Weekly Musing 5-10-15
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.
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.”
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.
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