Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

Texas

Early in my academic career, I really came to appreciate Texas. I taught Law and Public Policy, and on those rare occasions when Indiana failed to provide a “teachable moment”– an example of truly awful policy– I could always count on Texas.

I still remember Molly Ivins’ wonderful explanation of the logic of the Texas “lege.” She noted that when gun deaths exceeded highway deaths, Texas lawmakers sprang into action–and raised the speed limit.

Ted Cruz (known around Twitter and Facebook these days as “Fled” Cruz) is a perfect example of the sort of Republican Texas routinely elects–arrogant, bigoted, and thoroughly full of himself. While he took off for Cancun, Beto O’Roark was setting up telephone outreach to elderly citizens who’d lost their power and access to clean drinking water, and AOC, the much-hated “socialist” who doesn’t live anywhere near Texas was raising two million dollars for relief efforts. (I note that, as of yesterday, it was up to five million…)

To be sure, Cruz has lots of company. Former Governor and Energy Secretary Rick Perry (who was Governor in 2011 and ignored experts who recommended winterizing the power grid) insists that Texans prefer an occasional apocalypse to the indignity of federal regulation, and a “compassionate” Republican mayor had to resign after telling freezing people who’d lost power and water to stop whining and get off their lazy asses and take care of themselves.

I don’t think it is at all unfair to claim that these buffoons are perfect representatives of today’s GOP–a party that exhibits absolutely no interest in actual governing. I agree entirely with Ryan Cooper, who wrote in The Week that  the blizzard nightmare is “Republican governance in a nutshell.”

After describing Cruz’s attempted getaway, Cooper wrote that

what Cruz did is emblematic of the Republican Party’s mode of governance. The reason Cruz felt comfortable leaving Texans to freeze solid on the sidewalks of Houston is the same reason the Texas power grid crumpled under the winter storm. Theirs is a party in which catering to the welfare of one’s constituents, or indeed any kind of substantive political agenda, has been supplanted by propaganda, culture war grievance, and media theatrics. Neither he nor anybody else in a leadership position in the party knows or cares about how to build a reliable power grid. They just want to get rich owning the libs….

People have known for decades how to winterize electrical infrastructure — after all, there is still power in Canada and Finland. The reason those investments haven’t been made in Texas is because it would have cost a lot of money, and nobody wanted to pay for it — especially because the deregulated Texas energy grid makes it hard to pay for upgrades or extra capacity.

The reason the Texas grid isn’t connected to the national system is pure GOP ideology; the grid was purposely kept within the state in order to avoid federal regulation. (It’s notable that a couple of small parts of the state that aren’t connected to the Texas-only grid–places that were subject to those hated regulations– have mostly been fine.)

Unfortunately for Texas politicians, it’s hard to blame the “libs” for this debacle, although they’ve tried; after all, Republicans have run the state since 1994–and they’ve pretty much been owned by the state’s fossil fuel companies–especially Governor Abbott.

When the Texas power grid buckled under the strain of worse-than-expected winter cold, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) went on Fox News and blamed frozen wind turbines for what was mostly a problem with natural gas–fueled power supply. Then he savaged the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the Texas-only power grid. But he has notably “gone easier on another culprit: an oil and gas industry that is the state’s dominant business and his biggest political contributor,” The Associated Press reports.

Abbott, in office since 2015, has raised more than $150 million in campaign contributions — the most of any governor in U.S. history — and “more than $26 million of his contributions have come from the oil and gas industry, more than any other economic sector,” AP reports. In a news conference Thursday, Abbott mostly blamed ERCOT for assuring state leaders Texas could handle the storm.

ERCOT, of course, is managed by people appointed by Abbott…

Today’s Republicans may not be good at–or interested in– governing, but they are absolute masters of shamelessly lying and blaming others when they are threatened with the consequences of an ideology that translates into “let them eat cake.”  

 

Theocrats or Panderers? It Doesn’t Really Matter…

Politicians at all levels keep giving God a bad name. God doesn’t want LGBT folks to have equal rights, and certainly doesn’t want them to get married, at least to each other. God doesn’t want women controlling our own reproduction. God doesn’t like immigrants, or refugees, or Muslims (wrong God). In Indiana, just ask Mike Pence. Or Marlin Stutzman.

As a recurring Facebook meme puts it, “Isn’t it nice that God hates all the same people you do?”

The Republican presidential contenders are, if anything, worse. Herb Silverman has a great commentary up at Huffington Post.

Recently I wrote about presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s comment that “all the answers are in the Bible” and his remarks to an atheist that our rights could only come from a creator. A number of readers agreed that Rubio’s view made no sense, but they also mentioned that religious views of other candidates are just as bad, or worse. I agree. Rubio has never claimed that God told him to run for president. That alone distinguishes him from current candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich, and dropout candidates Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker.

Of those who dropped out, despite God’s support, Ben Carson remains the most active politically. He is the new national chairman of My Faith Votes, an organization that wants Christians to decide who will be the next president and all national and local leaders.

What’s so ironic about these posturing theocrats is that they also go to great lengths to present themselves as constitutional “originalists” and “strict constructionists,” a facade that requires them to ignore pretty much everything the Founders said and wrote about religion and the meaning of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Ted Cruz is by far the smartest–and creepiest–of the GOP field. A graduate of Harvard Law, he should know both the history and operation of the First Amendment, but either he missed those classes or he chooses to ignore both the Founders’ own words and 200+ years of constitutional jurisprudence. As Silverman writes,

Fittingly, Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell. At a National Religious Liberties Conference, Cruz said, “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander in chief.” In addition to eliminating atheists from presidential consideration, Cruz apparently would also like a prayer test for all candidates. His Religious Liberty Council seems to equate religious liberty with a God-given right to discriminate against gays. Pastor Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father, has served as a surrogate for Ted’s campaign. Pastor Cruz says that there is no such thing as separation of church and state, America is a Christian nation, and the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

No wonder America is seeing the “rise of the nones.” Who in her right mind would believe in or worship the sanctimonious, repellent and vindictive God who motivates these people?

 

 

An Observation Worth Pondering

I really did not intend to dignify Ted Cruz’ ambition by paying any attention to him; the man is by all accounts (Republican, Democrat, human) a consummate asshole. (Andy Borowitz, who has been on something of a roll lately, tweeted “Poll: 80% of Americans given a choice between Ted Cruz and Scott Walker choose suicide.”)

But when I read this paragraph at Political Animal, I decided it was worth sharing:

[A]bove all, one particular position should disqualify Cruz—or anyone else who holds it—from the presidency: using the debt ceiling as a hostage device. Breaching the debt ceiling would be disastrous. It’s hard to forecast exactly what would happen, but we can somewhat forecast day one after default. The government would have to prioritize its payments. Do you withhold food stamps from low-income Americans? Delay Social Security checks? Maybe we should stop payments on infrastructure projects. Those missed payments would harm millions of Americans and cause mass disruptions around the country as cash flow problems cause companies to become insolvent. Over the long term, it would permanently raise our borrowing costs, making our interest payments more expensive. In short, it would be self-inflicted economic Armageddon. Cruz considers his willingness to risk that catastrophe a selling point, touting his role in opposing the debt ceiling hikes on his website.

Nothing says “I’m totally ignorant of the way the real world works, and I don’t care who gets hurt, because it’s all about ME” like playing political games with the debt ceiling.

 

Oh Those Pesky Fact-Checkers…

As the practice of traditional journalism has slowly evaporated, a few websites have tried to fill the “gatekeeper” gap–fact-checking assertions, and verifying or debunking the urban legends and memes that travel so quickly in our connected, social media age.

We have Snopes.com and Factcheck.org and Politifact.com–all of which are helpful, if ultimately inadequate, resources for those of us who want to check the “facts” in crazy Uncle Ray’s latest email before forwarding it on to other unsuspecting folks.

The more mendacious members of our political class are less than enthusiastic about these resources. I recently stumbled across this description of Ted Cruz’ reaction to Politifact.

In fact, Ted Cruz has an absolutely abysmal record on Politifact for telling the truth. Out of the 36 comments they’ve fact-checked on Cruz, an astonishing 67 percent of them have been rated as “Mostly False” all the way down to “Pants on Fire.” And out of all 36 of those comments, only one has been rated as “True.” That lone statement was one he made where he was trying to fear-monger about government regulations being so bad that they regulate toilet seats.

Yes, the only 100% true statement Ted Cruz has made out of the 36 that have been fact-checked by Politifact was about toilet seats.

Politifact also recently fact-checked a bit on the Daily Show, in which Jon Stewart ran a too-fast-to-read stream he identified as 50 recent lies from Fox News. If you are interested in slowing down the stream, in order to see what it was that Fox said and the results of Politifact’s research, click on the link. If you don’t have time, I’ll just tell you that (surprise!) all 50 of the Fox assertions ranged from “false” to “pants on fire.”

Whatever the hell Fox is, it isn’t “news.” It isn’t even legitimate commentary.

The problem is, we’re losing real news. We have propaganda outlets like Fox, and we have pathetic remnants of traditional journalism like the Star, ignoring the watchdog function in favor of “reporting” focused upon sports and where to buy craft beer.

Without real reporters doing real journalism, our elected officials make deals in the dark, and politicians–and propaganda outlets– feel free to lie.

 

 

 

It’s Inherited, Evidently

While I was hanging around my favorite beauty parlor–Juanita Jean’s, the World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc.–I came across a description of a sermon delivered by Ted Cruz’s father, a pastor and a Dominionist.

It explains a lot.

In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate, Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz indicated that his son was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as “kings” to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the “Seven Mountains” mandate, and “bring the spoils of war to the priests”, thus helping to bring about a prophesied “great transfer of wealth”, from the “wicked” to righteous gentile believers. There is a link to the video of Rafael Cruz describing the “great transfer of wealth” and the role of anointed “kings” in various sectors of society, including government, who are to “bring the spoils of war to the priests”.

Dominionists get their name from their theology: they believe that conservative Christians should have dominion over all others. In other words, they’re theocrats.

Not being one of those “righteous gentile believers” over whom Cruz Junior is evidently anointed to rule, I find this worldview pretty alarming–not to mention inconsistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, modernity and sanity.

Apples evidently don’t fall far from the trees they grow on…..