Third Party & Independents

Why Ben Carson Chose Detroit

Posted by AllardK on April 15, 2015 at 7:08 PM

Three days after May 1, Ben Carson will be giving a speech in Detroit and presumably announcing his run for the presidency. The ex-neurosurgeon and best-selling author is from Detroit, so it makes sense through the prism of storytelling. To return to the city that you grew up in to launch your presidential campaign is hardly surprising on the part of Ben Carson. But there is more than that one suspects in the good doctor's choice of location. For all the wrong reasons, Detroit has been notorious for decades now and in fact, Ben Carson's life, one of struggle and astonishing achievement, chronologically parallels, in inverse fashion, the decline of Detroit. The city of Ben's childhood was, by all accounts, a far different place than Detroit is today. Carson was almost 16 years old in the summer of 67 when Detroit burned and he has seen his home town struggle and repeatedly fail to rise again in the years that followed.

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Corpocracy vs Inequality

Posted by Roy Ellis on April 13, 2015 at 9:13 PM

An article in today's WaPo, America's Middle -aged Capitalism, While the article doesn't present any new information one can easily see how corpocracy and one of it's byproducts, inequality, has ramped up excessively.

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Jeb and Ted Are Nothing Like Sharp Dressed Men

Posted by AllardK on April 10, 2015 at 9:04 PM

In separating out the candidacies of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, the Christian Science Monitor did a quick fashion check on the two. Rand's Ray Bans were mentioned of course, and Cruz was described as "buttoned-down and combative". It's understandable they would parse their images to try and tell the story of 2 adversaries who were recently close allies in the Senate. But the far more interesting question is: has anyone compared Jeb Bush's look to Ted Cruz's? Comfortable but expensive clothes that are about people who work and get things done and care little for fashion trends. In fact, in a photo of George Bush, his son Jeb, and Obama in the oval office, Jeb looks downright shabby next to the two presidents. Perhaps it's part of the pecking order: how many strides you keep behind your brother on the golf course, for example. Or maybe Jeb just dresses that way.

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Rand Paul's Proposal for the Beast

Posted by AllardK on April 9, 2015 at 10:48 PM

There is no true flat tax rate in Rand Paul's proposal, which was apparently taken off his website but is ready to be relaunched at some point. But there is a sort-of-flat-tax proposal with a sort-of-progressive component mixed in. A true flat tax rate implies a marginal tax rate of zero. That means the rate you pay does not rise as your income rises. Like a sales tax, which is usually denounced by progressives as unfair to low income earners, and praised by old-fashioned conservatives as virtuously diverting money from consumption to production. Which sounds a little Soviet or Chinese in an odd way. Less tablets and flat screens and more flat-rolled steel please. So Rand Paul understandably wanted something a little more fabulous than a sales tax sort of thingy.

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What Bob Could Learn From Jeb

Posted by AllardK on April 7, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Senator Menendez speaks Spanish because of his Cuban parents. Jeb Bush speaks Spanish because he sought the language out, in Mexico and in Venezuela, with his wife and family, and among many of his former Florida constituents. One could argue that Jeb speaks Spanish better than Bob does. Perhaps Jeb should help Bob out over how to handle influential donors, and how to differentiate between what's legal and what isn't. Whether they do it in Spanish or in English is up to them. Bob could then understand, thanks to Jeb, that you promise access, and you give access, before you get into political office. You do it in crisp emails sent out to potential and actual donors inviting them, depending on how much they've donated, to attend the Right to Rise national "team meeting" in Miami in a few weeks, And at the more intimate, and cheaper in terms of required donation levels to gain access, Washington DC coffee event a few days later for the same super PAC.

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Tipping the Scales of Morality

Posted by AllardK on April 1, 2015 at 9:17 PM

Is the "least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest" forcing a devout Christian to bake a cake? While the comparisons - like those outlined by Garrett Epps in the Atlantic - to the days of segregation in the South seem overblown if not theatrical and hysterical to say the least, it is almost inevitable that this furor would erupt. That it centers on Christianity directly and pits it against Civil Liberties, or equality of freedoms if you will, is also inevitable. America itself is a balance between the faith that has helped make it truly a promised land, and the enlightenment rights and freedoms that its Founding Fathers wove into the very fabric of it's laws. And it is inevitable that Indiana's RRFA will be tested and likely modified in the courts.

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What Marcus Dwayne Robertson Deserves

Posted by AllardK on March 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM

In a Florida courtroom, prosecutors are trying to unravel the toxic threads that make up most of Marcus Dwayne Robertson's adult life. From US Marine to leader of a violent NYC gang that in the early 90's robbed and murdered and used the stolen funds to stockpile weapons and finance several mosques in the area, he has lead a life of violence. He was arrested, charged and convicted and after striking a deal, served 4 years. At the time he was closely linked to the 'Blind Sheik' Omar Abdel-Rahman. Now he's at the center of an alleged conspiracy to send devotees of a Florida Mosque to a jihadist training center in Mauritania in NorthWest Africa. Robertson now goes by the moniker 'Abu Taubah', and has clearly been a radical man for some time.

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Campaign Finance On Steroids

Posted by Roy Ellis on March 26, 2015 at 3:43 PM

A good article in today's WaPo relating to campaign fiance. Contains quotes from millionaires like "you know, we just don't count anymore" and from a large ex-donor, " I just think it's morally not right. It's corrosive on our democracy."

There is this growing feeling that the money influence needs to be reined in. Here is a repost of an old post that still has merit, IMO.

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Sequester Tap Dancing in DC

Posted by AllardK on March 23, 2015 at 10:20 PM

Americans for Prosperity want the GOP-controlled Congress to pass is a "budget that genuinely caps discretionary spending at sequester-level numbers", in the words of AFP president Tim Phillips. His next words in that interview back on March 15 were, "That's going to be a huge challenge for them." No kidding Tim. In the Senate, for example, GOP and Democrat lawmakers are hoping to put together a budget plan that would lift sequester caps for a couple of years, like the way they lifted spending caps back in 2013. It truly is a wonderful thing: Budget making in Congress. You craft legislation to contain what by any reasonable measure is a high level of government spending, and then you make those goalposts that you crafted meaningless. Caps and sequesters and a White House that has threatened to veto any Budget legislation that keeps the spending caps in place.

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Sinful Behavior in Hotel Room Showers

Posted by AllardK on March 18, 2015 at 9:43 PM

The EPA, according to media reports, is spending $15,000 to create a device that will somehow fit on the shower head of your hotel room and as well connect to a wireless system. All to monitor how long you spend in the shower and to develop an app for your cellphone that will help you see the evil in your habits and start taking short efficient showers, like in the armed forces. This appears to be absolutely ridiculous and beyond all belief. There is no way in the world that the EPA will spend less than $15,000 on recycled stationary, never mind developing a wireless system to control consumers behavior in hotel rooms they paid for with their own money. A pioneering study like this that marks an exciting new stage in behavioral engineering clearly needs a lot more zeros after the 1 and 5 and those three lonely little circles. The first suspect is that it's a typo plain and simple. Remember, federal climate change spending (technology, science studies, development aid, and wildlife adaptation efforts) totaled $8.8 billion in 2010, five years ago according to the GAO. And the EPA expects us to believe that for fifteen grand they can change how you and every other person who will ever spend a night at in a hotel in America takes a shower?

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Florida Schools, Guns, Life, and Liberty

Posted by AllardK on March 16, 2015 at 9:31 PM

Perhaps two Harvard Law School grads sniping at each other might not seem like a life and death situation. But when it's David Frum vs. David French and the topic is gun control, then guns, life and liberty are all in play. As the Florida House passes a bill allowing School Superintendents to designate individuals to carry concealed weapons on school premises, the spat between the two last year comes to mind. Concealed weapons are a right in all 50 states but, as in the Florida legislation which will have to pass through an apparently not very enthusiastic State Senate, the details concerning the who and the how are far more rigorous than the headlines suggest. In the case of Florida, the individuals designated by School Superintendents will have to have military or law enforcement experience and undergo special training at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Essentially, its about having at each school, the type of protection that normally has to arrive in squad cars, precious minutes after any shooting tragically occurs. The one Subcommittee member who voted against the proposal, preferred to have a trained police officer assigned to every school in Florida instead.

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Hillary Shmillary

Posted by MichaelMears on March 12, 2015 at 10:11 AM

What is it about this woman? It absolutely blows my mind that people still view Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Her hands are so dirty and her reputation so tarnished, does it really even matter what these emails say? This is political suicide for Democrats no matter how you look at it.

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Rand Paul Really Really Doesn't Like the Fed

Posted by AllardK on March 5, 2015 at 9:19 PM

Rand Paul would like to do away with the Federal Reserve. In the meantime, he's happy to turn to yet another Washington D.C. government organization, albeit an independent one like the Federal Reserve itself, the Government Accountability Office, to keep the Fed on a tight leash. With around 3,500 employees and a budget of over half a billion dollars per year, the GAO is small fry in beltway terms but does punch well above it's weight. Ferreting out waste and fraud in Washington is an endless task, but Rand has something broader in mind. What Rand Paul has in mind is making monetary policy accountable to the Congress. That's a direct repudiation of the independence of the Fed. While it might make sense with this current Congress, which would tend to push the Fed to reduce it's balance sheet and perhaps tighten monetary policy faster than it seems to be inclined to do under Chairman Yellen, that could change in a hurry with a different Congress, or even the same Congress under different circumstances.

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A Reasonable Dosage of Rigor

Posted by AllardK on March 2, 2015 at 8:34 PM

The fact that House Republicans had to call recess on their education bill is yet another reminder of how thorny an issue education has become. The House's attempt to update George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind ran into conservative opposition over issues of state and local control over education. But the issue goes far beyond that. The role of public education, especially since Common Core appeared on the scene, is now a big question mark and one that elicits a multitude of responses. Progressives and Liberals want more money with more regulatory strings attached - all of it going through the federal government before actually reaching the states - to ensure that gaps in education results are filled. Conservatives want the freedom to choose flexible solutions, including charter schools, to try and improve student performances, both within America and in comparison to other developed countries. And some raging moms want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that their children do not face a far different world, a more demanding one that requires more skills in everything from language to science and math and computing, than they ever did.

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Net Neutrality, Yaahhhoooo

Posted by Roy Ellis on February 26, 2015 at 8:39 PM

Passage of Net Neutrality into law is about the greatest thing since canned beer, IMO. Being a good 'centrist' I see this law as the best way to police/regulate the Internet providers.

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