Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Big Flag

“GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz vaulted to the top tier of the 2016 money race Wednesday, as supporters announced that super PACs backing his bid had raised $31 million in a single week.

The haul — which ranks as one of the biggest fundraising surges in modern presidential history — served as a sudden wake-up call for the rest of the likely Republican field, particularly Jeb Bush, who until now had enjoyed his status as the premier fundraiser in the contest’s early stage.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/groups-backing-ted-cruz-raise-31-million-in-a-single-week/2015/04/08/36defc18-de0c-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

Join the Ted Cruz for President Team

If you agree with me and believe Ted Cruz is the right person to lead our country…please go to their website and sign up as a volunteer, supporter and hopefully contributor…EVERY contribution helps!

http://www.tedcruz.org/

Rand Paul

Rand Paul Announces for President

The Best Reason to Take Rand Paul Seriously Has Nothing to Do With His Politics

Paul’s (relative) unorthodoxy makes him that rare candidate whose policy views draw gobs of media attention: He’s teaming up with Democrats to scale back mandatory-minimum drug sentencing and likens the war on drugs to Jim Crow? (The same Rand Paul who once said he opposed parts of the Civil Rights Act?) He’s in the same party as Senator John McCain, and yet he opposed arming the Syrian rebels?

But in fact, it’s the boring details of the organization that Paul is building that provide the best reason to take him seriously. If Paul’s views are unusually idealistic, the ground game that his team is planning is pure realpolitik. His staff is focused on the delegate math and party rules that could determine the next Republican nominee — a game-theory style of presidential politics at which the Paul team is particularly adept.

The process by which presidential candidates are nominated is, at its most basic level, a race toward a magic number of party delegates — in the Republican Party’s case, 1,235 required to win — amassed state by state and, in some cases, congressional district by congressional district. Getting them depends not only on the speechifying, door-to-door vote-hunting and million-dollar ad buys we associate with campaigning, but also on a bewildering array of procedural minutia: obscure national bylaws that overlay a mind-bending patchwork of local rules that can vary drastically from state to state, some of which award delegates not based on votes received in primary elections but on back-room wrangling at local party conventions and meetings that take place weeks or even months after votes are cast.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/10/magazine/the-best-reason-to-take-rand-paul-seriously-has-nothing-to-do-with-his-politics.html?_r=0

Ted Cruz’s Really Big Show Texas senator Ted Cruz was the last major speaker at the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum on Friday – an indicator that NRA convention organizers knew attendees would stay in their seats until the end to hear him. Cruz’s dynamic speech, and the attendees’ enthusiastic response, offers one more example of how the senator whose style often irked his colleagues is riding that style to top-tier status in the opening weeks of the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. …Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and other candidates are attempting to emulate Cruz’s no podium, no teleprompter, no-notes, earpiece-microphone speaking style he showcased at the 2012 Republican convention. (The speech was nothing special, but Cruz’s ability to deliver it, entirely from memory and naturally while walking back and forth upon the stage, worked.)

…To rock-ribbed conservatives eager for red meat, Ted Cruz’s role in the government shutdown and other high-stakes fights that didn’t turn out so well for Republicans is a strength, not a weakness. His message going forth is going to be, hey, I fought when no one else was willing to do it. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416800/ted-cruzs-really-big-show-jim-geraghty

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz’s serious — and seriously underestimated — fundraising machine

Ted Cruz has hit pay dirt — and he might have Jeb Bush to thank.

In his first week as a presidential candidate, the Texas senator raked in more than $4 million for his campaign account, including $1.5 million from major donors, and he has already brought in hundreds of thousands more dollars since. A herd of super PACs supporting Cruz brought in another $31 million, Bloomberg reported Wednesday — an eye-popping sum that has stunned more than a few competing Republicans.

Bush, a former Florida governor whose powerful family has deep roots in Texas, has factored prominently into Cruz’s pitch to big donors. Cruz and his allies have stressed some urgency in light of Bush’s early success raising money, and have pressed upon potential supporters that Cruz is the strongest conservative alternative to Bush.

“What I tell people is, look, if you’re going to wait, then effectively you’re going to say you’re fine with Jeb being the nominee, because Jeb is going to have plenty of money,” said Hal Lambert, who left his fundraising role with the Texas Republican Party to join Cruz’s campaign as finance co-chair. “For Sen. Cruz to mount a strong campaign and be the nominee, then we’re going to have to raise the money.”

And Cruz has so far delivered impressively, bucking the conventional wisdom that his conservative campaign would be propelled solely by grassroots fuel. In addition to the money Cruz has raised, his campaign has secured commitments from roughly 200 bundlers, who will each bring in at minimum $50,000 (the “federalist” tier) or more than $500,000 (the “founders”).

http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/ted-cruzs-serious-and-seriously-underestimated-fundraising-machine/article/2562814?custom_click=rss%3Fcustom_click%3Drss

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

Despite all the digital sophistication—and a few missteps—propping up his presidential campaign, Rand Paul is already lagging on Facebook behind one of his biggest rivals: Ted Cruz.

Cruz, who formally launched his White House bid last month, attracted nearly three times as much buzz—measured in likes, posts, comments, and shares—on Facebook during the 24-hour window surrounding his announcement as Paul, who announced on Tuesday.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

Hillary Clinton’s Main Obstacle: Her Own Inevitability

And while Clinton’s experience makes her a promising leader to her acolytes, many voters view her as a cozy Washington insider, a Westchester elite in bed with New York banks and D.C. lobbyists. And though she is known among close friends and family to be to be warm and loving, Clinton has had trouble connecting with voters on the campaign trail. In 2008, after a tough loss in the Iowa primary, Clinton showed voters a more personal side. Her challenge is to make voters see her as a confidante and a listener from the get-go.

http://time.com/3774585/hillary-clintons-main-obstacle-her-own-inevitability/

Hillary Economist

What does Hillary stand for?

ANY day now, Hillary Clinton is expected to declare that she is running for president. For most Americans this will be as surprising as the news that Cinco de Mayo will once again be on May 5th. Mrs Clinton has had her eye on the top job for a long time. She nearly won it in 2008 and is in many ways a stronger candidate now. She and her husband have built a vast campaign machine. The moment Mrs Clinton turns the key, it will begin openly to suck up contributions, spit out sound bites and roll over her rivals. Some think her unstoppable: Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, gives her a 91% chance of capturing the White House in 2016.

Steady on. The last time she seemed inevitable, she turned out not to be. The month before the Iowa caucuses in 2008, she was 20 points ahead of other Democrats in national polls, yet she still lost to a young senator from Illinois. She is an unsparkling campaigner, albeit disciplined and diligent. This time, no plausible candidate has yet emerged to compete with her for the Democratic nomination, but there is still time. Primary voters want a choice, not a coronation (see article). And it is hard to say how she would fare against the eventual Republican nominee, not least since nobody has any idea who that will be. The field promises to be varied, ranging from the hyperventilating Ted Cruz to the staid Jeb Bush. Rand Paul, a critic of foreign wars and Barack Obama’s surveillance state, joined the fray on April 7th (see article). Still, Mrs Clinton starts as the favourite, so it is worth asking: what does she stand for?

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21647969-most-familiar-candidate-surprisingly-unknown-what-does-hillary-stand

The Alinsky Way of Governing

But targeting institutions and their leaders is pure Alinsky; so are the scare tactics. Mr. Grijalva’s staff sent letters asking for information about the professors, with a March 16 due date—asking, for instance, if they had accepted funding from oil companies—using official congressional letterhead, and followed up with calls from Mr. Grijalva’s congressional office. This is a page from Alinsky’s book, in both senses of the word: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have,” reads one tip in his 1971 “Rules for Radicals.”

Yet adopting Alinsky’s tactics may not in this case fit with Alinsky’s philosophy. This is Alinsky with a twist. Despite myriad philosophical inconsistencies, “Rules for Radicals” is meant to empower the weaker against the stronger. Alinsky writes: “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

In a similar vein, the political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain supported Alinsky’s work in getting disengaged communities—typically in lower socio-economic strata—to assume the difficult responsibilities of citizenship. As a way of challenging “big government,” even conservatives such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey have recommended Alinsky’s tactics (minus his professed hatred of capitalism, etc.).

But what happens when Machiavelli’s Prince reads and employs “Rules for Radicals”? In 2009 President Obama’s friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett was asked on CNN about media bias, particularly at Fox News, and she responded: “What the administration has said very clearly is that we’re going to speak truth to power.” I remember thinking: “Wait a minute, you’re the White House. You are the power.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-alinsky-way-of-governing-1428619834

Russia Plans Spring Offensive in Ukraine, Warns Ex-NATO Chief Wesley Clark

Russian-backed separatists are planning a fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine that could come within a matter of months, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, warned March 30. “What is happening now is preparations for a renewed offensive from the east,” and this could take place following Orthodox Easter, on April 12, and “most probably” before VE Day on May 8, Clark said, citing multiple local sources he spoke with on a recent fact-finding mission to Ukraine. “That’s what all the talking is about right now, preparing the cover for the next attack,” he said. Given that an attack is “imminent,” Clark said the Obama administration should take two specific actions to bolster Ukrainian security forces:

It should share intelligence with Ukraine so the Ukrainians can have “firm warning of a renewed Russian offensive”;

And it could prepare an aid package, including lethal assistance that has already been authorized by Congress; deploy it at a staging base; have strategic lift available; and warn Russian President Vladimir Putin that “when we first get the indications that you are coming again we will send assistance, including lethal assistance, to Ukraine.”

These two actions would fall within the parameters of the administration’s current policy not to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/russia-plans-spring-offensive-in-ukraine-warns-ex-nato-chief-wesley-clark

Finland Sparta

Finland – Sparta of the North

Unlike the aforementioned nations, Russia doesn’t have any immediate imperial designs against Finland, Bulgaria and Romania. Although Russian nationalists see the first two as part of Russia’s restored empire, Russia won’t employ military means to subjugate them. Russian imperialism, in the guise of Soviet communism, has already tried to conquer Finland once before, but the Finns butchered enough Russians for Stalin to reconsider. A lesson every nation must learn: Russia will break whatever treaty you signed with them (i.e. the Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact) and attack you on false pretexts (i.e. Shelling of Mainila), create a puppet government to administer the occupied territories (i.e. Finnish Democratic Republic), and will only relent if enough Russian soldiers are killed. The Finns killed over 1,200 Russians a day and thus got Russia to drop its plan to occupy and annex all of Finland. Theirs is a magnificent example to study, emulate and revere by all other nations under Russian threat.

Since even the current megalomaniac Russian leadership remembers the Winter War, Finland is safe. No Russian general wants his troops to enter Finnish forests and get massacred by the nearly 300,000 troops and 600,000 reservists Finland can muster. Finland, if attacked, can field twice (!) as many ground troops as Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the UK combined (!). If Finland had followed the foolish path of most other EU nations and reduced its military forces by 75% over the last decade, Putin might be tempted to invade Finland, but as Finland stuck to its concept of total defense, it is safe. Once again “Si vis pacem, para bellum” [If you want peace, prepare for war–ed.] has been proven as the most sound national defense principle.

http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/04/11/finland-sparta-of-the-north/

Presidents create political inequality by allocating Federal dollars to electorally useful constituencies across the country

Three incentives encourage presidents to be particularistic.  First, presidents do indeed have a national constituency.  However, voters do not directly choose the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Rather, the Electoral College does.  Over the past thirty years, an increasingly small number of states have wielded disproportionate influence in selecting the next president.  Presidents have strong incentives to target federal resources to court voters in swing states.

But presidents are more than just reelection-seekers.  They are also partisan leaders.  As such, presidents pursue policies that systematically channel federal dollars disproportionately to parts of the country that form the backbone of their partisan base.

Finally, to succeed legislatively, presidents must build coalitions.  In contemporary politics, presidents have been forced to rely heavily, often almost exclusively, on co-partisans in Congress to advance their legislative agendas.  To court favor on Capitol Hill and to maintain their party’s strength in Congress, presidents also have incentives to reward constituencies that elect co-partisans to the legislature with bigger shares of federal largesse.

Analyzing the geographic allocation of all federal grant dollars from 1984 through 2008, we find evidence of all three forms of presidential particularism.  The result is massive presidentially induced inequalities in the allocation of federal dollars across the country.

Controlling for a host of factors that shape the amount of grant spending different parts of the country receive, we find that presidents systematically channel a disproportionate share of federal dollars to swing states.  Our analysis shows that communities in swing states consistently receive more federal grant dollars than comparable communities in uncompetitive states.  Moreover, presidents are particularly eager to court voters in swing states as the next election approaches.  In presidential election years, constituencies in swing states receive even larger infusions of federal grant dollars.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2015/04/06/presidents-create-political-inequality-by-allocating-federal-dollars-to-electorally-useful-constituencies-across-the-country/

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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$31 Million Super PAC Stories

“GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz vaulted to the top tier of the 2016 money race Wednesday, as supporters announced that super PACs backing his bid had raised $31 million in a single week.

The haul — which ranks as one of the biggest fundraising surges in modern presidential history — served as a sudden wake-up call for the rest of the likely Republican field, particularly Jeb Bush, who until now had enjoyed his status as the premier fundraiser in the contest’s early stage.” Washington Post 4-8-15

Ted Cruz

Network of ‘Super PACs’ Says That It Has Raised $31 Million for Ted Cruz Bid

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/super-pacs-network-quickly-raises-31-million-for-ted-cruz.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Groups backing Ted Cruz raise $31 million in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/groups-backing-ted-cruz-raise-31-million-in-a-single-week/2015/04/08/36defc18-de0c-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

Cruz answers Rand with $31 million bombshell

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/08/cruz-answers-rand-with-31-million-bombshell/

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-08/exclusive-new-ted-cruz-super-pacs-take-in-record-haul

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/08/mark-halperin-unprecedented-31-million-super-pac-effort-backing-ted-cruz-for-president/

Yes, Ted Cruz super PACs are expected to rake in $31 million….in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/08/yes-ted-cruz-super-pacs-are-expected-to-rake-in-31-million-in-a-single-week/

Cruz super-PACs make $31 million haul in first week of campaign

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/08/cruz-super-pacs-make-31-million-haul-in-first-week-of-campaign/

Ted Cruz super PACs are raising ‘eye-popping’ amounts of cash http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-super-pacs-raising-31-million-2015-4?op=1

Pro-Cruz Super PACs Expect $31 Million First-Week Haul

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/08/3-super-pacs-set-back-cruzs-2016-campaign/

Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/politics/ted-cruz-super-pacs/index.html

Ted Cruz’s Fundraising Hauls Are Off The Charts

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/danieldoherty/2015/04/08/rand-paul-interview-with-hannity-n1982361

 

and then…

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

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Cruz Super PACs Raise $31 Million

Wow!!!  Talk About a Game Changer…

Ted Cruz Big Flag

CRUZ SUPER PACS RAISE $31 MILLION

 Newly Formed Network of Affiliated PACs Launch Significant Effort to Boost Senator Cruz’s 2016 Presidential Bid

 Four PACs, One Team, One Goal: Cruz Elected President

Four affiliated Super PACs operating under the name “Keep the Promise” (Keep the Promise PAC; Keep the Promise I; Keep the Promise II; and Keep the Promise III) have registered as Independent Expenditure-Only Committees with the Federal Election Committee. FEC filing documents are attached.

Collectively, Keep the Promise Super PACs will collect and deposit contributions in excess of 31 million dollars this week from multiple donors. Keep the Promise’s network of Super PACs will file their disclosure reports with the FEC as required. Donors, vendors, and other relevant information will be disclosed at that time.

Leading the financial charge for Keep the Promise network of Super PACs will be a group of close, personal friends and strong supporters of Senator Cruz from around the country, who share his vision of restoring “the Miracle of America”. Serving as the Treasurer of Keep the Promise PAC, Keep the Promise II, and Keep the Promise III will be Dathan Voelter, an Austin-based CPA and attorney who has strong personal and family ties to Senator Cruz.

“We’re just getting started,” stated Keep the Promise PAC Treasurer Dathan Voelter. “We are committed to raising the resources necessary to promote Senator Cruz in his effort to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.”

“Our goal is to guarantee Senator Cruz can compete against any candidate,” Voelter added. “Supporters of the Senator now have a powerful vehicle with the resources necessary to aid in his effort to secure the Republican nomination and win back The White House.”

As Voelter further commented, “the Keep the Promise network of PACs is here to make the sure the common-sense, conservative message of Senator Cruz reaches as many ears as possible across America. Keep the Promise can provide the ‘appropriate air cover’ in the battle against Senator Cruz’s opponents in the Washington establishment and on the political left. We plan to support the effort of millions of courageous conservatives who believe 2016 is our last opportunity to ‘keep the promise’ of America for future generations.

 

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-08/exclusive-new-ted-cruz-super-pacs-take-in-record-haul

Yes, Ted Cruz super PACs are expected to rake in $31 million….in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/08/yes-ted-cruz-super-pacs-are-expected-to-rake-in-31-million-in-a-single-week/

Cruz super-PACs make $31 million haul in first week of campaign

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/08/cruz-super-pacs-make-31-million-haul-in-first-week-of-campaign/

Ted Cruz super PACs are raising ‘eye-popping’ amounts of cash http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-super-pacs-raising-31-million-2015-4?op=1

Pro-Cruz Super PACs Expect $31 Million First-Week Haul

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/08/3-super-pacs-set-back-cruzs-2016-campaign/

Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/politics/ted-cruz-super-pacs/index.html

and then…

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

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Weekly Musing 4-5-15

Weekly Musing 4-5-15

Saul Anuzis

Easter Sunday

He has risen…

The Left wages total war and then plays victim

Religious liberty is the terms of surrender the Right is requesting in the culture war. It is conservative America saying to the cultural and political elites, you have your gay marriage, your no-fault divorce, your obscene music and television, your indoctrinating public schools and your abortion-on-demand. May we please be allowed to not participate in these?

But no. Tolerance isn’t the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-left-wages-total-war-and-then-plays-victim/article/2562342

Apparently Tolerance is out?!?  The Culture War We’re in.

This culture war we’re in is slow and subtle. It’s not always as loud and as obvious as the counterculture was. The purpose of the counterculture was to shatter the dominant culture. Once that was done, the culture could be slowly cannibalized at will until the counterculture became the culture. And then it was no longer about freedom or free anything, those were the disruptive tools used to drive youth recruitment with a facade of anarchy, and it became about conformity and control. This culture of conformity and control is still being sold as ‘rebellious’ when it’s just the establishment. We no longer have a culture. We have a counterculture that occasionally masquerades as the culture. But it’s not over yet. A culture war destroys the culture of the other side because that is the source of its values. To completely destroy the other side, its values must be destroyed as an abstract, its organization must be destroyed to prevent those values from being conveyed and the individual’s own values must be destroyed, in that order. Destroying the values of every single individual is the most difficult part of this project. Destroying values as an abstract idea is the easiest. That’s why the left has made its greatest gains there.

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2015/04/this-culture-war-were-in.html

Indiana’s Law Is Not the Return of Jim Crow The federal RFRA was passed in 1993, in response to a Supreme Court decision holding that Native Americans weren’t exempt from anti-drug laws barring the use of peyote, even for religious ceremonies.

In response, Congress passed a law barring the government from putting a burden on religious practice without a compelling state interest. If someone feels their religious rights have been violated, they can go to court and make their case. That’s it. Jim Crow laws forced people to discriminate. RFRA doesn’t force anybody to do anything. The original RFRA was a good and just law championed by then-representative Chuck Schumer and opposed by right-wing bogeyman Jesse Helms. It passed the Senate 97-3 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. In 1997, the Supreme Court held that RFRA was too broad and could not be applied to states. So, various state governments passed their own versions. Twenty states have close to the same version as the federal government’s, and a dozen more have similar rules in their constitutions.

These states include such anti-gay bastions as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois, where, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted in favor of the law. The law says nothing about gays and was most famously used to keep the Obama administration from forcing Hobby Lobby and nuns from paying for certain kinds of abortion-inducing birth control. “This big gay freak-out is purely notional,” according to legal writer Gabriel Malor (who is gay). “No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in 20 years of RFRAs nationwide.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416248/indianas-law-not-return-jim-crow-jonah-goldberg

Liberals against Religious Liberty in Indiana Indiana has adopted a state-level version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), thereby imposing a “strict scrutiny” legal standard when the state government or local powers pass laws that interfere with the free exercise of religion. For this, Governor Mike Pence and Indiana’s legislators have been denounced as gay-hating monsters, a claim that was never made about President Bill Clinton, who signed the federal RFRA, or about the people and powers of such liberal states as Connecticut, which is one of the 20 states with a RFRA. Another dozen or so states have constitutional provisions similar to those in RFRA. Indiana’s law is controversial for two possible reasons.

The first is political: Democrats, unhappily laboring under the largest Republican congressional majority since before the New Deal, are looking to pick fights over issues such as gay rights, abortion, and environmental regulation, believing that this will help their fund-raising and invigorate their demoralized partisans. The second reason might be more substantive: Indiana’s law, like some other state RFRAs (but unlike the federal statute, which has been interpreted in different ways by different courts), expressly states that it allows religious practice to be raised as a defense not only when the government is a party to the controversy but also in litigation undertaken by private parties under state law — including laws that prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. Which is to say, this is another skirmish in the endless battle of the Big Gay Wedding Cake. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416152/liberals-against-religious-liberty-indiana-editors

Iran Obama

Just a Piece of Paper  – Obama got his deal, but can he trust Iran to keep its word?

Any deal that preserves Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure and allows it to continue its progress toward becoming a nuclear power should be dead on arrival in Congress, in the British Parliament, in the Duma and just about any other important place. Obama is doing America and the world no favors if he assumes he can trust the mullahs.

It would be nice to believe the committee and others who have panned the agreement are wrong, but it would be foolish to presume so. Whether it ultimately makes Obama and Kerry worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize (which would be the president’s second) or secures for them places in the hall of global goats, their pictures hanging next to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, is something we are all going to have to wait to find out – if we live that long. On the other hand, that may just be how we find out we were wrong to have placed our trust in the Iranian despots because of signatures on a piece of paper rather than on concrete, verifiable actions.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2015/04/03/obama-gets-his-iran-nuclear-deal-but-was-it-worth-it?int=a39d09&int=a55a09

Great White Hope: Why Some Dems Are Moving Right

Republicans are debating whether their path to the presidency in 2016 runs through the blue-collar Rust Belt states, or the demographically changing new South and Sunbelt states. For Democrats looking to retake the Senate, however, the formula is more clear-cut: Win back white working-class voters, or be consigned to a longer-term minority.

Most of the Senate battlegrounds run through the Midwest—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio—along with New Hampshire, which carries demographic similarities with those older, whiter Great Lakes states. To defeat the vulnerable Republican incumbents, Democrats have a challenging task ahead: Making inroads with blue-collar voters, who have been stubbornly resistant to the party’s agenda since Barack Obama’s time as president.

It’s no coincidence that Democrats are turning to candidates with biographies tailored to appeal to this constituency. Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth announced her candidacy Monday against Sen. Mark Kirk by touting her working-class upbringing and service in the military. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who represented a blue-collar district in the House, is the expected Democratic nominee against Sen. Rob Portman. Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, a populist who championed campaign-finance reform during his last Senate tenure, is eyeing a comeback against the businessman who defeated him in 2010. And former three-star Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, a former two-term congressman from the working-class Philadelphia suburbs, is an early front-runner to face a rematch against Sen. Pat Toomey.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/great-white-hope-why-some-dems-are-moving-right-20150331

A Democrats Perspective: America’s Hinge Moment – Presidential politics in 2016 will reflect the shifting reality of America.

Despite the upheaval Americans are experiencing, voting patterns in presidential elections have remained virtually unchanged for the past 25 years—with the majority of states voting the same way in the last six elections. That’s not unexpected, even at a time of great change, because elections, in fact, historically have served as lagging indicators—not leading ones—of the direction of the country. Rather than forecasting the future, election results help us make better sense of the past.

The current era in presidential politics has been defined by deep partisan divisions over the same issues and static voting behavior tied to race, ethnicity, gender, age and geography. Even though Democrats have won the popular vote in five out of the past six presidential elections, they have only once been able to get more than 51 percent of the vote.

Now, though, there are signs that the transformation is starting to pick up steam in our elections. Even though we have yet to feel the full impact at the ballot box we’re nearing a shift that will signal an inevitable political earthquake.

Years from now we are going to look back at this period of time and see it as a “hinge” moment, a term Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson used to describe a connection point that ties two historical periods in time, one before and one afterwards.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/2016-predictions-americas-sosnik-clinton-116480.html#.VRgL1-90wqM

 

World Religions

The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050

The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths. Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. If current trends continue, by 2050 …

The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.

Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.

The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.

In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.

India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.

In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.

Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

These are among the global religious trends highlighted in new demographic projections by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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 | Leave a comment

Weekly Musing 3-29-15

Weekly Musing 3-29-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Family Announcement 2

Courageous Conservative – reigniting the Miracle of America!

I made my contribution…will you make yours?  Join me!

https://donate.tedcruz.org/c/FBMI0001/

Cruz’s strategy: Destroy the ‘mushy middle’

Ted Cruz premises his presidential hopes on the proposition that anti-establishment voters of all stripes won’t settle again for a nominee like Mitt Romney or John McCain. And the Texas senator believes that he has as good a chance as anyone to emerge as the leading alternative to Jeb Bush or whoever else becomes the favorite of what he likes to call “the mushy middle.”Cruz is not closely identified with issues like abortion and has not been covered as one of the evangelical candidates in the 2016 field. So his decision to formally kick off his presidential campaign at Liberty University in rural Virginia on Monday surprised many Republicans, including social conservative stalwarts from the camps of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Advisers to the 44-year-old say he is not trying to repackage himself as primarily a social conservative. Instead, the senator’s team sees four brackets in the GOP primary field: the tea party, evangelicals, libertarians and establishment Republicans. The goal, they explain, is to establish Cruz as the first choice of tea partyers and become at least the second choice of evangelicals.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cruzs-strategy-destroy-the-mushy-middle-116326.html?hp=c2_3

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz declares candidacy, vows to ‘reignite the promise of America’

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced Monday that he is running for president, making him the first official candidate in the 2016 race for the White House                         .

“I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” Mr. Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University , sending a strong signal that he plans to compete for the evangelical Christians that traditionally play a big role in the GOP nomination race.

“I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise in America,” he said. “And that is why today I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States.”

The big question for Mr. Cruz is whether he can build a big enough coalition to claim the mantle of the conservative alternative to the establishment candidate in a Republican race that will likely also feature former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“He potentially can rebuild the Reagan coalition by adding a populist, anti-Washington message that attracted disaffected Democrats and Independents,” said Craig Shirley, a biographer of President Reagan.

Liberty University was founded in 1971 by the late Jerry Falwell, the televangelist preacher who also led the formation of the moral majority that helped propel Ronald Reagan to the presidency in the 1980 election.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/23/ted-cruz-declares-candidacy-christian-college/

Meet Ted Cruz, “The Republican Barack Obama”

No member of the 113th Congress will arrive in Washington with as much hype as Cruz, who in late July survived one of the most expensive primaries in Texas history to knock off Gov. Rick Perry’s second-in-command, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. George Will calls Cruz, the Princeton- and Harvard Law School-educated son of a former Cuban revolutionary, “as good as it gets”; National Review dubbed him “the next great conservative hope,” gushing that “Cruz is to public speaking what Michael Phelps was to swimming.” Political strategist Mark McKinnon channeled the thinking of many in the party when he proclaimed Cruz “the Republican Barack Obama.” He is, with apologies to fellow Cuban American Marco Rubio, the up-and-comer du jour of the conservative movement.

Cruz, who turns 42 in December, represents an amalgam of far-right dogmas—a Paulian distaste for international law; a Huckabee-esque strain of Christian conservatism; and a Perry-like reverence for the 10th Amendment, which he believes grants the states all powers not explicitly outlined in the Constitution while severely curtailing the federal government’s authority to infringe on them. Toss in a dose of Alex P. Keaton and a dash of Cold War nostalgia, and you’ve got a tea party torch carrier the establishment can embrace.

…Cruz’s worldview has remained unflinchingly consistent. Challenged at a Federalist Society panel in 2010 to defend his proposal to convene a constitutional convention to draft new amendments aimed at scaling back federal power, he paraphrased his 21-year-old self: “If one embraces the views of Madison…which is that men are not angels and that elected politicians will almost always seek to expand their power, then the single most effective way to restrain government power is to provide a constraint they can’t change.”

One thing had changed, though, in the two decades since Cruz penned his thesis: His views had started to creep from the fringe to the fore.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/ted-cruz-texas-gop-senate

3 Reasons Ted Cruz Could Win

Welcome to Thunderdome, Ted Cruz!  And wow, that’s a video straight out of the consultant minds of Veep. Maybe throw in a puppy? Seriously, though, if announcing via Twitter is the new thing, I’m all for it. It could’ve saved us sending a reporter to Lynchburg this morning. Maybe somebody will announce via Meerkat and we can all stay at our desks and not drive somewhere to see candidates give the same speech they gave at CPAC but with a couple more paragraphs? It’d save us all a lot of time and it’d be environmentally friendly, too. Lower your carbon footprint: announce by Tweet.

The Acela corridor mindset about Ted Cruz is basically: “he has no path”, “why is he doing this”, or “he’s a disruptive pain in the butt and should shut up and go away”. Allow me to quote one of the emails I received last night on this topic: “he’s a disruptive pain in the butt and should shut up and go away”. Yes, I understand that Cruz’s approach to politics and speechmaking rubs some people the wrong way, but there is actually a counterintuitive case to be made that he has a clearer path to the nomination than his critics might like.

http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/23/3-reasons-ted-cruz-could-win/

Of Course Ted Cruz Could Win

“Reagan can’t win, Ford says.” That’s the 1976 version. The 1980 New York Times version, with the nearly identical headline: “Ford Declares Reagan Can’t Win.” Ford was really quite sure of himself: “Every place I go, and everything I hear, there is a growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election.” New York magazine: “The reason Reagan can’t win. . . . ” “Preposterous,” sociologist Robert Coles wrote about the idea of a Reagan victory.

The founder of this magazine worried that Reagan simply could not win in 1980, and several National Review luminaries quietly hoped that George H. W. Bush would be the nominee. There were serious, thoughtful conservatives who thought in 1980 that their best hope was to have Daniel Patrick Moynihan run as a Democrat that year, while many others were looking to ex-Democrat John Connally to carry the conservative banner on the GOP side. Things have a funny way of working out differently than expected. (And then much, much differently.)

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/415924/course-ted-cruz-could-win-kevin-d-williamson

Michigan for Ted Cruz

Here is where a bunch of Michigan supporters for Ted Cruz who are gathering to share information.

https://www.facebook.com/Michiganfortedcruz?pnref=story

Republican Bracketology

Maybe the biggest recent development has been in the Tea Party/Populist bracket. Rand Paul was the early leader here, but Ted Cruz’s impressive performance in his announcement speech at Liberty University elevates him to running even with Paul. Cruz’s stock was probably undervalued early on, as few seemed to appreciate his impressive intellect and communications skills. (He wasn’t a championship debater in college for nothing.) Instead, pundits focused on his often acerbic and polarizing manner on Capitol Hill. Cruz’s reception in Congress brings to mind the old joke about a guy asking, “Why do people immediately dislike me so much?” The response: “Because it saves time.”

But at a dinner I attended with a small number of journalists and Cruz last year, he didn’t come across as a jerk or a bully. Instead, he seemed like a very smart guy who may be less attentive than he ought to be to the feelings and reactions of others. More important, unlike the libertarian Paul, he doesn’t have unorthodox positions that could put him at odds with some conservative voters.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/the-cook-report/republican-candidates-2016-20150327

20 Republicans who are gearing up to run for president

As many as 20 Republicans are taking a serious look at running for the White House in 2016. A handful of candidates have moved aggressively into the field, and others are expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, with several announcements expected in April.

Recent races haven’t attracted such a large and unsettled field before, and time is sure to winnow the contenders before the first debate in August 2015.

In 2011, as many as nine Republicans participated in one early debate. The field of declared candidates in that cycle was never greater than 10 at any one time.

Here are the 20 Republicans likely to make a run for the GOP nomination.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/236476-20-republicans-wholl-run-for-president

Republicans Have Little to Fear From a Divisive Primary

In reality, winning a nomination fight elevates the stature of the victor, who quickly brings partisans into the fold (especially during conventions), offsetting any damage to party loyalty or unity that the primary might seem to have incurred. By the time of the general election, the state of the economy plays a dominant role in determining who wins and loses, not whether one party’s candidates were mean to one another at a time when relatively few people were paying attention.

Moreover, while the winning candidate may have to spend more money or campaign harder to win in a divisive primary, he or she can also benefit from the organizational efforts required to win a tough primary fight. President Obama, for instance, seemed to perform slightly better during the 2008 general election in states that were more competitive during his nomination fight against Mrs. Clinton.

Why, then, is belief in the theory of divisive primaries so pervasive? One factor is the seeming correlation between divisive presidential primaries and general election losses. But vulnerable incumbents tend to attract credible challengers, whereas strong incumbents do not. When researchers take the state of the economy and the approval ratings of the president into account, the relationship disappears.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/upshot/republicans-have-little-to-fear-from-a-divisive-primary.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

Bush and Rubio might swing Florida for the GOP. It probably wouldn’t matter, though.

Put together the chance of a home-state swing and the likelihood of it being decisive, and there’s a 5 percent chance a Florida home-state advantage for Bush/Rubio would swing the presidency in 2016. That dips to 4 percent for Ohio and 2 percent for Wisconsin. This estimate is rough and might be an underestimate, since two of the closest four elections have occurred recently. But even if we look at competitiveness of six elections since 1992, the chance of a Florida or Ohio home state bump swinging the presidency rises to 11 percent — a one in nine shot.

Another reason to be skeptical is looking at the candidates whose home-state advantage was decisive in winning the state. Only one – Benjamin Harrison – actually became president, while many others got trounced. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of how those “wins” played out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/28/bush-and-rubio-might-swing-florida-for-the-gop-it-probably-wouldnt-matter-though/

Some Americans paying attention – favorability rating dropped from 38% to 26% since the email scandal.

Most Americans (65 percent) say their opinion of Clinton has not changed in the wake of the email controversy, but 29 percent say their opinion of her has grown worse. Forty-nine percent of Republicans say their opinion of her is worse, as do 28 percent of independents.

More generally, 26 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, while 37 percent view her unfavorably; another third are undecided or don’t have an opinion of her. As Clinton weighs a presidential bid, her favorable views are 12 points lower than they were in the fall of 2013, just months after leaving her position as secretary of state. Her unfavorable views have ticked up slightly, but the percentage that is undecided about her has risen eight points.

Clinton’s highest favorable rating in CBS News polling occurred in March 2009, early in her tenure as Secretary of State, when 58 percent of Americans viewed her favorably. Clinton received her lowest favorable rating – 24 percent – in June 2003, soon after the publication of her memoir Living History.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/views-on-hillary-clinton-and-the-email-controversy/?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer18ee8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com

China’s Fragile Evolution

Last week, China’s anti-corruption campaign took a significant turn, though a largely overlooked one. The Supreme People’s Court released a statement accusing former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, the highest-ranked official thus far implicated in China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, of having “trampled the law, damaged unity within the Communist Party, and conducted non-organizational political activities.” In Chinese bureaucratic speak, this was only a few steps shy of confirming earlier rumors that Zhou and his former political ally and one-time rising political star from Chongqing, Bo Xilai, had plotted a coup to pre-empt or repeal the political ascension of Chinese President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Thus, the court’s statement marks a radical departure from the hitherto depoliticized official language of the anti-corruption campaign.

Of course, it has long been clear that the Xi administration’s anti-corruption campaign is far more than just a fight against graft — it is also a political purge designed to tighten the new leadership’s control over Party, government and military apparatuses. But up to now, official language on the anti-corruption campaign has been couched in terms of fighting graft and abuse of power “for personal gain.” So far as we are aware, very few if any official statements have alluded to “political activities” by suspects — and certainly none concerning high-profile figures like Zhou, whose position at the top of the country’s energy industry and domestic security apparatus made him one of the most powerful Chinese politicians of the 2000s. Whatever the court’s precise intent, that it chose language even hinting at a coup by Bo and Zhou is extraordinary.

If we accept that the use of a phrase like “non-organizational political activities” is significant, then we have to ask what the decision to use that phrase at this time may signify. To our minds, two possible interpretations stand out. First, it could mark a nascent shift in the way Chinese authorities frame the anti-corruption campaign and imply that going forward the campaign will become more overtly political. Second, it could signal that Xi and his allies, confident of having fully eliminated any threat posed by Zhou and his associates, are acknowledging an end to one phase of the anti-corruption campaign — the elimination of competing factions — and are now embarking on the further consolidation of authority and control over the far reaches of the bureaucracy.

If the former interpretation is correct, the anti-corruption campaign is about to get more brutal and potentially more destabilizing, as it moves from a relatively focused purge and general cleansing of the Party to a full-on assault against those who have the strength to challenge Xi’s nascent authoritarianism. According to the latter hypothesis, with the would-be challengers routed and acknowledged as anti-Party plotters, and with political power firmly centralized under Xi and his allies, China’s leaders can now put politics aside and move on to the more difficult and important task of building a government ready to manage the profound social and political disruptions that will almost certainly accompany China’s economic slowdown.

…The fundamental question, however, is whether China has time for an evolutionary change. Other Asian nations that underwent significant economic and political transformation, from Meiji-era Japan to Park Chung-hee’s South Korea, each made more radical and rapid changes — something that may be forced upon China’s leaders. But each did so with the attending major social disruption and a heavy hand in domestic security. Major economic overhauls are messy affairs, and China has decades of dead wood to trim from its economy due to the lingering effects of Mao’s intentional drive to ensure massive industrial redundancy, as well as to mismanagement and frequent unprofitability among state companies.

Although Singapore and even Prussia may be idealized models for China as countries that were able to transform and retain tight central authority, Lee Kuan Yew and the kaiser never had to manage a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, more than two-thirds of whom have effectively been left behind over three decades of promises that everyone would get rich in the end. As China tries to transition away from low-end manufacturing and economic stimulus driven by government-financed construction, it is the low end of the economic spectrum that will be disproportionally affected. A gradual shift in its economic model would allow China to slowly metabolize these displaced workers, but it is far from certain that China has the time to allow for this slow change, as the rest of the global economy is shifting with or without Chinese consensus.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/chinas-fragile-evolution?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_campaign=20150324&mc_cid=00cc8cbed1&mc_eid=d9d5b956f2

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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 | Leave a comment

Weekly Musing 3-22-15

Weekly Musing 3-22-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Big Flag

Run Ted Run!!  Ted Cruz Plans ‘Important Speech’ in Virginia

Sen. Ted Cruz‘s political operation appears to be strongly encouraging attendance by the media at an event in Lynchburg, Va., Monday for what’s being billed as “an important speech.”

Aides to the Texas Republican, who has been contemplating a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, were tight-lipped Friday about the details of the visit to the campus of Liberty University, but the timing of the speech would be right for getting somewhat ahead of the curve on announcing a White House run, at least among senators.

Cruz has spoken previously at the private, Christian university in Virginia, delivering the convocation address in April 2014.

Cruz focused his remarks that day on a topic of significant interest to his audience, actions by the government that conservatives view as attacks on their religious liberty.

“For a nation that was founded by pilgrims fleeing religious oppression, how, through the looking glass, have we gone that the federal government is now litigating against our citizens trying to force us to violate our faith?” Cruz asked at the time.

Multiple reports have indicated that another could-be presidential contender from the Senate is blocking off April 7, as a time to make news. That’s when Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is expected to make an announcement in Louisville.

http://www3.atr.rollcall.com/ted-cruz-heads-plans-important-speech-in-virginia/

Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Matt Salmon

Ted Cruz is the most underrated candidate in the 2016 field

A prominent Republican consultant — who isn’t working for any of the 2016 presidential candidates and who has been right more times than I can count — said something that shocked me when we had lunch recently. He said that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had roughly the same odds of becoming the Republican presidential nominee as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Jaw-dropper, right? After all, the conventional wisdom is that Bush, the son and brother of presidents, is the frontrunner to be the Republican standard-bearer, while Cruz, a conservative’s conservative, is a factor, sure, but not someone who could actually win the nomination.

How, I asked this guy, could he say such a thing? He explained it this way.

Think of the Republican primary field as a series of lanes. In this race, there are four of them: Establishment, Tea Party, Social Conservative and Libertarian. The four lanes are not of equal size:  Establishment is the biggest followed by Tea Party, Social Conservative and then Libertarian. (I could be convinced that Libertarian is slightly larger than Social Conservative, but it’s close.)

Obviously the fight for the top spot in the Establishment lane is very crowded, with Bush and possibly Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading at the moment. Ditto the Social Conservative lane with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Rick Santorum all pushing hard there. The Libertarian lane is all Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s but, as I noted above, it’s still not that big.

Which leaves the Tea Party lane, which is both relatively large and entirely Cruz’s. While Paul looked as though he might try to fight Cruz for supremacy in that lane at one time, it’s clear from his recent moves that the Kentucky senator is trying to become a player in a bunch of lanes, including Social Conservative and Establishment.

So, Cruz is, without question, the dominant figure in the Tea Party lane. What that means — particularly in the early stages of the primary process in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — is that he will likely be able to win, place or show repeatedly, wracking up enough strong-ish performances to keep going even as the Establishment lane and the Social Conservative lane begin to thin out. (Cruz’s ability to raise money, which remains a question, is less important for him than it is for other candidates — especially those in the Establishment lane. His people are going to be for him no matter how much — or little — communicating he does with them.)

The trick for Cruz, according to this consultant, is to hang around long enough to not only be the preeminent figure in the Tea Party lane but also in the Social Conservative lane. (Cruz is decidedly conservative on social issues and talks regularly about his faith on the campaign trail.) The complicating figure in that consolidation effort is Huckabee, who is a) likely to run, b) an ordained Southern Baptist minister, and c) likely to be able to stay in the race for an extended period of time because of the number of Southern primaries in the early stages of the primary process.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/13/ted-cruz-is-the-most-underrated-candidate-in-the-2016-field/

Why Primaries Aren’t All Bad

Primaries can be expensive and divisive, but treating them like the plague — as party spokesmen are prone to do early every cycle — distorts electoral reality.

GOP strategists looking to hold the party’s newly attained majority are reveling in the potentially crowded field of Democrats for the open seat in Maryland. Setting aside the state’s strong Democratic lean, Republicans need not look back far to know that a crowded and competitive open-seat race is a poor predictor of future failure.

.. The natural argument against primaries is that clearing a field is a way to guarantee a primary outcome (and thus a certain nominee). But what ultimately matters is who wins that primary and how unified the party is after the internal fight. In some instances, a competitive primary can sharpen a candidate for the general, including on the country’s biggest stage.

… Primaries can of course be a detriment to a party’s general election chances. But it’s important to remember that competitive, divisive and expensive primaries can also ultimately lead to victory.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/rothenblog/competitive-primaries-senate-races-2016/?dcz=

2016 PRESIDENT UPDATE: CLINTON ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE…YET On the Republican side, Christie’s moving in the wrong direction

Hillary Clinton went before cameras and reporters at the United Nations last week to address the ongoing controversy over her use of a private email system during her time as secretary of state. She was terse, combative, and essentially told the American people to “trust her” when she says that she didn’t do anything wrong and isn’t hiding anything. Clinton’s visceral dislike of the media was obvious and can be summed up by three words (“Go to Hell”), which was how Politico‘s John Harris put it after Clinton’s presser.

But Clinton’s position as the undisputed frontrunner in the Democratic field has hardly wavered. In fact, Democrats are perhaps more worried about Clinton’s ability to address controversies like the email affair and the foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation than the “scandals” themselves. Many Democratic donors and insiders around the country are urging her to quit delaying and officially announce her candidacy. Having a campaign apparatus, they say, would help her more effectively respond to the probing media and other attacks on her candidacy. Given the paucity of strong foes, the media appear to be a bigger opponent than anyone in the Democratic field.

The email episode, the questions about foreign money, and other challenges to Clinton may eventually prove damaging or even fatal to her candidacy — but certainly not yet. Not even close. The media and Clinton’s conservative critics, the two entities most riled up by the recent revelations, don’t vote in the Democratic primaries, and unless these controversies become real scandals with smoking guns, they won’t topple Clinton as the Democratic frontrunner.

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/2016-president-update-clinton-isnt-going-anywhereyet/

Twin Towers

What ISIS Really Wants – PLEASE read – very insightful

What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

Bibi

Israel Chose Bibi Over Barack

The experts who said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was vulnerable before yesterday’s national election insisted that the vote was a referendum on him. His overwhelming victory shows that it was equally a referendum on U.S. President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu gave voters a choice between whom to trust more with their nation’s security. The result was clear.

To understand how the political dynamics played out, consider Netanyahu’s comments on the eve of the vote. Asked in an interview with the right-leaning website NRG if there was any chance for a Palestinian state under another Netanyahu government, he declared there was none.

Lots of journalists and analysts saw it as a reversal of the prime minister’s speech in 2009 at Bar Ilan University, in which he laid out his vision for a demilitarized Palestinian nation. But the context here is important. Netanyahu prefaced his answer by stating something very obvious: “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel.”

This was not fear-mongering. It was something Israelis have been grappling with for a decade. Following then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to unilaterally uproot Jewish settlements and remove troops from Gaza in 2005, Hamas took over the territory. It didn’t happen all at once. But after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 and the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority refused to seat its ministers, Hamas fighters expelled the Fatah loyalists from Gaza’s security agencies and took control of the territory.

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-18/israel-chose-bibi-over-barack

ObamaSOS

More Obama Hypocrisy – So Much for Transparency – US sets new record for denying, censoring government files

For the second consecutive year, the Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

Its backlog of unanswered requests at year’s end grew remarkably by 55 percent to more than 200,000.

The government’s new figures, published Tuesday, covered all requests to 100 federal agencies during fiscal 2014 under the Freedom of Information law, which is heralded globally as a model for transparent government. They showed that despite disappointments and failed promises by the White House to make meaningful improvements in the way it releases records, the law was more popular than ever. Citizens, journalists, businesses and others made a record 714,231 requests for information. The U.S. spent a record $434 million trying to keep up.

The government responded to 647,142 requests, a 4 percent decrease over the previous year. The government more than ever censored materials it turned over or fully denied access to them, in 250,581 cases or 39 percent of all requests. Sometimes, the government censored only a few words or an employee’s phone number, but other times it completely marked out nearly every paragraph on pages.

On 215,584 other occasions, the government said it couldn’t find records, a person refused to pay for copies or the government determined the request to be unreasonable or improper.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ab029d7c625149348143a51ff61175c6/us-sets-new-record-denying-censoring-government-files

Putin Fist

Can Putin Survive?

There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events.

Ukraine and the Bid to Reverse Russia’s Decline

Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. On Jan. 1, Ukraine’s president was Viktor Yanukovich, generally regarded as favorably inclined to Russia. Given the complexity of Ukrainian society and politics, it would be unreasonable to say Ukraine under him was merely a Russian puppet. But it is fair to say that under Yanukovich and his supporters, fundamental Russian interests in Ukraine were secure.

This was extremely important to Putin. Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin’s performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn’t matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade’s capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult.

… Putin is far from finished. But he has governed for 14 years counting the time Dmitri Medvedev was officially in charge, and that is a long time. He may well regain his footing, but as things stand at the moment, I would expect quiet thoughts to be stirring in his colleagues’ minds. Putin himself must be re-examining his options daily.

Retreating in the face of the West and accepting the status quo in Ukraine would be difficult, given that the Kosovo issue that helped propel him to power and given what he has said about Ukraine over the years. But the current situation cannot sustain itself. The wild card in this situation is that if Putin finds himself in serious political trouble, he might become more rather than less aggressive. Whether Putin is in real trouble is not something I can be certain of, but too many things have gone wrong for him lately for me not to consider the possibility. And as in any political crisis, more and more extreme options are contemplated if the situation deteriorates.

Those who think that Putin is both the most repressive and aggressive Russian leader imaginable should bear in mind that this is far from the case. Lenin, for example, was fearsome. But Stalin was much worse. There may similarly come a time when the world looks at the Putin era as a time of liberality. For if the struggle by Putin to survive, and by his challengers to displace him, becomes more intense, the willingness of all to become more brutal might well increase.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/can-putin-survive?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_term=article&utm_campaign=20150317&mc_cid=ff3163b0c6&mc_eid=d9d5b956f2

The myth of ‘settled science’ – When the left shuts down debate, it’s time for skepticism

National Geographic’s latest cover story has generated lots of attention because it sneers at those close-minded Americans — mostly conservatives, of course — who do not accept scientific “facts.” Only 40 percent of Americans (according to Pew Research Center) “accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming,” and the magazine finds it “dispiriting” that so many “reasonable people doubt science.”

National Geographic compares global warming doubters to those disbelieve NASA’s moon landing and those who think water fluoridation is an evil plot. How could so many dismiss “established science?”

Well, here’s one reason: The public has come to distrust government warnings and the scientific experts; they are often wrong.

Ironically, National Geographic’s sermon on settled science could have hardly come at a more inopportune time. In recent months, leading scientists have reversed themselves and have admitted their expert findings and advice were wrong on eating fat. After decades of telling us not to do so, we now learn that fat can be good for your diet and for weight loss. What we all thought to be true based on the expert testimonies, turned out to be precisely the opposite of the truth. Oops.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/15/stephen-moore-climate-change-not-settled-science/

How do Americans stand out from the rest of the world?

The differences between America and other nations have long been a subject of fascination and study for social scientists, dating back to Alexis de Tocqueville, the early 19th century French political thinker who described the United States as “exceptional.”

Nearly 200 years later, Americans’ emphasis on individualism and work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world. When Pew Research Center surveyed people in 44 countries last spring, 57% of Americans disagreed with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a higher percentage than most other nations and far above the global median of 38%.

True to the stereotype, surveys showed that Americans are more likely to believe that hard work pays off. When asked, on a scale of 0 to 10, about how important working hard is to getting ahead in life, 73% of Americans said it is was a “10” or “very important,” compared with a global median of 50% among the 44 nations.

Americans also stand out for their religiosity and optimism, especially when compared with other relatively wealthy countries.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/03/12/how-do-americans-stand-out-from-the-rest-of-the-world/

10 Things America Wants in Its President in 2016

Another week in politics, and another view into the dysfunction and lack of real leadership that has become all too common in our country today. Makes a boy who grew up in the Midwest (granted it was Detroit) saying the pledge of allegiance each day at school wonder what has happened to the leaders we so desperately search for.

As I watched the unfolding of the Hillary Clinton email controversy where I felt like I was in a time machine back to the 1990s (no bridge to the 21st century, but rather a bunker to the 20th century), and GOP senators sending a wacky and unprecedented letter to Iran undermining the president’s negotiating position, it got me thinking of the list of attributes or qualities we are looking for in our leaders and in our next president. And right now I have seen no candidate or potential candidate out there who has captured even half of them.

Here are my 10:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/10-things-america-president-2016/story?id=29565905&singlePage=true

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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.

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http://thatssaulfolks.com/

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 3-15-15

Weekly Musing 3-15-15

Saul Anuzis

ObamaScowl

The President Must Respect the Rule of Law American immigration law is composed of thousands of pages, written by dozens of Congresses and federal agencies over a span of decades, and signed into law by numerous U.S. presidents.

But President Barack Obama has decided that all that doesn’t matter, and that he can now rule by decree. Regardless of whether you support or oppose the president’s amnesty plan, the simple fact remains that, in the United States, no individual may or should have that much unchecked power. It flies in the face of the rule of law, which in any government is all that stands between freedom and tyranny.

The rule of law is at the very heart of the case that Texas filed against President Obama in December, an action that has been joined by 25 other states, forming a bipartisan coalition. These plaintiffs are concerned about the president’s unilateral use of executive power to accomplish through edict what he could not achieve legislatively. And that’s why the full injunction that we won from U.S. district judge Andrew Hanen is so important: It has stopped the president from single-handedly enacting what is effectively a whole new system of laws, in the process granting amnesty to millions of people who came to this country illegally.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415209/president-must-respect-rule-law-ken-paxton

Ted Cruz

Run Ted Run…here’s why

We need the right candidate, with the right message to win. And Ted Cruz is the right candidate – in significant part because of his ability to build and attract a coalition that will be vibrant beyond just expanding our grassroots conservative turnout.

Cruz is a leader who is not afraid to stand on principle, speak out for what he believes and ruffle more than a few feathers when it comes time to standing up and fighting for the future of our Republic and everything that has made America the greatest country in the history of mankind.

He’s the candidate many in the mainstream media and Washington chattering class love to hate. He is demonized by many while revered by so many more throughout the heartland of America. He speaks his mind, stands his ground and is willing to fight the fight.

Cruz is grounded by a loving family, his Christian faith, his conservative principles and a moral compass that is all too often lacking in political life.

Cruz is a movement conservative.

…As the campaign unfolds, I believe we need a bold leader, a man of character, passion and principle that is willing to fight the fight. Like Reagan, he has a clarity of vision, a unique ability to communicate and connect with the average American voter and the focus and drive to get it done. In an endeavor like this, never underestimate a candidate’s character, will and drive. Ted Cruz has the “fire in the belly” to go the distance.

http://thatssaulfolks.com/2014/12/30/why-ted-cruz/

A Contrived Controversy

Finally, a debate about Iran. Last week, 47 Republican senators released a public letter addressed to the leaders of the Iranian regime. The letter made what might have seemed a self-evident point: If the Obama administration reaches a deal with Iran, Congress will not be bound by parts of the deal to which it has not assented.

Then, hysteria.

“The letter to Iranian leaders from 47 Republican senators could well destroy critical bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy for years to come and treacherously undermine the bargaining power of the person constitutionally authorized to conduct American affairs abroad—the President of the United States,” wrote Les Gelb, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “On top of what House speaker John Boehner did by unilaterally inviting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, this letter seriously points to one terrible conclusion: a formidable number of congressional Republicans hate President Obama more than they love America.”

The New York Daily News labeled “traitors” the letter’s signatories and its author, Senator Tom Cotton (combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bronze Star). Max Fisher at Vox.com called the letter “unprecedented” and claimed Republicans were bringing their legislative obstructionism to “the previously sacrosanct realm of foreign policy.” John Kerry bellowed that the “letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.” Hillary Clinton claimed that if the senators’ objective wasn’t to undermine the president, it was to help the mullahs in Iran. President Obama accused senators of forming a “coalition” with Iran’s hardliners. NBC News called the letter “stunning” and declared that it signaled an end to the days when politics stopped at the water’s edge.

to attach labels to those making these claims or offer judgments on their love of country. Instead, some perspective:

 

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/contrived-controversy_884656.html

A war of Obama’s making

The White House and some Democrats are livid over congressional Republican attempts to circumvent President Obama’s authority to make a nuclear arms deal with Iran. They have a right to be angry — but not to be surprised.

There’s a war going on between the executive and legislative branches in which Obama has shown contempt for Congress’ constitutional powers, and now, in response, Congress is showing contempt for the president’s constitutional powers. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s what Obama has wrought.

The latest development is an open letter to Iranian leaders written by GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and signed by 46 other Senate Republicans. Released Monday morning, the letter reminds Iran that Obama is negotiating with them on his own, without the formal approval or support of Congress. Obama is not pursuing a treaty, which would have to be agreed to by the Senate, or a joint executive-congressional agreement, which would also require Congress’ approval.

“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei,” the Republican senators write. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

Just in case there’s any confusion, the Republicans remind Iran that the next U.S. president will be inaugurated in January 2017, about 22 months from now, while at least some of the GOP senators who signed the letter will remain in office for many years to come.

The Cotton letter comes on the heels of House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in what amounted to an extended attack on Obama’s Iran negotiations.

It should go without saying that the reason Republicans are doing these things is because they are deeply concerned about a possible Iran deal. But another reason they’re acting is because they can. On Iran and before that on immigration, healthcare, and other matters, Obama has pushed his executive authority beyond its proper limits, on the flimsy pretense that he is entitled to act unilaterally if Congress does not pass bills he wants. Could anyone fail to anticipate that in response Congress would stretch its own authority, too?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/a-war-of-obamas-making/article/2561269

2016 Presidential

Visualizing the GOP’s 2016 Bracket

The Republicans running for president in 2016 will all compete in the same primary, but they won’t all be chasing the same voters, especially at the start. Instead, the candidates start out fighting to emerge as the front-runner among a smaller subgroup—in some ways like college basketball teams fighting their way through one side of a tournament bracket before the finals.

There are tons of constituencies within the Republican Party, but most broadly, the GOP breaks into two sides: A more “establishment”-oriented one and a more “grassroots”-oriented side. Now, new polling data from Iowa reveal just how much certain candidates find themselves going head-to-head for the same groups of voters.

On one side, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—currently Iowa Republicans’ top choice for the 2016 caucuses—is trying to wrest away voters who also take a liking to candidates such as Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, former Gov. Rick Perry, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. On the other side, a largely different group of voters has gravitated toward Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

Below, the data shows just how much some candidates’ support overlaps—and why Walker’s early lead is so tenuous. The governor currently holds a broad piece of turf in the all-important opening caucus state, but he’s going to have to defend it from a horde of hungry competitors.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/twenty-sixteen/visualizing-the-gop-s-2016-bracket-20150305

Behind the GOP’s Backbench Revolt

‘Our goal is to get to a ‘yes’ vote, not to divide the party. It’s to fight for all those voters who are getting left out of Washington. And to do it in as smart and as aggressive a way as we can that brings our team together.”

That’s Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan talking, though Speaker John Boehner might wonder. Ten weeks into their huge new majority, Republicans are struggling to cobble together 218 votes for anything that matters. The Boehner leadership team puts the blame squarely on some 30 to 50 conservative members, who are variously described as crazy, or divorced from political reality, or unwilling to compromise. Or all of the above.

In the wake of last week’s immigration spectacle—in which Mr. Boehner was forced to fund Homeland Security with largely Democratic votes—I thought I’d ask Mr. Jordan to explain the thinking from the backbench. A favorite of conservative groups for his limited-government stands, he also has some credibility among the wider conference for his willingness at key times to be a team player. His position as chairman of the newly founded Freedom Caucus—what he calls an “agile, active group” of about 40 members devoted to conservative principles—has made him the de facto leader of the dissenters.

Mr. Jordan does seem to want to get to yes, though the defining feature of his group is frustration with a lack of Republican strategy and message. That comes out in Mr. Jordan’s view of the recent immigration debacle, a mess he traces to December. That was when Republicans chose to fund all of government except Homeland Security—in protest of President Obama’s lawless immigration order. “We told the voters this was going to be the defining moment, we said we were going to stop money for the president’s action,” says Mr. Jordan. “And you just can’t build up that moment, and then on February 27 say we aren’t going to do it.”

Having set the strategy, Republicans owed it “to run a two, two-and-half-month campaign to make the case.” That didn’t happen, I note, so why fight on? Mr. Jordan believes the party had a “chance,” even at the end, to get to House-Senate conference, fall back to a more narrow funding restriction, and earn Democratic votes.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-strassel-behind-the-gops-backbench-revolt-1426205681

Why Republicans Hold an Early Edge for 2016

With all the attention focused on the details of Hillary Clinton’s personal email over the past week, it’s easy to overlook the political big picture for the 2016 presidential campaign. If anything, Team Clinton’s cautious, tone-deaf response to the potential scandal is a reminder of all the challenges that her candidacy will entail. Far from being the juggernaut that her campaign has been portrayed as, it’s becoming clear that she will be facing strong headwinds in vying to succeed a divisive president, overcoming her past personal baggage, and convincing voters desperate for change that she’s the candidate of the future.

The whole episode has raised glaring red flags about the emerging Clinton operation. It’s only March, and the nascent campaign is still grasping for a message while being surprisingly unprepared to respond to criticisms about her email practices, which were known to her inner circle. A week that was designed to underscore her work for women across the globe descended into damage control over why she concealed emails as secretary of State on a private server. Her campaign operation resembles a clunky bureaucracy, filled with both allies from the last Clinton administration (Lanny Davis, David Brock) and younger strategists from President Obama’s campaigns tasked to shake things up. She’s got a well-defined brand, but one that’s losing its luster amid controversy and organizational dysfunction. Sound familiar?

Ambitious younger Democrats may be kicking themselves for passing up a primary opportunity against Clinton, but Republicans have shown no such hesitation in challenging her. And there are early signs that the political environment, which has been difficult for them over the last two presidential elections, is looking more favorable at this early stage. Here’s why:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/why-republicans-hold-an-early-edge-for-2016-20150311

2016 Senate Races

ROVE: Democrats Are Bullish On Retaking The Senate

The theory is that states Obama won in 2012 are ripe for the plucking.

The GOP took the Senate in 2014 by winning seven seats held by Democrats in states Mitt Romneycarried in 2012—Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia—along with seats in two states Mr. Obama carried, Colorado and Iowa. So Democrats argue that if GOP Senate candidates can carry states that go Republican for the White House, then Democratic Senate candidates are likely to carry states Democrats have won in presidential elections. Although it is true that the Senate landscape in 2016 will be better for Democrats than last year, there are flaws in their narrative. First, the states Republicans won in 2014 tilted far more Republican than the states with GOP incumbents up next year tilt Democrat. For example, Republicans defeated incumbent Democrats in states Mitt Romney carried by 23.7% (Arkansas), 17.2% (Louisiana), 14% (Alaska), 5.4% (Colorado) and 2% (North Carolina). By comparison, Republican incumbents are up next year in states Mr. Obama generally carried by smaller margins, namely 0.9% (Florida), 3% (Ohio), 5.4% (Pennsylvania), 5.6% (New Hampshire), 5.8% (Iowa) and 6.9% (Wisconsin). Only one GOP incumbent senator is in a state Mr. Obama carried by double digits: Illinois, which he carried by 16.9%. Second, it is hard to beat an incumbent. In the last eight presidential elections, Democrats have defeated four or more Republican incumbent senators twice, picking off five in 2000 and in 2008. It took extraordinary circumstances to pull this off. In 2000 President Clinton was unusually popular for a two-term incumbent—and 2008 was a flat-out bad year for Republicans.  No one believes Mr. Obama’s Gallup job-approval ratings will be close to the 57% Mr. Clinton enjoyed on Oct. 28, 2000, right before that year’s presidential election. Mr. Obama last reached that level in December 2012, right after his re-election. Given the world’s trajectory, his approval ratings next year are more likely to be lower than the 45% he received in this week’s Gallup poll. Moreover, seven of eight Republican senators in states Mr. Obama carried at least once are running for re-election. If the eighth—Florida’s Marco Rubio—is in the hunt for the presidential nomination at the May 2016 filing deadline, the GOP has two statewide elected officials, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, in the wings.  Third, Democrats are struggling to recruit Senate candidates. The only declared Democrat in Pennsylvania, former congressman Joe Sestak, announced without notifying national Democrats and is viewed skeptically by party leaders. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tried to clear the field in Ohio by endorsing defeated former Gov. Ted Strickland, age 73, but failed.  The favored prospects in North Carolina and Wisconsin, former Sens. Kay Hagan and Russ Feingold, are spending this year teaching in Massachusetts and California, respectively. New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is mum about running for the Senate, but the legislature is shredding her budget and her idea to hire a chief operating officer for the state is being widely ridiculed. Several Democratic congressmen are considering running in Florida and Illinois, raising the likelihood of expensive, debilitating primaries.  Conversely, not a single Republican seat in a red state looks at risk today. The only chance Democrats have to win these is if Republican incumbents draw serious primary challengers that divide the GOP. The fourth problem for Democrats is they will be playing defense in at least two purple states: Nevada, where Sen. Harry Reid had a 41% unfavorability rating in a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll late last year; and Colorado, where a recent Quinnipiac poll found only 32% say Sen. Michael Bennet should be re-elected. Finally, each incumbent Republican senator is busy raising money, building serious organizations and compiling a governing record that appeals to independents and Democrats so they run ahead of the GOP presidential candidate in their states.

http://www.rove.com/articles/573

NYT Crop

Surprise!?!  The New York Times CROPS OUT George W. Bush from their SELMA front page picture The totally objective and completely unbiased New York Times made sure that their readers didn’t see George W. Bush and Laura attend the Selma 50th Anniversary by awkwardly cutting them out of their front page picture.

http://therightscoop.com/the-new-york-times-crops-out-george-w-bush-from-their-selma-front-page-picture/

Obamanomics – The Solution to Inequality: Exile the Rich

Potential presidential candidates looking to make a splash should consider the following bold proposal to solve our inequality problem once and for all: exile the top 0.1% of income earners. Round up all 136,080 taxpayers who make more than $2.16 million a year and ship ’em off to whatever country will accept them. Presto. Problem solved.

We’d still, of course, have inequality in America. But we’d at least have brought it back to the healthy 1960s’ levels that Paul Krugman and Elizabeth Warren nostalgically pine for. The 0.1 percenters, whose growing incomes have been fueling the rise in inequality over the past several decades, will have vanished overnight.

This proposal will surely strike many as extreme. But drastic times call for drastic measures. President Obama, after all, has called growing inequality “the defining challenge of our time.” Krugman agrees and notes that “the increase in U.S. inequality has no counterpart anywhere else in the advanced world.”

Never mind that, according to surveys, most Americans couldn’t care less about an abstract statistical trend stretching over decades. In a Politico poll in the lead-up to the last election, only 1 percent of voters thought inequality was the most important issue. But, as Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber might say, we should not let “the stupidity of the American voter” get in the way of advancing progressive policies.

While exiling the wealthy will do wonders for inequality in America, it will put a serious dent in the government’s finances. Almost one in every five tax dollars that the government collects comes from the 0.1 percent. To make up for the shortfall, we should probably also confiscate all their assets before exiling them.

What about the jobs the 0.1 percenters create and the value they add to the economy? After all, we’d be losing all but twelve of the CEOs from the 300 largest companies in the country. The show business industry would collapse overnight with all the star talent in exile. Gone too would be the best investment bankers, financial consultants, surgeons and lawyers. One third of the NFL’s roster and well over half of the NBA’s roster would also be culled.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/03/08/the_solution_to_inequality_exile_the_rich_125851.html

Maps: How Ukraine became Ukraine

For the past year, Ukraine has been plunged into chaos. Mass protests against pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych led to his ouster in February 2014. That sparked a spiraling crisis: a fledgling interim government in Kiev looked on as Russia first seized and then annexed the territory of Crimea, a strategic Black Sea peninsula. A pro-Russian separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, believed to have direct backing from Moscow, has led to the deaths of thousands since.

To some, Ukraine has become the geopolitical faultline between the liberal democratic West and authoritarian, neo-imperial Russia under President Vladimir Putin. Foreign policy luminaries in Washington openly discuss the current state of affairs as a new Cold War.

Beneath the political divisions of the present lies a country’s deep, complex past. The land that’s now Ukraine has long been dear to Russian nationalists. But it has also been home to a host of other peoples and empires. Its shifting borders and overlapping histories all have echoes in the current heated moment.

What follows is a sketch of how Ukraine became Ukraine over 1,300 years of history, mapped by The Washington Post’s cartographer Gene Thorp. Ukraine’s modern borders are outlined in green throughout.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/03/09/maps-how-ukraine-became-ukraine/?tid=sm_fb

LT Bloomberg

The Successes and Scars of a 25-Year Journey Out of Soviet Clutches

As communism crumbled a quarter-century ago, the first nation to emerge from the Soviet ruins was a long way off resembling a functioning democracy.

Today, Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the euro currency bloc and NATO. In celebrating independence this week, the nation of 3 million can look back at a rocky road to the greater prosperity it now enjoys. While it overcame hyperinflation to boost living standards and build investor trust, the Baltic country has struggled with emigration, health issues related to the upheaval of the transition and a fear of its former master.

“It’s been a huge economic progress from a very chaotic start,” said Vilija Tauraite, an economist with SEB in Vilnius. “Euro adoption this year placed Lithuania within the very West, which seemed inconceivable 25 years ago. Economically it’s been fast to re-orientate, yet challenges remain with demographics.”

The most eye-catching number in Lithuania’s transformation is income per capita, which outshines all former Soviet republics. The average Lithuanian’s salary jumped 7.2 times between 1994 and 2014. Car ownership surged more than fourfold as Volkswagens, Audis and Fords replaced Soviet-made VAZ vehicles. The advance comes despite a 2009 slump that wiped 14.5 percent off economic output and ushered in one of the EU’s harshest austerity programs.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-11/the-successes-and-scars-of-a-25-year-journey-out-of-soviet-clutches

Awesome!!!  Researchers have achieved wireless speeds of 1 Tb per second

Researchers at the University of Surrey in England have achieved 5G speeds of 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) over 100 metres in the lab – by far the fastest wireless connection to date.

The 5G, or fifth generation, mobile network will eventually replace our current 4G technology, with its comparatively poxy speeds of around 15 Mbps, and it’s hoped that it will revolutionise how we use mobile devices.

It’s previously been estimated that speeds of 50 Gbps could be achieved on the 5G network, but now the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) has gone and smashed those expectations.

“We have developed 10 more breakthrough technologies and one of them means we can exceed 1Tbps wirelessly,” Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the director of 5GIC, cryptically told Dan Worth for UK technology news site V3. “This is the same capacity as fibre optics but we are doing it wirelessly.”

To put that into perspective, a US Internet provider last year rolled out the fastest home Internet ever in the Minnesotan city of Minneapolis, which reaches speeds of 10 Gbps. So this would be 100 times faster – which means you could download around 100 feature films in less than a second and stream multiple TV shows at once – all from your phone.

http://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-have-achieved-wireless-speeds-of-1-tb-per-second

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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

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http://thatssaulfolks.com/

Thanks again for all you do!

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