Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Politico Magazine: Derek Robertson- 'How Howard Schultz Created a Personality Cult at Starbucks'

Source:POLITICO Magazine- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz 
Source:The Daily Review

I'm not interested in Howard Schultz's so-called potential independent presidential run at least for this piece, but more interested in what he created not just with Starbucks, but the broader pop culture in America. Starbucks, really since the late 1990s or so is not just just a coffee house, but it's a fashion statement and status update. Americans, especially yuppies and hipsters not just like Starbucks coffee, but feel the need to be seen liking that coffee and feel the need to have everyone know that they like that coffee and go to if not Starbucks on a regular basis, perhaps some other popular coffee house in their community.

Starbucks cups are not just coffee cups, but their fashion statements. Hipsters and yuppies feel the need to not just walk down the street holding their Starbucks cup or another coffee house cup, even if their cup is empty, but feel the need to be seen either on their phone or looking at their phone, even if they're not actually speaking to anyone or don't have any latest texts or voice mails that they haven't seen or listen to yet, while holding their coffee house cup at the same time.

Coffee house coffee whether it's Starbucks or any other coffee, is to America and American pop culture, what tobacco was in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s before Americans figured out how addicting and how bad tobacco was for you. Except coffee house coffee and coffee you get at your local bakery or on the street, is a helluva lot better for you than tobacco and alcohol even. So you have a lot of hipsters and yuppies in America who know it's not only cool to drink and be seen with coffee house coffee, but it's not nearly as bad for you as tobacco or alcohol.

Starbucks, is not just a coffee house, but like with new technology especially smart phones they're ways of living. It's a way of life for them and way for people to be popular. "Look at Joe and Mary, they not only have the latest smartphone that just came out an hour ago, but they're in touch with the latest celebrity news stories and scandals, addicted to reality TV, and are addicted to Starbucks coffee and coffee houses as much as we are. Even know every single Starbucks drink by heart. They must be as awesome as we are." Which is how Starbucks customers, hipsters, and yuppies want to be seen. And Howard Schultz, is a big reason for this coffee house culture that we've been living with in America for the last 20 years or so. Whether he deserves credit or blame for that, I'll let you be the judge.
Source:60 Minutes: Scott Pelley- Howard Schultz: When He Was Starbucks Star - Howard Schultz, before he was a  narcissistic wannabe politician 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CBS: CSI Las Vegas- Behind The Scenes: Willows in The Wind- Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows

Source:TV- Marg Helgenberger's, last episode on CSI Las Vegas 
Source:Action

I'm glad that Elizabeth Shue, is on CSI Las Vegas now and has been for the last eight seasons now, but they lost a lot when both William Peterson left during the 2009 season and when Marg Helgenberger left three years later. It's still a great show and I would hate to see either Elizabeth Shue or Ted Danson leave at this point, but it would nice to see all four together. Maybe Bill Peterson, gets appointed as Chief of Police or something and Marg gets his old job as the director of the crime lab. Liz Shue, comes in as her deputy. Maybe Ten Danson comes in as a big shot Las Vegas District Attorney and not just one of the prosecutors in that office, but the actual DA.

Source:Rabbia Groxa- Marg Helgenberger's, last episode on CSI Las Vegas 
Losing Bill Peterson and Marg and bringing in Ted Danson and Liz Shue, is like treading two great basketball players for two other great basketball players, where neither team gets nay additional value. It's like trading one great center for another great center. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, for Moses Malone, ( for any of you old school NBA fans that might still be alive today, or at least willing to admit that there was an NBA before 2000 ) if anything losing Marg Helgenberger on that show is a real loss, regardless of who you replace her with. Great to see Liz Shue on Las Vegas, I just think the show would be better with her as an addition, instead of replacing one great lead actress with another.

Source:WENY- The original cast of CSI Las Vegas 
The Catherine Willows character had this sort of shy and quiet disposition and yet she could be pretty witty and was was always tough and as Ted Danson said about her, "you knew she was a leader from her presence alone." The Fin character, ( played by Elizabeth Shue ) is a very open, witty , always has a smile on her face character, who like Catherine ( played by Marg Helgenberger ) is very dedicated, very smart, and is generally much tougher than her adorable disposition lets on. Liz Shue, is the perfect action/comedic or dramatic/comedy actress where she always finds herself  in very serious situations, but always finds the lighter side in them. As Marg said in this video, she's leaving the show, but it's possible that she'll be back doing guess appearances. And this video was done back in early 2012 when she left CSI Las Vegas and has already been back on the show. It would just be nice if she came back permanently in a new role like Chief of Police or something.
Source:CBS: CSI Las Vegas- Behind The Scenes: Willows in The Wind - Marg Helgenberger, on CSI Las Vegas 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Daily Beast: Opinion- Michael Tomasky: 'A 70% Percent Tax Rate Isn't Radical- Alexandria O. Cortez Has It Just Right'

Source:The Daily Beast- U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D, New York - self-described Democratic Socialist 
Source:The New Democrat

What Michael Tomasky failed to mention here ( and perhaps intentionally ) is that back in the 1950s and 70s when we had high tax rates of 70 and 91%, no one especially the rich were actually paying that much in taxes, because of all the loopholes, as well as the wealthy investing money oversees to avoid taxation. Hell, if I was making 10 million dollars or more a year or anywhere near that, I would be doing the same thing. Along with making large contributions to charity, to avoid the taxes, but also to help people who need it that I can afford to help. The reason why these people weren't paying such high tax rates, is because of all the loopholes that were in the tax code in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s..

In 1986 thanks to the tax reform act of that year that was passed out of a divided Congress with a Democratic House and Republican Senate that worked with President Ronald Reagan and his Administration to pass, taxes were lower across the board and loopholes were closed. So people were paying lower tax rates, but weren't getting as much money back in credits and loopholes. That's not what freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is talking about here and what Michael Tomasky is talking about here either. They would go in the opposite direction and raise the two top tax rates to 60 and 70% with no new loopholes.

So in theory the IRS would be getting a lot more money in new tax revenue from the wealthy, but that's assuming the very rich have brain freezes and forget that they can just invest a lot of more money oversees or just go north of the border to Canada and spend and invest their money there. The first 9 million or so of their earnings every year to get Uncle Sam out of their wallets and bank accounts. Which would leave Uncle Sam with a big hole, because of course none of this so-called new revenue that he would be charging his wealthy nephews and nieces would be used to pay down his huge debts and deficits, but instead invested in new Federal programs, or new investments in current programs. Leaving Uncle Sam and his nephews and nieces a bigger national debt and deficit to pay off. Which would be paid off in new interest payments on the debt, or in higher inflation.

The problem with Socialists and socialism in general ( even if Socialists want to call themselves democratic or not ) is that they always have the same old solution to every problem that they see and what they call income inequality is a perfect example of that. Their solution to every problem that they see is always what they call new revenue. ( Washington speak for tax increases ) They see that the wealthy which are probably 10% of the population at this point has all this money and then you have roughly 1-5 Americans who live in poverty and if you look at parts of rural America 2nd or 3rd world poverty, as well as in some inner cities. And then you 1-2 Americans or so that are technically middle class and aren't eligible for public assistance, but only make enough money to cover their current bills, if they're healthy and aren't able to save or invest any of their income and are a paycheck away from being on public assistance themselves. So their prescription to this economic disease to to tax the wealthy more and give that money to Uncle Sam to take care of this nephews and nieces that are struggling.

The problem with American capitalism has always been that we've always been a country where maybe 1-10 Americans are doing very well economically, who make a lot of money to the point that they can afford to invest and save a lot and then you have about 1-5 Americans who live in deep poverty, who are undereducated and even if they're working are dependent on public assistance and private charity just to survive in life. And you have this large middle class which generally is a good thing in any country to have a large middle class, but where maybe 1-2 of those Americans might only be middle class because they make too much money to be eligible for public assistance, but can't afford to invest and save and struggle just to pay their bills.

The problem with American capitalism has never been that we have too many rich people, but that we have too much poverty and too many working class people who struggle just to get by. The problem with American capitalism is that we've never had enough rich people, or economically successful people even if they're aren't millionaires as far as their annual income, but have a good deal of money in savings and even have investments. And if you're someone who believes that the income gap ( as I call it ) is a big problem in America as I do as a Liberal, you should be thinking about how to empower people on the low-end of the economical scale to make more money. To have better jobs so they're no longer struggling just to pay their bills or live in poverty, but instead are making a good income that comes with benefits and allows them to invest and save. Instead going to play 1 ( and perhaps the only play in the socialist playbook ) of always trying to take from the rich to take care of people who are struggling.
Source:Now This News: Jackson C. Davis- 'Why Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's 70% Tax Rate Isn't Radical'- According to Jackson C. Davis 



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Newsweek: Katie Couric- Sarah Palin's: Five Biggest Gaffes

Source:MSN- The photo says it all 
Source:The Daily Review

Similar to Michele Bachmann who said things like America should be less socialist like China, ( an actual Michele Bachmann quote ) it's hard to pick the five biggest gaffes that Sarah Palin has ever given. To use a sports analogy, she really is the classic case of not ready for prime time. It would be like a high baseball player even a star who gets drafted by an MLB club and is promoted to the Major Leagues the day he graduates from high school.

Source:Ranker- Bill O'Reilly, trying to help out Sarah Palin in 2010
Before Senator John McCain ( may he always rest in piece ) nominated her for Vice President when he ran for President in 2008, she was a mayor of a very small town in Alaska and Governor of Alaska for a 18 months. And before that she worked for a very small paper in Alaska. That's a huge leap to take coming from that rural, small town background into a race for the most important office not just in America, but in the world when you're talking about the President of the United States. Ten years ago, she wasn't ready for the spotlight and ten years later, she still isn't and probably no longer wants it given how quiet she's been even with her dream candidate Donald Trump ( another political reality TV star ) as President.

Source:Ranker- Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 
But if Newsweek can put together the five biggest gaffes that Sarah Palin has ever given, I can certainly comment on some of them.

Sarah Palin: "I can see Russia from my backyard."

When she said that to Katie Couric who was then the anchor of the CBS Evening News back in 2008, Katie asked her something like what makes qualified to handle foreign policy and what experience to you have there. With Governor Palin saying that she can see Russia from her backyard. Which would be like me saying I'm qualified to do home construction because I can see a lot other homes in my neighborhood. Or saying I know my next door neighbors very well, simply because  live next door to them. Governor Palin, obviously wasn't prepared for that question by her staff or she ignored their advice.

Governor Sarah Palin, getting caught looking at the palm of her hands for answers like a high school sophomore gets caught cheating on a test that he didn't study for and looked at a cheat sheet. Again, where is the preparation that could come from having a staff who at the very least is smart enough to know that their candidate needs to know what she's talking about before she gives an interview, but also know their candidate well enough to know that she actually might be dumb and immature enough to try to pull a stupid play like that.

Calling Joe Biden, who was her opponent for the Vice Presidency old in 2008, sort of speaks for itself. Especially since her running mate John McCain ( again, always rest in peace ) was not just 72 at the time, but 6 years older than Senator Biden. Perhaps Governor Palin, hadn't had the pleasure of meeting the man who appointed her to be his Vice President, before she called Senator Biden old. I doubt that, but I just thought I would throw that out.

Sarah Palin, represents to me at least the classic case of not ready for prime time when it comes to American politics. She should've never been in that position in the first place. She was the classic Hail Mary pick by a presidential candidate in John McCain ( once again, always rest in peace ) who was not just losing the election to Barack Obama, but was probably going to lose anyway and perhaps figured if he was going to lose the election he would go out with all his bullets being shot ( except for birtherism ) and nominate a VP candidate that the Far-Right of the Republican Party would approve of.
Newsweek: Katie Couric- Sarah Palin's: Five Biggest Gaffes

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In The Middle of The Sun: VH1 Legends- Jim Morrison and The Doors: The Lizard King

Source:In The Middle of The Sun- The Lizard King Jim Morrison, Live in Frankfurt, Germany in 1968 
Source:Action

The Lizard King, ( which he'll always be known as, at least with me ) Jim Morrison's birthday was last Saturday, but he's The Lizard King so he gets a 4 day birthday celebration from me at least. He would've been 75 today had he not died at the age of 27 in 1971 and without his alcoholism and other drug abuse and had he lived a natural life in years he would not only probably still be alive today, but probably still performing. The Rolling Stones, same generation as The Doors are still playing. Aerosmith, same generation as The Doors and in their 70s still playing. Bruce Springsteen, same generation as well, late 60s if not already 70 is still playing. So losing Jim Morrison at 27 was a huge tragedy that still affects his fans and the broader rock industry today.

Source:John Dewey Stewart- Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger, Live at The Roadhouse in London England, in 1968 
You would have to be familiar with not just the NFL, but NFL history ( meaning you're not a Millennial, LOL ) to understand this reference, but Jim Morrison had a Gayle Sayers affect on the rock industry. He was there for such a short period of time, really only 3-4 years as an active performer before he went to Paris for good in 1970 and never came back and died in 1971. Whether he gave himself the nickname The Lizard King or someone else gave him that nickname stuck, he was The Lizard King. He moved like a lizard and you could argue even dressed like one with his snakeskin skin-tight black leather suit, cowboy boots, and concho belt. He also patent skin-tight brown leather jeans which might be more popular than is black leathers, but he didn't wear as often.

Source:Ceoniric- The Lizard King Jim Morrison 
The way Jim Morrison moved and how he dressed when he moved, the way he danced, crashed to the stage he really put on a show all by himself every time he performed on stage and some could argue a sex show performing in his skin-tight leather suit almost every time he was on stage. Leather jeans especially black leathers, are popular in rock & roll today and have been really since the late 1970s and early 80s, because of The Lizard King Jim Morrison. His impact on rock & roll including blues rock, is not just because of his music and writing, but rock & roll fashion. He was the rock & roll leather cowboy whose impact on rock & roll was huge 50 years ago and still felt today and he will always be missed especially with the internet being as big as it is and people always having the ability to research Morrison and check him out.
In The Middle of The Sun: VH1 Legends- The Doors: A Rare Documentary

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

POLITICO Magazine: U.S. Representative Jackie Speier- Surviving Jonestown

Source:Politico Magazine- Reverend Jim Jones and his People's Temple in San Francisco 
Source:The New Democrat

Almost 30 years before Jackie Speier was elected to the U.S. House herself and elected to the seat that her former boss Representative Leo Ryan represented in the San Francisco area, she was one of Representative Ryan's Congressional aides. A very young 28 year old aide who was part of Representative Ryan's Congressional delegation along with some reporters and other personal from NBC News, that were asked by constituents who had relatives that were part of Reverend Jim Jones's Jonestown in Guyana, South America.

Source:New York Post- Representative Jackie Speier, on Jonestown 
Anyone who is familiar with Reverend Jim Jones and his People's Temple first in San Francisco and then later in Guyana, know who they were. They were part of a left-wing religious cult, that wanted to a better life and world for themselves who believed that America was too racist, selfish, and materialistic, and wanted to create their own socialist paradise. That's what Reverend Jim Jones preached to his followers in San Francisco. What he didn't mention at all is that the number one reason why he moved his cult from San Francisco to Guyana, is that he and The People's Temple were under investigation by San Francisco authorities and perhaps were about to get raided and even arrested for physically abusing members of the cult.

Representative Ryan and his Congressional crew including Jackie Speier, along with personal from NBC News like reporter Don Harris, went down to Guyana on a fact-finding mission to find out exactly what was going on there and to talk about the people who were there. And soon find out that people there were looking to escape and wanted help escaping. Similar to how desperate prison inmates would look to escape from prison. Except the Jonestown members weren't criminals, but good and innocent people who simply fell for what Jim Jones was preaching and fell into his murderous trap. And were literally ready to risk their lives in order to escape Jonestown.
Source:TODAY Show: Representative Jackie Speier- Recalls Surviving The Jonestown Massacre - Representative Jackie Speier, on Jonestown 



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TIME Magazine: Chris Bailey- 'When Being Lazy is Actually Good For You'

Source:TIME Magazine- Good lazy?
Source:The Daily Review Plus

I see the point that Chris Bailey is making here. He’s not arguing that people should sit on their asses and do nothing all day expect to pick up their I-Phone to order pizza or other takeout, including groceries and then sit on the couch and watch TV all day. And then after we do that for a few months, we’re now sitting on our fat lazy asses unless we run out of money and decide to become productive again and go back to work. If he was arguing that, I would have no respect for that argument.

Source:TiME Magazine- Overworked?
What Bailey is arguing here is that of course people should work and productive with their day and their time, but that we shouldn’t be consumed with those activities and make time to just chill-ax. There’s time for work and then there’s free time to do nothing that’s work and substantive. When you’re sitting on your couch watching a movie or just watching the tube, you should just be doing that. Perhaps eating as well and hanging out with your wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend or friends, family, but not hanging with just yourself or your people while also working, flipping through your iPhone or computer. That there’s work time and then there’s free time and that you shouldn’t combine the two.

Source:Let's Get Going- From Chris Bailey 
 I’m sort of the opposite of Chris Bailey on this, but I think I’m getting better. I work at home in my office and I write one blog article a week, but when I’m not doing that I’, doing other things that are related to my blog. Like looking for other things to blog about for the next coming weeks. updating older posts, doing research for future posts, talking to other people about what I’ve written and what I’m going to write about in the future. And as I’m doing this I got the news on as I’m working in my office to keep up with what’s going on during the day and seeing if there is anything else I should be commenting on for that day.

And then when I’m done for the day which now is around 9PM sometimes 7 nights a week, but as I said earlier I’m getting better at this and no longer working pass 11 five nights a week, I’m ready for dinner and just sitting back and watching the tube. Which is generally the news and hearing about what happened that day and what’s the most important stories for that day. What I’m working on now is once my workday is over and I’m ready for dinner is to turn off the news all together and just watch movies or classic TV, documentaries and sports that have nothing to do with what I’m working on or about to start working on. What I’m trying to do is completely separate my workday from my free nights and time in general and leave the news for the rest of the world and get back into it when I’m back at my desk the next day.

As great as new technology has been without how convenient it makes life for so many people, to also has at least two negative affects. It makes people obsessed with new technology because of how cool it is and how tied it has become to pop culture. The more you’re into new technology and the more knowledgeable you are about new tech, the cooler you are and since we have so many people obsessed with pop culture and being seen as cool and we have so many faddists in America now, we also have a lot more lazy people in the bad sense, because we have so many people that don’t think for themselves. Who are experts on the superficial like who their favorite celebrity is dating, what rehab they’re at, or why they’re in jail, what’s the latest i-Phone, when it’s coming out, what you have to do to be one of the first 5 people to purchase it so you can share that on Facebook, like you just won the lottery or something.

And because of this we have a lot of lazy people in the bad sense that they don’t think for themselves, because they’re so into to what’s the latest fad and being seen doing whatever the latest fad is and right now one of those fads is not just having the latest i-Phone, but being on it all the time. People don’t even watch football games or movies anymore without staring at their i-Phone while they’re doing that. Because they feel the need to respond to every single text when as soon as they get it, or someone else’s Facebook update or tweet, or responding to what someone else to said on their favorite social network. We have so many people who simply can’t relax, because they’re mind is always focused on several different things at one point. Even when they’re just watching a ballgame or movie, having out at their coffee house, they got multiple things going on with them at the same time.

Myself, I would like to work 8-10 hours a day or even more, but when work is over it’s really over and I don’t even feel the need to tweet a photo or plus it on Google+, or Facebook about what I’m doing after work. I would like to give up my social network habit even on my phone once I’m done with work during the day and just eat a good meal and enjoy a good movie or documentary, classic TV before I need to go to bed and be ready for the next day. It would be nice to take Saturday and Sunday completely off and not doing anything work related then, but even when I’m on vacation I actually need to be doing some work because I’m a blogger and get a lot of email. That’s just the life of a blogger and perhaps anyone who works in the media at all. But during the day, bike ride, work, and then be free at night and live the good lazy life. Not the the life of a lazy ass, which is different.
Source:Seeker: Julian Huguet- Why Laziness Can Be a Good Thing- Bad lazy?