Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Week: Ryan Cooper: The Beginning of The End of The War on Drugs

Source:The New Democrat

I think it’s a mistake to put same-sex marriage in the same group and discussion as the War on Drugs. Because a big reason why so much progress has been made on marriage equality has to do with the American courts. Ruling that these gay marriage bans are unconstitutional because they are discriminating, because they create two different classes. One for straits and the other for gays. Straights can marry because they are straight and gays can’t simply because they want to marry someone of the same gender. Which is why gay marriage bans are unconstitutional because it empowers one class of Americans over another.

I’m sure there are certain unconstitutional aspects of the War on Drugs. But the fact is under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Government gets to decide what they’ll allow to be legal and what they won’t. Unless there’s already a constitutional right to own or purchase something, like firearms. Where all Americans have the constitutional right to purchase and own firearms. There is no constitutional right in America to purchase one drug or another. The Federal Government gets to decide what they’ll outlaw and legalize and what they’ll enforce and what they won’t.

Which is why we aren’t seeing state bans on marijuana being thrown out by U.S. courts or state courts because those laws are constitutional. And why the federal Controlled Substance Act won’t get thrown out by any court. Because those drugs are substances and potential commerce and the U.S. Government has the right to decide what commerce is legal and what isn’t. Look, I would love see the War on Drugs, a bogus war that is not real and not a real war, I would love to see it get thrown out as unconstitutional. And we legalize marijuana at the federal level and decriminalize heroin, cocaine and meth at least to the extent that users and dealers aren’t treated as the same. Users and addicts get rehab at their expense and dealers go to jail.

But these things aren’t going to happen through the court system for the most part. The way you defeat the War on Drugs as far as finally ending it, because it as already lost politically, is through the legislative and political process. Get the word out across the country that marijuana is not something that should be endorsed, but that is has similar side-effects as alcohol. And it is a waste of money arresting people and sending them to prison for simple possession or usage of marijuana. Go state by state and lobby Congress as well and not just young Democrats, but Representatives and Senators of both parties. As well as continue to push ballot measures.

Constitution Daily: Lyle Denniston: Did The Founders Want Term Limits For Supreme Court Justices?

Source:The New Democrat

Damn! I found something that I agree with Mike Huckabee on. And perhaps tomorrow I’ll find something that I agree with Michael Moore on, but don’t hold your breath. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but a U.S. Justice in many ways is just as powerful as a U.S. Senator on a lot of things. U.S. Justice’s whether they are supposed to or not, can literally rewrite laws and say this is constitutional and that is not. They did that with the Affordable Care Act in 2012, to use as an example. They can also throw laws out and say this is good and this is bad. And not just to Congress and the President, but state and local laws as well.

U.S. Justice’s have a lot of power and responsibility and yet they’re the only federal officials that have guaranteed job security for the rest of their lives. Just as long as they don’t officially break the law and get impeached and convicted by Congress. And yet they have no one to report to that holds them accountable. They have all of that power and no one to say, you’re doing a good or bad job and they should continue to work, or its time for them to step down and put a fresh face on the court. Here’s an old saying, but it is as true today as it was when it was said the first time. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Why should U.S. Justices’s get lifetime job security? Why should they have something that no one else in the country has, unless you live in a state where state and local judges are lifetime appointees as well? I’m not calling for turning the U.S. Supreme Court into a political branch and having Justice’s running for election and reelection. I think that would be very dangerous and turning the court into another political body and perhaps debating society. Where a lot of very important issues wouldn’t get decided, because Justices’s don’t want to make tough political calls one way or another. And besides we already see that anyway where Justice’s tend to make calls that are already supported by their political party.

I’m also not saying that U.S. Justices’s should only be able to serve a certain amount of years and terms. Because again if They are qualified to serve and the President still wants them there, the President should be allowed to reappoint that Justice. And I just lead into what I would do. Give each Justice lets say six-year terms. And then the President would have to decide to reappoint that Justice or replace that person with someone else. And the same thing for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Make Justices like everyone else, work hard and be productive and even fight for their jobs. To get them to give the best service and judgment that they possibly can.

Monday, March 30, 2015

EN Vagency: Video: Muhammad Ali Then and Now David Frost interview Then and Now

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If there was one person that should’ve wrote a comedy book with all sorts of wisecracks, jokes and monologues in it, its Muhammad Ali. The man was comedian with big fists and quick feet. A true punchers wit who it hadn’t been for boxing, he would’ve ended up in Hollywood as a comedian and comedic actor and perhaps writer and commentator. The only other pro-athlete that I can compare with Muhammad when it comes to humor and wit, would be Charles Barkley. Another very talented athlete who is very bright and very funny at the same time. Who can express how they feel in an intelligent, accurate, but funny way as well.

A few things that makes Muhammad the greatest of all-time the best heavyweight boxer of all-time. His physical size. 215-220 pounds of solid muscle on a 6’2-6’3 frame. The man had the body of a big wide receiver or running back. And then you add how quick he was with his footwork, hand speed and intelligence. He knew his opponents better than they knew themselves. Larry Holmes being the exception to that. And then his work-ethic. No one worked as hard in and outside of the ring than Muhammad Ali. The man wasn’t just a great boxer, but a great professional as well.

You put all of these things together and that is why Muhammad Ali is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time. And yes he fought at least five years too long. He should’ve retired after he beat Leon Spinks and won back the World Heavyweight Championship in 1978. But when you’re as great as Muhammad was and that is after losing five years of your career when he was in his mid and late twenties, it is real hard to call it quits and retire. Because you feel invincible and feel like a god or something. And I believe that is what happened to Muhammad Ali.

Real Time: Bill Maher Interviewing Mike Huckabee

Source: Real Time With Bill Maher-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Is it just me, or does Mike Huckabee sound like he’s moderating? One of the advantages of living in such a huge vast diverse developed liberal democracy like America, is that we have all types of people, cultures and lifestyles. That we are all free to be ourselves. But we can’t force our lifestyle and way of life on to other people. And I think that is what Governor Huckabee was essentially saying, at least when it came to language and how we communicate with people.

If your way of life is going to church seven days a week and never doing anything without praying to Jesus first, dad works hard, mom stays at home and raise the kids, the only music you listen to is country or gospel, the only channel you get to watch is Fox News or CMT, great. If you want to party like it’s still 1955, except for the creation of Fox News, be my guess. Just as long as you don’t kidnap anyone from outside of your world and force your lifestyle on them. Or try to get big government to do that for you.

Americans can live in modern America. Which is really everywhere outside of the Bible Belt. And yes the Bible Belt covers a lot of land in America. Just not that many people. You got to go where the people are. Which is how Democrats win presidential elections with only winning half of the states or less. Because they win most if not all the big states. Or you can live in modern diverse America, where you may see five people at once who don’t look like you. And perhaps practice five different religions, or don’t practice at all. But one thing that makes us great is our diversity and freedom. We can all live our own lives, without big government forcing one lifestyle or another on the whole country.
Real Time: Bill Maher Interviewing Mike Huckabee

Sunday, March 29, 2015

CBS News: Video: Fidel Castro on Face The Nation, in 1959

Source:The New Democrat

This was just after the Castro Communists had taken power in Cuba in 1958, from the authoritarian Batista Regime there, after winning the Cuban Civil War. Cuba replaces one authoritarian regime from Fulgencio Batista and creates a new one with Fidel Castro. I saw a documentary about Che Guevara last week and it featured a lot of Fidel in the same film. For obvious reasons and they essentially said Fidel wasn’t sure exactly what type of government he would replace the Batista Regime with. That he became a Marxist Communist, leftist dictatorial authoritarian after he came to power as President of the New Communist Republic of Cuba. But Fidel was never a Democrat Socialist or otherwise. He’s always believed in socialism and what it can do for people. But never believed in governing the country through democratic means. With allowing any time of real opposition, or decentralizing power to anyone else outside of his regime in Cuba.

CNN: World News Special- Pelican Bay State Prison

Source: CNN- News Anchor Susan Rook-
Source:The New Democrat

First of all, just to speak of Susan Rook at CNN. I miss her, I wish she would come back. She’s so freakin cute and sweet and makes hard news worth listening to and watching just with her beautiful baby-face and sweet voice. She still looks great today from the few shots I’ve seen of her online. And works as a photographer and as an agent. She’s still pretty active, just not as a news anchor.

Now as far as Pelican Bay, maybe I should be careful how I put this, but if there’s such a thing as a human zoo it would be called Pelican Bay. Or the Colorado State Maximum Security Prison. Except that animals at zoos are able to move around in their yard and are probably outside most of the day. And can eat as much as they can handle and get plenty of exercise. As well as both human and animal contact. You get almost none of that if you’re an inmate at Pelican Bay.

I’m sure most if not all the inmates at Pelican Bay are quite frankly hard-core assholes who deserve to be at a maximum security prison. But there’s a right way to do that and the wrong way. The wrong way treats these people as if they’re wild animals like grizzly bears or tigers or something. And when you treat people like that, that is how they’re going to behave. But if you punish bad behavior while at the same time giving people incentive to improve, that is what will happen in most cases. The whole carrot and stick approach.
Bat Man-CNN: World News Special- Pelican Bay State Prison 

Politics and Prose: Video: John Dean: The Nixon Defense

Not being there or even being alive in 1972, I would say that President Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate burglary coverup the day he found out about it. The President is on tape like the day after they find out about in June, 1972 as telling his Chief of Staff to direct the FBI not to go into this Watergate business any further, period. I first heard about that in the early 1990s when I was in high school. President Nixon didn’t have someone on his team in the White House to say, “with all due respect sir, this is very important story and case. We can’t cover it up. It would be bad for American justice and bad for this administration.” Perhaps being a big more diplomatic, but he didn’t have someone to tell him no. And this is what should be done instead.

What President Nixon essentially had was a team of loyalists. A team of yes men who believed in him so much, or at the very least believed in how far they could go with him. They weren’t there to say this is what should be done here and there and give their advice. But to find out what the President wanted to do and go about accomplishing those things the best way that they can. President Nixon didn’t have a good team in his White House at least when it came to people who knew what was right and wrong and what should be done. Other than maybe Al Haig who was his second and final Chief of Staff who told him when it was time to step down and resign.

The Intelligent Channel: Alex Cherian: Jayne Mansfield on Visiting U.S. Troops in Vietnam (1967)

It's great to see the human sides of great Hollywood celebrities and entertainers that Jayne Mansfield was, even if it was for just a brief period. Because thanks to their handlers and themselves we generally only see them at their best. Meaning their strongest, that is when they are sober and not in trouble, but living well and staying out of trouble. But they are humans just as well who aren’t always at their strongest. And visiting troops in a military hospital during a war could break anyone down. And leave them with memories that they’ll never forget because of the injures that they’ve seen at the hospital.

Jayne Mansfield talking about an American troop who was twenty-five and I guess about to lose his leg if he hadn’t already lost it. That troop wasn’t the only twenty-five year old soldier who lost a leg in the Vietnam War. And I imagine this soldier survived this war. Unlike a hundred-thousand or so American troops who didn’t in that war. You can be against the war, but still support your troops. People who didn’t choose to go over there in many cases. Who were drafted, but ended up surviving the experience in good shape physically. Or coming away with serious injuries, or simply not making it out Vietnam alive.

I don’t know how Jayne thought about the Vietnam War, or if she thought anything about it to be honest with you. She wasn’t known as a Hollywood political activist to put it mildly. Unlike Jayne Fonda who is perhaps the most famous Hollywood political activist of all-time. But to see her go over there and support all of those young American men and women who in many cases weren’t there by choice, because they were drafted into the military, is pretty impressive. This is something that she didn’t have to do. Nor did Raquel Welch when she went over in the late 60s as well to entertain them. And she deserves a lot of credit for that.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Allan Gregg: Video: Tom Hayden on His Life as a Political Activist

Source:The New Democrat

I was hoping this interview would be about if not mostly about if not the whole thing being about the 1960s. The New Left, anti-war movement, the Vietnam War and everything else from that period. Especially since Allan Gregg was interviewing Tom Hayden. One of the key leaders of Students For a Democratic Society and the New Left in this period. Before Occupy Wall Street was literally born, but the late 1960s version of OWS. But at least half of this interview is about the current Iraq War and 2008 in general. Especially since this interview was done in 2008.

Being that as it may, what Iraq and Vietnam have in common is they are both wars by choices. At least from America’s point of view of getting involved in something that at the very least could be argued had no business being involved in, in the first place. And for what, to build a liberal democratic utopia in a country that doesn’t have any type of democracy up until new pre-2003. And this liberal democratic utopia was supposed to be put together by Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration of all people. Which isn’t that different from what Neoconservatives wanted to do in Vietnam in the 1960s.

The anti-war New Left of the 1960s, were middle-age yuppy Baby Boomers by 2002-03 when the drive for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was put together. When Congress gives President Bush the authority to go into Iraq. Most of the New Left of the 1960s grew up and moderated and became spouses and parents and working good middle class jobs and even starting their own private business. They became capitalists and private enterprisers in the 1980s and 90s and so on. Which was one thing they were trying to get rid of in the 1960s and 70s. People tend to moderate with experience and knowledge.

NBC: Later With Bob Costas- ‘Camille Paglia Trashes Gloria Steinem Wing of Feminism, in 1992’

Source:Culture On The Offensive- Author Camille Paglia, talking to NBC's Bob Costas in 1992.
Source:The New Democrat

“Camille Paglia talks Gloria Steinem feminism vs 1920-30s Feminism, on Later with Bob Costas.”

From NBC

Good thing that Camille Paglia was never a U.S. Senator, because they would never be able to shut her up. They would never be able to go home, Congress would always be in session, because the Senate was always in session. The House would be on vacation, with the Senate always open for business. Well, always open to listen to Camille Paglia, if they hear very fast.

Congress would have to create a new police force of Sergeant of Arms who would simply be there to shut Camille Paglia up and get her to yield the floor to some poor freshman senator, whose been waiting for months to finally be able to speak on the floor. Because Senator Paglia has been speaking the whole time.

But having said all of that, I probably agree with just about Camille Paglia says about radical Feminists. People who I call man-hating dykes who essentially hate straight men and male masculinity. And are always putting down straight men, especially Caucasian men and especially Anglo-Saxon Caucasian men with southern or rural backgrounds.

It’s not feminism or Feminists who are the problem. What they believe in is very mainstream. Which is equal rights and treatment for women under law. That men and women should be treated equally under law and not given special treatment either way for simply being a man or woman. Which all Americans believe in. Well, everyone to the Left of Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, but not has Far-Left as radical Feminists who see women as better than men.

As far as Anita Hill, I’m one of the last people who would ever be a fan of U.S. Justice Clarence Thomas. Never heard of the man before President Bush appointed him to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1991. Shouldn’t be surprising since I was only 15 at that point.

But even back then it seemed somewhat surprising to me that Anita Hill would finally make public her allegations once the Thomas Senate confirmations hearings finally started in I believe October of 1991. Maybe Professor Hill thought she should’ve been the one appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991, instead of her former boss Clarence Thomas.

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Second Term

Source:The New Democrat

As far as messing around with other people’s elections, that is something that the United States shouldn’t be involved with. If that kind of thing happened here and you could make a strong case that it did in 1996 with President Bill Clinton’s reelection from the People’s Republic of China, we would be freaking out in America over that and did. Congress actually investigated that election both in the House and Senate in 1997. Let other countries elect their own people and then make the best of it as far as how you relate with them. In defending your own interests and standing up for human rights in other countries. That is how you build up credibility with other countries and their people.

As far as Vice President Spiro Agnew, it always brings a big smile to my face every time I hear that. And not because a fellow Marylander made it to the Vice Presidency of the United States. But how would someone of a Spiro Agnew’s limited experience in and out of government makes it that far in this country. One thing you can say about the Richard Nixon White House and before that their political campaigns that ran Dick Nixon’s 1968 and 72 presidential campaigns, is that they didn’t do their homework on their own people. Spiro was already suspected of being corrupt when he was Governor of Maryland in the mid and late 1960s. You can see why President Nixon didn’t give his Vice President a lot of work and didn’t keep him very busy. Because he wasn’t very impressed with him and didn’t see him as much of an asset.

President Nixon was investigated for more than just Watergate in Congress, when the House of Representatives looked into his financial affairs as President in 1974. They reported that the President owed taxes to the IRS that he by law of course was obligated to pay back. But a lot of people owe back taxes that they haven’t paid back. And in most cases they’ve put that off because they can’t afford those taxes because they’ve run up debt. And are looking to put their tax payments off. I’m sure President Nixon had the money to pay his taxes assuming that the only income he earned while as President was his presidential salary. So I don’t know why he had back taxes to begin with.

The Jack Benny Show: Jayne Mansfield (1956)

Source:The New Democrat

Wow! And I thought Jack Benny was pretty popular and that the Jack Benny Show was pretty popular. And then I hear that they have to grab the purses of women, including Jayne Mansfield in order to get them to appear on the show. I wonder if they paid the audience just to show up. How they make any money paying people just to come to the show. Jayne Mansfield showing her quick comedic side as an actress on this show. Playing along and doing very well on it. Going toe to toe with perhaps one of the top 5-10 comedians of all-time who inspired many other comedians as well.

Jayne Mansfield was probably at her peak and at the top of her career at this point. Which is a damn shame, because she was only I believe twenty-three years old at this point. And probably should’ve had another twenty-years as a Hollywood star had she took care of herself and laid off heavy drugs including booze. Because her career moderated, but didn’t collapse the way it did in the early and mid 1960s. Leaving her depressed and wondering what was the point in going on. Every comedy and variety show wanted a piece of her. Not just physically, but they also knew she was a very good comedic actress. With an excellent sense of humor.

Jack Benny had Jayne, along with Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors and Mami Van Doren, who by far in away had the longest career of any of these Hollywood Goddess’s, on his show in the 1950s. Dina Dors had the second longest career of these starlets, with Marilyn burning out in 1962 and Jayne in 1967. They were both in their mid-thirties when they died. Mami is still alive today in her early eighties and Diana died in 1984. But Jack could get basically anyone he wanted on his show. His show was that popular, good and funny. And inspired future variety shows in the future.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Young Turks: Video: Panel: What Will Happen After Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Retires?

Source:The New Democrat

It must be a slow news day if I’m blogging about the retirement of a U.S. Senator. Even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the most powerful Democrat in Congress and most powerful Democrat in Congress since 2005. Leader Harry Reid was President Bush’s biggest headache in Congress in President Bush’s second term. Both as Minority Leader and then as Leader of the Senate in President Bush’s last two years. A bigger headache to President Bush than his Vice President Dick Cheney and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. House Republicans must be throwing a big bash right now, even though a lot of them probably don’t drink, because it violates their religious beliefs. Because Leader Reid was their biggest headache the last ten years or so, not including President Obama. Because Leader Reid cold single-handily kill their agenda and their bills.

As far as who replaces Harry Reid either as Senate Minority Leader or Senate Leader in the next Congress, probably 50-50 odds right now as far as which position the next Democratic Leader will have. My choice would be the current Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin, whose been Leader Reid’s top deputy since Harry Reid became Senate Democratic Leader back in 2005. A strong Liberal Democrat pro-personal freedom and civil liberties leader. As well as being in favor of economic opportunity and freedom for struggling Americans. But I’m afraid the panel is right and that Chucky Wall Street will probably be the next Senate Democratic Leader. Because of all the money he raises for Democrats, because of his connections with Wall Street.

CNN: Mark Preston: Can This Democrat Really Beat Hillary Clinton?

Source:The New Democrat

No one is saying that Martin O’Malley is going to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Governor O’Malley knows that he’s a long shot. But so was Governor Jimmy Carter in 1975, Governor Bill Clinton in 1991 and Senator Barack Obama in 2008. Jimmy Carter probably had the least name ID of any of these Democrats and he won the Democratic nomination for president going away in 1976. Bill Clinton had the Democratic nomination locked up by February or March of 1992. With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008, it went to June. But Senator Clinton was a well-financed frontrunner in 2007-08 who lost to Senator Obama.

When someone starts off as high as Hillary Clinton for president like she is now, there’s only one way for her to go, which is down. Doesn’t mean she’ll go all the way down, but Democrats have wanted a strong challenger to her since at least the summer of 2014. And with her latest controversy that makes even more sense. And that the fact that she’s not campaigning and has kept quiet about when she’ll officially announced just gives Democrats that itch about wanting an alternative to her even stronger. They want to know where she is and where she is on the issues, right now and what type of campaign she’ll run.

Lack of name ID is certainly a weakness and can be a problem. But if played right it can also be a strength. Because it gives the candidate the opportunity to introduce themselves to the people who they’ll need to vote for them. Tell them all about them self and what they are about, what they’ve done in the past, what they’ll do in the future and why people should vote for them. That is where Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and now Martin O’Malley all were before they became Democratic nominees for president and then won the presidency the same year.

Martin O’Malley has everything that voters I believe especially Democrats at least say they want in a presidential candidate. Youth, energy, outsider, newcomer to the national scene, intelligence, experience, likability, charm, humor and vision. He connects to everyday people very well and also appeals to lets say yuppy Democrats, wine and cheese Democrats who have a tendency to look down at working-class Americans. He’s a Democrat that is liked by women, young people and minorities. Young Democrats and perhaps minorities are, Secretary Clinton’s weakness’s right now. And if Governor O’Malley is successful in getting his name and message out in the next 8-9 months, we’ll have a real Democratic contest in 2016.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Nation: George Zornick: 'Lets Just Get Rid of The Hyde Amendment'

The Nation: Opinion: George Zornick: Let’s Just Get Rid of The Hyde Amendment

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I going to get to The Hyde Amendment and why I support that and why I’m against public funding for abortions. But I also want to use this opportunity to explain what freedom of choice or pro-choice means to me as a Liberal. Because a lot of people who call themselves Liberals, like to brag about how pro-choice that they are. Because they believe same-sex marriage should be legal, abortion should be legal. And some of them support marijuana legalization. But when it comes to things like education, gambling, pornography, prostitution, gun ownership and now thanks to Mike Bloomberg, junk food and soft drinks and I’m sure tobacco and perhaps even alcohol is next, “they say big government knows best.” And go out-of-their-way to support the nanny state.

That is not me. Freedom of choice is exactly that. Do you believe in it or not. And if you’re in between, then you believe in limited choice. The right to do things that you approve of, or don’t see as harmful enough that it should be illegal. I’m pro-choice on everything that doesn’t involve hurting innocent people for everyone twenty-one or over. Including all the examples I’ve already mentioned. But where would individual choice and freedom be without personal responsibility for the people who make those choices? It would be very expensive and unaffordable even to the point that we would either have to limit or eliminate choice, or make it come with personal responsibility. Otherwise a lot of innocent people would get stuck with others bad decisions. As far as having to pay for it.

Adults should have the freedom over their own lives. Just as long as they pay for it, or they can get someone else to agree to pay for their choices. Or someone volunteers to do that. Freedom of choice is not the freedom to force others to pay for choices. Once you decide to do something it’s up to you to come up for the funds for it. Unless someone else agrees to do that for you. Otherwise you’re making a choice that can’t afford and won’t be able to follow through on. I’m 98-99% pro-choice on everything again as long as we aren’t hurting any innocent people. And aren’t forcing our costs onto others who have no choice in the matter. And that includes abortion which is why I support The Hyde Amendment. Not because I’m against abortion, but we don’t have the right to pass the cost of our choices onto others.

Reason Magazine: Jacob Sullum: Ted Cruz is Right About Taxes

Source:The New Democrat

Just once I would like to hear someone and its generally Republicans who support some type of flat tax, say, “I’m in favor of a middle class tax hike! Because middle class Americans are under taxed when it comes to the needs of the country and the Federal Government. And its time for middle class hard-working Americans who struggle to just pay their current taxes, to pay more in federal income taxes.” I don’t want to hear them say that because I believe middle class Americans are under taxed. Because the opposite is true, but for them to say that, because that is exactly what a flat tax is. At least as every plan that has been introduced inside or outside of Congress.

Why I say that? Because a flat tax depending on how you do it would be around 15-20% of people’s income. If you’re in the bottom tax rate right now, you’re paying ten-percent in federal income taxes. So now replace the current Progressive Income Tax with a regressive flat tax of anywhere between 15-20% and that would be anywhere between a 50-100% tax increase on someone making 40-50 thousand-dollars a year. Who are those people? Law enforcement, military personal, emergency management officers, teachers, truck drivers, construction workers, autoworkers and millions of other working-class Americans who struggle just to pay their current bills and that includes taxes. You really think they’re looking for a 50-100% tax increase right now to help them out?

I like the idea of tax reform and support it myself, including business tax reform. It is something that we must do as a country to get the type of economic growth that we need to not only get our economy back to pre-Great Recession levels, but to expand it further. But there are right ways to do things and there are wrong ways. I to personally would like to see us scrap the income tax and stop taxing production and creativity. And instead go with what Senator Ben Cardin, one of Senator Ted Cruz’s colleagues calls the Progressive Consumption Tax. A sales tax that would tax basic necessities of life at fairly low rates. But tax luxury items which would have to be defined at higher rates.

We could leave in the corporate tax, but have it much lower than thirty-five-percent, but make it progressive as well. Somewhere between 10-20 percent depending on the size of business and their profits. And scrap a lot of the, well garbage in the tax code. But individual and business to help pay for the lower tax rates. As well as to encourage more economic development in America both domestically and foreign. We could do all of these things without passing a single tax hike on middle class Americans. People that both Democrats and Republicans claim to support. But have different ways of showing it.

The Daily Iowan: Quentin Mislag: Martin O'Malley: The Nation's New JFK?

I don’t think there will ever be another John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. These are great politicians and I use the term accurately and positively that don’t come around very often. Which of course that might sound cheesy, but its true. Politicians that not only have a strong grasp of the issues and knowledge of the subjects they deal with and are especially interested in, but can communicate them in a way that makes people think, “you know what, that’s very interesting. I’ve thought about that issue myself, just not in that way.” Don’t come around very often.

As well as giving people the feeling that the person whose campaigning for their votes also understands how they feel and what they are going through. But is interested in not only helping them out, but also has a plan to do that. As well as having good ideas, whose likable, can make people laugh, intentionally. Martin O’Malley has all of these great qualities. He represents the best of Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton, but without the negatives of Hillary Clinton. You don’t have to worry about Governor O’Malley running just on his name ID. Because frankly he doesn’t have much to run on. Or running straight for the middle and not taking strong positions on key issues. Because he has a track record of making tough decisions.

You don’t have to worry about Governor O’Malley running simply for the women’s vote and simply wanting to be the first female President of the United States. Without any real clear agenda and vision for where he would take the country. And giving people an idea about what a Hillary Clinton Administration would look like. And would she actually be doing the job as President and not her husband Bill Clinton. Whose always wanted to run for President again. Because in case Martin is not a big enough clue, he’s a man. Governor O’Malley is a Democrat who’ll appeal to all factions of the Democratic Party. Just as soon as they discover him, if that happens at all.

Americans are and will be looking for something different in 2016. Democrats and Republicans and most importantly Independents. Who’ll decide who the next President of the United States is. And running for President with the message of, “vote for me because of my last name, resume and oh by the way, I’m a women”, won’t be good enough. Americans also aren’t looking for another Bush. Someone who on policy grounds will probably look very similar as President George W. Bush, but perhaps a bit smarter with better experience and better track record. They want someone who tell them like it is, at least how they see things. And tell them where they want to take the country and what their presidency would look like.

Martin O’Malley would be that Democrat. Senator Rand Paul would be that Republican. Not that I’m endorsing Senator Paul for President, but at least he would be different and you would have a pretty good idea of what type of President he would be before he got the job. Governor O’Malley is someone who believes in both economic and personal freedom. Using government to expand the opportunity, middle class and even upper class. Making government work and not just bigger and making more people dependent on it. He not Far-Left and won’t scare Independents and their wallets away from them. And he’s not Dead-Center and not being able to expire anyone behind him. He’s a Center-Left Liberal Democrat in the Jack Kennedy sense. Who believes in opportunity and freedom for everyone. And deserves a long look from Democrats and Independents as the next President of the United States.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The American Prospect: Sasha Abramsky: 'Sharing The Wealth'

The American Prospect: Opinion: Sasha Abramsky: Sharing The Wealth

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I’ve been asked several times why I’m a Liberal and what it means to be a Liberal, to define Liberal, define liberalism. And I give the same answers to all of those questions every time I’m asked that to everyone who asks me it. A Liberal is someone who believes in protecting freedom for those who have and still deserve it. Expanding freedom for people who don’t have it, but who deserve and need it. And punishing people when they take freedom away from the innocent. Nothing in there is sharing the wealth or what the one time Governor and U.S. Senator from Louisiana Huey Long said, share the wealth.

I’m not interested as a Liberal in sharing the current economic pie to slice it up and give it to people who don’t have a piece of it, because they didn’t work for it. What I will do is make sure that people who earned their wealth and economic freedom get to keep most of it. And take their share of taxes away from them to fund government priorities that we all rely on. But not to the point that it discourages their productivity in the future. While at the same time instead of sharing the current economic pie, expand it so more people can benefit from the economy and also have their own economic freedom.

Instead of creating a dependent society where more Americans everyday become dependent on government and productive taxpayers to take care of them, or create a Basic National Income, where regardless of whether people are productive or not, or even work at all, are guaranteed a basic income so they don’t have to live in poverty, lets put people who need it back in school. Lets make sure their kids get the education that they need to be successful in life. Lets put people to work at good jobs and give people small business credits so they can start their own business’s and become successful business owners.

Lets expand economic freedom and expand the current economy so more American can benefit from it. And so more Americans will want to get a good education and be productive in the future and live in economic freedom as well. Lets rebuild America and especially target those resources to underserved communities. With both public infrastructure investment and private economic development in underserve areas of the country, both urban, suburban and rural. When you make it harder for people to be successful in America, it becomes harder to be successful in America. And as a result less people become successful and less people even work for it. Because government is taking so much of their productivity away from them.

My approach is much different from creating a National Basic Income where everyone no matter what and what they contribute to the country would be guaranteed of not having to live in poverty and with a middle class income. Or even taxing our natural resources to benefit everyone even if they didn’t work to develop those resources. You don’t need social democracy or democratic socialism to create more economic security in your country. And when you’re the size of America both physically and in population, but you produce the energy resources of much smaller countries, than you really can’t afford to do that. Without really discouraging economic production in your country. So what you do is give your people the tools that they need to be able to create their own wealth. And everyone benefits as a result.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Salon: Mike Conrad: 'The Left's Real Choice in 2016'

Salon: Opinion: Mike Conrad: The Left's Real Choice in 2016: Why it Doesn't Need Elizabeth Warren to Run

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I agree that the Democratic Party needs a strong progressive challenger to Hillary Clinton. At the very least to challenge Hillary for working-class blue-collar voters that use to be the core of the Democratic Party that are now moving to the Republican Party. My preferred choice is former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Who I believe once Democrats get to know him, especially young Democrats they’ll get to like him a lot. And then they look at his record as Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, they’ll like him even more. A Democrat not of Washington, but someone whose had to govern and get things done with real results, with real executive experience. Not from Congress who just has to look and sound good and stay out of trouble. But doesn’t really have to govern as long as they are fighting the good fight.

Martin O’Malley, will probably sound like a corporatist or centrist mushy-middle New Democrat to a lot of so-called Progressives. But he isn’t because his whole agenda is about the middle class and empowering more Americans to join it. Through things like infrastructure, education, job training, making government work and not just bigger. These are things that Democrats use to stand for as a party. And not just a faction of the party, but we use to be a party of Democrats Liberals and Progressives who wanted to use government to actually empower people. And not make people dependent on it for the rest of their lives. O’Malley is a JFK Liberal Democrat and someone who knows how to govern and who actually has governed. And not sit in Congress or teach at an Ivy League university.

But if Martin O’Malley is not progressive enough for today’s lets say real Progressives and not people who are more socialist in nature, but who call themselves Progressives, you have alternatives as well. And you don’t have to pick a McGovernite who’ll scare the hell out of American business’s and send all of our good jobs oversees as a result. Because they don’t want to get taxed and regulated out of business. Or a Democratic Socialist who’ll do exactly that and make state and local government’s, as well as individuals almost meaningless, because of all the power that will now be in Washington. Someone like Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio would make a great progressive challenger to Hillary.

If Progressives want to be a real factor in the Democratic Party and hold real leadership positions in the Administration, Congress and at the state level, they need to go back to their roots and go back to what progressivism really is. And not make it democratic socialism under a different name. They need to go back to FDR and LBJ and be about using government to empower people and so the American economy works for everybody. Not make government so big that people essentially don’t have to take responsibility for themselves for anything. Because Uncle Sam is big enough to do practically everything for everybody. Senator Brown is a real Progressive. He would be the Howard Dean of 2016 and someone who could go straight to blue-collar Democrats and Independents for their votes. Be able to compete in the Midwest, Northeast and South for their votes. Because of his appeal to working-class Americans that he’s represented in Ohio in Congress since 1993. And is someone who real Progressives should look at.

The National Interest: Seyed Hossein Mousavian: How to Fix The Syrian Mess

The Nation Interest: Opinion: Seyed Hossein Mousavian: How to Fix The Syrian Mess

Source:The New Democrat

I think I found an issue where I agree with Senator John McCain on. Someone who when it comes to foreign policy we rarely agree on anything. It is about Syria where four years ago I believe a NATO no fly zone was a good idea to stop the Assad Regime from murdering its own people, simply because they opposed the Assad Regime and made those feelings public. A no fly zone over Syria or at least parts of it would give the Syrian rebels a fighting chance, literally of taking out the current government there. Or at least bring President Bashar Al-Assad to the negotiating table and negotiate how he would step down from power peacefully.

One of the mistakes that America made in Iraq in 2003, is the same mistake that both America and Europe made in Libya in 2011. Which was to take out the current government including the military without anything to go in and immediately replace the government. So the country could function while they are transitioning and building their new country. So knocking out Bashar in Syria shouldn’t be the ultimate goal at least through military means. But to bring him to the negotiating table to get him to step down from power. And transition to a new government that could and would govern the country responsibly and respect the human rights of their people.

Bashar Al-Assad can’t govern a united Syria now or into the future. He’s lost the ability and credibility to do that. And leaving him in power even to help us take out ISIS there wouldn’t work either. Because he would go back to doing what he’s done before which started the crisis in the first place. All he’s interested in is staying in power at all costs. So what America and Europe could do is to aid the Syrian rebels in the air, but not arm them with lethal weapons. As the Syrian rebels take on the Assad Regime and at least bring Bashar to the negotiating table. But without destroying the government. Especially the military and law enforcement.

The New Republic: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig:House GOP, White House Budget Overuse The Word Taxpayers

This article from Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig in The New Republic is just another example that TNR is gone and finished. And is now become a different current affairs magazine. Another version of the New-Left The Nation or Salon to put it nicely. To suggest that using the term taxpayer is somehow insulting to people who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes, is ridiculous. The term taxpayer is generally used for Americans who pay federal income taxes. Most of those Americans tend to be middle-class Americans and even the wealthy. Even after all of their tax breaks. It is not used as an insult for people who collect public assistance because they don’t make enough money to support themselves. And in some cases don’t work at all.

Americans who do collect public assistance especially if they are working, do pay taxes. They pay payroll taxes to pay for Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance. If they drive and own a car even a cheap one, they pay gas taxes to pay for roads and other infrastructure. And they may even pay state and local income taxes even if they are low-income. And if they aren’t working and are on Welfare or Unemployment Insurance, they pay sales taxes and perhaps even gas taxes if they have a car. So even low-income Americans are taxpayers. And even income taxpayers when it comes to payroll taxes. So really except for being a political correctness warrior or something, I don’t see what Elizabeth Bruenig is complaining about here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reason Magazine: Ed Krayewski: Are You Ready For President Joe Biden?

Source:The New Democrat

There’s a reason that even though Joe Biden isn’t mentioned as a strong contender to Hillary Clinton in 2016 for president. Even though he’s Vice President of the United States and an influential and powerful one at that as far as influence that he has on his boss President Obama. And has probably somewhere around hundred-percent name id certainly in the Democratic Party or country as well. Vice President Biden doesn’t have a national constituency and even a Democratic one. Some public servants are simply just good at that and serving their bosses and their people. Just like some assistant head coaches are good at serving their head coach. But that alone doesn’t make you a good candidate for president or head coach.

And then throw in the fact that Joe Biden is serving a president whose very controversial. A lot of people like or love Barack Obama, including myself. A lot of people have serious disagreements with the President and wish his policies were dramatically different in some key areas. Take the War on Drugs and civil liberties to use as examples. And I’m one of them as well. And then are also a lot of people who simply hate the man. And lot that has to do with generation, culture, how Barack was educated and yes race as well as ignorance. And questioning the man’s religion and loyalty to the country and calling him a Socialist as if they were calling him a bastard.

Plus the Obama Administration has had a rocky up and down run on really every issue they’ve had to face. They’re up for maybe a few weeks or months and then something like Healthcare.GOV not rolling out properly, even though they had three years to prepare for it, happens. Or the southern border crisis of last summer happens. Biden is the Vice President second ranking officer in an administration that will look better in the future, even though it doesn’t look great now. Because they’ve been involved in things that take time and where you don’t see great results right away. Like with the economy where the economy is just starting to rebound strongly. Or health care reform where the Affordable Care Act is finally starting to pay off for them. Or with their war against ISIS in the Middle East, that may go on for decades.

None of these factors and situations that Joe Biden has been involved in as Vice President whose in on everything and has responsibility for carrying out a lot of these possibilities and selling them to the country, add up to someone saying, “look how great things are now. Lets keep them going and nominate Joe Biden for president to keep America on the same course.” Unless President Obama has a great 2015 and is very popular going into 2016 and essentially has the power to pick his successor and says to his loyal Vice President, “you know what Joe, things are finally going our way and America is moving again. And you were part of all of it and you’re the guy to keep it going.” And puts his support behind his Vice President succeeding him, I can’t see Joe Biden even running for president. Because what would be the reason other than wanting to be president.

Anang M: Video: The Heritage Foundation: Larry Schweikart's A Patriot's History of The Modern World

Source:The New Democrat

Even though I’m favor of Freedom of Religion in America, even as an Agnostic, I have a hard time agreeing that what makes America great at least up to the 20th Century is because of how many Christians are in the country. Or as Larry Schweikart put it, our Protestant Christianity. What makes us better and different from a lot of countries is our Freedom of Religion, period. The ability for people to practice or not practice their religion of your choice, or not practice at all, like in my case. And then raise their kids under their religious values and pass it on to their kids.

What makes America great, is our individualism, our freedom both personal and economic and how those things are protected by our Constitution. Our Constitution by the way, not just the best liberal in the classical as well as real sense, political and governmental document that has ever been written anywhere. Because of all the individual freedom that it protects. And then our diversity. How many countries in the world especially big countries are there that get along with each other better than America. That is as developed as America and as free as America, that are as diverse as America?

And I could add our Federal Republic and federalist form of government. Where most of the power in the country is not centralized in one individual or political party or even one government in the nation’s capital. But throughout the country where national responsibilities and things that go on in between states are handled by the Federal Government. But where the states and localities are responsible for what goes on in their states and localities.

These are the things that makes America great and exceptional. And I would add to that you won’t find another country where more freedom and opportunity for more people can be created in than America. And for so many different people where we don’t have a defining race, ethnicity or religion in this country. Because we represent the whole world, unlike anyone else. Or find a country that is so secure as well and as independent when it comes to our security. And yet we also protect our constitutional rights and civil liberties at the same time.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fora-TV: Video: Peter Coyote: Sleeping Where I Fall: Where The Counter-Culture Prevails

Source:The New Democrat

I think Peter Coyote hit on the head so to speak and I’m not sure what I can add to it. Other than to point out why I believe he is right. If the goals of the counter-culture movement was to end war and capitalism, etc then of course they failed. If anything those things are more prevalent today. Especially when it comes to capitalism where most of the world now has some type of private enterprise private market economy that comes with basic property rights. Back in Peter Coyote’s time the 1960s, maybe half of the world had an open economy that was liberated from state-control.

But what is called counter-culture is all around us. Americans now more than in the 1960s are free to be Americans. Which is individualistic, which is the freedom for the individuals to be individuals. The freedom for one to be themselves and not feel the need to live in some type 1950s collectivist society where young people were expected to grow up and become their parents and grandparents. What Baby Boomers did and I include Peter Coyote in this group, was to break out from the parents and grandparents lifestyles. And decided to live their own lives instead. Even if their parents didn’t approve.

The part of the 1960s that I approve of is the so-called Hippie Revolution or culture. Which was about the freedom for people to be themselves and not feel the need to have to fit in with the establishment. And we’ve been on this track ever since which has freed millions of Americans all sorts of ethnicities, races, sexualities, cultures, lifestyles, etc to be themselves. It’s when you get into the anti-American, anti-private enterprise, anti-war at all costs, anti-law enforcement, pro-anarchy, anti-American form of government including the U.S. Constitution, where I break away with the New-Left in America.

Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher: Camille Paglia (1995)

Source:The New Democrat

I use to see Camille Paglia as the right-wing nut who put down feminism because Feminists wanted equal treatment for women. I use to put her in the same category as Ann Coulter. And saw Camille as Ann’s roommate at nut house. But thank God for education, because without that I wouldn’t of learned more about her and learn that it is not feminism, equal rights, equal treatment that she was putting down. She was putting down militant feminism and political correctness. Bill Maher had the best line in this video that he called his show Politically Incorrect, because he wanted to give liberalism a good name. That is sort of what Camille Paglia is about as well.

Maher and Paglia are two of the most anti-politically correct people you’ll ever meet. They aren’t fans of political correctness from either the Left or Right and most of it probably does come from Left. Political correctness are about as illiberal and anti-liberal as anything can get. Because it violates the most important aspect of liberalism and personal freedom. Which is the right to speech and the ability for people to express themselves and speak openly. Because someone in the political correctness, the Far-Left really will be offended by it. “Making jokes about Caucasian men and right-wing women is okay, but everyone else is unacceptable.” For political correctness supporters.

And what Camille Paglia and perhaps Bill Maher are saying is that the problem with feminism is not feminism. But militant feminism, this idea that women shouldn’t be treated equally, but better. And there other issue has to do with political correctness. That again people should feel free to express themselves especially if they are correct, even if that means it might offend someone. Like racial or ethnic minorities, women of all ethnicities and races. Or the political correctness Left. That people should be able to be themselves and express themselves, but then they also make themselves open to criticism as well.

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Vietnam War

Source:The New Democrat

First of all, I believe that Richard Nixon already knew by 1968, or at the very latest in the early days of his presidency in 1969 that the Vietnam War was already lost. Just from his own knowledge about the war, his own advisers and from things that people around him have said. Now that doesn’t mean that you declare that the war is lost in public. He personally wasn’t ready to do that and it would’ve been bad policy as well. Because it would’ve send the message to South Vietnam to stop fighting. And to the North Vietnam to go stronger and see what that can get out of the South and from America.

So when Nixon comes to office in 1969, his strategy about Vietnam was exactly how the hell to get out of there and do it the best way possible. To continue to defend the South as best possible so the North couldn’t simply overwhelm those people and kill millions of innocent Vietnamese. While at the same time negotiate with the Communist North about how to end the war. And this went on forever. The war was officially over by late 1972 early 1973, but American troops and other government personal were still in Vietnam until early 1975 when we finally got out of there.

From Cult Till Camp: Jayne Mansfield Interview by Wim Sonneveld

Holland has a lot of English speakers, at least today and perhaps back then as well. Something like 9-10 Dutch speak English at least as their second language. And can travel to Britain Scandinavia, Canada and America just speaking English, because of how well they speak it and understand it. And most of this interview was done in English with Wim Sonneveld speaking it very well. And then he would do a little translation for Holland. And I guess Jayne Mansfield was over in Holland promoting Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. A movie that she did with the great comedic actor Tony Randall in 1956.

In Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, Jayne Mansfield essentially plays herself. A very young and hot starlet named Rita Marlowe who has very similar characteristics as the real life Jayne Mansfield. A hot baby-face goddess who is somewhat immature and looks and acts a lot younger than she actually is. Who portrays herself in real-life as a dumb blond or blonde bimbo, but behind the scenes is a lot sharper than that. And knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Which is to be taken seriously as an entertainer. And not just someone who looks great and needs those looks to be successful in life.

And that is how Rita Marlowe played by Jayne and Rock Hunter played by Tony Randall connect. Because Rock Hunter is an up incoming advertiser whose looking that one big client that can move him up in his company. And he meets Rita Marlowe whose in New York looking for that person to give her the positive publicity and image that she’s looking for. This is a pretty funny and entertaining movie. But hardly a stretch or hard role for Jayne to play in this movie. Because the Rita Marlowe character is very similar to the real-life Jayne Mansfield.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Daniel J.B. Mitchell: Video: Campus Unrest at UCLA in The Late 1960s

Source:The New Democrat

If the reason for UCLA or the State of California for firing Professor Angela Davis was because she threatened the administration at UCLA and called for mass-violence, etc, then that would be one thing and they would have real reason to fire her. But that wasn’t why she was fired, at least from everything that I’ve seen so far. She was back then at least a self-described Communist who was teaching philosophy at UCLA. Who was calling for the release of men that she saw as political prisoners in California state prisons.

The 1960s was a crazy radical time. Especially compared with the very conservative establishment status-quo decade of the 1950s culturally. And by 1968 or 69 and perhaps especially in California where radical leftist movements tend to get started, it was even more so. And it looked like the country might be falling apart over Vietnam and other cultural issues. The emergence of the New-Left that Professor Davis was obviously was part of is now on the scene. And they want to take America apart and create a different type of country. That is more collectivist and communitarian and even socialist and less individualistic.

1966 was the exception to this social revolutionary period in California. Where Mr. Status Quo Establishment Conservative Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California. And one of the first things that he does as Governor in 1967 is take on the campus radicals in California. And goes a step forward and takes on a radical professor in Angela Davis and has her fired at UCLA. California takes it a step forward than that and tries to make a criminal out of her and get her sent to prison. And charge her with a court shooting in the Oakland area that she wasn’t part of. When you take on the establishment, they can hit you back. Which is what happened to Angela Davis.

Reason Magazine: Everything's Awesome and Camille Paglia is Unhappy!

Give Camille Paglia five minutes to talk and two days later she might still be speaking and about the same subject. She seems very pissed off and energized in this interview. But I actually agree with a lot of the points that she’s making here about feminism. That she’s a feminist in the sense that she believes in equal rights and equal opportunity. That women or men shouldn’t be denied access simply for being female or male. I believe in the same things accept that as a man and a straight one at that, (ha ha) I’m not sure that I can qualify as a feminist. But maybe that is a subject or debate for a different time.

But perhaps Camille Paglia’s larger point or the one these stresses more is that women or men shouldn’t be judged better simply for being a women or man. Her critique about Feminists is not about mainstream Feminists who believe in equal rights and equal opportunity. But against people who are called militant Feminists. People, women especially who believe that women are superior to men and therefore should be treated better and should be running the world. And those are the Feminists that I break away from not as a man, but simply as a Liberal who believes in equal rights and opportunity.

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: Full Interview About Watergate

I covered this last week, but the White House coverup of Watergate was about ending a story that the Nixon White House thought could explode in their faces. Which was an attempted burglary of Democratic National Headquarters. Even though the President, Vice President or White House Chief of Staff weren’t directly involved in the operation. But they were worried that this story would play in the media as if the Nixon Campaign in 1972 was involved in the Watergate burglary. When what they should’ve done was to say, “here’s this local Washington burglary of Democratic National Headquarters, lets let the Washington Police handle it. Because we’re not involved.”

Had Richard Nixon had a sounder more sober mind, not as far as intelligence, because he was really a brilliant man and perhaps the smartest president we’ve ever had, but a more sober mind in the sense that he could see things for what they are and act accordingly, he would’ve said, “Watergate is not our problem. And even if some of our people on the campaign are involved in it, the police will find those people and act accordingly.” Now President Nixon didn’t know that his own Attorney General John Mitchell was involved in Watergate. And I and others believed he ordered the operation when he was running the reelection campaign. But again the police would’ve figured that out and the President would’ve fired him.

But that is not what President Nixon and his White House team did. They played it like they were ones who not only knew about the Watergate operation, but ordered it. They acted as if they were the criminals in this story and because of their behavior they became the criminals and defendants in this story. All of the career lawyers and some of them former prosecutors who became defendants in this case and did time in prison. Like John Erlichman, John Dean, Chuck Colson and perhaps some others. Instead of just letting the story play to its natural conclusion and moving on with the business of the country.

Jayne Mansfield: Interview in 1964

I think part of Jayne Mansfield’s dumb blonde image had to do with the fact, one because of the roles she got. But two she never really grew up personally and was basically a big teenage girl with the baby-face her whole adult life with the personality to match. And if you look at a lot of her movies and a lot of those movies are either very funny, or she’s very funny in them and she was a very funny actress with a great personality, you see her playing women that are a lot like her. I’ve blogged before that I don’t see Jayne as dumb, but as immature and simply too cute personally for someone of her years.

Jayne Mansfield was always a big little girl who never grew up. When she turned 16 or 17 and perhaps even 18 that is about as far as she ever got emotionally. And when her career went south in the early 1960s, she handled that like a teenage girl who doesn’t know how to manage disappointment like a mature grown women would be able to. And as a result her life goes south as well and she stops taking care of herself. Not that she ever did a good job of that to begin with. But she starts drinking way too much and using drugs. And was never happy again in her life.

The interviewer questioned Jayne about her dumb blonde image. And she intelligently answered that had to do with a lot of the parts that she got in Hollywood. Hollywood saw her as this hot baby-face adorable goddess with the great body and they ran with that as long as she was useful to them. In the movies Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter and The Girl Can’t Help It, she essentially plays herself in those two movies. But that was just part of why she was portrayed the way that she was. The other part had to do with how she presented herself in public as this baby-face adorable little girl with the great body. And how she lived her life.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Democracy Journal: Opinion: Rich Yeselson: What New Left History Gave Us

Democracy Journal: Opinion: Rich Yeselson: What New Left History Gave Us

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

For someone whose really interested in liberalism instead of socialism, than I suggest you read about John F. Kennedy and Wendell Willkie. Because back in the early 1960s and really through that decade even with the emergence of the New-Left in the late 1960s, there was a common term on the Left called Cold War Liberal. Someone who believed that liberty was worth defending. That you needed to be both strong at home with as many people as possible who were doing well who were economically independent. With government having a responsibility to see that as many people as possible could live in freedom. But that again liberty was worth defending and you needed to be strong enough to defend yourself and help other countries who wanted freedom as well. Jack Kennedy was a Cold War Liberal.

Pre-1967 or so that was not just how liberalism was seen, but what it actually was and I at least argue that it still is. That liberalism hasn’t become a statist ideology with a welfare state in our economic lives and a nanny state in our personal lives. That what happened was the New-Left in America instead hijacked liberalism and took it away from the Center-Left where it has always been in America since the creation of the Federal Republic. And made it look like a Far-Left statist ideology that it is seen as today by way too many Americans. The New-Left comes on the scene with their socialist statist anti-military and law enforcement, establishment movement. Looking to tear down a lot of the things that has made America great.

The history of the New-Left is that of a socialist Far-Left movement that wanted and still wants to completely transform the American way of life and form of government. Bring Scandinavia to America, cut in half if not eliminate the American military. And create a central government good and big enough to take care of the people. Where individuals and states would no longer have to do that because Uncle Sam would step in and do that for them. The New Left of the 1960s is why there are New-Left publications like The Nation, Salon, AlterNet, TruthOut, TruthDig and many others today. Because the New-Left and the sons and daughters of the New-Left are around to give them that audience. And why we also have a Green Party today.

Reason Magazine: Why Medicare Will Always Need Fixing

Source:The New Democrat

This is really about adding onto the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Which I supported then and I support now, but even great legislation which the ACA even with its best supporters doesn’t qualify as, at least yet need to be improve and reformed from time to time. But to talk about the so-called doc fix that is part of Medicare first and the I’ll get into expanding Medicare. But the doc fix is what is known as the physician payments from Medicare to doctors who take Medicare patients. It is very expensive because Medicare only takes senior citizens. Not exactly the most healthy members of our society. And as a result their health care can be very expensive. Which is one of the problems with Medicare.

The doc fix I believe is fairly simple to fix in practice, but harder to get passed into law, because it would mean that Congress wold have to take on people they aren’t comfortable taking on. The special interests that made it possible for them to be in the House of Representatives or Senate. Instead of paying doctors based on how much health care they give their patients, we could pay them based on their outcomes. Pay for quality care instead of quantity care. Subsidize doctors based on how healthy their patients are and encourage them to take steps to prevent their patients from having to have expensive health care in the future by taking care of themselves upfront. Instead of paying doctors based on how unhealthy their patients are and how much health care they have to give as a result. Similar to education, we should pay for performance, not pay for simply showing up to work.

Now another way to cut the costs of Medicare is to have more people on it. Young healthy people meaning and doing what we should’ve done in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act and putting in the public option. Making Medicare available to everyone and giving non-senior adults the option of taking Medicare as their health insurer for themselves and their kids. Which could be paid for simply by the people who use it. You wouldn’t have to expand the payroll tax because the new customers would pay for their own Medicare out-of-pocket and through their employer. Which would expand health insurance coverage, but also cut the overall costs of Medicare, because we would have younger healthier Americans on it including children.

We wouldn’t have to expand the Federal Government to cover the Medicare public option. We could allow for the states to set up their own Medicare systems under basic national standards. Not designed to run the states programs for themselves, but to see that Medicare dollars are used simply for that and nothing else. That their Medicare program remains non-profit and public and that it is treated no worse or better than private non-profit health insurers. This is something that we would’ve done 5-6 years ago. It passed in a Democratic House of Representatives and could’ve passed in a Democratic Senate under what is known as budget reconciliation. Where it only take fifty-one votes for final passage and not sixty. And something we should do now.

American Enterprise: Arthur Brooks & Robert Doar: Welfare Reform & Lessons From The United Kingdom

American Enterprise: Blog: Arthur Brooks & Robert Doar: Welfare Reform And Lessons From The United Kingdom

Source:The New Democrat

I don’t agree with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions on much if anything. But C-SPAN was covering the Senate Budget Committee markup yesterday and I saw part of that as the committee was voting on amendments to Senate Republicans budget plan for this year. Senator Sessions Republican from Alabama had a Welfare amendment to the Republican budget. And his basic point which I think is sound was that its been about twenty-years since Congress passed Welfare Reform. And twenty years since they worked on major reforms to our social insurance system. And its time for Congress to reexamine our federal Welfare programs.

When Republicans won back the House of Representatives in 2010 and took over in 2011 there was that famous Ryan budget. Offered by Representative Paul Ryan then Chairman of the House Budget Committee and now he’s Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. A big part of House Republicans deficit reduction strategy had to do with the American safety net. They argued that since the Great Recession America has spent billions of dollars on our public assistance programs. And these programs have grown so much in size and since we now have this deficit and debt, its time to cut back on them. Of course not realizing or acknowledging that the reason for the growth in those programs has to do the Great Recession itself. Not because Americans have quit work to jump on Welfare.

I’m all for reducing the size and need of our social insurance system. But you don’t do that by cutting and running or slashing and burning. You just make the problems worst and make people desperate who are simply looking to survive. What you do is you move those people off the those programs and into the workforce with good jobs. You make work pay and pay more than not working and that means increasing the minimum wage for workers and making that higher than what would someone get whose on Welfare and is not working. You don’t just make education and job training available for low-income workers and non-workers. But you make them requirements that if you’re on Welfare that part of what you’re going to do while you’re on Welfare is finish your education. Whether you’re working or not.

The way to reduce Welfare spending is to have fewer people in poverty. You do that by having a larger middle class and more people who are economically independent. That comes through things like more economic development and infrastructure investment in low-income communities. Education and job training for low-income workers and non-workers. Making work pay and pay than not working. Increasing today’s minimum wage for workers and applying the old minimum wage to non-workers on Welfare. Which will send a great message to people especially with kids. That they can make more money working than not working even at service jobs and still collect the public assistance they need. Including education to be able to move up and get out of poverty. That is how you reform Welfare.

Foreign Affairs: Graham K. Brown & Arnim Langer: Lessons From Affirmative Action Around The World

Source:The New Democrat

Imagine fifty-years ago when the U.S. Government under the Johnson Administration had a federal policy designed to empower racial and ethnic minorities in this country who were stuck in poverty that was built around infrastructure, education and job training. That all of that money, or at least some of it that went into the Great Society was put into low-income communities. Things like roads, bridges, schools, health care centers, job training centers, incentives for economic development. Are we still looking at an African-American poverty rate of thirty-percent today and a Latino-American poverty rate of twenty-five percent today?

Fifty-years later after affirmative action, who’s benefited from it the most part. Caucasian-American women who were already doing well. And Asian-Americans who were already doing well. Latinos are doing better, but a lot of them have come to America and started their own business’s. And some of them have benefited from affirmative action. Like the kids of immigrants and others. And yes African-Americans no longer have a poverty level of fifty-percent and that is a good thing. But at thirty-percent it is still twice that of the national average. About the level they were fifty-years ago. Twice that of the national average.

So what we’ve done as a country with affirmative action is to tell Caucasian men and women as well, as well some Asian-Americans, that they are already doing very well in this country. And because of that they are going to be denied access in some cases like at college and federal contracts, so people who aren’t doing as well and in many cases aren’t as qualified for those opportunities to have that new access so they can do better as well. And a lot of African and Latino-Americans have taken advantage of that access that they wouldn’t of gotten except for affirmative action. But at the expense of Caucasians and Asians who were more qualified going in.

I’m all for empowering people of poverty regardless of race and ethnicity to do well in America. That is something I believe as a Liberal, liberating people from poverty. But there’s a right way to do that and a wrong way. And the wrong way to empower people who are struggling at the expense of people who are doing well and have taken advantage of the opportunities they were given in life by working hard and being productive. What you do with people who are struggling is give them opportunities to get themselves out of poverty. You invest in their communities with new economic development. You give them education and job training opportunities so they can get themselves the skills that they need to get a good job. You modernize their schools, roads, bridges and everything else that communities have to have to be strong.

And when you invest ins struggling communities, you invest in inner cities and rural areas. And you don’t make those communities even poorer by building new public housing projects in those communities, so you have more poor people moving in there. And even few property owners and leaving the schools there without the resources that they need to give their students a good education. You instead put public housing projects in economically successful areas. So the residents there can immediately get the resources that they need to be able to live a good life. Where their kids can go to good schools. While you’re tearing down or renovating the public housing projects in poorer communities as part of a community rebuilding plan.

We could’ve been doing these things fifty-years ago when economic times were good and weren’t running up huge debts and deficits. Even with the Vietnam War, instead of affirmative action. Instead concentrating so many poorer Americans in one community where they are dealing with bad schools for their children. Where the parents of these kids haven’t finished school themselves in many cases. Where they are dealing with high crime and criminal gangs. Because when business’s leave communities crime tends to move in. Because the resources aren’t there to fight crime in an effective way. And with a better more proactive and even more liberal approach to economic inequality, we could be dealing with much lower poverty rates in this country.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Salon: Mike Conrad: 'America's Anti-Liberal Myth'

Salon: Opinion: Mike Conrad: America's Anti-Liberal MythL Why Democrats Learned The Wrong Lesson From 1984

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Just correct some of the things that Mike Conrad said. Walter Mondale lost badly in 1984 to Ronald Reagan winning just one state and just over forty-percent of the popular vote not because he was seen as too liberal or too Far-Left. But because he was President Jimmy Carter’s Vice President. President Carter if you remember back in 84 and before that was one of the most unpopular president’s in at least modern American history. 1984, after some really bad economic times in the late 1970s and early 80s, was a year when the American economy started bouncing back. Even with the debt and deficits going up, but people were going back to work with strong economic growth again.

Which meant President Reagan could point how things are now going well, meaning 1984 and say something to the effect, “its morning in America again. Our long national economic nightmare is finally over. People are going back to work and earning a good living again. With the cost of living going down again. Oh by the way, remember 1978-79 and 80 and President Jimmy Carter? Do you really want to go back to that again? And oh by the way, my opponent Walter Mondale was President Carter’s Vice President.” Fritz Mondale was actually a pretty mainstream progressive to liberal politician. A New Democrat even like Jimmy Carter. And didn’t lose badly because of his own politics. But the politics and political activists of the Far-Left flank of the Democratic Party. That he had to have to work with to have any shot of winning in 1984.

The lesson from 1968 with Hubert Humphrey, 1972 with George McGovern, 1980 with Jimmy Carter, 1984 with Fritz Mondale and 1988 with Mike Dukakis, all presidential elections that the Democratic Party lost in landslides, except for 1968 is that when the Far-Left runs the party and the leadership needs their Far-Left flank to win, Democrats lose. Because there’s a limit to what Americans expect government to do for them. Especially if they have to pay high taxes to pay for it. Americans tend to like having the freedom to manage their own affairs. And don’t want their government taxing them to the point that their individual decision-making would no longer be an option for them. Because now government is going to do that for them.

Liberalism didn’t lose in 84, but socialism did to the point that Democratic Party regrouped and reformed its message especially economic message. And instead of talking about a government that taxes enough and big enough to take care of everyone, especially the poor, that the message became about how can government help people help themselves. This started in 1988 and I know Governor Mike Dukakis lost forty states, but that had to do with the fact that he wouldn’t defend himself against clear bogus charges from the Bush Campaign. Not because of his message, because his message was about opportunity and freedom. The man ran on Welfare to Work in 1988.

And by 1992 the Democratic economic message was the Opportunity Society with Bill Clinton. Using government not to try to take care of everyone and making dependents of everyone, but using government to empower people in need to help everyone who needed it. Governor Clinton said that Welfare shouldn’t be free. But an investment in human capital and potential. That Welfare should help people in need pay their short-term bills. But help them get on their feet so they can pay their bills themselves with a good job. Infrastructure, education, job training, things that lead to opportunity for people to get the freedom to take care of themselves and manage their own lives. Classical American liberal values of opportunity built around education and work that leads to freedom.

Democrats win when they talk about education, job training, infrastructure, opportunity with the goal in mind to empower people to be able to live in freedom. And paying for these things in a fiscally responsible way that doesn’t hurt anyone especially middle class and low-income Americans. We lose when we don’t respect hard-working Americans tax dollars. Or when we put down people for being successful and wealthy. As if owning your own business and being able to put money away for the future is a bad thing. Or run on big government with all sorts of new programs designed to take care of people so they don’t have to take care of themselves. These are the lessons of 1984, if you want to pick one year. But 68, 72, 80 and 88 would also be good years to choose as well.

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

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