Weekly Musing 12-4-15
Happy New Year!
Why Ted Cruz
Here is my letter of why I think Ted Cruz would be the best candidate to win the 2016 elections…and is the right candidate to be President.
Here is my op-ed published on NewsMax:
The 15 political questions for 2015
Hillary Clinton, who is expected to unveil her second presidential campaign early next year, is poised to become the dominant political figure of 2015. What we don’t yet know is how seriously she’ll be challenged for the Democratic nomination, whether she’s learned the right lessons from her failed 2008 bid and how the former secretary of State will deal with her former boss, Barack Obama.
The Republican field for the White House is wide open, with no clear frontrunner or heir apparent. Jeb Bush claimed a lot of oxygen with a surprise announcement that he’ll “seriously consider” a run. But there are many reasons to believe today’s GOP won’t nominate him, even if he raises more money than everyone else.
Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a Republican-controlled Senate, further limiting his ability to pass big legislation. But perhaps term limits and a foil on Capitol Hill will liberate him, as seen with recent executive actions on immigration and relations with Cuba.
GOP leaders are like the dog that has finally caught up with the car. Now, dominating both chambers of Congress, they must govern.
Here’s our look at the 15 biggest open questions for 2015 – the known unknowns
Ten Global Elections to Watch in 2015
Though many American political junkies will spend 2015 speculating about presidential contenders, you can get a more immediate fix by watching the following slate of important races across the globe. From high-profile gubernatorial and mayoral races in the United States to pivotal national elections abroad, 2015 offers a host of dynamic electoral battles that will serve as a perfect appetizer before 2016-talk truly takes over.
Constitution’s horrible, no good, very bad year
As 2014 comes to a close, it’s worth considering the Obama administration legacy as we head into 2015.
Certainly, there were scandals. The IRS played hide and seek with documents regarding improper targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.
The response to the Ebola outbreak was clumsy, and helped induce panic. Our foreign policy is in tatters.
Yet the most long-lasting damage may be the Obama administration’s cavalier attitude towards constitutional separation of powers.
…But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.
The Obama administration’s relentless expansion of executive power through extra-constitutional means only further fuels the public’s distrust of government. If 2014 was a referendum on Obama, 2016 may be a referendum on whether the public wants the federal government, particularly the president, to live within constitutional boundaries.
Will our next president be a king, queen or a constitutionally-limited president? That is the question for 2016.
A Year of Liberal Double Standards What seems like staggering hypocrisy is actually remarkably consistent from liberals’ perspective.
When Republicans are in power, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” When Democrats are in power, dissent is the racist fuming of “angry white men.”
Peaceful, law-abiding tea-party groups who cleaned up after their protests — and got legal permits for them — were signs of nascent fascism lurking in the American soul. Violent, anarchic, and illegal protests by Occupy Wall Street a few years ago or, more recently, in Ferguson, Mo., were proof that a new idealistic generation was renewing its commitment to idealism.
When rich conservatives give money to Republicans, it is a sign that the whole system has been corrupted by fat cats. When it is revealed that liberal billionaires and left-wing super PACs outspent conservative groups in 2014: crickets.
Let’s abandon the Democrats: Stop blaming Fox News and stop hoping Elizabeth Warren will save us
The Democrats’ conduct since the midterm debacle is as sad and sorry as the campaign that caused it. The party’s leaders are a big problem. A bigger one is the closed system of high-dollar fundraising, reductionist polling and vapid messaging in which it is seemingly trapped. Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won’t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place.
Nancy Pelosi says it wasn’t a wave election. She’s right. It was the Johnstown Flood; as catastrophic and just as preventable. One year after the shutdown Republicans scored their biggest Senate win since 1980 and their biggest House win since 1928. Turnout was the lowest since 1942, when millions of GIs had the excellent excuse of being overseas fighting for their country.
Every Democratic alibi — midterm lull, sixth-year curse, red Senate map, vote suppression, gerrymandering, money — rings true, but all of them together can’t explain being swept by the most extreme major party in American history. Citing other statistics — demography, presidential turnout, Hillary’s polls — they assure us that in 2016 happy days will be here again. Don’t bet on it.
It took more than the usual civic sloth to produce the lowest turnout in 72 years. It took alienating vast voting blocs, including the young and the working class of both genders and all races. The young now trend Republican. Voters of all ages migrate to third parties or abandon politics altogether. It’s the biggest Democratic defection since the South switched parties in the 1960s. If Democrats don’t change their ways, their 2016 turnout will be a lot harder to gin up than they think.
Mega Rich Overwhelmingly Donated to Democrats in 2014
Democrats bagged the bulk of big dollar donations in the 2014 midterm elections according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
Out of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors to outside groups, Democrats hauled in $91 million or 71% of donations.
“Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats—a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14,” reports the AP.
Democrats also enjoyed a 3-to-1 cash advantage when it came to the 183 groups stroking checks of $100,000 or more. The liberal National Education Association (NEA) topped the list of big money donors at $22 million. The top ten list contained zero Republican-leaning groups.
Top 100 donors give almost as much as 4.75 million small donors combined. The 100 biggest campaign donors gave $323 million in 2014 — almost as much as the $356 million given by the estimated 4.75 million people who gave $200 or less, a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found.
And the balance almost certainly would tip far in favor of the mega-donors were the analysis to include nonprofit groups that spent at least $219 million — and likely much more — but aren’t required to reveal their donors’ identities.
The numbers — gleaned from reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service — paint the most comprehensive picture to date of an electoral landscape in which the financial balance has tilted dramatically to the ultra-rich. They have taken advantage of a spate of recent federal court rulings, regulatory decisions and feeble or bumbling oversight to spend ever-greater sums in politics — sometimes raising questions about whether their bounty is being well spent. Yet their expanded giving power in 2014 was all the more stark, coming against a backdrop of what appears to be a surprising decline in the number of regular Americans contributing to campaigns, as well as a shift in political power and money to outside groups unburdened by the contribution restrictions handcuffing the political parties and their candidates.
The Gaffes That Stopped Us in Our Tracks in 2014
Another year, another season of off-the-cuff remarks gone awry. This year’s political gaffes ranged from stump-speech stumbles to Obama name-dropping actors who don’t really exist.
What If a Typical Family Spent Money Like the Federal Government
The federal government has a spending problem. The national debt is tipping $18 trillion–and growing. But what if an American family spent the way the United States does? Check out the chart below for a (scary) perspective.
What Americans Really Cared About In 2014
Or what they tweeted about, anyway. Twitter provides a fascinating, objective look at what people are discussing. Tracked over the course of the year, it tells us a little about the news, and quite a lot about us. People may claim to have lots of high-minded interests, but what are they actually talking about? Donald Sterling. Here it is: 2014, as documented on Twitter.
The results are quite striking. What was the number one tweeted topic? The Ferguson grand jury, not indicting Darren Wilson. What was number two? Darren Wilson shooting Michael Brown. So why does a local crime story, without any apparent broader implications, grip the national imagination? Sure, race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Eric Holder promoted the Ferguson narrative, but there has to be more to it than that. Something in the story obviously resonated with a lot of people.
Story number three was the midterm election. No surprise there. But look at some of the other contenders: the State of the Union, a surprise to me. Was there anything notable about Obama’s sixth such speech, any reason why millions of people would be talking about it? Maybe these spectacles are more important than I thought.
Greenspan Throws a Wet Blanket on Hopes for Growth Breakout
Just when you thought the U.S. economy was roaring back to health, Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is here to tell you otherwise.
“The United States is doing better than anybody else, but we’re still not doing all that well,” Greenspan, 88, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” with Betty Liu. “We still have a very sluggish economy.”
Greenspan said the economy won’t fully recover until American companies invest more in productive assets and the housing market bounces back.
“Almost all of the weakness in the last four, five, six years has been in long-lived investments” in capital goods and real estate, Greenspan said. “Until these pick up, we’re not going to get the kind of vibrant growth that everyone is hoping for.”
The Return of Geopolitics – The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers
So far, the year 2014 has been a tumultuous one, as geopolitical rivalries have stormed back to center stage. Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, Japan responding with an increasingly assertive strategy of its own, or Iran trying to use its alliances with Syria and Hezbollah to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back in international relations.
The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones. To be dragged back into old-school contests such as that in Ukraine doesn’t just divert time and energy away from those important questions; it also changes the character of international politics. As the atmosphere turns dark, the task of promoting and maintaining world order grows more daunting.
But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant: the ideological triumph of liberal capitalist democracy over communism, not the obsolescence of hard power. China, Iran, and Russia never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and they are making increasingly forceful attempts to overturn it. That process will not be peaceful, and whether or not the revisionists succeed, their efforts have already shaken the balance of power and changed the dynamics of international politics.
Why oil prices keep falling — and throwing the world into turmoil
The plummeting price of oil is still the biggest energy story in the world right now. It’s bringing back cheap gasoline to the United States while wreaking havoc on oil-producing countries like Russia and Venezuela.
But why does the price of oil keep falling? Back in June 2014, the price of Brent crude was up around $115 per barrel. By the end of the year, it had fallen in half, down to $57 per barrel
The short version of the story goes like this: For much of the past decade, oil prices were high — bouncing around $100 per barrel since 2010 — because of soaring oil consumption in countries like China and conflicts in key oil nations like Libya. Oil production couldn’t keep up with demand, so prices spiked.
By 2014, oil supply was much higher than demand.
But beneath the surface, many of those dynamics were rapidly shifting. High prices spurred companies in the US and Canada to start drilling for new, hard-to-extract crude in North Dakota’s shale formations and Alberta’s oil sands. At the same time, demand for oil in places like Europe, Asia, and the US began tapering off, thanks to weakening economies and new efficiency measures. On top of that, the conflict in Libya was slowly easing.
By late 2014, world oil supply was on track to rise much higher than actual demand, as the chart below from the International Energy Agency shows. And, in September, prices started falling sharply.
R.I.P. Retired U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola dies at 85
A retired U.S. district judge who served two decades on the federal bench in southeastern Michigan has died. Paul Gadola was 85.
Dodds-Dumanois Funeral Home in Flint said Gadola died Friday at the Burcham Hills retirement community in East Lansing.
Gadola spend 25 years as a Flint trial lawyer before President Ronald Reagan named him to the U.S. District Court for Southeastern Michigan in 1988.
NEW Facebook Page…
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