Patent trolls and their lawsuits cost almost $30 billion according to a study by Boston University back in 2012. Both Democrats and Republicans agree it is a problem, but finding a solution to a scourge that affects small businesses as well as large corporations is proving difficult, if not almost impossible. Why? Because any bill that has attempted to deal with patents comes with a whole host of other issues, especially those relating to intellectual property rights and piracy. PIPA and SOPA were legislative attempts at providing Hollywood and the recording industry with greater protection against piracy and naturally pitted the entertainment industry against many in the internet industry who had concerns about censorship and a lack of freedom.
Is anyone surprised that Ted Cruz officially announced he's running? Perhaps the fact that he did it without the near-sacred and obligatory "exploratory committee" with its poking into poll number possibilities and fondling of fundraising options, indicates that Senator Cruz is serious about changing Washington DC. Everything he's done so far in Congress has proven him to be as combative and as much a maverick as people expected him to be. But the question is, will he be able to change - in beltway terms not in heartland terms where it already is a reality - the meaning of the term "conservative"? While most in the GOP will agree that they wish to change if not eliminate Obamacare, Cruz is taking his Tea Party conservatism a step further and is also aiming his guns at corporate welfare.» Continue reading "Ted Cruz's Unexpected History"...
Private foundations can be more flexible than governments and partnerships between private entities and governments can be powerful. All power, however, had potential for good and evil and all of it is a corruption risk. Getting too close to the government can be a problem for businesses & foundations.» Continue reading "Hillary's foundation"...
After considering that Hillary faces no opposition within her own party - Elizabeth Warren seems to have quietly moved away from any political stage from which she may have possibly, perhaps, launched a rival bid for the nomination - it begs the question of whether she actually welcomes the email scandal. At least it keeps her in the news and allows her base - make that wealthy donors and Democratic party stalwarts as well as voters who think she deserves a shot - to try and get riled up over something, anything. Byron York described her campaign as dead, as in how much teeming competitive life could be found anywhere near any of her carefully controlled public appearances. That's in stark contrast to the packed field of GOP contenders who fight between themselves for every percentage point in the latest poll, and are continually forced to define who they are, and what kind of president they might be in front of an often hostile press. That's basically a boot camp for the latter stages of the campaign - the sprint after the party convention.
Ferguson just won't go away. We now have two police officers in stable but serious condition after being shot the other night after yet another protest demanding more blood, figuratively and literally it seems, from the Ferguson Police Department. A Justice Department report found that fines, often traffic related, were up to a quarter of the revenue for the municipality and that police officers tended to stop black drivers far more often. Not to quibble, but Ferguson is a largely black town, so the odds are that if police officers are doing routine checks, then African American drivers are more likely to be stopped. But the well has been poisoned for some time now it seems, and carefully parsing statistics on police behavior is like whispering in the middle of a bar brawl. The divide is clear and hostile between town authorities and the black population and change needs to come. Court clerks, a judge, police officers, City manager John Shaw - blamed for the for-profit fine slapping zeal of the police force - and now Chief Jackson, have all resigned.
What next? A new police chief is being sought from candidates right across the country, and media from around the world will gladly record any and all stumbles by officials and any new flare-ups in the small suburb of St. Louis. A story in the Washington Post last September outlines the dangers of not paying your traffic fines in St. Louis suburbs and the fact that drivers who are poor tend not to pay fines and registration fees nor renew their license plates because they're often short of cash. That snowballs into jail time and bail fees and a police record. If indeed Ferguson had a policy of being sticklers with fines to fill up the city coffers, then continual confrontation between police and poor residents who drive was inevitable. To the extent that the black population is closer, on average, to the poverty line in suburbs like Ferguson, racial tensions inevitably ratchet up. Perhaps a part of any answer is easing up on traffic fines, but this is now a problem that will require deft management from whoever replaces Shaw and Jackson in Ferguson. One that encompasses everything from minor violations like those very tickets that go unpaid, to police officers keeping order getting shot right outside their own police department. Like it or not, Ferguson has become a symbol. The new police chief and the new city manager will have the arduous task of turning it into just another suburb of St. Louis. That will take some time doing.» Continue reading "Ferguson Won't Go Away"...
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess would angered Apollo and was cursed by him with the vice of not being able to persuade anyone of anything. As with any modern-day person named after some Greek deity or aristocrat, there is a certain amount of irony in the case of the Connecticut 17 year old named Cassandra, who refused chemotherapy when diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and was subsequently forced to undergo treatment by the state authorities. Specifically, the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, of Connecticut ensured she got the treatment she was refusing to take and she is now in the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford recovering and with her cancer in remission. Cassandra, the teenager from Connecticut of course, was interested in exploring alternative treatments for her cancer, apparently with support from her mother.
Mainstream House Republicans, who self-identify as the true conservatives now, are furious with Tea Party Republicans, who the pragmatic House GOP members say are troublemakers who continually scuttle the legislative process. Why? Because Tea Party House members, a core of about 30 according to the party itself, stand up for their principles but then walk away from any compromise legislation. On education, and now on funding the DHS, which passed this Tuesday with overwhelming Democratic support. And on past funding battles as well. The mainstream want the rebels to do business the Washington way and are fed up, so they say, with their shoot and retreat tactics. This self-righteous anger, however, didn't stop a majority of Republican House members from voting against the clean funding bill, knowing that their Democrat House colleagues would ensure passage.
The latest Quinnipiac Poll of likely GOP Iowa Caucus-Goers has Scott Walker pulling ahead of the pack with a closely grouped bunch trying to find their groove behind the pole position. There's lots of media coverage of Jeb's somewhat disappointing numbers - his favorables are strong but so are his unfavorables - and less so of Rand Paul's relatively strong showing, especially among liberals. Not much is said about another candidate who with far less resources is just behind Paul and Huckabee and has the lowest unfavorables of any of the candidates. That would be Ben Carson who has remarkably consistent numbers across the poll, with a somewhat stronger showing among evangelicals and conservatives and, unlike Paul, a weaker showing among liberals. But even there his numbers show little deviation from the mean.
The media, mostly on the left side of the spectrum - fuss over Giuliani's comments about Obama's alleged lack of love for America overlook, or sidestep a basic fact. As in the Bill Ayer's controversy over Obama's relationship on several boards in Chicago during the 90's and up until 2002 with the former terrorist, the issue is not whether Obama exchanged secret handshakes with Bill Ayers, or had the PLO flag up on his dormitory wall back when. The issue is the basic philosophical outlook that a Bill Ayers has and it's relationship to his radical and violent past; an outlook shared by a significant part of the academic, intellectual and media worlds. And those who agree with them. The Vietnam War was bad, a bloody mistake rather than a costly war that helped contain communism in ways far beyond the geographic boundaries of Southeast Asia. Reagan was a war monger rather than the president who brought peace to the world through American strength. The politics of identity are what matter rather than what one does and achieves, because this racist capitalist planet has to be changed from the ground up, all the while being careful as they are not to link the word "revolution" with the possibility of violence. But justifying violence around the world all at the same time. As these former and not-so-former radicals joined the system they had violently opposed, they still have similar goals which they now go about achieving through the education system, through the political system, and through the media.
Despite the U.S.-led coalition air raids against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the brutal group continues to thrive and is in fact spreading to other countries. Many warned President Obama when he began his campaign against ISIS in August last year that his approach was weak, half-fast, and would do little to diminish the capabilities of ISIS in the near-term. Time and time again Obama has shown that he lacks the resolve to meaningfully degrade ISIS and has beat around the bush when discussing it. On the other hand, strong leadership against ISIS has been found in the capitals of Jordan and Egypt recently. Both countries appalled at recent ISIS actions against their citizens have responded in a manner which few ever imagined they would take. Obama should watch and take notes of King Abdullah of Jordan and President al-Sissi of Egypt. They have shown what strong, determined leadership looks like in the face of a barbaric enemy.
If only Elizabeth Warren was a guy. Then it would be easy for the Democrat's election machinery to choose Hillary above all evidence of surging polls and spreading and gushingly enthusiastic grassroots support. Barak won the nomination, and yes the election, because he was, Barak. Now it's Hillary's turn to be the Democratic nomination for president because she's Hillary. But the confines of identity politics within which the Democratic have chosen to operate, as well as a sizable portion of the academic world, are now confronted within that delineated and self-righteous space with Liz's unavoidable presence. The liberal establishment are grimly united behind Hillary but at the grassroots level, it seems to be a whole other matter. A poll showing Warren ahead of Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire - by a few percentage points but it is still a result that was unthinkable 6 months ago - has revealed that people really want Warren in the nomination race.
While the media spat over Joni Ernst's military service in Kuwait and Iraq is front and center lately, perhaps the attacks of the so-called "truthers" have a deeper motive. It seems most, if not all, veterans consider her performance in the Middle East worthy and valuable - not losing a single member of her company while doing convoys up a dangerous road is no small matter. But aside from the need for revenge perhaps over Kerry truthers, there is another issue that Ernst takes a stand on that seems to anger progressives: state rights.
In the next few weeks leading up to February 27, as the House's DHS funding bill sits in the Senate after Tuesday's test vote resulted in only 51 for, we will find out what kind of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is. What that means is, before the Department of Homeland Security's funding runs out on that date, McConnell will have to decide whether to stick with the House version of the bill that links DHS funding to rolling back Obama's executive action on immigration, or to put together a "clean" bill as Senator Hatch has called for. Hatch's position on immigration is a long way from Senator Cruz's of course, and that brings up the question of McConnell's real aim. Was Tuesday's vote McConnell's way of letting Cruz and Sessions get what they want and at the same time turn them into convenient scapegoats that can be blamed if DHS runs out of money on the 27th?
What exactly did they talk about beneath a view of the snowcapped mountains of Utah perhaps? Faith and family? Compassion for those with less? Building a moderate GOP platform where Jeb reaches out and picks Mitt as his running mate? Or did Mitt submit to the will of the more ambitious man in the room? Several of his key advisors had already made the move. Perhaps Mitt Romney didn't have a stomach for a knock-em-down-drag-em-out fight over the compassionate middle ground. What was Mitt Romney presented with that made him decide to quit and does it matter?