Weekly Musing 2-2-14

Weekly Musing 1-26-14

Saul Anuzis

“If you want to keep your doctor, you may have to change your Congressman.”

NY Congressional Candidate Lee Zeldin

 

 

Michigan’s Terri Lynn Land resigns from RNC – Let’s make it Senator Land

U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has resigned from the Republican National Committee, effective immediately.

 

Land submitted her resignation Friday afternoon and told the Associated Press in a written statement she wants to focus her attention on her campaign. The former Michigan secretary of state was elected for a four-year term to the RNC at a state Republican convention in 2012.

 

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140131/POLITICS03/301310120

 

 

History Shows Dems Face Long Odds in Keeping Senate

The power of the job-approval curse was demonstrated in 2010, when Democrats won only a single Senate seat in a state where Obama’s job approval was below the national average. That one exception was West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, the state’s governor, who went so far as to run at TV ad showing him firing a rifle through Obama’s cap-and-trade energy-tax bill.

 

Democrats insist that Obama’s approval ratings are picking up, but the latest RealClearPolitics average shows him stuck at 43.5 percent — below where he was in 2010. That may explain why Democratic senators Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana couldn’t wait to distance themselves from Obama last night. National Journal reported that “all released statements expressing disappointment with the president’s State of the Union — a sign that there’s not much he can do to help their reelections. Even Sen. Mark Udall (D), in battleground Colorado, repeatedly avoided whether he’d embrace the president’s help back home.”

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/369802/history-shows-dems-face-long-odds-keeping-senate-john-fund

 

 

6 Signs a Republican Senate Takeover Is Within Reach

What’s changed in the past month is that a handful of states once thought to be safely Democratic—such as Michigan, Oregon, and Virginia—could become highly competitive in a best-case GOP scenario. If President Obama’s approval ratings don’t improve and Republicans catch a few breaks, the GOP could ride a wave to a majority that could withstand a small 2016 setback.

 

“They’ve put candidates on the ballot,” acknowledged J.B. Poersch, who advises Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC focused on the Senate. But he added, “Six months from now, or even four months from now, how many of these are actually going to be races? It’s great to be able to laundry list candidates and another to see how viable they’re going to be.”

 

2. Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land proved she could keep up with Peters’s fundraising and put in $1.6 million of her own money to boot. Polls show a tight race. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will also be on the ballot. “Everyone is bullish about Michigan right now,” said Republican strategist Rick Wiley.

 

http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/6-signs-a-republican-senate-takeover-is-within-reach-20140129

 

 

NETFLIX Mitt Romney Documentary

Over the weekend, the world was given a third chance to get to know Mitt Romney. The behind-the-scenes documentary “Mitt” (viewable on Netflix) provides a fresh view of the candidate and the family drama that played out as he ran for president.  Filmmaker Greg Whiteley shot hundreds of hours of footage over the course of nearly six years spent with the Romney family. What follow are some of the more revealing glimpses of the man behind the suit.

 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/mitt_romney_documentary/

 

 

State of the Union moot as Obama becomes irrelevant

Mr. Obama, President of All the People, said “I” 51 times in his 7,000-word, 65-minute speech. He said “we” 100 times, but not “We Americans,” rather “We Democrats,” as in ” we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete. ” He said “new” 32 times, “help” 30 times, “first” 13 times, “right” 10 times. He loaded up on “America” and “American” and “Americans,” using the words 87 times. Breaks for applause: 96.

 

But between the lines and the numbers was pure pap, frivolous frippery, lines meant to draw applause in the fake bipartisan charade that the State of the Union has become. “In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together,” he said. “Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want — for all of us in this chamber to focus                         on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.”

 

And when the verbose speech was broken down afterward, all that was left was small ball, tiny inconsequential promises of action that affect few Americans.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/29/curl-state-of-the-union-moot-as-obama-becomes-irre/

 

 

NBC News poll: Pessimism defines the state of the union

As President Barack Obama enters his sixth year in the White House, 68 percent of Americans say the country is either stagnant or worse off since he took office, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just 31 percent say the country is better off, and a deep pessimism continues to fuel the public’s mood. Most respondents used words like “divided,” “troubled,” and “deteriorating” to describe the current state of the nation.

 

On the eve of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, more than six-in-10 Americans believe that the nation is headed in the wrong direction and 70 percent are dissatisfied with the economy.

 

http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/27/22471530-nbc-news-poll-pessimism-defines-the-state-of-the-union?lite

 

 

Democrats hope Obama’s State of Union speech will be start of populist agenda

Democrats consider President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday a launching point for a year of sustained assault on Republicans over a populist economic agenda, part of an effort to focus more on bread-and-butter issues and less on ­income inequality.

 

Party officials say they hope Obama’s speech will set the stage for Senate and House candidates to confront Republicans on issues such as the minimum wage, unemployment benefits and access to college education. Their minimum goal is to preserve Democratic control of the Senate, because not doing so could cripple what remains of the president’s legislative agenda.

 

In recent weeks, some Democratic lawmakers and strategists have urged the White House to focus less on academic-sounding discussions of income inequality and to simplify Obama’s message to reflect the everyday concerns of Americans. White House officials say they have long planned to emphasize such issues.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-hope-obamas-state-of-union-speech-will-be-start-of-populist-agenda/2014/01/27/90651dd2-8767-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html

 

 

Senate Republicans Develop The Most Credible Plan Yet To ‘Repeal And Replace’ Obamacare

“Repealing and replacing” Obamacare with market-oriented reforms has been the Republican mantra for years now. If you’re a long-time follower of this space, you know that we’re skeptical that Obamacare will ever be repealed, GOP slogans to the contrary. Today, however, a trio of experienced Senate Republicans—Tom Coburn (Okla.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah)—have put forth the most thoughtful and constructive plan yet developed to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan seeks to ensure that as many Americans have health coverage as Obamacare does. It’s a proposal grounded in the real-world tradeoffs that all serious reformers must make. Want to know how those tradeoffs might affect you? Read on…

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/01/27/senate-republicans-develop-the-most-credible-plan-yet-to-repeal-and-replace-obamacare/

 

 

The 2020 Reapportionment and the Voting Rights Act

The Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik recently looked at the states that would be expected to gain and lose seats as a result of the census, and concluded that although seats are moving from bluer states to redder states, Republicans will likely be unable to use redistricting to press their edge in Congress much further.

 

I want to look at this from a slightly different angle, and lay down a marker for 2020: While the major fight will, as always, be over the partisan makeup of the districts being drawn, the fight over the future of majority-minority districts will rival it. But while we have plenty of experience with partisan fights over redistricting and know how to deal with them, the coming fight over the death of some majority-minority districts is basically without precedent.

 

We first need an understanding of the basics of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as it relates to redistricting. Before we undertake that inquiry, we need an important caveat about the scope of this piece: The Voting Rights Act as it relates to redistricting is an extremely complicated subject, and one that is constantly in flux. So what follows is necessarily a rough outline; use it as the basis for an answer on your law school exam at your own risk.

 

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-2020-reapportionment-and-the-voting-rights-act/

 

 

Conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 states

People who identify as conservative outnumber those who call themselves liberal in 47 states, according to a new Gallup survey.

 

Nationally, conservatives had a 14.6 percentage point lead on liberals, though that was more than a full point smaller than last year’s lead. The gap in 2013 was largest in Wyoming, where 40.5 percentage points separated those who identified as conservatives from those who identified as liberals. Only Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont and D.C. had more liberals than conservatives. The top 10 liberal states voted for Obama during the last two elections, while the top 10 conservative states chose the Republican nominee.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/31/conservatives-outnumber-liberals-in-47-states/?utm_content=bufferbeb2f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

Dear America, I Saw You Naked

And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
“I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security. … Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible.

 

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/tsa-screener-confession-102912_full.html#.UuvFiBwo7X4

 

 

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

 

Please share.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

 

 

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

 

 

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

 

 

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 1-26-14

Weekly Musing 1-26-14

Saul Anuzis

 

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”     ―     Elie Wiesel

 

The Dave Agema Controversy: an unnecessary distraction

For the record….Dave Agema does not speak for me or my party.  I think he should resign for the good of the party and the conservative movement.

 

The rest is up to him…I’ve made my case clear (as have virtually every party leader and activist)…I’m shifting my energies to helping elect Republicans and defeating Obama and his liberal allies!

 

Enough said.

 

The Sleepiness of a Hollow Legend. The State of the Union is a grand tradition—but only if people are listening.

No one’s really listening to the president now. He has been for five years a non-stop wind-up talk machine. Most of it has been facile, bland, the same rounded words and rounded sentiments, the same soft accusations and excuses. I see him enjoying the sound of his voice as the network newsman leans forward eagerly, intently, nodding at the pearls, enacting interest, for this is the president and he is the anchorman and surely something important is being said with two such important men engaged.

 

But nothing interesting was being said! Looking back on this presidency, it has from the beginning been a 17,000 word New Yorker piece in which, calmly, sonorously, with his lovely intelligent voice, the president says nothing, or little that is helpful, insightful or believable. “I’m not a particularly ideological person.” “It’s hard to anticipate events over the next three years.” “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now.” “I am comfortable with complexity.” “Our capacity to do some good . . . is unsurpassed, even if nobody is paying attention.”

 

Nobody is!

 

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303947904579339142225570548

 

 

BARONE: Population declining in states with relatively high dependence on government

This reflects continuing low, below-replacement-rate birth rates and lower immigration than in 1982-2007. Net immigration from Mexico evidently continues to be zero. The nation’s economy may be growing again, but Americans — and potential Americans — are not acting like it. There’s a parallel here with poll results showing that majorities still believe we are in a recession that the National Bureau of Economic Research says ended in June 2009, nearly five years ago. Sluggish population growth is matched by sluggish geographic mobility. The Census Bureau reports that only 4.8 million Americans moved across state lines in 2012 — about half the percentage that did so in the boom years of the 1990s. Americans were similarly immobile, indeed even more so, in the 1930s (the Okies fleeing the dust bowl for California were a picturesque but demographically minor exception). Numbers can seem cold and impersonal, but beneath these numbers is a picture of a pessimistic, risk-averse people. – See more at: http://rare.us/story/barone-population-declining-in-states-with-relatively-high-dependence-on-government/#sthash.5OKmxD0o.dpuf

 

http://rare.us/story/barone-population-declining-in-states-with-relatively-high-dependence-on-government/

 

Conservative Reformers Need To Make DC Listen

So, in short, the folks talking about inspiring ideas are also the ones who ran inspiring campaigns and won despite having the deck stacked against them. The folks who avoided inspiring ideas in order to “not be the issue” ran dull campaigns and lost despite a reasonably favorable electoral landscape. There may be a fact pattern here.

 

This is not meant to merely be an exercise in claiming credit for past victories. It is critical to understanding why reform conservatism – and there’s plenty of room to debate what that should mean – is tied to what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) calls the campaign to Make DC Listen.

 

Douthat wants to ask the question of how the Republican Party breaks free from its allegedly rejectionist base. He’s asking the wrong question. The question is whether the Republican Party can break its cozy relationship with Washington’s Ruling Class of lobbyists, consultants and defenders of the status quo enough to embrace these bold policies, differentiate itself from the Democrat Party of Big Government, and appeal to the vast majority of Americans who have thrown up their hands in disgust.

 

http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/21/conservative-reformers-need-to-make-dc-listen/

 

Mulling 2016, Huckabee Touts Governing Credentials

Moments before addressing a roomful of Republican leaders from around the nation Thursday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee laid out a preliminary case for a possible 2016 presidential bid.

 

“We need to have people who actually recognize the role of how to govern,” Huckabee told reporters when asked why he was contemplating a second White House run. “It’s not just a campaign, it’s really about being able to govern and experiencing governing in an environment that is not altogether your own party. And certainly, nobody could bring that quite like I could.”

 

Huckabee, who has stoked speculation in recent weeks about his prospective candidacy, was in Washington to speak at the Republican National Committee’s annual winter meeting.

 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/01/23/mulling_2016_huckabee_touts_governing_credentials_121333.html

 

 

Companies cut coverage for part-timers, shunting employees to Obamacare

Perhaps more importantly, though, Obamacare could be creating a two-tier system inside the employer-based system. Good coverage is still a benefit, and companies will include it as part of the compensation packages it offers the most sought-after workers. But employees lower down the ladder? Not so much.

 

“The employer offering of health insurance will be more and more tied to attracting high value workers,” says Bob Laszewski, a respected health care industry expert. “Employers who employ a lot of lower-paid unskilled [workers, like Target,] will more often eliminate benefits and send them to the exchanges. Employers who employ a lot of highly skilled and harder-to-recruit workers will more often maintain benefits.”

 

And that doesn’t mean just part-time employees. Obamacare could affect health coverage for millions of Americans who didn’t think they would be affected.

 

http://washingtonexaminer.com/companies-cut-coverage-for-part-timers-shunting-employees-to-obamacare/article/2542791

 

 

Taking the GOP’s temperature on Christie

The collective takeaway? A wide-ranging sense of support and sympathy for the governor laced with a heavy dose of wait-and-see caution.

 

Here’s what 10 Republicans said about the Christie flap:

 

Saul Anuzis, Republican consultant: “If he is really involved, when all the facts come out, it will be the nail in his coffin. If he wasn’t, it could be a rallying cry, because people thought he was being unfairly treated by the media. That’s the gut reaction right now by many activists. But if he’s lying, he’s dead.”

 

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/politics/republicans-attitudes-christie/index.html?hpt=po_c1

 

 

The Real Reasons Recruits Don’t Run

I asked party strategists on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Hill for specific examples and life circumstances of people they tried (and failed) to recruit this cycle. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

 

Potential candidate’s father has Alzheimer’s and decided to move in with her.

Potential candidate’s wife “wasn’t up to it.”

Potential candidate has young children and she didn’t want to be away from them so often.

Potential candidate’s wife is a two-time breast cancer survivor whose health didn’t allow the margin for a top-tier race.
Other potential candidates passed for financial reasons. One woman was in the middle of selling her business and would have sacrificed millions of dollars for a one-year stint on the campaign trail with no guarantee of victory. Similarly, another candidate was in the middle of complicated financial transactions. Yet another candidate couldn’t pass up the cushy pension in his current position.

 

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.com/news/article/the-real-reasons-recruits-dont-run

 

 

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

 

Please share.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

 

 

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

 

 

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

 

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Weekly Musing 1-12-14

Weekly Musing 1-12-14

Saul Anuzis
 

Republicans Really Could Win It All This Year
For the last decade, Larry J. Sabato has been forecasting elections and analyzing the results—correctly predicting 98 percent of Senate, House and governor winners in, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Starting with this column, Sabato, a university professor of politics and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, joins Politico Magazine as a regular contributor. Twice a month, he’ll be sharing his insights on how the 2014 midterm races are shaping up—and the factors that really matter.

 

Another midterm election beckons, and over the next 10 months we’ll see headlines about a thousand supposedly critical developments—the “game changers” and the “tipping points.” But we all know there aren’t a thousand powerful drivers of the vote. I’d argue that three factors are paramount: the president, the economy and the election playing field. And, at least preliminarily, those three factors seem to be pointing toward Republican gains in both houses in the 2014 midterms.

Why?
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/midterm-elections-republicans-really-could-win-2014-101802.html#.Uswh4Rwo7X4

 

 

I’m Suing Over ObamaCare Exemptions for Congress

The legal basis for our lawsuit (which I will file with a staff member, Brooke Ericson, as the other plaintiff) includes the fact that the OPM ruling forces me, as a member of Congress, to engage in activity that I believe violates the law. It also potentially alienates members of Congress from their constituents, since those constituents are witnessing members of Congress blatantly giving themselves and their staff special treatment.

 

Republicans have tried to overturn this special treatment with legislation that was passed by the House on Sept. 29, but blocked in the Senate. Amendments have also been offered to Senate bills, but Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote on any of them.

 

I believe that I have not only legal standing but an obligation to go to court to overturn this unlawful executive overreach, end the injustice, and provide a long overdue check on an executive that recognizes fewer and fewer constitutional restraints.

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304325004579296140856419808

 

 

The Parties Have Already Devised Their Midterm Messages

Republicans are obviously trying to cast the midterm election as a referendum on the Affordable Care Act, hardly a surprise given the broadly negative views that a plurality of Americans hold toward it and its disastrous launch. But besides the obvious strategic risk of putting all their eggs in one basket, there is another problem with the GOP’s approach to 2014. While the public is hardly enthusiastic about Obamacare, the same polls that show unfavorable attitudes toward the law also show an electorate that isn’t looking to repeal it but rather fix it. This theme is absent from Republicans’ talking points. They risk being seen as capable of only throwing rocks rather than improving things, thus contributing to a negative image that led to many of their problems in the 2012 elections.

 

Democrats want to change the subject to income inequality, hoping to buy time for the Affordable Care Act to work out its problems and for a constituency to grow among those who like and use it. All in all, this isn’t a bad strategy; they definitely should want to shift the focus from the president’s signature legislative accomplishment, now a sore subject. The public, however, is increasingly aware of not just the growing gap between the rich and the poor, but also the one between the well-to-do and those who were once in the middle class but have slipped below it even as they try to cling to what they have. In James Carville’s and Stan Greenberg’s 2012 book, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid, the renowned Democratic strategists made a compelling economic case for how wide the gap has grown and how fearful many working and middle-class Americans are of losing any shot at the American Dream. And they also argue that directing attention to the issue is a winning political strategy.

 

http://www.nationaljournal.com/the-cook-report/the-parties-have-already-devised-their-midterm-messages-20140110

 

 

Conservatism for the People

Virtually every important national campaign has revolved around one central question: How can we best give average people respect, dignity, and an opportunity to make their way in the world, tyrannized neither by government nor by private individuals?

 

That was the question over which the 2012 election was fought. President Obama and the Democrats advanced one answer; Governor Romney and the Republicans advanced another. Both sides understood that this election would begin to settle whose approach would govern America for years to come.

 

Republicans, and especially conservatives, would like to dismiss their defeat as an aberration. They proffer many excuses: Governor Romney was a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign; President Obama’s technology-driven ground game made the difference; Hurricane Sandy stopped Romney’s momentum at the worst possible time. None of these explanations is without merit, but all miss the major point of the election results: The president made the campaign into a choice between two clear visions of America, and Americans preferred his vision to the Republicans’.

 

The Republican denial of this simple truth stands squarely in the way of their pursuit of the presidency. Republican renewal can start only when the party understands that it lost because its vision has slowly drifted away from the concerns of most Americans. By abandoning the American people’s foremost political priority, the GOP places its continued national relevance at risk.

 

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/conservatism-for-the-people

 

 

Roger Scruton: What do Conservatives believe?  The Brits perspective…

Some time ago I got together with Rodney Leach, Gwythian Prins and a few others to discuss the question what exactly do conservatives believe, and how do their beliefs apply in our present context. After a few attempts at drafting a short statement of principles we put the matter on hold for a while. But then, exasperated by the level of debate within the Conservative Party, and by the empty progressivism constantly forced upon David Cameron by Nick Clegg, I composed a manifesto out of the fragments. Here it is. I present it under my own name since only I take responsibility for it.

 

But I acknowledge the great help and inspiration of Rodney Leach and Gwythian Prins, and also other friends with whom I have discussed these issues. A shorter version of the manifesto has already appeared in The Spectator, but this fuller text represents the position that I and many others hold, and which I believe to be the heart of the conservative worldview for us, here, now. I still cherish the hope that something like this position will animate the decisions of some future Conservative government.

 

http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2014/01/roger-scruton-what-do-conservatives-believe.html

 

 

Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian

Professor Margaret MacMillan, of the University of Cambridge, argues that the Middle East could be viewed as the modern-day equivalent of this turbulent region. A nuclear arms race that would be likely to start if Iran developed a bomb “would make for a very dangerous world indeed, which could lead to a recreation of the kind of tinderbox that exploded in the Balkans 100 years ago – only this time with mushroom clouds,” she writes in an essay for the Brookings Institution, a leading US think-tank.

 

“While history does not repeat itself precisely, the Middle East today bears a worrying resemblance to the Balkans then,” she says. “A similar mix of toxic nationalisms threatens to draw in outside powers as the US, Turkey, Russia, and Iran look to protect their interests and clients.”

 

Professor MacMillan highlights a string of other parallels between today and a century ago. Modern-day Islamist terrorists mirror the revolutionary communists and anarchists who carried out a string of assassinations in the name of a philosophy that sanctioned murder to achieve their vision of a better world. And in 1914, Germany was a rising force that sought to challenge the pre-eminent power of the time, the UK. Today, the growing power of China is perceived as a threat by some in the US.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/is-it-1914-all-over-again-we-are-in-danger-of-repeating-the-mistakes-that-started-wwi-says-a-leading-historian-9039184.html

 

 

Why I Chose the Red, White and Blue – Americans Who Doubt the Value of Being a U.S. Citizen Should Know How Impressive It Still Feels to Become One

The U.S. does this language so well. It is an antidote to cynicism. It revealed to me what a frail and incomplete thing it had been to live here as an observer rather than a full participant in civic life. I wish that those Americans who trash their country for its failings or doubt the value of their citizenship could give it up and reapply for it, just to see with fresh eyes what an astonishing gift it still is.

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304137304579292470756058590

 

 

The First Presidential Election and Other Firsts

The first presidential election was 225 years ago today. Although it was not democratic, it was a first in human history.

 

Most people think presidential elections are held on the first Tuesday in November. Constitutionally speaking, they’re not.

 

Instead, these days, the law specifies they be held on the first Monday following the second Wednesday in December, when the members of the Electoral College, who were the ones actually elected on the first Tuesday in November, meet in their respective state capitals and cast their votes.

For the first presidential election, the day set for the electors to meet was January 7, 1789—225 years ago today.

 

http://www.american.com/archive/2014/january/the-first-presidential-election-and-other-firsts

 

 

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

 

Please share.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

 

 

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

 

 

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

 

 

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 12-29-13

Weekly Musing 12-29-13

Saul Anuzis

 

Perspective?!?

What would you think of a person who earned $24,000 a year but spent $35,000? Suppose on top of that, he was already $170,000 in debt. You’d tell him to get his act together — stop spending so much or he’d destroy his family, impoverish his kids and wreck their future. Of course, no individual could live so irresponsibly for long. But tack on eight more zeroes to that budget and you have the checkbook for our out-of-control, big-spending federal government. — John Stossel

 

 

Sorry…Still NO Electricity

Our home has been off the power grid here in Lansing since last Sunday.  I didn’t have time this week to prepare much of a newsletter…but hopefully you’ll enjoy a “shorter version” this week.

 

All my best to all.

 

 

America Just Isn’t That Into Obama Anymore

Mysteriously – if you’re the New York Times or a commentator on MSNBC – the country has grown weary of our first superstar president. Several national polls on the state of the nation show “wrong direction” leading “right track” by almost two to one while Obama is, at this stage of his presidency, the most unpopular U.S. chief executive since Richard Nixon.

A lot of those who make up what H.L. Mencken derisively referred to as “the smart set” are scratching their heads trying to come up with an explanation. Yet a drop in the polls makes sense if you believe his two national election victories represented a victory of style and symbolism over substance.

 

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2013/12/24/obamas-polls-drop-as-america-wearies-of-a-substance-free-president

 

Old People…

Old People are easy to spot at sporting events; during the playing of the National Anthem.

 

Old People remove their caps and stand at attention and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them.

 

Old People remember World War II, Pearl Harbor , Guadalcanal , Normandy and Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, The Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing. They remember the 50 plus Peacekeeping Missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention Vietnam .

 

If you bump into an Old People on the sidewalk he will apologize. If you pass an Old Person on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old People trust strangers and are courtly to women.

 

Old People hold the door for the next person and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.

 

Old People get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children and they don’t like any filth or dirty language on TV or in movies.

 

Old People have moral courage and personal integrity. They seldom brag unless it’s about their children or grandchildren.

 

It’s the Old People who know our great country is protected, not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.

This country needs Old People with their work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values.

We need them now more than ever.

Thank God for Old People

 

 

 

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

 

Please share.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

On Facebook at:

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On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

 

 

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

 

 

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 12-22-13

Weekly Musing 12-22-13

Saul Anuzis

 

 

Great Stuff…Presenting ATR’s 2013 Naughty/Nice List

 

http://www.atr.org/presenting-atrs-naughty-nice-list-a8035

 

 

“It’s A Wonderful Life” … But It Will Cost You

“It’s a Wonderful Life” presents us with this choice: you can be alive to others who cross your path, or you can be dead to them.  Whatever you sow for them, both you and they will reap. It’s also about our inner battles – greed vs. generosity, humility vs. arrogance, sacrifice vs. fulfillment – but the central message is friendship. In fact, that message is literally put into writing in a note at the end of the film: “Remember, George, ‘No man is a failure who has friends.’”

 

A great safeguard against misery and a sense of failure in life is having good and dependable human companionship. We forge these bonds through various associations and institutions in civil society. In fact, it seems the excessive accumulation of wealth and status is partly a way for individuals to compensate for social isolation, or try to build a hedge against it.

 

…Distrust among people is a starvation that begins with the silencing of our innermost thoughts and beliefs. That’s exactly what “political correctness” aims to do. When a person fears their opinions will make them a pariah, they find it more and more difficult to strike up heart to heart talks with anyone new. Hence there is less exchange of ideas, and a dwindling of folks with whom people can entrust their private concerns. Political correctness serves to disintegrate social bonds – always, of course, in the name of promoting them. Once people are starved of social bonds, the state steps in to feed on the people’s yearning for community. As Nisbet wrote, “expansion of power feeds on the quest for community.”

 

Individuals in isolation cannot withstand centralized power. Ultimately, only voluntary bonds of faith, family, friendship, and associations based on goodwill can prevail. They’re stronger than Potter’s urge for power, and far stronger than an isolated George Bailey, separated from others. As in the happy Bedford Falls of George Bailey, these bonds have their roots in the meaning of Christmas, the mystery of love.

 

http://thefederalist.com/2013/12/16/much-wonderful-life-cost/

 

Obama:  Government Man – Liberal Hypocrisy & Arrogance

President Obama is more perceptive about the shortcomings of government than we thought. “We have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly,” he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Wow!

 

And pity the poor businessman who doesn’t know which federal agency to turn to for help. “If you’re a small business person getting started, you may think you need to go to the Small Business Administration on one thing [and] you have got to go to Commerce on another,” he said. “We have got, for example, 16 different agencies .  .  . to help businesses, large and small, in all kinds of ways, whether it’s helping to finance them, helping them to export.”

 

That’s not all he knows. The way the government—his government—purchases technology is “cumbersome, complicated, and outdated,” according to the president. He’s also discovered, he revealed at a press conference, that “insurance is complicated to buy.” And he’s aware that renewing a driver’s license takes “a long time.” Why, he asked in the Matthews interview, “do you have to do a written driving test if you already have your license?”

 

Good question. Indeed, it comes at a critical moment. Gallup, the polling people, found in December that nearly three-quarters of Americans feel big government is a larger threat to our country in the future than big business or big labor. On this, a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents agree. So Obama is in good company.

 

But there’s a rub, a contradiction, a colossal disconnect. The president is largely correct in his critique of government, its inefficiencies, and its multiplicity of agencies assigned to the same task. Yet his approach to every issue is exactly what he recognizes as a problem: more and more government. Based on his policies, he’s a government man through and through.

 

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/government-man_771531.html#

 

 

WaPo: ‘Every Democrat Should Be Scared’ of this Obamacare Ad

The conservative group Ending Spending may have premiered the ad that nationalizes the 2014 midterm elections around Obamacare.

 

The 30-second killer ad was produced by Republican media consultant Larry McCarthy and goes after Jeanne Shaheen, the first-term Democratic Senator from New Hampshire who is likely to face former GOP Senator Scott Brown next year.

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/366617/wapo-every-democrat-should-be-scared-obamacare-ad-john-fund

 

 

The Death of Obama’s “Noble Lie”  The disastrous ObamaCare rollout unmasks liberalism’s paternalistic dishonesty.

Back in 2009, to accuse President Barack Obama of lying about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was to crawl onto a pretty lonely branch. In December of that year, when I leveled the charge in response to the president’s knowing mischaracterization of the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of his signature piece of legislation, I was called “flagrantly dishonest” by none other than the (rightly respected) civil liberties blogger/reporter Glenn Greenwald.

As recently as November 2012-more than two years after the administration published grandfathering regulations as part of its health care legislation, rendering ludicrous the president’s frequently repeated pledge that “if you like your health plan you can keep it”-much of the liberal commentariat was calling the electoral contest between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney a referendum on political honesty. The only way for truth to prevail, they argued, was to vote for the Democrat.

“We may find out whether a ‘post truth’ candidate can be elected president,” Washington Post “Plum Line” blogger Greg Sargent warned just before the election. “If there is one constant to this campaign, it’s that Romney has startled many observers by operating from the basic premise that there is literally no set of boundaries he needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of his assertions.”

 

http://reason.com/archives/2013/12/16/the-death-of-obamas-noble-lie

 

 

GOP Makes Tech Gains But Still Playing Catch-Up
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee released a political autopsy titled “Growth and Opportunity Project.” The much-discussed report touched on the wide array of perceived party shortcomings — from poor messaging to the lengthy presidential primary — that presumably hampered the GOP in the last two (losing) presidential elections.

 

The most conspicuous points in the 100-page report focus on Republican attempts at “rebranding” and improving the party’s standing among young, female and minority voters. Whenever Republicans make a messaging misstep — such as when the RNC tweeted praise for Rosa Parks and “her role in ending racism” earlier this month — opponents gleefully point to the gaffe as evidence that the rebranding efforts have failed.

 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/12/17/gop_makes_tech_gains_but_still_playing_catch-up__120977.html

 

Barack Obama Is Not George W. Bush

Has Barack Obama turned into George W. Bush? This terrible fate, desperately hoped for sinceHas Barack Obama turned into George W. Bush? This terrible fate, desperately hoped for since the outset of Obama’s presidency by the Bush administration veterans as a kind of vindication fantasy, has become a new conventional wisdom. It has been floated, with varying levels of certainty, by Chuck Todd, Chris Cillizza, Bill McInturff, Ron Fournier, and Politico.

 

It is certainly true that Obama’s approval ratings have fallen to Bush-2005 levels. It’s also entirely possible they’ll fall further still: The administration’s panicky preparations for January suggest the first month of actual Obamacare coverage may be just as chaotic and unpopular as the onset of Medicare Part D. Yet the Bush comparisons state, or imply, broader forces at work than mere sagging approval ratings. They suggest a presidency that has hit a new inflection point beyond which its credibility is severed and its agenda broken. And that conclusion falls apart because it completely misses how power works in the Obama era. the outset of Obama’s presidency by the Bush administration veterans as a kind of vindication fantasy, has become a new conventional wisdom. It has been floated, with varying levels of certainty, by Chuck Todd, Chris Cillizza, Bill McInturff, Ron Fournier, and Politico.

 

It is certainly true that Obama’s approval ratings have fallen to Bush-2005 levels. It’s also entirely possible they’ll fall further still: The administration’s panicky preparations for January suggest the first month of actual Obamacare coverage may be just as chaotic and unpopular as the onset of Medicare Part D. Yet the Bush comparisons state, or imply, broader forces at work than mere sagging approval ratings. They suggest a presidency that has hit a new inflection point beyond which its credibility is severed and its agenda broken. And that conclusion falls apart because it completely misses how power works in the Obama era.

 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/barack-obama-is-not-george-w-bush.html

 

 

Re-Branding the GOP From the party of big business to the party of the little guy

Republicans as a party, however, and conservatives specifically, should not be subservient to corporate interests on core issues. The American electorate must come to view Republicans as the party of the middle class rather than the courtiers of big business. The GOP “brand” must change. While conservatives and business will remain part of a broad center-right coalition, the key question is: On what terms, and who calls the shots?

 

Let’s review some history. In 1980, as conservatives rallied to Ronald Reagan, many corporate leaders were enthusiastic supporters of former Texas governor John Connolly for the GOP presidential nomination; Connolly was a former conservative Democratic politician who looked and talked like a CEO. Others liked Senator Howard Baker and George H. W. Bush. Mindful of the Goldwater defeat, all these business leaders saw Reagan as too conservative to win. Most CEOs were more comfortable with a mainstream candidate closer to the political center.

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366373/re-branding-gop-john-fonte

 

 

With eyes on Hillary Clinton, Democrats fight to maintain digital edge
President Barack Obama’s team of 20-somethings data gurus gave him a major edge in 2008 and 2012 – and now they’re among the leading players in a quiet struggle for control of the Democratic data market in 2016.

The biggest prize, both symbolically and financially, is a spot on the growing team surrounding Obama’s 2008 rival: Hillary Clinton.

 

The 2016 presidential campaign will be Big Data’s biggest proving ground yet. Expect the savviest campaigns and their techies to surpass Obama’s vaunted 2012 effort, where data and analytics influenced everything from which fundraising emails went where and which ads aired when on different cable stations, to which doors got knocked and what the volunteer said when they opened.

 

That the competition to take it to the next level is playing out a year before Clinton or any other serious candidate might enter the 2016 race underscores the increasing importance of the intersection of Big Data and Big Money in American politics. At stake are political clout, corporate branding opportunities and lucrative contracts from unions, super PACs, candidates and party committees planning ambitious new projects.

 

Some of the biggest names and deepest pockets of the Clinton and Obama eras are involved in various digital efforts, including billionaire financier George Soros, Clinton insider Harold Ickes, Google’s Eric Schmidt and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/2016-digital-campaign-101180.html

 

 

Machiavelli With Malaprops

The former boxer’s ability to absorb blows and, even more importantly, to counterpunch, perhaps with an occasional hit below the belt, are the secrets of his longevity—and no doubt he will deploy them once again as the Senate fights this week over the budget deal. Unlike most of the preening Club of 100, Reid expends little effort tending to his public image.

 

Driving home messages (the Tea Party is destructive) and advancing legislation (the nuclear option) are what energize this tireless son of Searchlight, Nev., a speck of a town outside Las Vegas where Reid’s hardscrabble childhood helped produce a man impervious to most political considerations and virtually immune to criticism.

 

The majority leader is a mélange of contradictions—a Machiavelli with malaprops (otherwise known as Reidisms)—but you can’t understand them just from the vantage point of the theater up on Capitol Hill. I’ve seen them revealed over a quarter century of close observation back in Nevada, where Reid, 74, has always been both a study in outperforming expectations and a political fighter with bare-knuckles ambition. Many still puzzle over this—how Reid can be at once a seemingly soulless manipulator of the process while occasionally revealing deeply held beliefs; a religious man proud of his Mormon faith who has metamorphosed into a social progressive; and an outwardly meek, bland figure whose cutthroat ways make him easily the most feared man in Nevada by politicians of both parties.

 

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/harry-reid-ralston-machiavelli-with-malaprops-101168.html?hp=t1

 

 

Gingrich Schools Reich: ‘Every Major City Which Is a Poverty Center Is Run By Democrats’

When former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich tried to blame the increase in poverty in the past five years on Republicans, former Speaker of the House and current CNN host Newt Gingrich called it “baloney” firing back, “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):

 

http://m.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/12/15/gingrich-schools-reich-every-major-city-which-poverty-center-run-demo

 

 

G.O.P. Firebrands Tone Down Their Message and Run Again

Now he is among at least nine Republicans, a mix of former incumbents and previous challengers, who are running again — but with a difference. This time they have shelved their incendiary remarks about President Obama and the national debt in favor of anarrower focus on the Affordable Care Act, which they hope will attract moderate voters from both parties, even in heavily Democratic districts, who are disenchanted with its rollout.

 

The campaigns, if successful, could be an indication of change in some corners of the Republican Party as many former firebrands mellow their messages and people like Mr. Dold, who benefited from the Tea Party but was one of the more moderate members of the House, try to capitalize on the center. At the very least, their campaigns show that some people who ran vociferously against Washington appear eager to get back there.

They figure their odds of winning next year are much better in a nonpresidential election without Mr. Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/us/politics/gop-firebrands-tone-down-their-message-and-run-again.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-thecaucus&_r=0

 

 

Branding…PJTV: The Power & Danger of Iconography

A great video…with some “still” great messages for political candidates and parties.  Maybe something we can learn from 2009….for 2014?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdtqtfXdR-c

 

 

George P. takes baby steps away from Bush name

The latest scion of one of America’s most powerful political dynasties is trying to convince voters he’s something other than what his famous surname suggests.

 

George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s 37-year-old son who is a grandson of one former president and nephew of another, is launching his political career by running for Texas’ little-known but powerful land commissioner post.

But rather than campaigning on the mainstream Republicanism embodied by the family name, Bush says he’s “a movement conservative” more in line with the tea party.

 

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_THE_NEXT_BUSH?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-15-12-35-22

 

 

How John McCain Turned His Clichés Into Meaning

It is not his fault, or not entirely. Many of us become walking self-caricatures at a certain point, and politicians can be particularly vulnerable, especially those who have maneuvered their very public lives as conspicuously as McCain. They tell and retell the same stories; things get musty. They engage in a lot of self-mythologizing, and no one in Washington has been the subject and the perpetrator of more mythmaking than McCain: the maverick, the former maverick, the curmudgeon, the bridge builder, the war hero bent on transcending the call of self-interest to serve a cause greater than himself, the sore loser, old bull, last lion, loose cannon, happy warrior, elder statesman, lion in winter . . . you lose track of which McCain cliché is operational at a given moment. He does, too. “I think I was the brave maverick when I was taking on Bush,” McCain told me, “and then I was the bitter old man when I was criticizing Obamacare.”

Critics will take their shots, he says, it comes with being “in the arena.” That cliché isn’t McCain’s exclusively — it’s the self-consoling Teddy Roosevelt line that politicians are always trotting out. “It’s not the critic who counts” but “the man who really was in the arena.”

 

McCain has another favorite Teddy Roosevelt phrase, “the crowded hour,” which I have heard him invoke several times over the years. It comes from a poem by the English writer Thomas Mordaunt, and T. R. used it to famously describe his charge on San Juan Hill. In McCain’s philosophy, “the crowded hour” refers to a moment of character testing. “The ‘crowded hour’ is as appropriate for me right now as any in a long time,” McCain told me as we walked through the Capitol. In some respects, this is just a function of public figures’ tendency to overdramatize the current moment and their role in it. But five years after losing to Barack Obama, after enduring the recriminations between his splintered campaign staff and rogue running mate, Sarah Palin, and after returning to the Senate and falling into a prolonged funk, McCain finds himself in the midst of another crowded hour, maybe his last as an elected leader.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/magazine/john-mccain.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Ukraine: On the Edge of Empires

The name “Ukraine” literally translates as “on the edge.” It is a country on the edge of other countries, sometimes part of one, sometimes part of another and more frequently divided. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was divided between Russia, Poland and the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century, it was divided between Russia and Austria-Hungary. And in the 20th century, save for a short period of independence after World War I, it became part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine has been on the edge of empires for centuries.

…That is what I found most interesting. Ukraine is independent, and I think it will stay independent. Its deepest problem is what to do with that independence, a plan it can formulate only in terms of someone else, in this case Europe or Russia. The great internal fight in Ukraine is not over how Ukraine will manage itself but whether it will be aligned with Europe or Russia. Unlike the 20th century, when the answer to the question of Ukrainian alignment caused wars to be fought, none will be fought now. Russia has what it wants from Ukraine, and Europe will not challenge that.

Ukraine has dreamed of sovereignty without ever truly confronting what it means. I mentioned to the financial analysts and traders that some of my children had served in the military. They were appalled at the idea. Why would someone choose to go into the military? I tried to explain their reasons, which did not have to do with wanting a good job. The gulf was too vast. They could not understand that national sovereignty and personal service cannot be divided. But then, as I said, most of them hoped to leave Ukraine.\

 

Ukraine has its sovereignty. In some ways, I got the sense that it wants to give that sovereignty away, to find someone to take away the burden. It isn’t clear, for once, that anyone is eager to take responsibility for Ukraine. I also did not get the sense that the Ukrainians had come to terms with what it meant to be sovereign. To many, Moscow and Warsaw are more real than Kiev.

 

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20101129_geopolitical_journey_part_6_ukraine?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20131217&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_content=readmore&utm_source=Stratfor+Subscribers&utm_campaign=8d7d7ae7d6-131217_Gweekly12_16_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c43cbbe1e-8d7d7ae7d6-49134933

 

 

A Word from the Ukrainian Barricades

The following two documents, recently sent to me from Lviv, usefully illustrate the dynamics of today’s Ukrainian drama. The first may help Western readers understand just how a corrupt, thuggish, post-Communist regime operates. The second gives a flavor of the witness that students whose teachers care about both intellectual and moral formation can offer Ukrainian society. It is instructive to note that much of the EuroMaidan protest has been led by young people who have grown up since Ukraine achieved its independence in 1991; they have no memory of the Communist regime, and they want a normal, European future, which they associate not with MTV, but with democracy, solidarity, and respect for human dignity.

 

The texts have been lightly edited for readability.

 

 

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/366422/word-ukrainian-barricades-george-weigel

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Years from the Anuzis Family!

To My Democrat/Liberal Friends…

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2014, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.

Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

We wish you good luck with Obamacare, whether you were misled or lied to about keeping your doctor or existing health care plan, President Obama has already explained he really didn’t mean it – in that way…but you voted for him/that…so I’m sure it will be fine.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

 

To My Republican/Conservative friends…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

 

 

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

 

Please share.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

 

 

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

 

 

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

 

 

Thanks again for all you do!

Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas & Happy New Years

 

In good humor…

To My Democrat/Liberal Friends…

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2014, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.

Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

We wish you good luck with Obamacare, whether you were misled or lied to about keeping your doctor or existing health care plan, President Obama has already explained he really didn’t mean it – in that way…but you voted for him/that…so I’m sure it will be fine.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

 

To My Republican/Conservative friends…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!

Posted in Blog | 3 Comments

Weekly Musing 12-15-3

Weekly Musing 12-15-13

Saul Anuzis

 

“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America — none, whatsoever.”

Ronald Reagan’s Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984

 

“And let me say there is no place in the Republican Party for those who would exhibit prejudice against anyone. There’s no place in our party for the kind of bigotry and ugly rhetoric that we’ve been hearing outside our party recently. We have no room for hate here, and we have no place for the haters.”

Ronald Reagan’s Remarks at a Question-and-Answer Session with Elected Republican Women Officials, June 29, 1984

 

 

Interesting Article:  Why Tone in American Politics Matters

The willingness to fight for a cause is often an admirable thing, and many of us were drawn to politics in large part because of a desire to advance a set of convictions. That effort elicits opposition, which in turn leads to clashes. That is the nature of politics in a republic and something that can’t (and shouldn’t) be avoided. Politics ain’t beanbag.

But in choosing to fight, one needs to pick the most favorable terrain possible–and even then (and whenever possible) to wage battles with affability, a touch of grace, and in a manner that projects steadiness and reasonableness. Winsomeness, equanimity, and a moderate temperament (which is different than moderate policies) are what most voters are looking for in candidates–especially from people who have strong philosophical convictions. It’s a mistake to assume that in order to be principled one has to be alienating and agitated.

… We all know from our own experiences that in human interaction, tone and countenance matter, and not simply for stylistic or superficial reasons. They in fact manifest one’s attitude toward life and toward others. They reveal an orientation of the heart. And that can matter more than what you believe the top corporate tax rate ought to be.

 

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/08/09/why-tone-in-american-politics-matters/

 

 

Divisive politics only hurt GOP

Sadly, my own Republican Party is not free from racial pandering or stooping to group identity politics. Agema has repeatedly demonized our gay family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors by lumping them together into a group and publicly accusing them of being diseased, prone to murder, cheaters, and other outlandish disparagements. To Agema, gay people are a group -a singular “lifestyle” — to vilify for political gain. Agema points to the Republican platform’s opposition to gay marriage as cover for his propaganda, as if believing marriage should be a religious institution reserved for a man and a woman somehow justifies name calling, spreading falsehoods and vilifying people who are gay.

…The policies of government-favored races and separate treatment based on our ethnicity or gender are a deeply embarrassing part of our country’s history. Proponents of affirmative action preference policies, however well-intended, continue to sow the seeds of identity group politics that divide us, as do agitators who see monolithic “gay agendas.”

 

Fortunately, America has a better tradition of valuing people as individuals worthy of being judged on their unique character and merit. This is the noble tradition the Republican Party can and should embrace.
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131214/OPINION01/312140004/1008/OPINION01/Divisive-politics-only-hurt-GOP

 

Obama’s “keep your plan” promise labeled “Lie of the Year”

President Obama’s assurance that “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” was named the “Lie of the Year” on Thursday by PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization spun off of the Tampa Bay Times.

 

Mr. Obama’s promise, repeated ad infinitum during and after the health care bill’s passage through Congress, was a “catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan” to overhaul the country’s health care system, PolitiFact argued. “But the promise was impossible to keep.”

 

“So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong,” PolitiFact explained. “Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief.  Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.”

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamas-keep-your-plan-promise-labeled-lie-of-the-year/

 

The GOP’s 2014 strategy: Attract minority votes, reinforce red state strongholds

Republicans plan to target Hispanics and other minorities for votes while building stronger state parties to turn swing states red, The Daily Caller has learned.

 

GOP operatives and political staffers gathered in Washington, D.C. from Monday to Wednesday for the Republican National Committee’s political staff training conference, “The New GOP Model For Campaigns,” to hash out a winning strategy for the upcoming elections. The GOP plans to entrench grassroots organizers in Democratic-leaning communities to cultivate support from blacks and Hispanics, and buttress red state strongholds, which are key to not only maintaining a majority in the House, but retaking the Senate and presidency as well.
http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/13/gop-2014-strategy-attract-minority-votes-reinforce-red-state-strongholds/

 

 

First on CNN: Republicans moving to overhaul 2016 primary process

A handful of Republican Party officials is quietly advancing a new batch of rules aimed at streamlining a chaotic presidential nominating process that many party insiders viewed as damaging to the their campaign for the White House in 2012, multiple GOP sources told CNN.

 

In a series of closed-door meetings since August, handpicked members of the Republican National Committee have been meeting with party Chairman Reince Priebus in Washington to hash out details of a sweeping plan to condense the nominating calendar, severely punish primary and caucus states that upend the agreed-upon voting order and potentially move the party’s national convention to earlier in the summer, with late June emerging as the ideal target date.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/11/politics/rnc-2016-changes/index.html

 

Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century

 

On the edge of Buenos Aires is a nothing little street called Pasaje C, a shot of dried mud leading into a slum from what passes for a main road, the garbage-strewn Mariano Acosta. There is a church, the Immaculate Virgin, toward the end of the ­pasaje—Spanish for passage—where, on one occasion, the local priest and a number of frightened residents took refuge deep in the sanctuary when rival drug gangs opened fire. Beyond the church, Pasaje C branches into the rest of the parish: more rutted mud and cracked concrete form Pasajes A to K. Brick chips from the hasty construction of squatter housing coagulate along what ought to be sidewalks. The word asesino—­murderer—is scrawled in spray-paint on the sooty wall of a burned-out house, which was torched just days before in retaliation for yet another shooting. Packs of dogs sprawl beneath wrecked cars. Children wander heedless of traffic, because nothing can gather speed on these jagged roads. But even Pasaje C can lead to Rome.

 

As Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a metropolis of some 13.5 million souls, Jorge Mario Bergoglio made room in his schedule every year for a pastoral visit to this place of squalor and sorrow.­ He would walk to the subway station nearest to the Metropolitan Cathedral, whose pillars and dome fit easily into the center of Argentine power. Traveling alone, he would transfer onto a graffiti-blasted tram to Mariano Acosta, reaching where the subways do not go. He finished the journey on foot, moving heavily in his bulky black orthopedic shoes along Pasaje C. On other days, there were other journeys to barrios throughout the city—so many in need of so much, but none too poor or too filthy for a visit from this itinerant prince of the church. Reza por mí, he asked almost everyone he met. Pray for me.

 

When, on March 13, Bergoglio inherited the throne of St. Peter—keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven—he made the same request of the world. Pray for me. His letter of retirement, a requirement of all bishops 75 and older, was already on file in a Vatican office, awaiting approval. Friends in Argentina had perceived him to be slowing down, like a spent force. In an instant, he was a new man, calling himself Francis after the humble saint from Assisi. As Pope, he was suddenly the sovereign of Vatican City and head of an institution so ­sprawling—with about enough followers to populate China—so steeped in order, so snarled by bureaucracy, so vast in its charity, so weighted by its scandals, so polarizing to those who study its teachings, so mysterious to those who don’t, that the gap between him and the daily miseries of the world’s poor might finally have seemed unbridgeable. Until the 266th Supreme Pontiff walked off in those clunky shoes to pay his hotel bill.

 

The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.
http://poy.time.com/2013/12/11/person-of-the-year-pope-francis-the-peoples-pope/

 

 

Don’t ask, don’t tell – ask me no question, I’ll tell you no lies

With all the many lies and obfuscations perpetrated by this White House the one about whether the president knew or had met his “Uncle Omar” was a relatively minor one. Still it speaks volumes about how this administration — which obsesses in public about “transparency” — really operates.

 

…When you can’t even get a straight answer on the little stuff for two years, is it any wonder no one believes this gang any more about the big stuff?

 

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/editorials/2013/12/don_t_ask_don_t_tell

 

 

Twisting the truth till you cry uncle – The Obama “spin” machine.

And so it was that the White House finally admitted to another, uh, misstatement — despite previous denials, Barack/Barry did sleep on his beloved Uncle Omar’s couch in Cambridge when he first moved here to attend Harvard Law School (speaking of which, we’re still waiting to see the president’s grades and his LSAT scores).

 

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/howie_carr/2013/12/carr_twisting_the_truth_till_you_cry_uncle

 

 

There’s A Brewing Democratic Civil War, And Elizabeth Warren Is Leading The Charge
It doesn’t yet have the panache and organization of the Republican Party’s internal split, but some liberal groups think that the divisions among the Democratic Party — its own “civil war” — will embroil the party through the next two big election cycles in 2014 and 2016.

 

The divisions have sprung up over a period of several months, dating back to New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s wildly successful run here and the “Rise of the New New Left,” as The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart put it in September.

 

In the Democratic Party, populism is on the rise. Warren’s ideas and beliefs — frustration with Wall Street, stagnating middle-class wages, and rising income inequality, among others — are at the forefront of that ideology.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-social-security-pccc-third-way-op-ed-2013-12

 

 

Exercise ‘significant role’ in reducing risk of dementia, long-term study finds

Exercise throughout a person’s life plays a significant role in reducing the risk of developing dementia, a study spanning 35 years has found.

The Cardiff University study following 2,235 men from Caerphilly, south Wales, found factors including diet and not smoking had an impact on preventing illnesses developing in older age.

 

However exercise had the single biggest influence on dementia levels.

Researchers stressed an overall healthy lifestyle was key to cutting disease.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25303707

 

Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters

A Chinese naval vessel tried to force a U.S. guided missile warship to stop in international waters recently, causing a tense military standoff in the latest case of Chinese maritime harassment, according to defense officials.

The guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which recently took part in disaster relief operations in the Philippines, was confronted by Chinese warships in the South China Sea near Beijing’s new aircraft carrier Liaoning, according to officials familiar with the incident.

 

http://freebeacon.com/chinese-naval-vessel-tries-to-force-u-s-warship-to-stop-in-international-waters/

 

 

OTHER Options for Lincoln Day Dinners

Former MI State Senator Cameron Brown prepared Relevance of Abraham Lincoln, which can easily be a stand-alone piece for Lincoln Day Dinners.  Senator Brown’s original intent was to put Lincoln back into Lincoln Dinners. A great video we can use, add to any program.

 

http://www.lincolnvideoproject.org/

 

 

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