Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Local Nightmare May Be at an End

By Bruce L. Brager

Needs no caption.
Credit: Bruce L. Brager
New York can really be a fun city, as they used to say. Not just the stock market, the Wall Street roller coaster. But at least this time they have been panicking, and then changing their mind about the panic, over the huge Chinese economy, not the tiny Greek economy. But Wall Street is more a national than a state issue.

New York City has its problems. Poverty and crime are problems, though less than in most other major American cities. The city needs more jobs, though unemployment has greatly decreased since the Great Recession. There too many guns in the streets, but this is true of everywhere in this gun-fetishist society. New York has one of the better gun control policies in the country. We don’t have open carry, stand your ground, or anything like that belonging more in the TV version of the Wild West. But a New Yorker who wants a gun just needs a few hours’ drive to get one.

The city still needs affordable housing, despite having lost the most expensive area title to Washington, DC. But local real estate developers prefer to build condos for billionaires and a huge Ferris wheel in Staten Island. Let’s just hope the builders don’t get legionnaires disease.

A beautiful park in north Staten Island, with a great view of the Manhattan
Skyline, is being converted into an outlet mall and a giant ferris wheel.
Credit: Bruce L. Brager
The relationship between the NYPD and the Black community is worse than it has been for years. New York City traffic remains New York City traffic.

So what is the big issue in New York City recently? Times Square. Some attractive young women have taken to soliciting tourists to take picture with them. The women are wearing just bikini bottoms and body paint. Horrors. The mayor is very upset. The governor says it reminds him of the bad old days in Time Square. The police commissioner wants to tear up the new pedestrian areas to get rid of the area where these immoral women play their trade. Others want the law that allows women, as well as men to go topless in public in New York City, changed.

On a related issue, a new law has been introduced in the New York State legislature to ban the sale of sugar soda to kids under 16. The nightmare is almost over. We will soon end the horror of kids getting wired with sugar staring at half-naked women. And here I was worried about freedom of choice, gun control, the economy, crime, disease, etc. etc. etc. This is not an endorsement of kids drinking sugar, just so you readers know.

I am just glad we don’t have any statues of Confederate soldiers (as far as I know). I can’t recall seeing a Confederate flag regularly flown – at least not in Upper East Side Manhattan. There has been no having to make martyrs to the First Amendment out of idiots.

All opinion pieces reflect solely the views of the writer(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of CAB News Online.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

North Korea Threatens South Korea Over Planned Military Exercises

The North Korean regime threatened its southern neighbor on Saturday over planned joint military exercises with the United States. The North's statement called for "all-out military action" if the rehearsals were carried out, which are planned for August 17-28.

While North Korea is known for its fiery rhetoric, it has not been known for carrying them out. However, a 2010 shelling of a South Korean target by North Korean forces nearly brought the two enemies to a crisis point. Since Kim Jong-un's accession, the North has refrained from such provocations, though it has launched rockets into space and disgarded the ceasefire that ended the 1950s Korean War, though the latter action has had no tangible effect on the current situation between the two nations.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fox News/Facebook GOP Debate Analysis: How Did They Do?


The top ten Republican candidates lineup shortly before debating each other in Thursday's Fox News/Facebook debate
Credit: Joshua Gunter, Northeast Ohio Media Group

Thursday night's Fox News/Facebook Republican primary debate had the largest television audience in history for a primary debate and was the highest-rated telecast in Fox News Channel's history, at an astounding 24 million viewers (earlier predictions gave an estimation at around 15 million).

While Fox News clearly had a good night (moderators Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Megyn Kelly given praise for their questioning of the GOP hopefuls, along with Martha McCallum and Bill Hemmer for their moderating of the earlier debate, which we will also cover), some Republicans had better nights than others.

Donald Trump:

The Donald delivered on some of his promise: He talked about illegal immigration, "winning" trade deals with Mexico and China, and saying that US leaders and politicians are "stupid." Trump also got in a shot at Rosie O'Donnell after Kelly questioned him over certain tweets perceived to be derogatory to women. Reviews were mixed over Trump's performance, with some saying he managed to keep his supporters happy with his campaign and managed to keep much of the attention during the debate on his campaign. Others are saying that he flopped when he failed to given specifics on his proposals. Baier's opening question to the GOP field also gave Trump buzz when Trump did not pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and not run a third-party or independent general election campaign.

Jeb Bush:

The former Florida Governor managed to clearly answer many the questions, but he was widely perceived to have not commanded the stage as he should have, given his perceived frontrunner status. Given this lackluster performance, Bush may have to play a little catch-up in his campaign, and that may include more debate prep (this was his first since 2002) and spending some of his massive campaign warchest funds.

Scott Walker:

Walker, by many observations, had a mediocre to lackluster night, while not making any gaffes, failing to excite his supporters or gain supporters from his rivals. Walker likely needs to step up his game for the next debate (and give a performance similar to one he delivered at this year's CPAC) to keep his campaign alive against his rivals.

Mike Huckabee: 

The form Arkansas governor and Fox News host had a decent night by most observations, giving his supporters a reason to be excited over his socially conservative and economically populist positions. His lines on invoking the Fourth Amendment to criminalize abortion and his opposition to certain changes to entitlement programs is certain to keep some of his supporters loyal and make some open to supporting his candidacy.

Ben Carson:

While the retired pediatric neurosurgeon is not a naturally skilled debater, his answers and closing statement made certain that his campaign will live on amid the intense competition of this campaign.

Marco Rubio:

Marco Rubio is widely seen to have had a good night at Thursday's debate. Rubio gave clear answers and gave emotional appeals regarding his family and the American dream, and did much to give him the image of someone who appears "presidential."

Ted Cruz:

The freshman senator from Texas used his national debate experience on Thursday, and while not commanding the stage, his short, coherent answers could easily give momentum to his campaign.

Rand Paul:

The libertarian-leaning senator was arguably the most combative on the stage, going after Trump shortly after he announced that he was not ruling out an independent run, accusing him of possibly being a Clinton plant. He got into a fight with Chris Christie (the two have a historically frigid relationship) over data collection and privacy issues. However, Paul failed to stump either Trump or Christie, so Thursday's debate may not have been his best night.

Chris Christie:

Christie's fight with Paul may have breathed some life into his campaign, and his emotional talk about terrorism victims and talking about his experience as a US attorney (though some have criticized the latter) may allow his campaign to live on another day.

John Kasich:

The governor had a home state advantage (he is the incumbent governor of Ohio), and his well-received performance may give his campaign momentum should Trump, Bush, Walker, or Paul lose support. His well-planned response to a question regarding his decision to expand Ohio's Medicaid program under Obamacare and his answer to a question about same-sex marriage (citing his personal disagreement with it but his unwillingness to challenge its legality) may help him in the coming weeks, though some conservatives may have taken issue with those positions.



For the earlier debate, a quick summary may better suffice. There was almost a completely clear-cut winner: former CEO of HP Carly Fiorina. Her answers to the questions asked and her attacks on Hillary Clinton have undoubtedly given her campaign new life and may just as likely have moved her into the list of the top ten candidates (who she replaces is unknown). Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore avoided any major gaffe (though Perry was accused of referring to Ronald Reagan as "Ronald Raven," which his campaign denies), none had a performance likely to move them into the top tier of candidates.

As for Fox News, some conservatives have accused the network of setting up questions so that the candidates would fight against each other, particularly against Trump. Others have said that Baier, Kelly, and Wallace were fair in their questioning. Many in the mainstream media have accused the network of having a conservative bias, but tough questioning from its moderators may have worked to combat that image in the media.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What to Expect at the Fox News/Facebook GOP Debate

The debate(s) Thursday will feature the Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential election, with the first one at 5:00 PM Eastern will feature "second-tier" candidates, at least according to the polls, and the one at 8:50 PM Eastern will feature "top-tier,"  again according to the polling, contenders.

Who to expect and what to expect at the first debate:

Rick Perry:

Former Governor of Texas, his first campaign for President in 2012 imploded after a series of gaffes and faux pas. This time around, Perry has been running a smoother campaign, but the specter of his 2012 run may be haunting him, keeping him from the top-tier debate in primetime. He has made his record a large part of his campaign, while also strongly criticizing Republican poll leader Donald Trump. If he is successful in this debate, he could displace John Kasich or Chris Christie in the next debate.

Carly Fiorina:

Former HP CEO and GOP Senate nominee in 2010. She has made it a point to be the "anti-Hillary Clinton" candidate. She has appealed both to social conservatives (highlighting her opposition to abortion) and fiscal conservatives (highlighting her opposition to regulations and taxes). She is the only women GOP candidate in this race. Fiorina must make a strong impact on voters' minds tonight in order to move up the ranks.

Bobby Jindal:

Incumbent Governor of Louisiana. Once considered a frontrunner for the GOP nomination, he now faces low poll numbers. While some recent comments have gotten him into controversy with the media and some voters (such as his comments on alleged Muslim "no-go" zones in Europe), his declared opposition to federal common core educational standards could earn him some votes, though he must truly astound at tonight's debate to gain any chance of becoming a top-tier candidate, much less winning the GOP nod.

George Pataki:

Former Governor of New York. Likely the most moderate GOP candidate (pro-choice on abortion and a pro-environmental record), he has earned support among moderate to liberal Republicans, but faces long odds to win the nomination, given the predominately conservative Republican primary electorate. To move up in the polls, he likely has to highlight the fact that he ran and won in deeply Democratic New York and still managed to have a fiscally conservative record.

Lindsey Graham:

Incumbent South Carolina Senator. Nearly all of his campaign has been focused on foreign policy. A longtime ally of John McCain, Graham has often led the efforts for further American intervention in foreign conflicts (Libya, Syria, IS). While those positions may be unpopular among many Republicans and the general electorate, his "muscular" foreign policy may gain him support with the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Rick Santorum:

Former Senator from Pennsylvania and 2008 Presidential candidate. He has focused more on economic issues than social issues this time around. His appeal to working-class voters in rust belt states is likely his primary hope for gaining support for the GOP nomination, and he must appeal to those voters tonight if he has any hope of winning.

Jim Gilmore:

Former Governor of Virginia and GOP Senate nominee in 2008. In his announcement video, he focuses primarily on foreign policy, so it would not be unsurprising to see him try to carve out that niche (similar to Graham) in this debate.



TOP TEN (UPDATED AT 6:00 PM EDT)

DONALD TRUMP:

Business man. He is the polling leader of the GOP pack, but not necessarily the frontrunner, as his poll lead is likely attributable to his high name recognition (about 98%). However, he has earned legitimate support from his populist campaign highlight his opposition to illegal immigration and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. However, his controversial comments about illegal immigrants and his fellow Republicans have earned him the ire of the GOP establishment and non-stop, and mostly unfavorable coverage by the media. However, he could surprise many Republicans and the media by taking a softer tone (which he has done in some interviews) and becoming more specific on certain issue proposals, rather than taking a sharp, vague tone he took in his announcement speech and most interviews. He may also have to tackle that he and former President Bill Clinton shared a phone call shortly before his announcement, which, given his previous amiable relation with the Clintons, has caused speculation that he could be a Clinton plant.

JEB BUSH:

Former Governor of Florida. He has the second highest poll numbers (next to Trump) and is the GOP establishment favorite. While he has support from numerous GOP officials and some claim that the Clinton campaign believes he will be the eventual Republican nominee, he has failed to capture the support of many of the more conservative members of the party. Bush has also been dodged by some recent comments (including one about government spending and women's health, which he later clarified). Bush must appeal to the conservative wing of the party in order to increase his support and jump ahead of Trump in the polls (and remain ahead of Scott Walker or any other candidate).

SCOTT WALKER:

Incumbent Governor of Wisconsin. He is the third highest national poll leader for the GOP nomination, and leads in Iowa. Walker's campaign against public sector unions in Wisconsin earned him his right to fame in the Republican Party, and he is likely to tout his economic record in tonight's debate. However, some of his record may come under attack after some have criticized his state's debt level and other economic indicators which seem to be worse compared to nearby states (Trump has criticized his record, as has the Democratic Party). Walker could use recent Democratic criticism (which has been ramped up in recent weeks) to show his strength in the Republican field.

MIKE HUCKABEE:

Former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 Presidential candidate. He is a strong social conservative and somewhat of an economic populist. While he has also faced criticism for recent comments (which included a Holocaust reference when referring to President Obama and the Iran deal), his refusal to back down has earned him respect among some of his supporters and has managed to maintain decent poll numbers in comparison to the rest of the GOP pack.

BEN CARSON:

Former pediatric neurosurgeon. While he has no elected political experience, his popularity among conservatives has remained high since his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 put him on the political map. Carson must distinguish himself from the rest of the pack in order to overtake Huckabee or Walker in order to challenge Bush and Trump more directly. He could do that by highlighting his opposition to political correctness, which he has often mentioned in his speeches.

MARCO RUBIO:

Incumbent Senator from Florida. He was once considered a frontrunner for this Presidential cycle, but his campaign has failed to take a lead among other Republicans. He is main challenge, like many of the others in the GOP field, is to distinguish himself from the others. He could do this by bringing up certain votes from his Senate record, or could take a gamble and talk about his support for an immigration bill from the last Congress which would have allowed most illegal immigrants in the US to eventually acquire citizenship, which is criticized by most conservatives but has support from moderates and independents.

RAND PAUL:

Incumbent Senator from Kentucky. He is considered the "libertarian" of the race but has faced criticism from his fellow libertarians for his recent statements on immigration and other issues. However, as there are few, if any, Republicans in the race that identify as libertarian, he faces little danger from losing libertarian Republicans' support while appealing to conservative Republicans. However, his poll numbers have dropped since his announcement, and must make a strong showing at tonight's debate, which he could do by debate policy specifics, which many of politicians are somewhat averse to doing.

TED CRUZ:

Incumbent Senator from Texas. A former national debater, this debate could be his chance to gain momentum in the polls. However, a poor showing could sink his campaign. While he enjoys support from many in the conservative wing of the party, he has faced criticism from fellow Republicans, who have accused him of being "divisive." His short time in the Senate could also be a liability, as he has only served since 2013. However, Cruz's appeal to social, economic, and religious conservatives and his debate experience could lead to a rise in Cruz's poll numbers and become a polling leader in GOP field.

CHRIS CHRISTIE:

Incumbent Governor of New Jersey. Formerly a frontrunner for the GOP nomination, he now faces low poll numbers (in terms of percentages). Controversy surrounding the 2014 "Bridgegate" scandal, while never being tied to him personally, has tarnished his image and eroded support from fellow Republicans. However, his "Telling it Like it Is" mantra has earned him loyal support among those wishing to see more openness in politics, though other candidates (such as Trump) are competing for such a image.

JOHN KASICH:

Incumbent Governor of Ohio. He barely beat out Texas Governor Rick Perry to make it into the top ten, and he must have a strong showing tonight to stay in it. He is likely to tout his economic record in Ohio, but will face criticism for his decision to expand Medicaid in his state under Obamacare (a decision criticized by Jindal and Pataki in the 5:00 debate). He must have a decent counterpoint to this in order to keep support among his current supporters and gain support among conservatives.

Conclusion: Tonight's debates will probably not be a substantive review of policy (as Republicans are hoping) nor an entertainment slideshow (as Democrats are hoping), but they could give us some insight into the candidates' strengths and weaknesses while providing some memorable lines and moments to analyze the next day.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jim Gilmore Announces Second Presidential Campaign

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA) filed his election paperwork
Wednesday and released his Presidential announcement video
Thursday.
Credit: Getty
Former Virginia Governor James "Jim" Gilmore announced on Thursday his second campaign for the GOP nomination for President. Gilmore is the 17th major Republican candidate, and the 22nd major candidate overall, for President.

Gilmore, who served as Virginia's governor from 1998 to 2002, was also a former attorney general of the state and a former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman. In his announcement video, Gilmore noted the large GOP field, saying "Some may ask, 'Why am I running?'" He went on to say, "I'm a candidate for president because our current Washington leadership is guiding America on a path to decline, and I can reverse that decline." He focused particularly on foreign policy in his announcement, attacking President Obama's foreign policy record.

Gilmore, 65, ran in the 2008 Presidential election but dropped out in July 2007 over lack of support. He then ran to succeed retiring Sen. John Warner (R-VA), running against former Gov. Mark Warner in the 2008 senate race, losing by a large margin in a particularly Democratic year.

Gilmore has often failed to register on most polls for the Republican nomination, which will exclude him from competing in the first GOP debate on August 6 on Fox News. He may be eligible for a forum on Fox News featuring lesser polling candidates such as Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina.

Gilmore faces fellow Republicans Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, John Kasich. He also faces former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, often not considered a major contender but considered so by the RNC).

If he wins the nomination, he could face Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, or Jim Webb.