Friday 2/19/16

  1. My cringer broke
  2. Pope and Trump
  3. Ted Cruz, drunken sailor
  4. Thursday’s most under-reported story
  5. Signs and wonders in the heavens
  6. Red, White, Blue and Bankrupt
  7. A guy can dream, can’t he?

1

Last April a user wrote a post describing a harrowing experience with [gory detail omitted]. How harrowing? I read it and I cringed so much my cringer broke. I am completely without cringe now. I can watch primary debates without any change to my affect.

(Popehat, hyperlink to harrowing experience omitted) I can’t help but admire that writing.

2

I’m not convinced that the anti-Catholicism of America is as deep as it was even a few decades ago, but I can’t help but agree that the Pope fed portions of it yesterday. OTOH.

3

I haven’t intentionally gone easy on Ted Cruz, but having repudiated him for expressing “Cheer me or die” to middle eastern Christians, I felt no need to obsess about it, or even to point out that his Christian® dirty tricks are as dirty or dirtier than those of less pious candidates.

This, though, is notable:

Benjamin Friedman criticizes Ted Cruz’s plan for a gargantuan military budget. Here he describes what the plan would cost:

Cruz says that as President he’ll spend 4.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense for two years, and 4 percent thereafter. As the chart below shows, under standard growth predictions, Cruz’s plan produces a massive increase in military spending: about $1.2 trillion over what would be Cruz’s first term and $2.6 trillion over eight years [bold mine-DL]. Details on the chart are at the end of this post.

Cruz would spend this on large increases in the size of the Army and the Marines while adding at least another sixty-odd ships to the Navy and 1,000 planes to the Air Force. The plan also includes the extraordinarily costly modernization of the entire nuclear triad. Needless to say, Cruz doesn’t come close to explaining how this would be paid for, and we know in advance that he won’t raise taxes to pay for it, so we can safely assume that this massive and unnecessary expansion of the military would be funded through borrowing. It isn’t surprising that Cruz’s ostensible fiscal conservatism goes out the window when it comes to the Pentagon. That’s standard for typical hawkish Republicans. It is nonetheless striking that he proposes to rack up trillions more in debt for the sake of building up a military that doesn’t need to be built up. One almost imagines that Cruz thinks that increased military spending is what Republican presidents should do simply because that’s what Reagan did.

4

Was this Thursday’s most under-reported story?

Separately, Francis said the use of contraception can be acceptable in regions afflicted by the Zika epidemic.

5

[Bernie Sanders] is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.

Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns. Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.

Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life. However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically. Where is the justice in that?

(Charles Koch. Yes, that Charles Koch)

6

One of these things is not like the others:

Now Donald Trump seems on the verge of primary victories concentrated in the South that would establish him as a formidable front-runner. And this has happened despite a series of disqualifying comments — ridiculing a war hero, employing misogynist humor, mocking a disabled reporter, displaying ignorance on basic policy matters, slandering the last Republican president — that were not disqualifying at all.

Which one is it? Can you tell?

Michael Gerson probably can, but he’s too invested in neocon bellicosity to admit it.

7

I got very excited by a 6 month field test of the Leica Q, amazed at what you can do with a 28mm lens on a 35mm equivalent digital camera with a 24.2 megapixel cmos sensor and the equivalent of of ISO 10,000 light sensitivity. (H/T The Browser)

So I looked it up on Amazon.

Move along now. Nothing to see here.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.