5 Bad Things About Trump–And Why It’s OK for Christians to Vote for Him

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking

UPDATE 7/1/2016: According to Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, a well-known Christian ministry, Trump recently received Christ as Lord and was “Born Again.”

A lot of people in the church are having a hard time right now deciding what to do about Donald J. Trump. They are 100 percent certain they won’t vote for Hillary—a no-brainer due to her many objectionable policies, such as her statement in 2015 that, “religious beliefs … have to be changed” to ensure women have access to abortion on demand.

That is a real winning policy for Christians—NOT!

But now Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, the openly Christian candidates, are permanently out of the 2016 presidential race (and no, there won’t be a third party or another chance at the Republican convention—sorry #CruzCrew). And Christians are being bombarded by the millions of anti-Trump messages streaming across the digital landscape.

Do you have to be crazy to vote for Trump if you’re a Christian? Let’s look at the facts:

He hates women.

But other than Rosie O’Donnell and Megyn Kelly, who both picked very public fights with him first, which women does Trump hate? Is he not allowed to defend himself when attacked?

Hillary? If he doesn’t fight fire with fire, he’s never going to beat the Clinton cabal.

He is immoral.

Trump famously does not drink, smoke, or do drugs.

However, it’s true that Trump was divorced twice and admits to cheating on his wives—sort of like King David, the “man after God’s own heart.” David had several wives and then cheated with married Bathsheba while her husband was at war. When David found out she was pregnant, he called her husband back from war and had him killed.

Yet David repented and God forgave him, even to the extent that David and Bathsheba’s second son Solomon became king after David and wrote the book of Proverbs in the Bible.

Has Trump repented like David did? At the Family Leadership Summit in February he said he never asks for forgiveness, though when he does something wrong he “tries to make it right.” But isn’t that the definition of repent—to turn around and go the other way?

At the end of the day, we don’t really know what’s in Trump’s heart. We do know that he’s done a fantastic job co-parenting his children after his divorces, and they have turned out quite well.

He calls people names and is unkind.

Trump does call things as he sees them, and doesn’t mince words. Sort of like Jesus, who was very unkind to certain people. For example, he called the Pharisees and teachers of the Law “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matt. 23:27 NIV)

Jesus said a lot of things that offended people, such as when he told his followers that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood, they had no life in them (see John chapter 6). He was speaking in spiritual terms, of course, but they were grossed out and refused to understand.

In fact, Jesus said so many things that the Jews of the day found offensive that eventually they killed him. Yet, he was the Son of God.

He doesn’t know the Bible, even though he claims to be a Christian.

A lot of Christians have made fun of Trump because he called a book of the New Testament “Two Corinthians,” which supposedly showed his ignorance of the Scriptures.

Actually, I’ve heard this way of referring to the second letter of Paul to the Corinthian church many times from old time Bible teachers. And I’m not the only one—apparently this is the way Christians in the U.K. often refer to it.

Trump’s mother was the daughter of a fisherman and grew up on a remote island in Scotland, so it’s very possible she learned to say it that way. Considering that Trump was brought up by her and went through confirmation in a Presbyterian church, not an Evangelical church, “Two Corinthians” is probably how he’s always heard it referred to.

He advocates violence.

In Old Testament times, violence was rampant, even among those who God chose as his special people, the Israelites. But God often used violent men, such as Sampson—a very flawed hero—to save and protect Israel.

In the New Testament, Jesus on at least one occasion was quite violent himself. I’m talking about when he turned over the tables of the money changers and the benches of those who were selling doves for sacrifice in the temple (Matt. 21:12). The Gospel of John adds that Jesus “made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle.” (John 2:15 NIV)

This violent side of Jesus probably shocked his disciples. The event was so memorable, it made its way into all four Gospel accounts (see also Mark 11:15-17 and Luke 19:45-46).

Of course, Jesus had a good reason for his violent actions—he was defending the honor and sanctity of his Father’s house. He said, “Is it not written ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:16 NIV)

And come to think of it, God himself has promised plenty of violence will be perpetrated on those who hate and reject his Son. At one point in the future, the book of Revelation says, God will unleash the powers of heaven so one-third of all people will be killed (Rev. 9:18). Even after that, the rest of mankind will still not repent of its idolatry, murder, theft, and sexual sins.

So, even though Christians are to turn the other cheek, etc., violence in some cases is obviously acceptable. Has Trump gone beyond the bounds of acceptability in his actions and statements? What has he actually said, and what has he done—or what have his followers done—that is anywhere near as violent as the anti-Trump protests in Chicago and in San Jose?

To sum up: He’s not a saint

Trump doesn’t claim to be a saint, though he does say he wants to protect Christians and Christianity from the increasing persecution here and around the world.

Why would God allow someone like Trump—a flawed individual—to lead our great country? We don’t know why God chooses people for certain jobs, and very often he confounds our expectations. The first will be last and the last will be first, as Jesus said in Matt. 19:30.

Remember how God chose Gideon, a wimp who was hiding from the Midianites, threshing wheat inside a winepress? Remember how Samuel went through the whole list of David’s seven older brothers before God chose David as the next king of Israel?

And what is the alternative to voting for Trump? You really only have two choices. Hillary claims to be a Christian, too. But is she going to do a better job at leading this country to safety and prosperity? Or is she going to continue the destructive policies that Obama has already set into motion?

As Christians, we have civic responsibilities, and as Americans we have the right and responsibility to vote. Let us investigate the facts, pray for wisdom, and then choose wisely.

 

#EngineersforTrump

Trump Tower Chicago going up. https://flic.kr/p/cKATQ
Trump Tower Chicago going up. https://flic.kr/p/cKATQ

Engineers for Trump sounds odd, because, like Spock, engineers are the ultra-logical, intelligent half-humans of the Earth, and all that matters to us are the facts, ma’am, the facts.

Then why on Earth would an engineer support real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald J. Trump for President of the United States?

Think about it. What does Trump do best? He builds buildings. What do engineers do for a living? Build buildings, as well as roads, dams, bridges, space ships, smart phones, diesel engines, and yes, WALLS.

So, engineers are basically in the same business as Trump. Engineers build things, and Trump is the guy that makes it all happen. The financial, legal, and political framework must be in place before an engineer begins to build a building, or manufacture a medical device, or machine an engine component.

But, you argue, “Trump is just a reality TV show performer.”

No, Trump used the platform of a reality TV show to build his global brand, to make himself more powerful and effective at what he really does, his art and true calling, which is to build magnificent buildings and resorts and golf courses, within budget and on time, and operate them profitably.

Think of all the engineering systems that go into a Trump building. There’s HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning—and plumbing systems with pipes, pumps, sprinklers, cooling towers, boilers, sewage lines, water treatment and water recycling systems. Energy: electrical power for wall sockets, lighting, elevators, telecom and data centers, as well as all the HVAC and plumbing equipment. Plus backup energy systems, for when the power goes out. And natural gas for cooking in a Trump 4- or 5-star restaurant.

And all of these systems must fit into an aesthetically pleasing structure designed to support itself while withstanding earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, and terror attacks. And the building itself must be situated on grounds that include driveways, parking lots, lighting, landscaping, outbuildings—and swimming pools, water features, sand pits, fairways and putting greens.

So, you’re still asking me why would an engineer vote for Trump?

Because, you know, Trump LIES about his positions, denigrates women, and doesn’t know anything about world affairs or abortion rights, has no definite plans in place for education reform, and performs horribly in debates.

In other words, Trump is human.

(Side note: engineers are human, too–see Henry Petroski’s fabulous book To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design).

But human as he is, Trump accomplishes so much, and in the process gainfully employs so many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, many of whom remain staunchly loyal.

At the most basic level, Trump IS an engineer. Because engineers (and here I include all technically trained or talented individuals) are the practical people that build things and GET THINGS DONE. Need to design a new problem-solving widget? Call an engineer. Computer or rocket engine acting up? Call an engineer. Need a new house, or road, or bridge? Call an engineer.

Country broken?

Call an engineer. Call Trump.

#EngineersforTrump

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Climate Science in the Age of Gruber—Part I: It’s all about the model

If you, gentle reader, have not had the opportunity to be outraged and personally insulted by MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber’s statements on “the stupidity of the American voter” and “a lack of transparency” making it possible to get Obamacare passed, you may have been out of the country, suffering a bad case of the flu, or relying on the mainstream media for news for the past month.

Gruber, a one-time darling of the left, created the now infamous GMSIM, or “Gruber Microeconomic Simulation Model,” a computer model upon which Obamacare, and before that, Romneycare, was built. Quite a few states have also paid Gruber hundreds of thousands of dollars for his healthcare modeling expertise.

The GMSIM model uses economic theory combined with actual experience to predict the results of any proposed health insurance law.

Obamacare is a law. Why does it need a Model?

A simulation model is simply a set of mathematical equations that takes data measured in the real world and manipulates it to predict what will happen in the future. A good model can predict with accuracy, while a poor model’s predictions usually won’t come true.

For example, a good weather model uses data about actual temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, etc., over a large geographic area, and runs a computer “simulation” to predict what temperature you can expect tomorrow, and the chances that it will rain.

A good model can predict with accuracy, while a poor model’s predictions usually won’t come true.

According to GMSIM documentation on the MIT website, Gruber and his team of grad students used data on 80,000 individuals and families, collected in the census, along with data from insurance companies, the non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This part of the model is pretty straightforward, as long as you trust the data coming from these organizations—which is not a question to be ignored, but let’s assume it’s OK for now.

Added to this real-world data, the economists input “varying information of policy parameters.” With this, they can predict the effect of different policy changes by converting changes in the law to estimated price changes. Or, in other words, it can predict how much insurance will cost for different groups of people, based on how the law is written.

Is Gruber’s Model Accurate?

Anyone can make a model, but the question remains, is the model accurate? An accurate model will predict the future accurately. An accurate weather model will predict the temperature a day or a week from now, and sure enough, the temperature will register fairly close to what was predicted. If not, the model sucks.

If the model does NOT accurately predict the future, modelers will often try to fix the situation using “fudge factors.” As defined by Google a fudge factor is “a figure included in a calculation to account for error or unanticipated circumstances, or to ensure a desired result.” (italics mine)

Computer modelers of all kinds throw fudge factors into their models

Computer modelers of all kinds throw fudge factors into their models in order to get their simulations to match what has happened in the real world. Fudge factors are one way the scientists running the simulations can make them come up with the answers that they want.

Another way to adjust the model to get the “right” answers is to change the starting point, ending point, or duration of the simulation run. For example, in modeling the costs of Obamacare, the clever lawmakers looked at a 10-year window of time, but deliberately delayed implementing some of the provisions for two or more years, so that the cost would be appear lower.

“Torturing” the Model

Gruber, who teaches Public Finance and Public Policy at MIT, knows how to “adjust” his model in order to change the outcome quite drastically.

In one of his infamous videos, he admits that “this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the [individual] mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” He understood that if it became clear that the mandate was a new tax imposed on them, the public would revolt.

This was unacceptable, politically, so Gruber and his “grubs” went to work to get the model to come up with a completely different answer. Of course, none of this was done in a closet. Congress actually “loaned” Gruber to the CBO to “help” them score the Obamacare law properly, as Max Baucus admitted on the Senate floor.

They discussed how to surreptitiously kill the health care tax benefit

Gruber is on record meeting with the head of the CBO in the Oval Office with President Obama, during which they discussed how to surreptitiously kill the health care tax benefit in such a way that no one would notice or complain.

After several months of messing with the model in order to get the right answers, in March 2010, CBO declared that Obamacare would become “deficit neutral” in 10 years, meaning that the costs of implementing the law averaged across that time would equal out the savings to the Federal Government. However, the law would only be in operation 6 of those 10 years, making the scorecard a joke.

The CBO’s finding, however tortured, was crucial in getting support for the bill in Congress, and was used as a cudgel to beat in the heads of conservatives and Republicans for months.

CBO, Other Models All Based on Gruber’s

According to a 2012 article in the New York Times Gruber spent decades developing his proprietary GMSIM model. Writer Catherine Rampell says that it was Gruber who convinced the administration that Obamacare could not work without the individual mandate (Don’t forget that Obama had run in 2008 on the position that a mandate was unconstitutional).

Futhermore, Rampell wrote, Gruber “has nearly cornered the market on the technical science behind these sorts of predictions.” She also quotes a different economist who claims that other similar models “all use Mr. Gruber’s work as a benchmark.”

Gruber is the only person you can go to for that kind of thing

“He’s the only person you can go to for that kind of thing,” Rampell quotes Harvard Economist David Cutler as saying, “which is why the White House reached out to him in the first place.”

In fact, the Obama Administration had no choice but to hire Gruber: his model is an inaccessible black box, due to its proprietary nature.

Persona non Gruber

But, perhaps most distressing for the way forward, is that Gruber’s GMSIM model, with its deliberately tortured and deceptive results, now forms the basis to which any future changes, updates or replacements to the Obamacare law will be scored.

And because the CBO doesn’t reveal how it calculates the costs of a particular bill, there is no way of telling exactly to what they will compare any future healthcare bills.

But according to J. Anderson writing in the Weekly Standard, “because the model that the CBO used in scoring Obamacare is the same one it uses today, any alternative to Obamacare that doesn’t include an individual mandate — which is to say, any conservative alternative — would be scored by the CBO as falling well short, in terms of coverage numbers.”

Gruber himself has quickly become persona non grata in the Democratic Party

Even though Gruber himself has quickly become persona non grata in the Democratic Party, his GMSIM model lives on, spreading deceit and mayhem wherever it is found.

But how does this cautionary tale of a computer model run amok relate to Climate Science? We’ll discuss that in the next article.

NEXT UP: Climate Science in the Age of Gruber, Part II: Models, Models Everywhere

 

Contrarian scientist Lennart Bengtsson slammed by climate cabal

This week, a renowned climate scientist and research fellow at the University of Reading in the UK was treated to the same sort of emotional blackmail doled out to Galileo in the 17th century by the Roman Catholic Church for publishing theories that disputed the sanctioned scientific views of that day.

Lennart Bengtsson has a long and distinguished career in the mainstream of climate science. The 79-year-old meteorologist has published some 225 peer-reviewed articles and was Head of Research for the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) from 1975-1981 and Director from 1982-1990. He also was Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg from 1990-2001 and from 2008 was Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

However, Bengtsson has long questioned why climate models are not able to accurately predict the climate. In an interview with Hans von Storch, Bengtsson said that he is concerned that the global temperature rise of only about 1-1/3 degrees Farenheit since the end of the 19th century doesn’t match the large increase in greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels.

Climate models don’t match the real world

It is an established fact that the Earth’s average temperature has not risen at all in the last 17 years.

Bengtsson is concerned that the United Nations’ IPCC group, which regularly puts out reports on the sad state of the world’s climate, is not paying enough attention to this fact, nor to the lack of ocean surface warming and the increases in Antarctic sea ice in the last several years.

Furthermore, he told von Storch, he began to be dismayed by the way the science behind the IPCC report was being used to advance a purely political agenda.

In fact, President Obama’s newly released National Climate Assessment report relies heavily on the IPCC report. The NCA will be the basis of the EPA’s upcoming regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, which is expected to cause the price of energy to skyrocket, and in the process, cut quite a few jobs.

Climate science ‘not ready for prime time’

This “dramatic makeover of the power industry” based on a science that is not yet well understood is exactly what has Bengtsson worried. “Climate science must be focused to understand such matters much better and for this reason it is appropriate to have an open mind and not follow the IPCC as believers of a religious faith,” he told von Storch.

His doubt and questions eventually led him to join a think tank called the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which the mainstream climate science community regards with disdain, though its members come from every flavor of the political spectrum.

Though he doesn’t agree with all the scientists at GWPF, Bengtsson said he believes there should be a variety of opinions aired about such a complex system as the Earth’s climate. And furthermore, he is interested in the group’s desire to use science to help society adapt to changes in climate that occur in the future, such as, for example, using nuclear energy to replace fossil fuels.

Brutal backlash

Unfortunately, the collaboration was short lived. Within a week after his announcement, Bengtsson wrote an email to the GWPF to resign his new position, due to the vicious backlash he received from the mainstream climate science community. In it, he wrote:

“I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety….

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”

–Lennart Bengtsson

One of the most striking claims Bengtsson made is that “the pressure had mainly come from climate scientists in the US,” and specifically a scientist who works for the U.S. Government, who insisted on removing his name from a paper co-authored with Bengtsson.

This “My Way or the Highway” approach reminds me of what President Obama, incidentally the head of the U.S. Government, expressed this past week, when he said, “We’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate.”

 

Politicizing Climate Science – 3.0

UPDATE: See independent scientists’ critique of the National Climate Assessment.

With much fanfare, President Obama today released the final version of the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA). In order to impress upon the public that drastic changes in the weather, such as rain and heat and lightning and snowstorms, are caused by human activities, the Administration put on a dog-and-pony show, complete with TV Weather Presenter/Actor Al Roker.

The final NCA report contains hundreds of pages of dire warnings about how we despicable humans are causing climate disruptions of all sorts, due to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants, factories and cars.

In advance of the parade of eight TV weatherpersons, White House counselor John Podesta announced, like John the Baptist in the wilderness preparing the Way of the Lord, that Republicans in Congress would not be able to stop the inevitable: Obama’s climate agenda.

word cloud - politicsPodesta’s pronouncement revealed that the real purpose of the latest report is to provide political cover for new Executive Orders, which will result in more environmental regulations designed to kill the coal industry and hamstring the rest of the country with “necessarily skyrocketing” electricity prices.

The Climate Science Supplement

Wanting to skip the report’s political palaver, Ms. Contrarian Scientist hunted for the science behind it, which, she hoped, could be found in one of the Appendices, labeled the “Climate Science Supplement.”

The Supplement was written by a long list of scientists, including Katherine Hayhoe, Evangelical Christian and former science adviser to Newt Gingrich.

Remember how, during the 2012 primaries, Newt recanted his former support for global warming and in the process, distanced himself from Ms. Hayhoe? Well, it’s payback time, and this is intended as a direct smear on Republicans. As for Ms. Hayhoe, she has become something of a celebrity in the global warming crowd these days.

After the Supplement’s list of authors, we find 12 “Supplemental Messages” that the scientists divined during their years-long assessment of the “best available science.”

These “messages” remind Ms. Contrarian Scientist of the “talking points” that Ben Rhodes wanted Susan Rice to emphasize on the Sunday Talk shows after the massacre of our Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi.

The very first Supplemental Message asserts that, although climate changes in the past have been caused by natural factors, human activities are now the dominant agents of change. Oh, really? Humans have more effect on the climate of Earth than the Sun? Or than the oceans, which cover 70 percent of the planet?

It was all too much. Ms. Contrarian Scientist had to take a break from the politics and leave the real science for another day.