Weekly Musing 9-15-13
BOOTS ON THE GROUND – SEND THE RUSSIANS & THE UNITED NATIONS
The idea of sending U.S. troops into harms way just doesn’t make sense. Let the Russians deal with the issue…let the U.N. verify it…the ONLY way that U.S. troops will make a difference is with massive exposure. NOT worth it.
SYRIA & CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT: The vote to authorize military action in Syria has been “delayed”, but the President has expressed his desire to still pursue Congressional approval for military action. Here is the current count based on what I’ve been able to find.
UPDATED MI Congressional Vote on Syria:
NO – Amash, Benishek, Bentivolio, Huizenga, Miller, Walberg
LEAN NO – Camp, Upton
Undecided – Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Peters
YES – Levin, Stabenow, S.Levin, Rogers
Why Democrats Have Reason to Fear
A mediocre economy is certainly not an asset for the party holding the White House, but it may not be a strong drag, either. If Obama’s job ratings bounce around at or under 40 percent for long, Democrats should worry that the historic trend of the president’s party losing ground in the House may catch up with them. But these are the typical dynamics for a midterm election. Syria would definitely complicate matters.
NBC/WSJ poll: GOP on the rise
Republicans are now leading Democrats on handling several key issues, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
The poll, released Friday, shows more Americans think that the Republicans are doing a better job on the economy, foreign policy and reducing the federal deficit.
The GOP has an edge of 7 percentage points over the Democrats on the issue of foreign policy. This is up from 2006, when the GOP was behind by 9 percentage points…
Liberals in Retreat Three elections across the globe deliver an unpleasant shock to liberal ideologues.
Three elections in the last week have challenged long-held liberal premises about how elections are fought and what the public wants. It’s worth examining those results in such widely separated places as Australia, Norway, and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
In Colorado, liberals are already in denial about the fact that two Democratic state senators were recalled from office in districts Barack Obama carried by some 20 percentage points only ten months ago. The recalls were organized by citizens upset with the lawmakers’ votes in favor of a gun-control measure. The two senators also helped pass bills perceived as being against the interests of rural areas and helped push through a fraud-prone election law that shifted the Centennial State to all-mail voting.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman, said the results simply reflected “voter suppression, pure and simple.” Matt Vespa of Red State scoffed at her flimsy explanation: More Democrats and independents signed the two recall petitions than did Republicans, he noted, which “only further discredits DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s insane claim that her side lost due to voter suppression.”
Sen. Rand Paul: President Putin, America Is Exceptional – It is our exceptionalism – and our separation of powers—that has kept us out of war in Syria.
A recent op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin has prompted me to respond. While his position that the Syrian conflict can and should be settled through a political and diplomatic solution is correct, virtually everything else in his writing should be taken to task. So I shall.
I begin with Mr. Putin’s disagreement regarding the exceptionalism of the United States of America. I could not more strongly disagree with him. While he is correct that God created every human being as an equal in His eyes, clearly the results of each of our efforts on this earth, individually and collectively, are not equal.
America’s exceptionalism is rooted in our founding documents and values. From the rights granted by our creator, but guaranteed by our Constitution. We should not shy away from saying so, especially when our actions are in keeping with this exceptional founding, as they were this week in our debate over going to war in Syria. Our constitutional checks and balances were on full display, largely resulting in the at least temporary halting of a rush to war.
Just 23% Think U.S. Should Be UN’s Biggest Financial Contributor
U.S. voters are more critical of the United Nations these days and strongly believe the United States should not be the UN’s chief source of money. But the Political Class firmly disagrees.
The United States currently gives more money by far to the UN than any other nation, providing 22% of the international organization’s budget and 27% of its peacekeeping budget. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should continue to give more money to the UN than any other country in the world. Sixty percent (60%) disagree and believe America should not be the UN’s chief source of funds. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure.
I don’t agree – But some good points: How to save the Republican Party, courtesy of two Democrats
The GOP is in serious trouble — and it is trouble that we, as long-time Democrats, recognize all too well.
Since their defeat in 2012, Republicans have offered plenty of excuses: candidates who can’t fire up the base, gaps in messaging and technology, the hard-to-match charisma of a historic president. And most Republican leaders seem to hope that cosmetic changes will be enough to reverse course in 2016 — without challenging the convictions of the party’s core supporters.
Good Economy, Popular Governor
If the economy’s doing well, then it usually follows that the governor is doing well too. But are economic factors really the most important element in a governor’s popularity?
To answer this question, we decided to look at how much of a correlation exists between successful state economies and popular governors, and between poor state economies and unpopular governors.
It’s worth noting that whether governors have an impact on a state’s economy is a matter of great conjecture. In fact, there’s good reason to think a governor’s influence on the economy is limited compared to national policy and industrial trends.
What Colorado’s Recall Results Mean for Dems
Gun-control proponents had argued that Newtown changed everything. The Colorado recalls are a fresh reminder of how weak an argument that truly is.
Additionally, Democratic pollster PPP found that while the individual components of the gun-control bill were relatively popular in Colorado (albeit by less than the national margin, and in a heavily Democratic district), voters had a positive opinion of the NRA.
This is consistent with my suggestion in April that relatively low information voters will tend to use “information shortcuts,” and rather than diving into the details of gun-control legislation, will either assume that these laws do more than they actually are designed to do, or that they represent a step down a slippery slope.
New Report on Turnout Gaps in 2012 Elections
An interesting study by “Non Profit Vote”, which is a progressive leaning group…but some good information.
The House GOP Is About to Crack Up: Three Theories Why
Lots of people think John Boehner has lost control of the House Republican caucus. Apparently John Boehner does, too.
On Wednesday, the speaker and his lieutenants had to stage yet another embarrassing retreat—this time, by postponing a vote on a “continuing resolution” that would fund government operations past September 30, when the current CR expires. Figuring out a way to pass such a bill has been one of Boehner’s biggest challenges for the last few weeks. And primarily that’s because the Republican Party’s right wing insists on linking a CR to Obamacare. Both in the House and in the Senate, Tea Party Republicans and their allies want the president’s health care law off the books or, at the very least, delayed and defunded. If they don’t get their way, they say, they won’t vote for any CR—even if that means the federal government shuts down.
The Law that Gave Us the Modern Internet, and the Campaign to Kill It
In 1996, Congress cleared the way for the modern Internet with a single short statute. Technically, it was known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. But you can think of it as the law that gave us websites like Reddit, Craigslist, Digg, and perhaps all of social media.
Section 230 states, essentially, that websites cannot be sued or prosecuted for content posted by their visitors.* It was passed, in part, to undo the effects of a New York court ruling that held they could be. So for instance, if a Facebook user writes something libelous on their wall, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have to worry about anybody hauling his company into court. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called Section 230 “the most important law protecting Internet speech.”
But section 230 has also been economically powerful, perhaps in ways Congress couldn’t have foreseen. It was simple and intuitive to understand for entrepreneurs and didn’t require a lawyer to implement. As a result, it has functioned as a permission slip for the whole Internet that says: “Go innovate.” Entrepreneurs have responded by founding the user-generated content sites we know and love today.
The Koch brothers’ secret bank
An Arlington, Va.-based conservative group, whose existence until now was unknown to almost everyone in politics, raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide.
The group, Freedom Partners, and its president, Marc Short, serve as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.
The 38-page IRS filing amounts to the Rosetta Stone of the vast web of conservative groups — some prominent, some obscure — that spend time, money and resources to influence public debate, especially over Obamacare.
Gender gap present in almost all federal statewide races over last decade
News reports that deem a gender gap in polling noteworthy — with women as more Democratic and men as more Republican — are falling into a trap described by a journalistic cliché: They’re reporting when a dog bites a man.
That’s because it would be far more unusual — akin to a man biting a dog — for there not to be a gender gap in a federal statewide race.
First, as most readers surely know, there’s been a noticeable gender gap in presidential voting for the last 30 years. Chart 1 shows how men and women have voted going back to 1972, when the national exit poll started. Remarkably, men and women voted for Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in precisely the same proportions in 1976. The real gender gap started in 1980, when men preferred Ronald Reagan to a much greater extent than did women. Since then, women have regularly voted 6-10% more Democratic than men — or if you prefer, men have voted 6-10% more Republican than women.
The Liberal Party of Australia: Designed for Victory
On Saturday, for just the seventh time in Australian history, the country’s government changed hands, as Tony Abbott and the Liberal/National Coalition won a decisive victory over incumbent prime minister Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor Party. The Coalition’s victory was driven by a strong candidate in Tony Abbott, a unified team, and a highly disciplined organization that used technology in ways no Australian party has before.
Engage was brought in to redesign and rebuild the Party’s web platform ahead of the 2013 election. Our solution had to be scalable, handling massive amounts of traffic in the run up to the vote, and elegant, showcasing Tony Abbott and his team with striking design and visuals
Vladimir Putin’s Trollpolitik
In today’s Times, Putin does that and more. The Russian president, an authoritarian thug with blood-stained hands, lectures President Obama on his militarist posture toward Syria. If left unchecked, Putin says, Obama risks destroying the international system and poisoning the spirit of multilateral cooperation. In a condescending rhetorical flourish, Putin notes that Obama’s plans to strike Syria are opposed by world leaders, “including the pope.” This is concern-trolling at its most contrived and grating, and it is something Putin has relished turning into an art form. It permeates Putin’s disingenuous political posturing to the extent that it’s become a strategy all its own. Call it trollpolitik. Here is some of what Putin has to say “directly to the American people”:
Gov Snyder “Gets” China and it is Paying Off for Michigan!
Recently back from his trip to China, Governor Snyder understands that China’s rise need not require Michigan’s demise. He is building the necessary relationships (e.g. “guanxi”) that will help grow jobs and investment in “Pure Michigan.” Our governor is investing his time and effort because he understands that there is no such thing as a “one night [business] stand” in China.
This past year, Michigan companies exported 22 percent more goods and materials to China than during the previous year, while Chinese foreign investment topped $1 billion. With one-fifth of all humanity and the fastest growing large economy
50 Richest Members of Congress
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year’s report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club. The wealthiest lawmakers with breakdowns of their assets and liabilities is found below.
Influence Takes a Hit in Voter Rebuffs Bloomberg’s
For billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, throwing away $350,000 is equivalent to most Americans dropping loose change between the sofa cushions.
But the concern for Bloomberg is not the amount of money he personally invested in the effort to save the seats of two Colorado state senators — an effort that failed when both were ousted from office Tuesday by voters apparently displeased with their roles in passing gun control legislation.
Instead, the overriding worry for the 71-year-old mayor is that the defeats seem to underscore his increasing inability to nationally impact the public policy issues he’s most involved with.
Anuzis on Off the Record | September 6, 2013 | #4311
This week’s vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan, and conflict between Governor Snyder and the Tea Party. The guest is Saul Anuzis, former state GOP chair. Bill Ballenger, Emily Lawler, and Chad Livengood join senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick.
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