Weekly Musing 8-16-15
Days until the 2015 election: 79.
Days until the 2016 election: 450.
Are the polls skewed?
Donald Trump is on top in Iowa, Ben Carson is hot on his heels, and Bernie Sanders has flown past Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.
That’s the snapshot polls captured this week. It’s a far cry from the Bush-Clinton horse race that many had predicted going into the 2016 campaign season — and it belies conventional wisdom that predicted Trump’s demise after he attacked Fox News host Megyn Kelly after last week’s GOP presidential debate. The results have skeptics asking: Are these numbers the real deal?
Some Republicans have insisted for months that Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls vastly overstates his standing in the race for the GOP nomination because the polls are surveying people who — despite what they tell pollsters — won’t actually cast ballots in their state’s primary or caucus. That argument reached a new crescendo on Wednesday, after a CNN/ORC poll showed the real estate magnate with a significant lead in Iowa, trailed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The two first-time candidates were the only ones to register double-digit support. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/are-the-polls-skewed-121346.html#ixzz3io2Ih4Yw
Joe Biden strategy for White House run taking shape With his blessing, confidants to Vice President Joe Biden have begun strategizing about travel to early primary states and identified potential donors who could bankroll a campaign even as he remains undecided about whether to pull the trigger on a late-entry 2016 run for president.
The moves are a sign that after months of speculation, Biden is taking a few significant if small steps toward a presidential campaign, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Biden’s strategy, the sources say, would be to focus on South Carolina while almost writing off New Hampshire, where both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have considerable footholds.
Biden proxies have also homed in on rich supporters who could help finance a run through a super PAC — in particular, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a past top donor to both Joe and Beau Biden, whom Democratic operatives noted has not yet given to the Hillary Clinton-backing Priorities USA Action despite previous support for the former secretary of state. Biden allies also have set their sights on Geocities founder and tech investor David Bohnett, a longtime Democratic donor. Angelos didn’t return a call for comment.
The GOP’s Organization Man
Like a nervous Broadway producer, Reince Priebus moved about as he watched last Thursday’s GOP presidential debate: He started in a seat near the front of the arena, but later on shifted to an area at the rear, where he could email or watch without fear of being caught on camera. Over the course of the night he—and 24 million other Americans—saw both the best and worst facets of the Republican Party that Priebus has led now for more than four years.
The night’s showdown between an unplugged Donald Trump and the rest of the world amounted to just the kind of divisive, unpredictable and potentially damaging sideshow that Priebus had long hoped to avoid. The GOP’s unruly two-tier debate circus seemed to repudiate the party chairman’s vow to run a 2016 nominating process that put the party’s best interests ahead of the egos of individual candidates and the ratings goals of would-be media sponsors. The first debate of the Republican primary season, after all, came almost a full month before Priebus’s stated goal of allowing no such encounters before September 1st.
Seven Reasons Hillary’s Email Problems Won’t Go Away
Clinton’s email controversy is not going away. After blaming Republicans for her email troubles during an Iowa speech Friday, she told reporters Saturday during a short Q&A under a tree that “partisanization” is the real culprit stoking the controversy. She said her emails are never raised during her town-hall discussions with voters or meetings with Democrats, and she said the inquiries are having no impact on her efforts to secure her party’s nomination.
Former Sen. Tom Harkin, standing beside her, said he endorsed Clinton for president because of her “depth of experience,” and he saluted as an improvement over 2008 the organizational effort she’d already made in his state.
“The facts are the same as they’ve been from the very beginning,” Clinton told a reporter, after giving Harkin a hug. She repeated her assurances that no classified material was sent or received by her on her private system when she was secretary of state. “I’m going to let whatever this inquiry is go forward, and we’ll await the outcome of it.”
The list of questions has grown longer with every leaked detail about Clinton’s blank email server, the FBI’s hunt for “top secret” communications that may (or may not) have migrated across the country (or onto the State Department website for public airing), plus Capitol Hill testimony expected from the Democratic frontrunner in October.
Obama’s New World Order — 14 Years Later: Al-Qaida Is Once Again Running Ops Out Of Afghanistan
Al-Qaida is once again operating out of Taliban territory in Afghanistan, 14 years after the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom to strip the terror group of its safe haven.
|With the support of the Taliban, al-Qaida recently moved its production team As-Sahab from Pakistan, where it had been operating since 2002. As-Sahab was moved back into the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, reported Bruce Riedel, a counter-terror expert at Brookings.|
Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri declared his support for new Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor in a new video message this week, breaking nearly a year of silence to reaffirm the alliance between the two groups who worked together to launch the 9/11 terror attacks.
The Taliban is battling the Afghanistan government in an offensive some believe is backed by Pakistan, which is publicly pressuring al-Qaida to engage with Afghanistan officials in political talks.
Russia Is Destroying Its Food
A Kremlin crackdown on food imports that violate Russian sanctions will continue to draw criticism throughout Russia.
If the Kremlin continues with its crackdown, protests will expand.
To limit the backlash, Moscow may opt for sporadic crackdowns rather than systematic enforcement of food sanctions.
Russia’s recent show of strength toward the West may come at the price of its own internal stability. On Aug. 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a crackdown on violations of the Kremlin’s food sanctions against the European Union and the United States, during which some illegally imported food was destroyed. The move was very unpopular among Russian officials and the public. Since food imports to Russia fell by more than half within a single day of Putin’s order, many criticized the Kremlin for destroying food at a time when Russians are under increased financial and economic pressure. If the Kremlin continues to crack down on those who violate the order, protests will only grow louder.
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