- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2014

The much esteemed Ben Carson has revealed to The Washington Times that he’s formed his own political action committee to help out hopeful Republicans in the upcoming midterms - an action with many possible implications down the road. Dr. Carson’s many fans, meanwhile, have their own momentum going, and one that appears to be a genuine grass-roots phenomenon. It keeps growing.

More than 100,000 eager folks have contributed to the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee that has raised $8 million in less than a year, all of it dedicated to the idea that the author and former pediatric neurosurgeon should definitely, positively run for the White House in 2016.

“Momentum continues to build,” says campaign director Vernon Robinson, who adds that 17,000 volunteers are busy encouraging support for Mr. Carson and that 300,000 people have signed petitions encouraging him to enter the race.

“To rally 100,000 donors in less than a year, more than two years before the presidential election, is simply an astonishing achievement,” says John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman of the committee and great-grandson of the famous bandleader.

“We’ll enter our second year of operation next month, and I’m thrilled by the trajectory of our campaign. The American people are clamoring loudly for Dr. Carson to enter the race, and we will continue to do everything we can to make that happen,” Mr. Sousa adds.

THE BIG CHILL

The planet still puzzles over this question: Is the United States in a new Cold War with Russia? President Obama already told journalists this week that there is no new version lurking. Maybe it’s just a Cool War now. A barb from afar takes issue, though.

Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov declared in a startling tweet in the aftermath: “Obama will go down in history not as a peacemaker - everyone has forgotten about his Nobel Peace Prize already — but as an American president who launched a new cold war.”

He could reflect the views of Russians themselves, who recently gave President Vladimir Putin an 83 percent favorability rating, and now appear much at home with an aggressive posture on the world stage.

“Russians largely back their country’s tough stance on Ukraine, which earned Russia more economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe this week. Nearly two-thirds of Russians surveyed before the latest round of sanctions believe Russia needs to have a ‘very strong position’ in relations with its neighbor,” notes a new Gallup poll that tallied the opinions of 2,000 Russians in face-to-face interviews.

Still, there are nuances - and long memories.

“Majorities in all segments of Russian society, regardless of gender, age or education, almost uniformly back a strong position on Ukraine. Russians aged 60 and older — who remember Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union for most of their lives — are the most likely of any age group to support good relations with Ukraine by all means,” the Gallup analysis states.

PREPARE TO GET SHRUGGED

The third and final installment of “Atlas Shrugged,” the movie based on Ayn Rand’s monumental 1957 novel, will be in the nation’s theaters in just over a month. Harmon Kaslow, the film’s producer, will be in the nation’s capital on Friday to talk to press and politicos alike. His main interest, he says, is “talking up the impact that libertarianism is having on our country.”

Mr. Kaslow has some powerful help in the third film, which has promising reviews, runs about 100 minutes and is subtitled “Who Is John Galt?” Conservative and tea party icons have stepped up to make cameos in the film, citing their belief in its support of individual achievement. Among them: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe, talk radio hosts Rusty Humphries, Andrew Wilkow and Phil Valentine plus Jonathan Hoenig, a Fox News contributor and a hedge fund manager.

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