Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CBS Sports: Report: John Breech: Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis Meets With San Antonio Officials: Possible Move?

Oakland Coliseum

CBS Sports: Report: Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis Meets With San Antonio Officials: Possible Move?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I agree with the CBS Sports Network crew that the Raiders belong in Oakland and that San Antonio which is a solid sports market that could support a future NFL franchise would seem strange for the Raiders. With that being said the Oakland Coliseum or whatever the hell they call it now is not an NFL caliber football stadium. It is not an MLB caliber ballpark either and very soon the City of Oakland is going to have to step up and build two new stadiums. An NFL football stadium for the Raiders and an MLB ballpark for the Athletics or they'll lose both of their great franchises. Two of the best franchises in all of pro sports.

So the City of Oakland has to decide do they want NFL football and MLB baseball or not. If the answer is yes the Coliseum needs to go and be replaced with either a football stadium or a baseball park. And then they need to look at downtown possibilities as far as building the other stadium. With the Athletics and Raiders staying at the Coliseum while their stadiums are being built. Otherwise we could see the Raiders back in Los Angeles or San Antonio and the Athletics headed to San Jose or Sacramento in the near future.

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Digby: No Labels Gets a Label and it's Not Pretty: The Unrealistic Approach of No Labels

No Labels 

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Digby: No Labels Gets a Label and It's Not Pretty

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

No Labels even though I respect the goals of their group as far as trying to bring Congress together and get the chambers to work in a bipartisan bicameral fashion, the group has failed at least to this point. As Digby pointed out in her blog now four year in since John Avalon and others founded this group and if anything Congress is more partisan now. Rabid partisans in the Republican Party if anything hate President Barack Obama even more now. "It was bad enough that someone of his background gets elected President of the United States, but then gets reelected?"

Congressional Republicans and not all of them, but certainly the rabid partisans in the House especially have decided "we aren't going to work with the President on anything. Instead we are going to stop him whenever possible and try to sue/impeach him on anything that he tries to do without consulting us first. And are going to try to wait out his presidency and wait for the next President". This is now the attitude of the Tea Party Republicans at least in the House, but in the Senate with people like Ted Cruz. And to a large extent the Congressional Republican Leaderships in the House and Senate are buying into this.

And of course I'm not making the argument that "its all the Republicans fault", but what I'm saying that is neither side is completely innocent and yes I am a Democrat. But I'm right here because Democrats have their own rabid partisan fringe they have to deal with when President Obama just announces announces any willingness to deal with Congressional Republicans especially in the House on anything. And if anything this environment has gotten worst since No Labels was created in 2010. Because again President Obama has been reelected, Democrats still control the Senate and the Tea Party has taken some losses.

But why has No Labels failed? Their whole notion and strategy was doomed for failure from the beginning. The idea that you take Republicans and Democrats regardless of their backgrounds and put them in a room and expect them to work together. Or somehow having them sit together during joint sessions of Congress when the House and Senate are together like at the State of the Union. That somehow this would bring the sides together and force them to forget that they are Democrats and Republicans and have another election coming up. And that if they work with the other side they'll get a primary opponent as their reward. Give me a break! That was a fantasy that was never going to work.

Again why has No Labels failed? The country is simply more partisan and divided politically than it was just five-years ago. That by itself is not the fault of No Labels. I blame that both on the political strategists of the Democratic Party and Republican Party at the state levels. And perhaps a certain extent at the national level with the gerrymandering and creating so many partisan House districts. But another problem is American voters themselves voting for the most partisan and ideological candidates possible who do not run for office to govern, but to beat the other side. Instead of voting for mainstream candidates and incumbents in both parties who are there to govern.

I don't have a solution for the rabid-partisanship of the country other than to say Americans need to wake up and decide do they want their public officials to govern. Or to beat the other side and decide which one is more important. If you vote for people who want to govern and create positive change for the country, we'll see less partisanship as a result. You vote for the guy or gal who simply is looking to "hold the other side accountable" which is a common phrase with both Republicans and Democrats, the rabid-partisanship will just continue and get worst.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Salon: Opinion: Joshua Sager: GOP's 30-Year Spin Job is Over: We Are Not a Center-Right Nation

Salon: Opinion: Joshua Sager: GOP's 30-Year Spin Job is Over: We Are Not a Center-Right Nation

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

First of all just to comment on Joshua Sager's column in the Salon which is hardly a center-left publication, but still worth reading similar to The Nation. Which should give you an idea of where I'm coming from. Joshua's Sager's idea of a center-left America looks like, well Sweden. A country of roughly nine-million people which doesn't have nearly the amount of diversity across the board that a huge country like America has. That is essentially a country of Social Democrats and other Socialists. Where their center-right party looks like Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, not Barry Goldwater ideologically.

What is center-left in one country is not necessarily center-left in another country. Especially when you are comparing a small country with a huge country. The amount of what could be called Scandinavian Social Democrats in America including Salon, The Nation, AlterNet and other far-left publications in America might add up to 30-40 million Americans in a country of roughly three-hundred and fifteen-,million people. In Sweden and their population of nine-million people or Scandinavia as a hole of twenty-five million people or so the number of Social Democrats in that entire region might be the entire region. Sweden is sort of divided between Marxist Socialists and and Bernie Sanders Social Democrats.

But where I agree with Josh Sager is that America is a center-left country and the idea that we are center-right and that depends on how you define center-right as well, has been proven false over the last 5-10 years. Americans like economic freedom and personal freedom as well. They believe in things like public education and economic opportunity for people who are disadvantage economically. And believe that government has a role to play in seeing that Americans who need it get a hand up so they can make it in America. They believe in things like public infrastructure investment, public education, regulating business, protecting workers and consumers.

And if you look at the issues and a big reason why the Republican Party is in so much trouble today and can't find enough candidates to win Republican leaning Senate seats to win back the Senate and win back the White House is because the country has moved left as the Republican Party has moved right. But we haven't gone from a Barry Goldwater center-right country to a Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein social democratic far-left country. Right now we are in the land of Clinton politically this center-left New Democratic era. That says "government isn't the problem or the solution. But when used effectively in a limited way can play a positive role in most Americans lives".

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The New York Times: Editorial Board: End Marijuana Prohibition

The New York Times: Editorial Board: Repeal Marijuana Prohibition

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I believe The New York Times hits the nail on the head by why they believe marijuana prohibition should be ended. Other than saying that "marijuana is clearly less dangerous than alcohol". I don't believe that has been proven yet, but we do know the side-effects and risks are similar. Which tells me that you either prohibit both of them, or legalize both of them. But you don't prohibit one of them because they have a strong lobbying force advocating against marijuana prohibition. Which are the alcohol, tobacco, junk food makers and Prison Industrial Complex who would all lose a hell of a lot of money to marijuana legalization.

The arguments against marijuana legalization are tired and old. Because they could be used against either alcohol or tobacco. Especially alcohol when you say things like. "Marijuana can be addictive, or leads to harder drugs, over-consumption is dangerous, it can lead to other crimes and car accidents". You replace marijuana with alcohol and you are talking about the same side-effects. So I'm not buying that and besides it is not the job of government to protect people from themselves. But to regulate how we interact with each other. Meaning protecting innocent people from predators and punishing those who hurt innocent people.

The Times gets the federalist argument correct on this and speaking as a Liberal Federalist myself (and yes there is such a thing) that instead legalizing at the national level and attempting to prohibit states and localities from keeping marijuana prohibition in place that instead you let the states and localities make these decisions for themselves. And let them figure it out for themselves which is exactly what is happening with gambling and same-sex-marriage and I believe at least at same point with prostitution as well.

The New York Times is a progressive paper with a few right-wing writers like David Brooks and Ross Douhat. Which means they could've taken the personal freedom or social liberal approach by saying "that marijuana is personal or freedom of choice issue". Or they could've taken the progressive paternalistic nanny statist approach which is what alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs is based on. But they got it right this time and I expect people in power on sides of the political spectrum will take them seriously.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lizard King: The Doors Live in London, 1968

Live in London-
This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Journal Plus

At least the early part of this concert sounds like the Oliver Stone version of The Doors from 1991 with Val Kilmer playing Jim Morrison. With The Lizard King drunk and wasted and barely being able to stand up and move around without losing his balance. And giving an awful performance in Miami, Florida and finally getting frustrated and starts cursing at the audience. Which is a true story and one of the few things that the Oliver Stone movie portrayed accurately. The New Haven concert would be another one.

The actual Live in London concert was very good and you get to Jim Morrison and The Doors (as I call them) at their best. With The Lizard King at his best in his classic rock and roll uniform the black leather suit, concho belt and cowboy boots that he put on the rock and roll map himself. Which is about an hour long that I have on DVD. They play everything and Morrison is brilliant on the vocals and very entertaining as well.

CBS News: Video: See it Now: Edward R. Murrow on Senator Joe McCarthy: No Fear From 1954

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This was not commentary on Edward R. Murrow's part, but Ed Murrow accurately describing the dangerous actions of Senator Joe McCarthy who was the Chairman of the Select Committee on Communists in Government. Not the exact title, but close enough and what Murrow was doing was explaining how dangerous this type of fascism on the Senator's part was to our American values of Freedom of Assembly and Speech. That Americans shouldn't be judged by who we associate with, or what we think, but by how live our lives as Americans.
Edward R. Murrow

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Nation: Opinion: Bryce Covert: We're Punishing Poor Mothers For Our Own F ailures: How Welfare to Work Should Work

The Nation: Opinion: Bryce Covert: We're Arresting Poor Mothers For Our Own Failures

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I actually agree with Bryce Covert that if we are going require Welfare mothers (for lack of a better term) single mothers on Welfare to work which is what I believe, than we as taxpayers should not only pay for their education so they can finish their education and get a good job, but also subsidize their childcare at least in the short-term so their kids are looked after. While their mom's are either in school, going to job interviews, or working.

Which is why I'm against cutting money for public assistance in order to pay down the debt and deficit. The debt and deficit are serious issues that have to be addressed especially in the long-term and we shouldn't be adding to either in the short-term. But cutting public assistance to pay down debt is not the way to go. You don't cut people who can't survive without your help and put into horrible situations where they may decide to make desperate decisions in order to comply with their Welfare requirements.

I actually wrote a blog about expiring Food Assistance benefits last November as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. You don't cut Food Assistance simply because more Americans need it. Or cut public housing because more Americans need it. Or cut Medicaid because more Americans need it. Or any other type of public assistance simply because more Americans need it. There are better more cost-effective ways to reform those programs that doesn't require hurting people who need that assistance.

Yes require people on public assistance especially Welfare to work so they don't get the attitude that they don't have to work in order to take care of themselves. Unless they are disabled, but do it in a humane cost-effective way that benefits the country as a whole economically especially them and their kids. By providing them with financial assistance to finish their education so they can get themselves a good job. But also childcare so someone is looking after their kids while they are in school, in job interviews, or are working.

Monday, July 21, 2014

CBS Sports: Report: Josh Katzowitz: Jon Bon Jovi Also Wants to Keep Bills in Buffalo: How the Bills Can Succeed in Buffalo

Ralph Wilson Stadium 

CBS Sports: Report: Josh Katzowitz: Jon Bon Jovi Also Wants to Keep the Bills in Buffalo

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I think it would be borderline tragic if the Bills were to ever leave the Buffalo area especially for a Canadian city like Toronto or any other city in Canada. With all due respect to Toronto and other great Canadian sports cities, but Buffalo is great Americans football market as far as how they support their club. Their fans aren't the reason why the Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999. Their management has been by not settling on a general manager and head coach and not finding the right people for those positions. And as a result they switch head coaches almost every year or two years.

The Bills have been close to becoming a playoff team a few times the last ten years or so and even producing a few 9-7 winning seasons and a few 8-8 seasons. But never quite getting over the top, but haven't been able to find that head coach to get them to the next level. And give that coach the players and talent needed to get over that hump. And a part of that has to do with revenue and where they play. Which is where my solution comes in how to save the Bills in Buffalo.

The City of Buffalo and Upstate New York is pretty well known for having a lackluster economy where good jobs are hard to fine. You not only keep the Bills in the Buffalo area, but move them to downtown Buffalo with a retractable roof downtown stadium and you'll have a club with the revenue stream to compete against the rest of the AFC East. But now the Bills with that dome stadium would be in the market for the Super Bowl. And be able to attract December and January college bowl games. And other major events to the area. Which would a big economic boost for the rest of the economy there.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann- In Depth With Pat Buchanan: Richard Nixon's Greatest Comeback

Source: The Big Picture-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I actually agree with Pat Buchanan over Thom Hartmann on this. And I disagree with Thom Hartmann on a lot because he is so far out in left field that it would be impossible to hit a home run out at that ballpark at least to left field. You would need a jet plane to fly the baseball and drop it over the wall at that ballpark. But I agree with Pat Buchanan as much as it snows in Los Angeles. Because he is so far to the right that he makes the Islamic theocrats in Iran look moderate. But I probably agree with Hartmann more often than Buchanan on most civil liberties issues like the War on Drugs.

And this is why I agree with Buchanan here. Because as much as the far-left likes to paint Richard Nixon as some type of right-wing authoritarian with the illegal bugging and other criminal activities inside of the White House, Dick Nixon was actually pretty moderate or progressive even as it related to civil rights issues. And even consumer and workers protections is it related to the environment and civil rights. As Mr. Buchanan said Mr. Nixon was way ahead of the Southern Caucus in the Democratic Party on civil and equal rights and supported all of the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 60s. And even supported affirmative action in the 1970s.
The Big Picture: Thom Hartmann- In-Depth With Pat Buchanan: Richard Nixon's Greatest Comeback

The Zero Hour: Video: RJ Eskow Interviewing Mark Ames: Time to Nationalize Big Tech Companies?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The death nail and actual fall of liberalism once you start talking about nationalizing the media. Because there is nothing liberal about state-control and monopoly of how the people get their media and other information. You have to know if you don't already that Free Speech and Freedom of the Press are liberal values and ideas. Its authoritarians either far-left like in Cuba and Venezuela, or the far-right in the Middle East that want to control the media. So they can control what their people hear and not get hurt by that information.

I understand the power of big media especially once it becomes too big and too powerful and starts looking like a monopoly. But that is what anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws are for. Once a company becomes too big as far as how much control they have over the private market the answer is to break them up. The answer is competition, not going from a private monopoly and creating some new state monopoly where now the people in official power can control how we get our information. And even protecting themselves from negative information that can hurt them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crash Course: Video: John Green: The 1960s in America: Crash Course US History

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

It would be impossible to write out and cover the entire 1960s decade in one blog post. For one I wasn't born in the decade and didn't live in the decade at any point. I was born in 1975 which makes feel a little better because I don't seem as old. So everything I know about the 1960s is what I've read, people who lived though the decade that I've talked to and movies and documentaries that I've seen about the decade. Another reason would be that it was simply such and important and incredible decade that I simply couldn't cover it in one post. Unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life on it.

But what I can give you in even one blog post is a summary of the highlights and lowlights of this monumental decade. A decade that saw so much horrible violence with a U.S. President being assassinated and just five years after that in 1968 the greatest leader we've ever had when it comes to equal constitutional rights Dr. Martin King being assassinated as well. And of course a U.S. Senator running for president who wanted to end the horrible Vietnam War which I'll get into later being assassinated as well.

If you think that is too much horror for one decade, take a breath because there is plenty more. The race riots having to do with poverty, racism and how police mistreated African-Americans especially in low-income communities. And of course having to do with the assassinations of Dr. King and counter-violence to the violence that was brought down on African-Americans and others who were simply marching for their freedom and constitutional rights. And of course the Vietnam War where hundreds of thousands of Americans were killed for fighting someone else's war.

But if I have you now in a depression, this might get you out of it. The 1960s was a great decade of social liberalization. Which is another away of saying social liberation. Notice how liberalization, liberation and liberal all sound similar. And sound nothing like socialist or collectivist or statist or paternalistic or communitarian. The 1960s was a great decade of social liberalization for people of all races, ethnicities, genders and even sexualities. A decade where  more Americans than ever at least up to that point now felt the freedom to be individuals and Americans and live their own lives the way they wanted to.

Now of course social liberalization meaning social freedom has its limits when it doesn't come with responsibility. Which is what the right-wing especially the religious-right who fought back starting in the late 1960s and the 1970s and Tea Party of the late 1960s and 1970s what Richard Nixon called the 'Silent Majority' have gone out of their way to point out. But this was a decade where millions of Americans now felt the freedom to be themselves and live their own individual lives. And didn't feel the need to live the way their parents or grandparents lived.

But the 1960s was a decade thanks to the Baby Boomers and the hippy movement where all sorts of Americans including women, Gays, African-Americans, Latin-Americans and others now felt the freedom to be themselves. And no longer felt the need to have to live in some social box that was created by their parents and grandparents and the right-wing in America about what it means to be a real American. Because now they felt the freedom to make those decisions for themselves.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Nation: Opinion: Lee Fang: "The Real Reason Why Pot is Still Illegal": Actually There Are More Reasons For Pot Prohibition

Financiers of Marijuana Prohibition

The Nation: Opinion: Lee Fang: The Real Reason Why Pot is Still Illegal

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Lee Fang is right about the reason he gave as why marijuana is illegal in America. It's called the prescription drug industry that produces drugs that are very addictive and once addictive they become dangerous. Pain killers comes to mind very quickly and so does steroids. And I thought his example about former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy where Representative Kennedy now a marijuana prohibition advocate saying that "there are extremists pushing for legalization of marijuana". Give me a break, the only thing that is extreme is marijuana prohibition and the broader War on Drugs which I'll get to later.

But the prescription drug industry and their lobbyists and advocates are just the beginning when it comes to marijuana prohibition in America. Here are several more real reasons just off the top of my head. The alcohol and tobacco industries, the Prison Industrial Complex with includes both the private prison industry and construction companies that build public prisons in America. Who would all lose a hell of a lot of money if marijuana were to be legalized.

Think about it young Americans especially lets say the X and Y generations overwhelmingly prefer marijuana over alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana doesn't make them feel as bad if bad at all. And it doesn't hurt their lungs as much, or make their clothes smell. Or give them god-awful migraine headaches from alcohol hangovers. You legalize marijuana and that would cost all of these industries that are opposed to marijuana legalization and champions of the broader War on Drugs a hell of a lot of money.

But that is just alcohol and tobacco. How about the Prison Industrial Complex and the loss of money they would have to deal with. Think about it you legalize marijuana and now we are sending less people to prison each year over it as a result. And would have less need for prisons and cells because we would have fewer prisoners as a result. Prescription drugs are big backers of marijuana prohibition and the broader War on Drugs and I'm not arguing that they aren't. But they have other partners who are fighting marijuana prohibition as well that are just resourceful if not more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Nation: Opinion: William Greider: What Does the Democratic Party Believe in?

The Nation: Opinion: William Greider: What Does the Democratic Party Actually Believe?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

The Democratic Party today and throughout it's history perhaps even through the 19th Century has always been a party of parties or political and ideological factions. It is called the Democratic Party for a very good reason. Because Democrats believe in democracy whether they are big D Democrats meaning registered Democrats, or small d Democrats who aren't registered with the Democratic Party. That means Democrats who believe in democracy, but that doesn't mean we all share the same political ideology, because obviously we don't.

We are not called the Liberal Party, even though we obviously have a liberal faction that I'm proud to be a member of. We are not called the Progressive Party even though we have a progressive faction. We are not called the Centrist Party even though we have a small but centrist faction in the party. We are not called the Conservative Party obviously and we pretty much no longer have a conservative faction even though really up until the 1980s or so we did have one.

The Democratic Party is not a party with one governing political philosophy, but a party that is made up of people who share the same values and goals. Generally as it relates to the economy and to a certain extent as it relates to social issues. But we don't share the same policies in how to accomplish the goals we share. Which was obvious during President Obama's first term and still is obvious today. And the Democratic Party works when we are able to incorporate the best from all of our factions into policies and throws out the garbage from the fringe. To give voters a reason to vote for Democrats.

The Democratic Party has a liberal faction that I call New Democrats which I'm one. That believes in both personal and economic freedom and a high degree of both. That wants all Americans to have a good shot at being successful in life so they don't need all of those government interventions and programs to survive that the Bill Greider's of the world believe we should spend a lot more on. And New Democrats tend to very pro-choice as well and not just as it relates to abortion, but a whole range of personal issues.

We have a FDR New Deal Progressive faction as you see in Congress today as well with Senator's Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Tom Harkin in the Senate. and Representative's George Miller, Henry Waxman and others in the House. They tend to agree with Liberals on social issues, but as it relates to women's issues they tend to believe that not only should women have choice, but that others should have to pay for those choices as well.

Progressives tend to be a bit more paternalistic when it comes to social issues like alcohol, tobacco, gambling and even today with junk food, soft drinks and even marijuana. And want government to be much more involved in the economy when it comes to the safety net. But believe that people should have the opportunity to be successful on their own with a good education.  And that the public safety net can be used to empower people at the bottom to move up.

Then we have the what I call Social Democrats (to be nice) in the Democratic Party what I call the Bernie Sanders faction that The Nation Magazine is part of. That believe "the New Deal and Great Society are out of date. And that the American form of government and even Constitution are out of date. That our federalist form of government with the three layers are out of date. That instead of having a country that is based so much on constitutional law and individual rights that we should move to a more collectivist social democratic form of government. Where more power is centralized with the central government for the benefit of the people's welfare. And we are run primarily if not exclusively on majoritarian rule. Instead of being run by the Constitution as is common in Europe".

So when someone says Democratic Party I almost say which one. Because if the party ever did break up you would see several fairly large parties replace it all having different names. And one says they are a Democrat I almost want to ask them what kind of Democrat are you? Because again we have four different factions all having enough power to at least get elected to Congress and having a major voice inside of the party.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thom Hartmann: Video: Senator Bernie Sanders on the Demand Side of Economics

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I'm going to try to put this in a way that perhaps even a Libertarian or Tea Partier could understand. The caller in this video as Senator Sanders said laid out real well or perfectly as I would put it what demand side economics is. Which is when someone invests in something or creates a new product or service that people want at an affordable rate that investment will pay for itself because of the consumer demand that it will bring in return with people buying that product or service. And then of course the money that goes back in the economy and the jobs that get created as a result.

As far as government is concern when it comes to investment. I'm not here to try to make a case that all government investment is good and good for the economy. Or as let's say the further left is concern "all non-defense or security related investment is good for the economy". Why because people who actually believe in that do enough of that all the time. But the things that government should be investing in as it relates to the economy they should be investing in it a hell of a lot more and do it in a fiscally responsible way. And infrastructure investment is a perfect example of that.

Government awards money to construction companies to fix and build new infrastructure and now what do you have, but companies with work to do and of course they need workers to do the work. So that is where the jobs come in and now people who weren't working last week and collecting a public assistance check are working this week collecting a solid pay check for the work they do. What do they do with that money is pay off current bills that they didn't have the money for previously. But each further check goes into the economy to pay those workers bills and for them to live well and enjoy life. Which creates new jobs because of the new consumer demand.

Demand side economics is a term that I wish I've been using a long time ago. But that is exactly what it is and a role and not the only role, but a role that government has in seeing that certain projects that the country needs for the economy to be as strong as possible get done and gets done in a fiscally responsible manner. Which puts money in the economy and creates new jobs as well.

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Robert Borosage: The Economic Debate in the Democratic Party

Democratic Value 

Campaign For America's Future: Opinion: Robert Borosage: The Emerging Democratic Debate

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I agree with Bob Borosage that there is an emerging economic debate in the Democratic Party about the future of America's economy and what direction we should go in economically. (Good job Bob!) And The New Democrat does it's part to to get the New Democratic liberal economic message out about what New Democrats would do when it came to economic policy. Our pieces yesterday about the income and wealth gaps and minimum wage last night are perfect examples of that.

The main two factions of the Democratic Party are the New Democrat Liberals that basically came into existence with Jack Kennedy when he was in Congress and really post-World War II. President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale and of course Jack Kennedy in Congress and as President were New Democrats as well. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama are all basically New Democrats as well. President Obama actually in between FDR/LBJ and the New Democrats depending on the issue. The other faction are the FDR or New Deal and LBJ Great Society Progressives that came to power with Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

The other smaller, but perhaps growing faction of the Democratic Party are what is known as the New Left. A bit further left of both the New Democrats and Progressives and have real strong socialist leanings across the board and are really Social Democrats who are pushing for social democracy in America. But right now they are with the New Dealers on economic policy when  it comes to redistributing the wealth from the rich to give to government to take care of the poor and struggling middle class.

I mention these things well to put you asleep. No because I'm a political junky. Well the second one is true, but the real reason for the economic debate in the Democratic Party is because we are exactly that. The Democratic Party that believes in inclusiveness and having multiple viewpoints and letting the side that gets the most votes and wins the most support govern. Well most Democrats believe that except for the far-left flank of the party the McGovernites who have strong fascist leanings when it comes to opposition views especially from right-wingers.

But in this debate you have the New Democratic Liberals which I'm a proud member which I believe this blog clearly represents who say that the "main reasons for the income and wealth gaps in America have to do with the education gap". It was as true in 1970 or 1980 as it is true today that the better the skills that you have, the better you'll do in America because of the quality of options that you'll have as far as where you'll be able to work, or even be able to work for yourself. Successful good companies are always looking for the best and most qualified workers to fill their key positions. And will pay and benefit those workers a great deal to have them work for them.

To put it in pop culture terms. "If you have the skills, you'll be able to pay the bills". To translate for the more nerdy and less hip amongst us that means if you have the skills you'll be able to not only support yourself, but able to put money away in case you need it later on. If you don't have the skills, you may end up taking pills (or perhaps alcohol, or stronger drugs hopefully not together) to help you get yourself through your rotten lot in life. Which is poverty and perhaps working multiple low-wage jobs in order to survive. If you are working at all, plus collecting public assistance and private charity to help you survive.

Now the Progressives and Social Democrats in the Democratic Party will say "education and opportunity aren't the problems with the American economy. The problem has to do with the fact that the rich have so much while everyone else struggles just to survive. And if there is any problem with education it's those people who want to privatize it and hold educators and students accountable. And give parents choice in where to send their kids to school. And the reason why the rich have so much and are so successful is because the rules are rigged in favor of them".

Now once you get past the education and educational opportunities part (which was hard two write let alone read without laughing), I mean of course there's a lack of quality educational opportunities in America, but not all of what the let's say further left of the Democratic Party says about the economy is garbage. (To keep this blog clean) Of course the rich are able to negotiate rules that benefit them. That is called lobbying and you have a problem with that change the lobbying rules. And of course they are better represented in the court system when they are sued. Because they can afford the best defense that money can buy. That comes with being rich and successful in America which is part of our system.

And speaking of the system what the New Democrat will say and I'm included is that the problem with America is not that there are rich people or too many rich and successful people in America. The problem with our economy is that there aren't enough rich and successful people in America. Which goes to lack of quality education and economic opportunity in America. Which is the main problem with our economic system and for the lack of economic growth and quality job growth. Meaning the lack of quality jobs that this country produces in America.

The Progressive and Social Democrat will say "nah, that's not the problem with our economy. The problem with our economy is that rich are rich and have too much money. And to go to the distribution point, what government needs to do is to take most of what the rich makes and just leave them enough to survive. And give that money to fund government social programs and create a real welfare state in American to take care of everyone else". The Progressive and Social Democrat wants to share the current economic pot so no one is rich, middle or poor. The New Democrat wants to expand the economic pot so we can all be successful on our own and not need government to take care of everyone.

And that is the current economic debate in the Democratic Party right now. Being debated by the Clintons and President Obama to large extend representing the New Democrats. And Senator Elizabeth Warren representing the Progressives and Senator Bernie Sanders representing the Socialists.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The New York Times: Editorial Board: Germany and the Minimum Wage: A Sensible Approach to an Income Floor

German Federal Parliament 

The New York Times: Editorial Board: Germany and the Minimum Wage

This approach was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

More evidence that Germany is not as socialist as it get's stereotyped. The German Bundestag which is the lower chamber of the German Federal Parliament which is like the U.S. House in our Congress passed a sensible minimum wage law last week. 8.50 Euros which would be $11.60 in American dollars assuming the the upper chamber of parliament in Germany the Bundesrat which would be like the U.S. Senate in the U.S. Congress passes this law as well. This is not a twenty-five dollar and hour minimum wage that American so-called Progressives want. But $11.60 which is less than half.

$7.25 and hour is way too low for a minimum wage in America especially with our high cost of living. And then you add the fact that it is also unfairly too low when you consider that grocery store cashiers and fast food cashiers and cooks are vital employees to their employees. Without these workers these companies would be out of business. So paying them a wage that doesn't allow them to come close to being able to pay their bills and having to rely on taxpayers in order to financially survive is not fair to the workers, but also not the taxpayers who have to pick up their employers tab.

My first offer when it comes to raising the minimum wage in America would be ten-dollars an hour with a thirty-percent tax break for small employers. And then index it for inflation so it keeps up with cost if living. But I could go to twelve-dollars and hour without much convincing needed with the same thirty-percent tax break. Or even fifteen-dollars an hour with a 30-40 percent tax break. Which would be benefit taxpayers because their taxes wouldn't be needed as much to fund public assistance. It would also help our debt and deficit situation because again fewer Americans would need public assistance. And it wouldn't hurt small employers because they would get that money back in a tax cut.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Washington Post: Opinion- EJ Dionne- It's Time For Progressives to Reclaim the Constitution

Source: The Washington Post-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I guess it depends on what you mean by a Progressive and I would certainly include EJ Dionne as an actual Progressive. But today's so-called Progressives seem to believe and are constantly arguing that the U.S. Constitution is outdated and outlived it's usefulness. And it should be scrapped for something else and we should perhaps even scrap our federal form of government and become a social democracy with a unitary government that is common in Europe.

Today's so-called Progressives aren't Progressives really and not center-left Democrats. But are really further left and people who would be called Social Democrats or Socialists in Europe. If anything they would scrap the Constitution all together and go to a complete majoritarian rule society where the majority always rules. But if you want to talk about real Progressives, or EJ Dionne, or Lyndon Johnson who I believe is a better example of a real Progressive better than Franklin Roosevelt, then we can talk about what a progressive Constitution looks like.

I blog a lot about the differences between Liberals and Socialists and even to a certain extent the Liberals and Progressives. But here is one area where Liberals and Progressives both agree on. We both at least generally support the United States Constitution and our federalist form of government. That limits government especially the Federal Government. We both believe in most if not all of the amendments to the Constitution. And we both believe the Constitution needs to be interpreted in a way that makes sense with modern American life and keeps up with the times.

To me as someone who wouldn't technically qualify as a Progressive at least today, but I'm definitely a Liberal which again is different, I guess the idea of a progressive Constitution is something that protects the rights of all Americans equally. It doesn't say some people have more rights other than the Constitution than others especially organizations over individuals. And that the Welfare Clause covers society and gives government the ability to look after society as a whole including individuals.

Progressives are more federal and nationally oriented than Liberals. But that doesn't mean that they are unconstitutional, meaning they are against the Constitution. It just means they believe the Federal Government has  a major role to address all the concerns of the country. And not just leave it up to states, locals and private sector. And under the Welfare Clause and Commerce Clause you can make a case they are within the Constitution. As long as they are simply not trying to nationalize every organization and government program that has something to do with society's welfare.

And under this if you are a real Progressive it is not so much that you want the the Federal Government to do everything and try to manage the affairs of Americans lives. But that you believe the Federal Government has a role and responsibility to address the needs and concerns of Americans lives in more of a supportive role. And has a role, but not the only role when it comes to concerns that country as a whole. And to me at least this would be the view of a progressive not social democratic or socialist view of what the U.S. Constitution is and should be.
The Nexus Institute: E.J. Dionne on Religion- Progressive, Conservative & Revolutionary