Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Resplendent Royalty: Lifetime's Intimate Portrait Grace Kelly- The Amazing Grace Kelly

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat

The Amazing Grace Kelly, whom I call Grace Kelly, not just because of her first name, but because she was amazing in so many ways was a woman who didn’t just look like royalty but was royalty, even though she grew up in Philadelphia. She not only looked like a princess but was the Princess of Monaco until she died in the early 1980s. But before that, she was a hell of an actress who made her mark mostly in the 1950s.

What most impresses me about Grace is her versatility as an actress. She could play both dead serious and pretty funny in the same movie and was perfect for movies that weren’t pure comedies or dramas. I believe that is one of the things that the great director Alfred Hitchcock saw in her when he hired her for films like Rear Window, playing the girlfriend of photographer Jimmy Stewart, who was confined to an apartment with a broken leg. She solved a murder case by spying from his apartment. This is not believable but the movie is very well done.

Another one of my favorite movies starring Grace would be another Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant, which takes place on the French Mediterranean, in which she plays the daughter of a very wealthy woman. Vacationing in France with a lot of expensive jewelry at the high point of a cat burglar’s activities, she suspects that Cary Grant, the retired cat burglar, stole her mother’s and others’ jewelry, but in the end falls in love with him nonetheless.

With Grace Kelly, you are talking about a sexy actress who always looked like she never completely grew up, like Marilyn Monroe or Barbara Eden. But she was a real lady and a great actress who again had the versatility and timing that few actresses ever acquired. She was similar to Elizabeth Taylor or Lauren Bacall, which is what made her unique. She is still missed today.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nevada Kubrick: The Candidate 1972- The Jarman-McKay Debate

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat

Even with Bill McKay's wishy-washy answer to the first question in this debate, this is still my favorite scene in a great movie about the classic underdog Bill McKay, played by Robert Redford against classic establishment incumbent Crocker Jarman, played by Don Porter. One candidate, Bill McKay, except for school busing and abortion, two critical issues where he essentially dodged the questions, says what he thinks. The incumbent, Crocker Jarman, gave classic sound-bite answers allowing no insight into his philosophy.
Nevada Kubrick: The Candidate 1972- The Jarman-McKay Debate

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Retro Trailer Spot: Video: The Candidate 1972 Official Trailer

This blog was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I love the movie The Candidate for several reasons.  Perhaps the main one is that it has given me an idea for a book about an anti-establishment liberal candidate or perhaps a John McCain Conservative Republican. They face each other in the general election with the anti-establishment candidate  beating the establishment, talking point, sound-bite, candidate who always plays it safe in hopes of offending the fewest.

The Candidate is a movie about a little guy running against  big time politicians and the big time political establishment in the Democratic Party. He's Bill MacKay, played by Robert Redford, running against his own party and against Mr. Establishment,  U.S. Senator Crocker Jarman played by Don Porter. McKay's campaign manager played by Peter Boyle is part of that Democratic establishment but wants to run an outsiders campaign without allowing the outsider MacKay to get too far out in left field. You see these two men fighting  against each other in the campaign.

The outsider Bill MacKay runs his campaign based  on his beliefs.  He gives voters a  good idea of who he is and speaks his mind.  He probably doesn't use a speechwriter for the whole campaign.  His opponent, three-term incumbent U.S. Senator Crocker Jarman just tries to be likable expressing traditional America values, speaking mostly to older voters.  He says you should reelect me because I stand up for America etc.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

RT: Video: The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann: John Farell: What is Energy Decentralization?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This sounds very interesting, because instead of talking about nationalizing energy or State or local governments turning energy companies into government-owned agencies, John Farrell is saying the opposite.  Instead of creating a new government or public or private monopoly, he's talking about ways to empower individuals and private groups to provide their own energy rather than use the energy provided by a public or private monopoly.

I've been thinking about this for about 7 years now I guess, as a native Marylander and still a Maryland resident who lives halfway between Maine and Florida, meaning we can get both Arctic weather in the winter and Caribbean hot and humid weather in the summer, which means northeasterly blizzards in the winter and long heat waves in the summer with no rain.  When we finally get rain, it comes as a violent storm that wipes out much of our power.

The State of Maryland has one private utility company, Pepco, which is responsible for all of the electricity for the State, meaning it has no competition and no incentive to be efficient. It provides lousy service to say the least, and on several occasions in the last few years, as in the July 2012 heat wave, we were out of power for about a week in a 100-degree heat wave because Pepco was unprepared to handle power outages for a State of 6 million people all by itself.

RT: Video: The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann: "Time For White-Americans to Wake the Hell Up"

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

What Thom Hartmann doesn't mention that is some of the stereotypes of the African-American community get positive play in the hip-hop community, a community that obviously has huge influence over the African-American community when it comes to music, movies, lifestyle, clothing, and I could go on but I'll spare you. But also it has to do with what hip-hoppers like to call Thug Life or Gangsta Life, and young African-American men especially see this and decide that this is how they want to be and to be seen and tend to be successful at achieving that.

Mr. Hartmann is not making any news here because, of course, people are people and just a small percentage of people of all races, not just Caucasians, see people as members of groups that should be avoided. We should all just be treated as individuals and not members of groups, which is one of my core values as a liberal. But no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to racism and having racist views and no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to the effects of being looked at stereotypically.

The far left doesn't seem to understand that no one race in America has a monopoly when it comes to stereotyping one race of people. I mean, if you want to use the cab driver analogy when it comes to African-American men, with Black men, let's say not being able to get a cab because of their skin color, well guess what, not all cab drivers, in case you are not that experienced with cabs, are Caucasian and a lot of them are South Asian or Native African, such as Ethiopian, or Middle Eastern, and African-American, who are turned down for cabs by people of various races.

And it's not just one race of people who are guilty of stereotyping and it is not just racial minorities who are victims of racial stereotyping. Caucasians get stereotyped, especially if they are from the South or rural America, as being bigots across the board by people not from their culture and lifestyle. Or they get stereotyped as Ivy League or rich and they are stereotyped by people from the media and even from their own race.

Latino is not a race, but Latino men and women in this group are stereotyped as illegal immigrants and people on welfare are stereotyped as as car thieves. And not just by Caucasians and Asians, Orientals especially are stereotyped as being brilliant or intellectual and not being American, who can't speak English, and again not just by Caucasians. So racial profiling and racism are all around us, practiced by all sorts of Americans and are something in America that the far left needs to understand if they are truly interested in racial equality.  Stereotyping by perceived good qualities may be just as negative as stereotyping by perceived bad qualities.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Belle Zonder Hetbeest: Video: Jonestown Nightmare in Paradise

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

To understand Jonestown, you first have to know about the People's Temple, which started out in downtown San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and in a many ways an actual paradise, which is where a lot of members of Jonestown were from or at least were living before they moved to Guyana in South America in the early to mid-1970s to build what became Jonestown, which at the end of the day was not much more than a prison camp.

The People's Temple in San Francisco was put together by a Socialist Christian, the Reverend Jim Jones, who moved his organization from Indianapolis, Indiana, where it was unwelcome because his group was a biracial multi-ethnic church. Far-right religious conservative Indiana in the 1960s and early 1970s did not accept non-Caucasians and people who didn't believe in their American way of life, whatever the hell that was supposed to be, so the group moved to San Francisco, which was seen as progressive or socialist, and sufficiently tolerant to allow them to build their community.

I think this is where the paranoia of Jim Jones comes in, because San Francisco, for whatever reasons, was not not acceptable for what he wanted, which was to build a community and an organization, where people literally took care of each other and lived off each other in a socialist communitarian Christian way of life, real Christianity if you will, and not the religious-right silliness that is more common in America.

The People's Temple in San Francisco comprised American outsiders of all races and ethnicities, including Jim Jones himself, people who couldn't make it in America for all sorts of reasons, including drug addiction, who were looking for something that would give their lives meaning.  They wanted to make a difference or hoped to make the world better. These were the people who made the People's Temple run and did much of the work.

If you take Jim Jones out of the picture here and replace him with someone like Dr. Martin King or Dr. Andrew Young or Reverend Jesse Jackson, or even Dr. James Dobson, a leader of the Christian Right, the People's Temple, I believe, is still in business today because it had the strong moral leadership of people only interested in serving the then under-served and would have the financial backing to be in business today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Belle Zonder Hetbeest: Video: Jonestown: LIfe and Death of The People's Temple

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Forget about the Manson Crime Family when it comes to cults, because at the end of the day, the Manson Family was a family of criminals but Jonestown was a cult that ended horribly with several hundred people, if not more, murdered by their leader, a paranoid dictator/terrorist, Jim Jones. This was a real cult, a group of Americans lost inside the United States, the country of their birth, looking for a new concept that would make their lives worth living.

With regard to the paranoid evil aspects of Jim Jones, someone strong enough mentally and physically could have taken on Reverend Jones and said "enough is enough," for lack of a better phrase. "What you are doing is wrong and we should not be a concentration camp in Guyana, but instead a socialist communitarian community of people living and working together to make a good life for ourselves and our families. Jonestown could probably still be in business today and thriving because, with another philosophy, it would have had the structure needed to be successful.

The People's Temple and Jonestown had the vision and the people to be successful, but they lacked the necessary leadership to succeed as a community of people who would care for each other, where no one would go hungry and live in poverty or be a prisoner of addiction, and who would have the basic health care needed to be successful. They would have been able to produce what they needed to live well in Guyana.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dame Elizabeth Taylor: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton at Their Best Together

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with the great Taylor/Burton combo is supposed to be a drama but I always laugh throughout this movie, which I’ve seen now four or five times and saw again over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot for some reason but for me this movie turns into a 2-hour comedy that is so great that Turner Classic Movies with Robert Osborne did a special about it about a year and a half ago and brought in actress Ellen Barkin to give an expert analysis of it.

If you are not that familiar with this movie perhaps you are very young, with not much respect for movies that weren’t made in this century, which I’m afraid is very common among the younger generations. Think of Married With Children or The Honeymooners from the 1950s, which are about married people who seem to love each other but can’t go very long without pissing the other off and spend a lot of the marriage beating the hell out of each other verbally.

Virginia Woolf is one long argument between a couple, George and Martha, who have lost their son (fantasy perhaps?), with the mother especially not ready to accept this reality and not quite there mentally and taking out her anger on her husband, who is the father of their son. He is having issues with his wife about why their son is no longer there, and they go through these issues as they are entertaining guests. The man is in direct competition with George to the next professor at their school, yet they do not know each other very well.

I laugh through most of this movie because the shots that they take at each other are dead on because they know each other so well. The sarcasm is so direct and on target, and even though they are supposed to be entertaining guests, they can’t stay out of each other’s way for most of the movie and even bring their guests into the never-ending argument about what happened to their son and why he is no longer with them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The New York Times: Opinion: Paul Krugman: Inequality, Dignity and Freedom

The New York Times: Opinion: Paul Krugman, Inequality, Dignity and Freedom

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

Just to respond to a couple of things that Paul Krugman said with regard to nothing having been done more to ensure freedom for Americans than Social Security and Medicare. Well, actually there is, and it is called a good education, and for Americans who have that, in many cases they do not need either Social Security or Medicare even when they are eligible for it because they have their own retirement account or have managed to stay healthy long enough to be able to work as long as they want to and put money away for their children and grandchildren.

Just to make one more point about Paul Krugman's column.  If you look at the educational levels of the wealthy, super wealthy, or just the upper middle class and then compare their education with that of people struggling in the middle class perhaps working a blue collar job or even a couple jobs just to pay their bills or you look at low-income workers, there is not contest in their education levels. If you want to do well in America, you need to have marketable skills or talents because otherwise you will need Social Security and Medicare to help pay your bills when you are older, assuming you are not living in poverty.

The dignity of work is a good job that more than pays your bills and allows you to put money away so you can make your own health care and health insurance as well as retirement decisions, not having government make these decisions for you because you do not have the money or knowledge to be able to make these decisions for yourself. True economic freedom is not worrying about paying your bills because you can afford to enjoy life and  put money away as well. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

30 For 30: Straight Outta LA: The Story of the Los Angeles Raiders

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The truth is that had Al Davis and his team marketed his Raiders franchise in Los Angeles as the Dodgers and Lakers are marketed in Los Angeles, the Raiders would probably still be in LA today. Instead Mr. Davis believed that people would automatically just show up to see a good football team every week. The fan interest would have been there and the crowds would have been there and there would have been enough interest for Los Angeles to give the Raiders franchise what it needed to be successful in Los Angeles, whether that was new renovations to the LA Memorial Coliseum or a new stadium altogether.

When I think of the Los Angeles Raiders who were in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994 before moving back to Oakland, I think of both good and bad and probably more bad then good actually, as my first paragraph, I believe, points out, but to be positive and factual, the LA Raiders were very good in the 1980s. They won two Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983 and probably should have won a couple more in 1982 and 1984, but the 1983 Raiders were one of the best and most dominant Super Bowl champions of all time.

But the story doesn't end there, because again, they were there from 1982 to 1994 and are not still there today. Also there's a lot of what could have been, had Al Davis basically not ruined running back Marcus Allen's career and not cost him at least 4 to 6 years.  Marcus was the best all-around running back of his era, at least post Walter Payton, and the mistake of Al Davis telling his coaching staff not to play Marcus because he believed Marcus became bigger than the Raiders franchise itself.

But instead they traded for running back Bo Jackson because of baseball. He was never more than a part-time player for the Raiders and only played four seasons because of the hip injury. Instead of trading for Bo, they should have invested the money into getting a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback to take over for Jim Plunkett or again trade for Bo but not reduce the role of Marcus in the backfield. They should have gone to a two-back full-time set and become a run-oriented football team with Marcus and Bo and 2,000 yard rushers year after year on the same team. How much better would their vertical spread passing game had been with that running game.

To sum up, the Los Angeles Raiders were a team of underachievers, not just some of the players but the franchise as a whole, and again we are talking about a two-time Super Bowl champion franchise, but they could have done so much more and should have been the team of the NFL of the 1980s to take over for the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 1970s because of the talent they had, the market they played in, and the man at the top in Al Davis.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free Speech TV: Video: The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann: Richard Wolff: What to do When Capitalism Fails

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Didn't catch the part about what Professor Richard Wolff would do when capitalism failed. He just said how he believed it would fail and why it would fail but not what would happen next. I could give you what he's said in the past about what should replace capitalism, at least in its current form in America.

And he's argued in the past for simply replacing capitalism with a Marxist economic system of state ownership across the board, and a few months ago I read a column of his arguing for economic cooperatives, which is a more Socialist form of capitalism, where the employees themselves would each own a share of the business at which they work, not government, which is different. I believe this is an excellent alternative to the corporate centralized model as long as it is not mandated by government but where management or individuals make the decision to cooperate themselves, for lack of a better word, but I didn't hear him call for these things in this video.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Modern Socialist: Opinion: Brandon Payton-Carrillo: The Purpose of Government

This is the perfect question to be asking and debating, because it goes to the heart of a big debate America has been debating as a country for at least forty-five years. With the creation of the Great Society, to President Richard Nixon’s Federalist approach to domestic issues. To get government power out of Washington and back to the states. To President Jimmy Carter’s New Democratic approach to get more power back to the people. And of course the debate just getting bigger with President Reagan, President Clinton and of course today with President Obama. That is why do we have a government and different levels of government and what is it exactly do we need, not want government to do for us in a civilized society.
Why do we have a government and what we need it to do. Depends on who you ask anywhere from Socialists on the Far-Left let’s say who have the biggest role for government and tend to have programs and taxes that are designed to solve all of our problems for us. To Libertarians who aren’t quite Far-Right, but have the smallest role for government for us. To Liberals and Conservatives who are somewhere in the middle. But with different roles for government in our lives and what we need to pay in taxes.
My role for government as a Liberal I believe is pretty simple. To do for us what we can’t as people do for ourselves, or do as well for ourselves. The obvious things being law enforcement, national security, foreign policy, smart regulation of the economy. But not running the economy which is different. A public education system, but not an education monopoly for the broader public. These are a few examples but my role for government doesn’t get much bigger than this.
My basic idea for government is to protect and expand freedom that individuals have to run their, or govern even their own lives, not to take someone else’s freedom from them. But to be able to manage their own economic and personal affairs. So for people who do not have freedom, but need it and deserve it, help them help themselves so they have the freedom to take care of themselves. And to protect freedom for those who already have it and still deserve that freedom.
I’m not anti-government even at the federal level and not pro-government at any level. But the role of government is to protect and expand freedom. That also includes protecting workers and consumers from predators with smart regulations. But again not designed to run companies, but to protect people from those in companies who would hurt us. Only having the government that we need and not the government that we want. Which are different things.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sam Seder: ObamaCare Equals Freedom?

Source: The Majority Report With Sam Seder- Rally for ObamaCare
Source: The New Democrat 

Freedom if that is really what this is about is the ability for people to run their own lives and be able to make the decisions about their own lives. And I’m talking about both from an economic and personal vantage point. And to get that freedom people have to have the skills they need to be able to make the income to live in that freedom. Which is why education is so important for current students especially of they come from low-income families. But also for low-skilled adults work low-income jobs currently.

As far as the Congressional Budget Office report. I saw the House Budget Committee hearing with Doug Elmendorf today whose the Director of the CBO today. And House Democrats on that committee asked Director Elmendorf about that CBO report on the Affordable Care Act. And he said that what they are saying is what Sam Seder said in the video. That millions of Americans who are currently working in order to get health insurance will leave the workforce voluntary. Because now they’ll be able to get health insurance without the job they may not want.

This idea that Congressional Republicans are throwing out there that ObamaCare will destroy two-million jobs, is just more Republican propaganda or garbage about the Affordable Care Act. That they hate and are so frustrated about not being able to repeal. And will say practically anything at this point to make ObamaCare look bad. The next attack about ObamaCare might be that the ACA causes climate change. Something a lot of them do not even believe in and see as a government hoax.
Sam Seder: ObamaCare Equals Freedom?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Caller: Taxation is Not The Solution To The Sugar Problem!

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I agree that we should as a society be able to hold people accountable for their own bad decisions. Whether it comes to diet or anything else instead of allowing those people to pass those costs onto society as a whole. Because it us unfair for people who make good decisions in life eat and drink well, properly exercise on a regular basis, to then get stuck with the bad decisions of people who do not make good lifestyle decisions.

Where I differ with Thom Hartmann comes to why I would tax these unhealthy products. We know prohibition doesn’t work and trying to outlaw junk food and soft drinks salt and sugar would be just as costly as trying to outlaw marijuana and other illegal narcotics. So we don’t want to go down that road of arresting and locking people up for making unhealthy decisions with their own lives. Which means personal freedom and responsibility are the alternatives. You want to live unhealthy fine, but you and you alone will pay the costs of those bad decisions and no one else.

Well actually the companies who make these products would pay those costs as well. And then what you do with the money is to give it to people who live healthy. By making healthy behavior cheaper so everyone could afford to eat and drink healthy. Workout and so-forth and you reimburse hospitals who have high bills because of all the uncompensated health care. They have to give because of people using their emergency rooms.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The New York Times: Opinion: David Brooks: The Opportunity Coalition

The New York Times: Opinion: David Brooks: The Opportunity Coalition

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I like where David Brooks went with his column today and what I like most about being a blogger, the ability to read so much in one day and then be able to blog what I think of what I read. What David Brooks called the Whig Tradition of using government to empower the less-fortunate to be able to move up the economic scale, is the New Democratic Tradition which in large part is what this blog is about. That just doesn’t go back to Bill Clinton, but take it back to Jimmy Carter or even go back to Jack Kennedy, or even if you want to go back to Wendell Willkie even though he was a Republican. But politically in this New Democratic liberal tradition of using government to expand economic freedom.

And where I also agree with Mr. Brooks is that this is the real economic agenda that President Obama should be pushing. And push it as hard as he can knowing that he probably won’t get much legislation out of this current divided Congress, or even the next Congress. No matter whose in charge of the House and Senate. But to push it to get as much as he can accomplished, but also to help mobilize the country behind the next agenda for the next president especially if we have another Democrat. And issues that President Obama could push as ex-President Obama in his foundation or whatever type of organization he’ll have post-Obama presidency.

Now to talk about the Opportunity Society. Forget about the New Deal or Great Society, City on a Shining Hill, Contract With America or Compassionate Conservatism. What the Opportunity Society acknowledges is that as great of a country that America is with all the freedom and so-forth, not enough Americans have access to that freedom the ability for one to be able to take care of themselves and their families and put money away for themselves and their kids. That for too many Americans especially on the bottom steps of the economic ladder, they live in a stagnant society without hope and the tools to move up the economic ladder.

What the Opportunity Society says is that government isn’t too big or too small. Doesn’t even really take a position on that when it comes to the economy and economic freedom. But that the resources that is had are not used in the right way and not used effectively enough so as many Americans as possible can take advantage of those tools to get themselves the skills that they need to live in economic freedom with the ability to live their own lives. From what you get from economic Conservatives is that government is too big and taxes too much. And rarely if ever gives out specifics. And what you get from let’s say Progressives is that government is too small and taxes too little. With a lot of specifics and things that Americans tend not to want to pay for.

With the Opportunity Society it is not much resources that is the issue. But how that money is spent. And sure I would like to spend more on job training for low-skilled adults. And more funding from the federal level for low-income communities when it comes to public education. And I would like more money spent on infrastructure so more communities have the tools that they need to be successful. But these things mean nothing if that money is not spent well. And what I really want to do is use these resources so the people who need it get the resources they need to get themselves a good education. So they can get themselves a good job and live in economic freedom.