Battle for the Senate is a Toss Up

It still seems too close to call – but as they talked about on Meet the Press yesterday.. Hillary and other Democrats would love to run against a fully GOP controlled, but still dysfunctional and gridlocked Congress in 2016..

Just as some prominent election prognosticators seem ready to give Republicans the Senate, two forecasting models show the battle is essentially a toss up.

The Upshot now gives Republicans a 52% chance of winning control of the upper chamber, while Election Lab gives the GOP a 50% chance. The Votemaster also has the race as a toss up.

For comparison, FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 58% chance of taking the Senate.


MTP take two

Great show the second week as well!

Chuck’s building a great vibe around the show and having on interesting guests. WH Chief of Staff, James Baker, Bernie Sanders – all talking crisp and interestingly this week.

So with this – Sunday politics is getting a lot better again!

ISIS Video Shows Execution of British Aid Worker –

First one from Europe.. and there are four more in line..


The video ends with the black-clad executioner, who was speaking in English with what sounded like a British accent, identifying their next victim as Alan Henning, another British citizen. SITE Intelligence, which tracks jihadist groups, said the executioner appeared to be the same man who killed the American hostages.

(..) The group is currently holding Mr. Henning and another British citizen, as well as two other American aid workers. Their families have asked the news media not to disclose their names, after ISIS warned that the hostages would die if relatives made their identities public.

How the Ukraine Crisis Ends, by Henry A. Kissinger

This is from back in March.. and a reminder that things have already gone worse than many envisioned just half a year ago..
And Kissinger’s thoughts about mounting tensions and producing another Cold War seem clear..

Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.

Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. Even such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.

(..) Putin should come to realize that, whatever his grievances, a policy of military impositions would produce another Cold War. For its part, the United States needs to avoid treating Russia as an aberrant to be patiently taught rules of conduct established by Washington. Putin is a serious strategist — on the premises of Russian history. Understanding U.S. values and psychology are not his strong suits. Nor has understanding Russian history and psychology been a strong point of U.S. policymakers.

Chuck Todd lands President Obama for first ‘Meet The Press’

Good luck to Chuck Todd!

Update: This went really well I think. Great vibes and interesting talks. A different style but he’s a nice guy – and he’ll grow with the show. And he seems to have great backing from colleagues too.

President Barack Obama will be Chuck Todd’s first guest on his inaugural broadcast of NBC’s “Meet The Press,” a source with knowledge of the interview told POLITICO on Thursday.

The exclusive interview, which will be announced during NBC’s broadcast of the National Football League season-opener, will take place this Saturday at the White House. It will air on Sunday and will cover both foreign and domestic policy, likely including U.S. efforts to combat the Islamic State terrorist organization, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the recent protests in Ferguson, Mo.

Why #RussiaInvadedUkraine Matters –

There is a case to be made for not creating panic – as long as it’s not used for avoiding the realities at the geopolitical level.

Last week, Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, said he could take Kiev in two weeks. This week, he disavowed a cease-fire, then proposed a peace plan. Now a cease-fire is in effect. These zigzags did their job, leaving the West confused about his intentions, just as the European Union and NATO were meeting to figure out how to counter them.

[...] What makes the Ukrainian conflict consequential is that it is not a civil war. It is an annexation of territory, the invasion of one European country by another. As Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, argued in a speech in Berlin in June, Europe’s entire security structure is built on the agreement that this would never happen again.

“The principle of respecting existing borders was laid down as one of the key foundations of peace in our Europe,” Mr. Bildt said. “And it has been adhered to up until March of this year.”

In other words, Russia has broken Europe’s geopolitical rules, and thereby changed them.