PM pick me up for Monday, March 23: Cruz control; robots in the driver’s seat; Obama’s Yemen blind spot

News and views from Political Woman:

Cruz’n Along

Things are starting to get interesting with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) now officially in the race for Republican nomination and ultimately, the Presidency.  The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza compares Ted’s rousing entry with another not even one-term Senator from Illinois.

I like Ted Cruz.  I liked the filibuster he did in the Senate, while others thought him a fool.  But that’s America.  We can hold varying political positions and views, but we all have the right to say what we think, and I don’t want that right sacrificed on the altar of political correctness or to the speech police.

Over the coming months, it’s going to be interesting to see how Cruz plays in the public venue.  The MSM will not be kind to him, and probably brand him a bomb-thrower.  We’ll see if Cruz is going to be able to break through the branding that dealt Mitt Romney several death blows, because the latter allowed himself to be defined without quickly responding.  In short, Romney defeated Romney.

Cruz, like Obama, and several of his wannabe President Republican colleagues like Rubio and Paul, are all one-term senators.  Question is whether the public is ready for another one-term Senator.  While Cruz was Texas attorney general giving him some executive experience, is it enough.  And even state governors, is anyone ever ready to play on an international stage.

Cruz, in my opinion, needs to prioritize and focus on a few key issues that resonate with Americans.  He’s a Constitutionalist, which in and of itself, will be a breath of fresh air after the lawlessness of our current occupant in the White House.

So does Cruz really have a chance?  Or is he just the Conservatives’ / Tea Party hero who has yet to connect on a broader stage.  I think people are looking for genuine this time around.  Wysiwyg.  Voters can understand flaws as long as they believe the head and the heart are in the right place.  With Cruz, time will tell.

Machine replacement

The Brisbane Times has an interesting article regarding how robots may replace almost one half of the workforce in the next 20 years.  For someone flipping burgers repeatedly for eight hours, or pouring grandes and ventes, it may seem like an innovation that can’t come soon enough.  But with innovation also comes life changing circumstances, where there has to be something that fills the vacuum.  People, and I believe especially Americans, have always been resilient in finding new industries and job creation that goes along with it.  Computers, tablets, smartphones have replaced the need for stenographers, short-hand by today’s definition might mean someone who literally has short hands.

But with the rise of robots and drones, we also need to look at our society, its values and what we want to become.  For many of us, work defines us.  It supports us and our families.  Being replaced by a machine because that machine does not need healthcare benefits, and can work 24/7 may seem a business owner’s dream, but at what societal cost.  If we’re transitioning to a robotic workforce, especially at the lower end of the workforce spectrum, then there has to be transition plans and training programs in place to assist people in finding new positions.  The question is whether we’re even that far ahead in our thinking.  Sounds like fodder for a TED talk.

Yemen fallout

When a foreign situation worries The New York Times enough to write an article about it, then you know we’re all in deep kimchee.  Such a situation appears to be Yemen, where the American embassy was so ignominiously abandoned a short time ago.  Now, the Times is reporting how badly hobbled we are in the Mideast because of the loss of Yemen.

“But American officials say that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, which includes the most potent bomb maker in the terrorist world, still poses the most direct threat to Americans at home, abroad or aboard commercial aircraft. Since 2009, the United States has thwarted at least three plots by the group to bring down airliners.

Even after the withdrawal of American troops, the Central Intelligence Agency will still maintain some covert Yemeni agents in the country. Armed drones will carry out some airstrikes from bases in nearby Saudi Arabia or Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, as was done most recently on Feb. 20. Spy satellites will still lurk overhead and eavesdropping planes will try to suck up electronic communications.

But the loss of American personnel on the ground makes any counterterrorism mission far more difficult.

And in Yemen, the American advisers who evacuated this weekend were initially able to sustain ties with regional Yemeni security forces and tribal leaders fighting Qaeda militants. That effort continued even after the American personnel relocated to a base in the south near Aden after the Houthi rebels ousted the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Americans’ main partner.

But as Qaeda fighters seized a city 20 miles away from the base where the Americans were operating, administration officials opted to pull out the trainers.”

Whether Libya, Syria, Yemen, the rise of Isis, the spread of Iran into Iraq, etc., US foreign policy is lately appearing to be blind-sided until after the fact.  We still have officials in Washington who defend the argument that the terrorism threat is overblown.  Seriously?  Tell that to the Christians, the Kurds, and the families of the 200,000 dead Syrians.   Only by the grace of God and the dedication of good people in government and the private sector have we not had another 9/11.  Let’s hope this dedication continues to keep us safe until we get a new Administration who isn’t in denial about radical Islamic terrorism.

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