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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sam Harris: Waking Up With Sam Harris- Mark Lilla: What Happened To Leftism

Source: Sam Harris-
Source: Sam Harris: Waking Up With Sam Harris- Mark Lilla: What Happened To Leftism?

It sort of pains me to say this (ha, ha) but this is an area where I agree with right-wing talk show host and writer Dennis Prager. He separates liberalism with what he calls leftism. Leftism to him is this fringe left-wing political movement in America that sees as its role to defend the under dog generally and almost always racial and sometimes ethnic minorities who are also of Caucasian background. Jews, Latinos, and other ethnic groups that have a history of being discriminated against in America. As well as religious minorities like Jews again, Catholics of all sorts of ethnic and racial backgrounds and Muslims who are of different ethnic and racial backgrounds today and aren't just Arab, but from other Middle Eastern backgrounds as well.

What Dennis Prager would call a Leftist and supporter of leftism, is someone who sees their job as to defend anyone who would be an underdog and someone who faces discrimination from the majority European Protestant majority in America. Especially English-Protestants in America. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, Progressives were the people defending Jews from ethnic genocide in Europe and took America to war in Europe to fight Nazi Germany and try to save European-Jews from the Nazis. The 1950s and 1960s, Progressives and Democratic Socialists in America, people like Dr. Martin Luther King, were campaigning and organizing for civil rights to protect African-Americans from racial discrimination. Which is what became the civil rights movement. From the 1970s and on Progressives and Democratic Socialists, have fought for equal protection for gays.

What we're seeing today is not much of a progressive movement on the left, certainly Far-Left. What we see now are Far-Leftists who in many cases aren't just illiberal, but also regressive. People who not only believe that underdogs (meaning minorities) deserve special protection in society, but have some special right to not be criticized and have to hear anything that is critical and negative about them. Even if the criticism and negativity is accurate about them. For example saying that Muslims believes women are inferior to men and that there are Muslim nations in the Middle East and other places where women are inferior under law to men, that pointing these facts out in public is somehow racist and bigoted towards Muslims.

Ben Affleck who is the perfect example of why entertainers shouldn't automatically be considered a credible source when it comes politics and current affairs. Said that criticizing Muslims is racist. Well, Ben gets a couple things wrong there. The obvious one being that Muslim is not a race, but people who follow Islam. The second problem that Ben has is that simply critiquing Islam is not bigoted. Especially if your critique is accurate.

What I'm talking about here is the so-called social justice warrior movement, which is really the political correctness movement on the Far-Left. People who believe that minorities have a special right not to be criticized. Unless those minorities are right-wingers then right-wing minorities like Professor Walter Williams who is African-American and a Libertarian, someone like that can be criticized by the Far-Left in America according to the Far-Left. Because someone like Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell, are considered sellouts and Uncle Toms and not considered what militants on the Far-Left and Far-Leftists in the African-American community, they would say that Williams and Sowell aren't black enough and are what they would called whiteys with black skin.

Dennis Prager separates Liberals, which is what I am and proud to be, with Leftists or what I would call Far-Leftists. People who are Socialists and in some cases who are mainstream Democratic Socialists who want to maintain private enterprise in America, but combine it with social democracy. But who are still small d democrats. The Bernie Sanders movement in America.

The Bernie Sanders movement in America are still Far-Left when it comes to their economic and political views in America, but who look mainstream compared with the fringe socialist political correctness Far-Left in America who have Communists and Anarchists in their movement. Who see it as their job to tear down the American system and American form of government. Who have violent tendencies and believe the Far-Right and other right-wingers don't have a right to even exist, let alone speak in America. That free speech in America only protects the Far-Left.

Dennis Prager separates Liberals from what he calls Leftists and what I call Far-Leftists. I only say that again to make this point. I separate Far-Leftists with Liberals and Progressives. Progressives are the people I mentioned in the first two paragraphs the people who fought to save the European-Jews from the German Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. Who fought for civil rights laws in the 1950s and 1960s to protect African-Americans, as well as other racial and ethnic minorities, as well as women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds from discrimination under law and in the private sector. Who fought for the creation of the American safety net for people who truly need it which is what gave us the New Deal in the 1930s and the Great Society in the 1960s.

Progressives are people who believe in progress and using government to build a better society where everyone can succeed. Using government from  revenue that was created from a large private sector to build a better society for everyone. When I think of Progressives I think of people like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, people of that ideological background.

Not people who believe that the America is the real and only evil empire in the world. That law enforcement is authoritarian and bigoted. That capitalism is racist and individualism is selfish. Progressives aren't anti-military, or anti-law enforcement, or anti-capitalist, or anti-individaulust, or even anti-establishment. They're true American Patriots who believe in American values and who love America, but like true American Patriots, but who believe America can always be better.

What we see now from the New-Left that was originally created in the 1960s and has always been around since because of fringe leftists from the Baby Boom Generation, as well as their children and grandchildren, are people who are just illiberal (which is the opposite of liberal) but people who are regressive. Which is sort of the opposite of progressive. They're regressive and even fascist because they are people who believe that people who don't think like them and look at the same world as they do, don't have a right to speak and even exist. They'll even use violence to accomplish their political goals.

What has happened to leftism as Dennis Prager and I would call it, is that the Far-Left has almost completely separated from the Center-Left, which is what we're seeing in the Democratic Party. Before the Center-Left and Far-Left could work together accomplish similar goals. Now they see each other as opponents. And true Liberals and Progressives, should separate from Socialists and especially Communists, because the Far-left is illiberal and regressive and don't represents our values.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Constitution Daily: NCC Staff- Looking Back: George Carlin & The U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Constitution Daily-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

The blog writes a lot about political correctness and fascism, because we write a lot about comedy and write comedy ourselves and without free speech which is what political correctness and fascism tries to restrict (obviously, duh, you don't say!) there would't be any comedy and even political satire. Which is why I'm always amused if not confused when so-called left-wing comedians and other entertainers make calls for political correctness because they think some material is offensive.

Because without free speech there wouldn't be any comedy. I mean, if political correctness ran this country instead of the First Amendment, comedians wouldn't be able to crack jokes about anybody. Especially the people who deserve to be made fun of. Like our politicians, just to use as an example. Entertainers attacking free speech is very ironic. Because speech is what fuels comedy, as well as self-awareness and what's going on around you in life. Even comedians have stood up for political correctness against free speech, like Michael Moore and others. Even John Oliver, Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, would be other examples.

A comedian attacking free speech, is like a race car driver saying oil and gas are bad for the environment and therefor should be outlawed. Oil and gas literally fuel that race car driver's career. Without it, he might be flipping burgers or selling lemonade. Or a pro football player saying football is too violent and therefor tackling should be outlawed. Who would go watch professional flag football? As the great comedian Mel Brooks has said political correctness is destroying comedy because comedians are worried about offending oversensitive tight asses, who think they're the only perfect human beings on the face of the Earth who don't deserve to be made fun of. Brooks has said political correctness is destroying comedy. The second part is my line.

George Carlin is not the first victim of political correctness when it comes to comedy. You could argue at least that Lenny Bruce back in the 1950s and 60s has that uthonorable title. But George and Lenny, are from the same generation. Lenny would literally go on stage using cuss words as part of his act and I'm not talking about hell or damn, but he would talk about sex and talk about how people would have sex with each other and put it bluntly. And then would literally be arrested on stage for using foul language. George has  a similar but different story.

George would go on stage and literally use words like shit, fuck, mother fucker, mother fucking fucking, and others and these were part of the so-called seven dirty words that comedians weren't supposed to use in Phyllis Schlafly's 1950s America, where you weren't even allowed to say God, Jesus, and hell, at least not on TV.

Liberal democracy which has a practically guaranteed right for free speech in America under are First Amendment. The only exceptions having to do with falsely libeling, inciting violence, or harassment, like leaving obscene message on someone's voice mail, to use as an example. This is not the place for oversensitive tight asses who look at the mirror and only see perfection. Or have a glass jaw for an ego and can't take the smallest bit of criticism without breaking out in tears and flooding their homes from all of their perspiration. I don't know, maybe Canada is a country for people like that.

If you don't like offensive material, then don't watch it or listen to it! Only watch PBS and C-SPAN if you can't handle criticism about yourself and groups you believe have constitutional protection not to be criticized that no one else has. With liberal democracy comes a lot of individual freedom, but with that comes responsibility and the fact that you're not the only one who lives here and you have the same freedom and responsibility that everyone else has. And might from time to time hear and see things that you disapprove of. But so will everyone else.
Source: Foundation Interviews 

Foundation Interviews: George Carlin- On His Supreme Court Seven Dirty Words Case

Saturday, October 14, 2017

HBO: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver- The Confederacy

Source: HBO-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I believe this is an example of where Britain is very different from America. In Britain, you basically only have one government because the United Kingdom is a unitarian government with most of the governmental power in the country rests with London in England which gets to decide how the rest of the country including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and yes England which is actually a territory that is part of Britain, gets to live. Apparently too many people aren't aware of that and talk about England as if its  some independent country and talk about England as if they're talking about France or Germany.

America is very different where power is much more decentralized. We don't just have fifty states and those fifty states aren't Federal agencies. Their independent jurisdictions that are part of a nation state known as the United States and have jurisdiction over their own affairs in their state. So if Alabama wants to have confederate statues, thats their business. Even if it offends oversensitive over caffeinated college yuppies that have nothing better to do with their nights like gee I don't know, studying, getting laid, and instead spend their nights protesting Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now confederate statues.

So if we were in Britain right now whether it was Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or England, and someone was offended by some statue, Parliament could just declare that statue offensive or the Prime Minister could just do that by herself and that statue would automatically be eliminated. Even if the people in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, or Manchester, aren't offended by the statue themselves, at least not a majority of the people. But we're obviously not in Britain and neither is John Oliver.

If someone is offended by a statue in Birmingham, Charlotte, Richmond, Philadelphia, Boston, or wherever else in America, sure they could complain about it and even peacefully protest against it. But don't expect Congress to pass some law telling some city or cities that they have to remove a certain statue because it offends someone or a group of people. Perhaps especially a group of oversensitive over caffeinated college yuppies, who keep local coffee houses and Red Bull in business by themselves.

 Because Congress would be out of their jurisdiction. And don't expect the President to even comment on it. Other than maybe President Donald Trump who will say that there's nothing wrong with having confederate statues. He might complain about having statues that honor African-Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War, but thats a different issue.

"Mind your own damn business!" Is one of my favorite phrases. I'm not an indifferent person and I see bad things that happen to people all the time that make me feel bad because some innocent person had to experience that. But unless there's something that is really bad that is going on in Maryland, especially involving the State Government and Annapolis is trying to pass some law that I really don't like, I could really care less if Alabama or any other Bible Belt state tries to honor some Confederate figure. Or tries to pass some big government law that tries to outlaw homosexuality, or gambling, to use as examples.

We have a Federal Republic and as along as the states are passing laws that are within the U.S. Constitution, they are within their rights. Big government laws like banning homosexuality violate the Constitution and would get thrown simply because they violate the Fourth Amendment and our right to privacy. But as long as any state is within the Constitution and putting up statues and keeping older statues is certainly within the Constitution, states can honor anybody from the Confederacy that they choose too. And if people are offended by that, they can always vote with their feet (to quote to Ronald Reagan) and move to a state that is more politically correct with the times.
HBO: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver- The Confederacy

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Ripon Society: The Ripon Forum- Gregory Koger: Preserve The Filibuster- Protect People From Political Parties

Source: The Ripon Society- Gregory Koger-
Source: The Ripon Society: The Ripon Forum- Gregory Koger: Preserve The Filibuster- Protect People From Political Parties

Before I get into the Republican hypocrisy about the Senate filibuster which is as loud as Metallica heavy metal concert unclose with no earplugs and as obvious as the Grand Canyon is big, I just want to get to the constitutional arguments about the Senate filibuster.

Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants all Federal legislative powers with Congress. Under the U.S. Constitution Congress writes their own rules. So the Senate decided to have a filibuster and cloture rule. The House decide to have an almost completely majoritarian framework in how they run their business. Which is both the right of the Senate and House of Representatives to write and enforce their rules the way they decide to. Whatever rules they make for themselves are constitutional. Its the laws that Congress passes together that are subjected to judicial rules by the Federal judiciary.

Now the more fun side of this debate. Where were GOP calls for eliminating the Senate filibuster and calling it unconstitutional the first two years of the Obama Administration when Democrats controlled Congress and even had 3/5 majorities in both the House and Senate? But under then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a few Senate Democrats as well, were still able to block some bills proposed and passed by House Democrats. Like extending Unemployment Insurance and additional stimulus bills to the economy. Senate Republicans were able to do this because they stayed inline and prevented Democrats from getting 3/5 majority vote in the Senate.

Or where was the GOP call to eliminate the filibuster from 2011-15 when there were two divided Congress's because House Republicans won back the House in 2010 and held onto majority in 2012. With Senate Democrats keeping the Senate in 2010 and 2012? Senate Republicans with 47 and then later 45 members, were able to block a whole list of Obama Administration executive and later judicial appointments simply by preventing Senate Democrats from obtaining 60 votes. Which is why then Senate Leader Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster in 2013 on executive and judicial nominees.

There are very good reasons why Congress is more unpopular than traveling salesman, lawyers, trial lawyers and make conmen look like good decent moral people. One of those reasons is hypocrisy.

Members of Congress will say they believe in fiscal responsibility and even fiscal conservatism. Until they become fiscally responsible at least in the sense that they're now in power and in control of the nation's fiscal policy. They run against deficit spending when they're in the opposition, especially when they're in both the opposition and minority, which is where Republicans were in 2010 and 2011. And then whey come back into power which is where Republicans are now, deficits no longer seem to matter to them. Especially if they have political priorities and objectives and things they need to accomplish in order to get reelected in 2018.

Why try to pay for tax relief and tax reform and ask people to pay for those things with few government services, when you can just finance those things on the national credit card and get way with it, if they're successful in passing it this year? Being in the political opposition is easy in the sense that you can complain all you want and not really pay any price for it. But governing is difficult because it means making decisions and risking offending groups that you may need to win reelection. Which is where the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans find themselves now.

Republican complaints about the Senate filibuster today and Congress failing to move on anything because legislation getting blocked in the Senate, well their a couple of problems with that.

One, the House isn't passing much if any legislation right now either. At least legislation that even Senate Republicans want to deal with. So maybe the GOP should look at their colleagues in the House when it comes to gridlock or their own Senate Leadership. But the second reason is more obvious and is nothing more than hypocrisy on a month long sugar high. The GOP was in favor of the filibuster when they were in the opposition, especially the opposition and minority, because they could use it to obstruct the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans. Now they're against it because they're divided and can't seem to find enough votes to even pass legislation with a simple majority, let alone a super majority. Opposition to the filibuster is nothing more than political hypocrisy at this point and a big example of why Americans hate politics and hate Congress.
Source: Now This World- U.S. Senate Rand Paul

Now This World: Trace Dominguez- U.S. Senator Rand Paul: What Is a Filibuster?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Hollywood Reporter: Beverly Hills 90210- The Teen Drama That Brought Back Sideburns Turns 27

Source: The Hollywood Reporter- Jennie Garth & Shannen Doherty-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of giving out my age, Beverly Hills 90210 takes me back 27 years to my first year in high school. I started high school during the late summer of 1990 in Bethesda, Maryland. Beverly Hills comes out almost two months later in late October that year. The kids on 90201 at least the main stars characters were a year ahead of me in high school. I was the class of 1994 in high school and they were the class of 93. So I got to see their last three years of high school and their first year of college my whole time in high school. And thats exactly what I did, because Beverly Hills and the original Law & Order, were my favorite two shows in the 1990s, (not including Monday Night Football) at least the early and mid 1990s. Actually, add LA Law to that list, so I saw a lot of Beverly Hills and know the show very well.

Beverly Hills wasn't the first show about my Generation X. The Facts of Life from the 1980s was that show. Beverly Hills wasn't even the second show about my generation. Saved by The Bell from the late 1980s and early 90s was that. And both of those shows deserve their own articles and pieces written about them as well, because they're both very successful and important to this generation. But Beverly Hills was an original at least in the sense that it was the first soap opera about Generation X. People who grew up and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. Who were born in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether you want to use the official Census Bureau definition of Gen-X as 1965-79, or use a more believable figure like 1962 or even 1961, till 1979, we are the generation was that was born in the 1960s and 1970s and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. So if you went to high school and graduated high school in the 1990s, you're probably a Gen-Xer, unless you graduated in the late 90s.

So that is what Beverly Hills was about how Gen-X kids grew up and what we went through and experienced as a generation. For all the good and bad and Beverly Hills had a lot of both. From parents of Gen-X kids falling in love again and getting remarried, to dealing with teen pregnancy and teen suicide. It has two twins literally from Minneapolis, (ha, ha, the Minnesota Twins, get it) yes it was corny, but the Walsh Family moves from Minneapolis to the Los Angeles area settling in Beverly Hills into a new beautiful him. Jim Walsh (the husband and father) is a successful accountant and lands a new and good job in Beverly Hills and moves his family 2000 miles or so from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.

The Walsh's have two kids who are yes twins Brandon and Brenda (played by Jason Priestly and Shannen Doherty) and they are uplifted from the down to earth 1950s lifestyle of the Upper Midwest in Minnesota, where they get 6 months or more of winter every year, out to Los Angeles where they've never even heard of winter, let alone seen it and get 6 months of summer instead. So the kids especially get a real cultural shock during the first season of this show.

It gets much better and more interesting, not that the Walsh Family aren't that interesting, because the Brenda Walsh character might be the most fascinating character on the show. Either her of Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) but the people they meet and befriend in Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School, are all sons and daughters of LA big shots. Entertainer moguls and people who at least do business and have clients in the Hollywood industry. And they meet most if not all the stereotypes Los Angeles kids.

Kelly Taylor (played by (Jennie Garth) is the daughter of an aging actress who is an alcoholic and addicted to illegal narcotics as well. Kelly's parents of course are divorced and she rarely sees her father.

Steve Sanders (played by Ian Ziering) is the son of an actress and a Hollywood businessman. Who you think with that background would do very well at least starting out as far as never having to worry about money and where he might live. But the guy is a bit of a rebel and a constant screw up who is essentially always in trouble and looking to get into trouble. Thinking he will get away with it and always has one scheme or another, but always gets caught. We probably all grew up with guys like that.

Donna Martin (played by Tori Spelling) on the surface at least comes off as a typical Southern California blonde bimbo. But she's very cute both personally and physically and very kindhearted always looking to help others. Who is a good girl always looking to please her parents, especially her Phyllis Schlafly lookalike over-paternalistic mother who lives in and is very happy in Los Angeles, but like Phyllis Schalfly believes Hollywood is destroying her 1950s traditional America. And strongly looks down upon individualism.

Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) is my favorite character on the show. Luke Perry plays the son of the Hollywood investor as well as it can be played. He's essentially a good guy (at least when he's sober) but is the constant rebel who grows up until his parents literally let him ago and buy him his own house, in a hotel. Because his parents get divorced and his mother skips out on them and moves to Hawaii. Leaving her son with his father who doesn't seem to have the time to raise his son. And has him put up in a hotel and gives his son Dylan money to take care of himself. Dylan is basically a young guy with no parental guidance other than maybe Jim Walsh (the twins father) who manages his trust fund for him. Jim Walsh really is the closest thing that Dylan has to a father, or even parent on the show.

I guess I should say something about David Silver ( played by Brian Austin Green) who I guess was okay on this show, but what has he done lately? I believe Beverly Hills is really Brian Green's only real shot at making it big in Hollywood and when that dried up so did his career. David Silver is one of those guys who is actually hipper than he seems at first, who knows how to be cool, but struggles in executing it. He is one of those guys who wants to be in with what we at least called back then  the in crowd. I guess its called clicke today, but doesn't really fit in at least during the first season.

I would mention the twins but they get so much attention anyway and the fact that they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in the middle of high school to start their sophomore years, plus with everything that has been written about them before, gives you a pretty good idea about them. They both probably deserve their own articles about them anyway.

Beverly Hills is a good example of what life was like as teenagers (at least LA teenagers) in the early 1990s and what life was like when cell phones weren't mainstream yet and the internet was a baby. The internet comes out in the summer of 91 during the 2nd season of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is also an example of what life was like for teens and young adults before coffee houses were everywhere and before social media was online. Where people actually got together physically to hang out and socialize. Because our lives weren't dominated by our iPhones and laptops. And is a great show especially for people who are interested in what life was like in the 1990s especially the early 90s and what growing was like for Generation X.
The Hollywood Reporter: Beverly Hills 90210- The Teen Drama That Brought Back Sideburns Turns 27 This Month

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Roll Call: David Hawkings - Whiteboard: What is a Filibuster?

Source: Roll Call-
Source: Roll Call: David Hawkings- Whiteboard: What is a Filibuster?

David Hawkings is right about what an actual filibuster is. Its generally one Senator or a group of Senator's who take to the Senate floor and talk forever basically, or till they run out of breath, faint, have to use the bathroom, discover they have lives, perhaps miss their kids and wives, etc. Maybe the Senate Leader finds the 60 votes that he needs to cut off the Senator or Senator's that are speaking.

And generally but not always filibusters are performed (if you want to call filibustering a performance) by a member or members of the minority party. The Senate has a filibuster and the cloture rule, but its really the cloture rule is used by the Minority Leader who rounds up enough votes to stop the majority from moving ahead on legislation that is used by the minority to block legislation.

Instead of minority members speaking indefinitely about a particular bill, the Minority Leader will round up 41 or more votes to simply prevent the majority from moving to final passage on a bill that probably has no minority input on it and perhaps didn't even go through committee. And then the Minority Leader or his deputy who is generally the lead minority member on the committee that has jurisdiction of the bill, will argue that the Senate simply hasn't had enough time to consider the legislation and the minority simply can't support this and isn't ready to vote on the bill.

The minority party blocks legislation all the time with the cloture rule. The Minority Leader will announce that they intend to block the legislation. The Leader will then move to final passage, but to get to final passage of legislation which is the final vote, the majority party needs 60 votes to accomplish that. Which generally doesn't happen on partisan legislation because Congress tends to be very divided at least in the last 40 years or so. Even when on party controls both the House and Senate, their majorities tend to be fairly small, especially in the Senate. And the Senate minority party tends to have at least 45 members which is more than enough to block legislation on their own, if the Minority Leader keeps them unified against partisan legislation that the majority party wants to pass.

I'm somewhat divided on the Senate filibuster myself. Even as a Democrat who sees his party both as the minority party in Congress, but as the opposition party and in the White House. Filibusters themselves I'm not a fan of. The idea that one Senator or even a group of them can command so much attention and power by themselves, which makes them as powerful as both the Minority Leader and Majority Leader, even if there're a freshman and perhaps have no other experience in Congress other than their first year or 2 in the Senate, seems counterproductive and makes the party leaderships seem very weak.

But on the other side as a Liberal who believes in both limited government and is against absolute power even if the Democratic Party is the party with complete control over the government, I don't want the Senate to become like the House of Representatives. I actually believe the House is too much like the House and not calling for the House minority party to be able to block legislation on their own that majority brings to the floor, but the House minority should at least be able to offer relevant amendments and alternatives to all legislation that majority brings to the floor and committee. And at the end of the day if the majority party has a simple majority or more to pass legislation, then they would be able to do that even if not one minority Representative votes for the bill.

What Congress needs to return to is regular order. Where if the majority parties in either the House or Senate, decide not to work with the minority on legislation, then their bills at least have to go through the relevant committee or committees where hearings are held, amendments and alternatives are offered, debated and voted on. And then if the final bill passes out of committee, then the bill goes to the floor where the same process is done all over again, but this time with everyone in the chamber able to debate and offer amendments to the bill.

If Congress both the Senate and House did this and you eliminated gerrymandering, you could see less obstruction and partisanship in Congress. Because the majority party in both chambers would then know they can't steamroll the minority and be able to pass partisan legislation with very little if any debate and probably no amendments. And the minority party in both chambers would then know that they have a stake in the game (so to speak) and know they'll be able to offer amendments and alternatives to all legislation that the majority brings up and be able to force the majority to take tough votes and have new issues to run on the during the next election.

I'm not a fan of the filibuster because it makes both the Minority Leader and Majority Leader weak. It makes back-benching Senator's seem as powerful as the two leaders. But I don't like absolute power especially when one party controls both the White House and Congress. So you need to strengthen the leadership's while protecting minority rights and our checks and balances.

So I would eliminate the filibuster and say for legislation to be blocked from final passage in the Senate, it can only be done by the two leader's. Have a motion to table that only the Leader and Minority Leader can propose and similar to the cloture rule when the Minority Leader moves to table the bill, the Leader can overcome that with 60 votes.

Along with the new amendment process where the members of both parties can offer relevant amendments to all legislation and the minority can offer alternative bills to all legislation. And then I believe you would see less partisanship because now both parties would be able to debate and even legislate and just need to the votes for the amendments to do that.

And I believe you would also see less obstruction from the minority party, because instead of the Minority Leader trying to block legislation by himself, he might just decide to let legislation go through once it has been fully debated with a real amendment process and use those votes as election issues.

The filibuster is outdated but checks and balances aren't and absolute power with the opposition having no ability to hold the party in power accountable is un-liberal democratic. This is not a one-party state or a parliamentary system where the party in power doesn't just have the power to govern, but the power to rule. We'll always need checks and balances especially when one party has complete control of the government.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TIME Magazine: Julia Zorthian- How To Recover From Failure

Source: TIME Magazine-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review Plus

I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend be one, but from what I know about the medical profession (which might only be enough to fill one paragraph) is that good doctors at least don’t try to fix the problems without first performing a diagnosis. They actually take the time to see what is the medical problem with the patient before they try to fix the problem. People get wrong prescriptions because their doctors given them the wrong diagnosis and recommend a prescription that might fix another problem, but not the problem that this patient is facing. People get even sicker or see their physical conditions worsen simply because their original problem wasn’t diagnosed properly and therefor not effectively treated.

Giving someone an aspirin to deal with a broken ankle might give the patient short-term pain relief, but still leaving the ankle broken and perhaps it even gets worst because the patient believes their ankle is recovering. That would be an example of an extreme misdiagnosis. Maybe the doctor was drunk when they looked at the patent’s ankle, or perhaps examined the head by accident, before recommending aspirin for the pain. But hopefully you get the idea.

Another way to look at failures and weaknesses lets say is from the perspective of an addict. Lets use alcoholic as an example. I’m not an alcoholic either, but from what I’ve read and even seem to some extent that the only way an alcoholic can recover is first acknowledging that they have a problem that they’re indeed an alcoholic. They drink too much alcohol, get drunk too much and perhaps to the point that being drunk is a normal condition for them. Which I guess would be an extreme form of alcoholism. So my only point here is to before you try to fix a problem or personal problems that you might have, you first have to diagnose the problem and know what the problem is. Once you’ve accomplished step a, you can work to addressing the problem with a recovery plan.

Right-wing author and radio talk show host Eric Metaxas who I agree with as often as Los Angeles sees snow in August, but who was on BookTV on C-SPAN in I believe September (some of us actually have hobbies outside of realty TV and social media and like to use our brains) made a good point about mistakes and even screw ups. And he essentially said that we’re all screw ups. Thats not the question or the issue. The question and issue is what do we do about them.

Do we ignore them and not learn from history and keep repeating the same mistakes and seeing our problems get worst? “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Or do we acknowledge them, take them in and even absorb them and memorize that feeling to the point that it feels so bad not that we don’t want to be consumed by it and let our failures run our lives, but that we know the feeling of failure so well that we don’t want to feel like that again. Not about being pessimist or overly optimistic, but being in touched with reality so we know exactly what’s going on so we know what to do about it.

John F. Kennedy is  a political hero of mine, but one of the biggest reasons why is that he always challenged Americans to think and try to improve and move forward. Challenge the status quo not necessarily because the status quo was bad itself, but that we wanted us to be as good as we possibly can be. Which is one of my broad points here is that we all make mistakes and maybe Eric Metaxas isn’t completely right here and that we’re not all screw ups. I mean, if we were we would be nation of very stupid weak people who can’t seem to get anything right.

But Metaxas is right about at least one thing that we all screw up. And then the question becomes what was the mistake exactly and then figuring out what can be done about it. Unless you killed someone, including yourself and you’re not permanently paralyzed or are hurt so badly that you’ve been given a death sentence and will die in the short-term, whatever mistake you made there is a recovery plan to fix it. Or at least learn from it and do better in the future.

I’ll just leave you with this. For almost every problem short of killing someone and permanently paralyzing yourself, there’s a solution to that problem. It then becomes once you acknowledge that you have a problem and know what the problem is. For every mistake there’s a correction. Including horrible mistakes like running your business into the ground and going bankrupt, or making horrible investments that also lead to high debt and perhaps bankruptcy.

The alcoholism example is perfect here. Once you realize you are indeed an alcoholic and have a real problem there, you then can get treatment for it and recover. People have screwed up so badly in one profession that they can’t find any more work in that profession, but recover from that and prosper working in a different field. Take former White House Counsel John Dean who was part of President Nixon’s Watergate coverup who is now a successful author and columnist. A very successful writer now even though he was disbarred as a lawyer.

Step a, is acknowledging that you have a problem.

Step b, is knowing exactly what your problem is.

Step c, is putting together a recovery plan to fix the problem.

Step d, learning from your mistakes not to get overwhelmed by them, but so you know what went wrong and not to repeat the same mistakes. And then improving yourself so you do better in the future. Not about making mistakes in life. Of course we all do and perhaps have all made a lot of mistakes. The question is what do we do about them. Do we learn from them so we can do better in the future. Or ignore them and continue to repeat our negative history.
TIME Magazine: This Is The Best Way To Recover From Failure