Third Party & Independents

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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Oscar Speech Propaganda

Posted by MichaelMears on February 25, 2015 at 4:35 PM

You can't knock JK Simmons for reminding us to call our moms and dads, if we're so fortunate to do so. However, there were other Oscar speeches that were filled with pleas for wage equality, suicide prevention, and Alzheimer's awareness, which all have their own importance. However, it's hard to process John Legend's comments about slavery and black incarceration, while millions of people watched and most people would just believe every word he said.

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When Jeb's Bandwagon Catches Fire

Posted by AllardK on February 20, 2015 at 5:35 PM

Jeb Bush wants to be president, and the details of what type of president he will be can be worked out later. At least that seems to be the attitude of a significant part of the GOP. Just look at the polls and decide who would do best against Hillary is the approach. The numbers and how to improve them seem to dominate, at least for those donors and former Bush padre and Dubya advisors who are lining up to help fund or to be part of Jeb's team. What that says about any policy platform that his team is cobbling together from ideas long past due is not encouraging. Catchphrases like Liberty and Strength have been heard before in very different times. To base foreign policy on pillars like Liberty and Strength is commendable, of course. But what that may mean in practice, on issues like immigration, terrorism, trade with Asia and Latin America, as well as education at home, remains very much to be seen.

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The President Hits a Homer

Posted by Roy Ellis on February 18, 2015 at 5:17 PM

Watched the President's presentation on how we should deal with the Muslim extremist problem. I believe this is the best presentation he has given. He nailed it good as to how citizens of the world should react to terrorism. He covered the good, bad and ugly as it relates to the world community, noting that in order to win the day there must be a broad range of policies/actions covering political, law enforcement, human resources, economic opportunity/assistance, and so on - - -

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Fakeahontas and the Real Hiawatha

Posted by AllardK on February 16, 2015 at 8:15 PM

While a slight fuss has been raised, and understandably so, over the location of the Run Warren Run office in the Cedar Rapid's suburb of Hiawatha, it may have unintended ironies for those who make fun of its location. The fact that Warren desperately invoked a dubious Native American Heritage to help her gain Ivy League employment is now part of her record, as it should be for anyone who may soon be seeking the Presidency. The fact that Hiawatha was mistakenly used by Longfellow, however, to refer to an Ojibwa trickster rather than the historical, if mythical, unifying figure that helped shape the Iroquois Confederacy is the unintended irony of those who have pointed out the Native American fake connection. That's because the essence of Warren does not really encompass her silly little stumbling dance back when with identity politics - while Hillary is locked in a death waltz with identity politics whose embrace she can't or won't break - but rather the serious substance of her radical views on political economy.

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ISIS Is not Like Purse Snatchers in the Subway

Posted by AllardK on February 9, 2015 at 7:51 PM

Trust President Obama to think he has a policy fix for everything, as in the right policy mix brewed up by federal bureaucrats will fix most anything. For example, the wave of truly barbaric terror unleashed by ISIS upon Middle Easterners, Westerners, and anyone else unlucky enough to be caught in their frenzied claws, as Japan discovered. Why it's just like lowering the crime rate in, say, New York. The right mix of growth and subsidies and policy incentives and you'll have Syria and its neighbors as good as Israel. As long as the media behaves itself and doesn't sensationalize things too much. The uncomfortable truth about Mayor Guilliani's moral anger and dedication to changing New Yorkers acceptance of street crime, graffiti, and urban grit as natural - the broken windows theory that turned out to be right - was a sea change that policy wonks could never have achieved. Yes, the growth of the economy in the 90's and New York's unquestioned role as the world's financial capital helped but it was the policing on the ground and the civic attitude supporting them that did the heavy lifting as well.

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Re-Balancing Obama's White House

Posted by AllardK on February 4, 2015 at 8:02 PM

By January 1980 when small business representatives gathered in Washington for the first White House Conference on Small Business, there were 90 agencies issuing thousands of new rules every year. One fears even hazarding a guess as to the state of regulatory burden in 2015, but it is safe to say that the Regulatory Flexibility Act that was born in 1980 was meant, and is meant, to give small business a break from the overwhelming burden of agency rule-making. It essentially puts a pause in the process so that the costs and impact of any new rule can be assessed by those affected. Trust Obama's team to have found a way to pivot around this constraint and deem significant new rule-making as being mere change in interpretation of said rules rather than actually being new rules.

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DemReps a.k.a Corpocracy

Posted by Roy Ellis on February 1, 2015 at 6:26 PM

I can't get too excited about the nebularies tween the dem/reps. None, as I can tell, would do much to change the status quo, i.e. gov't by corpocracy. IMO, Huckabee would make a good centrist president but alas, will never get the nod.

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