Weekly Musing 1-31-16
Days until the 2016 election: 282.
Never Forget – So That Never Again!
This week we commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day, where we remembered the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and reaffirm: Never again!
My parents and grandparents were bestowed the designation of “Righteous Amongst the Nations” by Yad Vashem. This honor was given to “gentiles” who helped save Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.
Several years ago, I had the experience of a lifetime to be able to visit Israel and the Yad Vashem Memorial. They arranged a special ceremony where I, as the “son of the Righteous” laid a wreath at the Memorial with the “son of a Survivor” that my parents and grandparents actually helped save. It was one of the most memorable and moving moments of my life.
I can only imagine the fear, bravery and sacrifice my parents and grandparents exhibited risked their lives to save others in the face of unbelievable brutality and persecution. It’s hard to describe the pride…and hope that future generations may never have to experience something like that again…but if we did, that we would have the strength and convictions to act accordingly.
The Case for Ted Cruz
Since Ted Cruz walked onto the national stage, he has been consistent in leading the attack against the corrupt Washington Establishments of both parties. Redolent of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He has done that with a level of articulate intelligence and perception virtually unprecedented in Washington.
I served President Reagan in the White House Office of Policy Development, and I have studied his speeches and writings for years. Cruz embraces the same three dimensional political and policy framework as Reagan – fearless, consistent, free market economics, Peace through Strength National Defense, and Traditional Values Cultural Conservatism. On issue after issue, I can see no difference between Reagan and Cruz in any of these dimensions.
Like Reagan, Cruz is a convictions politician, in the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. That means that Cruz, like Reagan, and Thatcher, is transparently in politics to advance his conservative “convictions,” philosophy, and ideology, not for personal aggrandizement, power, or riches.
Conservatives, from Christian Evangelicals, to Tea Party fire brands, to Libertarian free market activists, to low tax crusaders, to Second Amendment, gun rights advocates, to National Defense, foreign policy conservatives, to traditional, family values, cultural conservatives, are now coalescing around Cruz. I believe they will put him over the top in Iowa, and carry that momentum to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Super Tuesday states throughout the south. That run may resolve the nomination contest much sooner than now expected. Below are the reasons why this is happening.
Ted Cruz’s Revolution
His fellow senators publicly denounce him and call him names. They yell at him behind closed doors and complain about him to their lobbyist friends. They hate him with a wild, deranging passion. The Beltway grandees, with their consulting contracts and expensive suits, would sooner die or move to Europe than live in the America he would govern.
And Cruz revels in their hatred.
“You know,” the Texas senator said, eyebrows tented plaintively, black hair neatly parted on the left, “when we launched this campaign, the New York Times promptly opined, ‘Cruz cannot win, because the Washington elites despise him.'” He paused for effect, exactly the same way he had paused for effect the previous night in Whitefield, exactly the same way he would pause for effect the next morning in Exeter. Then he delivered the punch line: “I kind of thought that was the whole point of the campaign!”
Why Ted Cruz wanted the endorsement of the governor of Guam
Since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz and his aides have touted the fact that they are running a national campaign, attempting to lock down the support of delegates in places far from the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
On Thursday, some of that strategy paid off: Cruz got the endorsement of the governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo. The Texas Republican sent surrogates to the U.S. territories last year to cultivate relationships in the hopes of securing the support of delegates to the Republican National Convention in July. In a letter to Cruz, Calvo said he support’s Cruz’s stances on immigration, the Second Amendment and against large government.
The endorsement is part of Cruz’s strategy to carefully court delegates with the hope of locking down the nomination with numbers. He and his team have poured time and resources into the South, where Cruz believes he will play well with religious and conservative voters. The candidate has spent time in places off the normal primary map, including Wyoming and Minnesota.
…Cruz dispatched his father, Rafael, and Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who is supporting Cruz and is spearheading his hunt for support in unusual places, to the U.S. Virgin Islands in September to ask for the support of Republicans there.
“To me, it’s like niche farming for delegates,” Anuzis said at the time.
The Secret Science of Winning the Iowa Caucuses
An hour before the Jan. 14 Republican debate, 250 of Ted Cruz’s most dedicated Iowa field organizers huddled in the Heritage Assembly of God church gymnasium in Des Moines. Over a dinner of potato chips and sandwiches, they sat down for a tutorial in caucus-night tactics.
In one sense, the Iowa caucuses, held this year on Feb. 1, are a quaint, almost anachronistic tradition—an assembly of neighbors deciding the next leader of the free world in churches and libraries and school cafeterias catered with hot chocolate and homemade pastries. But they’re also among the country’s most sophisticated, even arcane, political rituals, the culmination of months of organizing. For all the intimacy and homey trappings, they can have the intensity of a high-stakes playoff game.
“It’s laid bare,” says Rick Tyler, Cruz’s national spokesman. “You’ll see who has their pants down and who doesn’t. You’ll see who’s got it together and who doesn’t. I want Iowans to know we’re built to last.”
WHEN Jeb Bush announced he was running for president seven months ago the tutting newspaper commentaries almost wrote themselves. With his famous name and war chest of over $100m, whistled up from Bush family benefactors in a matter of months, the former Florida governor was almost as strong a favourite for the Republican ticket as Hillary Clinton, who had made her inaugural campaign speech two days earlier, was for the Democratic one. Bush against Clinton? The prospect made American democracy seem stale and dynastic, rigged on behalf of a tiny political elite, whose members alone had the name recognition and deep pockets required to win its overpriced elections.
But now the primary process is about to get serious. In Iowa on February 1st perhaps 250,000 voters will brave icy roads to pick their champion in small groups, or caucuses. And the tutting has given way to real fear. On the Republican side, Mr Bush—or “Jeb!” as his campaign has cruelly styled him—is all but irrelevant. The son and brother of past presidents is clever and has a solid record of cutting taxes and privatising services. But Republican voters have dismissed him as dull and out-of-touch, an emblem of the political class they despise. The Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, is a celebrity builder with no previous political experience. He has raised little money, was once a registered Democrat and still refers derisively to his party as “the Republicans”, as if it is some unpromising acquisition he has been arm-twisted into buying.
Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right
And, my dear fellow Republicans, he’s all your fault.
About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair. I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day.
“It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said matter-of-factly. “But I get more pussy than you do.” Click.
At the time, I’d never met Trump and I remember feeling amused but also surprised he’d say something like that. Now the pattern seems entirely familiar. The message had all the hallmarks of a Trump attack: shocking, vulgar and indisputably true.
Not everyone finds it funny. On my street in Northwest Washington, D.C., there’s never been anyone as unpopular as Trump. The Democrats assume he’s a bigot, pandering to the morons out there in the great dark space between Georgetown and Brentwood. The Republicans (those relatively few who live here) fully agree with that assessment, and they hate him even more. They sense Trump is a threat to them personally, to their legitimacy and their livelihoods. Idi Amin would get a warmer reception in our dog park.
Obama flunks common sense economics
It’s too easy to label President Obama’s State of the Union as more “tax-the-rich” and redistribution. We already know that. Rather than name-calling, Republicans must draw a clear line in the sand between their worldview and Obama’s.
I’d call that line common sense economics.
There are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind. First, you can’t create a new business, or sustain an existing one, without the seed corn and nourishment of capital investment. Secondly, only businesses create jobs. You can’t have a job without a business.
Third, jobs create all incomes, including middle-class incomes. Lastly, incomes create family and consumer spending. Got all that?
This is not complicated. It’s common economic sense, but University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan states this in a simpler way: Growth starts with investment and ends with consumer spending.
Democrats are in more trouble than they think. And changing demographics won’t save them.
Democrats are optimistic about the future. They may have gotten pasted in 2014, but they expect great results in the next decade based on favorable trends in the population.
“The Republican party is in a death spiral,” Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg warns in his new book America Ascendant. It is in a “pitched fight” with what Greenberg calls the “new American majority,” which is composed of “African Americans, Hispanics, Millennials,” who “will constitute 54 percent of the electorate in 2016.” If one includes “seculars with no religious affiliation,” then this group amounts to 63 percent of the electorate that is sympathetic to the Democrats.
Greenberg’s claim is merely the latest version of an argument that Celinda Lake and other Democratic pollsters as well as analysts from the Center for American Progress have been making for the past three or four years. The heart of the argument is that the groups in the population that are likely to vote for Democrats are growing, while those that are likely to vote for Republicans are shrinking as a percentage of the electorate. As a result, Democrats will inevitably win political majorities.
This argument is at least half-wrong. Democrats could eventually reclaim the majorities they won in 2008 or enjoyed earlier in the past century, but it won’t happen simply because of demography. Republicans have rising groups of their own that could counter or nullify these trends. Considered merely on that basis, the parties are at a standoff. Which party wins the coming elections will depend on politics — what kind of candidates the parties nominate, what they campaign on, and what they do in office.
What the Next President Must Do About Putin
MMadam/Mr. President-to-be-elected, you will enter office facing Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a potential geostrategic threat to the United States. You will need a strategy to counter and resist this threat, which is only growing. At the moment, Putin appears to be closer to prevailing in Syria and holding steady in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. His use of force to protect despots and to render governments hostage to Moscow’s will is working to some extent, as Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford tacitly acknowledged last week when he told reporters that because of Russia’s military intervention in Syria, the Assad regime “is in a better place” ahead of scheduled peace talks in Geneva this week. Putin may have helped Assad regain control of enough of Syria to potentially retain power and in Eastern Europe the states with uninvited Russian forces continue to experience limits on their territorial and political sovereignty.
What precisely is the threat from Russia? Putin’s two main objectives—to keep himself in power and to rebuild Russia as a great power—do not in themselves endanger U.S. national interests. The threat lies in the fact that Putin is trying to achieve his goals by rewriting international rules and norms that are critical to U.S. security. Specifically, he seeks to inaugurate a new international order that permits human rights abuses by despotic leaders and invasion, occupation and political subversion of sovereign states. Not to mention assassination: Only last week, a British inquiry led by retired high court judge Robert Owen found that the murder of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 was “probably” directed by the Russian president.
The conservative movement has become the GOP establishment. Now what?
There’s something faintly comical about everyone in the Republican party shouting, “I’m not the establishment. That guy is.” The conservative movement long ago defeated the East Coast establishment of the party. It was a total rout; the last semi-moderate New England Republicans were defeated a decade ago. And yet, conservatives still insist that they are fighting some powerful establishment within the Republican Party.
Conservative institutions — their publications, think-tanks, and policy shops — are firmly embedded within the larger political class. The victory has been so-well established for so long that the literal children of the previous establishment will not stick up for it. George W. Bush ran as a conservative. Jeb Bush has ideologically been more enthusiastic for conservatism than his brother.
A Psychologist’s Open Letter to U.S. Voters
You have the power to shape the future of this country.
Politicians are groomed by us—by our applause, by our polls, by our votes. Whatever you seem to love or hate, they’ll embrace or reject. So be careful what you applaud or attack. It matters what they—and all the little future leaders watching them—think you want in a leader…
…I offer a guide, based on research, for what keeps leaders healthy, so you can applaud the right behaviors, and, I hope, punish the dangerous ones.
People high in healthy narcissism (link is external) inspire without undermining. They lead with conviction not cruelty. They bring out the best (link is external), not the worst, in the people around them. That’s who we need leading the nation.
So here are some dos and don’ts:
Why The Baltics? – Analysis
Why the Baltics? Of the European Union’s half a billion residents, scarcely more than 1% live in one of the Baltic countries. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are tiny countries in terms of their landmass and their population. Yet they punch far above their weight. From energy policy to e-government, from geopolitics to economic policy, the Baltic countries are playing an outsized role in Europe’s future.
If the Baltics are known for anything today, it is for their precarious geopolitical position. Located on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, these countries are on the frontlines of the struggle between Russia and the West for influence in Europe’s borderlands. The Baltics are nearly surrounded by Russia and its ally Belarus, save only for a short border that Lithuania shares with Poland.
The 10 Oldest Languages Still Spoken In The World Today
Language evolution is like biological evolution – it happens minutely, generation by generation, so there’s no distinct breaking point between one language and the next language that develops from it. Therefore, it’s impossible to say that one language is really older than any other one; they’re all as old as humanity itself. That said, each of the languages below has a little something special—something ancient—to differentiate it from the masses.
The language family that most European languages belong to is Indo-European, but they started splitting apart from each other probably around 3500 BCE. They developed into dozens of other languages like German, Italian, and English, gradually losing the features that they had all shared. One language, however, up in the Baltic language branch of the Indo-European family, retained more of the feature of what linguists call Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which is the language that they postulate was spoken around 3500 BCE. For whatever reason, Lithuanian has kept more of the sounds and grammar rules from PIE than any of its linguistic cousins, and can therefore be called one of the oldest languages in the world.
NEW Mobile App for Parties & Candidates
We launched it…finally a new mobile app to help parties and candidates keep in touch with their members.
Our apps are native meaning they use the full power of smart mobile devices to provide rich features such as video, navigation, customized alerts linked to specific content, events calendaring, conventions, ballot registration and voting, breaking news, donations, blogs, instant polls and surveys and more.
And they are fully customizable. So check out one of the apps that is currently live. Just go to your app store on either an Apple, Android or Windows phone and search for:
New York GOP (New York State Republican Party)
TN GOP (Tennessee Republican Party)
Michigan Republican Party
WSRP (Washington State Republican Party)
Republican Party of Louisiana
Republican Liberty Caucus
Tea Party Nation
NYS Conservative Party
USVI GOP (Virgin Islands Republican Party)
Lisa Posthumus Lyons (State Representative-MI)
Triston Cole (State Representative-MI)
Gowan for Arizona (Gowan for Congress)
Follow the progress of Right Mobile and the various new parties and candidates that launch their own apps on Facebook at; https://www.facebook.com/rightmobileUS//
If any party or candidate is interested in getting an app of their own, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Straw poll shows Cruz emerging as candidate with majority support
As of Friday, nearly 200 people had cast ballots. They reveal much about the race – not as a scientific poll, but for showing relationships among backers of candidates as revealed by their rankings. In the first round, Cruz had 71 votes (40%), compared to Trump’s 38 (21%), Marco Rubio’s 22 (12%), and no one else in double digits. When no candidate has a majority, we count the second choices of voters whose first choice has been defeated. Once the field is reduced to two, Ted Cruz emerges victorious, with 69% of the vote against Donald Trump. In the final “instant runoff.”
Ranking patterns are revealing as well. A quarter (24%) of Trump voters ranked Cruz second, three times more than they ranked Rubio second. Cruz also does well far better than Trump in securing Rubio’s second choices. Overall, he was ranked first, second or third on 56% of all voters’ ballots; ahead of Rubio (34%) and Trump (33%) and far ahead of Jeb Such with 12%.
|Percentage of ballots on which candidate ranked first, second or third|
Preferential ballots also allow us to model the outcome if Cruz dropped out of the race. In the first round, Trump would be out in front, with 29% of the vote (compared to Rubio’s 23%). However, because Trump is fewer voters’ second and third choices than Rubio, as candidates who cannot win are eliminated, Rubio gradually catches up with Trump and emerges the winner in the final round with 54% to Trump’s 46%.
Of course the real votes will start being cast soon – but users can set up their own preferential voting contest here.
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