Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

David Pakman: Video: First Amendment Doesn't Protect Racist Practices

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Sometimes it's great to be a lawyer, especially when you are talking about the First Amendment. But since I'm not a lawyer I'll have to use my skills as a Liberal instead and what I've read about the First Amendment to explain this.

The First Amendment protects the rights of individuals to say whatever they want to short of libeling, harassing, or inciting violence.  Someone could have the most intelligent opinions or the dumbest and expression of all is protected as long as it does not cause legally actionable harm to others.  For instance, you can believe that your next door neighbor is an asshole or have racist opinions about that individual but you can't act upon your beliefs by physically attacking them or damaging their property.

Bankers can have negative views about American Indians but they can't them deny them their services.  They cannot foreclose on anyone because they do not like the community to which they belong.

Monday, April 28, 2014

RT: Video: The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann: It's Time to Outlaw Billionaires

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Thom Hartmann should change the name of his political segment "The Lone Liberal" to The Lone Socialist. The Lone Liberal segment on this show is where Thom Hartmann, the supposed Liberal, takes on at least two right-wingers in a debate but socialism is really what Mr. Hartmann is espousing.  He says that wealth is basically a bad thing and should be eliminated that so there are no longer extremes of income.

If you don't want Americans to be as productive as they can be and to enjoy the benefits of their productivity, then take away their incentive to be productive and successful. Taxing people at 100 percent of any income over a billion dollars or 90 percent over a million discourages our most productive people people from being productive.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Free Speech TV: Video: Democracy Now: Hendrik Hertzberg: New York Joins Pact to Elect President by Popular Vote

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I like this idea of throwing out the Electoral College and going directly to a popular vote to decide the President of the United States as much as like the idea that wealthy people should get more votes than other people simply because you have more money. Instead of all voters being entitled to one and only vote, which is the way it is now, and has been since 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The whole idea of having the Electoral College is so that elections in more states matter and that presidential candidates have to campaign even in at least some small states if those states are swing states. New Hampshire being a perfect example of that but Iowa is another good example of that as well. You take that away and the Democrats will go to the Democratic big states and Republicans will go to the Republican big states to lock down their bases and run up the votes needed to win. And then perhaps go to a few key swing states to get them over fifty-percent. With the rest of the country still getting to vote but without much influence in who is the next President of the United States.

Not saying the Electoral College is perfect and I agree to a certain extent that it is undemocratic because we've had unpopular people elected President of the United States before. George W. Bush case in point in 2000. But if you are familiar with this blog at least you know that America is not a pure democracy in the sense that everything is done by majority rule to begin with. We are a Federal Constitutional Republic in the form of a liberal democracy where our individual rights can't be taken away by a simple majority vote.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Free Speech TV: Video: The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann: How do We Stop Foods That Kill?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

If we want to encourage people to eat healthy diets and take care of themselves, we have to change the Federal Government's farm policy to stop subsidizing junk food and soft drinks and to change our  Food Assistance programs so that low-income people can afford healthier diets.  We need to change the crop allotments of the farm subsidy programs, which were set many decades ago, to reduce or eliminate subsidies for animal feed crops and to shift those funds to crops that are more healthy for human consumption.  Food Assistance funds should not pay for junk food and drinks but should be targeted on  healthy foods and drinks.

This is a good example of how encouragement, or subsidization, of positive behavior, which has been the New Democratic approach to problem solving going back to the early 1990s or further, beats the paternalistic big government approach that says, "Dammit, these things aren't good for you so Big Brother isn't going to let you have them."

The encouragement or subsidization approach realizes the fundamental fact that telling someone that they shouldn't or can't do something that they've been doing, and enjoying, for as long as they can remember will not stop them from doing it.  But you can show them that there is a better way and give them financial incentives to improve their behavior.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hookup Shl: Video: HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher: New Rules Dead Man's Party: The Power of Language in Politics

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The Republican Party learned a long time ago, lets say back in 1993-94 when they were planning a   takeover of Congress, that they represent a lot of ignorant Americans whom they need to keep them in power.  These people collect the public assistance, that the party likes to bash, to support themselves because they are too dumb to finish high school and get the skills that they need to be successful in life.

I mention this because the GOP, led by political wordsmith Frank Luntz, are the masters of the word game in politics, something that Democrats have only caught on to since 2005-06, when they saw their opportunity to finally win back Congress.

So, as Bill Maher said, the estate tax is the death tax.

To quote Representative Michelle Bachmann, same-sex-marriage and pornography are threats to national security, not just immoral.

Gun regulation is complete state-control of firearms in America.

Health insurance expansion and a Patients Bill of Rights are a government takeover of health care.

To the rest of the country, which finished high school and gets its news from some place other than the Washington Times or FOX News, these charges are garbage.  But to uneducated Americans, who don't know any better, it looks completely reasonable to vote Republican in election after election to keep those immoral Democrats from taking over.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Real News: Video: Jessica Desvarieux: Decriminalization vs. Legalization of Marijuana

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

As a Marylander, if I was a member of the State Assembly, House or Senate, I would've voted for the marijuana decriminalization bill  because that was the only good option.  We could either continue the prohibition of marijuana or decriminalize possession so that people caught  with ten grams or less would pay a fine instead of going to jail.  This was a good bill because it diminished the so-called War on Drugs, both in Maryland and the United States.

Marijuana decriminalization is a good first step in Maryland and the best the Assembly could do this year.  Next year, Maryland will have a new Assembly and governor.  They will have the opportunity to see how marijuana decriminalization is working and consider possible next steps.

2014 is a general election year for the Maryland Assembly and governor's office.  I believe that the legal status of marijuana will be an issue in all of these races.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: The Progressive Budget vs. The Paul Ryan Budget

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I wish I knew how many members would have actually voted for the so-called House Progressive Caucus budget.  I actually posed that question that on Google+ and Twitter.  You can see for yourself, if you have absolutely nothing else to do, if you've tired of watching  paint dry.  I can tell you how many people voted for the official House Democratic budget, the Van Hollen/Pelosi budget, 160 Democrats.

If you want to get an idea about the Progressive Caucus, think Green Party and the Democratic Socialist Party.  Look, I'm sure that there are some actual Progressives in the group, at least two, maybe more.  Most members of this caucus  are Democrats in name only because that is the way they can get elected in American politics, outside of getting elected statewide for governor or U.S. Senate.  They come from the furthest left districts in the country that have been gerrymandered so that they can be elected and reelected.

To be honest with you, I haven't actually read the CPC budget.  The CPC is made up of the most left Representatives and a few Senators in Congress.  If it is anything like the 2011 CPC budget that repealed all of the Bush tax cuts, included a fifty-percent tax hike on the middle class, and got something like forty votes in the House, then this budget never had the Chicago Cubs chance of winning the World Series of ever passing.  Most Congressional Democrats are smart enough not to vote for middle class tax hikes in an election year.

There has to be some choice between the Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand plan that balances the budget by having middle class seniors pay more for Medicare and guts public assistance to people who have to have it in order to survive and the Progressive Caucus/Socialist plan which turns almost everything in the country over to the Federal Government and lets the Feds run our lives for us.  Some choice to give voters and why neither of them will ever become law.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Time to Fire DEA Director Michelle Leonhart! The Stupidity of the War on Drugs

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I have a better idea than Thom Hartmann's. How about firing the whole damn Drug Enforcement Agency and replacing them with something more intelligent, and easier to understand and explain like the U.S. tax code.  Damn straight, bring them all in, starting with Director Michelle Leonhart, and say, "You're fired!  (Quoting the Donald.) We can't afford your stupidity anymore."  With a national debt of around seventeen-trillion dollars we can't afford to spend fifty-billion dollars a year on this stupid War on Drugs.  It's is as stupid as one person spending a million dollars a year on bubble gum.

I don't know this for a fact but I believe this is my first ever satire about the stupid War on Drugs, which we know is not real because of all of the dangerous legal narcotics in the country. I'll check my blogger files for anyone who is actually interested in knowing if this is my first War on Drugs satire or not. And if you really need to know that than you probably are up late every night watching the Home Shopping Network and simply do not have enough constructive things to do with your time.

If we wanted a real War on Drugs, not only would alcohol and tobacco be illegal today but also addictive prescription drugs as well. If you want to assess the damage that narcotics have done in this country, start with the legal drugs first.  There are millions of Americans who use dangerous narcotics   but aren't in jail because the drugs that they use are legal. Some of them are smart about how they use them.  They don't get addicted to them.  Others, like the DEA, are not so bright and really mess themselves up, as well as innocent people with whom they interact.

I actually agree with Thom Hartmann on something, for the first time in 2014, I believe, but I could be wrong. When a Democratic Administration that is supposed to be a liberal Democratic Administration (the jury is still out on that) uses the same drug warrior propaganda as the drug warriors on both the neoconservative right and paternalist, statist left, you need to bring those people into your office and say to them, "You're fired!  We can't afford you anymore."
American & Mexican Drug Warriors

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Agatan End: Video: HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher: New Rules About Religion Collection

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Atheism is a belief, or even a faith, that there is no God, there is no religious higher power at all. George Carlin didn't call himself and atheist because atheism is a belief or a faith that God doesn't exist. Technically, that would qualify George as an agnostic which is my religious affiliation.  I know so little about religion that my knowledge wouldn't fill a shot glass. But I do know that agnostics don't know if there's a God or not.  That is different from believing one way or the other.

I don't give a damn about people's religion, including Atheists. (Sorry Bill Maher.)  Just keep your religion out of my face, especially, if you believe your religion tells you to make the lives of other people miserable if they commit certain acts of which your fundamentalist tight ass doesn't approve.
As for you fundamentalist Atheists,  people who are not only not religious but put down people for being religious even if they are good decent people, learn something about the First Amendment. 

People have the right to be religious or not and to say whatever the hell they want to about it.  Live and let live and your life will be hell of a lot better even if you're going to hell for not believing in God.  If you believe you should get on fundamentalist Christians because you don't like their politics,  keep in mind that fundamentalists Muslims are just as far to the Right on cultural issues.  Maybe you should spread your hate to them as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

TYT Sports: Video: Rick Strom and Brett Erlich: Top Five Lakers of All-Time

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

You could make a very good case that both Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin Johnson are among the best basketball players of all time.  Kareem played most of his career for the Lakers and Magic, his whole career.  That, alone, puts them in a tie for greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time.  Then, for 3, 4 and five there are plenty of other great Lakers to choose from.

For the rest of the list, I would start with Big Game James Worthy who was a franchise caliber player in the prime of his career.  He would have been the best player on almost every other team in the NBA.  He played with the Lakers for nine seasons with Magic and seven seasons with Kareem.  He almost won games 6 and 7 against the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals on his own and was the MVP of that Finals.

So I would go with Kareem and Magic at one without being sure who's one and who's two and then I go to Big Game James at three. Then I'm looking at Jerry West at four and then Kobe Bryant, Jerry West or Elgin Baylor at five. Shaquille O'Neal is not on my list because after he played half of his career with the Lakers, it went  almost completely downhill.  He wasn't even the best Laker of his era.  He dominated, the 2000s, a very weak era for NBA big men.  Shaq has some big strikes against him.

Jerry West and Kobe Bryant finish off my list.  Jerry's not only in the top five or ten players of all time but perhaps the best NBA general manager of all time.   He built the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. So I would put him at four and then go to Kobe Bryant, the best all around NBA player post Michael Jordan.  He was the best player since Michael retired up until Lebron James arrived in Miami to play for the Heat. Oh, by the way, Kobe's won five NBA Finals as well and, without the injuries late in his career, he's perhaps still the best player in the NBA right now.

Movie Clips Classic Trailer Vault: Rear Window 1954- Starring Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey & Raymond Burr

Source: Movie Clips Classic Trailer Vault- Jimmy Stewart-
Source: The New Democrat

Rear Window might be the best not so believable movie I've ever seen. . It's about Jeff (Jimmy Stewart), a photographer  in a wheelchair with a broken leg solving a murder, practically. on his own.  He gets some help from his girlfriend (Amazing Grace Kelly) and his nurse (Thelma Ritter).  It's not, you know,  the most believable plot ever written.

Jeff has a friend (Wendell Corey) who's a lieutenant in the NYPD.  The lieutenant is the only person in the movie who has any real life, detective or police experience.  Jeff has a theory about how a supposed murder goes down in the apartment across the courtyard from his.  The lieutenant doesn't believe Jeff's theory.

The movie takes place in Greenwich Village in the middle of one of those famous humid heat waves  they get every summer.  Jeff has nothing to do all day but to look out the window, talk to his nurse (Thelma Ritter) when she comes by to check on him, and, of course, hangout with his hot sexy baby-faced girlfriend (Grace Kelly) when she comes by at night.

From his window, Jeff notices some strange things going on in the apartment across the courtyard.  A woman who's sick and confined to her bed is suddenly missing.  Her husband (Raymond Burr) does strange things at night.  He goes out with a suitcase when it's raining and comes back shortly thereafter.  Jeff thinks there's something suspicious in the suitcase, like the body parts of the missing wife. He wants his detective friend to look into it.

All the while, Jeff thinks his girlfriend is too perfect for him, his job being very stable.  He's always traveling.  He thinks that they would both be better off keeping things as they are.  She wants to marry him and that is not a commitment that Jeff wants to make.  He just wants to recover from the broken leg and go back to work and have his girlfriend available.

This movie stretches credibility but it is very well written and has a great cast, Jimmy Stewart, Wendell Corey, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr and others.  It has a lot of great humor, especially between the lieutenant and Jeff.  The cop sees his friend as an amateur sleuth, at best, and makes fun of him.   He's doing his best to show that Jeff only has a theory and a weak circumstantial case.  It becomes a great murder mystery.
Classic Movie Clip Trailer Vault: Rear Window 1954- Trailer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Movie Clips: Video: To Catch a Thief Official 1955 Trailer: Grace Meets Charm

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

To Catch a Thief is neither the best Alfred Hitchcock movie of all time nor the best Cary Grant movie of all time but I believe it is the best Grace Kelly movie of all time and that includes Rear Window and Dial M For Murder.  It showcases all of her great talents, the hot baby-face, her great sex appeal, her charm, her wit, and her dramatic abilities.  She was the perfect actress for Alfred Hitchcock because he wanted serious movies that were humorous.  Cary Grant was perfect for him as well.

Cary Grant plays John Robey, a retired jewel thief living on the French Riviera. He was so successful as a jewel thief that he doesn't have to work anymore.  Every time there's a string of jewel robberies in his new home, law enforcement suspects him, which is exactly what happens in this movie. A new cat burglar strikes Mediterranean France, the legal authorities bring him in for questioning, and he escapes from them.

Robey concludes that the only way to get out of this is to find the real burglar himself.  Thats where Grace Kelly comes in.  Her character, Francy, is the daughter of  a woman who owns a lot of very expensive jewelry and they just happen to be vacationing in the south of France at the time of these new jewel robberies.  Robey needs them to play decoys to get the cat burglar to strike again.  He befriends them, believing they are the next targets.

John Robey's plan here is to catch the real cat burglar when this person strikes his target so he can get in the clear and move on with his life.  There are a lot of great suspense and action scenes in this movie as well as Cary and Grace taking a lot of humorous verbal shots at each other.  Once she learns that Robey was a cat burglar, she believes he's still in business and tries to use this to start a romance with him but his goal is to catch the real thief, even if that means using innocent people like this mother-daughter duo.