Weekly Musing 7-12-15

Weekly Musing 7-12-15

Saul Anuzis


Days until the 2015 election: 114. Days until the 2016 election: 485.

Cruz Book

Piss off the New York Times!!!

Buy this book…number one political book on Amazon…and piss of the liberal New York Times.


Ted Cruz feuds with the New York Times — and loves it The campaign gods are smiling down on Ted Cruz, gifting him a feud with conservatives’ most despised news outlet at a time when most 2016 campaigns are gasping for Trump-free air.

At issue: The New York Times refuses to grant the Texas senator’s memoir, “A Time for Truth,” a place on its powerful list of bestselling books, despite his publisher’s insistence that his numbers should vault him well ahead of other titles in the top 10.

News of Cruz’s exclusion broke this week after HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, sent a letter to the Times inquiring about its omission from the list, sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO, which first reported the story. The Times responded by telling HarperCollins that the book did not meet their criteria for inclusion.

On Thursday, a Times spokesperson said that the book was excluded because the paper had found its sales to be mostly “strategic bulk purchases” — a common practice among political authors, but a claim hotly disputed by Cruz’s campaign.

“The Times is presumably embarrassed by having their obvious partisan bias called out. But their response — alleging ‘strategic bulk purchases’ — is a blatant falsehood,” Cruz campaign spokesperson Rick Tyler said in a statement Friday. “The evidence is directly to the contrary. In leveling this false charge, the Times has tried to impugn the integrity of Senator Cruz and of his publisher Harper Collins.”


Interesting:  10 steps to restoring the common trust

Twenty years ago, in his bestselling social critique Trust, Francis Fukuyama identified the breakdown of the underlying principles that foster social and economic prosperity, what he defined as “social trust.”

Today, the crisis of social trust in the United States is more acute than ever before. The gulf has widened alarmingly between the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless, those with influence and those whose attachment to social institutions — and to our political order — has become increasingly tenuous. The conviction that the game has been rigged on behalf of well-connected and well-financed special interests has grown to the point that trust in the justice and efficacy of our major institutions is at an all-time low. We see manifestations of this phenomenon in the Tea Party movement, in the unrest sparked by law enforcement actions in Ferguson and Baltimore, and — perhaps most clearly — in an increasingly polarized and uncivil public debate over how we should order our affairs as a country.

The crisis of trust in America and the crisis of political leadership are two sides of the same coin. Never before have our public servants been more mistrusted, and for good reason. The plain fact is that our political leadership has contributed mightily to the breakdown of social trust that characterizes our present dilemma. Arbitrary and petty laws that infringe upon our day-to-day freedoms, systemic corruption epitomized by states and municipalities balancing budgets with the collection of fees and fines for petty civil violations, litigation aimed at intimidation rather than justice, a dangerously decrepit national infrastructure, and a growing Surveillance State that confuses the collection of information about its own citizens with national security — all of these unfortunate developments could not have occurred without the complicity or the active direction of our political leaders.

But while politicians have been complicit in the decline in social trust, they will also have an essential role in restoring that trust. It is imperative that we find ways to repair this disconnect with new policies, new ideas and new political approaches (as well as a new policy language) designed to help strengthen the broad American middle class. The project of restoring the common trust will require a new set of policy priorities that directly address the sources of the collapse in public confidence in our essential democratic institutions, including government. In that spirit, The Common Trust agenda calls for:



2016 Voters, by the Numbers

First, the good news for Democrats: If the electorate evolves in sync with the Census Bureau’s estimates of the adult citizen population (admittedly, a big if), the white share of the electorate would drop from 72 percent in 2012 to 70 percent in 2016; the African-American share would remain stable at 13 percent; the Latino portion would grow from 10 percent to 11 percent; and the Asian/other segment would increase from 5 percent to 6 percent. If the 2012 election had been held with that breakdown (keeping all other variables stable), President Obama would have won by 5.4 percentage points rather than by his actual 3.85-point margin.

In addition, the group with which the GOP does best—whites without college degrees—is the only one poised to shrink in 2016. President Obama won just 36 percent of these voters in 2012, while 42 percent of white voters with college degrees pulled the lever for him. But if the electorate changes in line with census estimates, the slice of college-educated whites will grow by 1 point, to 37 percent of all voters, while the portion of whites without degrees will shrink 3 points, to just 33 percent of the total. In other words, the GOP doesn’t just have a growing problem with nonwhites; it has a shrinkage problem as well, as conservative white seniors are supplanted by college-educated millennials with different cultural attitudes.

All that said, none of these data points proves that Republicans are doomed in 2016; in fact, the GOP has some reason for optimism. First, hard math makes talk of Democrats “expanding the map” by capitalizing on favorable demographic trends in Arizona and Georgia sound premature at best. For example, Romney beat Obama by 7.8 percentage points in Georgia in 2012. Wasserman estimates that the white share of the electorate there could decline from 64 percent to 62 percent—but that change by itself wouldn’t erase even a third of Romney’s margin of victory in the state.

Furthermore, the shifts a Republican would need to win the Electoral College vote might be less dramatic than commonly thought. If you’re searching for the “magic number” of Latinos that Republicans would need to capture the White House, you may not find one. Even if Romney had done 10 points better with Latinos in every state in 2012—winning 37 percent instead of 27 percent nationally—he would have won only one additional state: Florida. That’s primarily because Latino voters tend to be concentrated in states such as California, New York, and Texas, which aren’t Electoral College battlegrounds. However, if the Republican nominee were to do just 3 points better across all five segments of the electorate in 2016—a goal many GOP candidates easily surpassed in 2014—he or she would win seven more states, and 305 electoral votes.


2016 Prez Field

Could a 2012 Rule Change Upend the GOP’s 2016 Nomination Process?

The Republican National Committee adopted the rule ahead of its convention in 2012 at the insistence of allies to the last GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who wanted to insulate him from an insurgent challenge. The previous requirement was that a candidate win five states.

Some have suggested this rule might help winnow the field, as a de facto shortcut to winning the nomination, if the delegate math becomes a little blurry. But critics have argued the rule might prevent some candidates with a sizable share of delegates from qualifying for the nomination. Some go a step further, suggesting the rule may upend the entire nominating process if no candidate claims more than half the delegates in eight states, or if multiple candidates clear that bar.

The reality is that this rule, like just about every other rule in politics, can be changed. Members of the RNC rules committee can simply vote to change the number of states needed to qualify when they meet the week before next year’s convention in Cleveland. They can raise or lower the threshold of states in which the eventual nominee needs a majority of the delegates. Or, they can  scrap the requirement entirely. The candidate with the most delegates will control this process.

Of course, it may not be that simple. As anyone who has witnessed an RNC rules meeting can attest, even small tweaks can provoke a spirited backlash, especially if a presidential nomination is on the line. A small group of RNC agitators has been griping about this rule since the 2012 convention, with one committeeman vowing to use it to unravel the entire primary process no matter the results.


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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Happy Anniversary

Wedding (3)

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life….30 years ago today, she said yes!

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Weekly Musing 7-5-15

Weekly Musing 7-5-15

Saul Anuzis

Days until the 2015 election: 121. Days until the 2016 election: 492.

Eagle Constitution

Happy 4th of July

I hope you all took a moment to reflect on the gift this great country is to all of us, our children and grandchildren.  A Republic, if we can keep it!

The Declaration Of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…


A Classic – Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance


Wedding (3)

Happy Anniversary

So on a personal note, tomorrow my wife and I celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It feels like it was only yesterday…

So Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  Thanks for everything and I’m looking forward to the next 30 years together!

I love you!!!

Good Perspective:  Why the church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage

First of all, the church should not panic. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom.

Moreover, while this decision will, I believe, ultimately hurt many people and families and civilization itself, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, the church often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. That was the case in Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth and Rome, which held to marriage views out of step with the Scriptures.

The church will need in the years ahead to articulate what we believe about marriage; we cannot assume that people agree with us, or even understand us. Let’s not simply talk about marriage in terms of values or culture or human flourishing. Let’s talk about marriage the way Jesus and the apostles taught us to — as bound up with the gospel itself, a picture of the union of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32).

As we do so, we must not just articulate our views of marriage, we must embody a gospel marriage culture. We have done a poor job of that in the past. Too many of our marriages have been ravaged by divorce…

…Some Christians will be tempted to anger, lashing out at the world around us with a narrative of decline. That temptation is wrong. God decided when we would be born, and when we would be born again. We have the Spirit and the gospel. To think that we deserve to live in different times is to tell God that we deserve a better mission field than the one he has given us. Let’s joyfully march to Zion.

The witness to marriage will be, like the pro-life movement, a long-term strategy that is multi-pronged. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. We see that we are strangers and exiles in American culture. We are on the wrong side of history, just like we started. We should have been all along.

Let’s seek the kingdom. Let’s stand with the gospel. Let’s fear our God. But let’s not fear our mission field.



Poll: Obama Millennials Want to Leave the America They Created

A new poll from TransferWise shows that 35 percent of those born in the United States would consider ditching their home country to live elsewhere; that number skyrockets among those aged 18-34, the so-called millennials, 55 percent of whom said they would think of taking off if given the chance.

Most of those millennials cite economics as a chief factor in their desire to leave: 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women said they’d leave if they could get paid more in another country.

The rationales for staying in America, articulated by Americans, are particularly weak: 59 percent say they would stay because “it is home,” another 58 percent say they would stay thanks to romantic and family ties – and then the stats drop precipitously, with just 22 percent stating they would stay for the democratic society, 17 percent for the culture, 10 percent for the good future for children, 5 percent for wealth, 3 percent for low crime, and 2 percent for low taxes.

All of which makes sense, given that America has been moving in the wrong direction with regard to preservation of democratic society, a common culture, a good future for children, wealth, low crime, or low taxes.

It is worthwhile noting that the same millennials who say they would leave the United States voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama in 2012, 67 percent to 30 percent. Obama won at least 61 percent of the youth vote in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In 2008, they showed up in droves for Obama, voting 66 percent to 32 percent for the first black president. These millennials helped President Obama redefine and radically transform America, and now it turns out that they dislike what they’ve built.


America Isn’t Getting More Liberal — It’s Getting More Libertarian.

This week the New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” columnists discussed the question “has America become more liberal?” Debater Molly Worthen, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, is no libertarian, but even she sees what many others have been saying: America isn’t getting more liberal or more conservative — it’s getting more libertarian.

A wide range of Gallup polls agree.

Take guns. In 1990, just 19 percent opposed “stricter laws covering the sale of firearms.” In 1991, barely half opposed a law that would “ban the possession of handguns.” In 2014, those numbers had risen to 52 percent and 73 percent, respectively.


Putin Army Hat

Putin is a thug!  Russian forces ‘practised invasion of Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden’

Russian forces rehearsed the invasion of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark during a military exercise involving 33,000 troops, according to a new study of Baltic security.

The maneuvers, which took place in March, assumed that a Western-backed uprising against President Vladimir Putin was taking place in Moscow. Under the scenario posited by the exercise, Russia responded by launching a simulated assault on four regional neighbours.

Some troops practised attacking Norway with the aim of seizing an area in the north of the country. Other Russian forces rehearsed the capture of the Aland islands from Finland. More units drilled how to seize Gotland island from Sweden and Bornholm island from Denmark.

These Baltic territories lie across vital shipping lanes, making them key military objectives. The capture of these islands would allow Russia to seal off the Baltic and isolate Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

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

Please share.

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

On Facebook at:


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


Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 6-28-15

Weekly Musing 6-28-15

Days until the 2015 election: 128. Days until the 2016 election: 499.

 Conservatives Speak At Values Voters Summit In Washington

Ted Cruz Wants To Be Able To Vote Out Supreme Court Justices

After calling the last day “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is now calling for Supreme Court justices to face elections.

In a National Review op-ed published Friday, Cruz chastised the high court for its decisions to reject a major challenge to Obamacare and to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Both decisions were judicial activism, plain and simple,” Cruz writes. “Both were lawless.”

To challenge that “judicial activism,” Cruz said he is proposing a constitutional amendment to require Supreme Court justices to face retention elections every eight years.

“The decisions that have deformed our constitutional order and have debased our culture are but symptoms of the disease of liberal judicial activism that has infected our judiciary,” Cruz writes. “A remedy is needed that will restore health to the sick man in our constitutional system. Rendering the justices directly accountable to the people would provide such a remedy.”



House bill would force the Supreme Court to enroll in ObamaCare

A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.

“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.

“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.


Top 9 Quotes From Scalia’s Scathing Dissent in King V. Burwell

Justice Antonin Scalia is known for his sharp wit and even sharper pen. He pulled no punches in his dissent today from the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell allowing the Obama administration to allow Obamacare subsidies to flow through the federal exchange.

Here are nine highlights:


The damaging doctrine of John Roberts

CONSERVATIVES are dismayed about the Supreme Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act — its ratification of the IRS’ disregard of the statute’s plain and purposeful language. But they have contributed to this outcome. Their decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches has borne this sour fruit.

The court says the ACA’s stipulation that subsidies are to be administered by the IRS using exchanges “established by the state” should not be construed to mean what it says. Otherwise the law will not reach as far as it will if federal exchanges can administer subsidies in states that choose not to establish exchanges. The ACA’s legislative history, however, demonstrates that the subsidies were deliberately restricted to distribution through states’ exchanges in order to pressure the states into establishing their own exchanges.

The most durable damage from Thursday’s decision is not the perpetuation of the ACA, which can be undone by what created it — legislative action. The paramount injury is the court’s embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.


The twisted logic of John Roberts’ ObamaCare ruling

The logic of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the latest challenge to Obamacare is simple: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them,” writes Chief Justice John Roberts in his 6-3 majority decision in the case of King v. Burwell. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

This is obviously true — and patently ridiculous.

It’s true because of course the goal was to improve markets. It’s absurd because government policies often have the opposite effect of what is intended — and the moral and legal onus in such situations falls on those who advanced the policies in the first place, not those who attempt to undo them.

The ludicrousness of Roberts’ logic can be seen in this extreme thought experiment: Policies like Communism, National Socialism and fascism came into political being because their expostulators and advancers thought they were going to improve humankind.

It goes without saying that their theoretically good intentions should have nothing to do with how we judge the execution of the policies enacted in their name.

Or, to look at it another way, was George Bush right to invade Iraq simply because he meant well?



The Democrats’ Mythical Third Term Obstacle

Running for a third term surely imposes some disadvantage. Change is an alluring campaign slogan that allows the outs to promise something better without specifics. The incumbent party has a record to defend, and weak points can be hammered without considering whether the outcome of roads advocated by the other party but not taken would have been worse.

The takeaway from campaign history since 1951 is not that an incumbent party faces long odds in winning a third term. It is rather that campaigns matter. It is hard to imagine McCain prevailing in 2008 given unhappiness with the war in Iraq and the economic collapse under George W. Bush. Yet Humphrey almost won despite Johnson’s disastrous Vietnam escalation, and Ford almost won notwithstanding Watergate and his then-unpopular decision to pardon Nixon, the mastermind of the cover-up. George H.W. Bush won, in part, because he ran a much better campaign than did his rival, Michael Dukakis, and he successfully enlisted Reagan to advance his cause. Had Nixon (1960) and Gore (2000) won, as they should have, and/or Humphrey and Ford, as they could have, no one would be claiming that presidential candidates from a party that has won two in a row are disadvantaged.

Each race has its own dynamic and that for 2016 is yet unknown. The Democrats may not succeed in 2016, but seeking a third term is far from a deal-breaker.


State Legislative Scorecards

The incomparable hub of legislative and electoral data has hoovered up every possible state legislative scorecard they could find, from the Alaska Business Report Card to the Wyoming Liberty Index, and everything in between.

In total, they found 189, from 103 different organizations, with at least one in every state except Alabama. Fifty-two percent are from conservative groups, like Americans for Prosperity, while 37 percent are liberal and the remaining 11 percent come from ideologically neutral outfits. The most prolific group is the League of Conservation voters, which is active in 19 states, while Texas legislators are subject to the greatest scrutiny, with 17 scorecards focused on the Lone Star State. Click through for full details, including breakdowns by state and issue type, as well as direct links to each scorecard.


These 5 Facts Explain the Threat of Cyber Warfare

The disastrous hack of the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management is the tip of the iceberg.

America has spent decades and trillions of dollars building up the greatest military force the world has ever seen. But the biggest threat to national security these days comes from not from aircraft carriers or infantry divisions, but a computer with a simple Internet connection. That much became clear after the catastrophic hack—most likely by a foreign power—of sensitive federal employee data stored online. These 5 stats explain the evolution of cyber warfare, its astronomical costs and its increasingly important role in geopolitics.


Elise Stefanik

Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress Introduces GOP to Millennials

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress wants to introduce her fellow Republicans to a positive, radically disruptive force in politics: her generation.

“In the private sector, we’ve disrupted entire industries to make sure they’re providing the best quality service to customers and the best products. We haven’t done that in Congress yet,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, from New York, said. “Hopefully, millennials in Congress will bring that spirit of bipartisan solutions to the table.”

The 30-year-old Harvard graduate is chairing a hearing for the Republican Policy Committee on Tuesday designed to educate GOP lawmakers about the challenges and opportunities of appealing to young Americans. “Millennials and the GOP: Learning from America’s Emerging Leaders to Shape Tomorrow’s Republican Agenda” is the first in what Stefanik envisions as a three-part series.


We Have Officially Reached Peak Leftism

A progressive panic attack begins as the Obama era wanes. If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420211/left-activist-peak-kevin-d-williamson

For those interested in playing games?!?  Republicans Should Help Bernie Sanders to Weaken Hillary Republicans should support the Vermont socialist’s campaign to force Hillary left.

Support Bernie Sanders! This is a call to action for every Republican anxious to win back the White House in 2016. Bernie Sanders, the socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, is now surging in his quest to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He is attracting media attention and large crowds, and is invigorated by a New Hampshire–primary poll showing him only 10 points behind frontrunner Hillary Clinton. After a GOP power player sent me a piece from left-leaning Salon headlined “Hillary Clinton is going to lose: She doesn’t even see the frustrated progressive wave that will nominate Bernie Sanders,” my heart went pitter-patter, beginning to sense an opportunity. But it was not until I saw a headline in The Hill warning that the “Sanders surge is becoming a bigger problem for Clinton,” accompanied by “It may be time for Hillary Clinton to take the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders more seriously,” that I was truly motivated to join Team Bernie and rally my fellow Republicans to do the same. So I sent Bernie a donation and visited his campaign store, where my favorite bumper sticker was Vote for Bernie . . . you know you wanna!


A Better Way to Keep Score in Iowa

Every once in a while, a really good idea or new way of looking at things comes along that is worth replicating.

Early this month, J. Ann Selzer, president of Des Moines-based Selzer & Company and pollster for The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg News, offered up a better way of looking at the potential for support of the multitude of Republican presidential contenders. With at least 16 candidates and seven months to go, the race is not static, and simplistically focusing on the first-choice support levels for each candidate doesn’t work. So factoring in a second choice and the number who say they would consider supporting that candidate likely is a better way to look at it.


Free State Project

I agree 100% here:  Libertarians Are Pro-Market, Not Pro-Business

I would argue…add conservatives…and your right on.

Libertarians have consistently attacked corporate welfare in all its forms, even criticizing a corporate tax system that finds some major companies with a negative effective tax rate. Libertarians, of course, would like to see all tax liabilities reduced quite significantly (preferably abolished), with much smaller government translating to fewer opportunities for insider intrigues and preferential treatment.

But as long as we have various governments picking our pockets, it is especially inequitable to allow the richest and most well-connected companies a free pass while we little people pay. As Illinois Policy Institute’s Hilary Gowins recently argued, “Good tax policy shouldn’t be restricted to select industries… [L]ower taxes should be applied across the board, not just to the politically connected.”

Politically “pro-business” too often means being cozy with corporate America, free market principles be damned. And while we can’t be very surprised when America’s corporate giants take the special favors offered them, the ties that bind big business and big government should make us skeptical of politicians’ carefully cultivated populist personae. Contrary to popular belief, libertarians can’t be blamed for a massive warfare-welfare state, riddled with corporate rent-seekers and legalized corruption. Indeed, this system is the very antithesis of what libertarianism prescribes politically and economically.


Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

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

Please share.

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

On Facebook at:


On Twitter at:


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


Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 6-21-15

Weekly Musing 6-21-15

Saul Anuzis

Happy Father’s Day

Scouting Dad

Remembering my dad and his mentorship that included giving me a lifetime experience in the Boy Scouts!

Days until the 2015 election: 134. Days until the 2016 election: 505.


Reagan Thatcher

2016: A Return to Leadership The very soft and unconvincing beginnings of the Clinton and Bush campaigns indicate that both families’ standard-bearers are running for the office because it is there and has been occupied by close relatives, and not because they are really irresistibly motivated to win it, much less that the public is clamoring for them to set up in the Oval Office. The Benghazi debacle and address to the world’s Muslims, and the bungling of the privately issued and retained e-mails, have gone a long way to sinking Hillary as an ultimate winner, even though she is a one-trick pony (“I’m a woman and I’m named Clinton”) in a one-horse Democratic field. And Jeb Bush’s failure to deal promptly and crisply with the question he must have known was coming for the past ten years, about the suitability of his brother’s invasion and government of Iraq, seems to be helping confirm the growing national impression that the Clintons and the Bushes, whatever their past services, are not evergreen dynasties, fit to lead America back from the slough of inert confusion to which those families have helped lead it. Jeb Bush doesn’t directly carry the can for the Iraqi quagmire and the economic shambles that George W. Bush brought on, and Hillary Clinton has put some distance between the Obama malaise and herself, but the natural antidote for the cumulative problems these two presidents have wrought are not George W.’s brother and Obama’s first secretary of state. (They might end up being the nominees, and one of them might end up being a good president, but enthusiasm for them at this moment is not unlimited.) These new faces might be capable of looking like plausible and interesting holders of national office.

For the first time since the 1966 recovery of Republicans as problems arose over the Great Society and Vietnam, when Ronald Reagan, Charles Percy, Nelson Rockefeller, Spiro Agnew, and others rose, while Democratic stalwarts Edmund G. Brown, Paul Douglas, and Mennen Williams of Michigan and many others bit the dust, there are signs of an interesting crop of promising young politicians elected governor and senator in important states. Governors Rauner (Illinois), Jindal (Louisiana), Snyder (Michigan), Kasich (Ohio), Haley (South Carolina), Walker (Wisconsin), and Senators Rubio (Florida), Paul (Kentucky), Ayotte (New Hampshire), Graham (South Carolina), and Cruz (Texas), as well as relative newcomers like Carly Fiorina, show a sense of renovation and optimism that could start the country off on a new cycle of desperately needed reform and political reconstruction next year. Most of the prominent Republicans seem to be running close to or ahead of Hillary Clinton in current polling. These new faces might be capable of avoiding terrible pratfalls and looking like plausible and interesting holders of national office, seeing off into the instantly receding past the tired faces and clichéd ornaments of recent drift and mediocrity (the Bidens, McCains, Romneys, and Kerrys), and energizing the electorate. This might reinstill a sense of optimism and faith in an America that has turned the rascals out again and again (1992, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010) without getting markedly better government or addressing endlessly festering problems. …Americans are neither accustomed to being so little respected in the world as their country is now, nor resigned to its continuing in this way. It is not an enervated society like most of Europe, is not afflicted by a death wish of national guilt, nor shattered or maladjusted from past enormities of misgovernment like Germany and Russia. It retains the pride, patriotism, and ambition of a great power, and rightfully wishes leaders who will reassert these national traits that Americans for generations had come to regard as their birthright. The ambition is justified and commendable, and need not be unrealistic. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419878/2016-new-improved-crop-gop-candidates-conrad-black

The Odds on Republican Contenders

In February, I offered odds on the Republican nomination contest. The field of candidates has evolved since then, and the number of genuinely possible winners has narrowed.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who officially launched his candidacy this week, is no longer the front-runner, although he’s still in the top tier. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have leapfrogged Bush in what remains a wide-open contest.

The field of serious candidates, in my view, now stands at eight. You can think of them competing in brackets similar to the regional brackets used for college basketball playoffs.


Ted Cruz Is The Frontrunner For The Republican Nomination

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — the true outsider, the tribune of the grassroots, the ruthless lawyer — is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

This is not trolling. This is serious. Conservatives vote in Republican primaries. And Cruz is really good at talking to conservatives.

Even his enemies will concede Cruz is smart. And his resume is strong — Princeton and Harvard Law School; success at the highest level of American law; serious jobs in federal and state government; and an underdog Senate victory in 2012. The strikes against Cruz as a Republican candidate usually run something like this: He doesn’t poll well; the shutdown freaked people out; he can be grim; he’s not well-regarded among Senate Republicans. Cruz, who quickly replaced Jim DeMint as the most hated man on Capitol Hill, has been underestimated for what is basically a credential: Even Republicans in Washington hate him.

Let’s work through the rest of this like a geometric proof.


Hillary Economist

Hillary the populist – The Chameleon

One thing to remember about populism: It’s popular. It tends to go over well with the populace.

So while Hillary Clinton’s first big campaign speech Saturday could be accurately described as liberal populism, she wasn’t exactly veering to the left or simply pandering to her base. The liberal policies that she championed on Roosevelt Island were the liberal policies with broad appeal to the center as well, the liberal policies that Americans tend to like more than they like “liberalism.” That’s certainly not true of all liberal policies, but Clinton mostly ignored the less popular ones.

At times, she sounded left-leaning general themes that have come to poll well across the political spectrum: shared prosperity, economic fairness, investments in people, aid for distressed communities, equality for gays and lesbians, the unfairness of overpaid CEOs and Wall Street malfeasance and billionaires buying elections. She name-checked the Children’s Defense Fund , renewable power, Franklin D. Roosevelt and other leftish things that evoke positive reactions in focus groups.

But Clinton also pledged to champion a slew of specific left-leaning policies, including universal pre-kindergarten, paid family leave, an infrastructure bank, universal voting registration, a higher minimum wage, equal pay for women, tax penalties for companies that “stash profits overseas,” more government spending—well, “public investments”—on science and research, and increased aid for the mentally ill. None of those were exceptionally bold stands to take. Most Americans like that stuff. They like the goodies that big government provides, even if they don’t like big government, and they like the idea of taxing and regulating what FDR would have called “malefactors of great wealth,” even if they don’t like the idea of taxes and regulations.


Group’s proposals would make debates more candidate, millennial-friendly A blue-ribbon bipartisan group proposed a raft of changes Wednesday to the general election debates that would make them friendlier to candidates while also modernizing them to increase viewership and keep them relevant in an age of declining TV viewership.

The group proposes eliminating audiences for the debates except the town hall-style debate but letting the public decide more of the questions. They would also let candidates engage more with each other on stage and make it clear to the journalists moderating that they’re moderators and should not act as journalists during the debate.

“I think what we were trying to do is get [the debates] in the hands of the voters and of as many people as possible,” said former Mitt Romney senior adviser Beth Myers, a co-chair of the group, along with former Obama White House communications director Anita Dunn. “We want to make this about an interchange between the candidates, nothing else.”

The 16 members included many veterans of both Democratic and Republican campaigns, such as Joel Benenson, Stuart Stevens, Ben Ginsberg, Ron Klain, Charles Black, and Robert Barnett, who often does debate prep for Democratic candidates.


In the Real World, Not Hollywood, the Left Is Close-Minded, and the Right Allows Dissent

I’ve split my professional life between two American cultures: half spent in the bluest-of-blue cities and the other half in the reddest-of-red rural South. I’ve split my jobs between universities and law firms that are almost uniformly Left and conservative nonprofits that are steadfastly Right. I attended a conservative, Christian college and then one of the nation’s most liberal law schools. My family has bounced between Cambridge, Massachusetts, Manhattan, rural Tennessee, small-town Kentucky, and Center City, Philadelphia (where we lived right at the edge of the so-called gayborhood). And after all those travels, I’ve come to at least two important conclusions: The sushi is better in Manhattan, and the freedom is better in Tennessee.

My conservative undergraduate institution — Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. — was far more open to dissent, including from angry atheist classmates (yes, I had a few) than was Harvard Law School. No one was jeered, shouted down, or threatened at Lipscomb. No one called future employers of atheist or liberal students to try to get job offers canceled. Professors didn’t scream at dissenting students, and activists didn’t plaster photo-shopped, pornographic pictures of liberals all over campus walls. At Harvard, all those things happened — to conservative students…

…We have yet to see whether these cultural approaches can coexist indefinitely. While your average Tennessean doesn’t much care what someone in New York City thinks or does, the urban Left isn’t willing to embrace legal or cultural federalism and allow states to go their own way. Instead, it demands that all social trends conform to its agenda, demands that public schools teach social leftism exclusively, and, most recently, refuses to allow even Indiana to chart its own course on religious freedom and tolerance.

Americans tend — over the long run — to reject censorship and intolerance, but past performance is no guarantee of future results. For those of us who live in Free America, our mission is clear: Resist legal and ideological aggression, and model the respect for free speech and individual liberty that we demand from our ideological foes. May the best culture win.


Watch Out, Dems: Sheldon Adelson And The Koch Brothers Are Closer Than Ever

In late April, some 700 conservative luminaries, including presidential contenders, donors, fundraisers and former President George W. Bush, gathered at the Venetian casino and resort in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting, where Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul and GOP megadonor, was holding court.

Among the assembled allies, well-wishers and supplicants who put in appearances was Tim Phillips, the head of Americans for Prosperity, the political centerpiece of the sprawling fundraising and advocacy network spearheaded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. It was the second consecutive year, according to an RJC donor, that Phillips dropped by for at least part of the conference, which doubles as the site of the so-called Adelson primary — the increasingly high-stakes battle between GOP presidential candidates vying to win the billionaire’s favor by expressing their full-throated support for Israel. Phillips’ foray into RJC turf was emblematic of a growing and successful effort by the Koch network to tap into Adelson’s $28 billion net worth and forge new links with the casino owner and the RJC, of which Adelson has long been the lead bankroller.


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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

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

Please share.

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Thanks again for all you do!

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