The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina really puzzles me. In 2010, she ran for the United States Senate in California, and I was hoping she would win, along with gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, but California has just become too “blue” to elect Republicans these days. (Arnold Schwarzenegger was an exception, but he was running in a field of over 100 candidates, and he was the best known, while the opposition was split.) Last year she decided to run for the 2016 Republican nomination for the Presidency, and though she was hardly my first choice, she was easily the best-qualified among the three that had no Governmental experience, so I was rather favorably inclined toward her. But I never anticipated the turn she has taken now.

When she withdrew from the race, it made sense because her polls were so low after an initial upward swing, but it troubled me to see her backing Ted Cruz. Still, I figured she was simply assuming that Cruz and Donald Trump were the only viable candidates, and she obviously did not like Trump. When subsequently she revealed that she had voted for Cruz even though her name was on the Virginia primary ballot, I cringed a bit, because at the time Virginia had its primary, there were others, such as Marco Rubio, who were still considered viable candidates.

And now she has accepted the role of vice-presidential candidate on the Cruz ticket. I never would have thought she'd be all in for Cruz to this extent. I'm obviously disappointed in Fiorina, and while previously I'd have thought she had a good political future (perhaps, now that she lives in Virginia, she could win a seat in the Senate), I've lot a lot of respect for her.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Donald Trump really won big

I am not very happy with Tuesday's results, and I'm getting more and more resigned to Donald Trump's nomination. If he does get the nomination, I'll hold my nose and vote for him in November, of course. The two main reasons are:

1. He's a clown and proposes all sorts of outrageous things, but we do have a Constitution, and most of his outrageous proposals will never happen, either because Congress will never pass such legislation for him to sign, or because the courts will knock them down, and

2. Hillary Clinton may be the most competent person running (assuming it's Trump against her!) but she wants to take this country in the wrong direction and she might actually succeed because she is so skilled. I'd rather take a Trump who might take us in unknown directions than a Clinton that I know will lead us in a bad direction.

So if it's Trump vs. Clinton, I'll vote for Trump, not very enthusiastically, but as the lesser of two evils. And if it's still possible to nominate someone else (as long as it isn't Ted Cruz!) I'll be a lot happier to vote the Republican line. (However, as I said in an earlier post, if Cruz is the nominee, my vote will go to the Libertarian or another minor party candidate!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ted Cruz, the one Republican I cannot ever support

Ted Cruz has stated he was “a Christian first, American second…” A surrogate of his, Pastor Mike Gonzalez, has said, and this was never denied by Cruz,

Well, the reality is that this idea of the separation of church and state is a myth. I mean, you bring your faith into the marketplace like you do anything else. So Ted Cruz is a — will be a president, not just, you know who is a preacher and pastor in the White House. That’s not the idea. I believe all Americans can rally around Ted Cruz because he upholds the Constitution. I believe all Americans want to truly uphold the law.

Well, I have a different idea of what the Constitution says; it was expressed in this blog in a post entitled “On reading the Constitution,” dated December 2, 2010, and one entitled “Separation of church and state,” dated December 28, 2010. It is clear that on this issue, Sen. Cruz and I are diametrically opposed.

So while I have supported every Republican candidate for the Presidency for nearly 50 years, if Cruz is the nominee, I will vote for someone else, probably the Libertarian.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bathroom bills, showers, and “gender identity”

There are really two different aspects to the quarrel we see between the sponsors of “bathroom bills” and so-called “transgender” individuals. There is actually a difference between bathrooms and showers: it is hard to enforce a “bathroom bill” on people simply entering a bathroom — are we going to have police examining everyone's genitalia as they enter? I can't imagine anyone, whether “transgender” or not, putting up with such an examination. On the other hand, in a shower, where everyone gets naked, the true sex of an individual becomes obvious. And what of dressing rooms, where everyone is naked at one point in the process of getting dressed or undressed?

When I was in high school, and again when I was in college, the physical education program required a year of swimming, which was done in the nude. I don't know whether nude swimming classes have everywhere been abolished, but even if they have, the students have to get dressed and undressed; you do not swim in street clothes. And usually students are expected to shower in a communal place. It is things like this that give me pause when “transgender” individuals want to be able to use the facilities of the sex opposite to their real sex. What is fair to all involved in such cases?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Two days till Primary Day…

…and as long as I can make it to the polls, I'll be voting for John Kasich. The polls all say that Donald Trump will win the state, but there seems to be some Kasich support in this district, and I'm hoping it shows that Kasich will win some delegates in the districts near Washington, D. C. (including the one I'm in). At least two of the candidates for my district seat in Congress on the Republican side have openly expressed their support for Kasich (one for Ted Cruz, and two haven't expressed support for anyone that I've seen), and this may be a sign.

Statewide, as I said, Trump will win it, but the polls differ on whether Kasich or Cruz will take 2nd place. I've seen recent poll results both ways.
Probably more eyes will be on Pennsylvania than Maryland, though. And That's probably justified because it's a bigger state. We'll be seeing results for a lot of the Northeast, though: from Rhode Island down to here, except for New York, which voted last week, every one of the Atlantic coastal states votes this Tuesday. It's going to be interesting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I wonder how they got me

I've been receiving a lot of e-mails from everyone ranging from John Kasich to Paul Ryan (presumably from their staffs; I doubt that any of these people acrtually sent out the e-mails personally!) asking for contributions. And while, if I had money to spare, I might give to some of them — certainly to Kasich — I definitely do not have the money. But one source of e-mails surprises me: Ted Cruz. I get e-mails like one that begins, “Bruce, You are a key supporter. Your support has allowed us to take on the Washington Cartel and win. …” I wonder how I was tabbed as a Cruz supporter. I'm certainly anything but! While I have voted for the Republican nominee in every Presidential election for almost 50 years, a Cruz nomination would drive me to vote Libertarian! I wish I could write back to the actual people who send out those e-mails, and tell them that I think Ted Cruz is the worst possible choice for a nominee.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I wish I could believe it!

There is a post I read yesterday, dated a week ago but first coming to my attention yesterday evening, by Seth Abramson on the Huffington Post site, with the title “John Kasich Will Be the Republican Nominee for President.” I really wish I could believe things will play out that way. It would cap a crazy primary election season with the best outcome I could possibly imagine: a Republican ticket that I could enthusiastically support.

The major premise of Abramson's post is that:

Donald Trump needs 1,237 delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and not only will he not get to that figure prior to the Convention — he’d need to win well over 50 percent of the remaining delegates to do so, and even during his current run as front-runner he’s only won 46 percent of delegates — he won’t even get close enough to that mark to pass it via uncommitted delegates at the Convention.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich staying in the race through Cleveland not only will ensure that Trump can’t get close to 1,237 delegates via primary and caucus votes, it will also ensure that both men have a reasonable delegate total by the time they arrive at the Convention — more than enough to keep both of them in the picture in the view of Convention delegates.

So far I think he is right. There is a good chance, even a likelihood, that the first ballot in Cleveland will sho no majority for either Trump or Cruz. However, in his next point he strays into unpredictable territory; whether it will come about is unclear to me:

Republican Party elders have more than enough clout to make sure that “Rule 40(b)” gets changed prior to or at the Convention, thereby enabling Republicans like John Kasich who haven’t won a majority of delegates in eight states to nevertheless be considered for the nomination.

I hope so; it is very important that that rule be changed, and I think the probability of this happening is high enough that I cannot be certain whether it comes about. Certainly, without the change in the rules, Trump gets the nomination, even if Cruz is the one pushing hardest to keep the rule.

The next two points are crucial, and I devoutly hope Abramson is right:

After the first ballot in Cleveland — during which no candidate will have the require[d] delegates for nomination — most of the delegates will be free to vote for whomever they wish, and while Ted Cruz has craftily planted his supporters in many delegations, it’s not nearly enough to get him to 1,237 delegates on the second ballot.

Whereas Ted Cruz is loathed by the Republican Party elite, has lost to Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polls 55 percent of the time since November 2015, and has no actual accomplishments in government to point to, John Kasich hasn’t lost a single head-to-head poll to Hillary Clinton in 2016, is broadly if imperfectly acceptable to both Party elites and movement conservatives, and is far and away the most accomplished Republican primary candidate left.

If “electability” were what mattered most, the second of these would be very important. Will it? Most certainly Kasich is hoping so. It's also what I really wish would happen. I think that last point is the key to Abrahamson's argument. But the next point is equally critical:

Marco Rubio has deliberately held onto his 172 delegates so that he can create a unity ticket with John Kasich in Cleveland — a ticket that will begin with somewhere between 350 and 600 delegates on the first ballot at the Convention, depending upon how many delegates John Kasich wins going forward.

Has Rubio held onto his delegates “so that he can create a unity ticket with John Kasich in Cleveland”? I can't read Rubio's mind. He certainly has a plan to be an influence on the result. So Abrahamson's next point is a given:

Rubio is certain not to give his delegates away for free, nor to give them to his arch-enemies Cruz or Trump, nor to — as some suppose — merely fade into the background when he was and remains among the most ambitious politicians in the Republican Party.

And the next point is also certainly true:

A Kasich/Rubio ticket would appeal to both mainstream Republicans (Kasich) and Tea Partiers (Rubio), to both white and Latino voters, to younger voters who want to see someone relatively young on the ticket, to those looking for a ticket whose members run the gamut from executive to legislative experience at both the state and federal levels, and to those who believe all members of a presidential ticket should hail from a major battleground state.

Yes, a Kasich/Rubio ticket would be acceptable to many Republicans and to people who might be persuaded to vote Republican in November. It would be more than merely acceptable to me: John Kasich started off as one of my two favorite candidates, and ever since Chris Christie dropped out has been my #1 choice; Marco Rubio was originally the person I thought would be the Presidential nominee, and one I would not have any qualms about supporting if he had been nominated. The question is not whether Kasich/Rubio would be a good ticket; it is one which I have already said I would support with enthusiasm. The question is whether all these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which Abrahamson has put on the table will actually fit together to produce a Kasich/Rubio ticket in reality.

I hope so. I wish I could believe it will happen that way. Nothing could happen at Cleveland that would make me happier.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The primary in just over two weeks

In two weeks and a day, the state of Maryland will hold its primary elections. I have said that the only way I could vote for Donald Trump in the primary was if it looked like the only way to stop Ted Cruz. But all the polls show that in this state, Cruz is a distant third. So I can safely vote for my true first choice: John Kasich. And that is the way I will vote on the 26th. And anyone else in this state that reads my blog, please do the same.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I don't “get” transgender!

A few years ago, in this state (Maryland) there was a referendum on permitting gay marriage. At one point I signed a petition in favor of marriage equality, and as a result I was put on the e-mail mailing list of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, and ultimately on the mailing list of their affiliate, the Human Rights Campaign. Since I agree with a lot of what HRC stands for, I have no problem with that, although HRC's strong advocacy of Democratic Party candidates leaves me behind; there are other issues, more important to me than gay rights, which keep me on the Republican side in most elections.

Lately I have been receiving e-mail from HRC about the recent laws passed in Mississippi and North Carolina curtailing gay rights, and most of what HRC says makes sense. But in one way, I agree with what these states have done, and that part of the laws would meet with my approval if I were a legislator or executive involved with a state lawmaking process.

The laws state that a person must use the bathroom appropriate for the gender named on his/her birth certificate. I see nothing wrong with such a provision. I really do not understand why a person who is biologically male can call himself a woman, or one who is biologically female can call herself a man. In other words, I cannot understand transgender.

Bruce Jenner has fathered a child, so he is unquestionably a male, regardless of whether he dresses in drag or chooses to call himself “Caitlyn.” And in general the real test of someone's gender comes down to one thing: Is there a Y chromosome in his/her genome? (I deliberately use that rather than a test of the number of X chromosomes, because it is a known fact that people with unusual genetic makeup like one X and no other sex chromosome, or XXY, are biologically whatever sex the presence or absence of a Y chromosome determines. See the article on Klinefelter's syndrome, for example.) Apparently Bruce Jenner and his ilk have some new definition of “female” or “woman,” which allows them to claim they are; I would love to see that definition.

If Bruce Jenner dresses up in female attire, he is just a man in drag. If some day he has his male parts surgically removed, he will still be only a castrated male. This does not mean he cannot do these things; only that he can never become truly female.

And what does a man who likes to pretend he is a woman gain by being considered one? He does not gain the opportunity to marry a man; he already has that right, via the Windsor decision. He does not gain any other right that women have, either. Unless, of course, you count the right to use the ladies' restroom in those states that have not passed bills like the one to which I am referring.

Some men are attracted to men rather than women, and some women to women rather than men. (And some men and women are attracted to both!) Allowing them to marry the partner of their choice does not hurt anyone. Certainly, it does not prevent straight people from marrying their opposite-sex partners. So marriage equality is a reasonable thing. Anti-discrimination laws are also good things, as nobody should be treated unfairly just because of whom he/she loves. But there is a real danger that someone might claim to be transgender, just to get a free peek at the opposite sex. (In my younger days, I had an immense curiosity as to what a female body looked like!) While if a “transgender boy” (who is really a girl) is forced to use the ladies' restroom, or a “transgender girl” (who is really a boy) is forced to use the men's restroom, they only get to see bodies like their own!