Weekly Musing 6-14-15

Weekly Musing 6-14-15

Saul Anuzis

Days until the 2015 election: 141. Days until the 2016 election: 512.


Sorry for the delay today, had some “prep work” to do at our camp that took my weekend away:)

2016 Prez Field

GOP adds two ‘forums’ to Aug. 6 debate amid pressure over criteria

The inaugural Republican primary debate on Aug. 6 is now slated to be joined by two separate “forums” sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader and Fox News, respectively, those organizations announced Wednesday night.

The sudden addition of these forums, where candidates speak directly to an audience one at a time, reflects the growing pressure on Fox News to expand its debate coverage beyond the party’s current criteria, which will limit the debate to the top 10 candidates according to national polls. Republicans in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire fear that such criteria will take the spotlight off their state and exclude candidates who may be popular among local voters despite low national recognition.

Joseph McQuaid, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, announced Wednesday that his paper would host its own Republican primary forum on C-SPAN on Aug. 6, in order to combat what its publisher described as Fox’s “threat to the first-in-the-nation primary.” Fox’s decision to “‘winnow’ the field of candidates” ahead of the New Hampshire primary “isn’t just bad for New Hampshire,” McQuaid said, “it’s bad for the presidential selection process by limiting the field to only the best-known few with the biggest bankrolls.”

Two hours later, Fox News EVP Michael Clemente announced that his netowrk would also host a 90-minute forum Aug. 6 featuring the candidates who do not qualify for the primetime GOP primary debate. Clemente and the network stressed that this was part of a longstanding plan to add additional coverage for candidates who did not meet the critera for the first debate.


How Do Presidential Candidates Spend $1 Billion?

Four years ago, Barack Obama spent $750 million to secure a second term in the White House. For comparison, that’s enough money to send a man to the moon.

As the long march to 2016 begins—14 candidates declared, more coming soon—analysts already expect total fundraising to break records. But how can one campaign possibly spend that much money?

To answer that question, National Journal used data from the Federal Election Commission and The Center For Responsive Politics to break down President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign expenditures.

As it turns out, campaigns spend money on a lot of things: everything from event spaces to travel to consulting—not to mention advertising and video production. Thanks to the Center, we can translate often-fuzzy Federal Election Commission filings into consistent categories to see the bigger picture.

What we found: Elections are all about advertising. A few companies receive the lion’s share of campaign funds. This cycle independent expenditures by super PACs are poised to shoot higher than ever—possibly outspending campaigns.


Hillary Economist

Why Hillary Clinton Is Underwater

Hillary Clinton announced her presidential candidacy roughly eight weeks ago and since then, a few things have become apparent.

On the positive side for her, she has put together a first-class team of professionals, a blending of some of the younger people from her 2008 campaign who have gone on to impressive careers since then, a second group of very talented pros from the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and a third, smaller group of inner-circle folks from Hillaryland to create a comfort zone—familiar faces that know and understand her, and visa versa. Her campaign launch seemed quite successful and designed to draw a contrast with the royal trappings of her previous presidential effort.

On the negative side, a decision was made early on—by whom, it is not clear—to keep the media at a distance, to make her generally unavailable for questions. As predictable as the sun coming up in the east, this resulted in several weeks of sustained negative coverage emphasizing the arrogance and aloofness of her candidacy and campaign. This was precisely what the carefully planned and executed launch and rollout was designed to prevent. At one point, counts were publicized of how many days since she had last answered a media question and even counts of total questions answered since her announcement. And there was the factoid that her husband, whose political career is over, had answered more media questions than the current presidential contender. In reporters’ minds, a candidate can never be accessible enough; they would prefer that all candidates and elected officials be permanently hooked with a sodium pentothal drip. Given that Hillary Clinton has a pretty facile mind and is less accident-prone than most candidates, the strategy invited negative coverage and undercut the central message that they were trying to convey.

While stories about her State Department emails dominated the early news for awhile, there is little evidence that they had an appreciable impact on Democratic voters—or for that matter, general-election swing voters. Subsequent coverage that raised questions about Clinton Foundation fundraising and the correlation between her husband’s speeches, foundation contributions, and decisions during her tenure at the State Department does appear to have taken its toll on her numbers.


The Deadly Consequences of Draconian Gun Laws Alas, in order to discourage the citizenry from buying firearms, eleven states have added another — wholly redundant — layer to the sequence, demanding by law that would-be purchasers acquire a permit prior to entering the store. In those jurisdictions it is necessary for buyers to pay a fee and to submit a host of personal information before they receive the government’s seal of approval. Alarmingly, that seal can take up to eight months to be delivered. Thus do many at-risk Americans find themselves in a tricky position: They need a gun to defend themselves or their homes right now, and yet the only way they can legally purchase one is to submit to a long-term and wholly unpredictable bureaucratic process. If you’re in a hurry — as Carol Bowne was — this is a substantial problem. Arguably, abiding by the rules cost Bowne her life. … There can be few clearer illustrations of the folly of draconian firearms regulations than this. The killer was a convicted felon who had previously been found guilty of weapons offenses and aggravated assault, and who is now on the run from federal authorities. The victim was a “bubbly, well-liked,” law-abiding woman who did not want to run afoul of the government even when she sensed that her life was in danger. If “government” is just another word for the things we do together, then, frankly, we failed — and damnably. All Carol Bowne asked was that she be permitted to exercise her right to protect herself in her own home; instead, she ended up bleeding to death in her driveway, as the paper-pushers and know-it-alls decided whether they would deign to indulge her request, and her killer sped away, without fear of retaliation or injury.


The Federalist Papers – A FREE Course from Hillsdale College

There is no better aid to understanding the principles of constitutional government than The Federalist Papers. That’s why Hillsdale College is offering a new course, “The Federalist Papers,” for FREE.


Written between October 1787 and August 1788, The Federalist Papers is a collection of newspaper essays written in defense of the Constitution. Writing under the penname Publius, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay explain the merits of the proposed Constitution, while confronting objections raised by its opponents. Thomas Jefferson described the work as “the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.”

The course is delivered via email, with one lesson per week over ten weeks. Each lesson features lively discussion boards, suggested readings, and weekly quizzes.


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Weekly Musing 5-31-15

Weekly Musing 5-31-15

Saul Anuzis

2016 Prez Field

What if the Republican Party Can’t Decide?

This is the most interesting possibility in the Republican primary – and one that too many analysts gloss over. Sometimes the factions within a party are simply too different or too obstinate in their demands and thus fail to close ranks around a candidate before Iowa. This happened in the 1988 Democratic Primary, the 2004 Democratic Primary and the 2008 Republican Primary.

.. In the run-up to the 1988 Democratic caucus, the party failed to coalesce around a candidate. Colorado Sen. Gary Hart led in the polls, but an extramarital affair knocked him out of contention. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, a party favorite, declined to run. This left the party elites with a lackluster field, and they failed to come to a consensus before Iowa. The party eventually got behind Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis, but that was only after he won a number of primaries. This is important because the electorate shaped the party’s choices. If the party elites had wanted support another candidate – say, Illinois Sen. Paul Simon – they would have a tough time promoting their candidate over Dukakis, Dick Gephardt or some other candidate with greater momentum.

In 2004, the Democrats were again in disarray. Even though the Democratic establishment believed Vermont Gov. Howard Dean – the frontrunner for a large swath of the pre-Iowa period – was too politically liberal and personally aggressive to win the general election, it was unable to unite behind a more mainstream candidate before Iowa. Dean eventually faltered and Kerry gained momentum, but the story is similar to 1988 – the party was unable to unite behind a candidate early and thus exercised less influence over the party rank-and-file.

The most recent party failure was Arizona Sen. John McCain’s ascent to the Republican nomination in 2008. While McCain won some early endorsements, he certainly did not win the invisible primary. McCain – a self-described maverick – made enemies within his party by breaking from conservative orthodoxy on campaign finance reform, immigration and other issues. McCain’s enemies had a real incentive to find a broadly appealing McCain alternative, but they didn’t. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson momentarily appeared to be a conservative consensus candidate, but Thompson proved to be a lackluster campaigner. So the party, unable to settle on a consensus choice, ended up being stuck with a nominee that some factions strongly disliked.

So in 2016, it is entirely conceivable that the Republican Party elite will simply fail to come to a consensus. That could turn out fine for Republicans – the eventual nominee might be a decent candidate who would have been a plausible party favorite in a less crowded field (e.g. Walker, Rubio, Bush or John Kasich).


Five Leaders In 2016 Republican White House Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds

There are five   leaders – or no leaders – as Republican voters look at likely GOP candidates   in the 2016 White House race, with no candidate above 10 percent and 20   percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll   released today.
Leading the pack   with 10 percent each are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, former   Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin   Gov. Scott Walker, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University   Poll finds.
Rounding out the top   10 for televised debates are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7 percent,   U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 6 percent, Donald Trump at 5 percent, New   Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie at 4 percent and Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov.   John Kasich at 2 percent each.
Trump tops the   “no way” list as 21 percent of Republican voters say they would   definitely not support him. Bush is next with 17 percent, with Christie at 15   percent.
Hillary Clinton   dominates among Democratic voters nationwide, with 57 percent, compared to 60   percent April 23. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has 15 percent with   Vice President Joseph Biden at 9 percent. No other candidate tops 1 percent   with 14 percent undecided.


Presidential Debates

How to Fix an Unfair Presidential Debate System

Clearly, any effort to limit the field will generate complaints and criticism. But any approach that limits the field so early in the race, at least five months before the first contest involving voters, seems inherently unfair. And using national polls to select participants in early debates seems odd when the first few actual tests of strength involve small, retail politics states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

After all, we are talking about the first debate or the first couple of debates, not the fifth. Each candidate can rightly argue he or she deserves to be in the first few debates, since those televised events will be the first time many Republican voters will have the opportunity to evaluate and compare the candidates.

The obvious answer is to divide the field in half, randomly assigning individual hopefuls to one of the two debates. Of course, not everyone will like the group he or she is in, and the makeup of each group would determine the particular dynamic of that debate.

After a couple of debates, the hosts of additional debates will have just cause to limit the number of debaters. But doing so in the first couple of debates is inherently unfair and could end up damaging the party’s image. You’d think that that would be something the RNC would want to avoid.


Have Democrats Pulled Too Far Left?

The Democratic Party is now a pre-Bill Clinton party, the result of Mr. Obama’s own ideological predilections and the coalition he has built. Liberals will argue that the Democratic Party has benefited from this movement to the left and cite the election victories of Mr. Obama as evidence of it. The nation has become more liberal, they say, and the Democratic Party has wisely moved with it.

In some respects, like gay rights, the nation is more liberal than it was two decades ago. On the other hand, it is more conservative today than it was in the mid-1990s. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Republicans have opened substantial leads over Democrats on dealing with terrorism, foreign policy and taxes. They’re competitive on the economy, and a good deal more competitive than in the past on traditional liberal issues like immigration and health care. Self-identified conservatives significantly outnumber self-identified liberals.

One can also plausibly argue that the Republican Party is the governing party in America. After two enormous losses by Democrats in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Republicans control the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 31 Republican governors compared with 18 for Democrats. Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative chambers and the most state legislative seats since the 1920s. Nearly half of Americans now live in states under total Republican control. The Obama years have been politically good for Mr. Obama; they have been disastrous for his party. That is a problematic legacy for a man who envisioned himself as a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-like transformational political figure.

Those who insist that the Democratic Party’s march to the left carries no political risks might consider the fate of the British Labour Party earlier this month. Ed Miliband, its leader, ran hard to the left. The result? The Conservative Party under David Cameron won its first outright majority in Parliament since 1992. Before the election, the former Labour prime minister Tony Blair warned his party against letting the election become one in which “a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result.”

Mr. Clinton acted on a lesson Democrats learned the hard way, and moved his party more to the center on fiscal policy, welfare, crime, the culture and foreign policy. Progressive figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio are the politicians who electrify the Democratic base.

For demographic reasons, many Democrats believe that they are riding a tide of presidential inevitability. They may want to rethink that. They are placing a very risky bet that there are virtually no limits to how far left they can go.


An economist calculated it would take the average adult 3 years to read all the federal government’s regulations

In a video posted to YouTube last fall, Patrick McLaughlin almost gets buried in federal regulations, physically. McLaughlin is a young economist at the Mercatus Center, a free-market think tank at George Mason University, and he begins his video by piling up all the volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations issued in 1950. They make a short stack, barely a foot tall. As McLaughlin moves ahead in time—to 1970, 1990, 2013—regulations mount, and the stack of volumes grows into a tower that comes close to toppling on him.

“Too many regulations” is a familiar complaint, especially from the free-market right, but once you see them all in once place it’s hard to imagine anyone really wants it this way. As of mid-2013, there were 235 volumes in the Code of Federal regulations, each of which is around 750 pages long. McLaughlin calculated it would take the average adult three years to read the whole thing, or 58 times longer than it would take to read all five books in the sprawling “Game of Thrones” saga.

The reading load may take a real toll on the economy. Not long ago researchers estimated that mounting regulations have slowed economic growth by an average of 2 percent per year over the past half-century. And even if you’re a believer in a strong federal hand, there’s something scary about a government that runs by rules too dense for one individual ever to understand.


Minimum Wage

The Costs of a $15 Minimum Wage

Their intentions are good. Full-time employment at the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour provides an income of just $14,500 a year. For an adult supporting one child, that’s well below the poverty line of $15,930.

The problem is that a higher legal minimum wage is at odds with the prevailing supply of and demand for labor. If you set the minimum too high, you will get a shortage of jobs. Forbidding employers from paying $9 or $12 an hour means that many of their workers won’t get $13 or $15 an hour. They will get zero per hour, because those jobs will disappear.

Some businesses will reduce staffing or hours. Some will scrub expansions they had planned. Some will install machines to handle tasks previously assigned to humans. Some will shut down.

Not all employers will take steps that will curb employment, but many will. Raising the minimum wage collides with one of the basic laws of economics: the higher the cost of something the lower the demand. In the employment realm, the effects may not be immediate, but they are inexorable.

An editorial in The New York Times wished away unwanted responses. It promised that the change will yield “savings from lower labor turnover and higher labor productivity.” Higher pay can “be offset by modestly higher prices” and by “paying executives and shareholders less.”

But if giving raises paid for itself, companies wouldn’t need to be forced to do it. Raising prices means fewer customers will buy what these companies are selling, which reduces the number of employees they need. Executives and shareholders who get paid less can turn to companies that can pay more because they don’t rely on low-wage labor.

Some of these consequences have already occurred in Seattle. One pizzeria owner, employing 12 people, told NPR her choice was to go back to working 60 to 80 hours a week or close. She’s closing.

“Even Seattle’s best-known chef, Tom Douglas, says he may have to close some of his 15 restaurants,” it reported. If a famous restaurateur can’t make it work, how will obscure ones fare?


Why China Just Spent $2.3 Billion On America’s Hottest Startups

Many of the investments are bizarre on the surface, smacking of dumb money rushing in late in the cycle and driving up valuations for everyone. Why would an e-commerce giant spend tens of millions of dollars on a startup like Peel that’s outside of its core business, not to mention its core country?

In a word: smartphones. The three BAT companies each monopolize a sphere of China’s desktop-style online behavior, but they risk falling behind in mobile. This is a problem in a country where tens of millions of people skip PCs entirely. Hence the landgrab–the Big Three don’t much care where the innovations on this new intertwined platform come from or, it seems, how much they have to shell out to secure them.

“In the online world, everybody has their own domain, but in mobile, everyone’s competing on everyone else’s turf,” says Jay Eum, cofounder of TransLink Capital, the venture capital firm that introduced Alibaba to Peel and has invested in two other Alibaba-backed startups, Quixey and Tango.


Remembering 1941: how the Baltic states are confronting their deportation trauma on film

Baltic states have been eager to shake off their Soviet bloc past as they rush for European Union integration. But this legacy has become impossible to ignore as fears around Russia’s territorial ambitions are reignited. With independence fragile, the urgency of memory is underpinning a spate of films from the region that bear witness to some of the worst traumas of the former Soviet occupation and the 1941 deportations under Stalin which saw some 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians sent in cattle-cars to Siberia.

In the Crosswind is the feature debut of 27-year-old Tallinn-born director Martti Helde. It tells the story of deportee Erna Tamm. Separated from her husband, her undelivered letters to him form a poetic voice-over narration. Frozen tableaux capture moments so traumatic — from the aftermath of a rape by a kolkhoz chairman in a grubby toilet stall to prisoners before a firing squad — that they are seared on to time’s fabric, marking a life that has lost continuity and sense.

“When we started to make the film we couldn’t have imagined, or wished, that it would be released in the time of the Ukrainian crisis,” Helde told us. As well as the escalating political tensions heightening its contemporary bite, the film’s fresh approach of experimental innovation has enabled it to achieve festival award recognition and a commercial release in France. It’s wider attention than is often afforded the small Baltic film industries, and constitutes a higher profile than Audrius Juzenas’s The Excursionist, Lithuania’s ably crafted but more conventional 2013 drama on the deportations. “This unusual form has allowed the film to be noticed, travel and reach so many audiences who have become aware of our history,” said Helde.


Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

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Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

Weekly Musing 5-24-15

Weekly Musing 5-24-15

Saul Anuzis


Sorry for the delay.  My Weekly Musing got caught up in the email server for some reason…had to rebuild the message.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Ronald Reagan on Memorial Day

26 May, 1983 I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.

Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982 The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.

May 25, 1981 Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace — a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation.

Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982 Our goal is peace. We can gain that peace by strengthening our alliances, by speaking candidly about the dangers before us, by assuring potential adversaries of our seriousness, by actively pursuing every chance of honest and fruitful negotiation.

26 May 1983 We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.

Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982 I can’t claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don’t know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.

October 27, 1964 You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, March 30, 1961 Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Cruz & Wendy

Cruz for President announce Wendy Day as Michigan State Director!

HOUSTON, Texas – Continuing to build a robust national and Michigan organization, Cruz for President today named Wendy Day, the current Vice Chair of the Michigan Republican Party and Liberty movement leader, as the Michigan State Director for the Cruz for President Campaign.

“Wendy is a great fit because she is no stranger to grassroots politics at every level,” said Ted Cruz. “Her influence in the Great Lake State and commitment to freedom makes her a valued member of our team.”

Wendy is one of the most respected, hardworking grassroots leaders Michigan has seen, said Cruz State Chairman Saul Anuzis. “No one will out work her, no one knows both the Republican Party and Tea Party movement better than Wendy”.

Wendy Day gained influence and notoriety in Michigan when she founded Common Sense in Government, a group that highlighted elected officials’ misdeeds and educated voters on how to hold those officials accountable. Currently she serves as the Michigan Republican Party Grassroots Outreach Vice-Chair.

“Ted Cruz articulates a consistent message of optimism that has fired up people from the U.P. to Detroit,” said Day. “It’s clear that his courage, intelligence, wit, and love of country will unite voters from across the spectrum who rightfully demand that America’s future be built on Freedom. Michiganders are telling me that this is the first time they’ve seen someone who reminds them of Ronald Reagan.”

Day is responsible for organizing the 2010 “snowman protest”, where her volunteers built over 60 snowmen in front of the Michigan Capitol to protest taxes. The result was a humorous and eye-catching display that attracted news media from all around the world.

Wendy Day is a military wife and mother. She has been married to Kevin Day for 19 years and they have four children, including David, 18, Craig, 17, Allison 11, and Brady, 7.

The Michigan Presidential primary is slated for March 8, 2016. In the general election, Michigan holds 16 electoral college votes.


2016 Senate Races

Senate 2016: Sorting Out the Democrats’ Best Targets

First of all, let’s re-set the scene. Map 1 shows Senate Class 3, which will be contested in November 2016. The 34 seats up next year are lopsidedly controlled by Republicans: They are defending 24 seats, while the Democrats are only defending 10.

This is what happens in Senate elections: The successes of one cycle that occur under favorable conditions — 2010 for Republicans — lead to challenges in a future cycle where the national environment is not as ideal. The GOP is overextended on next year’s Senate map, period.

However, Republicans are not as overextended as Democrats were on last year’s Senate map. Democrats held seven seats going into that election won by Mitt Romney — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia — and all but one (North Carolina) were blowouts for the GOP in 2012. Even including the Tar Heel State, Romney got an average of 57% of the vote in these seven states, or about 10 points better than he performed nationally. Republicans swept all seven states, and added swing states won twice by President Obama, Colorado and Iowa, to their Senate haul, netting nine seats and a 54-46 edge in the current Congress. Additionally, four of those nine flipped seats were open, so retirements hurt Democrats as well.

In 2016, Republicans are the ones defending turf won by the other party in the last presidential election, but it’s a collection of states whose presidential election results were far closer to the national average in 2012. Obama-state Republicans are defending seven seats: Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Of these, the Land of Lincoln is really the only one that we feel supremely confident the Democratic presidential nominee will carry; at the same time, only Florida and Ohio were less Democratic than the nation as a whole in Obama’s two elections.

Taken together, Obama’s average 2012 performance in these seven states was 52.4%, or roughly just a point and a half better than he did nationally. Additionally, one of these states has an entrenched, popular incumbent — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — who is virtually guaranteed reelection so long as he’s on the ballot (and he plans to be). Of the other six, only one, Florida, is an open seat.

The point is this: Democrats have tantalizing opportunities in ’16, but the terrain is not as clearly favorable to them as the 2014 map was to the Republicans.

Early attention has focused on the three most reliably Democratic states of the seven mentioned above: Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It is right to assume that there’s not much of a credible path to a Democratic Senate restoration if the party doesn’t sweep these states, and reasonable minds differ as to which state provides the best opportunity for Democrats. We started all three states as Toss-ups in our initial ratings, but we now see the races as distinctly different.


Democrats’ Vanishing Future – Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future.

One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.

But less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party’s Senate races. It’s awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, Indiana’s Baron Hill, and Ohio’s Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.

On one hand, most of these candidates are the best choices Democrats have. Feingold and Strickland are running ahead of GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Rob Portman in recent polls. Hill and Hagan boast proven crossover appeal in GOP-leaning states that would be challenging pickups. Their presence in the race gives the party a fighting chance to retake the Senate.

But look more closely, and the reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to. If the brand-name challengers didn’t run, the roster of up-and-coming prospects in the respective states is short. They’re also facing an ominous historical reality that only two defeated senators have successfully returned to the upper chamber in the last six decades. As political analyst Stu Rothenberg put it, they’re asking “voters to rehire them for a job from which they were fired.” Senate Democrats are relying on these repeat candidates for the exact same reason that Democrats are comfortable with anointing Hillary Clinton for their presidential nomination: There aren’t any better alternatives.

For a portrait of the Democrats’ slim pickings, just look at the political breakdown in three of the most consequential battleground states. Republicans hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 House seats, and all six of their statewide offices. In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority of the state’s eight House seats and four of five statewide partisan offices. In Pennsylvania, 13 of the 18 representatives are Republicans, though Democrats hold all the statewide offices. (One major caveat: Kathleen Kane, the Democrats’ once-hyped attorney general in the state, is under criminal investigation and has become a political punchline.) These are all Democratic-friendly states that Obama carried twice.


Hillary Economist

In just five weeks, Hillary has had a lifetime quota of scandals

In the five weeks since Clinton announced her candidacy, she has had a normal politician’s lifetime quota of scandals. During a brief recent media availability, questions covered foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, ties to a former aide under investigation, the pace of disclosure of her already purged State Department e-mails and speaking fees that put her (as conservative columnist Byron York tweeted) in the 1 percent on a single harvest day in Silicon Valley. “I want those e-mails out,” she told reporters, having made it technically difficult. “I’m proud of the work [the Clinton Foundation] has done,” which is relevant only in an argument that ends justify means. Bland and bold. I’ve done what I’ve done. Get used to it.

Democrats are presented with a political question: Does Clinton really have the political skills to pull this off? Her husband was a master of projecting likability, remorse and good intent. She is plausible as a president but mediocre as a candidate. Her silence is often an improvement on her availability. As new controversies come — and that is close to a political certainty — will her polling hold? I have heard significant Democratic donors wonder about this aloud.

But if Clinton succeeds, it would expand the boundaries of the permissible. It would again define deviancy down. Americans would have rewarded, or at least ignored, defiant secrecy and the destruction of documents. Future presidential candidates and campaign advisers would take note. Americans would have rewarded a skate along the ethical boundaries of money and influence. Future donors would see a green light, no matter what candidate Clinton says about campaign finance reform.

A democracy becomes the image of the virtues it rewards. Clinton is tough, disciplined and knowledgeable. Who needs honesty, trustworthiness and transparency?


The GOP Is the Strongest It’s Been in Decades

Last fall, RCP Election Analyst David Byler and I put together an index of party strength.  While most journalists look at presidential performance as a measure of party strength (see the ubiquitous “Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections”), we take a broader view of party strength.  Rather than look simply at presidential performance, we look at party dominance at the federal, congressional, and state levels.  One need only look at fights over voter identification laws, redistricting, food stamp benefits, Obamacare expansion, and a multitude of other battles from the last few years alone to understand the importance of non-federal elections. We therefore believe this approach gives a more complete measure of party strength.

In this article, we do three things.  First, we recap our methodology.  Second, we update the methodology for 2014, and we look forward to 2016.  Finally, we run some diagnostics on our index, answering various objections that have been raised.

Our index is the sum of five parts: presidential performance, House performance, Senate performance, gubernatorial performance and state legislative performance. The first is measured by the party’s performance in the previous presidential popular vote (NB: In this, and all other measurements, third parties are excluded).


Ted Cruz Big Flag

Mark Levin – We Don’t Need A Governor As President – We Need A Conservative Visionary Leader

Mark Levin addresses the talk about the type of candidate that the United States needs if we are going to have any chance of extricating ourselves from the overwhelming destruction of the Obama regime. He says it doesn’t really matter to him what the current employment of the individual that would assume the office of President of the United States. What matters are that person’s values, their vision and their leadership ability.

He sees an agenda to restore the Republic, respect for the American people, stop ruling by the administrative state and regulation and the infamous pen and phone.  He notes that our founding principles are largely ignored by Democrats and misunderstood by many Republicans, with millions of Americans never hearing the topic discussed.


Six dangerous issues in the 2016 GOP White House race

Republican contenders for the White House are under pressure to toe the party line on a number of issues as they battle for the nomination.

Primary voters will demand to know where the presidential hopefuls stand on a slew of hot-button issues, including immigration, taxes and climate change.

Several of the candidates have already stumbled with their answers, highlighting the intense scrutiny they will be under in the critical early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Here are some of the biggest political landmines ahead for the Republican field.


Reagan Thatcher

You’re Remembering Reagan Wrong

Reagan was more than a visionary; he was a brilliantly successful politician.

For 30 years Ronald Reagan has been a hero to Republicans and conservatives, his presidency regarded as the crucial moment when America began to turn back from the misguided liberalism of the New Deal to the truths of individual liberty and personal opportunity on which this country had rested from its founding. Yet as much as those on the right have revered Reagan, they have been unable to recapture his magic and repeat his success. The Reagan Revolution has had no second act.

The reason for this is that Reagan’s accomplishment has been widely misunderstood. Reagan is remembered for his compelling vision for America: a vision of self-reliance, limited government, stout defense, and world leadership toward freedom. And he is remembered for his ability to communicate this vision, better than anyone else of his generation or after. In a long political career, Reagan gave hundreds of speeches, but all were riffs on the single theme of expanding liberty. There is nothing of substance in any of Reagan’s speeches that doesn’t resonate today with nearly everyone right of center, from mainstream conservatives to Tea Party activists.

Yet Reagan was more than a speechmaker, more than a visionary. He was also a brilliantly successful politician. Reagan had no military experience—beyond performing in films for the army during World War II—but he instinctively understood the difference between strategy and tactics. His strategic goal was to shrink government at home and defeat communism abroad. (On the latter he memorably told Richard Allen, who became his national security adviser: “My theory of the Cold War is: We win and they lose.”) But Reagan recognized that progress came in stages, and that a step forward was a step in the right direction, even if it didn’t achieve the goal all at once. “If Reagan told me once he told me fifteen thousand times,” James Baker, Reagan’s chief of staff and later his Treasury secretary, recalled in an interview: “‘I’d rather get 80 percent of what I want than go over the cliff with my flags flying.'”



The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally.

It turns out that one of the Grand Old Party’s biggest—and least discussed—challenges going into 2016 is lying in plain sight, written right into the party’s own nickname. The Republican Party voter is old—and getting older, and as the adage goes, there are two certainties in life: Death and taxes. Right now, both are enemies of the GOP and they might want to worry more about the former than the latter.

There’s been much written about how millennials are becoming a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, but there’s been much less attention paid to one of the biggest get-out-the-vote challenges for the Republican Party heading into the next presidential election: Hundreds of thousands of their traditional core supporters won’t be able to turn out to vote at all.

The party’s core is dying off by the day.


Great Idea:  House Bill Would Cap Expenses for Ex-Presidents

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and other former presidents who earn lucrative speaking fees and draw other income would no longer be able to count on taxpayer dollars to pay for their post-White House office space and staff under a bill in the House.

On a voice vote, the House Oversight panel backed a measure Tuesday to limit taxpayer dollars for expenses, including travel, incurred by ex-presidents who earn more than $400,000 a year.

U.S. taxpayers paid a total of $3.5 million last year in pensions and benefits to the four living former presidents, including $1.3 million for Bush and $950,000 for Clinton, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Most of that money was for sprawling office space in Dallas and New York, respectively.

Both Clinton and Bush, like other ex-presidents before them, have earned millions in speaking fees since leaving office.

The oversight committee acted just days after Hillary Rodham Clinton reported that she and her husband earned more than $30 million combined in speaking fees and book royalties since January 2014. The earnings put the couple in the top one-10th of 1 percent of all Americans.

The House bill would set presidential pensions at $200,000 a year, with an additional $200,000 set aside for office space and other expenses. The bill would reduce expense payments by $1 for every dollar above $400,000 earned by a former president.

Under the legislation, ex-presidents who earn more than $600,000 a year would not receive federal funds for office expenses or travel. Presidential pensions would not be affected by the amount of income earned.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight panel and a co-sponsor of the bill, said it was not aimed at anyone, but was a simple matter of fairness.


Secrets of the Tories’ election ‘war room’ – Facebook, curries and ‘koala of the day’ – how the Conservatives won

The Tories’ round-the-clock work ethic was matched by a relentless pursuit of the most comprehensive and accurate data on voters, their fears, foibles and individual concerns.

Mr Crosby’s business partner, Mark Textor, made his name as one of the world’s most formidable pollsters and this expertise was vital to the Conservative strategy.

For months, Mr Crosby had been running detailed polls in marginal seats, and focus groups of key voters, to ensure that every election message had been rigorously road-tested before it went public.

Using so-called “micro-targeting” techniques drawn from America, Stephen Gilbert, the Tories’ head of campaigning, who sat on the “power pod” with Mr Crosby, was able to send personalised letters to individual voters who were open to persuasion.

This modern take on old fashioned “direct mail” became “hugely important” to the Tories’ success, says a senior figure.

The precision campaigning was driven by another political mastermind drafted in from overseas: Jim Messina, President Obama’s former election chief, and perhaps the world’s leading analyst of social media data for the purposes of political campaigns.

Using data from Facebook, which the social media site sells to advertisers, Mr Messina and the Tories were able to identify the key concerns of small groups of undecided voters, for example women in their 40s who were concerned about schools and GP opening hours, in specific districts of key marginal seats.



New Putin Invasion Coming This Summer

Moscow says it’s sticking to a ceasefire agreement. Meanwhile, it’s piling up troops and weapons for something that doesn’t look so peaceful.

The war in Ukraine may have faded largely from international headlines, but Vladimir Putin’s drip-drip invasion continues. In the last two weeks, forensic evidence, some of which has been reported by monitor organizations and senior Western diplomats, the rest corroborated by eyewitness photography and video, only confirms what the U.S. fears most: A summer offensive is inevitable.

On May 5, the Ukrainian government released new data which says that they have lost 28 towns to Russian-backed separatists since February 18. That was the day the strategic town of Debaltsevo, which guarded a key highway to separatist-controlled regions, slipped from Ukraine’s control. The map of separatist territory is as alarming as it is illustrative, especially when it is combined with the daily reports of ceasefire violations and fighting coming out of both the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Kiev.

On May 6, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed the National Security and Defense Council and warned that Russia has 50,000 troops on the border and its proxies have more than 40,000 fighters inside the country. That’s not only a combined 50% increase in possible invaders over July of last year, the month which proceeded the “Russian invasion” on the Ukrainian mainland. It’s more than enough soldiers to invade and gobble up a significant amount of Ukrainian territory.

“There is a convincing evidence that Ukraine strictly complies with the Minsk [ceasefire] agreements and militants constantly violate them,” Poroshenko noted. Separatists do not allow international observers to verify their withdrawal of heavy weaponry. “Militants regularly shoot Ukrainian positions, engage in reconnaissance and subversive activity and provoke armed confrontations in order to disrupt peaceful settlement of the conflict.”


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 5-17-15

Weekly Musing 5-17-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Family Announcement 2

Friend ask: Why Ted Cruz?

I want to win.  I think American voters are frustrated with the status quo and the Washington establishment.  They want someone who will not only stand up to the liberal Democrats, but to their own party when they need to.  Ted Cruz will stand on common sense, conservative principles.

I believe in the Promise of America.  I want a candidate who not only points out the failures of the past, but has a vision of what makes America great and how we can get back to those ideals.  Ted Cruz believes and is an optimistic warrior for liberty.

I want a consistent and courageous conservative.  I think it is OK to stand on principle, do the right think, even when the mainstream media and Washington insiders try and belittle you. I can predict where Ted Cruz will be on most issues 99% of the time.

I want to grow our party in order to win.  We need to get beyond the traditional, middle class white guy syndrome.  I want a new generation of leader that can effectively reach out to new constituencies that have either abandoned our party, or worse yet, never joined.  Ted Cruz brings home the base, expands our evangelical appeal, is a 40 something Hispanic/Latino of Cuban roots who’s common sense conservative message will appeal to Reagan Democrats we have lost.

I want someone I can be proud of.  I’m tired of politics as usual.  Too many believe American Exceptionalism is dead.  We need someone who will to stand on principle, fight the fight, and not apologize for the “shining city on a hill”.  Ted Cruz is a leader we can be proud of.

This is an uphill battle.  Ted Cruz starts out as an underdog with a huge grassroots army that has never been tested in presidential politics before.  He brings a coalition to the process that needs to join together for the greater good.  A task few have accomplished, but with no one else prepared to carry that mantle.  Ted Cruz is ready to lead…and I hope to do my part to help give him that greatest opportunity, responsibility and obligation bestowed on an American leader…the right to be called Mr. President!

Cruz Coming to Michigan!

Senator Ted Cruz will be speaking at the Livingston County Lincoln Day Dinner on Wednesday, June 3rd.  A VIP Reception is scheduled for 5:30pm and dinner starts at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $60.00.

For more information check out their Facebook page at:


2016 Prez Field

GOP: The Field Is Flat

The field for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is as flat as any in modern memory—pretty remarkable for a party that usually has a fight but almost invariably ends up nominating whoever’s turn it is. While nomination trial-heat polling tells us very little this early, there are some poll questions that are better measurements of at least where these candidates are starting out, before the campaigning, debates, and advertising begin in earnest.

An April 26 to April 30 NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll asked Republican primary voters whether they could or could not see themselves voting for each of 10 different potential candidates. Marco Rubio topped the list, with 74 percent saying they could see themselves supporting him. Second was Jeb Bush with 70 percent; Scott Walker was third with 61 percent; Rand Paul was fourth at 59 percent; Ted Cruz was fifth at 57 percent; and Mike Huckabee was sixth with 52 percent. So six candidates had more than half of GOP primary voters open to voting for them. (Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina rounded out the group with 45, 39, 38, and 17 percent, respectively.)

A CBS News / New York Times poll from April 30 to May 3 took a similar approach, asking whether the respondents would consider or not consider 14 different potential GOP candidates. Rubio led this list as well with 48 percent; Huckabee was second with 47 percent; Bush was third at 46 percent; Cruz had 40 percent; Perry had 39 percent; Paul had 35 percent; Carson had 33 percent; Walker had 32 percent; Rick Santorum and Chris Christie both had 27 percent; Bobby Jindal had 24 percent; John Kasich had 15 percent; Lindsey Graham had 12 percent; and Fiorina had 11 percent.

Tightening the focus a little more, a March Pew Research survey of Republican voters and GOP-leaning independents asked respondents whether there was a “good chance,” “some chance,” or “no chance” that they would vote for 10 different candidates. An astonishing seven different candidates had between 21 and 23 percent of respondents saying “good chance”: Bush, Rubio, and Walker tied for first place with 23 percent, Huckabee and Cruz were next with 22 percent, and Paul and Carson followed at 21 percent. That’s a very tight pack.

Expanding to those who had half or more of Republicans saying “good chance” or “some chance,” six potential candidates made the cut: Bush (64 percent), Huckabee (61 percent), Paul (57 percent), Rubio (55 percent), Cruz (54 percent), and Perry (53 percent).

What also becomes apparent from reading these surveys is that even the most scrupulously honest pollsters can get fairly different results based on exactly what question they ask and what group they are polling. Looking at Republicans only is one thing; including Republican-leaning independents can bring a very different result. This matters because, in some states, independents are allowed to vote in party primaries, and, in other states, they cannot. National polls have a hard time accounting for this discrepancy, particularly now that area codes don’t necessarily indicate where someone actually lives and votes.


Could the GOP Really See a Brokered Convention in 2016? “It is by far the most interesting presidential year since I’ve been involved [in Republican politics],” says Steve Munisteri, a senior adviser to Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.). How interesting? Top-tier presidential campaigns are preparing for the still-unlikely scenario that the nomination fight goes all the way to the 2016 Republican National Convention. There hasn’t been a brokered convention since 1976, but the strength of the GOP field, when coupled with the proliferation of super PACs, increases the chances that several candidates could show up in Cleveland next July with an army of delegates at their backs. “It’s certainly more likely now than it’s been in any prior election, going back to 1976,” Thor Hearn, the general counsel to George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, tells National Review. “I don’t put it as a high likelihood, but it’s a much more realistic probability than it’s been in any recent experience.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418345/could-gop-really-see-brokered-convention-2016-joel-gehrke

GOP poll: Clinton losing in battlegrounds

Hillary Clinton trails a generic Republican presidential candidate by double-digits among voters in six key battleground states, according to a new poll from the GOP firm Vox Populi.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the conservative super-PAC American Crossroads, found an unnamed GOP candidate taking 51 percent support among voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

Clinton takes only 41 percent support among voters in those states, according to the poll.

The survey found Clinton’s favorability rating deep underwater, with 40 percent having a positive view of the former secretary of State against 53 percent who said they view her negatively.

In addition, 52 percent of voters in the battleground states said they don’t trust Clinton, and the same percentage said they don’t share her values.

Fifty-eight percent said they agree with the notion that Clinton will “say or do anything” to get elected president, while only 35 percent said they disagree.


Pollsters struggle to assess 19 GOP contenders

There are 19 Republicans seriously considering launching campaigns for president, and 10 numbers on a phone. That causes a big problem for pollsters using automated polling technology, one of the most common forms of public polling.

Thus, when GOP officials gather in Arizona this week to tackle the vexing question of how to decide which candidates are allowed to participate in party-sanctioned debates, they won’t be able to easily fall back on the most logical way to winnow the field: polling.

That only compounds the stresses on the Republican National Committee, which is determined to avoid the circus-like atmosphere of some of the party’s 2012 debates. Only one thing is clear, officials say: There’s no way the debates, which begin in Cleveland in August, can accommodate all of the nearly 20 candidates who have either announced their bids or are considering running.

“This is a vastly different scenario than has ever occurred before,” said RNC Communications Director and chief strategist Sean Spicer. “In the past, going as far back as ’76 or ’80, it’s always been about getting in the debate — what’s the threshold for getting in a debate? Now it’s about keeping people out.”


Breaking the Democrats’ Electoral College Blue Wall

Many savvy political analysts believe the Democrats have a built in advantage in the Electoral College.  Democrats have won four of the last six Presidential elections, and in all six races, they have won a collection of 18 states plus the District of Columbia, now totaling 242 Electoral College votes. These states include all of the New England states except New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Democrats have won 5 of the last 6 Presidential contests in New Hampshire, Iowa, and New Mexico, three states with 15 Electoral College votes.  Since 270 Electoral College votes are needed for victory, if history is a guide, Democrats start off with a collection of states that puts them very close to victory. The blue wall is not mythology.

Republicans also have some states where they have had a string of six straight victories, but there are only 13 of them with 102 electoral college votes: Alaska, Wyoming, Alabama, Kansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.  This comparison of 242 versus 102, is not, however, a realistic look at the GOP’s current position. There are several southern or border states, and a few western states that have been reliably Republican in the last four cycles, but voted for Bill Clinton once or twice, including Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Montana, and West Virginia. Indiana strayed once for Obama in 2008, but otherwise has been won by Republicans in the other five most recent Presidential elections. North Carolina has also been won by Republicans in five of the last six elections, but has been decided by razor thin margins in the last two cycles — first for Obama in 2008, then for Romney in 2012. It would be foolish to consider North Carolina a safe part of the GOP base at this point. Without North Carolina, the GOP’s effective red wall is 23 states with 191 Electoral College votes. With North Carolina, the GOP is at 206, exactly where Romney finished.

It is apparent that a Republican will not win the White House without winning Florida, Ohio and Virginia. These three states would add 60 Electoral College votes, bringing the GOP to 266. In 2012, Obama won each of these states by narrow margins — Florida by 0.88%, Ohio by 2.98%, and Virginia by 3.88%, either below or matching  his national margin of victory (3.86%). In essence, they are the next three targets moving up the ladder of difficulty for Republicans.

The problem for the Republicans in 2012 was that even had the popular vote been a tie, and the 3.86% Democratic national margin been eliminated with a margin shift of exactly 3.86% in each state, they would have won Florida and Ohio, but still lost Virginia and not won any other states. The Democrats’ victory margin in the next closest state won by them was Colorado, with a margin of 5.36%, Pennsylvania at 5.38%, New Hampshire at 5.58% and Iowa at 5.81%. In other words, Republicans would have had to have won the popular vote by over 1.5% to capture both Virginia and Colorado and win the Electoral College.

In reality, if the national margin becomes more favorable to Republicans by 5%, it does not mean that all states will move by 5%. Nate Silver has tracked this sensitivity or elasticity in individual states, and Pennsylvania, as an example is relatively insensitive. So a shift of say 5% in the national popular vote towards Republicans would likely not move the numbers that much in Pennsylvania.  But they might move the numbers by more than 5% in New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado.



Putin has defended the Nazi-Soviet pact. Time for the west to wake up

Vladimir Putin has stated that there was nothing wrong with the Nazi-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which was made 75 years ago on 23 August 1939. The Soviet Union simply did not want to go to war, Putin added.

Two tiny details seem to be ignored in this evaluation: the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact merely enslaved eastern Europe (by the Soviet Union, incidentally). Second, the pact led to the second world war. It was not an escape route by the Soviet Union, but instead a cold-blooded calculation to ignore Hitler’s growing appetite for territories.

Leaving history to historians, I would like to draw attention to the western responsibility here. We cannot let such statements go unnoticed because they are part of a bigger narrative, under which the Russian leadership now seeks endorsement for its aggressive and revisionist foreign policy.

Otherwise we, the western democracies, risk becoming part of a similar pact. Not by consciously entering into dirty deals with the aggressor, but by not doing enough to prevent it, and leaving the impression that anything is possible. True, the western response solidified recently, albeit a bit late. However, notions of the need to appease Russia are gaining speed.

The confidence with which Russia is acting now comes partly from our inability to stand by our values and principles. Russia applied similar tactics in the case of Georgia in 2008. We searched for ways to get back to normal quickly, hoping that “normal” was also the intention of the Russian regime. It turned out it was not. So unwillingly, we became part of their plan. History repeats itself now.


The Michigan Bucket List: 50 Things to Do Before You Die

So there you are sitting on your deathbed, your life flashing before your eyes, a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel, and as you move closer to that light, a figure begins to emerge, and you ask in a hopeful tone, “God? Is that you? Is this heaven?” But it’s not. Not at all. It’s us. Thrillist. And we’ve been sent to show you all the things you should have done in Michigan before you died.

So we give you this list, and send you back to earth where you wake up in a cold sweat, relieved to find it was all a dream… and yet… it seemed so real. You check your phone, and sure enough, there, in your browser, is THIS. VERY. LIST. Maybe you were reading it before you fell asleep, or maybe it wasn’t really a dream at all?! Either way, you’ll want to start knocking this list 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: 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:


On Twitter at:


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


Thanks again for all you do!

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Cruz for President Announces Michigan State Chairs

TedCruz Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Rick Tyler, (703) 431-3350
News Release Catherine Frazier, (512) 751-5984
May 11, 2015

Cruz for President Announces Michigan, California State Chairs Two prominent former state GOP chairmen with national profiles join the campaign

HOUSTON, Texas – Continuing to build a robust national organization,Cruz for President today the named two former state Republican Party Chairmen with strong national profiles to drive the campaign in Michigan and California.

“I am excited to add two incredibly experienced, courageous conservatives to our team,” said Sen. Cruz. “Saul has a strong record of leadership, success, and exemplary management in Michigan. Ron has had the courage to believe the GOP can win in California and has a record to prove it in San Diego. With their guidance, our campaign is going to perform exceptionally well in both Michigan and California.”

Saul Anuzis will serve as the Michigan Chairman for Cruz for President. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 2005 to 2009. His previous political and government service included working with Newt Gingrich at American Solutions, Jack Kemp’s 1988 Presidential campaign, serving as Chief of Staff to Michigan Senate Majority Leader Dick Posthumus, Chairman of the MI Senate Republican Campaign Committee and serving on the MI House Republican Campaign Committee. Anuzis will also be a senior adviser to the campaign helping to organize the grassroots campaign nationally.

Ron Nehring will serve as the California Chairman for Cruz for President. He served as Chairman of the California Republican Party from 2007 to 2011and is widely credited with being the architect of the Republican resurgence San Diego as the Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County from 2001 to 2007. As the Republican Party leader in California and a member of the Republican National Committee, Ron Nehring served as Chairman of the RNC’s State Chairmen’s Committee from 2007 to 2011. During his tenure as Chairman, the California Republican Party erased its $4.7 million debt and raised over $74 million.

In 2014, Ron Nehring served as the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of California, earning over 3 million votes.

The Michigan Presidential primary is slated for March 8, 2016 and the California primary is currently scheduled for June 7, 2016. In the general election, Michigan holds 16 electoral college votes; California holds 55.

Paid for by Cruz for President www.tedcruz.org

P.O. Box 25376, Houston, TX 77265 | (713) 353-4330​


Cruz coverage

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Detroit News

Detroit Free Press

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Weekly Musing 5-10-15

Weekly Musing 5-10-15

Saul Anuzis

Happy Mother’s Day!!!


Yes, traditional Lithuanian outfit with the family.


And then there’s my mom and family back in Detroit…DaCosta, (313), Creswood.

Great Pick – Congratulations!!! Michigan GOP selects new member of U.S. committee

Michigan Republicans chose Kathleen Berden of Snover as their new national committeewoman at a meeting of the Party’s 113-member state committee in Boyne Falls on Saturday.

Berden, who lives in Sanilac County in Michigan’s Thumb region, defeated Mary Whiteford of South Haven on the second ballot.

State Rep. Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell, the third candidate, was eliminated on the first ballot. She and Whiteford both are from Allegan County in west Michigan.




Americans Not In The Labor Force Rise To Record 93,194,000

In what was an “unambiguously” unpleasant April jobs payrolls report, with a March revision dragging that month’s job gain to the lowest level since June of 2012, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force rose once again, this time to 93,194K from 93,175K, with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called “market” which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus – the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.

End result: with the civilian employment to population ratio unchanged from last month at 59.3%, one can easily on the chart below why there will be no broad wage growth any time soon, which will merely allow the Fed to engage in its failed policies for a long, long time.


2016 EC Sabato

The Map: 11 Angles on the Electoral College

In our internal deliberations on these initial ratings we quickly agreed on a large majority of the ratings, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the rigidity of the modern Electoral College.

We had some differences of opinion about the Leans Democratic states in the Midwest and the Northeast, as well as a handful of states that typically go Republican. For instance, we considered starting Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as Toss-ups to reflect how close they could be in a tight national election. However, given that both states have voted Democratic even in years when the Democratic nominee has lost (2000 and 2004), and because neither state has shown a clear pro-Republican trend in recent presidential elections, we could not justify portraying either state as a coin-flip to start.

We also debated what to do with Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri, states that have consistently voted Republican presidentially since 2000 yet have yielded very close results (Missouri) or have demographic trends favoring the Democrats (Arizona and Georgia). They are certainly not Safe R — or not the way they used to be, at least in the case of the latter two — but if the GOP nominee is losing any of them, he is almost certainly on his way to a large national loss. Therefore, Likely R is the logical place for them.

Indiana was easier. Barack Obama’s 2008 win was something of a fluke; it was only the second time since the end of the World War II that the state voted Democratic, and Mitt Romney strongly restored it to the GOP column in 2012. So we’ve started it as Safe R.

Finally, after a vicious argument that resulted in bloodletting, New Hampshire was designated Toss-up instead of Leans Democratic, for reasons we explain more fully below.


A Brokered GOP Convention in 2016?

As the dust settled from the fiery rules meeting at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, the leading storyline that emerged was that establishment forces had once again quashed insurgent outsiders by instituting two critical changes to the way the GOP nominates its presidential candidate.

One new rule cracks down on delegates who are inclined to peel away from the electoral outcome in their state, a direct response to the rabble-rousing supporters of former Rep. Ron Paul. The other rule allows the Republican National Committee to change a certain set of rules between conventions with a three-fourths vote of membership, disseminating power from the rules committee which previously held sole jurisdiction.

But there was a third overlooked change that could potentially have the biggest, most dramatic effect on the 2016 primary fight and some RNC members believe it could render irrelevant the concerted, well-laid efforts to shorten the nomination contest.

Officially, it’s Rule 40 in the RNC handbook and it states that any candidate for president “shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states” before their name is presented for nomination at the national convention.

In a scenario with a commanding front-runner, this doesn’t seem like a high threshold to cross. But with the absence of an heir apparent standard-bearer and the most wide open nomination battle in decades looming, some RNC members think Rule 40 could crack open the door to the possibility of a convention floor fight. The theory: If no one candidate has secured eight states, it invites a free-for-all without a reason to get out. Conversely, if multiple candidates garner eight victories and accrue hundreds of delegates, each could claim a right to soldier on.  For instance, it isn’t inconceivable to think that Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., could dominate the Northeast, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. performing well in the South and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc,, racking up victories in the Midwest.


GOP 2016 diversity on display in campaign rollouts

There could be no greater examples of the diversity of the 2016 Republican presidential field than the dueling announcements of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina Monday morning.

Carson, the only black candidate in the race, and Fiorina, the only woman, are also the only two candidates who have never held public office before. Each is working to turn what some would call a gap in their resumes into a strength by attacking what they call the “political class” — that is, office-seekers other than themselves.

“Our Founders never intended us to have a professional political class,” Fiorina said in a video announcing her candidacy. “They believed that citizens and leaders needed to step forward.”


Clinton Shhh

How the Clintons Get Away With It

I have read the Peter Schweizer book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” It is something. Because it is heavily researched and reported and soberly analyzed, it is a highly effective takedown. Because its tone is modest—Mr. Schweitzer doesn’t pretend to more than he has, or take wild interpretive leaps—it is believable.

By the end I was certain of two things. A formal investigation, from Congress or the Justice Department, is needed to determine if Hillary Clinton’s State Department functioned, at least to some degree and in some cases, as pay-for-play operation and whether the Clinton Foundation has functioned, at least in part, as a kind of high-class philanthropic slush fund.

I wonder if any aspirant for the presidency except Hillary Clinton could survive such a book. I suspect she can because the Clintons are unique in the annals of American politics: They are protected from charges of corruption by their reputation for corruption. It’s not news anymore. They’re like . . . Bonnie and Clyde go on a spree, hold up a bunch of banks, it causes a sensation, there’s a trial, and they’re acquitted. They walk out of the courthouse, get in a car, rob a bank, get hauled in, complain they’re being picked on—”Why are you always following us?”—and again, not guilty. They rob the next bank and no one cares. “That’s just Bonnie and Clyde doing what Bonnie and Clyde do. No one else cares, why should I?”


Gubernatorial Map: A “Red Wall” for GOP in 2016?

National political news sites are dominated by a few topics these days: the presidential primaries, congressional squabbling, pending Supreme Court cases. That focus may be understandable, but for state politics junkies (like myself), there has been a dearth of coverage about upcoming state elections.

There are actually a number of structural reasons for this, the primary one being that the 2015/2016 gubernatorial map is less – for lack of a better word – eventful than the 2014 map.

Specifically, the new map is narrow, polarized and nationalized. To some, that makes it sound boring: There will be fewer gubernatorial races this year and next than there were in 2014, and some of these elections may end up looking like ideological carbon copies of the national ones, just pasted onto highly red or blue states.

But what some observers do not notice is that the gubernatorial map provides a backstop for Republicans against a Democratic wave – that is, if Democrats were to win the presidency, make big gains in Congress and make up significant ground in state legislatures, structural factors could bar them from making equally large gains in the governors’ mansions.

The Map Is Narrow

Unlike the Senate map, the gubernatorial one is not divided neatly between presidential election years and midterms. There are regularly scheduled elections for governor every year, and some years there are quite a few.


The Inconvenient Truth about Ghetto Communities’ Social Breakdown Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much-lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families. Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period. Just read Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple, a British physician who worked in a hospital in a white slum neighborhood. More Baltimore Riots The T-Word Is Not the N-Word Baltimore’s Mayor Floundered, While Maryland’s Governor Led Why the Left Won’t Call Rioters ‘Thugs’ You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large. Non-judgmental subsidies of counterproductive lifestyles are treating people as if they were livestock, to be fed and tended by others in a welfare state — and yet expecting them to develop as human beings have developed when facing the challenges of life themselves. One key fact that keeps getting ignored is that the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994. Behavior matters and facts matter, more than the prevailing social visions or political empires built on those visions. -communities-social-breakdown-thomas-sowell


Commerce Secretary Snyder? Michigan Governor’s Future Hot Topic on ‘Michigan Matters’

Following the crushing defeat of Proposal 1 and Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement Thursday night that he was finally ending speculation that he might run for president, the “Michigan Matters” roundtable vetted what comes next for Michigan’s 48th governor who is term limited.

“I think he could be positioning himself as a possible veep candidate or maybe a cabinet position,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who appeared along with Denise Ilitch and Cliff Russell.

When pressed by host Carol Cain on which cabinet post, Patterson responded, “He’d be a good commerce                         secretary.,”

Snyder, who is in New York Thursday and Friday, where he rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange , has been a champion for Proposal 1 which gained the dubious distinction of being given a thumb down by 80-percent of Michigan voters on Tuesday.


Defensive?  Who’s attacking???  Russia’s New Armata Tank Debuts in Parade

Russian and some Western military experts say the Armata will surpass all Western versions. The tank is the first to have an internal armored capsule housing its three-man crew and a remotely controlled turret with an automatic weapons loading system, features that allow for increasing both the level of crew protection and the efficiency of the tank’s weapons.

The Armata designers also envisage the use of the same platform for several other machines, including a heavy armored infantry vehicle, a self-propelled heavy howitzer and combat support vehicle. This would cut production costs and streamline technical support and maintenance.

The pioneering design potentially puts the Armata ahead of Western competition, but it is yet unclear whether the Russian weapons industries will be able to meet the ambitious production plan for the new tank.


China:  Versailles Treaty and the May 4th Movement

In an article from the China Now magazine (1989), Peter Richards reveals the origins and repercussions of an unfair deal for China in the aftermath of the first World War. This became the springboard for political unrest centred on the Shandong Settlement…

…News of the Shandong settlement had leaked out and created a movement which gave impetus to Chinese nationalism. Beginning on 4 May 1919 people took to the streets in their thousands and hostility to Japan and Britain was expressed forcibly by students. Boycotts of Japanese and British goods became common.

It would be unwise to over-estimate the effects which the May Fourth Movement had upon China’s internal development, its foreign relations, and the belated change of Britain’s policy towards China in the mid-1920’s. But there can be no doubt that it was a strong influence upon the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) and the forces contending for power within China.

The Shandong settlement also had a harmful effect on international affairs. Anglo-American relations went through a distinctly chilly stage between Versailles and the Washington Conference of 1921-22. At the same time Japan felt let down by its British ally’s reservations on its claims. Nobody seemed pleased with Britain. Although the Washington Conference made a qualified return of Shandong to China, this only delayed Japan’s desire for expansion which burst forth in brutal fashion in 1931 and 1937.

Whether or not an Anglo-American confrontation with Japan over Shandong at Paris would have prevented the tragic events of 1937-1941 is one of the big questions of history. But the 70th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles provides an occasion for reflection on this question and the opportunity which was lost for putting Anglo-Chinese relations on a new footing.


European War Games: Responses to Russian Military Drills

Several events have coincided to demonstrate the dynamic, if not guarded, relationship between Russia and the Nordic and Baltic states. Ten NATO countries and Sweden launched a two-week planned exercise in the North Sea on May 4 to improve their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. On the same day, Finland — not a NATO member — began mailing letters to about 900,000 reservists informing them of their roles in a potential crisis situation. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry formally complained to Russian authorities that Russian navy ships were disrupting cable-laying work in waters between Sweden and Lithuania, the latest in a series of formal complaints over Russia’s activity in the area. Concurrently, the Swedish and Lithuanian foreign ministers met with Moldova’s pro-West leaders in Chisinau.

All of these events confirm that the Nordic and Baltic states are working to boost security cooperation in response to Russia’s military activity in the region. Consequently, the security buildup will continue — on both sides.


NEW Facebook Page…

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Weekly Musing 5-3-15

Weekly Musing 5-3-15

Saul Anuzis


Will Rick Snyder Run for President? The question is what that “maybe, maybe not” stance signifies. Does it foreshadow a serious bid? Is it a coy attempt to attract national attention? A reminder to other candidates of his potential as a running mate? Or is it just the largely overlooked, fairly successful GOP governor of a blue state wanting a bit more recognition? Talk of a Snyder bid exploded last Friday at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, after former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman told reporters: “I met with Rick Snyder yesterday. He’s running. He’s running.” Either Coleman misheard something in that meeting, or he let the cat out of the bag early. Snyder’s team is sidestepping the remark for the moment.


Republicans in 2016: Rubio Edges Ahead of Walker – But this field remains remarkably large and jumbled

For Republicans looking ahead to 2016, Florida is the pivotal state in the Electoral College. Naturally, we can’t know exactly what will happen a year and a half from now, but from our current vantage point, it appears very likely that the GOP must win the state to have a shot at winning 270 or more electoral votes and control of the White House.

Given the state’s importance, particularly to the Republicans, it seems appropriate that the top two contenders for the party’s presidential nomination in the Crystal Ball‘s rankings now hail from the Sunshine State.

Moving into the number two spot on our GOP list is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The state’s junior senator has enjoyed a solid couple of weeks since announcing his candidacy on April 13, and his new position in our candidate list reflects that. He jumps ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains at the top, though it’s important to stress just how tenuous Bush’s slotting remains at this very early point. This trio (Bush, Rubio, Walker) continues to make up our first tier, and they are tightly bunched together.

New survey data reflect Rubio’s improved stature. Prior to his announcement, Rubio had last seen double digits in national GOP primary polling in February 2014. Based on RealClearPoliticslist of polls, Rubio’s average in the nine 2015 polls taken before April 13 was 5.9%. In the three surveys since his official entry, Rubio averaged 13% and held a (slim) lead in two of them. It’s true that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got a similar poll bounce after his entry in late March, which seems to have receded somewhat, so it’s entirely possible that Rubio is just the latest benefactor of an announcement bounce.

On the other hand, there’s little question that Rubio is relatively well-regarded by a wide variety of Republicans, from Tea Party stalwarts to establishment types. His potential to receive support from a broad swath of Republicans is one major reason Rubio is a top-tier candidate. In our reaction to Rubio’s entry, we mentioned that Rubio was actually relatively unknown compared to some other GOP contenders, leaving him room to grow as potential voters got to know him. Now that he’s an official candidate, one might say that his poll numbers are catching up to expectations.

This is not to say that Rubio won’t face major challenges. His murky stance on immigration — Rubio has pulled back from a reform plan he once touted — leaves him open to attack on his right flank and could undermine his support among Tea Partiers. Having worked on comprehensive reform in the Senate, many Republican donors have been happy to oblige him with checks. But the GOP grassroots are suspicious of any dealings regarding immigration, calling the 2013 Senate bill that Rubio helped pass “amnesty.” Considering the hit he took during that episode, where Rubio ends up on this issue could make or break him in the long run.


Two More for 2016? Kasich, Snyder Would Bring Heterodoxy to the Mix

The Republican field of 2016 presidential candidates keeps on expanding — and now it looks like it could be expanding in a surprising new direction.

Two Republicans with records of departing from conservative orthodoxy — Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan — are getting closer to a decision on whether to run for president.

The two newly re-elected Midwestern governors are cut from a very different cloth than the first three GOP candidates to officially enter the 2016 race — Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida — all senators who have come from the party’s conservative wing and have tea-party roots.

Unlike those three senators and much of the party’s activist base, Messrs. Kasich and Snyder support Common Core, the national education standards that conservative critics say smack of federal control of schools. Mr. Kasich has drawn fire from conservatives for supporting an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio and, on a hot-button immigration issue, he has said he is open to allowing a pathway to citizenship for people in the U.S. illegally. Touching another conservative third rail, Mr. Snyder is supporting a sales-tax increase to fund road construction, a ballot initiative that is coming to a vote in Michigan next week.


Millennials don’t trust anyone. That’s a big deal.

Millennials aren’t, it seems, the trusting type.

Of 10 major societal institutions, just two — the military and scientists — garnered majority support from millennials on the question of whom they trust to do the right thing most of the time. That’s according to new polling by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics of this most-written-and-talked-about generation, which encompasses those ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The lack of trust in longtime pillars of society among millennials is striking both for its depth and its breadth. No one is spared their side-eyed looks.

The media gets its worst — with 88 percent of millennials saying they only “sometimes” or “never” trust the press. Wall Street doesn’t fare much better, with 86 percent of millennials expressing distrust. Congress is at 82 percent. Three in four millennials (74 percent) sometimes or never trust the federal government to do the right thing, and two in three (63 percent) feel the same way about the president.  The Supreme Court, once a beacon of trust societywide, isn’t seen that way by millennials, with 58 percent saying they only sometimes or never trust the nation’s highest court to do the right thing. Heck, even local police aren’t spared; 50 percent say they trust the cops only sometimes or never to do the right thing, while 49 percent said they trust police “all” or “most” of the time.


Clinton Shhh

Doubts about Clinton’s honesty after emails

Americans appear to be suspicious of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s honesty, and even many Democrats are only lukewarm about her presidential candidacy, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Is she strong and decisive? Yes, say a majority of people. But inspiring and likable? Only a minority think so.

Clinton’s struggles to explain her email practices while in government, along with questions about the Clinton Foundation and Republican criticism of her openness, wealth and trustworthiness seem to have struck a nerve in the public’s perception of the dominant Democratic figure in the 2016 campaign. In the survey, 61 percent said “honest” describes her only slightly well or not at all.

Nearly four in 10 Democrats, and more than six in 10 independents agreed that “honest” was not the best word for her.

Even so, she is viewed more favorably than her potential Republican rivals, none of whom are as well-known as the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.


Ted Cruz

The Cruz Doctrine: Ted Cruz Opens Up About His Foreign Policy Worldview

Ted Cruz wants you to know that he isn’t a Rand Paul on foreign policy – but he isn’t a John McCain either.

The Texas senator and Republican presidential contender outlined his foreign policy worldview Friday in an in-depth interview with The Daily Caller from the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental in Sin City, where he was in town to attend both the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Spring Meeting and a convention of evangelical pastors.

“The touchstone of foreign policy should be the vital national security interest of America,” Cruz said, arguing his foreign policy was neither “full neocon” nor “libertarian isolationist.”

“I believe America should be a clarion voice for freedom. The bully pulpit of the American president has enormous potency,” he added, before praising former President Ronald Reagan for changing the “arc of history” by demanding Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall and lambasting President Barack Obama for not sufficiently standing on the side of freedom during Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution.


Holder’s Legacy Of Politicization

If there’s a government agency that ought to stay above the political fray, it’s the Justice Department. But outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder used his department to pursue a racially polarizing political agenda.

In his farewell speech Friday at Justice, Holder asserted that he restored Justice “to what it always was — free of politicization and focused on the mission without any kind of interference from political outsiders.”

This from the man who just last year proudly described himself as “an activist attorney general.”


Baltimore, a Great Society Failure

This is a failure exclusively of Democrats, unless the root causes of Baltimore’s troubles are to be traced to its last Republican mayor, Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, who left office in 1967. And it is an indictment of a failed model of government.

Baltimore is a hostile business environment and high-tax city, with malice aforethought. “Officials raised property taxes 21 times between 1950 and 1985,” Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters of Johns Hopkins University write in The Wall Street Journal, “channeling the proceeds to favored voting blocs and causing many homeowners and entrepreneurs — disproportionately Republicans — to flee. It was brilliant politics, as Democrats now enjoy an eight-to-one voter registration advantage.”

To counterbalance the taxes, they note, developers need to be lured to the city with subsidies, and the developers, in turn, contribute to politicians to stay in their good graces. This makes for fertile ground for the city’s traditional corruption.

Baltimore’s preferred driver of growth has been government. Urban experts Fred Siegel and Van Smith write in City Journal that Baltimore has “emphasized a state-sponsored capitalism that relies almost entirely on federal and state subsidies, rather than market investments.” The model makes for some high-profile development projects, but trickle-down crony capitalism hasn’t worked for everyone else.

…The schools, predictably, are a disaster, run by and for the teachers unions. (If the left’s vigilantes for justice really wanted to strike a blow against The Man, they would have besieged the headquarters of the Baltimore city schools.)

On top of all this, two-thirds of births in the city are out-of-wedlock. Toya Graham is being rightly celebrated for smacking her 16-year-old son and getting him out of the streets during the rioting. You can admire her pluck and still be daunted by the challenges she faces as a single mother of six.

What is Obama offering in response to this deep, decades-long decline? Among other things, more pre-K education and job training, even though these programs have a long history of ineffectiveness.

The imperative in Baltimore should be to think and act anew. But the left’s take-away will be that there’s an urgent need for more of the same, as Baltimore and places like it continue to rot.


Peace is over for the Baltic States

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the most endangered. Freed from the Russian yoke but 25 years ago and for centuries oppressed and enslaved by Russia, the Baltic people are most aware of the threat posed by Russia’s resurgent nationalism… or at least Estonia is, because Latvia’s and Lithuania’s defense preparations are ridiculous. They scream for help, solidarity and Western forces to defend them, but have way too few soldiers, way too small defense budgets and an amazing lack of urgency. Personally I believe that if within this year both do not rectify this situation, NATO should only defend them while on its way to stand and fight with Estonia…

…Ultimately, the defense of the Baltic nations stands and falls with their level of cooperation. Sweden has the easiest task: defend and hold Gotland, while Poland faces the unenviable task to fend off attacks on two sides: from Kaliningrad and Belarus, while at the same time being the main reserve force for the Baltics. Therefore, Poland has much higher financial, logistic and preparatory hurdles to clear before its military is capable to withstand each and every type of Russian attack. But as for the Baltics, nothing will give them as better chance to deter a Russian attack and in the worst case withstand it until help arrives, than combing their defense structures and leaving just operational command in national hands (for now).

All five nations under threat along the Baltic Sea will have to plan and prepare to fight on their own, as help from Western European nations is not something they can count on. Therefore, these nations, just like Romania and Ukraine, will have to prepare for the worst and with the current nationalistic hysteria sweeping Russia the worst is yet to come and it will come. Therefore either be prepared or surrender and acquiesce to living under the Russian yoke once more. I for my part say: Never!


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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