Third Party & Independents

Teasing Out Obama's Foreign Policy

Posted by AllardK on November 26, 2014 at 1:32 AM

At the Belfer Center, in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a recent guest speaker was Jake Sullivan, current senior advisor on the Iran Nuclear Negotiations. In case you thought Obama's foreign policy was rudderless, Jake Sullivan helped put it all in perspective for students and fellows. Obama's policy response has been to "rebuild, rebalance, and reshape." In other words, there are deep and encompassing objectives he has in mind when he stumbles from one crisis to another. You just might not be able to see them if you are not lucky enough to be a Harvard scholar or student. Let's see if it is possible to tease out their layers of meaning.

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Obama's speech on YouTube

Posted by Weary_Willie on November 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

This is a link to Obama's immigration speech.

He begins speaking at the 58 minute mark.

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The GOP and College Tuition

Posted by AllardK on November 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

The cost of higher education is a problem, and solutions seem to be diametrically opposed. But one thing both conservatives, no make that free-marketers instead, and interventionists - rather than liberals - agree on is that the supply of higher education is price-inelastic. That means that as federal loan programs and other subsidies increase, the result is sharply higher tuition costs, rather than more institutions, over the last couple of decades. One answer is not to accept Federal loans, as some US Colleges have done. Their tuition costs have tended to be about half of those of colleges who do accept Federal funding. Another uncomfortable issue underlying exploding tuition costs is that the demand for a college degree has soared because governments and employers have deemed a BA, or the equivalent, a necessary minimum for any graduate hoping to successfully enter the workforce. Unfortunately, a degree has lost some, if not a lot, of its value in terms of the workplace and there are those who say focused apprenticeship programs rather than a college degree would be more appropriate in a noticeable number of cases. That would mean spreading the demand for higher education around a number of areas rather than just standard bricks and mortar institutions.

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All you have to do is wait...

Posted by Weary_Willie on November 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I've said it and now they've said it. It's obvious to people who aren't smitten by the Democratic party and it's politics.

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It's Election Day! Vote! Vote! Vote!

Posted by liz on November 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM

As we all know, just because it's not a presidential election, doesn't mean it's not important. We could see some changes today! Will the Senate gridlock go on? Can Republicans maintain House majority? Will they take control of the Senate? Most of all, who will have bragging rights leading up to the 2016 election? Tell all your family and friends. Today is the day to vote!
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More See The Money Influence As A Bad Deal

Posted by Roy Ellis on November 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

A long opine in today's WaPo re 'subduing pessimism' alluding to the idea that 'Washington is broken' and how to regain partisanship in congress.

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What Does Haloween And Elections Have In Common - Scary

Posted by Roy Ellis on October 31, 2014 at 9:33 PM

The silly season is upon us again.

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Another GOOD Reason Why We Need A New 3rd Party

Posted by Roy Ellis on October 31, 2014 at 8:12 PM

We have a right to know the source and quality of the food we eat.

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Will Non-Citizens Decide the Race in North Carolina?

Posted by AllardK on October 28, 2014 at 9:12 PM

All that money sloshing around and being poured into media campaigns to make sure the voting for crucial US Senate seats goes their way. Which way would that be? The Democrats way of course; they've been outspending Republicans by a considerable margin in key battleground states like North Carolina. Until recently that is. GOP spending has finally caught up with Democratic outlays and we now have a final week of almost even spending in 10 key states for a total of 30 million. North Carolina does indeed top the list where Sean Haugh's libertarian campaign may garner close to 7% of the vote and keeps things between Hagan and Tillis really interesting. As in less than a percentage point in the latest average of polling results by RealClearPolitics. Tillis seemed to be closing the gap in a hurry in the last few weeks, but that now remains to be seen. Whether the negative campaigns can get out the constituencies each party needs to win - older conservative males for the GOP and single women and African Americans for the Dems - is very much an open question in these last few days. Senator Rand Paul and Governor Christie have parachuted into town to support Tillis and the race really is wide open.

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Swinging Hard in North Carolina

Posted by AllardK on October 24, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Kay Hagan, junior US senator for North Carolina came in to the Senate with President Obama in 2008, and is determined it seems not to leave the Senate until after Obama leaves the White House. Whether she has managed to distance herself enough from the president and his low approval ratings remains to be seen, but she is leading Republican Thom Tillis, Speaker of the State House, by a slim but consistent margin. Polling shows Hagan has a clear lead among women voters, a strong lead among young voters, and an overwhelming lead among African American voters. And both candidates have just about the same approval rating within their own party. RealClearPolitics, however, has a difference of about a percentage point between the two candidates in their average of several polls including the PPP poll that shows Hagan ahead by 3, with Tillis quickly closing what had been a 4 point gap, starting about a month ago. If North Carolina breaks late, as it seems to have a tradition of doing, then it may be an even closer race than many polls are showing and will mean a late night in November until the final result is known.

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A Question for Governor Kasich

Posted by AllardK on October 22, 2014 at 4:15 PM

According to John Kasich's friend Curt Steiner, Kasich is a solid GOP man but a "biological Democrat" meaning the son of a mailman was raised in a working class and Democrat environment. While Kasich has been in politics for the GOP most of his adult life and was already a state senator in Ohio at 26, he has always been a centrist, although he would likely label himself as a pragmatist. So, Ohio Governor Kasich's getting into bed with Obamacare is nothing to be shocked about. Even if he says he is not in bed with Obamacare, or only part of it, and that the press completely misquoted him. This is of course about Medicaid, and the fact that Obamacare has made more people eligible for Medicaid and has increased federal funding for individual states. It would have made it mandatory for individual states to accept increased levels of funding and eligibility for Medicaid in order to continue to receive the cash from Washington D.C., but the Supreme Court, in a very mixed decision in the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that had the justices all over the place, gave the states the right to opt out of the increase and stay at pre-Obamacare levels of Medicaid.

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Boots for Ebola; No Boots for ISIS

Posted by MichaelMears on October 15, 2014 at 7:54 PM

As much as the President or democrats or others don't want to believe it, Obama IS a war president. The "Bush's fault" argument doesn't hold much value anymore because, yes, Obama did bring troops home from Iraq, but he sent thousands more over to Afghanistan, and he's been at war his entire presidency. He's just not a strong war president.

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3 Dollars a Day in Wisconsin

Posted by AllardK on October 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

It's a quite a change to go from being a high-powered Harvard MBA grad working for Mckinsey & Co. in New York and Washington DC to working with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County in her home state of Wisconsin. But that's what Mary Burke chose to do a few years back. after spending some time working for the family business her father set up, Trek Bicycle Corporation, where she briefly held a couple of executive positions. From the boys and girls club to spending her own money to get elected to the Madison School Board was a logical step for Mary, who had also spent some time as Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce for Governor Jim Doyle. So in a way, Mary Burke is a perfect Democratic candidate in a state with a generous health care and pension benefit scheme for state employees: someone who will use her business skills to micromanage the state's entitlement streams without cutting back too much anywhere. What's there not to like about Mary Burke if you believe in free health care for lucky state employees?

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When ATF Gunwalking Went Wrong

Posted by AllardK on October 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Let's be fair to Eric Holder. The absolute mess over Operation Fast & Furious which he is trying to cover up, on executive orders from Obama himself, actually started in 2006 with Operation Wide Receiver. It's not the multiple regulations at state and federal levels on gun sales and exports of guns. It's not the fact that straw purchases, nominee purchases where the final buyer is unable to or unwilling to directly purchase a firearm, is not illegal. It's not the fact that the ATF already had been doing what are called gun-walking operations to trace possible illegal firearm purchases and intercept them at the final point of sale, mostly in a focused and small scale manner which ensured most earlier gun-walking operations ended successfully. It's the fact that with Operation Wide Receiver and Operation Fast & Furious, the ATF got into bed with Mexican authorities.

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The IRS Got It Wrong ... Again

Posted by AllardK on October 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM

As far was Washington is concerned, $5.2 billion is petty change as the beltway joke about a billion here, a billion there and suddenly you're talking real money, cynically states. As far as the average taxpayer, it is a lot of money. So when the IRS reveals that it gave out $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax returns, it does not sit well with taxpayers who are still waiting for a check for amounts overcharged by the tax authorities. But the larger question is, why do you have to give money to Washington in order for them to decide how much you overpaid and then send you back all, or some, or none, of the amount overpaid? The reason of course, is that the tax system is a huge and complex redistribution mechanism for transferring wealth between interested parties and achieving specific political goals for the benefit of some and at the expense of many. It is created by legislation which is created by lawyers, public service economists and policy wonks in general. It is a deliberate intrusion meant to affect behavior and outcomes. And if deemed necessary, violent force is applied to achieve those goals.

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