Weekly Musing 5-10-15

Weekly Musing 5-10-15

Saul Anuzis

Happy Mother’s Day!!!


Yes, traditional Lithuanian outfit with the family.


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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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


2016 EC Sabato

The Map: 11 Angles on the Electoral College

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

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

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

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

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


A Brokered GOP Convention in 2016?

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

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

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

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

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


GOP 2016 diversity on display in campaign rollouts

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

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

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


Clinton Shhh

How the Clintons Get Away With It

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Map Is Narrow

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


China:  Versailles Treaty and the May 4th Movement

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

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

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

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

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


European War Games: Responses to Russian Military Drills

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

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


NEW Facebook Page…

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

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Weekly Musing 5-3-15

Weekly Musing 5-3-15

Saul Anuzis


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Clinton Shhh

Doubts about Clinton’s honesty after emails

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

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

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

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

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


Ted Cruz

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

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

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

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

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


Holder’s Legacy Of Politicization

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

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

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


Baltimore, a Great Society Failure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Peace is over for the Baltic States

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

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

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


NEW Facebook Page…

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

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

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

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Weekly Musing 4-26-15

Weekly Musing 4-26-15

Saul Anuzis

Rubio Cruz

‘Hotline’ Shows Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz Rising in Polls Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have markedly improved ratings in the National Journal’s “Hotline” rankings of GOP presidential candidates after officially announcing their campaigns this spring, but Sen. Rand Paul’s standings dropped slightly. Rubio, of Florida, is now tied for second place with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker behind his friend and one-time mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, while Cruz comes in just behind the two, according to the publication’s rankings, which were released Friday. Paul, though, dropped one place in the Hotline rankings after his campaign rollout, after questions arose about his temper. Paul clashed with popular “Today” show correspondent Savannah Guthrie on the second day of his campaign announcement tour. For its rankings, National Journal compared the announced and potential GOP candidates’ chances of winning the 2016 nomination, comparing their strengths and weaknesses, poll numbers, and determined that Bush remained the “fragile front-runner.”

Bush is followed by a virtual tie between Walker and Rubio in second and third place, respectively, followed by Cruz and Paul. Next, moving down the line, are: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Bush remains at the top of the Hotline list, but while his name is his key money-raising asset, it may be dragging him down as people like Rubio gain power. Bush will most likely have plenty of funds to compete, but there are some in the party who worry that putting him on the ballot against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may not give the party the best chance to take the White House next year.


Impressive Republican Field Readies to Take on Hillary

One, the Republican field of candidates (and potential candidates) is far superior to the field of Republican candidates four years ago.

Two, the GOP candidates are fresher, livelier, and less touched by scandal than the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

And three, the Republicans have more credible rationales for seeking the presidency than does Clinton.

Encouraging as these sound, they don’t guarantee Republicans success. My one political rule: The future in politics is never a straight line projection of the present. Events intervene. The first televised debate among Republicans is four months away. The first contest, the Iowa caucuses, is nine months away. The New Hampshire primary is a week later.

That Republicans are better off than they were in the last presidential cycle is indisputable. Remember businessman Herman Cain and Representative Michele Bachmann?  They were prominent candidates in the 2012 race. Each led the Republican field in at least one national poll.

This time, 10 current or former governors and four U.S. senators are in the mix.  When Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination last week, the Economist wrote, “The Republican presidential field grows more crowded and more impressive.”

In his new book 2016 and Beyond:  How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America, GOP pollster Whit Ayres provides a “checklist” for candidates. Among the items:  a candidate must be optimistic, have held a major office, have an agenda that deals with the economic anxieties of middle class voters, can unite the factions of the Republican coalition, and appeals to minorities, blue-collar white voters, and young people. A Republican who meets most of these criteria, “stands a very good chance of being competitive against the Democratic nominee,” Ayres writes. A dozen or so Republicans qualify.

Best of all for Republicans, they won’t have to run against President Obama again. Clinton lacks Obama’s appeal as a candidate. At the moment, she is bent on keeping a strong rival out of the Democratic race. This is why her advisers boast of raising $2.5 billion for her campaign, a figure designed to scare challengers from running.


Our Endless Presidential Campaigns

On March 23, Ted Cruz announced he is running for president in a packed auditorium at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. On April 7, Rand Paul announced he is running for president amid the riverboat décor of the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Ky. On April 12, Hillary Clinton announced she is running for president in a brief segment of a two-minute video. On April 13, Marco Rubio announced he is running before a cheering crowd at the Freedom Tower in Miami. And these are just the official announcements.

Jeb Bush made it known in December that he is interested in running. Scott Walker’s rousing speech at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 24 left no doubt that he will enter the race. Chris Christie’s appearance in New Hampshire last week strongly suggests the same. Previous presidential candidates Mike Huckabee,Rick Perry and Rick Santorum seem almost certain to run. Pediatric surgeon Ben Carson is reportedly ready to announce his run on May 4 at the Detroit Music Hall.

With some 570 days left until Election Day 2016, the race for president is very much under way—to the dismay of a great many Americans. They find the news coverage of the candidates tiresome (what did Hillary order at Chipotle?), are depressed by the negative campaigning that is inevitable in an adversarial process, and dread the onslaught of political TV ads. Too much too soon!


Super PACs are poised to take over for traditional campaigns—starting by stealing their top talent.

Mike Murphy was destined to be the chief strategist for Jeb Bush‘s 2016 White House campaign. The California-based Republican operative has been a close friend and confidant to Bush for decades; he knows the candidate inside and out. Indeed, when the former Florida governor began the exploratory phase of his presidential effort late last year, Murphy was manning the controls—playing a central role in deciding where Bush would go, what he would say and to whom. This is precisely the part he was expected to play in Bush’s presidential effort. And yet, it is increasingly likely, according to Republicans inside Bush’s orbit, that throughout the official campaign, the candidate and confidant will barely speak.

That’s because Murphy is expected to run Bush’s super PAC—an accompanying outside group that can raise unlimited contributions, but whose officials cannot communicate with the candidate or any campaign officials.

That Bush’s team would believe it’s in his best interest to send away a top strategist is an emphatic indication that the era of super PAC supremacy has arrived. Viewed at the outset of the 2012 presidential cycle as illegitimate if not downright unethical—so much so that President Obama initially forbade his lieutenants from forming one on his behalf—super PACs emerged by Election Day 2012 as the most devastating force in modern presidential politics. Their ability to raise bottomless money, and the deployment of those funds toward destroying rival candidates, instantly altered the political landscape, and in the 2016 campaign’s nascent stages, their reach has dwarfed that of official campaigns.

When presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio officially jumped into the presidential race in recent weeks, each was accompanied by at least one supportive super PAC. Allies of Cruz operating a constellation of super PACs have bragged about pulling in $31 million in a single week—nearly eight times the haul Cruz’s official campaign team had been boasting about. Others, like Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry, are officially still mulling whether to run, yet there are already supportive super PAC operations up and running.

“They have so radically changed the game that serious candidates for president cannot, will not be able to compete without a very substantial super PAC or set of super PACs,” says Gregg Phillips, who was a 2012 strategist for the pro–Newt Gingrich group Winning Our Future. “If you’re a candidate, you have to raise money in $2,700 increments. If you’re a super PAC, you can raise money in million-dollar chunks.”


 Katie Article

Congrats…and Go Katie!  These Women are Teaching Republican Candidates How to Talk to Women

On this, little boys and the women of Burning Glass Consulting agree: It’s hard to talk to girls. But, lately, it seems not even local elementary schoolers are as likely to strike out as Republican politicians.

In December 2014, Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin proposed a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to receive signed permission from “the father of the unborn child.” Except, he added, in the event of a “legitimate rape.” In God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, which Mike Huckabee published in January, the former Arkansas governor described Beyoncé lyrics as “obnoxious and toxic mental poison” and wondered whether Jay-Z had crossed the line from husband to pimp for “exploiting his wife as a sex object.” In February, Rand Paul reminded everyone of their worst ex-boyfriends when he “shushed” CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, telling her to “calm down” in the middle of a tense interview.

Your neighborhood bully could do better. Longtime political operatives Katie Packer Gage, Ashley O’Connor, and Christine Matthews know it. In 2013, the trio joined forces to establish Burning Glass Consulting. The firm is the first of its kind—a strategy outfit designed to help Republican candidates win over female voters. And its founders—two of whom worked for Mitt Romney during his run for president in 2012—want to correct the mistakes that have undone conservative campaigns in the past.


Interesting Analysis:  The Democrats’ white-voter problem — in 2 maps

Red and blue America are no more constant than our use of “blue” and “red” to describe the major political parties. Different parts of the country shift slowly over time — particularly in the longer scale of presidential politics.

To illustrate that point, you need only look back to the 2000 election, the year the “red-blue” divide was born. There have been four presidential elections since then — 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 — and while many counties have voted for one party consistently, many have also flipped back-and-forth.



Obama/Clinton Disaster in the Making: Russia and America: Stumbling to War

In the United States and Europe, many believe that the best way to prevent Russia’s resumption of its historic imperial mission is to assure the independence of Ukraine. They insist that the West must do whatever is required to stop the Kremlin from establishing direct or indirect control over that country. Otherwise, they foresee Russia reassembling the former Soviet empire and threatening all of Europe.

Conversely, in Russia, many claim that while Russia is willing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (with the exception of Crimea), Moscow will demand no less than any other great power would on its border. Security on its western frontier requires a special relationship with Ukraine and a degree of deference expected in major powers’ spheres of influence. More specifically, Russia’s establishment sentiment holds that the country can never be secure if Ukraine joins NATO or becomes a part of a hostile Euro-Atlantic community. From their perspective, this makes Ukraine’s nonadversarial status a nonnegotiable demand for any Russia powerful enough to defend its national-security interests.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russia was on its knees, dependent on Western assistance and consumed by its own internal affairs. In that context, it was not surprising that Western leaders became accustomed to ignoring Russian perspectives. But since Vladimir Putin took over in 1999, he has led a recovery of Russia’s sense of itself as a great power. Fueled by rising oil production and prices that brought a doubling of Russia’s GDP during his fifteen-year reign, Russians increasingly bridled at such treatment.

Americans would do well to recall the sequence of events that led to Japan’s attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into the Second World War. In 1941, the United States imposed a near-total embargo on oil shipments to Japan to punish its aggression on the Asian mainland. Unfortunately, Washington drastically underestimated how Japan would respond. As one of the post–World War II “wise men,” Secretary of State Dean Acheson, observed afterward, the American government’s

misreading was not of what the Japanese government proposed to do in Asia, not of the hostility our embargo would excite, but of the incredibly high risks General Tojo would assume to accomplish his ends. No one in Washington realized that he and his regime regarded the conquest of Asia not as the accomplishment of an ambition but as the survival of a regime. It was a life-and-death matter to them.


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Weekly Musing 4-19-15

Weekly Musing 4-19-15

Saul Anuzis


Snyder to launch national economic campaign

Gov. Rick Snyder is preparing to launch a national campaign promoting Michigan’s economic turnaround that Republicans say could be used to propel him into the 2016 race for president, or keep his name in the running for another federal post.

Snyder’s supporters are creating a nonprofit advocacy group “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story” that the governor will use to travel the country seeking to “change the perception of Michigan and why it’s a good state to grow a business or move to,” spokesman Jarrod Agen said Friday.

Snyder is beginning the national road show next weekend with a speech at the Milliken Institute in California, followed by a speaking engagement in New York in early May, Agen said.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak and other Republicans close to the governor have been making phone calls in recent weeks seeking financial commitments to Snyder’s national cause, three Republican sources told The Detroit News.

The effort has caused some to conclude Snyder wants to test the presidential waters in the coming months as the GOP primary field for the White House begins to fill up.

“He’s moving toward running for president,” said a Republican source with ties to Snyder.

…Some Michigan Republicans speculate Snyder is keeping his name in the mix of a crowded field of 21 Republicans to position himself for the eventual GOP nominee’s running mate, or for a cabinet secretary position.


Marco Rubio Walking

With a generational pitch, Rubio looks to bridge GOP divide Marco Rubio’s case for the GOP nomination is simple. He believes he can emerge as the consensus candidate who bridges the divide between the Republican establishment and tea party activists. And the 43-year-old believes that the conservative grassroots is ready for “Something New,” which not coincidentally is the name of a Swedish dance song that played Monday night at the end of his presidential campaign kickoff rally in Miami.

Rubio has decided his odds are good enough that he’s willing to give up a second term in the Senate.

With a thousand supporters chanting “Marco” at Freedom Tower, the son of Cuban immigrants invoked his inspiring personal story — suitable for framing as the embodiment of the American Dream — and showed he will inject a youthful vigor to the field.

“We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future,” he said. “We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”

Rubio’s strategists believe that the GOP base is in no mood for a coronation. So they plan to aggressively court support from both movement conservatives and establishment leaders exhausted by the idea of another Bush and drawn to the appeal of a relative newcomer – the son of a bartender


A Very Fluid Race for the Republican Nomination

Two weeks ago, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president at Liberty University, and last week, Rand Paul announced at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Marco Rubio is expected to announce this week at the Freedom Tower in Miami. Others will follow.

So what have we learned about the race for the Republican nomination for president so far?

Nobody is running away with it. In no national poll of Republican primary voters this year has any one of the dozen or so candidates tested received more than 20 percent of the vote.

And only twice has any candidate received more than 20 percent in the multiple polls conducted in the four early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Some commentators expected Jeb Bush to jump into a significant lead when he made it clear he would in time announce. That hasn’t happened. At this point in the 2000 cycle, Gallup showed George W. Bush with over 50 percent of the primary vote. Jeb Bush’s current Real Clear Politics average is 17 percent, just tenths of a percentage point ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Republican primary voters are shopping around, uncertain whom to back, with nothing approaching a consensus choice.

…Bottom line: It’s a very fluid race and an opportunity for candidates to offer new ideas and expand the electorate — two things

Republicans need to maximize their chances in November 2016.


UPDATED 2016 Presidential Primary Calendar  

Reading the Map:

As was the case with the maps from past cycles, the earlier a contest is scheduled in 2012, the darker the color in which the state is shaded. Michigan, for instance, is a much deeper shade of blue in February than California is in June. There are, however, some differences between the earlier maps and the one that appears above.



Can Hillary hold together the Obama coalition?

As Hillary Clinton begins her presidential campaign, one fundamental question will determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election: Is the coalition of voters that President Obama put together in his 2008 and 2012 victories indicative of a permanent change in the American electorate that favors any Democratic candidate? Or were the super-sized margins Obama enjoyed among groups such as minorities and young voters specific to the first African-American president?

If demographics are destiny, then Republicans will be in danger no matter how strong a campaign they mount against Clinton. If not — and if she can’t make up votes with other groups of voters — her candidacy will likely fail.

The challenge of keeping Obama’s coalition together is clearly on the minds of Clinton’s campaign strategists. The carefully orchestrated video announcing her candidacy released on Sunday featured a cross-section of Americans from diverse racial backgrounds as well as gay and lesbian couples. The transparent purpose was to exploit the image of Republicans as being out of touch with the changing nature of the American electorate.

A look at exit polls dating back to 1976 from the Roper Center (and CNN) shows that Obama is in a league of his own when it comes to Democratic victory margins among young voters and African-Americans.


Signs of Hope!?!  Hillary Clinton Isn’t Inevitable

Seemingly alone among commentators, I am bearish on Hillary Clinton. Not “she can’t win” bearish, but “something less than a 50 percent chance of winning” bearish. Why is everyone else convinced she’s a lock?

If you believe the “wisdom of crowds” argument, the answer is that I’m wrong and they’re right. And fair enough. But this crowd is composed of mostly left-leaning journalists and academics, so there might be a wee bit of sample bias.

Jonathan Chait has a smart piece in New York magazine on why Clinton is probably going to win. Here’s my bear-side case for why I don’t think she will.


Why this man believes the GOP is set to win everything

Arthur Laffer has a simple theory of politics. It’s about as simple as his theory of economics, which has been guiding Republican presidential candidates for nearly 40 years now. The economic theory says that the lowest, simplest tax code will produce the most growth. The political theory goes like this: Politicians crave love from voters. So if you want to get a politician to do what you think is right, give him a plan he can easily sell, and make sure that plan will deliver a lot of crowd-pleasing economic growth.

Laffer, the legendary supply-side economist, is certain that 2016 is the year his political and economic theories align — producing a wave election for Republicans, then the most aggressive tax-cutting legislation since Ronald Reagan was president, then massive growth and finally, a generational lock on Washington for the GOP.

And the beauty of it is, he thinks any candidate in the current Republican crop could deliver those results. It’s simply a matter of combining their need to be loved with a tax plan he is certain voters will adore.

“Each one of these candidates, in my mind, has the natural resources, whatever it is, to be a good president” – and implement pro-growth policies, Laffer said in a recent interview.


Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax

The tables show just how progressive the income tax is. The three million people in the top 1% of earners pay nearly half the income tax.

Why is the share of income taxes negative for 40% of Americans? In recent decades Congress has chosen to funnel important benefits for lower-income earners through the income tax rather than other channels. Some of these benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Credit for education, make cash payments to people who don’t owe income tax. …

The share of tax paid by the top 20% of Americans also changes when such social-insurance levies are included: It drops from more than 80% of income taxes to about 67% of all federal taxes.

The average American pays an income tax rate of 10.1 percent, the Joint Committee shows, although that varies quite a bit depending on income:



Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states

A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.

“People have gotten a wake-up call,” Gara LaMarche, the alliance’s president, said in an interview. “The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We can’t have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we don’t take power in the states.”

The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.


Pretty Darn Close: Here is a PERFECT Explanation About the Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

In case you haven’t noticed, a world of difference between Democrats and Republicans — substitute the word “conservatives” here in case “Republican” leaves a sour taste in your mouth — but articulating that difference for the “politically impaired” can be a bit challenging.

Thankfully, there’s a little quiz, a test of sorts, one can take to help sort out the political identity confusion and help you discover whether or not you’re a liberal or conservative.

This is hilarious.


NEW Facebook Page…

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Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Big Flag

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

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


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Rand Paul

Rand Paul Announces for President

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

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

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

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


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

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

Ted Cruz

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Hillary Clinton’s Main Obstacle: Her Own Inevitability

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


Hillary Economist

What does Hillary stand for?

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

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


The Alinsky Way of Governing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Finland Sparta

Finland – Sparta of the North

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


NEW Facebook Page…

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

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$31 Million Super PAC Stories

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

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

Ted Cruz

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


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


Cruz answers Rand with $31 million bombshell


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


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


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


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


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

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


Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul


Ted Cruz’s Fundraising Hauls Are Off The Charts



and then…

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


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Cruz Super PACs Raise $31 Million

Wow!!!  Talk About a Game Changer…

Ted Cruz Big Flag


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul


and then…

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


Posted in Blog | Leave a comment