Third Party & Independents

Getting Comfortable With Marco Rubio

Posted by AllardK on May 19, 2015 at 8:10 PM

At the Weekly Standard's Broadmoor Summit, Marco Rubio's name supposedly stood out along with Scott Walker's. This may be interesting in as much as attendees at the so-called Summit reflect the views of GOP money men and women. Because as a statistical poll, the sample in Colorado Springs is just a touch small. But the available cash that might flow from those predisposed to give the young Florida senator an earnest listen, is another matter. So the question is: can Rubio start to attract anywhere near the kind of cash that his erstwhile mentor Jeb Bush has been able to? And the reasonable answer is: that depends on what Rubio says and does and on what Jeb says and does.

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Pollsters: Let the Voters Speak

Posted by AllardK on May 14, 2015 at 7:55 PM

Is the end of polling at hand? Perhaps not, but polling seems to have entered a slow and steady decline in accuracy and in participation rates. Apparently less than 10% of those who receive a call from some organization doing a poll actually answer the call. And moving from landline and cellphones (where people are even less likely to respond) to online surveys brings up serious credibility problems as to how accurate online polling results are. Pollsters nowadays seem to be frantically adjusting their methodology and hoping to present more accurate polling results - look at the May 7 (or next day the 8th to be more accurate) polling failures in the UK. Should we be worried?

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A Shy Sociopath From Birmingham UK

Posted by AllardK on May 11, 2015 at 7:20 PM

A once shy kid in Birmingham England, make that a loner and soon-to-be psychopath, fled the UK in 2013 after jumping bail over charges of cyber mischief to put it politely. Where did he go? Syria. And yes, he's now another ISIS recruit. That he is apparently married to a much older ex-rocker also from the UK who now vows to cut Christians heads off with a blunt knife is just another detail in the increasing litany of unhinged people who are joining the terrorist group. ISIS recruits in places like the UK and Texas in fact don't even fit the term recruits. They are anyone crazy enough to heed ISIS calls for violence. While that makes their actions very hard to predict, it may also mean that they are just that: untrained psycho's who will likely die in the face of any vigorous law enforcement response. But they are out there. How many is something the intelligence community is hopefully working hard to estimate. But the question is, what can be done?

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Will Jeb Have a Debate on Immigration?

Posted by AllardK on May 6, 2015 at 7:31 PM

Jeb Bush thinks America needs millions of skilled workers and that his ideas on immigration reform are the right ones. In an interview with National Review's Rich Lowry, he did not seem overly flexible on this issue. As if he has thought the thing through and come to a well-reasoned decision, and he just needs to explain his reasoning for voters to get it. Jeb Bush did not respond with many specifics to Lowry's baiting of him - justified baiting by the way - when stating how much of the Gang of Eight's immigration plan he agrees with. But Jeb Bush's own ideas on immigration reform are quite similar to those of the senators' plan. And that means some shared assumptions that many conservative voters do not hold true.

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Ben Carson Better Speak Up in Detroit

Posted by AllardK on April 30, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Less than a week before his planned speech in Detroit, Ben Carson gave an interview to GQ magazine and the topic was Baltimore. Carson spent 36 years in the city of Baltimore working as a surgeon and becoming an inspiration to African-Americans there for his life story and his work speaking in inner-city schools and conveying a message of the possibilities that exist and one of hope. But if Ben Carson had to speak this weekend say, before heading to Detroit, at a Baltimore inner-city school, what would he say? The GQ interview was perhaps one way to reach those kids, even if the specific media outlet seems a little odd. Who knows? Maybe GQ is a must-read in Baltimore. Maybe he knew his words would reach far beyond the usual GQ readers.

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Byron and Ted and Manhattan Scandals

Posted by AllardK on April 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

Ted Cruz cleaned up in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's debating events. For those of us un-burnished by that aristocratic institution, it was founded by a few founding fathers or those near to the founding fathers and still operates at Princeton. Byron York of the Washington Examiner and still the proud owner of foppishly elegant hair, had graduated from the University of Alabama and from the University of Chicago with a master's degree by the time Ted was destroying his opponents over at the AW-CS in the early 90's. But Byron knows a thing or two about sniping. It's part of the craft he has perfected over the years, and Ted would have to expect a shot fired from the elegant Alabma native at the bare-knuckled Texan brawler. It concerns a meeting at a swank NYC apartment - two whole floors overlooking Central Park - that happens to be owned by two very successful Jewish American entrepreneurs. Who happen to be gay. And who happen to have had an unfortunate incident occur at their penthouse during a rather unrestrained party, where a young bartender died of a drug overdose. No drugs were found at the apartment and the case was closed.

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Neville, Barack and Iran

Posted by AllardK on April 21, 2015 at 7:52 PM

It's getting hard not to start thinking about British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waving that piece of paper as he stepped off the plane celebrating the Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany in 1938. In 2015, it will not be any mere piece of paper that Obama will wave however. It will be one massive check - or more likely an account notification - worth up to 50 billion dollars in unfrozen funds that will be waved discreetly at the Iranians who can then grab it and collect what for any nation, never mind a barely mid-level economy like Iran's, is a monstrous amount of money. Unless they firmly declare that funds will remain frozen and State has refused to do so. That Iran has sponsored terror from Buenos Aires to Beirut and many points in between must be uncomfortable for Obama and his administration, one hopes. That any discomfort is felt by the State Department and the rest of the administration over the possible consequences of handing over a mere 10% of all Research & Development done in the USA in 2014 just like that to Iran, is a little unclear of course at this point. But one can hope that some discomfort is in fact felt.

The analogy to Chamberlain, however, is unfair. Neville Chamberlain was a seasoned politician with an enormous amount of experience accumulated over decades of public service. And he was Prime Minister of a country barely emerging from the depths of a terrible world depression. And he had the support of much of the UK when he went to Munich. And when he realized that appeasement was wrong he prepared for and declared war on Germany and lead the nation in war until he resigned to enable a coalition government of unity to proceed with the war effort. Not only that, he was a key member of Churchill's war cabinet, putting his experience to work for the next Prime Minister's government. No, the analogy to Chamberlain is utterly unfair. To Chamberlain himself. Obama might learn a thing or two by studying Chamberlain's life a little. Let's hope and pray that aside from unfair, any analogy between Neville Chamberlain and Barack Obama is misplaced. Misplaced in terms of the war that followed. At this moment in time, that is far from clear.

How State Controls Spending on Stemware

Posted by AllardK on April 18, 2015 at 8:43 PM

$5 million on stemware - as in really nice glasses for all sorts of beverages - for US embassies is actually reasonable, if you consider that there are hundreds of embassies around the world. And one has to assume that breakage or missing-in-action drains the embassies' inventory of fine crystal and other fancy glass stemware. Over $26,000 for North Face parkas is, however, a little puzzling. Don't ambassadors get well paid and briefed on where they're going. As in the weather in Ulan Bator or Helsinki or Moscow? And don't their salaries and allowances generously cover expenses on an individual basis?

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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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