was a picture of a presidential candidate with whom I strongly disagree, dangling over a cliff. The image posed the question:…

Source: Respect for all human life

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain popularized the quote long ago, and I was reminded of it today when reading this article about drug testing in North Carolina.

At issue is this quote:

Here are the stats so far: Over the first five months of the program, 7,600 people applied for help. Of all those, social workers sent 89 to be screened.

Twenty-one from that group tested positive for drugs. That means of the total number of welfare applicants, less than 0.3% were denied benefits.

“I think it’s a total waste of money,” said Kight. “It’s expensive and unnecessary.”

Notice the percentage, 0.3%, used?

Why, exactly, would a reasonable person pull out the number of people testing positive for drugs, 21, versus the overall number of people applying, 7600? What useful information does that give us?

If each test costs $55, testing 7900 people costs a whopping $434,500, and you’re telling me that, for nearly half a million bucks, we only caught .3% of people using drugs?

No. No one at all is telling you that. But a reasonable person could conclude that’s exactly what the person who came up with the percentage wants you to think.

In reality, the state tested a total of 89 people, spending $4,895, and caught 21 of them, 23.6%. So if not giving benefits to those 21 people (or reducing benefits to some of those because they are responsible for dependents apparently) saves more than five grand, North Carolina just managed to save some money.

To be fair, the article gave me all the information that I needed to come to that conclusion, but the way that it presented the information was misleading at best. I have to rate it as … unreasonable.