Sunday, June 30, 2013

Radioactive: Super Tuesday 2020

The first major debate between GOP candidates was held today ahead of the primaries later this month, and more importantly, Super Tuesday. The debate covered all different portions of topics from domestic and foreign policy, along with a discussion of electability concerning Huntsman's recent independent campaign. First topic was the Kurdistan movement that has been building up significant support in recent years, including recent support by President Biden. Cruz has stated that he would be in firm support of it, since a strong Islamic US ally could be created in order to be a stalwart against Iraq and Iran. Brown and Rubio both expressed support, but let it be known that they are against getting involved in the Middle East, and will only step in if something extremely serious occurs. Cruz came back by saying the other candidates were being cowardly in the face of human rights abuses and that America's enemies needed to be punished. 

The next topic was global warming, which was something that has not ever been a major topic in Republican candidate debates. President Biden, as you probably well know, has been pushing to install solar panels on a vast number of homes as well as pushing American auto manufacturers to produce electric vehicles through tax breaks, and the GOP candidates were asked how they would amend the program if elected. Cruz threaded lightly on the subject, and only definitively stated that he would stop making "risky" investments in solar panel companies that fail somewhat often. Rubio stated that he would push for more offshore drilling and that he feels the president's current plan relies to heavy on foreign manufacturing, which is what he wanted to get away from. Brown adovcated for heavier investment nuclear power instead of solar, but was quick to criticize Cruz's remark about risky investment in solar panels, saying that oil and natural gas are much more risky investments in everything except money.

Finally, they talked about healthcare reform, which is something that has been a polarizing issue in the country since the debate over Obamacare in 2009 and more recently with Bidencare and Veteran's Care (known as VHC). This was one of the few points that Rubio and Cruz agreed on. They both stated that much of Obamacare needed to be repealed but with VHC remaining mostly intact due to the Korean War being relatively fresh in America's mind. Meanwhile, Brown prefered to reform some points, such as doing away with the single payer mandate entirely, but felt that getting rid of it entirely would be ruinous to America's poor. Brown went on to say: "You [Rubio and Cruz] are out of touch, but at least Cruz knows where he stands." This visibly irritated Rubio, but he made no attempt to comeback aside from rolling eyes. 

In the end, polls showed most people prefered Brown and Rubio's performance over Cruz, mostly to his inability to make a decent point or a comeback on the global warming policy question. Some analysts are also divided over Brown's "agressive" performance, with some calling it common sense and others calling it plain rude. This debate likely won't have a big effect on upcoming primaries, but Brown could put many more states into play.

We can project Rubio has clenched a strong victory in Michigan, our first state of the night to be called. The state has been polling pretty solidly in favor of Rubio since the beginning, so it is little of a surprise but still a very nice boost in delegates to the Rubio campaign.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 51.5%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 24%
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 23.5%

On the Democratic side of the contests, we can easily call Gillibrand for the state of Michigan. She has been polling solidly ahead in this states and there was little to no chance of Hickenlooper or Schweitzer winning and eastern general Demcoratic state. Hickenlooper has chosen to campaign in states that he can win, such as some southern states and western states.

Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 62%
 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 29%
Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer of Montana: 9%

After the results were released, Secretary Schweitzer stated that he is suspending his campaign for the sake of party unity. The only contest that he had a chance of winning was his home state, Montana.

Despite a poor performance in the debate earlier this month, Cruz has held on to his strong conservative support base to pull off a victory in the state of Arizona. The Arizona GOP has a strong Tea Party base, so a victory in Arizona shouldn't be too surprising, but it is still a big relief for the Cruz campaign that he can win victories.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 43.5%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 34%
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 21.5%

We can call two victories in a row for Cruz tonight with Wyoming going for Cruz. The heavily conservative state was polling in his favor all along, so this should be little of a surprise. However, it still helps the Cruz campaign pick up lost momentum, which is critical if he still wants the nomination.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 53.5%
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 29%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 16.5%

ANN can project that Rubio has won the contest in Washington, which is an enormous victory for his campaign. He was polling pretty solidly in the state all along, but has recently been challenged by Brown in the state, trying to capitalize on his appeal to Republican voters in generally Democratic states. Washington does not hold an enormous amount of delegates, but it is enough to give Rubio a lead in delegates. A victory also helps to hold back Brown's momentum.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 41.4%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 39.5%
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 18.1%

We can finally project that Brown has won the contest in Maine. Brown may have been served a big defeat tonight, but he is still fighting hard and this win gives him some of his momentum back. His campaign strategy was to capitalize on what made him appeal to New Hampshire voters, and brought it to Maine, which was a strategy that obviously worked. It is still yet to be seen if Brown can make it to candidacy. If we compare this to the similar 2016 situation, Ayotte was already in a viable second place before Super Tuesday, which Brown doesn't have. Brown has stated that he will avoid the fate of Jeb Bush if at all possible.

Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 45.1%
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 37.5%
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 16.4%

This is the last contest before Super Tuesday. It is looking like Super Tuesday will not do anything major for any of the candidates, but Hickenlooper and Brown have to make it big if they want to have a viable shot at their party's nomination. Please tune in March 6 for coverage of Super Tuesday on ANN.

Hickenlooper gains slightly, Rubio and Cruz in lock with Brown catching up

The big day in the primary season, Super Tuesday, where both parties have contests in 18 states and territories, has just concluded, and we can state that it has not drastically changed anything for the Democratic or Republican parties.

On the Republican side, Rubio and Cruz both did fairly well, but Cruz had enough victories to put him a slim 19 delegates behind Rubio, the current leader. Brown is lagging rather far behind in third place, but he made a big victory in his home state of Massachusetts along with a victory in Vermont, not to mention the fact that he came in at second place in about half of the contests. For the rest of the season, the candidates are vying for the big states. California could go for Brown or Rubio, while Texas will likely go for Cruz. New York is looking to be in favor of Brown, which would be an enormous boost to him if he did end up winning the state. The major battleground is shaping up to be Pennsylavnia. Brown's appeal in the northwest region, Cruz's support from conservatives, and Rubio's appeal to minorities and generally apathetic voters has turned the state into a three way toss up.

Next, we have the Democratic results. Gillibrand has won most of contests and delegates, and is currently fairly far in the lead delegate wise. However, more than ever she needs to watch out for Hickenlooper. He won a decent amount of contests and made a huge upset in Virginia, which puts his campaign back on track after being on a long losing streak post-Minnesota. Hickenlooper still has to fight Hardin he wants to win, since Gillibrand has a lead in the big contests of California, Texas, and New York.

Another notable event today was Huntsman and Sandoval's campaign blitz, focusing on the theme "more of the same." Huntsman pushed the reasoning that if the status quo of Democrats or Republicans is maintained, then nothing will ever get accomplished, and that he is the only candidate who could truly work on both sides of the aisle. Sandoval campaigned in Reno, Nevada, trying to get supporters from his home state. Their campaign hopes that Huntsman winning the state with him on the ticket in 2016 and Sandoval's popularity will get the state of Nevada polling solid independent. The GOP and Democrats are being put at a disadvantage that Huntsman/Sandoval can already start general election campaigning by while they have to wait until August to do so. All we at ANN can say is that this election is shaping up to likely be a very close one.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Republic of Colorado

Recently, I decided to make a map as an experiment to test the limits of iPad map making. This is the result, along with some backstory.

The Civil War started out rough for the US. The Union had to face two fronts: one on the Ohio and the other in the southwestern territories. However, Union troops were mostly packed around Kentucky and Virginia and dealing with the heart of the CSA. The Confederates still wanted their strip of the Southwest fairly badly, and so they took a significant number of troops away from the homefront and allocated them to the southwest in what was called the New Mexico. Texan calvary was able to take the city of Santa Fe, which brought all of the land east of the Rio Grande under their control. Territorial of Governor of Colorado William Gilpin was asked to muster thousands of volunteers to send to Santa Fe to ward of the Confederates in the southwest. That would be a game changing decision.

On the 26th of March, 1862, the Colorado volunteers met up with the New Mexico volunteers who as a combined force would have to attempt to fight off the force of Texan calvary that took Santa Fe. They  clashed just north of the city proper, in the Glorieta Pass. The force of the volunteers was 1,300 strong, and they expected to see only around 1,000 Texans. Instead, there were around 2,500 Texan troops, which was much larger than previously expected due to the ramped up regional commitment by the CSA. The milita to take a lot of hits and they were forced to retreat fast. Today, the Battle of Glorieta Pass is largely considered the turning point for the CSA. From this starting point, they were able to take the entirety of the New Mexico and Arizona Territories, some of the Colorado Territory and even push into Southern California. They were only stopped at the Battle of Los Angeles in October 1862, where Union troops finally destroyed their momentum and was able to send them back east of the Colorado River.

Even with the war successes in the Southwest, the war in CSA's heart was going very badly. The Union had control over the states of Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, and Tennessee and the Confederacy was being choked off by a blockade by December 1863. At this point, many Confederate generals were questioning their earlier aims of conquering the Southwest instead of fighting for home. By June 1864, Charleston and the state of South Carolina fell, which is the point at which the Confederacy seriously looked doomed. They fought hard, but General Robert E. Lee finally surrendered to the Union Army during the Battle of Atlanta. Within days, the US had wanted to sign full terms of surrender with Davis, which was annexation back into the USA. However, his whereabouts were unknown  leading people to believe that he had been killed in battle. Instead, Lee signed the terms July 7, 1864, which effectively ended the Civil War.

What actually happened to Davis was not known until years later. President Davis took himself, along with much of the government and some wealthy plantation owners, and fled in secrecy during the Battle of Atlanta. His destination was New Mexico Territory, which was still under Confederate control. When Davis arrived in the southwest, many of his soldiers wept at the loss of the South, and made them   want to protect what they still had even more. The Confederate troops fortified themselves behind the Colorado river, de facto establishing that as the border of the Confederacy. The plantation owners brought it upon themselves to establish the capital city, which was placed on the Gilla River in Arizona that once separated the US from Mexico. They named this city Stonewall, after their beloved general who died in battle against Union troops. The Civil War might have been officially over, but a guerrilla war continued between the US and the confederacy in exile. The fighting continued in isolated incidents for around a year.

Late in 1865, however, Colorado Territory petitioned the Federal government for more troops since they claimed the Native Americans in the state were fighting for the Confederates and they were making more and more frequent incursions into Colorado Territory. They also wanted statehood, so they could have their voice be better heard nationwide. The Federal government refused the petition for statehood, but did send in more troops. Before long, the Civil War had almost started again on the Western Slope where Union troops were fighting Confederate insurgents en masse. Very many people were angry with the end result of this. Troops marching through the streets of Denver became a common sight, and troops would often push around territorial officials and tell them what to do. The people of Colorado wanted protection, but this was extreme. Tensions boiled over in May 1867 as the military put the state on full military lockdown to deal with the Indian/Confederate threat that was encroaching on Denver. The Territorial Governor John Evans was a prisoner of his own home as the local Army command decided to start making decisions for themselves. A quote that has become famous was from an unknown Colorado man screaming out his window "you make me want to join the Confederacy!"

A group of people decided to take matters into their own hands. A group of Denverites, unarmed and flying a Colorado flag, came before the Confederate forces and offered the Colorado Territory joining the Confederacy in return for Confederate help in expelling the "oppressive" Union troops from the city of Denver. The Confederates heartily accepted the offer to the relief of the Denverites.

The day of June 3, 1867 was warm, without a cloud in sight. The Confederates were weary of 7 years of straight fighting, and were ready for independence. They could care less from where it came now, even from a group of disgruntled Coloradans who had fought against them just a few years earlier. It seemed that Colorado had become a part of who they are, after the Colorado river and its grand canyons and craggy peaks was the only thing protecting them from the Union troops and keeping them alive. They gave what weapons they could to the Coloradan volunteers, who were fresh and eager to fight. That morning, a mishmash of fresh volunteers and battle weary troops marched onto Denver City from the west. The man in the front proudly waved the Colorado flag as he yelled sic semper tyrannis, and the Battle of Denver had begun.

It was a bloody, long struggle, but a force of troops cannot eternally outlast an entire battle hardened army and angry city ready to fight for what they believe in. They held out for only four days before retreating out of the city. That was met with much celebration, and former bitter enemies became allies over the strangest of circumstances. The Confederates were no longer a government in exile. The place whose rugged beauty and proud people protected them when they needed it most has become their home. That place is Colorado, and as of June 10, 1867, The Republic of Colorado, stretching from Julesburg in the east to Las Cruces in the south and Stonewall in the east, had just declared independence.

Republic of Colorado created through alternate New Mexico campaign in the Civil War

Sorry that it was a bit more long winded than I expected, and I may I have streched plausibility some, but the intended results (a republic based in Colorado) was more important than the means through which I got there. I may flesh this out into a full blown timeline if I have the inspiration and the patience to research, since I am far from an expert in Civil War topics or military of this time period.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Radioactive: Kicking off Primary Season

We can now comfirm that Vice President Gillibrand has come out on top of the Democratic pack in the parties Iowa caucus, as largely expected from previous polling. One thing that we can be surprised about with the caucus is Senator Heinrich taking second place ahead of Hickenlooper, who was polling at second place before the caucus took place. Gillibrand has thanked her supporters for coming out in force and also President Biden for helping to be her mentor and inspiration.

Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 41%
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico: 23%
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 20%
Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer of Montana: 16%

We can finally bring you news of the GOP Iowa Caucus, which was extremely close. Senator Rubio has barely come out on top, winning 22% of the vote. Senator Cruz trailed by only a percent with former Governor Walker a close third at 19%. Portman and Walker both did quite a but better than previous polling has indicated, which can probably be attributed to their heavy campaigning in Iowa over the course of the past few years. Christie, Martinez, and Sandoval sunk to the bottom of the pack. Senator Rubio has thanked his supporters, and has stated that the only person the GOP is likely to support is somebody who refuses to take sides and fights for unity. However, it is still quite telling that the two self proclaimed conservatives polled in second and third with all moderates polling below them.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 22%
Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 21%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 19%
Secretary of State Jon Huntsman of Utah: 12.3%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 8.3%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 7.9%
Fmr. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 5.3%
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico: 4%
Fmr. Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada: 1%

Iowa, as usual, starts the thinning of candidate fields. On the GOP side of the race, Sandoval was the first to drop out of the race after finishing in last place, and he is endorsing Huntsman for the nomination. Martinez has also dropped out of the race, endorsing Portman for the nomination. All of the Democrats are staying in the race due in part to the fact they each got a fairly significant part of the vote. Secretary of State Huntsman has stated that he could be ready to make an announcement about his campaign based on what happens in the next few primaries and caucuses.

Vice President Gillibrand will have her second victory in a row through the New Hampshire primary. She gained on her previous margin by an extra two percent. Hickenlooper and Schweitzer were marginally more popular, with Heinrich losing ground. She thanks her supporters for sticking with her through the second primary. However, Hickenlooper has been campaigning very hard in Nevada in preparation for the upcoming caucus. Hickenlooper's standing in the state has been improving over the course of the week, and whatever happens, the results will likely be neck and neck for the Democrats.

Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 43%
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 22%
Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer of Montana: 21%
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico: 13%

We can confirm a pretty big upset has occurred in the GOP primary with the victory of Governor Brown. He won 24% of the vote, even larger than Rubio in Iowa. Walker, Huntsman, or Rubio were the favorites to win, but Brown campaigned a lot and capitalized on his clout as a regionally popular Republican, which is not too common in solidly liberal New England. Rubio and Cruz remained in lock with each other with Walker falling to fourth at a fairly low 11.3%. Brown has stated that he wants to capitalize on this victory to catapult his campaign into the national scene. Many people are looking at this as foreboding after Ayotte's upset in this primary in 2016 as what catapulted her from dark horse to party nominee. Cruz has stated that he feels Brown is compromising on the core ideals of the Republican Party through his "pandering" to Democrats as Governor.

Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 24%
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 23%
Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 21%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 11.3%
Secretary of State Jon Huntsman of Utah: 8.3%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 6.3%
Fmr. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 5.9%

Senator Cruz has made his first victory in South Carolina, a state with a very strong conservative tradition. He had a rather large margin of victory compared to recent contests at 27%. His victory in the state was largely predicted due to the large Tea Party base in the state that has been very supportive of the Cruz campaign. Rubio maintained a rather high standing, with Brown keeping hold of his momentum from New Hampshire to get him a third place finish here. Cruz thanked his supporters and has vowed to keep fighting for the Republican Party and America. The fact that three different candidates have won the first three primaries is a very big sign that the GOP primary season will be a very divisive one.

Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 27%
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 24%
Governor Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 21%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 16.3%
Secretary of State Jon Huntsman of Utah: 6%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 5.6%

Today at a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, Secretary of State Huntsman dropped a political bombshell by announcing his resignation from the GOP race and announced the start of his campaign as a independent, with his running mate being former Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval. He stated that he felt the Republican Party was hijacked by conservatives who wanted to keep the party in the last century, and that a common sense candidate would be hard pressed to emerge from the party's primary process and emerge victorious. He stated that he feels the Biden administration had done a lot of things right, but that there are a lot of things that could have been completed that would have improved the lives of everyday Americans had Congress embodied the spirit of compromise instead of getting involved in petty politics. He also stated that as an independent, he can work with both sides of the aisle like few presidents in the modern era have been even able to come close to doing. At the moment, there is not too much data, but we have speculative polls from the ANN website to compare Huntsman to other possible candidates.

Sec. of State Huntsman (33%) v. VP Gillibrand (44%) v. Senator Cruz (23%)
Sec. of State Huntsman (23%) v. VP Gillibrand (43%) v. Senator Rubio (34%)
Sec. of State Huntsman (22%) v. VP Gillibrand (39%) v. Governor Brown (39%)

Already, a large number of politicians have made very vocal reactions to Huntsman's announcement. All three front runners in the Republican race have expressed disapproval at his decision since it has caused a decent amount of vote splitting between with Republican voters, but minimal defections from Democratic voters. Cruz has gone as far to call his decision a complete betrayal of the party he stood by and the conservative people of America. Gillibrand has stated that she understands his circumstances and acknowledges that she will likely have a tough fight to win the Presidency if she recieves her party's nomination.

We have some breaking news in the form of a Hickenlooper victory in the Nevada caucus. He won with 36% of the vote and a margin of victory of two percent. Hickenlooper's strategy of focusing on this caucus and abandoning the New Hampshire primary seems to have worked. Hickenlooper gave a speech about how his record as governor of Colorado shows that he can work on both sides of the aisle and het things done, and that he agrees with Gillibrand, but it is just a matter of who can actually get the results. With Schweitzer and Heinrich continuing to fall in each successive primary, it is looking like the race is going to come down between Gillibrand and Hickenlooper. The primary race is also shaping up to be very regional, with Hickenlooper polling higher in the west and Gillbrand polling higher in the east.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 36%
Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 34%
Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer of Montana: 19%
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico: 10%

Monday, June 17, 2013

Radioactive: Kicking Off 2020

- Battles continue with the Kim Loyalists past the new year. However, the war is ended with a decisive strike on Chongjin on January 21. They attempt to capture Kim Jong-Un in order to put him on trial at the ICC for human rights violations, but he commits suicide as the city falls. The Treaty of Kaesong, a peace treaty between the US/South Korea and the Republic of North Korea, is signed February 9, officially ending the Korean War. The date for an election is set at June 21, and there will be elections for the President and the People’s Congress, a unicameral legislative body. Ryong-Hae has already announced that he is founding the Korean People’s Party and will be running for president. There was talk of a plebiscite on Korean unification, but Ryong-Hae struck it down.

- Greece holds a plebiscite on EU membership in March, which a majority of 56% votes No on. The Greek parliament makes moves to attempt to remove Greece from the EU, or to at least reinstate the Drachma as their currency. Many EU members are unhappy, especially France and Germany, and pressure Greece to stay in to their disdain.

- Conflict in Syria and Iraq escalates in majority Kurdish areas midyear. Kurds desire for self-determination begins to escalate, especially with a hostile Shia controlled Iraqi government and a Syrian government founded by a group of people who fought against Kurds in the Syrian Civil War. President Biden makes it clear that he supports a higher level of Kurdish autonomy and discourages tough crackdown on protests.

- Choe Ryong-Hae wins the presidential election in North Korea handily with 67% of the vote. His Korean People's Party (democratic socialists) win a majority of 61 seats in the People's Congress. The US and South Korea have contributed tremendously to the rebuilding effort. Overall, the situation for North Koreans have improved tremendously, and Biden's handling of the Korean War is viewed favorably by 87% of Americans.

- President Biden is able to pass government provided healthcare for veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea, as well as a raising of the minimum wage to $10.00, adding to Obama's accomplishment of raising it to $9.00 in 2014. Moderate Republicans were in support of his decision to provide healthcare to veterans since a vast majority of their constituents were, but they fought hard against the $10.00 minimum wage.

- Preliminary clinical trials show a HIV vaccine with around 50% efficacy, which surpasses the previous well known Thai trial that had around 30% efficacy. The FDA is currently unsure about approving the vaccination, since it barely has a majority efficacy, but many people are petitioning it be passed.

- Midterm elections have Democrats gain ground in Governor's mansions, but lose ground in the Senate and House. They retain very slight majorities in both. A notable election is the ascension of Tim Tebow (R-FL) to the position of Governor of Florida, which he has stated is "the beginning of a new era of his life." The second half of Biden's term will likely see more deadlock than the first half. However, there is increasing signs of discontent between the moderate Republican faction, lead by Christie and Portman, and the more conservative portion lead by Ted Cruz. Others, such as Ayotte and Rubio are mostly vouching for party unity.


In a huge step forward for the fight against AIDS, the FDA has today approved the use of the most recent vaccine tested, which had just over 50% efficacy. This vaccine makes use of recombinant DNA, which means that it is a whole new unique strand of DNA that is not like anything found in nature. This means that there will be no live viruses in the vaccine, which tremendously reduces risk and also helped to increase the efficacy of this trial. Experts are recommending getting the vaccine at the end of the fifth grade, when other vaccines are required such as T-DAP, the vaccine for tetanus. Once production gets underway, the One organization, which has a large campaign fighting against AIDS in Africa, has announced a huge attempt to deliver these vaccinations to Africans. Many more organizations are expected to make this same pledge.

In recent years, the HIV virus and the subsequent AIDS disease that ran rampant in the 1980's and 1990's really began to drop in frequency. Yearly infections dropped from 50,000 in 2010 to what is predicted to be 28,000 this year, which is an enormous jump. The vaccine, while it is still likely going to be required, will not have as enormous of an effect on Americans, but it will likely make the disease relatively more prevalent among people in poverty than people of middle or upper class due to the cost. However, it will have an enormous effect on areas like Africa and China if resources are distributed properly. AIDS is also an issue in the Amazonian interior of Brazil with the indigenous peoples, but it is not as likely the Brazillian government will divert a lot of funds to try and alleviate it. The HIV virus will not dissapear entirely, but experts are predicting it will decrease to levels of incidence below 1,000 in the US. No matter what, we have seen a huge step in the eradication of one of the most deadly diseases.

Election season has officially kicked off with the announcement Ted Cruz will be seeking the Republican nomination for President. In a speech to supporters, he heavily emphasized a return to conservatism and the need for somebody like Reagan to occupy the White House once again to "stop America from crumbling away." The Republican nomination is expected to be extremely hotly contested with debates between the conservative and moderate factions and the unaligned portion of the party. It will also likely have a lot to do with electability and who could beat the fairly well liked President Biden. Some in the party are pointing to his age and suggesting that he will not opt for a second term, but many consider this an unlikely scenario.

Other Republicans that have hinted at a run are Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio, and former Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The moderate faction has been calling Huntsman, who has had a lot of positive time in the spotlight as Secretary of State and through the pre-war hostage crisis. He has stated that he has not completely made up his mind, but he has worked well with President Biden and would prefer not to run against him. The conservatives have already stated they would vehemently oppose a Portman or Huntsman nomination.

A new economic report came out today that shows a healthy and steady improvement of the economy since President Biden's taking office in 2016. Unemployment levels have fallen from hovering under 8% to falling to 5.6% as of the start of this month. We also saw a slowly shrinking deficit during the first year of Biden's term, which grew some during the Korean War, and then shrunk again up until now. His policies of giving government healthcare to veterans for life is something a lot of people thought would damage the economy, and it made a small dent, but whatever impact it made has been alleviated by veterans purchasing larger homes and stimulating the economy through the purchase of more goods. The one thing that has not been seen yet is the major cuts to military spending. Small cuts have been seen, but they been kept small because of the Korean War and the president's clear support for an independent Kurdistan.

Elections took place in Canada to determine whether Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal Party would retain their plurality or be ousted by the NDP or Conservatives. With 37.1% of the vote, the Liberals were elected to another term as government. Trudeau has stated that he is excited that the Canadian people have decided to give his party another chance to keep improving the country. The Liberal party took a very tough blow in the 2011 elections, winning only 3rd place with only 35 seats out of 308. It came back strong with the leadership of Trudeau in 2015, winning 39.8% of the vote and pushing the Conservatives to 3rd place behind the NDP. While the Conservative party has recovered slightly in this election, they still remain just behind the NDP. Thomas Mulcair, the leader of the NDP, has stated that he his happy that they have become a true fighting force in government and he hopes to shoot for a victory for his party in the near future.

In recent days, rumors over President's Biden's health and whether or not he was going to take up a second term are abound over the past few days. He has had two hospital trips over the past two months, one to deal with a brain clot similar to what Hillary Clinton had in 2012 and another to deal with reoccurring lung infection. Neither of these are serious conditions, but they could point to more serious causes. This has caused a lot of speculation about whether or not the President will pursue a second term. Thus far, the White House has not released a statement other than thier reply that the President is in good condition and his health should not be a concern.

This speculation has fueled more Republicans throwing their hat in the ring for their parties nomination. Last Saturday, Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman announced his campaign, with his speech focused on running a campaign for the American people and not catering to any special political niche. Yesterday, Marco Rubio announced his campaign, and called for unity in the party. Today, former Governors Susana Martinez and Scott Walker announced their campaigns. Martinez's speech called for moderation and bringing the GOP into a new age, while Walker pulled the more conservative card with a speech similar to Cruz's. However, there are still a lot more names that have yet to be called. Former Governor Christie has stated that he is mulling the possibility of a run, and has stated that his decision will be made soon. Below is the current preliminary polling: so far, Senator Rubio is leading the polls.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 30%
Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 25.2%
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico: 16%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 13.5%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 10%
Undecided: 5.3%

We have some breaking news to bring after President Biden's address. Biden has stated that he would not be seeking a second term as president. He stated that recent health issues were preventing him from executing the office to the best of his ability, and that he wanted to pass the torch to the next generation in order for them to gain experience in leadership. During his speech, there were a few boos that came along with his statement, but he was met with thunderous applause at the end of his speech as he exited the room. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has stated that it is lamentable Biden has chosen to be a one term Presdient, but he fully respects his decision feels he accomplished more in one term than a lot of two term presidents have. Ayotte has stated that he put up a tough fight, and that even though she does not agree with everything he does, feels like he did many good things for America.

As of the president's announcement, his approval rating rose to 59%. Over 90% of members of the Democratic Party are dissapointed with his leaving, but respect his decision. Many politcal analysits are already saying he will be remembered very highly in a ranking of all presidents, likely in the top 20, in the future. Now we will face a primary season for both major parties. Democrats are looking at Vice President Gillibrand as a very likely contender, with numerous possible wild cards. This announcement also opens up the Republican field to Jon Huntsman, who stated earlier that he was out of the contest mostly because of the president.

We have a menagerie of entries into the political race today on the heels of the President's announcement yesterday. First off was Vice President Gillibrand announcement that she will be seeking nomination, which was largely expected as of yesterday. There was also a less expected, but unsurprising entry of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Hickenlooper. He did not win any primaries in 2016, but he is predicted to be a much bigger contender this time around with more experience and national exposure. In his speech, he talked about his sucessful bipartisan campaigns as governor of Colorado and how much progress he was able to make, which turned the state into one of the fastest growing state economies in the US. Here is the current preliminary polling for the Democratic Party:

Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 63.1%
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 31%
Undecided: 5.9%

The Republican field also grew even larger today. Secretary of State Huntsman announced his candidacy, along with former Governor Chris Christie, both major players. Both new candidates are considered to be aligned with the more moderate portion of the GOP, and they both focused on American unity. Christie is popular among general Americans, but less so among Republican Party members. Huntsman is very popular, and similar to Christie, is popular among the public but not among his party. Here is the polling for the new Republican field:

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 21.9%
Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 20.9%
Secretary of State Jon Huntsman of Utah: 13.5%
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico: 12.4%
Fmr. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 12.1%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 11%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 6%
Undecided: 2.1%

Today, we have even more announcements to round up from both aisles. First we have our new Democratic nominees, Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer and Senator Martin Heinrich. Schweitzer emphasized continuing and extending the bi-partisan attitudes of President Biden, while Heinrich emphasized a lot more progressive reform in government. There was also a big push for the already leading Gillibrand with the endorsement of President Biden, who stated that she had the vigor of youth along with experience to bring to the office. Here is the new Democratic polling, with Gillibrand still maintaining a large plurality over the rest of the candidates:

Vice President Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 43.9%
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Hickenlooper of Colorado: 24.8%
Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico: 14%
Secretary of Agriculture Brian Schweitzer of Montana: 13.1%
Undecided: 4.2%

Yet again, the Republican field has swelled even further with former Governor Brian Sandoval and former Senator Scott Brown declaring their candidacies. Both fall into the more moderate camp, making the nomination group much more tilted toward the moderate side. However, the more conservative candidates Rubio and Cruz are topping the polls by a decent margin compared to the other candidates. Cruz has already stated that he is concerned how many Republican candidates are ones that have become "ideologically impure" and abandoning traditional values. The Iowa caucus on the Republican side will likely be an enormous factor in what happens for the rest of the season and who could clinch the Republican nomination.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: 21%
Fmr. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas: 20.9%
Secretary of State Jon Huntsman of Utah: 12.5%
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico: 11.4%
Fmr. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey: 11.1%
Senate Minority Whip Rob Portman of Ohio: 10%
Fmr. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts: 5%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin: 3%
Fmr. Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada: 2.9%

Undecided: 2.1%