Weekly Musing 3-30-14
RGA Michigan Ad: The Schauer is Over
Michigan’s race for Governor is on it’s way!
Mike Rogers, key House Republican, won’t run for reelection
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a key congressional voice on national security, announced Friday that he will not run for reelection this year.
The Michigan Republican made the announcement on Detroit’s WJR radio station, saying he will host a syndicated radio program that will talk about national security issues and other news of the day.
“I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after,” Rogers said in a statement. “The genius of our institutions is they are not dependent on the individual temporary occupants privileged to serve. That is why I have decided not to seek re- election to Congress in 2014.”
Mike Rogers wants to ‘move the needle on the 2016 elections’
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) surprised his colleagues Friday by announcing plans not to run for reelection, and to quit and instead to host a nationally syndicated radio program.
Rogers discussed his decision Friday with The Washington Post. A partial transcript — edited for length and clarity — appears below.
Anuzis for Congress – Maybe??? What do you think?
Anuzis for Congress – Maybe?
First, I thank Mike Rogers for his service to our state, our republic and our party. In the coming days, I will be looking at this congressional seat and time is short.
It’s a sprint…to make a decision, to prepare a campaign and to run in what will clearly be a contested primary. It’s safe to say, it’s a wide open seat that Republicans have to hold!
So why maybe me?
I’ve thought about this before, so here are my thoughts.
I come from an immigrant working class family that grew up in the city of Detroit. I worked as a Teamster, paying my way through the commuter campus of the University of Michigan in Dearborn. I spend my career as a staffer in the state legislature and a small businessman/entrepreneur over the last 25 years. Some of which could be considered successful and others that didn’t end up so successful. I’ve made some money and I’ve lost some money. I have a mortgage, carry credit card debt, struggle to help pay for my 4 sons way through college and yes, I cut my own lawn (kids help) and shovel our snow:) To paraphrase the old tv sports show, I’ve been part of and lived through the “joys of victory and the agony of defeat”.
No Harvard, no elected office, no big business successes and no unique, super cool stories that make me someone special. Rather, I’m a pretty average guy who’s been blessed with a great family and great life…having been through some of the best of times and some of the worst of times.
Having said that, this is a unique time in Michigan’s political history where we have a real opportunity to hold this Congressional seat for Republicans and a constitutional conservative. I am going to take a few weeks and seriously explore the opportunities, options and the kind of support I can put together. Given the initial response from so many of you, I owe it to myself to serious explore my options.
So why maybe me? My family found its share of the American Dream in an auto factory in Detroit. I believe in American Exceptionalism and believe that our best days are yet before us. I share in the concept of helping create an Opportunity Society of all, where we take the best the free market has to offer and encourage rather than guarantee the real pursuit of happiness.
I support an efficient, yet limited government that provides a safety net for those who can’t help themselves, but does not create a welfare society as a way of life.
I want to foster economic growth by limiting over burdensome rules and regulations, flattening, lowering and simplifying our tax code. I support moving towards a flat tax or fair tax – one that is fair, transparent and accountable.
I believe in peace through strength. We have a role and responsibility to defend our country and our way of life. We should deal with our enemies and their threats with everything we’ve got. But I oppose the concept of nation building or the idea that America should be the world’s policeman. If and when needed, we get in, do the job and get out. I believe in real Homeland security not long term international engagements.
Liberty and individual freedom are the foundations of our society and our country. I vehemently oppose President Obama’s policies that are attempting to create a “European social democratic” state or a “nanny state” that reminds me too much of Orwell’s great books. From Obamacare to the domestic use of drones, to over intrusive domestic spying and “random” pat downs of citizens in our airports, I believe our government has gone too far.
We are a constitutional Republic, with certain inalienable rights that our Founders spelled out in our Constitutions, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. A foundation where we the people, lend our God given rights and authority to our government and our representatives to form and oversee a more perfect union. These “First Principles” as they have often been called are much maligned and forgotten by too many who seek and currently do represent us.
It might sound quaint, but I draw a lot of inspiration from my time as a Boy Scout, from cub-scout to troop leader, and still hold to this simple truth: a good life is one based on serving God, family, country and community.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, what we have to do is fairly simple but not necessarily easy. So I will humbly go forward to see if there is any reasonable opportunity for me to do my part to help restore the American Dream.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
ON THE ISSUES
Let me attempt to be as direct and short as possible in laying out my general position on the issues. Please don’t interpret my omission or inclusion of any issue as anything more than trying to address questions that have been raised. As always, feel free to write or call me and I’ll let you know where I stand on any issue.
My parents passed on and instilled a work ethic that served me well starting a small business, serving as State Chairman and raising a family. I hope to take advantage of those values in this next quest.
I want to be a voice for the average American family, I want my kids to have a shot at the American Dream just like I did, and I want every family to be able to earn a good living, build a nice life for themselves, and live free– that’s the way America should be.
National Security: I believe in “peace through strength”. I think America is in a unique position in the world and should play a leadership role. However, I don’t believe we should serve as the world’s “policemen” nor do I feel we have an obligation for “nation building”. The other countries of the world have an obligation to pay their fair share of any joint defense and unless it serves our defensive strategic interests, we should stay out of every disagreement around the world.
Taxes: I support a move towards a consumption tax that would replace all other forms of income and corporate taxes. The “Fair Tax” proposal offers a realistic road map towards getting to a more transparent and fairer tax system across the board.
As an interim step, I would support a flatter and lower tax rate across the board that allow Americans to keep more of what they make. I believe EVERY American should pay something and have “skin in the game”. I would support a cap of some $25,000 annually for all deductions to insure tax shelters and other tax loopholes aren’t used to allow some not to pay their fair share.
Jobs: I’m a proponent of lowering the tax rates, reducing over burdensome regulation and allowing America’s entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. A simpler and fairer tax code, a rationale regulatory system, a Right to Work environment and fair trade policies would allow American job providers to invest the trillions that are sitting on the side lines, waiting for sound government policies.
Too big to fail means they are too big. Government has a role and in certain circumstances can provide critical assistance. But you can’t have capitalism and free markets on the way up and socialism on the way down.
Bailing out Wall Street at the expense of Main Street is bad policy. Crony Capitalism as exemplified by the Obama Administration is wrong.
Healthcare: I support the repeal of Obamacare. We need a patient based, market oriented healthcare system that allows the patient and the doctor to make the right choices under each circumstance. Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, Health Care Savings Accounts, Tort Reform and transparency in costs and services are critical.
Social Issues: I am pro-life. I support traditional marriage. I do believe we have to be more tolerant of those who have chosen an alternative lifestyle that we may not agree with or believe is contrary to our faith or beliefs. I also believe we need to respect the right of every American to practice their religion and therefore the respect for Traditional Marriage, exceptions from Obamacare and other mandates due to religious objections should be respected and protected.
Energy: I believe in an “All the Above” policy where we take advantage of EVERY source of energy that is available to us. There is no reason that America can’t become energy self-sufficient or at least drastically less reliant on some of the friendlier places in the world for our energy needs. Too much of our foreign policy is dictated by our energy policy and too many of our children have died for a barrel of oil. We have the technology and resources right here, in our hemisphere.
I support eliminating subsidies, leveling the regulatory rules and regulations, creating a level playing field for all energy producers in our tax code and encouraging innovation and research for more renewable and cleaner energy.
National Popular Vote: There appears to be a tremendous amount of confusion on this proposal. It does not eliminate the Electoral College, rather it replaces the current winner take all system by state to a national popular vote to determine how electors from each state shall be chosen for the Electoral College.
This insures that every vote, in every state counts. Today, only battle ground or swing state matter under the current rules, making states like Ohio and Florida relevant and 4 out of 5 voters “fly over” spectators in the process. Simply put, I want our votes to count, I want every vote to count equally.
Domestic Spying & Drones: I oppose the over-reaching efforts of our government to spy on our citizens without a warrant, probably cause or due process. The idea that a drone could be used to kill an American citizen, without a trial of his or her peers is outrageous and unacceptable.
10th Amendment Project: I would like to see us undertake a project in Washington to give back all the rights and responsibilities NOT granted under the Constitution back to the state to administer. State and local governments are closer to the people and tend to be more responsive and responsible to its citizens.
I would support any program that is given back to the states with block grant funding of federal funds to reduce the size of our federal government.
The invisible primary: GOP preps as Chris Christie stumbles Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent the past year getting battered over immigration reform — and building a presidential-level political operation with heavy investments in digital and data analytics. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has already visited New York City four times this year, pushing into big-money turf once dominated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has gamed out his 2016 options with a small team of longtime advisers, while Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has met with prominent conservatives, urging him to consider the race.
The Republican presidential field is aflutter with behind-the-scenes activity even at this preliminary stage, giving early shape to a race that has been defined in public by a handful of outsized media personalities, including Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Christie’s “Bridgegate” stumbles have now thrown the race wide open: Strategists for likely and potential candidates all see the Garden State Republican as deeply and perhaps fatally compromised. Reform-minded Republican governors are eyeing the race more eagerly, thanks to the void opened by the Fort Lee traffic scandal. Others in the field, like Rubio, could find their nuts-and-bolts preparatory work all the more valuable in view of Christie’s woes.
Yes Justice Kagan, We Have Rights
The complete and utter change in the American system of governance was on display during the Hobby Lobby/ObamaCare Supreme Court hearing. Our Constitution, at one time, devised a system of limited government powers. People, on the other hand, had rights. For Justice Elena Kagan, however, it would appear that government has the right and We The People are of limited power.
Today we live in a world of omni-present government – whether in the form of the NSA listening in on us, government mandates, regulations, taxes, or government programs. Of course, we didn’t start out that way as a country. According to Harlow Giles Unger in his book Lion of Liberty, Patrick Henry:
“Settlers isolated in the hamlets and woods of New England had lived free of almost all government authority for more than 150 years. They had cleared the land, felled great forests, built homes and churches, planted their fields, hunted, fished and fought off Indian marauders on their own, cooperating with each other, collectively governing themselves, electing their militia commanders and church pastors and turning to assemblies of elders to mediate occasional disputes . . . Like Patrick Henry, they had lived in freedom, without government intrusion in their lives and saw little need for it.”
GOP opinion may surprise you
To sum up, actual GOP voters are more pro-immigration, more pro-internationalist and more pro-gay marriage than you would imagine listening to some loud GOP voices. When you consider how willing they are to accept gay marriage and cater to religious employers who may not share their views, Republicans are a whole lot more “tolerant” than the mainstream media would have you believe. Lawmakers and candidates should keep all this in mind and remember that it is voters, not talk show hosts, whose views matter the most.
Republicans and Blacks – I wish it were that easy?
Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to “reach out” is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black “leaders” like Jesse Jackson — that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.
Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats. Why should they vote for Republicans who act like make-believe Democrats?
Yet there are issues where Republicans have a big advantage over Democrats — if they will use that advantage. But an advantage that you don’t use might as well not exist.
The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers’ unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students.
GOP Field Hasn’t Been This Split in 40 Years
1976, the first year in which both the Republican and Democratic nominations were decided completely by voters and not by party leaders.
In surveys conducted from January through March of the preceding midterm election year (so for the 2012 election, we’re looking at polls from Jan. 1 through March 31 of 2010), the Republican atop the polls has always averaged at least 23 percent of the vote.
But not this year. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a presidential aspirant in 2008, leads current polling with 14.8 percent. Even if we include Democratic nomination contests, 14.8 percent basically ties for the lowest leader on record (right near the 15 percent Mario Cuomo had in 1992).
The table below shows the top five potential candidates by election year according to polling averages from the first three months of the preceding midterm year. Some candidates were only included in some of the nomination polls conducted during that period. (For some early years, we have only one or two polls. The years left blank for either party represent cycles when there was no polling data.)
The “No Obamacare Horror Stories” Fairy Tale For many, suffering under Obamacare is all too real.
There are plenty of [Obamacare] horror stories being told. All of them are untrue,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not long ago on the floor of the Senate.
Four years after the president signed the measure into law, there are, of course, many real stories of hardship under Obamacare. An extensive list of which is included at the end of this article. But when Reid made those remarks, he wasn’t repeating words carelessly dashed off by some 20-something staffer. Rather, he was repeating a meme that has become common among those who economist Thomas Sowell dubs “the Anointed,” intellectuals whose belief in their own superior knowledge and virtue leads to their misperception that they are an anointed elite more qualified to make decisions for the rest of us in order to lead humanity to a better life.
The Anointed’s “no horror stories” meme arose when leftist pundits found potential holes in the story of Julie Boonstra, a cancer patient featured in ads run by Americans for Prosperity. While Boonstra did lose her policy due to Obamacare, she has kept her physicians and the new policy she found doesn’t yet appear to cost her any more money.
Paul Ryan was right — poverty is a cultural problem
A year from now, there surely will be conferences marking the 50th anniversary of what is now known as the Moynihan Report, a.k.a. “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” In March 1965, Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities — this was five months before the Watts riots — was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared with just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.
Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54 percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this:
The family is the primary transmitter of social capital — the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
Hobby Lobby and How Left and Right Flipped on Religious Freedom
Liberals have come a long way since 1993, when they helped pass—and Bill Clinton signed—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Back then, they were willing to endorse the principle that the government must have a compelling interest in making a person act contrary to her religious conscience—and even then, government must use the least coercive means to further that interest.
Whatever the First Amendment implications of the Hobby Lobby case, it is impossible to argue the contraception mandate meets that test. Large swathes of the American public are already exempt from the mandate, so how compelling could the government interest be? Second, there are ways to make birth control more accessible to women without making religious people pay for it.
Several things have changed in the last twenty-one years. First, the issue that helped give rise to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was the sacramental use of peyote by a Native American church. The Supreme Court upheld an Oregon law forbidding peyote, with conservative Antonin Scalia writing the majority opinion and liberal Harry Blackmun of Roe v. Wade fame authoring the dissent.
Note that both the specific freedom in question and the plaintiff in the case were likely to arouse liberal sympathies. Not so traditionalist Catholics who don’t want to subsidize contraception or evangelicals who don’t want to photograph a same-sex wedding. (One could argue these different circumstances play a role in conservatives taking a different position too.)
President Obama talks Sanctions and Saul Anuzis says US should be aware of Putin’s Ploy
See my interview with the Washington Times.
From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine
The United States has been developing, almost by default, a strategy not of disengagement but of indirect engagement. Between 1989 and 2008, the U.S. strategy has been the use of U.S. troops as the default for dealing with foreign issues. From Panama to Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States followed a policy of direct and early involvement of U.S. military forces. However, this was not the U.S. strategy from 1914 to 1989. Then, the strategy was to provide political support to allies, followed by economic and military aid, followed by advisers and limited forces, and in some cases pre-positioned forces. The United States kept its main force in reserve for circumstances in which (as in 1917 and 1942 and, to a lesser degree, in Korea and Vietnam) allies could not contain the potential hegemon. Main force was the last resort.
This was primarily a strategy of maintaining the balance of power. The containment of the Soviet Union involved creating an alliance system comprising countries at risk of Soviet attack. Containment was a balance of power strategy that did not seek the capitulation of the Soviet Union as much as increasing the risks of offensive action using allied countries as the first barrier. The threat of full U.S. intervention, potentially including nuclear weapons, coupled with the alliance structure, constrained Soviet risk-taking.
Because the current Russian Federation is much weaker than the Soviet Union was at its height and because the general geographic principle in the region remains the same, a somewhat analogous balance of power strategy is likely to emerge after the events in Ukraine. Similar to the containment policy of 1945-1989, again in principle if not in detail, it would combine economy of force and finance and limit the development of Russia as a hegemonic power while exposing the United States to limited and controlled risk.
‘This Is the Last Territorial Demand I Have to Make in Europe’
Vladimir Putin all but said the above yesterday, after annexing the Crimea — and promising to let alone the rest of the Ukraine. If we just insert Ukraine and Russia for Czechoslovakia and Germany, the following speech could easily be Putin’s:
(Berlin 1938 Moscow 2014)
Now I have tried during this time also gradually to bring about good and enduring relations with other nations.
We have given guarantees for the States in the West. We have guaranteed to all contiguous neighbors the inviolability of their territory so far as Germany Russia is concerned.
That is not a phrase — that is our sacred will.
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