Weekly Musing 1-4-15

Weekly Musing 12-4-15

Saul Anuzis

Happy New Year!

Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Matt Salmon

Why Ted Cruz

Here is my letter of why I think Ted Cruz would be the best candidate to win the 2016 elections…and is the right candidate to be President.


Here is my op-ed published on NewsMax:


The 15 political questions for 2015

Hillary Clinton, who is expected to unveil her second presidential campaign early next year, is poised to become the dominant political figure of 2015. What we don’t yet know is how seriously she’ll be challenged for the Democratic nomination, whether she’s learned the right lessons from her failed 2008 bid and how the former secretary of State will deal with her former boss, Barack Obama.

The Republican field for the White House is wide open, with no clear frontrunner or heir apparent. Jeb Bush claimed a lot of oxygen with a surprise announcement that he’ll “seriously consider” a run. But there are many reasons to believe today’s GOP won’t nominate him, even if he raises more money than everyone else.

Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a Republican-controlled Senate, further limiting his ability to pass big legislation. But perhaps term limits and a foil on Capitol Hill will liberate him, as seen with recent executive actions on immigration and relations with Cuba.

GOP leaders are like the dog that has finally caught up with the car. Now, dominating both chambers of Congress, they must govern.

Here’s our look at the 15 biggest open questions for 2015 – the known unknowns


Ten Global Elections to Watch in 2015

Though many American political junkies will spend 2015 speculating about presidential contenders, you can get a more immediate fix by watching the following slate of important races across the globe. From high-profile gubernatorial and mayoral races in the United States to pivotal national elections abroad, 2015 offers a host of dynamic electoral battles that will serve as a perfect appetizer before 2016-talk truly takes over.


Constitution’s horrible, no good, very bad year

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s worth considering the Obama administration legacy as we head into 2015.

Certainly, there were scandals. The IRS played hide and seek with documents regarding improper targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.

The response to the Ebola outbreak was clumsy, and helped induce panic. Our foreign policy is in tatters.

Yet the most long-lasting damage may be the Obama administration’s cavalier attitude towards constitutional separation of powers.

…But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.

Midterm election exit polls confirm other polling showing trust in government near historic lows. Dissatisfaction with government is the top non-economic public concern.

The Obama administration’s relentless expansion of executive power through extra-constitutional means only further fuels the public’s distrust of government. If 2014 was a referendum on Obama, 2016 may be a referendum on whether the public wants the federal government, particularly the president, to live within constitutional boundaries.

Will our next president be a king, queen or a constitutionally-limited president? That is the question for 2016.


A Year of Liberal Double Standards What seems like staggering hypocrisy is actually remarkably consistent from liberals’ perspective.

When Republicans are in power, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” When Democrats are in power, dissent is the racist fuming of “angry white men.”

Peaceful, law-abiding tea-party groups who cleaned up after their protests — and got legal permits for them — were signs of nascent fascism lurking in the American soul. Violent, anarchic, and illegal protests by Occupy Wall Street a few years ago or, more recently, in Ferguson, Mo., were proof that a new idealistic generation was renewing its commitment to idealism.

When rich conservatives give money to Republicans, it is a sign that the whole system has been corrupted by fat cats. When it is revealed that liberal billionaires and left-wing super PACs outspent conservative groups in 2014: crickets.


Let’s abandon the Democrats: Stop blaming Fox News and stop hoping Elizabeth Warren will save us

The Democrats’ conduct since the midterm debacle is as sad and sorry as the campaign that caused it. The party’s leaders are a big problem. A bigger one is the closed system of high-dollar fundraising, reductionist polling and vapid messaging in which it is seemingly trapped. Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won’t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place.

Nancy Pelosi says it wasn’t a wave election. She’s right. It was the Johnstown Flood; as catastrophic and just as preventable. One year after the shutdown Republicans scored their biggest Senate win since 1980 and their biggest House win since 1928. Turnout was the lowest since 1942, when millions of GIs had the excellent excuse of being overseas fighting for their country.

Every Democratic alibi — midterm lull, sixth-year curse, red Senate map, vote suppression, gerrymandering, money — rings true, but all of them together can’t explain being swept by the most extreme major party in American history. Citing other statistics — demography, presidential turnout, Hillary’s polls — they assure us that in 2016 happy days will be here again. Don’t bet on it.

It took more than the usual civic sloth to produce the lowest turnout in 72 years. It took alienating vast voting blocs, including the young and the working class of both genders and all races. The young now trend Republican. Voters of all ages migrate to third parties or abandon politics altogether. It’s the biggest Democratic defection since the South switched parties in the 1960s. If Democrats don’t change their ways, their 2016 turnout will be a lot harder to gin up than they think.


Mega Rich Overwhelmingly Donated to Democrats in 2014

Democrats bagged the bulk of big dollar donations in the 2014 midterm elections according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

Out of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors to outside groups, Democrats hauled in $91 million or 71% of donations.

“Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats—a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14,” reports the AP.

Democrats also enjoyed a 3-to-1 cash advantage when it came to the 183 groups stroking checks of $100,000 or more. The liberal National Education Association (NEA) topped the list of big money donors at $22 million. The top ten list contained zero Republican-leaning groups.


Top 100 donors give almost as much as 4.75 million small donors combined. The 100 biggest campaign donors gave $323 million in 2014 — almost as much as the $356 million given by the estimated 4.75 million people who gave $200 or less, a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found.

And the balance almost certainly would tip far in favor of the mega-donors were the analysis to include nonprofit groups that spent at least $219 million — and likely much more — but aren’t required to reveal their donors’ identities.

The numbers — gleaned from reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service — paint the most comprehensive picture to date of an electoral landscape in which the financial balance has tilted dramatically to the ultra-rich. They have taken advantage of a spate of recent federal court rulings, regulatory decisions and feeble or bumbling oversight to spend ever-greater sums in politics — sometimes raising questions about whether their bounty is being well spent. Yet their expanded giving power in 2014 was all the more stark, coming against a backdrop of what appears to be a surprising decline in the number of regular Americans contributing to campaigns, as well as a shift in political power and money to outside groups unburdened by the contribution restrictions handcuffing the political parties and their candidates.


The Gaffes That Stopped Us in Our Tracks in 2014

Another year, another season of off-the-cuff remarks gone awry. This year’s political gaffes ranged from stump-speech stumbles to Obama name-dropping actors who don’t really exist.


Fed Spending Chart

What If a Typical Family Spent Money Like the Federal Government

The federal government has a spending problem. The national debt is tipping $18 trillion–and growing. But what if an American family spent the way the United States does? Check out the chart below for a (scary) perspective.


What Americans Really Cared About In 2014

Or what they tweeted about, anyway. Twitter provides a fascinating, objective look at what people are discussing. Tracked over the course of the year, it tells us a little about the news, and quite a lot about us. People may claim to have lots of high-minded interests, but what are they actually talking about? Donald Sterling. Here it is: 2014, as documented on Twitter.

The results are quite striking. What was the number one tweeted topic? The Ferguson grand jury, not indicting Darren Wilson. What was number two? Darren Wilson shooting Michael Brown. So why does a local crime story, without any apparent broader implications, grip the national imagination? Sure, race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Eric Holder promoted the Ferguson narrative, but there has to be more to it than that. Something in the story obviously resonated with a lot of people.

Story number three was the midterm election. No surprise there. But look at some of the other contenders: the State of the Union, a surprise to me. Was there anything notable about Obama’s sixth such speech, any reason why millions of people would be talking about it? Maybe these spectacles are more important than I thought.


Greenspan Throws a Wet Blanket on Hopes for Growth Breakout

Just when you thought the U.S. economy was roaring back to health, Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is here to tell you otherwise.

“The United States is doing better than anybody else, but we’re still not doing all that well,” Greenspan, 88, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” with Betty Liu. “We still have a very sluggish economy.”

Greenspan said the economy won’t fully recover until American companies invest more in productive assets and the housing market bounces back.

“Almost all of the weakness in the last four, five, six years has been in long-lived investments” in capital goods and real estate, Greenspan said. “Until these pick up, we’re not going to get the kind of vibrant growth that everyone is hoping for.”


The Return of Geopolitics – The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers

So far, the year 2014 has been a tumultuous one, as geopolitical rivalries have stormed back to center stage. Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, Japan responding with an increasingly assertive strategy of its own, or Iran trying to use its alliances with Syria and Hezbollah to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back in international relations.

The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones. To be dragged back into old-school contests such as that in Ukraine doesn’t just divert time and energy away from those important questions; it also changes the character of international politics. As the atmosphere turns dark, the task of promoting and maintaining world order grows more daunting.

But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant: the ideological triumph of liberal capitalist democracy over communism, not the obsolescence of hard power. China, Iran, and Russia never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and they are making increasingly forceful attempts to overturn it. That process will not be peaceful, and whether or not the revisionists succeed, their efforts have already shaken the balance of power and changed the dynamics of international politics.


Why oil prices keep falling — and throwing the world into turmoil

The plummeting price of oil is still the biggest energy story in the world right now. It’s bringing back cheap gasoline to the United States while wreaking havoc on oil-producing countries like Russia and Venezuela.

But why does the price of oil keep falling? Back in June 2014, the price of Brent crude was up around $115 per barrel. By the end of the year, it had fallen in half, down to $57 per barrel

The short version of the story goes like this: For much of the past decade, oil prices were high — bouncing around $100 per barrel since 2010 — because of soaring oil consumption in countries like China and conflicts in key oil nations like Libya. Oil production couldn’t keep up with demand, so prices spiked.

By 2014, oil supply was much higher than demand.

But beneath the surface, many of those dynamics were rapidly shifting. High prices spurred companies in the US and Canada to start drilling for new, hard-to-extract crude in North Dakota’s shale formations and Alberta’s oil sands. At the same time, demand for oil in places like Europe, Asia, and the US began tapering off, thanks to weakening economies and new efficiency measures. On top of that, the conflict in Libya was slowly easing.

By late 2014, world oil supply was on track to rise much higher than actual demand, as the chart below from the International Energy Agency shows. And, in September, prices started falling sharply.



R.I.P. Retired U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola dies at 85

A retired U.S. district judge who served two decades on the federal bench in southeastern Michigan has died. Paul Gadola was 85.

Dodds-Dumanois Funeral Home in Flint said Gadola died Friday at the Burcham Hills retirement community in East Lansing.

Gadola spend 25 years as a Flint trial lawyer before President Ronald Reagan named him to the U.S. District Court for Southeastern Michigan in 1988.


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Why Ted Cruz!?!

Here is my op-ed published on NewsMax:


Someone shared this video…kind of says it all:


Also, here is my letter (more detailed analysis) to Republicans as to why I think Ted Cruz is the best candidate for 2016.

Why Ted Cruz?

Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Matt Salmon

For 2016, Republicans are understandably worried about Hillary Clinton’s massive political machine and finding the right candidate to win the White House.

To them, I say we can Cruz to Victory!

As we approach the 2016 presidential elections, Republicans are fortunate in the high caliber of the pool of candidates when it comes to our potential nominee. The national swelling ranks of successful Governors and national leaders from various backgrounds present us with some great options.

I wanted to share my thought process and analysis of why I believe Ted Cruz would not only make a great president but would also be the best and strongest option to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton in 2016 is the most invincible political force since Hillary Clinton in 2008, as they said then and now say again. Undoubtedly, she is, and will be, a formidable candidate whose chameleon-style campaign will be attractive to many and dangerous to our country.

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

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

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

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

Cruz is a movement conservative.

I will readily admit, like with any of the other candidates, he has his strengths and his weaknesses. I don’t always agree with his tactics or rhetoric. I might like to see a more measured approach to governing and politics. But I never question his principles or his values.

When I listen to him, I am often reminded of one of my first political heroes, Phil Crane. I will never forget when I first met Crane while still a college student when he told our group, “I would rather stand on my principles and lose, than lose my principles and win”.

Well, Ted Cruz is willing to stand on his principles AND because of that, I think is uniquely qualified and positioned to win.

First, Cruz the candidate. A son of a Cuban immigrant, Cruz’s upbringing and historical perspective is an important factor in his current thinking. It’s hard to imagine a speech where Cruz doesn’t reflect and draw on his family’s experience and desire to seek freedom and liberty. Escaping an oppressive regime, his family epitomizes the American Dream. His father, Rafael, labored to put food on the table, became a born again Christian and is now a Minister. Ted’s mother, Eleanor, was one of 17 children, was the first to go to college where she majored in mathematics and was an early entrant as a woman in the field of computer science. From humble beginnings, they worked their way up the ladder of opportunity, ultimately seeing their son graduate from some of America’s greatest universities, work his way up in public service and ultimately get elected to the United State Senate.

Cruz and his wife Heidi have a beautiful family, two lovely daughters – Caroline and Catherine – a strong faith and a work ethic that is second to none. Heidi is perhaps the most telegenic and articulate spouse of any potential 2016 candidate. Don’t underestimate what a visible Heidi could do to endear her husband to voters, especially women.

I’ve had a chance to meet Cruz several times over the last few years. I had the unique opportunity to sit with him one on one for well over an hour talking about politics and America. It’s impossible to spend any time with Cruz and not leave impressed. I would have to add, even inspired.

This is a man who believes wholeheartedly in American exceptionalism. A man who understands the challenges American faces and is willing to step into the arena and fight to preserve our liberty and our constitutional framework that has made our country what it is.

When you combine his life experiences, his faith, his family, his education and his principles, you find a well-rounded man who is destined to do great things…in service of our country.

So how does Ted Cruz win?

When we look at the nominating process for Republicans and the core of our voters and activists, few candidates bring such a unique coalition together. He is a solid, consistent and bold conservative leader who believes in a strong America and a limited government.

Conservatives of many stripes have been looking for a home, a candidate that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. We have that in Ted Cruz.

For the primaries, no other prospective candidate in the field better combines all facets of the “three-legged” stool that can attract, appeal to and represent the economic, social, and national security conservatives.

Tea Party members across this country are a growing force within the Republican Party. Frustrated with the status quo, they have joined our party ranks and have a very influential if not dominating voice in many states across the country. They participate at every level of the process and have become a key to many winning campaigns. Cruz represents their views and passion better than most.

The Christian right continues to be an active and important part of our base. Since 1988, they have fully integrated into the party structure and have completely become the backbone and foundation for many candidates and states around the country. Cruz is a devout Christian who can articulate his faith and values better than most.

Traditional conservatives and limited government conservatives have been looking for a principled leader for years. When you poll America and test the issues that matter to the average voters across this country, most identify themselves as conservatives, albeit not necessarily Republican. Ted Cruz reaches this constituency and can pull in the “Reagan Democrats” better than most.

Cruz believes in a strong defense and realizes America plays a unique role on the world stage. A strong supporter of freedom-loving people around the world, he has repeatedly stood up for the universal values of freedom and liberty for all. A strong supporter of Israel, he is willing to stand with our allies and ensure a free and democratic society worldwide. Ted Cruz represents this wing of the party better than most.

And finally, Cruz understands the grassroots of the conservative movement and inspires their passion, commitment and energy necessary to win the Republican nomination. One only has to look at his race for U.S. Senate, where he came from nowhere to win the nomination and represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. He took on the well-funded establishment candidate, with virtually every political leader united behind his opponent – he ran a campaign against all odds…and won. He’s the quintessential grassroots candidate, who connects with our poll worker, Women’s Federation member, phone-bank volunteer and the local precinct worker better than most.

Ted Cruz unites our traditional primary constituency and the base of our party like few others can…and arguably better than most.

But can he win the general election???

Ted Cruz brings home the base. For all the reasons stated above, Cruz is uniquely situated to unite our party and make sure every Republican and conservative comes to the polls in 2016. Ted Cruz is a candidate who could capture over 90% of our base – and potentially achieve conservative turnout not seen in a Presidential year since George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, when Bush netted 11 million votes over his 2000 results, mostly from conservatives.

As a Latino of Cuban-American roots, he is uniquely positioned to win a large percentage of the Latino/Hispanic vote which shares his values and heritage. It’s not hard to imagine that a Ted Cruz candidacy that could bring as much as 40% or more of the Latino vote nationwide, as he did in his U.S. Senate race. As the first Latino candidate to have a real shot at the White House, I think his appeal would be unique.

As a devout Christian, Cruz appeals to the evangelical community nationwide. This constituency can be the determinative demographic in a close race. A candidate who could help drive more Christians to the polls and inspire their participation in the process gives us a huge advantage going into the November election.

Cruz personifies the “Reagan Democrat”. A man of faith, anti-communist, self-made, hard-working, and no nonsense political leader who can resonate with the average American voter. This matters immensely.

The culturally conservative voter who shuns politics and partisanship is yearning for a political leader who speaks his mind and say what the “silent majority” is thinking. Ted Cruz can walk on any factory floor, stand at any manufacturing plant gate, join a hunt at any deer camp and share a beer with any working American and make them realize he’s their guy.

But the most intriguing storyline could be that Cruz – after being able to connect with the average American voters in unfiltered ways like the debates and long interviews – might just have a surprisingly strong appeal to Independents. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Independents don’t go into the ballot box with a check list of “issues” and litmus tests – which is precisely why they can swing from Democrats to Republicans or vice versa.

Independents want someone who consistently stands on principle, and as much as anything, someone who doesn’t take orders from anyone or any political party. They want someone honest to say that it’s not just the other side that has made mistakes. Cruz is the only guy in the potential 2016 party who says that while he embraces the principles of the Republican Party, his party hasn’t always lived up to those principles.

The fact that Independents hate the special interest-connected “establishment” leaders of both parties, means that Cruz has unique selling point – he might be “conservative,” but he is truly independent from any negative influences within our party and sides with a majority of the American people.

For a winning coalition, Cruz doesn’t need to win Independents – but he could be more than competitive enough to win overall.

Other than Obama in 2008, no Presidential candidate has simultaneously won Independents and the overall popular vote since Clinton did it in 1996. There’s a simple reason: When you “soften” your image and attempt to hide your genuine principles, you might appeal to Independents, but you dampen enthusiasm in the base. Romney won Independents by a big 5-point margin – but lost five million conservatives who had voted for McCain in 2008.

But if Cruz gets 2004 level conservative turnout, 35-40% of the Hispanic vote, maximizes evangelical turnout and is competitive with Independents – he’d beat Hillary.

And then there is his wife, Heidi Cruz. A successful woman in her own right, a powerful asset in any campaign nationwide.

She’s as smart and articulate as Ted. She can dazzle donors as well as act as a surrogate on TV or to key constituencies. Plus, Heidi comes out of the world of politics — they married after meeting during Bush’s 2000 campaign — so she’s relaxed in stressful political situations where other spouses might recoil or wilt under the pressure.

And when Ted may appear a bit too much like a political warrior or a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court (which he’s done NINE times!), Heidi can truly humanize him, making it harder for the media to paint a one-dimensional caricature.

She has the class of Ann Romney, the elegance of Laura Bush, the loyalty of Nancy Reagan and the tenacity of Hillary Clinton.

Heidi is the proverbial secret weapon.

Facing Hillary Clinton or whomever the Democratic nominee may be, Ted Cruz is uniquely positioned to win a coalition that truly represents the mainstream of America…and the majority of America.

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

Ted Cruz is that man…and I’m ready to stand with Cruz!

So let’s Cruz to Victory!


By Saul Anuzis, Former Member of the Republican National Committee and former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

Some have asked: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: Constitutionally Qualified to be President?

 Legal scholars are firm about CRUZ’s eligibility. “Of course he’s eligible,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tells National Review Online. “He’s a natural-born, not a naturalized, citizen.” Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and longtime friend of CRUZ, agrees, saying the senator was “a citizen at birth, and thus a natural-born citizen — as opposed to a naturalized citizen, which I understand to mean someone who becomes a citizen after birth.”

 Federal law extends citizenship beyond those granted it by the 14th Amendment: It confers the privilege on all those born outside of the United States whose parents are both citizens, provided one of them has been “physically present” in the United States for any period of time, as well as all those born outside of the United States to at least one citizen parent who, after the age of 14, has resided in the United States for at least five years. CRUZ’s mother, who was born and raised in Delaware, meets the latter requirement, so CRUZ himself is undoubtedly an American citizen. No court has ruled what makes a “natural-born citizen,” but there appears to be a consensus that the term refers to those who gain American citizenship by birth rather than by naturalization — again, including Texas’s junior senator.

Here is a good article that explains the Constitutional and historical facts as to why Cruz IS a naturalized citizen:



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Family Spending vs Federal Spending

Fed Spending Chart

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Weekly Musing 12-28-14

Weekly Musing 12-28-14

Saul Anuzis


Obama, a One-Man Revolution

Until now there were two types of peaceful American change. One was a president, like Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, working with Congress to alter American life from the top down by passing a new agenda. The other was popular-reform pressure, as happened in the 1890s or 1960s, to change public opinion and force government to make new laws or change existing ones.

Barack Obama has introduced a quite different, third sort of revolution. He seeks to enact change that both the majority of Americans and their representatives oppose. And he tries to do it by bypassing Congress through executive orders and presidential memoranda of dubious legality.

…After six years of Obama’s tenure, the president’s approval rating is just above 40 percent. He has lost more congressional seats during his administration than has any president in over a half-century. His party is in shambles, with historic midterm losses in state legislatures and governorships.

Obama’s promised new legislation — gun control, climate change, Obamacare — was either rejected by Congress or passed but found to be both unpopular and nearly unworkable. Positive changes — such as lower gas prices brought on by new American oil and gas discoveries and innovative new methods of extraction — came despite, not because of, Obama.

Yet the president presses on with his unpopular agenda, believing, as did Napoleon, that he alone is the revolution — intent to ignore popular opinion, the rule of law, and Congress. He assumes that his mastery of the teleprompter and iconic status as the first black president exempt him from congressional censure or outright public revolt.

In the next two years, we will see presidential overreach that we have not witnessed in modern memory.


2016 Presidential

The week the GOP primary began

Jeb Bush got serious, Marco Rubio railed on a topic close to home and Rand Paul took yet another contrarian view.

Officially, the Republican 2016 presidential field is a ways from being settled. Unofficially, this certainly felt like the week that the GOP primary was joined.

It started with Bush’s unexpected announcement that he’s “seriously considering” trying to become the third family member to win the presidency, and ended with Rubio and Paul trading shots over President Barack Obama’s new Cuba policy. Any expectation of a tranquil, holiday-season conclusion to a year of partisan battle in the midterms was unambiguously dashed.

“Jeb Bush’s announcement was a thunderclap that startled everyone and jump-started the Republican primaries,” said Mark McKinnon, a onetime adviser to Bush’s brother, George W. Bush.

McKinnon and other Republican strategists said Bush’s move not only sent a signal to anxious donors that the former Florida governor means business, but it also accelerates the primary process.

“The race to lock up money and talent will now be fast and furious,” McKinnon said. “If you intend to be a serious candidate, you can’t afford to wait very long to make your intentions clear. Most likely the serious players will announce their intentions some time in the first quarter of next year.”


Wealthy donors sided with Democrats in midterms

For as often as Democrats attack the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for their heavy spending on politics, it’s actually the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash in the just completed midterm elections.

At least, that is, among those groups that must disclose what they raise and spend.

Among the top 100 individual donors to political groups, more than half gave primarily to Democrats or their allies. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats – a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14.

The two biggest super PACs of 2014? Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC – both backing Democrats.

In all, the top 10 individual donors to outside groups injected almost $128 million into this year’s elections. Democratic-leaning groups collected $91 million of it.

Among the 183 groups that wrote checks of $100,000 or more to another group, Democrats had a 3-to-1 cash advantage. The biggest player was the National Education Association, at $22 million. Not a single Republican-leaning group cracked the top 10 list of those transferring money to others.



Evening with the Governor

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder looks back at 2014 with Tim Skubick, senior capitol correspondent and anchor of Off the Record from WKAR. The exclusive one-hour interview includes a rare TV appearance by First Lady Sue Snyder. | Watch it now at video.wkar.org


Red states keep growing faster than blue states

Since 2000, states that were red in 2012 grew much more than states that were blue. This led to a redistribution of House seats to states in the South and West — and to a reallocation of electoral votes. (Note that this is percent growth, which includes, say, North Dakota: the fastest growing state in recent years, but with a small population. In raw terms, red states grew by about a million people between July 2013 and July 2014. Blue states grew by about 941,000.)

That third pair of columns is misleading. It includes only the swing states from 2012, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio — and is dominated by the growth in Florida.

Notice in the second map above that the swing states have seen a range of growth. Some grew slowly since 2000. Some, like Florida, grew quickly. Which is important to read in reverse: There’s not a clear link between population growth and being a swing state.

For Republicans that are pleased about the continued growth in your states, some bad news. It does you no good until 2020, when electoral votes and House seats get shifted around again. The new data doesn’t suggest that your states are moving to the left, necessarily, as happened to Virginia as its northern counties absorbed more Democrats. Again, look to Florida, where people have been moving for years. The rate of growth has tapered off a bit, but the state’s political status hasn’t changed much. It’s still the swingiest state in the nation.


Race and the races

Bobby Jindal is Indian-American, but you’ll never hear him describe himself that way. Marco Rubio insists he’s an “American of Hispanic descent.” And Ted Cruz “certainly” identifies as Hispanic, but he didn’t run for office as “the Hispanic guy.”

These Republican lawmakers, along with African-American conservative favorite Ben Carson, look poised to make the 2016 GOP presidential field the party’s most diverse ever. They are all mulling over White House runs as the GOP continues to struggle with minority voters and as racial tensions over police conduct have captivated the nation.

But none is planning to play up his race or ethnicity in a presidential campaign, or even to stress the potentially historic nature of his candidacy. Instead, according to interviews with donors, strategists, aides and several of the possible candidates themselves, each is more likely to hit broader themes such as the American dream and the importance of hard work, which, for Jindal, Cruz and Rubio, would include nods to their parents’ immigrant experience.


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

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Season’s Greetings to my Liberal & Conservative Friends

 Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 10 15 21 AM

To My Liberal Friends:

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

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

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

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

To My Conservative Friends:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Weekly Musing 12-21-14

Weekly Musing 12-21-14

Saul Anuzis


Bobby Schostak NOT Running for Third Term

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A GOP Strategy Begins to Emerge

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

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

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

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

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

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


Next Up in America: The Liberal Retreat

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

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

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

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

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


The GOP’s Resurging Public Image

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

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

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

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


2016 Presidential

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

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

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

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

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


In Michigan, an end to an incredible run in Congress

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

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

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

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

But that’s all about to change.

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

And Michigan is going to miss them.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas.


Conservatives Speak At Values Voters Summit In Washington

How A Conservative Insurgent Can Win The 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination

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

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

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

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


Jindal: The voters spoke, Republicans should listen

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Viewing Russia From the Inside

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

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

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

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


America’s Uneasy Path Abroad in 2015

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

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

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


The Virtue of Amoral Foreign Policy

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

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

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


Why Would the Saudis Deliberately Crash the Oil Markets?

Simple: to undermine Tehran.

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

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

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


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

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


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.

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


Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 12-14-14

Weekly Musing 12-14-14

Saul Anuzis


The country has had it with Obama

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

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

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

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


Putin Army Hat

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

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

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

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

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

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


Behind the GOP Statehouse Juggernaut

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

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

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

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

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

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


Welcome to the Democrats’ Post-Obama Family Feud

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

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

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


Senate 2016: The Republicans’ 2012 Homework

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

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

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

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

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


2016 Presidential

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


The secret GOP tech summit to plot 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Detroit from Air

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

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

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


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