Season’s Greetings to my Liberal & Conservative Friends

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To My Liberal Friends:

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

I also wish you a fiscally successful,personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.

Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere .

Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

To My Conservative Friends:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Weekly Musing 12-21-14

Weekly Musing 12-21-14

Saul Anuzis


Bobby Schostak NOT Running for Third Term

MI GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak announced he will not seek a third term.  My thanks go out to Bobby and his family for a job well done.  This is a grueling undertaking which few understand the time and energy it actually takes…let alone the sacrifice of one’s family.

Thanks for all you’ve done and I look forward to continuing to work with Bobby and our new Chairman in the years to come!

It’s official: GOP will have biggest House majority since before the New Deal

In the Senate, the GOP will be in an almost equally unparalleled position of power.

“Republicans will control 54 out of 100 seats,” The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake noted. “That’s tied for their fourth-highest number of seats since that same 1929-30 Congress, but the larger three were majorities of 55 seats — i.e. only one more seat.”

Combined with the GOP’s dominance at the state legislative level (Republicans control 56 percent of seats in the legislatures, the highest number since 1920), and the party’s control of 31 of 50 gubernatorial mansions, the Republican Party will be in the strongest position it has seen since prior to the popularization of Democratic progressivism.

“The last time the GOP clearly had more power than today was in the early 1920s, when it controlled more than 70 percent of governorships, 69 percent of the House and more than 60 percent of Senate seats,” Blake observed.

That’s nothing to sneeze at, and it is all due to the ideological realignment of the Democratic Party.

A GOP Strategy Begins to Emerge

Congressional leaders will use coalitions to achieve small wins. Conservatives may not be satisfied

Democratic control of the Senate came to an end this week, and most of the press is already predicting the incoming Republican Congress will immediately implode. That’s a distinct possibility, though doomsayers might consider this caveat: Even Republicans are human. And humans evolve.

If there is a silver lining to the GOP’s six minority years under President Obama, it’s that the party has already made almost every mistake. John Boehner has learned the hard way that this White House isn’t interested in compromise. The conservative right (at least some of it) has learned the hard way that holding the government hostage won’t win victories. The GOP caucus has learned the hard way the perils of fracturing. The party has learned the hard way that it can’t run Washington from one branch of government.

One result of these unforced errors is the glimmer of the strategy that Republicans appear to be concocting for the next few years. It isn’t rooted in the fury that brought in the 2010 tea party wave, or shutdown politics or grand bargains. It isn’t about ObamaCare repeal, or Medicare overhaul. It is more measured, more aimed at incremental achievement. Slow as it has been to gel, we’re beginning to see the framework take shape:

Flood the zone : Six long years have given Republicans a decent feel for what this White House considers a priority. Their tactic in the recent omnibus was to inundate the administration with policy riders and force the White House to single out those it found most offensive. Republicans cut those few loose, but sent the rest to the president for his signature. The omnibus as a result contained more conservative policy progress—from blocking a sage grouse listing, to trucking rules, to EPA authority—than Republicans had gained in the previous four years.

This will be the model for most GOP policy victories. Every spending bill it creates will contain dozens of policy riders, and Mr. Obama will have to choose the ones over which he’ll threaten a veto. The rest, presumably, will pass. Mr. Boehner recently said that he may attach GOP border-security priorities to the Homeland Security funding bill that is due in February. Republicans may not be able to force the president to rescind his immigration executive order, but they might end up with a start to immigration reform.

Next Up in America: The Liberal Retreat

As the United States staggers toward the seventh year of Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, a growing disquiet permeates the ranks of the American left. After six years of the most liberal president since Jimmy Carter, the nation doesn’t seem to be asking for a second helping. Even though the multiyear rollout of Obamacare was carefully crafted to put all the popular features up front, delaying less popular changes into the far future, the program remains unpopular. Trust in the fairness and competence of government is pushing toward new lows in the polls, even though the government is now in the hands of forward-looking, progressive Democrats rather than antediluvian Gopers.

For liberals, these are bleak times of hollow victories (Obamacare) and tipping points that don’t tip. For examples of the latter, think of Sandy Hook, the horrific massacre in Connecticut that Democrats and liberals everywhere believed would finally push the American public toward gun control. Two years later, polls [links] show more Americans than ever before think it’s more important to protect gun access than to promote gun control.

Sandy Hook isn’t the only example. There was the latest 2014 IPCC report on climate change that was going to end the debate once and for all. The chances for legislative action on climate change in the new Congress: zero or less. There was the Garner videotape showing the fatal chokehold that set off a wave of protests, but seems unlikely to change public attitudes about the police. There was the Senate Intelligence Committee “torture report” that was going to settle the issue of treatment of detainees. Again, the polls are rolling in suggesting that the public remains exactly where it was: supportive of “torture” under certain circumstances[links]. And of course there was the blockbuster Rolling Stone article on campus rape at UVA, the story that before it abruptly collapsed was going to cement public support for the Obama administration’s aggressive attempt to federalize the treatment of sexual harassment on campuses around the country.

In all of these cases, liberals got what, from a liberal perspective, appeared to be conclusive evidence that long cherished liberal policy ideas were as correct as liberals have always thought they were. In all of these cases the establishment media conformed to the liberal narrative, inundating the airwaves and flooding the cyberverse with the liberal line. Some of the stories, like the UVA rape story, collapsed. Some, like the Ferguson story, became so complex and nuanced that some of their initial political salience diminished. But even when, as with Ferguson, a later story (“I can’t breathe”) seems to reinforce the initial liberal take, the public doesn’t seem to accept the liberal line. in all of these cases, public opinion does not seem to be drawing the inferences that liberals want it to draw. It’s becoming hard to avoid the conclusion that many Americans will continue to disagree with many liberal policy prescriptions no matter what.

Shell shocked liberals are beginning to grasp some inconvenient truths. No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the US Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No “name and shame” report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.

The GOP’s Resurging Public Image

The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz and Scott Clement write about a new Washington Post-ABC News poll:

Republican victories in the midterm elections have translated into an immediate boost in the party’s image, putting the GOP at its highest point in eight years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The spike in the party’s standing comes after Republicans picked up nine seats to take control of the Senate, raised their numbers in the House to the highest level in more than half a century and added new governorships to its already clear majority.

In the new poll, 47 percent say they have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, compared with 33 percent in the month before the midterm elections. An equal percentage have an unfavorable view, which marks the first time in six years that fewer than half of Americans said they saw Republicans negatively.

2016 Presidential

Only ~700 Days to Go  The Race for the White House — Nomination Phase

The Crystal Ball is, for now, in the middle. We feature 21 actual or potential contenders in our analysis, and we have divided them into seven tiers or categories.

The top tier is vacant — completely empty. If you think there’s a GOP frontrunner, then you are probably a staffer or family member of one of the candidates. Until one or more contenders can break a paltry 20% or 25% in the polls, this tier will be akin to the vacuum in outer space.

Few will dispute the quartet we’ve identified for our second tier, The Big Boys. Ex-Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Gov. Scott Walker (WI), and Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) have the right stuff to compete in the nominating process, though the nominee will not necessarily be one of the four.

We’ve had Bush atop our list of GOP presidential contenders for months, and earlier this week he made a non-announcement announcement of a campaign, saying that he will “actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States.” Bush has to be taken very seriously as a candidate, and we suspect that if he does in fact follow through on a campaign, other potential candidates such as Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, and perhaps many others from the mainstream of the party (more on them below) will defer to another member of the First Family of the Republican Party. That said, Bush may not be able to overcome his surname baggage and the aggressive dislike of much of the Tea Party.

In Michigan, an end to an incredible run in Congress

Officially, the curtain won’t come down on the 113th Congress until Jan. 6, but, with the U.S. House and Senate wrapping up work, it’s all but over now.

And with it ends a remarkable run for the Michigan delegation.

In recent Congresses, the state punched well above its weight class with six full committee chairs across the two chambers, two more legislators who are their party’s top-ranking members on their committees and the longest-serving member in congressional history.

“What a delegation when you think of it,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said this week at a party for the delegation. “No state rivals us.”

But that’s all about to change.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Reps. John Dingell, Dave Camp and Mike Rogers depart with a combined 133 years of congressional experience among them. Three of them — Levin, Camp and Rogers — are current committee chairmen. Dingell, no longer a chairman, has been in Congress longer than anyone in history, and has the accomplishments, personal connections and friendships to prove it.

And Michigan is going to miss them.

This is why I love Frank Beckman!  Lawmakers gutless on fixing Michigan roads

…legislature that had over two years to consider solutions, but frittered away that time until they reached the old 11th hour method of crisis decision making.

So now they’ve played Santa for road builders, for public transportation advocates, for teachers, and for local municipalities while rushing off for their own last-minute Christmas shopping and a long winter’s nap.

Only one group of people was asked to sacrifice for all this and that’s the group that always picks up the tab when the elected officials don’t show the intelligence or fortitude to make tough decisions to manage our money better.

That group is made up of the hard-working taxpayers.

They’ll now have five months to watch their hard earned money handed out by the millions to Hollywood and during that time they’ll get besieged by advertising that tells them this tax increase amounts to pennies — Gov. Snyder used the term, “less than a nickel” in his press conference

Thursday just like Jennifer Granholm once talked about “just two pennies” in seeking a tax hike.

Truth is, taxpayers are getting nickeled and dimed to death and they’ll either pay up or be blamed themselves for the bad roads if they vote no in May.

Sure the roads need to be fixed, but it’s the Legislature that should have figured out how to pay for it by cutting the existing budget, not leaning on the taxpayers for even more money.

Merry Christmas.

Conservatives Speak At Values Voters Summit In Washington

How A Conservative Insurgent Can Win The 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination

Earlier this month, the Grand Poobah of the Republican establishment, Karl Rove, provided a clear view of how his wing of the party is keeping score entering the 2016 presidential race.

Rove argues that to win the “invisible” (pre-spotlight) primary, a candidate must enthusiastically support the GOP’s preferred candidates, generic message, and jobs program for veteran political hacks funded by the credulous and self-interested donor class. In other words, a 2016 candidate must tacitly give his unswerving loyalty to the rule that one’s candidacy will in no way threaten the political status quo or derail its well-orchestrated puppet show. Show yourself to be a company man and your time will come.

Establishment favorites Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie have all put in their time. Almost-ready-for-prime-time candidates (reading between Rove’s lines) Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, if willing to abide by the rules, appear to be first in line if the Big Three sit, quit, or implode. The rest of the field Rove politely dismisses, although more for the sin of spending too many days in Iowa or New Hampshire rather than for their ideological nonconformity.

We know, then, how the establishment measures the field, but how do they (so consistently) get their favorites through the primary process? Listen up, “stupid” bitter clingers in flyover America: they’ve got your number.

Jindal: The voters spoke, Republicans should listen

“Elections have consequences,” President Obama said, setting his new policy agenda just three days after taking office in 2009. Three elections later, the president’s party has lost 70 House seats and 14 Senate seats. The job of Republicans now is to govern with the confidence that elections do have consequences, promptly passing the conservative reform the voters have demanded.

Commentators and pundits are already suggesting that Republicans need to be careful about what they do now that they control Congress. So do I — I believe we need to be very careful to stand up for what we believe in, and for what the American people voted for.

The Republican-controlled Congress must pass conservative reforms on energy, healthcare, tax reform and education, and give the president the opportunity to do the will of the American people. Let him decide if he wants to be constructive, or if he wants to conclude his presidency as a liberal obstructionist ideologue who vetoes everything.

In the days since the voters handed the President a resounding defeat, he has been defiantly in denial. He issues executive orders to bypass the Congress chosen by the voters. He broods. He pouts. He shows no sign of course correction even though he admitted famously before the vote that his policies were, in fact, on the ballot.

As Republicans, we should be unfazed by the moodiness at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The voters chose an overwhelming Republican majority at every level of government — 31 out of 50 governor’s offices, 59 out of 99 state legislative chambers and the largest Republican House majority since World War II. The mandate for governance requires that we methodically and deliberately roll back the top-down liberal policies the voters rejected and replace them with bottom-up conservative reform that works.

I like!  John Kasich’s crusade – Behind the potential 2016 candidate’s long shot bid for a balanced budget amendment.

John Kasich watched the drama unfold in the Capitol last week with exasperation. The Republican governor of Ohio was upset with Democrats, but he was miffed at his own party, too — for engaging in the same old antics on government spending and the deficit, a matter with which Kasich became intimately familiar as a young congressman three decades ago.

“Republicans have a [national] convention, and all they do is have a debt clock up there and talk about how bad it is,” Kasich said in an interview. “You’ve got to do something about it!”

Now Kasich is trying to do something about it, something that’s never been done in American history and is all but certain to fail again: He’s launching a national campaign to pass an amendment to the Constitution through the states, in this case to require a balanced federal budget. Success, though, may be almost beside the point: Worst case, Kasich is out there fighting for his cause, and raising his profile, ahead of a potential 2016 presidential candidacy.

While his would-be rivals follow the traditional path of logging miles in Iowa and New Hampshire, Kasich is pursuing a more unorthodox approach. Fresh off a landslide reelection in the quintessential swing state of Ohio, the 62-year-old governor made the first stop of a planned multistate tour in Phoenix this past week. Next up are Idaho and Utah.

Could Compact For America’s Constitutional Amendment Stop The Federal Juggernaut?

Thomas Jefferson agreed that federal borrowing was dangerous. In a letter written to James Taylor in 1798, he stated, “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

Since the official debt of the U.S. government has recently gone over $18 trillion and is projected to increase dramatically over the next two decades, it is certainly time to think hard about the explosion of federal borrowing. If we can’t remove the borrowing power in the Constitution, as Jefferson suggested, couldn’t we at least put a limit on it?

There is one enormous obstacle to doing so: the political establishment in Washington. Politicians often pay lip service to returning to fiscal sobriety, but the safe thing for many of them to do is – nothing. Any votes they might take to rein in the government’s spending will mean barrages of attack ads from special interest groups and their political allies, decrying the heartlessness of Senator X or Congressman Y for voting to cut spending on some ostensibly compassionate program.

Viewing Russia From the Inside

I came away with two senses. One was that Putin was more secure than I thought. In the scheme of things, that does not mean much. Presidents come and go. But it is a reminder that things that would bring down a Western leader may leave a Russian leader untouched. Second, the Russians do not plan a campaign of aggression. Here I am more troubled — not because they want to invade anyone, but because nations frequently are not aware of what is about to happen, and they might react in ways that will surprise them. That is the most dangerous thing about the situation. It is not what is intended, which seems genuinely benign. What is dangerous is the action that is unanticipated, both by others and by Russia.

At the same time, my general analysis remains intact. Whatever Russia might do elsewhere, Ukraine is of fundamental strategic importance to Russia. Even if the east received a degree of autonomy, Russia would remain deeply concerned about the relationship of the rest of Ukraine to the West. As difficult as this is for Westerners to fathom, Russian history is a tale of buffers. Buffer states save Russia from Western invaders. Russia wants an arrangement that leaves Ukraine at least neutral.

For the United States, any rising power in Eurasia triggers an automatic response born of a century of history. As difficult as it is for Russians to understand, nearly half a century of a Cold War left the United States hypersensitive to the possible re-emergence of Russia. The United States spent the past century blocking the unification of Europe under a single, hostile power. What Russia intends and what America fears are very different things.

The United States and Europe have trouble understanding Russia’s fears. Russia has trouble understanding particularly American fears. The fears of both are real and legitimate. This is not a matter of misunderstanding between countries but of incompatible imperatives. All of the good will in the world — and there is precious little of that — cannot solve the problem of two major countries that are compelled to protect their interests and in doing so must make the other feel threatened. I learned much in my visit. I did not learn how to solve this problem, save that at the very least each must understand the fears of the other, even if they can’t calm them.

America’s Uneasy Path Abroad in 2015

The U.S. is still the world’s leading economy, but its geopolitical clout isn’t what it used to be.

America is not in decline. The U.S. will have the world’s most formidable military for the foreseeable future. Its economy remains the world’s largest, and its recovery will probably gather more steam in 2015. Its workforce is not aging nearly as quickly as that of Europe, Japan or China. No country has a greater capacity for technological innovation. Almost all the world’s biggest tech companies are based in the U.S. For next-generation cloud computing, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and nanotechnology, bet on the U.S. America has an entrepreneurial culture that celebrates not simply what has been accomplished but also what’s next. There is every reason to be confident that America has a bright 21st century future.

But its foreign policy is a different story. American power is on the wane, a process that will accelerate in 2015. Power is a measure of one’s ability to force others to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do, and there are now more governments with enough resources and self-confidence to shrug off requests and demands from Washington. There was never a golden age of U.S. power when an American President could count on other governments to do as he asked. But there are several reasons the U.S. is now less able to build coalitions, forge trade agreements, win support for sanctions, broker international compromise or persuade others to follow its lead into conflict than at any other time since the end of World War II.

The Virtue of Amoral Foreign Policy

When we think seriously about foreign policy we think amorally. For foreign policy involves the battle of geographical space and power, played out over the millennia by states and empires in a world where there is no referee or night watchman in charge. The state is governed by law, but the world is anarchic – a realization made famous by the late academic theorist Kenneth N. Waltz of Columbia University.

In such a world, needs rather than wishes rule, and even a liberal power such as the United States is not exempt from the struggle for survival. Such a struggle means looking unsentimentally at the human condition, which, in turn, requires a good deal of unpleasantness. Boiled down to its essentials, here is the situation of the United States:

The United States dominates the Western Hemisphere and therefore has power to spare to affect the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere. It uses this power to secure the sea lines of communication and free access to hydrocarbons. In a word, the United States engages in the amoral struggle for power to defend a liberal international order. The end result is in a large sense moral, but the means, if not immoral, are often amoral – that is, they belong in a category separate from the one involving lofty principles.

Why Would the Saudis Deliberately Crash the Oil Markets?

Simple: to undermine Tehran.

Today, oil prices have again plummeted, from a high of $115 per barrel in August 2013 to under $60 per barrel in mid December 2014. Western experts, predictably, have seized the opportunity to ponder what cheaper oil might mean for the stock market. As for why prices have dropped, some analysts have suggested it has little to do with any manipulation of Saudi spigots: A December essay in Bloomberg Businessweek credited the American shale revolution with “breaking OPEC’s neck.”

There’s no doubt that shale has eroded Saudi Arabia’s “swing power” as the world’s largest oil producer. But thanks to their pumping capacity, reserves, and stockpiles, the Saudis are still more than capable of crashing the oil markets — and willing to do so. In September 2014, they did just that, boosting oil production by half a percent (to 9.6 million barrels per day) in markets already brimming with cheap crude and, a few days later, offering increased discounts to major Asian customers; global prices quickly fell nearly 30 percent.

As in 1977, the Saudis instigated this flood for political reasons: Whether foreign analysts believe it or not, oil markets remain important venues in the Saudi-Iranian struggle for supremacy over the Persian Gulf.

15 Overlay Maps That Will Change The Way You See The World Maps are all imperfect because they portray the globe in just two dimensions. Most maps, like the Mercator projection, distort the size or shape of land masses, which skews our perceptions of how big continents and countries are compared to one another.

When you consider square mileage though, a whole new world appears. Inspired by this map of Africa’s true size from German graphic designer Kai Krause, we created 15 map overlays to open your eyes to some real geography.

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Weekly Musing 12-14-14

Weekly Musing 12-14-14

Saul Anuzis


The country has had it with Obama

First, it seemed the wheels were coming off the bus internationally. Our people were murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Iraq crumbled. Then Libya crumbled, again. The Islamic State conquered vast stretches of territory. Russia grabbed part of Ukraine. Israel and the United States fought while Iran inched closer to getting the bomb. Our Sunni allies publicly lashed out at the administration. China pressed its advantage.

Now the wheels, which were none too secure here at home, are spinning off in every direction on the domestic side. President Obama got caught flat-footed on Ebola. His 2012 executive move on immigration set off a border crisis. The president then doubled down and created a firestorm with an immigration overreach so vast and unprecedented that it surpassed any act of executive brazenness since Watergate. (The Post’s editorial board denounces his move: “This is not a game of gotcha; facts matter — even in Washington — and so do the numbers. Under close scrutiny it is plain that the White House’s numbers are indefensible. It is similarly plain that the scale of Mr. Obama’s move goes far beyond anything his predecessors attempted. . . . Republicans’ failure to address immigration also does not justify Mr. Obama’s massive unilateral act. Unlike [President George H.W.] Bush in 1990, whose much more modest order was in step with legislation recently and subsequently enacted by Congress, Mr. Obama’s move flies in the face of congressional intent — no matter how indefensible that intent looks.”)

And to top it off, we have serial cases of racial violence and anger over interactions with the police and African Americans, the latest being the nearly inexplicable decision in New York not to indict a police officer in the chokehold killing of Eric Garner. (So much for the notion that if we just had cameras, these controversies would diminish.) Through polls Americans say they do not trust Obama to handle major issues, they don’t like how he responded to the Ferguson, Mo., convulsion, and they would rather Congress run things for a while.

The sad irony is that the one thing Republicans hoped that Obama (no red states, no blue states, etc.) could do — help reduce racial tensions and be an example of racial progress — he is now singularly unable to do. Virtually everything he says or does inflames and aggravates multiple segments of society. It is not that in the specific cases of Eric Garner or Michael Brown he did anything all that provocative. To the contrary, he tried to walk a very thin line. Rather, it is because in the six preceding years he chose to govern as a vicious partisan, jamming through his signature issue on strict party lines with a legislative gimmick and constantly taking delight (most recently in the immigration context) in sticking it to his opponents instead of brokering deals (e.g. the grand bargain he threw away). Forget about governing; he can no longer coexist amicably with Congress or even many members of his own party.

Putin Army Hat

Finally… Russia threatens response if US sets new sanctions over Ukraine – Well, Mr. President?

Russia responded angrily on Saturday to news that US senators had passed a bill calling for fresh sanctions against Moscow and the supply of lethal military aid to Ukraine.

“Undoubtedly, we will not be able to leave this without a response,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency ahead of a meeting between the Russian and US foreign ministers.

The Senate bill — dubbed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act — must still be approved by the White House, which has so far been reluctant to provide direct military assistance to Ukraine for fear of being drawn into a proxy war with Russia.

Ryabkov blamed “anti-Russian moods” in the United States for the bill passed on Friday, which calls for additional sanctions against Russia and the delivery of up to $350 million (280 million euros’) worth of US military hardware to Ukraine.

The eight-month conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists has left at least 4,634 dead and 10,243 wounded, while displacing more than 1.1 million people, according to new figures released by the United Nations

Behind the GOP Statehouse Juggernaut

The media focus on national elections, but the bigger story of 2014 may be the earthquake in the states. Republicans now hold 31 governorships, but as important and less well understood is that they will also hold more state legislative seats than at any time since 1928. These are the building blocks of national success because they train future House and Senate candidates and become laboratories for conservative reform.

A common view is that many GOP candidates simply rode into office thanks to an anti-Democrat “wave election.” But don’t tell that to Florida political veteran Bill McCollum, who laid out a battle plan that produced the party’s statehouse coups. Over a recent lunch in downtown Orlando, Fla., he explained how Republicans did it, how they can capitalize on the wins, and what lessons the successes might hold for the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. McCollum is chairman of one of the least-known important outfits in American politics—the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), an outgrowth of the Republican National Committee formed in 2002 that plays in legislative, lieutenant governors’ and secretary of state races. But “it was only in 2010 that the legislative campaign committee came into its own,” Mr. McCollum says, establishing “a large network of relationships that allowed us to go out and play in a lot of legislative races.”

You might say they overachieved: In 2010 Republicans picked up 675 legislative seats, flipped 21 chambers, and won complete control of 25 statehouses. This year Mr. McCollum credits a “perfect storm” of strong candidates, effective strategy and a highly charged political atmosphere that delivered 69 of 99 state legislative chambers to Republican hands, exceeding the party’s previous high-water mark of 64 in 1920.

Republicans this year flipped nine state legislative chambers: the Colorado Senate; Maine Senate; Minnesota House; Nevada Senate and Assembly; New Hampshire House; New Mexico House and West Virginia House and Senate.

Next year, the GOP will control the legislatures and governorships in 23 states, while Democrats will enjoy hegemony in seven—California, Delaware, Oregon, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Bolstering the GOP’s ranks in state government, Republicans will have 31 lieutenant governors, 28 secretaries of state and 27 attorneys general.

Welcome to the Democrats’ Post-Obama Family Feud

It’s turning out to be an awkward week for the Dean family. As former Vermont Governor Howard Dean announced Wednesday that he would back a Hillary Clinton presidential bid, the progressive group he founded declared that they were launching a major campaign to coax Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren into the race.

“Some of the other candidates may not be happy about this but they’ll thank us for it later,” Jim Dean, executive director of Democracy for America, and Howard’s brother, said of the effort to woo Warren. “Part of this is trying to wake the party up.” His position couldn’t be more different than his brother’s, who praised Clinton as a “mature, seasoned, thoughtful leader” in an editorial published by Politico that morning.

As the Jims of the Democratic world are clamoring for an alternative to Clinton, the Howards are racing to line up behind her even though she hasn’t decided whether to run. The two powerful women at the center of the discontent, however, are little more than indicators of a far broader family feud over the Democratic party’s future heading into 2016. On one side of the debate are strategists and officials, including some aligned with Clinton, who believe their path to the White House in the post-Obama era rests with wooing centrist, working class voters.  To progressive activists, union members, and other parts of the “professional left,” as an Obama aide once called them, victory lies in running on an aggressive, populist economic message.

Senate 2016: The Republicans’ 2012 Homework

After playing offense in 2014 and netting nine Senate seats to set up a 54-46 majority in the 114th Congress, Republicans will mostly be playing defense in 2016. That probably means the GOP will end up losing seats, but recent history suggests that we should not be certain about that.

Heading into the 2016 Senate cycle, Republicans find themselves in a position similar to the Democrats going into 2012, with a Senate map dotted with vulnerabilities created by victories won six and 12 years prior.

In 2012, many observers, including us, thought the Republicans were primed to net at least a few Senate seats in large part because the Democrats were defending 23 Senate seats to just 10 for the Republicans. That Democratic exposure was created by the party’s solid wins in 2006, when they netted six Senate seats, and 2000, when they netted four seats. Two straight big elections on the same Senate map suggested the Democrats were in line for losses.

Republicans find themselves in almost the same position Democrats did four years ago, when the 2012 election cycle was taking shape. The GOP is defending 24 seats, while the Democrats only need to protect 10. The 2016 map is also the product of not just one previous big Republican victory, but two. In 2010, the last time this Senate class was contested, Republicans netted six seats. And six years before that, in 2004, Republicans netted four seats.

Map 1, the current occupants of the 34 Senate seats that make up 2016’s Senate Class Three, shows the obvious Republican challenge.

2016 Presidential

A Mistake Waiting to Happen!  G.O.P. Donors Seek to Anoint a 2016 Nominee Early

Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney.

All three are believed to be capable of raising the roughly $80 million in candidate and “super PAC” money that many Republican strategists and donors now believe will be required to win their party’s nomination.

But the reality of all three candidates vying for support has dismayed the party’s top donors and “bundlers,” the volunteers who solicit checks from networks of friends and business associates. They fear being split into competing camps and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a bloody primary that would injure the party’s eventual nominee — or pave the way for a second-tier candidate without enough mainstream appeal to win the general election.

All-GOP controlled states outnumber all-Democratic states 24-7

Americans for Tax Reform produced the map showing that 146 million Americans live in all-GOP states compared to 49 million in all-Democratic states. Another 112 million live in states where the party of the governor and legislature are different.

What’s more, ATR President Grover Norquist told Secrets that all-Republican states outnumber all-Democratic states by a whopping 24 to 7.

“This is the demographic of the future of America,” he said.

Liberalism Is a Hoax – Public relations in the service of the left

Liberal myths propagated to generate outrage and activism, to organize and coordinate and mobilize disparate grievances and conflicting agendas, so often have the same relation to truth, accuracy, and legitimacy as a Bud Light commercial. Marketing is not limited to business. Inside the office buildings of Washington, D.C., are thousands upon thousands of professionals whose livelihoods depend on the fact that there is no better way than a well-run public relations campaign to get you to do what they want. What recent weeks have done is provide several lessons in the suspect nature of such campaigns…

…So much of contemporary liberalism reeks of a scheme by which already affluent and influential people increase their margins and extend their sway. Liberalism, mind you, in both parties: the Republican elite seems as devoted as their Democratic cousins to the shibboleths of diversity and immigration even as they bemoan the fate of the middle class and seek desperately the votes of white working families.

Just-so stories, extravagant assertions, heated denunciations, empty gestures, moral posturing that increases in intensity the further removed it is from the truth: If the mainstream narration of our ethnic, social, and cultural life is susceptible to error, it is because liberalism is the prevailing disposition of our institutions of higher education, of our media, of our nonprofit and public sectors, and it is therefore cocooned from skepticism and incredulity and independent thought. Sometimes the truth punctures the bubble. And when that happens—and lately it seems to be happening with increasing frequency—liberalism itself goes on trial.

Has the jury reached a verdict? Yes, your honor, it has. We find the defendant guilty. Liberalism is a hoax.

The secret GOP tech summit to plot 2016

The Republican Party’s top operatives — including strategists representing the Koch brothers’ political operation and several leading prospective 2016 presidential candidates – on Monday huddled behind closed doors to discuss how to synchronize their sometimes competing tech efforts, multiple attendees confirmed to POLITICO.

The all-day meeting attracted about 40 of the right’s biggest names in tech and strategy – including Koch operatives Michael Palmer and Marc Short, leading strategists from many of the major super PACs and all of the party committees, as well as close allies of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and Scott Walker.

The session was at least partly intended to quash a rivalry simmering in the right’s tech ranks. Some party operatives worry that the competition between would be data-wizards could emerge as a problem for Republicans, since Democrats under President Barack Obama have coordinated their technology efforts relatively closely.

…GOP outreach efforts lagged far behind Obama’s vaunted voter-targeting machine in 2012, culminating in the embarrassing Election-Day snafus that plagued the turnout platform built by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign. The platform, called ORCA, was ridiculed as “Romney’s fail whale” and became emblematic of the tech deficiencies plaguing the GOP.

After 2012, conservatives generally agreed that addressing those deficiencies was a driving imperative since data is increasingly central to all phases of politics — from fundraising to messaging to getting out the vote. But they disagreed on how — and who — best to do it, and a competition for data supremacy has emerged between the Koch operation’s technology company (called i360), the Republican National Committee’s effort (Data Trust) and various other outside players.

According to multiple participants, Boyce told attendees it is essential for conservatives to start working more closely together soon — well before the 2016 GOP presidential primary — otherwise the party’s nominee will have to play catchup in the general election like Romney struggled to do. Boyce did not respond to an email message seeking comment on Monday afternoon.

Rick Snyder, eyeing 2016, to take Detroit success story on the road Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, bet his political career on turning around Detroit, even as many leaders of the overwhelmingly Democratic city proclaimed he would fail.

Snyder’s success since last summer has given him a captivating rationale to run for president — and a story he intends to share across the country in the coming months.

As of Thursday, 16 months after the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit will again control its finances and its destiny. The majority black city of 700,000 has shed billions in debt, and the emergency manager appointed by Snyder is stepping down.

The Motor City’s emergence from bankruptcy is a huge political win not just for the 56-year-old Snyder but also for his brand of technocratic Republicanism.

After a celebratory press conference Wednesday, Snyder told POLITICO that he plans a more aggressive travel schedule next year to “explain the Michigan story to the rest of the country.”

“As we solve these problems, one of the things you find is the perception of an area tends to lag five or 10 years behind the reality of it,” he said. “As we’ve shown the vast improvement over the last few years, now it’s time to start talking about the success in Michigan.”

Detroit from Air

You can learn a lot about a place by seeing it from the air. I’m a pilot and an aerial photographer; I am also trained as an architect. I’ve always been interested in how the natural and constructed worlds work together, and sometimes collide. Issues like income inequality also reveal themselves quickly from above, and in Detroit and the surrounding area, the stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots couldn’t be more apparent.

Outside the city center, I flew over new homes built alongside lakes and country clubs. Five-car garages, swimming pools and pool houses decorated elaborately landscaped yards. However, once I crossed into the city limits, the urban fabric of Detroit looked like a moth-eaten blanket. Vast depopulated areas were filled with vacant lots and blocks of boarded-up and burned-out homes. This type of blight is visible in other American cities but few compare to the emptiness that surrounds Detroit’s downtown.

I first photographed Detroit from the air during the Reagan-Carter campaign 34 years ago. Housing abandonment was well underway. The city had lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs as the auto industry contracted and moved parts of its operations out of Detroit. “White flight” from the city, exacerbated by race riots in 1967, also contributed to severe depopulation of the area. Meanwhile, the construction of highways allowed people to live farther away and commute to work, perpetuating the exodus to the suburbs. When I photographed the city in 2004, Detroit was still in decline. I could see from a plane even more abandoned and burned-out buildings, rubble and foundations poking out above the ground. The situation only worsened with the 2008 recession.

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:

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Weekly Musing 12-7-14

Weekly Musing 12-7-14

Saul Anuzis


R.I.P. Bob Bennett

A good friend, great leader and tireless worker on behalf of the Republican Party.  Bob served in many roles, but most notably as the former Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.


The remarkable collapse of our trust in government, in one chart

No one likes  — or trusts — the government. At this point, that’s accepted conventional wisdom. And most people assume it has always been like that. (We have a tendency to assume whatever is happening to us right now has always been happening.)

But that lack of trust hasn’t always been a part of the American experience — as this awesome chart from our friends at the Pew Research Center shows. The line below charts the percentage of people who have told Pew they trust the government “just about always” or “most of the time”.

Poll: Party ID shift post-midterms

More Americans are identifying with the Republican Party after the midterm elections and fewer with the Democrats, according to a new poll.

A Gallup poll released on Tuesday found a small shift in party identification, with 42 percent of those surveyed now identify with the GOP compared with 39 percent that identified similarly before the elections.

Democrats have lost a little support among voters. Before the midterm elections, 43 percent of Americans polled by Gallup said that they “identify as/lean Democratic.” Now 41 percent say they identify with Democrats.

This is not the first time that Gallup has seen a post-election Republican lean following a GOP sweep. Similar shifts in party affiliation among Americans occurred in 1994 and 2002, when Republicans gained advantages in Congress.

Democrats Paved the Way for Their Own Decline

There are many reasons for this decline in support for Democrats among certain groups. But an argument can be made that it is because Democrats have subordinated their traditional focus on helping lower- and working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other noble priorities, such as health care, the environment, and civil rights. Whether these were the right or wrong priorities is totally subjective, but they have come at a cost. Sen. Chuck Schumer recently committed the classic case of a political gaffe, once defined by Michael Kinsley as “when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” The Democratic Left went crazy when Schumer suggested that the early focus on health care reform in 2009 and 2010, when he says Democrats should have been concentrating on economic growth and job creation, had cost them greatly (something that I have written about for over five years).

Governing is about making choices and facing consequences. Implicitly, to focus on certain things is to de-emphasize other things. The modern Democratic Party was effectively born during President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, reacting and dealing with the Great Depression. While books have been filled with the multitude of things that Roosevelt and his New Dealers did, if you boiled it down to its essence, it was helping people get back on their feet after the great stock-market crash of 1929 and the deep depression that resulted. In 2008, we faced the Great Recession, and like other financial meltdowns, it was deep and painful. At the tail end of the George W. Bush administration and in the early Obama years, financial markets were stabilized (the overwhelming majority of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds have been repaid, with many of the investments yielding profits for Uncle Sam), and the Obama administration should be applauded for rescuing the automobile industry. But while those actions can be legitimately seen as a good start, we then saw a grand pivot to the environment and health care, with grave consequences for the party. At another time and in different fashion, both are important priorities, but the focus on these issues has effectively decimated the Democratic Party in specific areas and among specific voter blocs. The evidence is the difference in the partisan makeup of the Congress that will be sworn in next month, compared with the one from eight years ago.

Obama’s dangerous legacy for Democrats

The Obama damage is two-fold. First, his success relied on a coalition that likely will not survive, or at least survive at full strength, without Obama himself on the ticket. Secondly, Obama drove a significant portion of white voters away from the Democratic Party.

Put those two things together — smaller Obama coalition and more alienated whites — and the result could be huge trouble for whoever the Democratic presidential nominee is in 2016.

First the coalition: Obama’s powerful appeal to minorities, women, and young people propelled his decisive wins in 2008 and 2012. But those voters didn’t show up at the polls in 2010 and 2014.

2016 Senate Races

House 2016: Republicans Start With a Commanding Edge

Republicans now control 26 seats won by President Obama in 2012. So even if Democrats somehow swept all of these seats in 2016, they would still be four seats short of a majority.

Here’s an easy prediction: The Democrats will not sweep these 26 seats. Some of the Obama Republican districts have entrenched, long-term incumbents like Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27), Frank LoBiondo (R, NJ-2), and Peter King (R, NY-2) whose seats probably will not be very competitive until they retire. Also, these 26 seats do not all lean Democratic, despite being won by Obama in 2012: Mitt Romney matched or exceeded his 47% share of the vote in more than half of these districts (16 of 26). The Republicans are overextended, but not overwhelmingly so. Even if Hillary Clinton or another Democrat won the White House in 2016, there might be limits to the coattails she or he could produce because of the lack of truly winnable swing districts currently held by Republicans.

Five Democrats hold districts won by Mitt Romney in 2012, and there are a number of other seats won by Obama in 2012 that Democrats only narrowly held this year. So Republicans will have at least a few targets of their own.

Who’s Winning The GOP’s Invisible Primaries?

In a Nov. 23 CNN survey, Mitt Romney led 16 potential GOP presidential candidates with 20%, followed by Dr. Ben Carson at 10%, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 9% and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 8%. The other 12 names garnered between less than 1% and 7%. That the front-runner is not even running shows polls now reflect little more than name recognition. It will be next fall before surveys start depicting the real shape of the GOP race. However, there are invisible primaries under way. Here is how candidates are faring in these sub-rosa matchups: The first of these contests was about making the election of GOP candidates in 2014 a priority—and not about their own personal ambition. Four presidential prospects did well. Gov. Christie raised $106 million as Republican Governors Association chairman to help elect a record number of GOP state chief executives. Mr. Bush raised bundles in Florida for competitive Senate candidates and campaigned extensively across the country…

…A second invisible primary centers on developing a message. Two Wisconsinites did particularly well in 2014: Gov. Scott Walker issued a remarkably readable book, as did Rep. Paul Ryan , who has done the most to set a positive GOP agenda during the Obama era…

…There’s also the money primary. Messrs. Christie and Bush are best positioned to have big bundler networks raising money at the $2,600 maximum. For their re-elections, Gov. Walker raised $25 million, Ohio Gov. John Kasich raised $20 million and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took in $12.5 million. All three would be competitive if those donors support presidential bids. Governors, however, cannot accept donations from Wall Street Republicans who do business with their state pension and other funds…

…The next contest is for staff. Each GOP hopeful has a team that won their last race, but all of them need to broaden their squads for the gigantic task of contesting the nomination. This is an early leadership test. Can a candidate recruit, train and lead a team of many strangers that can organize critical states and weather the tough patches that lie ahead? The winners of these invisible primaries are most likely to be contenders in the real primaries that begin in 14 months.

#Hillary #TedCruz rule

Exclusive data show they’re already dominating – for good and bad – on Facebook, Twitter.

Cruz has a robust Facebook presence. | POLITICO

Social media has no doubt who the most buzzworthy potential presidential candidates are at the moment for 2016: Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz together accounted for 40 percent of the discussion on Facebook and nearly half — 47 percent — of mentions on Twitter among 10 top presidential possibilities in the past three months, according to new data provided to POLITICO by Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush’s big name didn’t spark much chatter at all. He garnered only 3 percent of the Facebook mentions and 2 percent of tweets, fewer than nine other would-be contenders.

The mentions cut both ways, including negative comments as well as positive ones. But they reflect the extent to which Clinton, a long-standing subject of debate, and Cruz, who casts himself as a conservative renegade, have dominated the conversation at a time when others are trying to gin up some grass-roots energy.

“Imperfect as it is, [Facebook] is probably the biggest trove of data of what actual human beings outside of Washington, D.C., are talking about day to day and that makes it intrinsically important, and these platforms are actually important for reaching people and motivating them,” said Teddy Goff, partner at Precision Strategies and former digital director for Obama’s reelection campaign.

Without Electoral College Reform – We’re Screwed!

The 32 states that voted for the same party in the 6 presidential elections between 1992 and 2012

Dem 6 times Dem 5 times Dem 4 times Dem 3 times Dem 2 times Dem 1 time Dem 0 times
CA (55)

CT (7)

DE (3)

D.C. (3)

HI (4)

IL (20)

MA (11)

ME (4)

MD (10)

MI (16)

MN (10)

NJ (14)

NY (29)

OR (7)

PA (20)

RI (4)

VT (3)

WA (12)

WI (10)

IA (6)

NH (4)

NM (5)

NV (6)

OH (18)

CO (9)

FL (29)

AR (6)

KY (8)

LA (8)

MO (10)

TN (11)

VA (13)

WV (5)

AZ (11)


IN (11)

MT (3)

NC (15)

AL (9)

AK (3)

ID (4)

KS (6)

MS (6)

NE (5)

ND (3)

OK (7)

SC (9)

SD (3)

TX (38)

UT (6)

WY (3)

242 EV 15 EV 24 EV  38 EV 61 EV 56 EV 102 EV

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:

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.

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Weekly Musing 7-13-14

Weekly Musing 7-13-14

Saul Anuzis



Now, More than Ever, It’s A Time for Choosing



Awesome “Peaceful Majority were IRRELEVANT” Heritage Foundation Panelist on Radical Islam

The best, most direct and honest answer I have ever heard about the “peaceful majority”. A must watch!


Land Speech

2014 Senate rankings: Map favors GOP

With four months until Election Day, Republicans are as close to winning the Senate as they’ve been since losing it in 2006.


Six months ago, the GOP path to the majority was narrower: Republicans essentially had to sweep seven races in states Barack Obama lost in 2012 but where Democrats currently hold seats. Unlikely, in other words.


Now Republicans have more options. They’ve landed top recruits to take on first-term senators in New Hampshire and Colorado, nominated credible female candidates in open-seat contests in Michigan and Iowa, protected all of their incumbents from tea party challenges and thwarted more conservative candidates that could have hurt the GOP’s chances in states like North Carolina and Georgia.

With the general election field all but set, Republicans are looking to turn the midterms into a national referendum on Obama. Democrats want the focus to be squarely on the candidates, and they’re spending the typically quiet summer months trying to define Republican hopefuls as unlikeable and extreme.



Establishment Tea – The GOP is coming together, not apart

Reporters and commentators have been drawn to civil-war metaphors in describing the fight between the “establishment” and “tea party” wings of the Republican party for years now, and it has usually seemed overwrought. Then along came the shocking upset of House majority leader Eric Cantor in Virginia, followed by a Thad Cochran–Chris McDaniel Senate primary in Mississippi that was about as pleasant as the Battle of Chickamauga.


The drama of these elections — Cantor’s defeat was literally historic, and Cochran’s victory will generate ill feelings for a long time to come — has obscured the larger story of the evolution of the party. The GOP may well be coming together, not coming apart. Both wings of the party are, in fits and starts, converging on a new synthesis.

The tea parties have almost since their inception been attacking the party establishment for not standing for anything, and the establishment has been complaining for nearly as long that tea-party candidates are not ready for prime time. This primary season, each side seems to be learning the other’s lesson.



Maureen Dowd Just Proved Every Single Conservative Point For Me

Dowd’s column was a masterpiece of liberal thought. It should be framed on every sane American’s wall and included in every U.S. history book for the rest of time. It should serve as a warning of what happens when liberals are in charge. Even Dowd, the queen of liberalism, openly admitted that America has gone to hell.


Imagine buying a beautiful home, in a wonderful, safe neighborhood, with great schools. Then, through a combination of incompetence, ignorance, arrogance and purposeful intent, that home becomes a garbage-ridden, graffiti-covered crack house. In short order, the entire neighborhood goes to hell. The good people escape. Drug dealers and welfare addicts move in. The streets become dangerous. The schools become cesspools of crime, drugs, gangs, and teen pregnancy. Then the landlord, who allowed this to happen (by being the worst homeowner on the planet) has the nerve to complain about how the neighborhood has gone downhill. Can you imagine the nerve?


Well that was Dowd’s New York Times column on July 4. Dowd admits America has become a disaster, a country in shambles, a country in decline. She says we are “scared of our own shadow.” Collapsing. Crumbling. Defeated. We’ve lost our confidence. We’ve lost our swagger. No more hope about the future. A country no longer “exceptional.”


Americans Are Politically Divided and Our Feelings Toward the Parties Show It

How politically divided are ordinary Americans? The recent release of a report on polarization in public opinion by the Pew Research Center has reignited a debate among journalists and academics about the depth of the divisions between supporters of the two major parties. One of the key findings of the report is that supporters of the two parties hold increasingly negative feelings toward the opposing party and its leaders. While some scholars like Morris Fiorina of Stanford University have disputed the significance of these findings, an examination of evidence from the American National Election Studies provides strong support for the conclusions of the Pew study.


The ANES data make it possible to examine trends in feelings toward the Democratic and Republican parties over a fairly long period of time. Since 1978, the ANES has been asking national samples of American adults in every presidential election year and most midterm election years to rate both parties on a feeling thermometer scale. The scale ranges from zero degrees to 100 degrees with zero the most negative rating, 100 the most positive rating, and 50 a neutral rating. Ratings above 50 degrees are considered positive, while ratings below 50 degrees are considered negative.



Happy Birthday, America – John Adams’ letters from Philadelphia celebrate a nation conceived in liberty.

A must read for every American…



Boehner: Why we must now sue the President

Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.


But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.


That’s why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.


The President’s response: “So sue me.”



Obama’s irresponsible taunt: President increasingly willing to go at it alone The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court late last month that President Obama violated the separation of powers in appointing officials is the type of decision that usually concentrates the mind of a chief executive. Obama, however, appeared to double down on his strategy — stating in a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday that he intended to expand, not reduce, his use of unilateral actions to circumvent Congress.


Summing up his position, the President threw down the gauntlet at Congress: “So sue me.”


The moment was reminiscent of George W. Bush’s taunting Iraqi insurgents over 10 years ago by saying, “Bring ’em on.”

It was irresponsible bravado from a man who was not himself at the receiving end of IEDs and constant attacks that would go on to cost us thousands of military personnel. I imagine some lawyers at the Justice Department may feel the same way about Obama’s “sue me” taunt. They are the ones being hammered in federal courts over sweeping new interpretations and unilateral executive actions.



The Obama Presidency Unravels

The Obama presidency has unraveled. The man who liberal political commentators once said was the rhetorical match of Lincoln is now considered by one-third of Americans to be the worst president since World War II, according to a new Quinnipiac University National Poll. (The span covers 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies.) The same poll found that 45 percent of Americans say the nation would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election, while only 38 percent say the country would be worse off.


Another poll–this one from the Gallup organization–finds that in his sixth year of office, the level of confidence in Mr. Obama’s presidency is 29 percent. That’s lower than at a comparable point for any of his predecessors.

But the president’s problem isn’t polling data; it’s objective conditions. While recent job reports have been somewhat encouraging, the deeper trends of the economy remain quite troubling. In the first quarter of this year, for example, the economy contracted by nearly 3 percent (the largest contraction in a non-recession in more than 40 years). Illegal immigrants are surging across the border, with more than 52,000 unaccompanied children detained since October.



Are Democrats beginning to rationalize that losing the Senate majority wouldn’t be as bad as some fear?

Early this year, we saw Senate Democrats throw their House brethren under the proverbial bus with a Jan. 29 story in Politico headlined, “Democrats: Cede the House to Save the Senate.” It noted that Democrats’ hold on their majority in the upper chamber was tenuous, while over on the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was raising money hand over fist despite having little chance of reclaiming the majority House Democrats lost in 2010. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Senate Democrats were trying to redirect fundraising from what they saw as a lost cause on one side of the Capitol to what they saw as a much more important one on their side.

On one level, it was pretty obvious that the odds were exceedingly long for House Democrats and more like 50-50—give or take 10 points—on the Senate side. But these kinds of stories are usually played out in the weeks or final months before an election, not in the first month of the election year. To me, it was both understandable and unseemly, and certainly not very subtle. I could only wonder just how angry House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was with the story, particularly given that I had heard her deliver a very spirited defense of Democrats’ House chances just a few weeks earlier. But as the old saying goes, “Politics ain’t beanbag.”


We saw it again this past week with The Washington Post’s inimitable Dana Milbank writing a column July 4 suggesting that perhaps the Obama presidency might benefit from Democrats losing their Senate majority. The crunching sound you heard was the bones of Senate Democrats under a bus, a pretty fair indication that someone in or close to the White House was beginning to rationalize why such an outcome might not be as bad a thing as some might think—all logic to the contrary.



This means Warren: Obama backs challenger to Hillary

President Obama has quietly promised Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren complete support if she runs for president — a stinging rebuke to his nemesis Hillary Clinton, sources tell me.


Publicly, Obama has remained noncommittal on the 2016 race, but privately he worries that Clinton would undo and undermine many of his policies. There’s also a personal animosity, especially with Bill Clinton, that dates from their tough race six years ago.


A former Harvard law professor and administration aide, Warren would energize the left wing of the Democrat Party just as Obama did against Clinton in 2008.




Republicans can’t seem to agree on Iraq and Middle East strategies

The crisis in Iraq and broader unrest in the Middle East have exposed a growing rift among Republicans on foreign policy, as skeptics of military intervention have more openly challenged the party’s hawkish posture in the post-Sept. 11 era.


Unfolding events in the region could help shape the fight for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 just as it did for Democrats in 2008, when Barack Obama capitalized on liberals’ distaste for the war in Iraq as he wrested the nomination from front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Even as Americans take an increasingly dim view of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy, however, they have generally supported his positions on the Middle East. Their disapproval of his leadership style rather than his policies has further complicated Republican divisions.


Few Republicans in Congress have been willing to outline specific approaches to confront challenges in Iraq and elsewhere. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has accused the president of “taking a nap” as Islamic State forces gained strength in Syria and Iraq, has nonetheless resisted questions about specific steps the U.S. should take going forward.


Those who have spoken out don’t always agree, and their debate joins similar internal Republican spats over immigration reform and spending as issues likely to vex the party heading into 2016.



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:



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:



On Twitter at:




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



Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 6-29-14


Weekly Musing 6-29-14

Saul Anuzis



Free State Project

I spent the week in New Hampshire at the 2014 PorcFest sponsored by the Free State Project.  Their objective states:  The FSP is an agreement among 20,000 participants to move to New Hampshire for “Liberty in Our Lifetime.”


A “live experiment” worth watching…and for some, participating?!?


“The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire. We are looking for neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from any and all walks of life, of all ages, creeds, and colors, who agree to the political philosophy expressed in our Statement of Intent, that government exists at most to protect people’s rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.


Statement of Intent: “I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the state of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of individuals’ life, liberty, and property.” Anyone who promotes violence, racial hatred, or bigotry is not welcome. – See more at:


It was a fascinating conference with interesting speakers, many vendors and virtually everyone took BitCoin and/or silver. Austrians to the core!



Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

Partisan polarization – the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats – is a defining feature of politics today. But beyond the ideological wings, which make up a minority of the public, the political landscape includes a center that is large and diverse, unified by frustration with politics and little else. As a result, both parties face formidable challenges in reaching beyond their bases to appeal to the middle of the electorate and build sustainable coalitions.


The latest Pew Research Center political typology, which sorts voters into cohesive groups based on their attitudes and values, provides a field guide for this constantly changing landscape. Before reading further, take our quiz to see where you fit in the typology.


Land Speech

Here are the 12 most competitive Senate races in the country

12. Michigan (Democratic-controlled): Republican Terri Lynn Land was not the first — or even second — choice of many Republican strategists. But she has raised money at an impressive pace and has kept this race against Rep. Gary Peters close. The question for Land is whether she can sustain it when media and voter attention ramps up in the fall.



Democrats Playing Defense in 2014 State Legislative Races

Democrats hold fewer chambers but have more at risk this year than Republicans. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in every state legislature’s elections.



A Lame Duck Country?

With neither the Constitution, nor the voters, nor the threat of impeachment to stop him, Barack Obama has clear sailing to use his powers however he chooses.

Far from seeing his power diminish in his last years, President Obama can extend his power even beyond the end of his administration by appointing federal judges who share his disregard of the Constitution and can enact his far-left agenda into law from the bench, when it cannot be enacted into law by the Congress.


Federal judges with lifetime tenure can make irreversible decisions binding future presidents and future Congresses.

If Republicans do not win control of the Senate in this fall’s elections, a Senate controlled by Majority Leader Harry Reid can confirm judges who will have the power to extend Barack Obama’s agenda and complete the dismantling of Constitutional government.


Barack Obama can, as he said before taking office, fundamentally “change the United States of America.” Far from being a lame duck president, Obama can make this a lame duck democracy.



Senate Democrat’s Strategy to Keep Democrats in Control

Along with his savvy campaign executive director, Guy Cecil, he is recalibrating traditional strategy to stave off this challenge. The focus is less on big television advertising campaigns and more on old-fashioned voter mobilization with cutting-edge new technologies.

“It’s precinct politics with 21st-century technology,” Bennet says.


In part this is driven by necessity. “We can’t compete dollar for dollar with the outside conservative groups” that are spending hundreds of millions in the most competitive Senate races, he says.


Moreover, with all this spending, there’s clutter on the airwaves, diluting any message. And in today’s polarized politics, persuasion through ads is less effective.



San Diego’s Mayor, Forging a Vital Brand for the GOP? When national Republicans hear about one of their own running 27 points ahead of voter registration, they listen. And when it happens in the wake of a bruising presidential election, they listen very closely.


Speaking at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Memphis, Faulconer told attendees, “Our victory in San Diego wasn’t an aberration. It was the culmination of 10 years of fiscal reforms that cut across demographics, age and party affiliation.”


A rough translation: Cut out divisive positions on social issues, focus on competent governance, and Republicans can win in big cities (and maybe other contests too).

Faulconer’s vision for a larger Republican comeback will face two major tests in the coming years.



Ford’s Turnaround Carries Lessons for G.M.

“How do you change the culture?” the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors, earlier this week. “How do you go about communicating to the people who have been part of the history of this company for years that things must change?”


In the three weeks since Anton Valukas, the former federal prosecutor, issued his blistering reportabout the company’s decade-long failure to properly handle the


Chevy Cobalt ignition switch problems, that has become the burning question surrounding the company. The idea that a “new, improved” General Motors emerged from the company’s 2009 brush with bankruptcy has been exposed as bogus. In his report, Valukas talks about the “G.M. nod” (that’s when managers nod in agreement about a course of action, but then do nothing) and the “G.M. salute” (arms folded and pointed outward to others, as if to say that the problem is someone else’s responsibility.) Bureaucratic malaise still rules. Silos still reign. So does a certain unjustified arrogance.


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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:



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Weekly Musing 6-15-14

Weekly Musing 6-15-14
Saul Anuzis

old ScoutDadsingle

Happy Father’s Day!
Thanks to all for all they do. It’s an awesome responsibility some don’t take serious enough. I lost my dad some years ago, but the photo above speaks louder than words. I only hope I could be but a small percentage of what my father was to me and other young men over his life.

Give your dad a hug, it’s OK!


International Affairs?!?
Obama (Hillary), the Nobel Peace Laureates International Successes…a friend of mine shared this and I thought it was worth passing along:

– Al Qaida has taken over Libya, much of Syria and now much of Iraq.
– Obama is repeating his mistakes in Iraq in Afghanistan.
– Benghazi-gate continues to generate news, most recently that U.S. intel knew the terrorists were using State Department cell phones during the attack.
– The White House swapped five senior Taliban prisoners for a deserter.
– The VA scandal continues to grow.
– Putin’s seizure of Crimea and de facto takeover of eastern Ukraine.

…all of which demonstrate the utter ignorance, arrogance, incompetence and venality of Obama and his administration.

I agree!

36 Elections That Really Matter This Year
By the looks of the press coverage so far, you’d think the U.S. Senate was the center of the 2014 universe. Of course, we’re all interested in which party wins control of the upper chamber of Congress. But does it matter that much? The 34 states electing senators are simply determining how much more gridlocked Washington will become during the last two years of President Obama’s term.

For a refreshing change of pace, let’s take a look at some contests that actually make a big difference in the lives of many Americans: the 36 elections for governor. It’s not that political polarization isn’t affecting the states, too. There is plenty of gridlock in some states—take a look at the budget and Medicaid deadlock in Virginia, for example. But the more common situation is one-party rule. In 36 states, the same party controls the entire statehouse—the governorship and both houses of the legislature (discounting Nebraska, which has a unique, nonpartisan and unicameral legislature). Most observers would agree that Washington’s toxic level of nastiness and inability to compromise has not yet fully poisoned most state capitols.

I’ve long thought that governor is the best job in American politics. The presidency has been called a “splendid misery,” but the governorship in most places is just splendid. Ask some governors-turned-senators to compare their former and current offices sometime; you’ll see what I mean: Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat and former governor, wants to be “excited to go to work again,” and apparently is considering leaving his current job for his old one. Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat and former governor, contemplated the same thing last year before deciding to run for reelection this year.


11 political lessons from Eric Cantor’s loss
Eric Cantor’s shocking defeat at the hands of David Brat is that rarest of things in American politics: a genuine earthquake. And like with real earthquakes, the damage will be much greater because so few were prepared. A few provisional thoughts:

ElectoralCollege 2012

Democrats’ stranglehold on the electoral college
While demographic changes are moving a number of traditionally Republican states closer to Democrats, there’s little evidence that many states are heading in the opposite direction. You could make the case that Wisconsin is moving closer to Republicans’ grasp (it was the 10th closest state in 2012), and Minnesota — the 11th closest state — might be shifting ever-so-slightly in Republicans’ direction as well. The problem is that big states like New York, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania show no signs of becoming more friendly toward Republicans; in the case of New York and California, they are becoming far less friendly to the GOP. With those major electoral vote targets off the table — or close to it — the math becomes increasingly difficult for Republicans.

Here’s the lone comfort at the moment for Republicans: The electoral college tends to move like a pendulum. In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 489 electoral votes and followed that up four years later with 525 electoral votes. In 1988, George H.W. Bush took 426 electoral votes. The Republican lock on the electoral college seemed permanent. But then it wasn’t anymore. It’s not clear — at least to me — how Republicans will pick the Democratic lock on the electoral college but history suggests they will, eventually, find a way.

Don’t Under-Estimate The Power Of Right-Wing Populism
That’s my underlying take on what just happened in American politics. We live in a potentially powerfully populist moment. The economy is failing to help middle- and working-class people make headway, while the wealthiest are living higher on the hog than since the days of robber barons. Wall Street’s masters of the universe nearly wiped out the US and global economy – and there has been scarcely any accountability for their recklessness and greed and hubris. Big business favors mass, cheap immigration – which adds marginally to the woes of the working poor. All of this is grist to someone like Elizabeth Warren, but also to someone like Dave Brat or Ted Cruz.

But the main difference between a Warren and a Brat is that Warren is never going to be able to rally the Southern or Midwestern white working poor to her professorial, Massachusetts profile. A dorky populist like Brat? Much more imaginable. A gifted demagogue like Ted Cruz? I think many liberals would be surprised. And the ace card for the populist right, rather than the populist left, is immigration. If you can weld together a loathing and resentment of elites with a loathing and resentment of foreigners “invading” the country and “taking our jobs,” then you have a potent combination.

‘I’ve Had Enough': When Democrats Quit on Obama
“Dem Party is F****d,” wrote a Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill during the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act website.

A Democratic House member whose endorsement in 2008 helped lift the Obama candidacy told me in January, “He’s bored and tired of being president, and our party is paying the price.”

“Talented guy but no leader,” said a Democratic lobbyist and former member of Congress in March. “If he could govern half as well as he campaigns, he’d be a good-to-great president.”

Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn’t been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama, a senior White House official conceded privately to me, “We don’t do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.”

The level of disquiet among Democrats reminds me of President George W. Bush’s second term, when my best sources were frustrated Republicans. (Interviewing Republicans today is like interviewing Democrats in 2006: predictably partisan, rarely insightful.)

Few frustrated Democrats are willing to complain openly. I grant them anonymity, which creates a problem: Readers, for good reason, don’t trust anonymous quotes

A Practical Plan for Recalibrating Conservatism
Yet as Edmund Burke observed in “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” a complete statesman must possess not merely “a disposition to preserve” but also “an ability to improve.” Never has that counsel been more appropriate. The American people have developed expectations—by now deeply rooted and widely shared—that the federal government must provide a social safety net and regulate the economy.

That conservatives will generally seek a more modest social safety net and more restrained regulation than progressives does not relieve conservatives of the responsibility to devise measures to ensure a social safety net as well as economic regulations that are, consistent with conservatism’s principles, effective and affordable. Indeed, since conservatives are bucking the temper of the times, it will be necessary for them, especially if they wish to win national elections, to craft policies with greater care and to support them with more compelling evidence and arguments.

The authors of the new e-book, “Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class,” have risen to the occasion. Published by the YG Network (YG stands for young guns), their short volume comprises a collection of essays by prominent conservative thinkers responding in particular to “the worries and anxieties” of middle-class Americans—those who work for a living and regard themselves as neither rich nor poor but who can imagine themselves as becoming either—by articulating a “concrete conservative governing agenda.”

FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecast: Toss-Up or Tilt GOP?
The Senate playing field remains fairly broad. There are 10 races where we give each party at least a 20 percent chance of winning,1 so there is a fairly wide range of possible outcomes. But all but two of those highly competitive races (the two exceptions are Georgia and Kentucky) are in states that are currently held by Democrats. Furthermore, there are three states — South Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana2 — where Democratic incumbents are retiring, and where Republicans have better than an 80 percent chance of making a pickup, in our view.

So it’s almost certain that Republicans are going to gain seats. The question is whether they’ll net the six pickups necessary to win control of the Senate. If the Republicans win only five seats, the Senate would be split 50-50 but Democrats would continue to control it because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Joseph Biden.

Our March forecast projected a Republicans gain of 5.8 seats. You’ll no doubt notice the decimal place; how can a party win a fraction of a Senate seat? It can’t, but our forecasts are probabilistic; a gain of 5.8 seats is the total you get by summing the probabilities from each individual race. Because 5.8 seats is closer to six (a Republican takeover) than five (not quite), we characterized the GOP as a slight favorite to win the Senate.

Dave Brat and the Triumph of Rightwing Populism
American populism is rooted in middle class resentment of those who are seen as enjoying the benefits of the goods and services the middle class produces without having earned them through work. Its ideology is what historians call “producerism.” It first appears in the Jacksonian Workingmen’s Parties and then in the Populists of the late nineteenth century. But it takes a leftwing and a rightwing form.

Facing an ailing economy, leftwing populists from Huey Long to Paul Wellstone primarily blame Wall Street, big business and the politicians whom they fund. Rightwing populists from George Wallace to Pat Buchanan also blame Wall Street, but put equal if not greater blame on the poor, the unemployed, the immigrant, and the minorities, who, like the coupon-clipper on Wall Street, are seen as economic parasites.

The Tea Party is a heterogeneous movement, but many of its members, and many of the local candidates it champions, are rightwing populists. And that was certainly true of Brat. The Randolph-Macon College economics professor attacked Cantor for supporting what he called “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, but he also took aim at Wall Street and big business.


Remembering Communism’s Toll
There were millions of victims of communism, and humans suffered in dozens of nations on almost every continent. Still, when I think of the evils of communism, I think first of a particular place and time: Hungary, 1956.

… We must not forget the victims and the crimes of communism. We must continue to tell the truth about Tiananmen Square and the Gulag and the Isle of Pines and the killing fields of Cambodia and the boat people of Vietnam.

Let us resolve that never again will we allow so evil a tyranny as communism to terrorize and subjugate the peoples and nations of the world.

3Fifty Skylline

3 Fifty Terrace – Detroit’s Hottest Roof Top Bar
New it Detroit – check it out!

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:

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:

On Twitter at:

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

Thanks again for all you do!

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