Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Friday, January 31, 2014

JFK Library: Video: President Harry S. Truman's Criticism of John F. Kennedy in 1960

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I find the lack of experience criticism of John Kennedy from President Harry Truman interesting. Especially considering that by the time Senator John Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he had already been in Congress for thirteen years both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. And by the time he became President of the United States, he had been in Congress for fourteen years. His Vice President Lyndon Johnson served in Congress for twenty-four years including as Leader of the Senate. For six years and yes Senator Kennedy was a young president, but someone with who had been in Congress for a while and also someone who served in the U.S. Navy.

The biggest job that Harry Truman had before becoming President of the United States a job he got because he was Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President for a couple of months and was out of the loop on all major decisions made by the Roosevelt Administration, his most important job before becoming President was as U.S. Senator from Missouri. Where he served for ten years. Jack Kennedy actually served in Congress longer than Harry Truman before he became President. Jack Kennedy fourteen years in Congress and Harry Truman ten years in Congress all as a Senator.

So the lack of experience argument from President Truman about Senator Kennedy, even though I’m sure President Truman meant well and was looking at from the perspective of a former President, just doesn’t fly. Since Jack Kennedy had more experience before becoming President of the United States than himself. Because before becoming President, Harry Truman’s first big job came at the age of fifty years old. And the first time he ever experienced real success in his professional life.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Without Government, There is no Middle Class

Any good business person whose in business to make a lot of money and be very profitable and be able to provide very well for themselves and their families even if they are the only people they intend to benefit, it is in their best interest to have a well-skilled educated productive workforce. Even if that means paying them very well with benefits. Why because the more productive workforce you have, the more profitable the company you’ll have. And it is a hell of a lot easier for people to do good jobs and be productive if they know there’s something in it for them. And getting good money and benefits out of it.

Buy a cheap car or a cheap lawyer to use as examples and I’m not talking about a car that was discounted, or someone is basically giving you the car as a gift with a large discount, or a lawyer who agrees to work for less, or at a much lower rate than they normally do. But a cheaply made car, or an inexperienced lawyer with not much of a success record. You are going to get what you paid for those services and have to deal with the consequences of not having a good car. Or a lawyer with the experience and judgement to represent you well. And this applies to any business.

But if you invest a good deal of money in a car or lawyer, but do it in a smart way, “this is what I want and need from a car, or lawyer and this is what it’s worth to get those services” and you put the money into it, you are going to get back probably more than what you put in. Especially if you have a good case, or you take care of your car. Same thing with employees that if you invest in them and make it clear they could do well for you working for you and they are good employees who know exactly what the job is about and what you expect, that is what you’ll get plus what you put in. It’s the difference between do you see employees as a cost of doing business, or an investment in your company.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kyungho Dean: Video: Documentary, Edward R. Murrow vs. U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

What was so brilliant about Ed Murrow and his See it Now broadcast which was CBS News’s nightly newscast before the CBS Evening News was created, what was so brilliant about Ed Murrow and See it Now in how they handled the Joe McCarthy hearings, is they just reported what Senator McCarthy said. And then Ed Murrow would give his commentary on what the Senator said, but they didn’t put words in his own mouth. “This is what the Senator said and what we think about it.” They didn’t put words in Senator McCarthy’s mouth or what his investigative committee in the Senate that he chaired said and what they were up to. They simply listened to what the Senator said and then used his own words against him. Which is very different from listening to what someone said and then trying to make it sound worst than what it really. Which is what partisan news organizations do today and back then as well.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: President Obama's 2013 State of The Union: A Report Card

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his first speech in the 111th Congress back in 2009, laid out the Senate Republican strategy at least if not the Congressional Republican strategy as a whole, both House and Senate when Minority Leader McConnell who may be leaving Congress if he’s not reelected in 2014, because he’s going to have a very strong Democratic challenger, but he said his number one goal was to prevent President Obama from being reelected.

The Senate minority party obviously has the power to slow and block legislation. Especially if they are a large minority that Republicans have had in the last three years. The House is a little different obviously, but what the House Minority Leader can do is tell his or her caucus, “you are not to work with the majority party on anything”. And get that memo out to their caucus. “Because we want to use everything they pass and try to pass”, that is the House majority party in this Congress, “against them whether the legislation becomes law or not.” Which is what John Boehner who in President Obama’s first Congress did as the House Minority Leader.

The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. Yet that person whoever they are, are limited to what they can do both constitutionally and legally. But politically as well and when you have an opposition party that is strong enough to at least slow you down in Congress and they tell you, “we aren’t going to work with you on anything. And just want to win more seats in Congress and are waiting for you to leave office one way or the other”, it makes the President’s job very difficult to get much done through law.

Business Insider: Report: Brett Logiurato: Anderson Cooper on Arizona Anti-Gay Bill: How Freedom of Religion Doesn't Empower People to Discriminate

Business Insider: Report: Brett Logiurato: Anderson Cooper on Arizona Anti-Gay Bill 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

Jennifer Rubin, in her Washington Post column today, said that there's nothing in the Bible that says Christians should deny gays service because of their homosexuality. The more of her I read, the more she sounds like an actual conservative, like George Will or Charles Krauthammer, not someone who just calls herself a conservative.  This closes the case, as far as I'm concernd, because this has never been about freedom of religion.  It's been about finding an excuse for discrimination based on sexuality after excuses for discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender have failed.

Discriminating against gays is the far-right's last shot of pushing what they see as their moral agenda and  turning America back to the 1950s. They failed to justify discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and women and people of religious minorities.  Their one last gasp at discrimination against people whom they consider "other" is now aimed at gays who want to marry.  It is failing horribly for them so they have now moved to denying gays service in the public domain simply because they are gay.

No one is saying that Christians or Muslims or people of any other religion can't view homosexuality as a sin but where that stops is how people treat each other and how they act. You can call someone a fag or sinner or anything else you want short of murderer or rapist but you can't physically attack or deny people service because of their sexuality and for no other reason than that. Again this is not about Freedom of Religion but trying to create a freedom to discriminate.

The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin

In the end, it was politically, economically and morally impossible for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to countenance a state law allowing businesses to discriminate against gays because of anti-gay bias as long as they presented their objection as rooted in religious faith. (What part of the Bible requires a restaurant owner to deny a gay couple a table?) The Post reports:   

Monday, January 27, 2014

David Pakman Show: Video: MSNBC Interrupts Jane Harman on NSA For Report on Justin Bieber: Celebrity News Replaces Hard News at MSNBC

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

MSNBC- "This just in Justin Bieber arrested for drunk driving which of course is our top story today. Also in the news on our backstory, New York City has just been hit by a nuclear missile attack. Hundreds of thousands of people reported dead. Several of our staff are here at NBC News World Headquarters including reporters and producers, have been unable to check in to give us a full report on that yet. Luckily our reporters and producers on the Bieber story were here all night working non-stop to give you the first breaking news footage of the Bieber story.

Our real news reporters and producers are only human and needed to go home before coming back to work. We hope to bring you coverage of the NYC nuclear missile attack on our late night insomniac news  coverage. If there isn't any Bieber related or other pop culture related breaking news. We are also following the latest Khloe Kardashian nightclub fight. And what shoes her sister Kim wore when she was out shopping last Saturday".

I already knew MSNBC was a joke when it came to news. They use Michael Moore as an actual news commentator and analyst and actually take him seriously. The prime time lineup is really nothing more than far-left commentary and a lot of their afternoon drive is that as well. And they really only seem to interested in what anti-corporate, anti-capitalist Socialists in the country think about news. Even though MSNBC is as pro-capitalist and pro-corporate as they come. And I don't believe they are fooling a lot of people, but that is what they do.

The Justin Bieber story just sort of takes the monster huge monster size cake to use an old expression, about what the so-called mainstream news media is about and interested and what the American people are interested in. And how our country and culture is so dumbed down now that they feel the need to know all about their favorite pop culture celebrities and as little about things that actually affect their real lives. Like their privacy, civil liberties, the ability to download, photos, videos, and other information of their favorite celebrities and whether their government monitors their online activities. And also little things like how much they are going to have to pay in taxes. Just  to use as examples.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: "Time to do Away With The Second Amendment?"

From what I’ve read over the last two weeks and blogged about, I’m starting to get the idea that I should write a new section or create something called something to the effect The Big Government Report. Or This Week in Big Government or Today in Big Government. The last two weeks alone I’ve read a Far-Right blog The American Thinker arguing in favor of tobacco prohibition. And that link with a counter reply to it is on this blog and why that would be a brain-dead idea. Last weekend I read a piece in Salon arguing for nationalizing the news in America. Another brain-dead idea and I wrote the counter reply to that which is on this blog. And now a proposal to outlaw the Second Amendment.

As far as outlawing the Second Amendment and by the way good luck with that and I’m sure Thom Hartmann has much better things to do. And won’t spend much time on this losing cause. Because the Second Amendment is popular in liberal democratic states as well. Not just country bumpkin redneck states. And I happen to live in one of those liberal democratic states. The Free State of Maryland and also keep in mind the United States Constitution is a liberal democratic document.

But for the hell of it why don’t we imagine the Second Amendment get’s repealed. Perhaps the whole country, or all of our state legislatures are drunk when this happens. Why not because that might be what it takes to accomplish this. Next what will come from these big government far-leftists is repealing firearms in the hands of private citizens and institutions. And leaving only government which has never had and will never have the resources to defend everyone. With any ability to defend the people from violent criminals and acts of crimes.

Keep in mind American government at the federal, state and local levels, all have histories of using violence against their own people. As well as covering up violence against their own people. Look no further than the civil rights movement and we could also go back to slavery in this country. Is this really the big government collectivist state the Far-Left in America wants to create? Where we are all dependent on the big state for everything. Including law enforcement that they aren’t capable of providing everyone with. Which is a reason why we have the Second Amendment.

Friday, January 24, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Poverty and Politics: How Strong Is Safety Net for Poor Americans?

The perfect debate for the mainstream Left in America to have that Liberals and Progressives should be debating about. The future of the safety net and it exactly what it is for. Is it really a safety net in its purest form, there to catch people who fall down in life in a liberal capitalist economy and give those people temporary financial relief to help them get by as they are struggling, as well as help them get back on their feet so they no longer need public assistance?

Or do we want to create a real welfare state and perhaps write a paper called something to the effect, Of Moving Past the Safety Net and Into the Welfare State. In other words transforming from America to Europe and creating a super-sized superstate there to meet most of our economic needs for us and there to take care of everyone. So we don’t feel the responsibility or freedom to have to take care of ourselves. Because we have big government to do that for us.

Well that last example isn’t so much center-left as it is far-left and a more socialist economic system. So maybe the other version of the safety net in America coming from center-left Progressives, would be to still have these social insurance programs targeted for the needy. But to spend a hell of a lot more on them without having work requirements or anything else for people on them. And have the Federal Government completely run all of them itself. But not try to create a welfare state in America.

Again if you are familiar with this blog you know where I come down on these issues at least as a Liberal. That a safety net is exactly that and nothing more and that to have the strongest economy possible, you need the most educated and productive people as possible to be able to meet their own economic needs. And that the safety net is there for the few who for a temporary amount of time aren’t able to do that for themselves. With the safety net also there to empower those people to be able to take care of themselves in the future.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bod Mas: Jim Morrison’s Erection on National TV

The Leather King-
This piece was originally posted at FRS FreeStates Plus

Good reason not to wear skin-tight leather jeans on national TV when you aren’t sober. As Jim Morrison did on a regular basis for visual effect and he wanted especially women checking him out. But the risk is you end up showing more of yourself than you perhaps intended. Especially when you get excited and you are right there for the whole world to see.

Unless no one actually saw The Lizard King go out on stage right before he went out and especially saw him up front and perhaps noticed something about his pants that his, well his thing lets say was sticking out and he had a boner sticking out of his leather jeans. Or Morrison got excited as he was already on stage and perhaps saw a sexy women or something. For the life of me I can’t figure why someone didn’t walk up to Morrison and say, “uh Jim, you should go to the bathroom, or back to the dressing room before you go out on national TV. Because you have a boner sticking out of your pants that everyone is going to see on national TV.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Caller: Could Restitution For Slavery Work?

One big problem with restitution for slavery and that will be the one problem I’ll focus in this post, because it is a big enough problem by itself to make it a bad idea, is that it would open up new holes and other avenues for other communities to jump in. And say, “hey what about us, we’ve been discriminated against by the United States Government because of our race or ethnicity as well. Where’s our compensation?”

I’m not trying to put this lightly, but has the African-American community been through the worst or racial or ethnic bigotry in America? Maybe, but the American-Indian community who has it worst and has had it worst since the African slaves were officially freed hundred and fifty years ago. Could say, “the Europeans stole all of our land and we want to back.” They would be right to with that and they could say, “this is our country and we are going to decide who get’s to stay and who has to go.”

Japanese, Italian and German-Americans could say, what about us? How about World War II and being forced to live in those detainment camps simply because of our ethnic heritage and the Roosevelt Administration holding us against our will because they thought we were on the side of Japan, Italy and Germany during World War II.” Their motherlands even though a lot of these people had been loyal Americans for over hundred years at that point when they started immigrating to America from Japan, Italy and Germany.

Is racism still a problem in this country and do we still have racists? Sure and by the way not all racists in America can track their roots back to Europe. No race of people has a monopoly on racism or tolerance. But the bigger problem and an issue that can be addressed by government that we could all fix together is empowering people regardless of race and ethnicity to be able to live in freedom. Making liberal democracy work for all Americans and that get’s to things like infrastructure. Having a real national infrastructure system that builds up the communities that have been left behind. And a quality education and job training system for everyone so we all can have the skills needed to live in freedom.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Dr. King's Economic Bill of Rights

President Franklin Roosevelt had an Economic Bill of Rights that he released to the public after the New Deal. He tried to pass it in I believe 1944 and it had similar goals to what Thom Hartmann was talking about in Dr. King’s Social and Economic Bill of Rights. Right to a job, right to a good income, right to not want. I guess meaning not to be selfish. Right to health care and probably health insurance as well. And a right to education. President Roosevelt didn’t get his bill passed, but this was to be the next phase of his administration. But he died before he could get it passed through Congress.

And Thom Hartmann in what he was saying about Dr. King was basically the same goals. Past racial equality under law the next goal of the United Sates was to achieved economic equality as well. That regardless of race that all Americans should be have a good life in America and not to have to live in poverty at all. That these things are so important and critical to American democracy that the Federal Government should guarantee these things when American capitalism fails to achieve them.

This wouldn’t be my approach as a Liberal. I’m all for equal treatment under law regardless of race. And other classes as well and I’m also for the right to a good education. That we all deserve as Americans the right to be able to go to good schools and have good teachers. And those are really government’s main two roles when it comes to the economy. To see that everyone has a good opportunity to be able to do as well as they can and what they do with those opportunities is up to them. And have to live with the consequences of their decisions for good and bad.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Salon: Opinion: Fred Jerome: "Lets Nationalize Fox News, Imagining a Very Different Media": Imagine a State-Owned National Media in America, What a Nightmare For Democracy

Salon: Opinion: Fred Jerome: Let's Nationalize Fox News, Imagining a Very Different Media

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Imagine a country where the state meaning the central government controlled all the news and media. I know in the 21st Century that is very hard to imagine with so much of the world moving in a least in a Democratic direction if not a liberal democratic direction. And even countries in the Middle East and not just Turkey and Israel can people there get access to non-state-owned media and Saudi Arabia is one of them thanks to satellite TV, the internet and smart phones.

So this is really not possible anymore, but let’s say somehow the United States nationalized the media here at least the domestic media. And now you have the Federal Government with the National Security Agency and everything else now in control of even more information. And who get’s to see it and when. Even if you can forget about the fact that this would be unconstitutional because of our first amendment. Meaning this could and would never happen.

All of that power and information inside of the hands of the people with the power in the country getting to decide for the most part what we can read and listen to or watch. And when we could do those things. Now if you are going to imagine these things, you might as well imagine living in jail because the same thing happens there. You can’t have a Democracy especially a liberal democracy something that is covered a lot on this blog, without Freedom of the Press and the ability for people to get the information they need to be able to managed their own lives. It is really this simple, you put the power of media in the hands of government, you get what they want you to hear, when they want you to hear it.

What I just asked you to do, was to imagine a nightmare. Unless you are a fascist and statist who is so power-hungry that you can’t imagine anyone especially not with your government and political faction having any real power of their own affairs. That you see people as stupid, who can’t control things like information and how they get it and can’t manage their own affairs. What Fred Jerome is proposing here, especially to nationalize Fox News simply because it is kicking MSNBC’s butt in ratings, is nothing more than pure leftist statism and fascism. That the Far-Left likes to accuse the Right of all the time.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Terrance Heath: Utah Is Ending Homelessness By Giving People Homes

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Terrance Heath: Utah Is Ending Homelessness By Giving People Homes

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I gotta admit, the Utah approach to deal with homelessness in this country is a hell of a lot better than locking these people up who really do not pose any real threats to anybody away in jail. Or waiting for them to come down with some serious illness and then they end up in the emergency room. This wouldn’t be my approach because it still costs taxpayers in Utah or anywhere else actually a hell of a lot of money to simply give away free housing even if it is cheaper than jails or hospitals.

What I would like to see nationally and what some big cities are already doing, like Sacramento and San Antonio, is to create public/private partnerships that create life building centers. For lack of a better term designed to bring people off of the street into these centers. Where they would get a short-term studio apartment or motel room inside of the center. Where they would live short-term as they are getting the healthcare that they need. As well as vocational skills and help finding a job all provided by the center they are staying at. And then would leave the center with a good job and their own apartment and become self-sufficient.

The beauty of the life building center approach is that we wouldn’t need government really at any level to run it. So you are really not talking about needing new tax revenue to pay for this. Because the money people at these centers would need to stay there as they are building their own lives, could be paid for out of current public assistance budgets. Medicaid, Welfare Insurance, Public Housing, Food Assistance, educational grants. That could go to tenants at these centers to pay for their stays. As well as you could put these people to work at these centers so they could earn their own keep.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

RT: Video: The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann, America's Real Welfare Queens

The way to get corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, is to have them pay in taxes what they do not pay their low-skilled workers in income that get’s passed down to middle class taxpayers. To pay for low-income workers Food Assistance, Public Housing and Medicaid. Have them pick up half of the costs for these public assistance benefits. And workers of all income levels pay the other half sort of like another payroll tax. But we would be talking about one-two percent tax to pay for these benefits. And tell corporations they can get that money back by paying it to their workers instead.

I’m not a Socialist or a Social Democrat unlike Thom Hartmann here. And I’m not anti-capitalist, anti-for-profit, anti-private-enterprise either. But it is completely unfair for corporations or any employer to be able to past their employees cost of living on to middle class taxpayers who work very hard for a living just to pay their bills. Especially as the big employers are making record profits while everyone else is struggling to pay their cost of living.

I’m not interested in taxing business’s out of business either. And would like to see a much lower tax rate in this country on private enterprise. But not as long as we are paying out all of these subsidies to American business’s and being stuck with the bill to cover their own employees cost of living as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SPOT TV: Video: Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I can’t think of someone more qualified to sing Happy Birthday to our most effective and greatest American. At least when it comes to equal rights in America and applying our United States Constitution and the constitutional rights that we all have as Americans and applying the principles of our Founding Fathers to all Americans equally than Stevie Wonder singing Happy Birthday to of course the late, but still great the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.

There will be plenty of more posts on this blog in the future about what the rest of the life of Dr. Martin L. King could’ve looked like. Had he been able to live a normal life at least as far as years. But what we would’ve seen is phase two of his national campaign for equality and justice in America. The Poor People’s Campaign would’ve had a real agenda and policy initiatives behind it that was sort of dropped after he was assassinated that would’ve moved onto into the 1970s. Giving millions of Americans a very good idea of what Dr. King’s complete political brain would’ve looked like.

About MLK’s birthday today keep in mind he would’ve been eighty-five today had he lived. And not saying he would’ve still been alive today had he not have been assassinated, but a lot of men in his generation are not only still alive in their eighties, but a lot of them are still working as well. And it is very likely he still would’ve been a major political force at least into his seventies. Had he not have been assassinated in 1968, or not have been assassinated at all.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Real News: Video: Jaisal Noor Interviewing Annelise Orlick: A True War on Poverty Would Place Poor Place Poor People on The Forefront

I love what Annelise Orleck is talking about here. Which is sending money out of Washington the Federal Government, directly to the communities that the money is intended to serve so these communities can build their schools, their health clinics, their housing especially for homeless people. Their day-care centers so single parents can get themselves the skills that they need to get themselves good jobs. Their private non-profit job training programs. Encouraging business’s to hire in these communities so good jobs can be created.

I probably blogged this last week but what America actually needs instead of this experiment. With fifty years of the so-called War on Poverty that at best has produced mixed results for us. What would be better is a national campaign to end poverty and this would be done by actually empowering people in poverty to get themselves out of poverty inside the communities they live with the resources they need to make these things happen for them inside of their communities. Getting help from people who actually live in these communities. And perhaps came from poverty themselves as Annelise Orleck said in the video. The real experts of poverty are the people who live in poverty.

This is what we should be doing creating a bottom up grassroots approach. That brings in the people who are on the front lines so to speak when it comes to poverty in America. And empowering them to tackle this huge problem with the resources that they need. To empower the people who are in poverty to get themselves out of poverty and off of public assistance. All together and into the middle class.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Young Turks: Video: John Iadarola: Brian Schweitzer 2016? Will Hillary Clinton Move to The Left?

Brian Schweitzer is the perfect liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton because he’s an actual Liberal. And he would prevent her from running to the middle from day one and trying to convince voters to vote for her simply because she’s a women. And this would be a chance to vote for the first female president etc. And prevent her from running for president without an agenda and vision and simply trying to make the case that Democrats should simply vote for the first female president and that she’s also the most electable as well.

Brian Schweitzer would be a very strong presidential candidate because he’s a real Liberal both as it relates to personal and economic freedom. And someone with a strong record as it relates to fiscal responsibility. Eliminating the possible tax and spend label and someone who could win well in Montana for one, but outside of the Northeast and Northwest. And would put states like Indiana and North Carolina in play as well. With his ability to communicate to working class voters.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crash Course: Video: Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter: The Economic Malaise of the 1970s

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The Great Deflation of the 1970s as it is more commonly known. Really lasted that entire decade with the economy taking a big hit in 1973 thanks to the energy crisis of that year. Because of the 1973 Middle East Oil Embargo and it was actually President Richard Nixon who was going, through some really tough political issues that year for well-known reasons. (Anyone old enough to remember Watergate) Who made a big push to move America to energy independence and had almost no success with that. 
But the energy crisis of the early 1970s crisis followed by the 1974-75 recession, followed by a mild recovery of 1976 that had weak economic and job growth. The economy taking a big hit in 1978 with rising interest and inflation rates. Followed by the recession of 1979-80. The American economy was in transition in the 1970s. Because the Vietnam War was finally ending which is a good thing. 
But the defense budget gets cut in that decade with defense industry losing money as a result. Taxes going up thanks to the Great Society of the 1960s. America becoming more dependent on foreign oil from an unstable area of the world. The Middle East pumping less oil making our energy prices and cost of living with the high interest rates and inflation, very expensive in this country.
1970s Energy Crisis
1970s Energy Crisis

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: What Does Socialism Mean to You?

One of the things if not issues with socialism is the ideological diversity of socialism. There are still Marxist or Statist Socialists who believe in the state owning the means of production for society. In simple English that means the state meaning the central government owns the economy. With the central government managing and operating the entire economy. No private sector, no capitalism, probably no property rights other than maybe one’s home or automobile.

Then there people who I could call Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists. Like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders the only self-described Socialist in Congress who believe in a certain level of capitalism. But that it is heavily taxed and regulated to benefit the people and to finance a very large welfare state. If not superstate designed to provide people with the services that they need to live well. Social services like education, health care, health insurance, pension to use as examples. As well as a safety net to help people who fall through the cracks of the capitalist economic system.

Outside of maybe New York City, New England, the Northwest and the San Francisco Bay Area, for Socialists to succeed at all in America as well as the places I’ve mentioned, the more progressive social democratic route has to be the way they go politically. Because Americans like the idea of the safety net and basic regulations to protect workers and consumers. And don’t mind generally paying the taxes to support those programs, but there is a limit even in the more socialist areas of the country of what we want government at any level trying to do for us. And we like our freedom including economic freedom as well.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bernie Sanders: Video: The War on Poverty

Senator Sanders giving several examples of federal programs that have been created to help people in poverty pay their bills and so forth. But didn’t give any examples of how these programs have moved people from poverty and into the middle class with the skills, tools and freedom to be able to take care of themselves. Or are people struggling back fifty-years ago now seeing their kids and grandkids struggle as they are still struggling themselves today. Or are their lives collectively better today than they were then. 
Has the trillions of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on the so-called War on Poverty fifty-years later, has it created more economic freedom for people so they can take care of themselves and not need public assistance? Which is what the War on Poverty section of this blog focus’s on. How are are these programs working to move people out of poverty and off of public assistance with the freedom to take care of themselves. 
I would argue that at best the so-called War on Poverty has a mixed record. Yes it has prevented things like starvation and further homelessness that would've gone on top of the homelessness that we are dealing with today as a developed country. And yes of course those are good things. But the War on Poverty has failed to lessen poverty to the point that we see real reductions of poverty in this country. Other than in the 1990s which was a boom decade economically for America. 
U.S. Senator From The Socialist Republic of Vermont
U.S. Senator From The Socialist Republic of Vermont

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Golynski: Video: The Tavis Smiley Show, George Carlin on Freedom of Choice

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

George Carlin is arguing that Americans don’t have freedom of choice as far as things that matter. Yet we as Americans make both personal and economic choices everyday. And so did George Carlin when he was alive and I wish he was alive today. But he made real consequential choices about his life everyday. Like what he would talk about in his monologues, or should he go on the Tavis Smiley Show to use as examples.

Americans make real consequential choices everyday about what we eat, what do we wear, when do we wake up, what to do in our free time, who we want to befriend and get involved with romantically. And as we are becoming more liberal and libertarian as a society, we are getting more power to decide what we should do with our money. Like should we gamble or not purchase and use marijuana or not. Gays are being able to decide should they get married or not.

Perhaps what George Carlin and excuse me for trying to get into his great head and great brain, but maybe he was saying what Americans really have now are fewer choices with what we can do with our own money. Since we now have such large multi-national corporations. That we have less competition now with so much financial power in the hands of a very few. And we have less choice economic choice from that perspective than we use to. And that would be a very fair point.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Blog: Sharon Parrott: War on Poverty: Large Positive Impact, But More Work Remains

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Blog: Sharon Parrott: War on Poverty: Large Positive Impact, But More Work Remains

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I agree with Sharon Parrott from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that there has been some real success in the so-called War on Poverty in America, but there is still a lot of work to be done. And I believe that is sort of the obvious answer. But if CBPP was a partisan political outfit and not a real think tank especially coming from the Left, they wouldn’t have admitted that. And that is why I respect CBPP because they are a real think tank.

CBPP is like what the American Enterprise Institute is for the conservative-right. CBPP is for the progressive-left a real think based on analyzing facts and not trying to make facts look as positive as possible for your side. Which is what partisan think tanks does for Progressives. And The Heritage Foundation does for the neoconservative right in America. The difference between think tanks and political action groups.

The War on Poverty in America and by the way if it isn’t obvious enough, the War on Poverty is not a real war and I hope that isn’t a newsflash for anyone. Wars involve military’s, combat, deaths obtaining land and so-forth. The so-called War on Poverty launched in 1964 by then President Lyndon Johnson end goal was to eliminate poverty in America. And not by fifty-years, but even if the goal was by year fifty and I can guarantee you the original goal wasn’t to eliminate poverty within fifty-years.

But if he original goal to eliminate poverty on this scale alone, it has been a failure. We’ve gone from having a poverty rate by 1968 of twenty-five percent to now somewhere around twenty percent today with all that trillions of dollars being spent on it. For African-Americans they went from fifty-percent of people in poverty to today of thirty-percent. And these aren’t from partisan right-wing sources, but from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Because we still have a very high poverty rate compared with the rest of the developed world, that is not all the fault of the War on Poverty. We had the Great Deflation of the 1970s a real bad decade for our economy that included two bad recessions. 1974-75, and again in 1979-80 and then another bad recession in the early 1980s.But the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s were very good and then we of course are off to a horrible start in this century when it comes to economic and job growth.

But the so-called WOP does deserve some of the blame because of how it was designed. What they basically said was “lets give some people with very little a little more and not much hope for a future outside of poverty.” And then say, “if you add up all of their cash benefits, they technically do not live in poverty”. When of course that is not true, because unless you are retired and on Social Security, if you do not make enough money to pay your own bills, you live in poverty.

If you are familiar with my earlier posts about poverty in America, you know I’m about yes short-term cash assistance so these people can pay their bills in the short-term. But long-term I’m about job training, education and job placement in good jobs. So these people can get themselves out of poverty all together. And better economic and job growth for everyone else, has to be part of that package or good jobs for our less-fortunate won’t be around at all.

Which I why I would like to see a new national campaign to defeat poverty. And 2014 may not be the time to launch it with so many middle class Americans struggling. Saying “hey what about me I work for a living, that is for the people who still have jobs”. But that is basically what we need that is about short-term cash, assistance, education and good jobs.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Nation: Opinion: Zoe Carpenter: The Progressive Resurgence

The Nation: Opinion: Zoe Carpenter: The Progressive Resurgence

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

When Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives in 2011, thanks to the Tea Party, the Republican right-wing had all the momentum when it came to economic policy. As well as fiscal policy when it came to the debt and deficit and had the public behind him. Especially going up against a Democratic President in Barack Obama who was up for reelection a year later, who wasn’t very popular at the time with the economy going through low economic growth and high unemployment.

Which are obviously bad signs for an incumbent president to be facing who was elected with fifty-three percent of the popular vote. But that started to change by the summer of 2012 with a very divided Republican Party not able to find a presidential nominee that could unite the party, plus a poorly run presidential campaign by Mitt Romney and a strongly run presidential reelection campaign from President Barack Obama. Who made the 2012 elections a choice between the Democratic economic vision and the Republican Tea Party economic vision.

We are now with a new Congress, but with basically the same players in charge. With a Democratic President Barack Obama, with a stronger Democratic Senate led by Leader Harry Reid and with a Republican House with smaller numbers, but still with John Boehner as Speaker of the House. But again with another mid-term election with the control for Congress in play, I still believe in both chambers, but definitely the Senate is at stake with a strong possibility of even if Democrats retain control of the Senate, it could very well be with smaller numbers than their 55-45 margin right now.

And with House Republicans in a solid position to add to their sixteen seat majority. But I believe the party that best communicates and economic message that can win a majority support of the country, will decide who runs Congress next year, or will we still have a divided Congress. And that is assuming that the Affordable Care Act is working normally by then without the same problems. Or any new ones which is not a safe bet, but there is a realistic possibility that voters won’t make ObamaCare the issue by November.

The Democratic path to victory which at this point may mean just holding the Senate whatever happens in the House which I believe they are still the favorites to do, with how they are protecting Montana, West Virginia and Louisiana and with possible pickups in Kentucky and Georgia, is to make the 2014 elections about the economy. And say this is their vision for how the American economy moves forward and why Congressional and gubernatorial Democrats should be elected and reelected. And this is the Republican vision and why their’s is better.

And the Liberal Democratic economic vision should be about not trying to run the economy, or the economic, or personal affairs of Americans. But using government to empower Americans who need it to be able to live in economic freedom. And how things like infrastructure investment, a national energy policy built around using all of America’s energy resources and comprehensive immigration reform and a minimum wage increase benefits all of Americans so none of us would need government to take care of us.

President Obama has already done a very good job of communicating this message or a message very similar this to the people. With his build the economy from the middle out theme. The problem is Congress and not being able to get any of it acted on for the most part. Because with a Republican House and a strong Senate Republican minority. And that is the problem right there that Democrats as a party incumbents and candidates haven’t done a very good job of getting behind that message making these elections a choice. And 2014 will be another opportunity for them to unite and take on the Republican Party with a unified economic message.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

LBJ Library: Video: President Johnson's 1964 State of the Union address, 1/8/64

This is the speech where President Lyndon Johnson calls to continue President John Kennedy’s agenda. Putting his tax cut plan through Congress that President Kennedy badly wanted. As well as calling for the Civil Rights Act it be passed that was finally passed in the summer of 1964. As well as calling for medical insurance for the elderly and poor which became Medicare and Medicaid. As well as all sorts of new programs to help low-income Americans that became part of the so-called War on Poverty. Late 1963 and 1964 was about finishing President Kennedy’s agenda in that Congress. Because again remember Lyndon became President, because President Jack Kennedy was assassinated and LBJ was Vice President at the time. So LBJ didn’t become President under his own mandate. If he had a mandate in 63-64, it was full fill President Kennedy’s agenda.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Young Turks: Video: Cenk Uygur: The Only Group Opposing Racial Equality

Not sure if America is a center-right or center-left country and not sure how Cenk Uygur gets that. But we certainly aren’t a country that goes very far right or left even though we certainly have a Far-Right and Far-Left in this country. That at times I believe has too much power, but that is really a different discussion. But we certainly are a county that believes in a high degree of both economic and personal freedom. And a big reason why I believe Jack Kennedy, Ron Reagan and Bill Clinton were so successful as presidents politically as well, because they all believed in both of those things and connected very well with average voters.

Where I agree with Cenk Uygur is that Americans believe in things like equality of opportunity. And of course some Americans will always start off life better than others because of how they were raised. But equality of opportunity and not results which is different and a topic for another blog, is about all Americans having the opportunity to be successful in America. And that starts with education growing up that all Americans have the opportunity to go to good schools. Regardless of their parents incomes and even the ability to go to college as well. And that our low-skilled workforce has the opportunity to be successful as well with educational and job training opportunities to move up and do well in life.

So maybe Cenk is right in the sense that America is a Center-Left country. But Center-Left not being as far to the left as he would like it, but more about expanding freedom to more Americans. And having more Americans with real economic power in this country so they do not need public assistance to pay their bills. But not a country that expects government to provide a lot if not most of the services that we need to do well. Just there to see that we all have those opportunities for success in life on our own.