Scottish Independence From the Viewpoint of An American

Posted by SPBrooker on September 22, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Right now U.S. media is giving full attention to IS in Iraq and Syria and U.S. plans to attack this radical group. Unfortunately what is not getting so much attention is the upcoming vote on independence in the United Kingdom. After weeks of polls showing the probability of independence being gained by the Scotts as a far off dream, the situation has suddenly changed with such a prospect becoming a very real possibility when the vote takes place Thursday September 18th. As a history buff and an Anglophile, the prospect of a break-up of the union is worrisome. More importantly if such an event were to occur, the ramifications wouldn't be confined to sentimental fluff. There are big consequences for the EU and for existing international security structures. This vote deserves far more attention than what it is receiving.

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The dilemma of dilettantes

Posted by Christine & John on September 18, 2014 at 9:09 AM

I will probably have to retire next year & I am looking for things to do. Among other things, I am considering part-time teaching. This would be a way to share some of my education and experience with the next generation. They call this a generative aspiration because it is meant to be helpful and useful. But it is also a bit of a problem in today's labor market.

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The Obama Presidency a Failure According to a Majority of Americans

Posted by SPBrooker on September 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM

In a recent poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that the Obama administration has been a "failure." Interestingly enough this includes a sizable number of Democrats who are fed up. Now what does this mean for the president? Well most certainly this view of the American people will be put forth in a tangible way this November where Republican congressional candidates are expected to pick up multiple seats. It can also hurt Obama's ability to gain support among Democrats for issues such as immigration reform as some might be unwilling to stand with a toxic president. Whatever the case may be I'm forced to ask, how is hope and change working out?

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Welles Crowther: The Man in the Red Bandanna

Posted by bigtex on September 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM

If you only watch one video today, make it this one.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."
-Mr. Rogers-

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9/11: Benghazi 2 Years Later & No Answers

Posted by bigtex on September 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

It has been two years since the attacks in Benghazi, and still the only non-answer is blaming a video. For the past 13 years, a dark cloud has hovered over this day as Americans reflect, remember, and mourn the worst terrorist attack we've ever endured.

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The GOP and Paycheck Equity

Posted by AllardK on September 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM

A poll by Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report on how the GOP polls among women purports to raise alarm bells among Republicans. Support for the GOP among American women trails women's support fro the Democratic Party by a noticeable margin. Married women, however, tend to lean Republican in a fairly convincing manner. Strategists like Katie Packer Gage insist that the party needs to fine tune its message to female voters, especially if Hillary does win the nomination, as expected.

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At a Loss over Putin

Posted by SPBrooker on September 5, 2014 at 7:15 PM

With more Russian troops entering the fray in Eastern Ukraine and the stakes growing higher, Washington is at a loss for how to deal with the crisis. After a string of victories against Russian separatists, the Ukrainian army now finds itself being beat back by a new separatist movement in the south which is backed by the Russian military. Now even Democrats are joining Republicans in calling for the distribution of combat arms to the Ukrainians. I firmly believe this is not an option that should be considered. The only reason it is being considered is because we (not just the U.S. but the EU as well) allowed a small crisis escalate out of control and did little. Putin right now has the upper hand and we

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No Strategy, No Leadership

Posted by SPBrooker on September 3, 2014 at 3:28 PM

On Thursday August 29th, President Obama held a foreign policy press conference primarily regarding the threat from IS in Iraq and Syria and the deepening conflict in the Ukraine. The biggest take away for social media and mainstream news was that Obama wore a taupe colored suit and not the absolute lack of substance he offered which is shocking. Especially with the threat of IS growing daily and having known about it since last year this administration concedes "we don't have a strategy yet" for dealing with them. Where is the leadership at the helm of this country and where are the advisors and consultants who should be working on a strategy?

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Obama compared to great presidents

Posted by Christine & John on August 31, 2014 at 9:13 AM

If you study leadership styles that work best in complex situations, you find that working indirectly and through others is often the best. It seems detached at times, but it mostly consists of working with trends and through people. I have studied successful presidents such as FDR and Ronald Reagan and found that the common thread was exactly this. But in both cases, it was coupled to a energetic optimism and what at least looked like a honest enthusiasm for the job at hand.

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The Militarization of U.S. Police

Posted by SPBrooker on August 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri provide the latest example of the militarization of U.S. police forces. The tactics used by police as well as their equipment should be cause for concern to anybody. Granted, protestors were looting, engaging in violence, and attacking police with Molotov cocktails; not exactly a friendly situation. On the other hand, the sight of police in armor using stun grenades on street protestors while armed with sniper rifles and in vehicles meant for the battlefield is disheartening. These images are those that we typically see in the Middle East or in those of corrupt totalitarian states, not the U.S. As a result of outcries emanating from across the spectrum, President Obama has ordered congress to conduct a review of the militarization of police and I support it.

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Islamic State: the Greatest Threat to the U.S. Is a JV Basketball Team

Posted by SPBrooker on August 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM

The Islamic State (IS) is proving to be a real problem for a number of parties including the U.S. Just this week it has been referred to by some senior policymakers in Washington as our gravest current threat while others have said it must be eliminated. Yet only eight months ago President Obama regarded ISIS, the predecessor of IS as a "JV basketball team" implying that they were a second rate group. A bit off the mark I would say. Now with the savage execution of U.S. journalist James Foley, it seems the administration has ramped up its language on IS and is arguing that its rise is not a result of policy failure but due to an underestimation by the intelligence community of its capabilities. As always I take comfort in true leadership that plays the blame game and stays on holiday while the world burns.

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An honest discussion of race

Posted by Christine & John on August 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM

The first thing to do is not allow any ideas to be called "racist." We need to call BS on folks like Sharpton & Jackson. We have to stand up to their bullying. We cannot let these guys shut down any discussion by claiming racism. So this is my first view. The problems of black America are mostly the result of racism, but not of current racism. It is racism fossilized in attitudes and behaviors of many of the victims. The challenge how to help break them out of this mind-set and the idea of grievance is not helpful.

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A Real Political Witch-Hunt: the Indictment of Rick Perry

Posted by SPBrooker on August 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM

On Friday, August 15th, Governor Rick Perry of Texas was indicted by a grand jury convened in Travis County for abuse of power. He has been charged with a first-degree felony, abuse of official capacity, and a third-degree felony, coercion of a public servant. As a possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, this can sink Perry. But we must remember that he has been charged, not convicted. Furthermore, numerous voices from both the right and the left are calling this indictment politically motivated and a far reach and Perry himself has described the indictment as a blatant political move. I for one feel compelled to agree.

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Libertarians, Conservatives, and the GOP

Posted by AllardK on August 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM

For Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner, Libertarianism - or more precisely, libertarian candidates - "could be a troublesome wild card" for GOP candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. Support for a candidate of the Libertarian Party that rises above 5% and approaches 8% could complicate election hopes for Republicans in a number of key Senate races and thus determine whether the GOP wins back the Upper House. For David Frum, writing in the Atlantic - Libertarianism itself is a scourge that will recede like stale flood waters when a Republican takes back the Presidency. Frum, in fact, does not even say Republican when mentioning the presidential elections; he uses conservative instead. And he doesn't exactly say scourge, he just insists that "conservatives succumb to libertarianism in despair, not hope." It's a very pessimistic, if not paranoid, view of the state, according to Frum, where libertarians and disaffected conservatives are ready to defend themselves "with arms if necessary against an inherently and inevitably predatory and hostile state." Them fighting words from the former White House speechwriter.

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Parsing the Possible GOP 2016 Candidates: Part III, the Leaders.

Posted by SPBrooker on August 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I am one of the first people to complain when talking heads argue about presidential primary polls when primary elections are more than a year away. If 2012 taught us anything it's that a leading candidate early in the race can be one of the first candidates out by actual election time. Regardless, I've been looking at several polls for potential GOP 2016 candidates (mind you, none of them have declared yet) and it's the same names repeatedly being mentioned. For this I would like to briefly look at the most possible contenders and offer a quick opinion on them. The two most recent national polls I have were conducted by FOX and CNN/Opinion Research. In the former Bush, Perry, Paul, and Christie rounded out the top with Christie, Paul, Huckabee, and Ryan in the latter. Other names in both included Cruz, Walker, Santorum, Ryan, Rubio, and Jindal. In the third and final installment of this series I will look at those candidates who are currently leading in national polls, Texas Governor Richard "Rick" Perry, former Arkansas Governor Michael "Mike" Huckabee, former Florida Governor John 'Jeb" Bush, New Jersey Governor Christopher "Chris" Christie, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Each of these potential candidates are averaging around 11 percent in national polls.

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