Saturday, February 28, 2015

The McLaughlin Group: Video: The Best and Worst of 2014

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I hate to say this as someone who voted for Barack Obama twice, but he is definitely the loser of 2014 at least as far as American politicians. In October, 2013 thanks to House Republicans shutting down government over the Affordable Care Act House Democrats actually looked like they had a shot at winning back the House in 2014 and perhaps picking up thirty seats and holding the U.S. Senate. But then ObamaCare, the start of the ObamaCare website is bungled and completely screwed up by the Obama Administration. And it is downhill for Democrats especially in Congress for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014.

I think the winner of 2014 is then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who faced a tough reelection for his own seat and wins that going way. And presides over his party picking up nine seats in the Senate and making him Leader of the Senate in this Congress. And even though Speaker John Boehner outranks Leader McConnell in the Constitution, McConnell is the most important Republican in Congress right now. Because he has a good grasp over his own caucus, doesn’t have to worry about his job and knows how to govern, unlike John Boehner. Which means working with Senate Democrats, the Obama Administration and the House Republican Leadership.

The what I would call the enough award would go to Al Sharpton and the rest of the MSNBC talk lineup except for the Morning Joe. Which is a good show and Andrea Mitchell. The rest of that network is like being at a Democratic Socialist USA meeting and hearing about how bad America is and how much we suck and everything else with not a lot of evidence to back any of that up. They could all move to Canada tomorrow and get their own shows and no one in America would miss them. But even social democratic Canadians may want to revoke their green cards and kick them out.

Stacey Anderson: Video: The China Syndrome 1979, A Movie That Became a True Story

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you are familiar with Three Mile Island and then you see The China Syndrome, I think you would leave the movie thinking, “wow that could actually happen”. Because the Three Mile explosion which happened at a nuclear power plant outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in March of 1979 happened about two months after The China Syndrome came out in January or February of 1979. China Syndrome is not about a nuclear power plant explosion, but about what could potentially happen at a plant like that if it is not run properly, lets say.

There is a bad vibration at a nuclear power plant in Southern California just outside of Los Angeles and the plant knows about it and decides to if not cover it up, play it down so they don’t get any bad publicity or have to deal with regulators about it. A news anchor and cameraman at a local TV knows something is going on and believes the power plant is not giving the whole story. But their boss’s don’t want to go any further in the story and risk a big lawsuit. Kimberly Wells played by Jane Fonda and Richard Adams played by Michael Douglas decided to look into the story anyway. And that is how this story gets going.

Jack Godell played by Jack Lemmon is a shift supervisor at the power plant and knows something seriously went wrong at the power plant. And he also knows his company is not giving the whole story, but is reluctant at first to say what he knows and believes to the media. Jane Wells finds Jack at the bar and they get to know each other and she gets to open up a little bit about what he knows about what happened at the power plant.

So this is what this movie is about where a nuclear power plant had it been any worst would’ve caused serious destruction of Southern California, at least like getting hit by a nuclear missile. A company knowing that if this story breaks, they would not only lose millions and probably a let more, but get sanctioned by the U.S. Government and other authorities. Two somewhat inexperienced media people looking for a big break and a big story all coming together in one story.

Jane Wells is at best a soft news personal story reporter who covers personalities and the goings ons at supermarkets and amusement parks and other things. Who doesn’t want to do that forever and wants to become a hard news reporter and anchor. This is the story that if she gets it and does a good job will get her off of soft news. And she and Jack are the main two characters who break this story and shed light on what really happened at the power plant. And this is a great movie about how deadly nuclear power plant leaks and explosions can be. And very realistic especially if you are familiar with Three Mile Island.

The Atlantic: Megan Garber: MSNBC's Move Away From Leftist Partisanship & The Unbundling of TV

Source:The New Democrat

First of all, I’m not surprised that MSNBC or NBC News that runs the cable network wouldn’t of looked into revamping MSNBC several years ago. Because it is a business losing operation as far as viewers and advertising revenue. They not only trail Fox News Channel, but CNN as well. And if it wasn’t for MSNBC their talk show hosts would probably be over on RT and Democracy Now where Thom Hartmann, an admitted Democratic Socialist works. Because none of the big networks would pick them up. Rachel Maddow couldn’t get on Meet The Press as a weekly commentator because of how far-left she is.

MSNBC doesn’t speak for the Democratic Party and they sure as hell don’t represent Liberals either. They represent the Green Party, or the Green Party wing of the Democratic Party. Their talk lineup except for Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz who are basically FDR Progressives, speak for the Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist wing of the Democratic Party, especially in Congress and their supporters around the country. And even though socialism is a growing movement in America, they are nowhere near as large as the Tea Party movement. Or the Center-Left New Democrats that came on to the scene in the Democratic Party in the mid and late 1980s.

I can’t watch MSNBC now other than their documentaries which are pretty good and not just Lockup. Because it is like watching FNC except its coming from the Far-Left. Nothing but Occupy Wall Street and Far-Left talk radio talking points about how evil Republicans are. And how corporate America and American capitalism are destroying America. And the problem that MSNBC is that is how a large majority of Americans feel about hyper-partisanship whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right. And even the fringes in America have free speech rights even if they believe that people they are against don’t. And I do read their blogs and publication, but their TV shows have become unwatchable for me.

Long-term if MSNBC wants to be a strong player on the cable talk market, they need to dump most if not all of their current talk lineup. And put shows together that about information and facts that educate their viewers. And not just some facts that are negative about the other side and try to make them look as bad as you possibly can. But real hard information about the issues that they cover. More Andrea Mitchell and programs like her’s with intelligent Center-Left analysts who have a better grasp of reality and is really going on. And not just there to make something look bad or good as they can get away with.

Full War Movies: Video: Red Nightmare Full Movie 1962

Source:The New Democrat

There were a lot of anti-communist propaganda films during the Cold War that the U.S. Government made against the Soviet Union and their communist regime. America didn’t win the Cold War because they invaded Russia and knocked out their regime or anything like that. They won the war through economic and political means. And putting the message out there about the American liberal democratic form of government, vs. the Russian communistic form of government. And these films probably did stretch the truth a little and perhaps the Soviet system in Russia wasn’t as bad as it was presented. But these films also worked.

The Cold War wasn’t about military conflict for the most part. A lot of it was fought through political and economic means to show that Russia because of its Marxist economic system simply wasn’t strong enough to ever take on a liberal democratic society like America that is run through private enterprise. And also the fact that Americans tend to like America and our form of government and all the freedom that we are guaranteed as Americans. Whereas in Russia and other authoritarian states back then and today the people try to escape their countries like prisoners trying to escape from maximum security prisons.

America also won the Cold War because of our economic system that gave us the military that was strong enough that no other country would ever want to try to invade us and fight us in America. Which made it very difficult for Russia to compete with us because they never had a strong enough economy to support a military long-term especially by the 1980s when their economy started collapsing to compete with America. And were losing their own people their educated productive people to Europe and America to build good lives for themselves. And be able to live in freedom.

The Hollywood Reporter: Victims of Hollywood's Blacklist

I don’t think there’s anything more Un-American and Un-liberal democratic as punishing people simply because of what they believe and their politics. But that is what the U.S. House of Representatives decided to do in 1946-47 and they had a bipartisan coalition to do that. And they had help from the Hollywood industry itself to try to stamp out as people that they saw as Un-American because they had socialist if not communist leanings. These actors, writers, directors and other people weren’t punished because they were doing bad jobs. But because they believed in a more socialistic and collectivist society for America.

Its one thing to disagree with one’s politics and I’m certainly not a Socialist or a Communist and how supporters talk about communism I’m having a hard time telling the difference between communism and socialism. But it’s another thing to say that person or those people are bad simply because they believe there shouldn’t be rich or poor and that we need a more collectivist society and economy where everyone can do well and where there is no rich or poor. They weren’t talking about tearing down the liberal democratic form of government in America and replacing it with an authoritarian state.

If you truly love America and what we stand for as a country, then you love and believe in Freedom of Speech with almost no exceptions. The right for people to believe, think and say what they believe. Without it costing them job opportunities simply because of what they believe. Doesn’t mean people can’t be questioned, criticized and even contradicted over what they believe because that is part for free speech and debate. But you simply don’t blacklist people can cost them jobs simply because of their political beliefs. You judge them based on how good they are for the job that they are a candidate for and their qualifications for that job.

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Brooks on CPAC and Homeland Security Shutdown

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

As far as CPAC, the one thing I respect about that group is that they do actually bring in lets say Classical Conservatives or Conservative Libertarians and actual Libertarians. It’s not just about mushy-middle establishment Republicans who always play it safe and the Christian-Right and the broader Far-Right of the Republican Party. So with this event you really get to see the state of the Republican Party and what they are thinking. And right now the Conservative Libertarian wing of the party that Senator Rand Paul seems to lead, seems to have the strongest voice.

As far as the Homeland Security shutdown in Congress, thank God for gerrymandering if I’m a Republican and water is dry and fire is cold! Otherwise they would never be in charge of anything with the current state of the party and their inability to govern and work with people who don’t agree with them on everything. I would say how do Democrats keep losing to people who believe the Earth is flat and climate change is a hoax and gays are responsible for 9/11 and America is being invaded by Latinos and every other conspiracy theory that they have. But I know about gerrymandering.

If the Republican Party actually had leadership in the House instead of a punching bag or puppet in John Boehner, someone would’ve told and convinced that caucus that you don’t attach riders to bills that have to be passed in order for the government to run. You do those things separately. The first rule of government is do no harm. And that means performing the basic functions of government like funding the basics like homeland security and law enforcement. And issues where you disagree with the President, you debate those things separately and through other bills that don’t have to pass. So you can make your point and case, but still do your job at the same time.

Friday, February 27, 2015

AlterNet: David Masciotra: 'You're Not The Boss of Me! Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham'

AlterNet: Opinion: David Masciotra: You're Not the Boss of Me! Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I actually believe that our Founding Fathers our Founding Liberals (sorry Right-Wingers) got it right when they wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights with all of our individual rights and freedom and built our liberal democratic state that is America.

Yeah, they didn’t mean of all of those rights and for all Americans to be treated equally under the law. And only intended those rights for Caucasian males who owned property. And for Anglo-Saxon property males at that. But if you’re a true constructionist when it comes to the U.S. Constitution you don’t go by what you believe someone meant to say. Right, you go by the actual text of what they wrote. And based on what the Founding Liberals wrote they created a liberal society where everyone has individual freedom and rights under law. And where all of those rights are supposed to be enforced equally under law.

If I had a choice to being a Libertarian or a Socialist, I would pick Libertarian. Because of the notion of individual liberty over collective equality. But then I would search for a new label or just call myself what ever I wanted based on what I believe. Which is individual liberty for everyone and that everyone should have quality opportunity to do well in life. That no one is guaranteed success and the ability to live well and be taken care of by government. But that we all have the opportunity to build a successful life for ourselves. Based on the right to a quality education and real infrastructure system so that everyone is living in first world America. Instead of having to live in areas that look like third world cities or third world rural areas.

The main difference between the Liberal, Libertarian and Socialist comes down to role of government especially the national government. The Liberal believes in opportunity to all to achieve individual freedom in life. That the job of government is to protect and expand freedom. Not get out-of-the-way or run people’s lives for them. The Libertarian believes in individual freedom as well, but that should come from the parents and the private sector with government getting out-of-the-way. The Socialist believes in equality and individual welfare at all costs even at the expense of individual freedom. And the idea of freedom is about the freedom not to go without the basic necessities of life. That the job of government is to take care of people.

The choice can’t be between a do-nothing government or an American superstate that tries to do everything for everybody at the same time. For one, neither one works in America. And we are much better and smarter than that and with our people and resources have the ability to build a society where everyone can live in freedom. It is just a matter of doing that and you do that with an infrastructure and education system that works for all Americans. So you’re chances of success don’t depend on the economic status of your parents and where you grew up. But instead based on what you did growing up and as an adult with the good opportunities that were in front of you. Most of us would do well in that type of society. Those who don’t would pay themselves for not making responsible decisions with their lives.

Liberty Pen: George Will: A Conflict of Visions

Source:The New Democrat

Pre-1930s there was much if any public social safety net or social insurance in America at least at the federal level. The 1930s with the Great Depression and the New Deal obviously changed that. But Americans were still expected to work and produce, be responsible and productive and if they lost their job, or couldn’t get a good enough job to take care of themselves there would be a safety net to help them out. Of course the Great Society comes around in the 1960s, but even that we were supposed to be productive and responsible with our own lives. With the safety net there for people who fall through the cracks of the private enterprise system. And I’m sure there are some Conservatives and Libertarians who disagree with this, but that’s fine.

The late 1960s really changed America politically especially with the Left and that is the whole Left and the Democratic Party. For one the Green Party was created because Greens Social Democrats who are socialist on economic policy and dovish and foreign policy and national security, didn’t believe Democrats the party of FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ were progressive enough. No now you have this more socialist more leftist Left in and outside of the Democratic Party who don’t believe government in America is big enough and that we are too individualistic as a society. And that we need to go way beyond the social safety net concept in America to create a welfare state big enough to take care of everyone. Where no one falls behind or gets too far ahead.

Thanks to the New Left, the Democratic Party from 1968-88 loses 5-6 presidential elections and four of them being landslides. Loses the U.S. Senate in 1980, fails to win it back in 82 and 84 because the Center-Left and Far-Left inside of the Democratic Party can’t agree on what kind of party that they should be. Should they be a liberal and progressive party especially with Dixiecrats moving on to the Republican Party, or should they become the social democratic Green Party. That complains about what type of country America is and bashes our system, form of government and most of the things that we stand for. And tries to transform the American liberal democratic state and become more of a social democratic collectivist society.

What George Will was talking about in his speech was social democracy and the welfare state and what he sees as failures in that type of system. But that is not the type of country that America is yet at least and we are still a long way of becoming that big centralized unitarian social democratic state that you see in Britain and Scandinavia. At least as far as how big the central government is and the amount of that the central government spends and taxes on behalf of its people. But that is what the debate on the American Left. Do we want to remain that liberal democratic state that empowers people to be able to manage their own lives for themselves. Or become a social democracy where the central government takes responsibility to seeing that everyone’s welfare needs are met.

Hoover Institution: Video: Uncommon Knowledge: Peter Robinson Interviewing Dennis Prager: The New Left in America

Source:The New Democrat

I’m going to actually explain why I actually not just respect, but like Dennis Prager and if I actually met him I would shake his hand enthusiastically even if we spent an hour talking and disagree with ninety-percent of the points that we just made. Because he gets it unlike a lot of people on the Right. He understands the difference between Liberals who defend liberty like Jack Kennedy to use as an example and people on the New Left in America who are interested in equality at all costs through a collectivist state.

Liberals vs. Illiberal’s in America at least and perhaps the rest of the world. Liberals who believe in liberty and the individual. Socialists or collectivists who believe in equality and that the job of the central state is to provide equality for all of its people. The Liberal wants to see that everyone has the opportunity to live as free as they allow for themselves to base on their skills and production, character and everything else. The Socialist lets say says, “liberty is risky and if we allow individual freedom, some people will do very well and others won’t. So why don’t we just move forward together to see that everyone does well, even if that means subtracting freedom.”

Liberals built and created America and built liberal democracy the liberal free state that we all live in as Americans. And created things like Equal Justice Under Law, our Bill of Rights which all of its individual rights, Equal Opportunity Under Law. Created things like the 1964 Civil Rights Act that says no American can be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity or gender. That is the state that Socialists and other collectivists want to tear down or at the very least transform and create their collectivist state and perhaps a social democracy that looks like Scandinavia.

This is not just a battle between the Center-Left and the Far-Left. But a battle between Americans who believe in individual liberty in general and those who see individualism as dangerous and risky. I don’t say this to be insulting or to put people down. But to actually layout what a lot of our American political battles are. People who believe in freedom, between people who don’t essentially other than basic human rights relating to torture, cruel and unusual punishment, voting and anti-discrimination laws. What the New-Left believes in is what Rick Perlstein and others call welfare rights. The right for people to live well and be taken care. And is by the central government even if that means subtracting freedom.

Foreign Affairs: Kenan Malik: Why Multiculturalism Failed

The Far-Left both in America and Europe put down America as being this country of racial and ethnic discrimination where the majority population is always putting down racial and ethnic minorities. While Europe on the other hand is a utopia of social democracies where everyone lives in peace and lives together and where racial and ethnic diversity is celebrated and where everyone gets along. I had a real hard time just writing that without laughing. Because the opposite is actually true.

You’re not going to find another country has big as America or about the same size give or take that is as racially and ethnically diverse as America is. As well as religiously diverse where even Agnostics and Atheists have as much freedom for their religious beliefs as believers. You’re also not going to find another country where all of our different ethnicities and races get along as well than America. And if you want to look at racist groups in America, fine. But where did the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan come from originally as far as their people? Britain and Germany respectfully.

America doesn’t really have a Nazi Party anymore, unlike Germany and the KKK is almost nothing now as far as presence and are about as small as the Italian-American crime families now. One of the reasons why America is so big is because of our diverse immigrant population. Where the whole world comes to build better lives for themselves. And a lot of those immigrants are still European. America still does have hate crimes based on race, ethnicity and religion, but we also have hate crime laws to specifically punish those terrorists for those crimes.

America is not a country where 8-10 people or more come from one ethnicity or race. Unlike lets say Britain where roughly 8-10 Brits are English. Go to Germany and about 8-10 Germans are ethnic-German to use as examples. And the same thing with Italy as far as ethnic-Italians. 1-6 Americans are ethnic-German and about the same with English and Irish-Americans. But we also has large African and Latino-American populations and a significant Asian population both South Asian and Oriental populations. And by in large we all get along very well in America where all Americans have the same rights under law as everyone else.

America is sure as hell not perfect, but neither is Europe. But its real hard if not impossible to make the case that Europe is this peaceful utopia of racial and ethnic diversity and that America is some racist hell where everybody hates everybody especially European-Americans. Which by the way where did they come from again. Because Europe is not a hell, but neither is America, but America has a much better record of including all of its Americans. While Europe is still trying to figure out how to do that especially with their Middle Eastern populations. And even deciding that maybe multiculturalism has failed there and that they need more segregation and less immigration.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Norm MacDonald & Courtney Thorne Smith (1997)

Source:The New Democrat

Thank God for Norm MacDonald otherwise this interview would’ve been about Chairman of The Board. That so far I’ve been a hundred-percent successful in not seeing. I guess they could’ve talked about Melrose Place which was a great show, at least the last two seasons of it that I saw. But Courtney was on the show to talk about Chairman of The Bored, I mean Chairman of The Board. I mean who would want to be Chairman of The Bored. You would constantly be chairing over people having trouble staying away at your bored meetings, I mean board meetings. But that was why Norm was there so they wouldn’t have to spend 5-10 minutes talking about the movie and having to listen to people snoring in the audience. Which would’ve been distracting for the audience. And losing people to more interesting things like PBS fundraising drives. And high school plays on public access TV.

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge: Peter Robison Interviewing Harvey Mansfield: The New Left on Campus

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Damn! Some of my Far-Left followers and I do have some aren’t going to like this piece, but sometimes the truth hurts. I actually agree with Peter Robinson and Harvey Mansfield here and both of them are way to the Right of me. But the New Left took over a lot of great major universities in the Northeast and West Coast especially in California in the late 1960s. With Baby Boomers coming to age and graduating college a lot of them were way to the Left of Center-Left Liberals like Jack Kennedy and Center-Left Progressives like Lyndon Johnson.

Here are some of the things that the New-Left which is the Far-Left in America believes.

“With the New-Left of today if you don’t believe women should rule the world instead of being judged equally as men, you are either ignorant or sexist.

Anyone who criticizes people who are of non-European and Christian background are racists. Unless the people they are criticizing are on the Right like Tom Sowell, Walter Williams or Clarence Thomas. Two prominent college professors and of course a U.S. Justice.

The real terrorists in the world is the U.S. National Security Council which includes all the U.S. national security agencies. And ISIS and Al-Qaeda and other extreme terrorists groups are either minor league or are misunderstood and deserved to be listened to.

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez President’s of Cuba and Venezuela respectfully are misunderstood and are actually great men just trying to serve their people. So they don’t become victims of a capitalist private enterprise system. Instead of being Un-Democratic far-leftist dictators who don’t believe in human and individual rights. And the bad guys are actually the United States.”

These are just some of the extreme fringe views from the Far-Left in America that would put the only in the mainstream in maybe Britain, France and Scandinavia and perhaps some authoritarian states. We are not talking about Liberals here and even Progressives, I would argue but people who have a soft heart for Marxism and communism. Who think the idea of a liberal free state based on individual freedom and rights is somehow corrupting and even immoral. And that we need a much more centralized collectivist state where women would be in charge for the most part and where the state would assume responsibility over the people.

The Week: Ryan Cooper: Why Self-Respecting Atheists Should Ditch The New Atheists

Source:The New Democrat  

There are two groups of people in people in let's say American political culture that probably annoy me the most. Even though I would die to defend their right to express their obnoxious ignorant opinions. Which is what Freedom of Speech is about, right. The right to offend and annoy and all of that short of harassment and libel.

One of these two groups of people are people who I call religious fundamentalists regardless of their religion. Who believe that you have to not only be religious to be moral, but a believer in their religion. We see this both with the Christian-Right in America and the Muslim-Right in the Middle East. People who want to impose their moral values and way of life on everyone else.

The other group of people who Ryan Cooper calls New Atheists, people who I would militant Atheists, or even fundamentalist Atheists. People who believe that anyone who is religious is either stupid, crazy or a bad person who will or has murdered a lot of people. Its worst on the Far-Left in America because they believe anyone who is a fundamentalist Christian or perhaps just a Christian is a bigot especially if they are of Caucasian background. And anyone who critiques Islam and other non-Christian religions except for Judaism are bigots or racists or both. Even if their critique is correct.

This might be the main reason why I’m not religious or a non-believer other than being an Agnostic, because I simply don’t know if there is a God or not. Which I believe is the most honest and accurate answer about whether there is a God or not, because none of us actually know. But the other reason being I don’t want to be lumped in with people who want to force their moral and religious values on me. And I don’t want to be lumped in with people who look at believers good religious folk who aren’t bigots of any sort as stupid, crazy, immoral, or all of those things. Which is why I believe Agnosticism is growing in America.

The National Interest: Jack Matlock: The House That Stalin Built

The National Interest: Jack Matlock: The House That Stalin Built

Source:The New Democrat

I saw a show on Book TV on C-SPAN last weekend with Stephen Kotkin who just wrote a book about Joe Stalin perhaps the most evil and worst dictator that at least Russia has ever produced if not in the history of the world. And it was a good show and Kotkin goes into how Stalin built the Soviet State essentially on his own and how he built Russian authoritarianism. He he was able to centralize so much power inside of not just Moscow and the Russian central government, but in how own presidency. And someone who was stupid at some people see Joe Stalin would’ve never had been that successful and been able to stay in power in Russia as long as he did.

Russia was a peasant third if not fourth world society like that of China fifty-years ago when Stalin became President of the Soviet Union in the mid 1920s. And he knew enough about economics and his own as well as Russia’s future that for them to accomplish what he wanted that they needed to develop their economy and move to the industrial age. Probably the only good thing that Stalin did for Russia was to create and industrial society and economy even under Marxist state-control. But he did that by creating state-owned industries and companies and then he would nationalize the Russian people. And make prisoners and slaves out of them in Soviet work camps. Sounds like North Korea, right.

Joe Stalin served as an inspiration for future evil dictators. Including Adolph Hitler, but then later Saddam Hussein in Iraq and I’m sure many others. You were either on Stalin’s side or he killed you. And even if you weren’t against him, he might still kill you anyway because of the horrible working conditions you were put under in his forced work camps. As far as the amount of innocent people who Stalin murdered including Russian-Jews and other non-ethnic-Russians in Russia, as well as ethnic-Russians, Joe Stalin is the worst dictator in world history. And should only be remembered as such.

The Washington Post: Venezuela & Cuba: Partners in Repression

Source:The New Democrat

Just as Cuba has started to move away from Castro Marxism/authoritarianism and have opened up their economy and at least to a small extent their country, Venezuela has moved towards Castro Marxism/authoritarianism. Which is a sad state of affairs for Venezuela a mid-size that is energy independent with a good deal of land and a lot of potential to become a developed country. If their government just freed their people and allowed for them to build that society.

The answer for America is not to cutoff economic and diplomatic ties with Venezuela, which is what we did with Cuba in the early 1960s and Iran in the late 1970s. The answer is to punish their bad behavior in conjunction with our North and South American allies. And give them incentive to improve their own behavior. So they don’t have to live under an indefinite period of sanctions like Cuba and Iran. And one way to do that is by working with the Venezuela liberal democratic opposition with our allies. So the Maduro Regime is not the only voice in Venezuela.

The Maduro Regime needs to get the message that oppression and repression and other forms of authoritarianism even in the name of socialism which is certainly not democratic in Venezuela, is not how they are going to build a developed society. And when they act in that way they need to pay a heavy price for that from America and our allies especially in South America. But in Mexico as well especially a huge country that has made it out of authoritarian and is building a developed country of their own through democratic means.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Politics and Prose: Video: James Mann on President George W. Bush

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Just to state out first George W. Bush is the worst U.S. President in my entire thirty-nine-years on Earth. And that includes Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush’s father, who is G.W.’s father of course and Barack Obama. And all of these president’s aren’t looking very good right now and all had plenty of issues. The differences being that other than G.W. the other president’s by in large successfully dealt with the issues that came up under their presidencies.

You can’t say that about G.W. if you look at the economy, national debt, deficit, banking system, two wars oversees and I could probably go on. American president’s are judged by the situation of the country when they came to office and the situation of the country when they leave office. And other than not getting hit again inside of the United States after 9/11, which of course he deserves credit for as Commander-in-Chief, its hard to find an area of the country where it was better off in 2009 when President Bush left office and 2001 when he came into office. And even 9/11 a big fact is we got hit in the first place in America because of intelligence failures.

Now to try to sound somewhat positive about President Bush and even factual. I give him credit for giving the Republican Party alternatives to how to look at poverty in America which he actually took seriously and providing a vision for how government can help low-income people when it comes to poverty and education. By empowering state and local government’s, as well as non-profits in the private sector to help Americans in poverty. But also help people in poverty around the world. That so-called Reform Conservatives people like Representative Paul Ryan and his brother Jeb Bush are pushing today. Which is something that Republicans desperately need to do in order to connect with Americans who aren’t wealthy.

Another thing about President Bush. Imagine had President Bush’s foreign and national security policy been what he ran on in 2000. A humble foreign policy where we are engaged around the world with out allies, but not trying to govern the world ourselves. 9/11 happens and we invade Afghanistan which is what she should’ve done to knockout that terrorist state that was harboring terrorists who were responsible for 9/11. But we don’t go to Iraq at least by ourselves and certainly not on the evidence that we had. Because Collin Powell is chief national security and foreign policy adviser. Instead of Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or Condi Rice as Secretary of State. Collin Powell becomes G.W.’s Henry Kissinger.

The last thing I would say about George W. is that he’s not stupid. Which probably puts me in a tiny minority inside of the Democratic Party. But he’s not stupid, but unqualified to be President of the United States which can be said about probably ninety-percent of the country. Had G.W. continued as Governor of Texas, maybe he goes down as a great Governor and runs for President in 2004 or 2008 as an experienced Governor of a huge successful state. Takes a couple of years off before running for president and learns about foreign policy and national security and becomes the Ronald Reagan of his generation. But we’ll never know.

Salon: Bill Curry: We Can Stop The Neo-Cons: Here's What a Truly Progressive Foreign Policy Would Look Like

Salon: Opinion: Bill Curry: We Can Stop The Neo-Cons: Here's What a Progressive Foreign Policy Would Look Like

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I hate to break it to anyone who calls them self a Progressive today, but the Progressives gave us the U.S. Department of Defense. They gave us the national security state. Which includes things like the CIA, FBI, the National Security Council, NATO and why we are today responsible for Europe’s defense as American taxpayers. They gave us the Vietnam War after they got us involved in the Korean War and won World War II at least far as leading that war. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman gave America the tools to fight and win the Cold War. That Lyndon Johnson used to put America in the Vietnam War. Can anyone who calls them self a Progressive today say they support any of those policies?

So when I read Bill Curry or anyone else who calls them self a Progressive say “its time for a progressive foreign policy”, is that what they mean with a big national security state that works with our foreign allies to police the world? Or are they calling for something much more passive and isolationist much further left where we step back as far as our traditional leadership role and let international organizations take the lead in dealing with these international crisis’? Bill Curry in his Salon piece seems to suggesting a little of both. That we be part of more international organizations like the International Criminal Court. But where we work with our foreign allies to address situations around the world. Instead of acting unilaterally to deal with foreign crisis’.

Progressive at least in the classical sense is not about being a dove. Not about being soft and passive to the point that you’re essentially a pacifist or isolationist or both. A true Progressive believes in at the very least self-defense when it comes to their own country. And that you have to be strong enough to protect what you value and cherish. Which is your own state and the people you represent. Now the debate would be about how strong you need to be and how much you need to invest and when you should act. But not about whether you should be strong or not. And that is something that today’s so-called Progressives need to understand if progressivism is really the ideology they want to back. Instead of being part of something that is more leftist.

The Week: Jeff Spross: Why Reform Conservatives Should Join The Democratic Party

Source: The Week-
Source: The New Democrat

I wonder 20-25 years ago when the New Democrats started emerging in the Democratic Party did someone from lets say The Nation on the Far-Left or National Review on the Center-Right write a piece with the title something to the effect, “Why New Democrats Should Join The Republican Party”. Maybe I’ll look that up later and of course the New Democrats were the Center-Left Democrats who saved the Democratic Party from frankly McGovernism. The Far-Left or New-Left that took over the Democratic Party in 1968 and ran that party up until 1988 or so. When New Democrat Governor Mike Dukakis won the Democratic nomination for president.

The New Democrats weren’t about and still aren’t about making the Democratic Party a centrist party with no hard left or right. But making the Democratic Party a center-left party with Liberals and Progressives as the main faces and leaders of the party. That still believes in using government to achieve great things. But that government can’t do everything for everybody all the time. And we can’t tax our way to prosperity and take so much money from people that they don’t have freedom over their own lives. And that government should be used to empower people. Not make people dependent on government.

The Reform Conservatives at least to me look like the New Democrats of the Republican Party. Conservatives who want to bring the GOP back from its hard-right if not far-right image and make it a party that can appeal to working class and minority Americans. So it’s not just a party of Southern a rural Anglo-Saxon Protestant men. And rich Anglo-Saxon Northeastern men. But a party that can compete and win in the Northeast and Midwest at the national level, win back Florida and even be competitive if not win California. The Republican Party did all of these things very well up until 1992 when again they lost to New Democrat Bill Clinton in the presidential election.

Welfare to Work is a Reform Conservative/New Democrat anti-poverty program that was passed in 1996. Reform conservatism is about using conservative policies to appeal to a broader base of American voters. Who like things like smarter and limited regulations, lower taxes, economic freedom. But don’t want government trying to run their personal lives for them including if they can join a union or not. And are people who aren’t just Anglo-Saxon as far as ethnicity and not just Protestant when it comes to their religion. Don’t just live in the Bible Belt and aren’t just men.

The Republican Party as a conservative has a history of appealing to a broad base of Americans. That was gone by 1996 or so when they became the party of the South and rural Midwest and West. And what Reform Conservatives are saying is that the Republican Party needs a conservative message and policies that appeals to more than just their traditional Bible Belt/country club base. They have to find ways to connect with working class voters. As well as Latinos and Asians and women of all races. And even Jewish and African-Americans if that is still possible for them at this point. To become governing party in the near-future.
Washington Examiner: Phillip Klein Discusses Reform Conservatism With Yuval Levin

The American Mind: Charles Kesler- Interviewing Francis Fukuyama: The Final Form of Human Government

Source:The American Mind- Author Francis Fukuyama, on The American Mind 
Source:The New Democrat

At risk of sounding insulting, wasn’t Frank Fukuyama a Neoconservative 10-15 years ago and one of the big backers of the Iraq War? I liked his first line about “democracy will only survive if the people want democracy.” I just wish he believed and wrote about that during and before the Iraq War. And now I’ll get off that because we’ve all taken positions before that we now disagree with and even regret. And saw new evidence and perhaps old evidence that we didn’t see before and saw that we were wrong and changed course appropriately.

If the Communists can have their own vision of government and governmental system and call it communism, than so can Liberals especially Liberal Democrats and we can call our vision of government and governmental system liberalism. Because that is what this is about which is liberal democracy and not just the right to vote and the majority generally rules. And generally rules is key because unlike social democracy the majority in liberal democracies don’t always get their way. Just ask U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell when it comes to appropriations bills that Congress has to pass.

Liberal democracy is yes of course the right to vote and majority tends to win, but where there’s also minority rights. So strong majorities can’t vote away our individual rights and protections. Like the right to vote to use as an example, Freedom of Speech and Assembly, Right to Privacy, Right to Self-Defense, all our personal and economic freedoms that most Americans love having. Liberal democracy is not simply about the right to vote. It is really about the right to be free with a responsible limited government tasked to doing the basic services that we all need. And to protect our rights and freedoms.

Frank Fukuyama wasn’t talking about voting. He was talking about liberal democracy in general where yes of course we have the right to vote. But where we have broad set of individual rights with a responsive, but responsible government that is limited to doing the things that we need it to do. But not run our lives for us, but protect our ability to run our own lives under Rule of Law. Which is are things that Neoconservatives and Social Democrats simply don’t understand. That both put order and equality over individual freedom for people to manage their own lives.
The American Mind: Charles Kesler- Interviewing Francis Fukuyama: The Final Form of Human Government

Cannabis Culture: Grant Smith: Meet The New Drug Czar, Not The Same as The Old Drug Czar

Source:The New Democrat

I guess at least in my perfect world and perhaps in the perfect world of now at least a one half of all Americans we would have not just marijuana legalization at the federal level, but harder narcotics that are currently illegal like heroin and cocaine would be decriminalized. Not legalized which is different, but someone busted for cocaine possession lets say would not be facing prison time. Unless they were arrested for attempting to sell their drugs. But upon conviction they would be looking at a fine and community service based on how much in illegal narcotics they were caught with.

Now that is my policy for dealing with illegal narcotics, as well as sending drug addicts to drug rehab instead of jail or prison at their expense. But that is not the policy of the Obama Administration. Even they are probably closer to my policy than any administration at least since the Carter Administration in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Under Attorney General Eric Holder they have loosened marijuana enforcement at least in President Obama’s second term when he didn’t have to worry about reelection. They are more open to drug rehab than jail and prison. Which is good for everyone including taxpayers who get stuck with the living costs of people in jail in prison who don’t represent a threat to society.

I saw a Congressional hearing last year in the U.S. House about marijuana legalization and the broader War on Drugs. And it was a good hearing that the Republican Chairman that I believe Representative John Mica who does seem to be more open to a softer stance on the so-called War on Drugs, but not in favor of marijuana legalization at least yet. Michael Botticelli who was then I believe the White House’s Deputy Director of Drug Policy was one of their witness’s. And several members of the committee, I think all Democrats including Representative Steve Cohen asked Mr. Botticelli does he believe marijuana is as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. Short answer is that Botticelli didn’t answer the question and just spoke to the current law.

Look I’m not a fan of Director Botticelli at least from what I’ve heard about him and how he talks about marijuana especially. But he has run drug rehab clinics in the past and seems to be more on the side of rehab instead of incarceration when it comes to users and addicts. I hope he at least publicly supports the Obama Administration in their decision not to enforce the federal anti-marijuana law in states and territories and even cities like Washington that has legalized marijuana that the Republican Congress and President Obama won’t block. And if he stays on this path with both rehab and the Obama Administration policy on marijuana enforcement, I think he could be a good appointment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Celebrity Universe: Video: Politically Incorrect From 2002: Communism and The Vietnam War

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The Vietnam War was an obvious mistake at least looking back it lets say 40-45 years later, but the U.S. Government knew it was an obvious mistake by 1967-68. They knew the war was lost by then and continued to fight it anyway because Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon wanted to look tough and not be the first American president to lose a war. You don’t fight other people’s wars in places you are not prepared to fight in that your own people aren’t prepared to fight in. Especially when the people there that you’re supposed to be fighting for won’t fight for themselves. A huge lesson from the Vietnam War.

As far as communism, if communism is as Whoopie Goldberg described it about people acting together for the betterment of the country under the direction of their government and not an authoritarian ideology similar to Islamism, then how is communism different from socialism. Because that is what socialism is about that if you have a lot of individualism and individual freedom some people will do very well and others won’t for whatever the reasons. But if you put a lot of the resources all into one big collectivist pot managed by the central government, then everyone will thrive. Because no one will have too much or not enough.

Atheist Ute: Christopher Hitchens on The Left's Double Standards

Source: Atheist Ute-Christopher Hitchens-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I actually agree with every point that Chris Hitchens made in this short video except for one point. And that is probably the closest that I’ve ever come to completely agreeing with Chris Hitchens on anything. He was a Socialist on economic policy and social policy and in his last ten-years or so he became a Neoconservative on foreign policy and national security. But the one point that I disagree with him on and then I’ll tell you where I agree with him is his point about left liberalism. There is nothing center-left about people on the Left, Far-Left really and their critiques about people who legitimately criticize Islamists. That is pure fascist political correctness at its worst and illiberal because it goes against free speech.

Now here where I agree with Hitchens. The Far-Left has this attitude that if you criticize people from either a government or a private organization of lets say of a non-European background and you don’t go after bad things that the United States has done in the same critique that somehow that is racist or you’re a bigot in someway. Actually if you go after non-Europeans government or otherwise at all you could be branded as a racist even if you have the facts on your side. If you don’t believe me just look at Bill Maher and what he went through with the Far-Left back in September and October about his critique os Islam. You talk about ISIS and the evil acts that they’ve done, they’ll say what about the KKK in America or the Nazis in Germany. The simple answer being what about the KKK or Nazis.

The Far-Left in America at least is not adequate to debate and talk about ISIS or any other national security challenge that America faces for the simple reason that they have a politically correct strategy and attitude in response to those threats. Instead of just calling birds, birds and sheep, sheep. Meaning describing things as they are even if that offends some people. To take on a challenge and threat, you first have to know what that threat is and what they are about and capable of and what they have done. Even if those facts may tend to offend some people who perhaps are over-sensitive to begin with. Liberals and Conservatives and to a certain extent Libertarians in the conservative sense like Rand Paul understand this. The Far-Left hasn’t figured that out yet.
Atheist Ute: Christopher Hitchens on The Left's Double Standards

Roll Call: Tamar Hallerman & Niels Lesniewski: Senate Democrats Show Limits of GOP Control

For all of you non-political junkies, first of all I’m wondering why you’re reading this at all, but secondly this piece is for the average political junkie who probably does at least look at C-SPAN everyday. So you might be better off watching Fashion Police, Project Runway or Access Hollywood or something to find out which latest hot celebrity is in trouble or whatever. Because this piece is about the U.S. Congress which is by far other than the presidency itself the most interesting part and important part of government anywhere else in the world.

First of all I think the Senate Democratic Leadership made a policy mistake by using the cloture rule to block any consideration of the House Republican passed Homeland Security funding bill that defunds President Obama’s immigration order. What the House Republicans did was stupid and is why we are we are with Homeland Security employees wondering if they are going to get paid next week. But at least allow that bill come to the floor to be debated and try to amend the bill and strict that portion of the bill out with the amendment process. That Leader McConnell has put back in. If that amendment passes now you have what you wanted in the first place which was clean funding bill. If the amendment fails then you can still block the bill from final passage.

Now politically what Senate Democrats are doing is working very well for them. Congressional Republicans are still getting blamed for the new-made up crisis by House Republicans and with Senate Republicans unable or unwilling to bring up a clean funding bill for Homeland Security. But the good guys (meaning Senate Democrats) still have an opportunity to save the day at the end of the day. By telling Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell that if they give Senate Democrats a clean funding bill and bring it up for final passage and it passes, Senate Democrats wouldn’t block consideration of a repeal of President Obama’s immigration order, but as part of separate legislation. Pass Homeland Security and then debate and work on a bill to repeal the immigration order and pass immigration reform after Homeland Security is funded.

I know this as a Democrat that when Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 after being in the minority in the House for twelve years and the Senate for four years, that just because you control both chambers of Congress, doesn’t mean you get your way all the time. The House can pass anything they want to on their own with just the majority party if they are united. The Senate is a place where minority rights is real and where the Minority Leader is almost as powerful as the Majority Leader. They almost have to work together to get anything done. Congressional Republicans need to learn that quickly, because 2015 will be the only year they’ll have in this Congress to pass major legislation. And find ways to work with Congressional Democrats especially in the Senate to pass the legislation that they have to. Like appropriations and later on hopefully a budget.

Commentary Magazine: Ben Cohen: Venezuela on The Brink

Commentary Magazine: Opinion: Ben Cohen: Venezuela on The Brink

Source:The New Democrat 

I guess Venezuela at its best would be like Scandinavia where you would have a mid-size country or so of twenty-five million people who is not only energy independent, but a net-exporter of oil, gas, food and other resources that we all use. Social democracy is not my preferred system as a Liberal, but that type of government and economy could work very well in a country like Venezuela. Because of its natural resources and that with an educated society they would be able to afford a large welfare state for the country. Now I guess that would be Venezuela’s utopia as a developed country.

But the Venezuela of today is Hugo Chavez’s Neo-Communist Cuba inside of Venezuela. But not as bad, because Venezuela still has multi-party elections both for their National Assembly and presidency. And this is not 1959 Cuba where the central government nationalizes all sorts of different industries in the country. They’ve nationalized a few, but there is still a good deal of private enterprise in Venezuela. Which was essentially gone in Cuba by the early 1960s or so as the Marxists took over there. What you have in Venezuela is a country that is trying to develop socialist system through the welfare state financed by their energy sector, as well as private enterprise. But where political and personal freedom is very limited.

A country like that with that type of system that is heavily dependent on their energy sector and then treats its political opposition as the enemy even though they are peaceful and not armed rebels, doesn’t tend to succeed. Because the economy will only do well when the energy sector is doing well. When oil and gas prices are high and there’s a big need for that energy especially in other countries. And then add in economic sanctions coming from developed countries because of your bad human rights records just makes your economic problems even worst. What Venezuela should be doing is developing their entire country and not be so dependent on one sector. Regardless of type of political system and human rights record that they have.

Again I guess the dream for Venezuela would be Scandinavia. A social democracy with a social democratic economic system and political system. Where they use the energy sector not to power the entire economy, but resources from it to develop the rest of the country economically. Infrastructure, education, health care, the business sector, technology, things that all developed countries have. Not to try to just finance the current regime and eliminate the opposition so you can stay in power indefinitely even if the rest of the country suffers as a result.

Foreign Affairs: Jose W. Fernandez & Eric Lorber: Opening Cuba to American Telecommunications Investment

I agree that opening up the Cuban telecommunications industry and allowing for others to be involved there outside of the Castro Regime is a way to not only open up Cuba and open up a better relationship between America and Cuba, but the two government’s, is not only a good way to open up Cuba, but also a good way to open up the Cuban economy. The Castro Regime decided in the late 2000s or so that Marxism was failing in Cuba and that their state-owned economic system simply wasn’t working. Which is when they started opening up their economy to private investment and allowing for Cubans to start their own business’s. And sell off some of their state-owned business’s to the Cuban people.

But what has also failed is the American-Cuban Trade Embargo. A unilateral decision by the Eisenhower Administration in the late 1950s to end relations with the Cuban Government and stop trading with them. After the Castro Communists came to power in Cuba and started nationalizing a lot of the Cuban economy. While Europe, Asia and South America, Canada and Mexico continued to trade and relate with Cuba, America was on the sidelines. And stayed on the sidelines until the last few months believing that not trading and isolating Cuba would end the Castro Regime or at the very least get them to respect the human rights of their own people and act responsibly. That has obviously failed as the Castro Regime has been in power for fifty-five years now.

You open up countries by talking to them and incentivizing them to act responsibly. And you especially allow for the people’s of both countries to interact and for business’s of both countries to be able to trade with each other. Which is what we did during the Cold War either every country that was aligned with the Soviet Union including the People’s Republic of China. Shutting the door on a country when the rest of the country has their doors open to that country simply doesn’t work. Sanctions can only work when other countries apply the same sanctions as well. Which is why the sanctions on Russia and Iran have worked because both America and Europe have the same sanctions. And trading and communicating with Cuba will not only improve the relations of that country and the lives of the Cuban people.

Monday, February 23, 2015

RAND: Opinion: Christopher S. Chivvis: Libya, The Somalia on The Mediterranean?

RAND Corporation: Opinion: Christopher S. Chivvis: Somalia on the Mediterranean

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Unlike the War in Iraq, America and Europe went into the Libya and knocked out the Gadaffi Regime and let the Libyan rebels take over to try to build their own government and society for the people. Iraq of course is much different where America by itself went in and knocked out the Hussein Regime and tried to establish a new state itself and then brought in the Iraqi people. The thing about Libya is that new government wasn’t prepared to govern and defend their own country. Plus the new government had Islamists authoritarian ties that moderate Libyans didn’t want to be part of and as a result a new civil war has broken out.

Libya as a failed state is not in the best interest of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. Especially in that part of the world where ISIS is already in Libya. That country with only six-million people, but with a lot of land the size of Algeria and Saudi Arabia, a large country would be disaster for the Democratic West if it were allowed to become a terrorist state. Which means America, Europe and the Arab League should step up and try to reestablish order in that country and allow for the Libyan people to go in and try to establish a new state that will represent the Libyan people as a whole. Not just the Islamists or the Democrats, but the whole country.

Which is why I would be in favor of an international force involving the United States with NATO, the European Union and Arab League to go into that country with a peacekeeping force while Libyans with democratic and responsible intentions go in and either work with current Libyan Government in Tripoli and build a new Libyan state that can govern and defend the entire country, or replace the current regime with a more democratic oriented that will work to bring peace to the country. Instead of trying to eliminate the opposition. And you could send in people from the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and even U.S. Foreign Service to help Libya develop a government and state that represents and governs the whole country.

Center For Public Integrity: Wendell Potter: 'Britain's Healthcare System is Better'

Center For Public Integrity: Opinion: Wendell Potter: 'Socialized' or not, Britain's Health Care System is Superior

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Just case there isn’t enough evidence that America won’t have a British based government-run health care system both health insurance and health care anytime soon perhaps not even in my lifetime and I’ll forty this year, is look at the Veterans Administration and the reforms they went though last year. Because of bipartisan legislation passed out of the last Congress that even Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders voted for and was actually one of the authors of the bill. That gives our military veterans actual choice which is a four-letter word for Socialists for the most part, in how they receive their health care. They now have an option of private or public health care.

Not even politicians and political activists as far to the Left as Senator Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader and former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich are calling for a complete nationalization of the United States health care system. They want Medicare For All single payer to go along with the private health care system. Meaning the providers, meaning hospitals and clinics. Senator Sanders is open to having a Medicare public option as a compromise to single payer. If the British health care system is so great, then why are they only of 3-4 developed countries in the world that have a complete government-run health care system. Britain, Sweden and maybe one or two others. Sweden a country of nine-million people by the way. That has a lot of land and is not only energy independent, but a net exporter of energy.

Seriously if anyone thinks that U.K. NHS is the health care model for America, first take a look at the VA pre-2014 and to see if that is what you want to impose on the entire country. And if you still believe that then propose the plan for complete nationalization of the American health care system. Which means not only outlawing private health insurers, but nationalizing private hospitals and clinics, making all doctors in the country now federal employees and nationalizing local community own and run hospitals and clinics. Even Britain has started moving away form their own state-owned health care system and has allowed for some private hospitals and clinics and small health insurers.

I like the Medicare public option idea and was a supporter of it back in 2009-10 and not for the reasons that Social Democrats in America wanted it. They saw it as the last step before single payer. I supported it for the opposite reasons because it would bring in that word that Social Democrats hate and see as a four-letter word, which is competition. You have Medicare available for everyone and get it out of the hands of Congress and the Administration and let it run a non-profit under the same regulations as private non-profits and it would force private health insurers including for-profits to deliver better services or risk losing a lot of business. That is how you improve health care in America and make it more affordable. Competition instead of creating a gigantic monopoly.

The Week: William Falk: Vladimir Putin Raises The Stakes

Source:The New Democrat  

I have a hard time seeing even Vladimir Putin attempting to invade any of the Baltic States for one reason only which is NATO. If Russia attacks the Baltic States, that brings in NATO and then Europe and America would respond to what Russia is doing and would send in ships, planes, personal to defend those countries. And then Russia would have a big decision to make. Do they really want to take on NATO that is so heavily backed by America. Russia could sort of get away with what they did in Ukraine even though they are now paying a heavy price for it financially and economically because Ukraine is not under protection of NATO.

I’m sure Vlad Putin as dreams if not fantasies of reuniting the old Russian Empire and perhaps go back to the Soviet Union days, but with more of a private enterprise economy and a more developed country perhaps. But he doesn’t have the resources and the manpower to do that. The Russian Federation military is not the Soviet Union military obviously, as far as numbers and resources and manpower even. And they are very limited to what they can do especially their economy and economic growth is so linked with their state-owned energy industry that is struggling right now because of all falling oil prices and economic sanctions.

The Putin Administration needs to pay a heavy price for invading Ukraine. They need to continue to pay that heavy price since they brought that on themselves. And if that is short of physically being eliminated from Ukraine, then the economic price should be so severe that people in the Russian Government think to themselves, “how long are going to put up with this dictator and how much damage are we going to allow him to do to our country before we look at replacing him?”. And could come fairly soon as people inside of the Russian Federation are already very aware of the damage that their President has done to their economy.

The Federalist: John Daniel Davidson: How ISIS Spells The End Of Regime Change

The Federalist: Opinion: John Daniel Davidson: How ISIS Spells The End Of ‘Regime Change’

Source:The New Democrat

Actually President George W. Bush’s preëmptive War in Iraq spelled the end of regime change in America. At least in the sense that America would unilaterally invade and occupy another country to knockout the authoritarian regime there and replace it with a new government. Some people might point to Libya to contradict that, but Libya was an international effort where the Europe played a large role in knocking out the regime there. After two or three years of trying to stabilize a country that wasn’t ready to be stabilized because it didn’t have a government that could govern and defend the country, Americans were fed up over Iraq. And as a result non-interventionist Democrats came to power in Congress in 2007 that were perhaps led by Barack Obama and Barack Obama becomes President in 2009.

The official ending of the Vietnam War ended in 1975 and the fortieth anniversary is this year. And there are so many lessons from that war that people especially Neoconservatives on the Right who think interfering in other countries affairs is a good idea, that they haven’t bothered to learn. The biggest lesson I believe is don’t try to fight for people who won’t fight for themselves. We’re not going to send in ground troops to a country to fight for people who won’t fight for themselves. At least since 2009 and even if the next president is a Republican, which is not likely they’re going to have a real hard time getting the country and Congress whoever controls it to back them. If the people in that country won’t fight for themselves.

You don’t see a lot of even Republicans adopting President Bush’s preëmptive war policy. Not even for North Korea which is a bigger problem even now than Iraq ever was and the same thing with Iran. Because at least Iran unlike North Korea has something that looks like a functioning economy where at least the people there can feed themselves for the most part. And this is all because Americans are tired of fighting and paying for other countries wars. For America to help other countries militarily deal with either their own government or a terrorist threat there, the people on the ground have to be willing and able and then do the fighting themselves. Before America will assist them which is why preëmptive war is dead as an American foreign policy.

Brookings Institution: William Galston: The American People to its Leaders: Ground Troops Against ISIS & a Stronger National Defense

I think its pretty clear about what we’ve learned in the last thirteen-years or so in our Middle East adventures. That if you try to defend and govern a country that won’t do that for themselves, then they’ll expect you to stay indefinitely especially if you’re also putting up the bills. And the answer to that is don’t fight other people’s wars for them. This is what we learned about Vietnam. That we shouldn’t try to fight for people who won’t fight for themselves. That if you’re going to get involved in foreign wars you need to have partners of the ground people who live in the country and region that will do their part to defeat the enemy.

Of course America has a role in defeating ISIS in Syria, Iraq and everywhere else. But so does Iraq, so does Kurdistan, so does the Syrian rebels, the Arab League, Turkey, the European Union and especially NATO. And Jordan which is already doing their part and so does Saudi Arabia the biggest and most powerful military in the region. Well the Saudis or Turkey and either one of them could combat ISIS by themselves especially with a NATO no fly zone protecting them. That you must have partners that will work with you on the ground to take out ISIS as you assist them in the air and with other resources.

President Obama doesn’t want to put American ground troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq and neither does the country. That is not going to happen, but what we can do with our NATO allies is give the ground troops from the Middle East the cover to go in take ISIS out as we’re taking out the air-cover and blowing them away. So they can’t get additional resources that they need to keep the fight going and bring in additional personal. And while we are there we could also take out the Assad Regime in Syria as well. But that might be a different debate, but America can play its part to defeat Islamism in the Middle East and other places. But our allies have to play their parts as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Up and Open's Channel: Video: Dennis Miller Interviews George Carlin in 1997

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I’ll give George Carlin credit for one thing when it comes to his military opposition and opposition to use of force. At least he served in the military so he has at least some idea what the hell he’s talking about when it comes to opposing military force. Unlike a lot of these pussies on the Far-Left from Salon, The Nation and AlterNet who never served a day in their life in the military not even in the reserves. And yet they go out of their way to put down the American military and our involvement in wars. And call our soldiers murderers and terrorists and everything else.

When a pacifist says they are against the use of force. So what, what else is new! What do you think they are going to say? “You know what I’ve been a pacifist all of my life, but I had a dream last night about of the damage that peace and love has done to the country. And now I’m not only in favor of using force and the military, but I think we should bomb any country that doesn’t like cheeseburgers and hot dogs and votes against us at the meaningless United Nations Debating Society.” Of course they are going to say war is no good, evil, immoral and everything else! Because that is what pacifists do. They oppose violence at all costs.

But with Carlin you get the real thing. He doesn’t like the military at least in how its used and knows from personal experience about what it is like to serve and the costs that come from serving in the military. And the costs of war and not some fringe asshole who speaks out of his ass because their head is always stuck in it. Speaking about things he’s simply not qualified to talk about. If you’re going to criticize something, at least have the decency to know about what you’re criticizing. And not just jump on some bandwagon because you think that bandwagon is cool.

Hezakya Mixologist: Video: The Tenement: Life In Chicago's Black Ghetto 1967

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

At risk of sounding political, but I’ll also be factual here, what you see in this film and community is the failures of public housing in America. And essentially forced segregation of not just the races, but of the economic classes for lack of a better term in America. Where you had middle class communities that are doing well. Upper class communities that are doing very well. And then lower class communities where the people there get what is left. Which is run-down apartment buildings, run-down schools. High crime rates where no one with real money wants to invest. And you create a community that looks like a big city inside of a third world country.

Public housing by itself is not a problem because that has prevented a lot of homelessness in America. But how its been run and managed in America especially for the kids being trapped in such run-down communities in run-down neighborhoods. A lot of times in single-parent families where the father is out of the picture for one reason or another. Where the mother might not even have a high school diploma let alone any college experience. Working two or three jobs to support her several kids, if she’s working at all. And having communities like this has serious costs. For the people who live there obviously, but for the country as a whole that has to try to makeup for what these families aren’t able to provide for themselves.

And the way public housing has been run in America has negatively affected the African-American community probably more than any community in the country other than the American-Indian community. Because African-Americans have generally had a poverty level twice that of the national average. And much higher than the Caucasian-American and Asian-American communities in America. And this is something that we should stop doing as a country and instead having public housing buildings in middle class communities. With education, job training and work opportunities for the people in these communities so they don’t have to live in public housing at all.

Valhalla Cinema: Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Source:The New Democrat

I saw Anatomy of a Murder last week on TCM and Robert Osborne described the movie as a very serious, or deeply serious, or something to that effect. But if you are familiar with Jimmy Stewart and a lot of his movies, his movies tend not to be that serious. Similar to Cary Grant because of how spontaneously funny they both were especially with improvisation. Sure Anatomy is about a very serious topic which of course is about a man accused of murdering a man who just raped his wife. An Army Lieutenant at that and very important person in his community. But there’s a lot of humor with funny people all throughout the movie.

And I think that is what I love most about this movie. They deal with very serious subjects which are murder and rape of course. But sex in the late 1950s when the country was about to change dramatically culturally and you could already see signs of that change by 1959 with the Rock and Roll Generation. And that is what this movie deals with which are very serious subjects, but they take a very humorous look at them with a lot of sarcasm and wisecracks. Including with the judge played by Joe Welch and the two lead attorney’s played by George Scott the lead prosecutor and Jimmy Stewart the lead defense lawyer.

Anatomy of a Murder at least a first is about a rape. But they don’t show that part. A women played by Lee Remick having a good time at a bar and ends up walking home and offered a ride by the owner of the bar and he ends up raping her. Her husband finds out about it later that night and goes to the bar to confront the man about it. And ends up shooting and killing him for it. Under most circumstances that would be a clear case of first degree murder, or at least second degree murder. But Paul Biegler played by Stewart goes with a temporary insanity plea and that becomes his main defense.

I first saw this movie about a year ago and it is already one of my favorite movies of all-time. Seen it three or four times since because of the versatility of the movie. Dealing with very serious subjects in the movie and yet everyone plays a comedian at least at some point in the movie. Which is typical for a Jimmy Stewart movie and this movie has a great cast as well. With George Scott, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, Arthur O’Connell and many others. And this movie gives its viewers a very good lock at the court system and what it is like to be on trial. And try such a big legal case.

Weirdo Video: Don't Be a Sucker (1947)

Source:The New Democrat

What you see in this film with the bigot in the beginning unfortunately has a long history in America. But I’m only going to go back to the 1890s or so and talk about bigotry toward non-English immigrants in America. The Irish, even though they are essentially brothers and sisters of the English, but tend to practice a different religion than the English in America and back in Britain. The Italians, the Jews, the Poles and other Slavic immigrants in America, the Chinese and Japanese and then move it a hundred plus years and you have xenophobic attitudes towards Latinos and Arabs and other Middle Easterners.

The guy early on in this video was repeating bigoted attitudes about people who looked different and talked different from he did. And because of that and especially if they were born in a different country, this guy considered them to be Un-American. Even though he was being Un-American with his hatred for ethnic and racial diversity in America. Something as a country that we celebrate by in large and have celebrated for a very long time. But with this guy all you get is bigoted attitudes and accusations about immigrants who look different and talk different from him. And he’s accusing them of taking American jobs and trying to force a different religion on the country.

The same xenophobia in America that we see today is nothing new. That if you’re not Caucasian and of European descent you must be some foreign invader that is trying to poison the flavor and character of the country. And imposed your foreign values on the rest of the country. That you are not here to contribute and produce for America, but to take advantage of our welfare system and take jobs from blue-collar Americans who have been in forever and whose families have been here forever. This attitude is small as far its supporter and people who actually believe it. But you hear it a lot from the Far-Right on talk radio. And is something as a country that we should be educating more Americans about so they don’t end up taking it seriously.

Matthew Hormann: The Hollywood Ten, 1950

I don’t want to sound overly partisan here, but this was one of the ugliest anti-American, anti-liberal democratic, illiberal periods in American history. Where Americans were judged by who they associated with and political causes they supported and political candidates they may have endorsed in the past. Instead of being judged by their character and how they conduct themselves and the jobs that they do and what they contribute to America. And this period of the late 1940s early 1950s look like how elements of today’s so-called Tea Party treat Americans that don’t believe the way they do and share their culture and political values.

This period between 1947 or so when Republicans won back Congress both the House and Senate up until Senator Joe McCarthy’s so-called investigation of supposed Communists in the U.S. Government is Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh or Mike Savage Neoconservative Utopia. They accused Americans of supporting things that they claim that they don’t. Which is fascism and telling Americans that they disagree with politically that they are Un-American simply for exercising their constitutional rights of Freedom of Assembly, Speech and Thought. As well as privacy which has never been popular with the Far-Right in America anyway.

People in Hollywood were simply denied jobs and the ability to earn a living simply because of who they may have associated with in the past and political candidates they may have endorsed. Not because of movies that they made or roles that they played and how they played them and how they made movies. But what they did in their personal and free time. Endorsing political candidates that members of Congress both in the Republican Party and Democratic Party and executives in Hollywood saw as dangerous. And this is one of the ugliest periods in American history both in Hollywood and in the U.S. Congress.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Up & Open Channel: Video: HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher: Ann Coulter in 2004

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I hate to break this to anyone who might read this who is not a fan of Ann Coulter and even seriously dislikes her and that might be when they are feeling very generous on high on pot. But I have to call them as I see them. Well strike that! I’m choosing to call this as I see it. Ann Coulter actually made two good points on this show. And those might have been the only two good points that she made in all of 2004.

A reason why John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in 2004, which was like the 1972 Miami Dolphins losing to the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and you’re not a football fan, look up the records of those two teams, is because President Bush was seen as honest and straight with American voters. “Hey President Bush might have an IQ below zero, but at least I know where he is on the issues”. With John Kerry, “he sounds like a smart guy who didn’t need his father to get through Yale or his girlfriend to do his homework for him. But what the hell does he believe on anything controversial, like the Iraq War?”

The other good point that Ann Coulter AKA The Giraffe because her neck is longer than her arms, is about the whole President Bush staying at the Florida school for a few extra minutes after he was informed about the 9/11 attacks scene. Only the Far-Left that Bill Maher apparently fell into, has an issue about that. If he suddenly got up and left the school, people there would know something is up right away and there might have been a panic. Also no one at the time knew when and where the next attack was coming from and where it was going to hit. President Bush’s best spot at least at that moment was to stay there at least for a little while longer. And then maybe take off because they need to be back in Washington for an unplanned meeting or something.

So before you accuse me of always bashing Ann Coulter, first of all I don’t write about her everyday. Because if I did I would always have a migraine headache or flu from having to listen to her. So you can’t say I always bash her anyway. The other reason being I just gave her credit for two points, which would be four points in basketball unless one of the shots was a three-pointer. But The Giraffe couldn’t hit a free with a baseball bat, or the basket was the size of an ocean. So I give her credit for two layups and you can’t say I don’t give her credit for anything.

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

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