Wednesday, August 31, 2011
With what looks like another not great Jobs Report in August coming out Friday and with President Obama expected to address a Joint Session of Congress. At some point next week, whether its Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday Night. Relations between the White House and Congress are so bad right now, that they can't even agree with each other. On when the President should address them, a matter that used to be very routine. But what the President should be doing in his Jobs Speech to Congress next week, is laying out what he feels the country needs to do in order to get the economy going again. And be as bold as possible while still being responsible, I believe his Jobs Plan needs to be between 500B-1T$ over five years or so or shorter then that. We have both weak Economic and Job Growth right now, we have very little of either. And we'll never get the economy going again or be able to pay down our debt and deficit, until we get the economy going again. And that means 4-5% Economic Growth not 1% which is where we are right now and creating 200K plus jobs every month. Not 90-100K where we are right now. We have months this year where we only created 40,000 jobs. This has been and awful year for the economy right now, after it started to improve in late 2009 and 2010.
So the President needs to be big and think big with his Jobs Plan and put something on the table and send it to Congress. Even if he doesn't have a shot in hell of getting his plan passed, at least he'll be able to force the Republican House to take a position on it. And if he can sell his plan to the people, he might be able to force the House Republican Leadership to make a counteroffer. And if the President doesn't like it, which is most likely, he'll be able to take that to the American People and have something to critique. This is where I am and this is were the House GOP is and they are stopping me from passing a good plan. And be able to use that against the House GOP.
What the President should focus on next week is Consumer Spending or the lack of and how to get that going. Because I believe thats the biggest weakness in the economy right now. People aren't spending money and there just isn't enough demand out there for strong Job Growth. We have a Supply and Demand Economy which we need both of to have a strong economy and right now we don't have enough demand to have a strong economy. So President Obama should focus on targeted Tax Cuts for the Middle Class to encourage them to spend money. And then he should also focus on Infrastructure Spending and the need for it, with Public Schools opening up right now. We could spend money on School Renovation and Construction in a Jobs Plan. As well as all of our other Infrastructure Projects that we need to repair and build. And a National Infrastructure Bank would be a smart and efficient way to fiance these projects that would be Self Financed. And then trade, there Trade Deals stuck in Congress that he should encourage the House and Senate to take up and pass. Central America, Columbia and Korea.
Shooting for the middle with your first shot when you don't have anyone to negotiate with you at least in the Opposition Party. Because the House GOP's strategy is just to sit this out and wait for the next Administration and Congress. And even though democrats run the Senate, the Senate GOP Leadership has enough votes to block everything right now. So the President needs to be big and go for a home run and then take his case to the people.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Here's a way to help the homeless in America and its what is being done in Las Vegas, help them yes. Give them a temporary place to stay and food etc yes, but also help them get on their feet. So they can support themselves and this gets to Job Placement and Housing Placement. So they have the resources to support themselves and be Self Sufficient but also have a place to live. And this just has to deal with the Homeless Population who are unemployed, who are sorta down on their luck and perhaps were evicted. Maybe their Unemployment Insurance ran out or something. And it looks like this Las Vegas Program is targeted at that faction of the Homeless Population. This is what we should've been doing all along to help the Homeless Population, especially the homeless who are just unemployed. To help them get back to work and that might get to additional Job Training so they can get another job in another field. Instead of just essentially warehousing people by giving them a meal and a cot for a night and then sending them back on the street the next day. This approach empowers homeless people because it helps them get back on their feet to become productive Tax Payers again. Instead of collecting Public Assistance or begging for money or food on the street. If you want people to remain homeless, give them a meal and cot in a Homeless Shelter for a night. And then put them back on the street the next day or better yet don't do anything for them. Because your indifferent or you don't give a damn about them. But if you want to help homeless people, give them a meal, give them a room like you would see in a Housing Center. Not Homeless Shelter and they are different and them help them get a job so they can support themselves and then help them find their own place to stay. And then they'll no longer be homeless but Self Sufficient productive people. Who are paying into Public Services instead of collecting it.
Another way to help homeless people or to prevent homelessness in the future, is how we help our unemployment and welfare populations. Both of these populations who collect from Unemployment and Welfare Insurance have Time Limits on how long they can collect that assistance. So during that period, what we should be doing as a country is putting these people to work. With the unemployed, that just might mean finding them another job that they can support themselves with. But with our Welfare Population, the reason why they are on Welfare Insurance to begin with, is because they don't have the skills that they need to support themselves and their families. And this gets to education, Job Training and Job Placement, so they can get the skills that they need to get a good enough job in order to support themselves and their families. Which would be an investment up front but would pay off in the long term because they would become Tax Payers instead of Tax Collectors.
The good news in the "War on Poverty" and War on Homelessness if you want to call them that. I prefer to use the term war for the military or Law Enforcement myself. But the good news is that we have the resources already as a country to deal with Homelessness in America. To empower them to get themselves on their feet. Section Eight Public Housing to fiance their temporary stay in a Housing Center. Unemployment Insurance to fiance to help sustain them while they are in transition to getting on their feet . And Medicaid to cover their Health Insurance while they are in transition. So this something as a nation we should be doing.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Islam is clearly important in Libya as it is in most Middle Eastern and Arab Nations which is fine, I'm a believer in Freedom of Religion as long as its up to individuals. As long as its not forced on anyone especially from government like in a theocracy, like the Islamic Republic of Iran to use as an example. Freedom of Religion is a basic Human Right in most modern nations and Libya clearly has the potential to become a Developed Nation. But most of these Developed Nations are republics with a few monarchy's, Britain and Sweden to use as examples. Where they all have Freedom of Religion but where Freedom of Religion means the right to practice or not practice religion at all. Or be neutral like in my case on religion. Religious debates are something I try to stick away from, I consider myself to be agnostic and especially don't want to get into a religious debate with fundamentalists or atheists. They have a Constitutional Right to believe what they believe and I have a Constitutional Right to believe what I believe. And for Libya to move forward as a society and get past the era of the Military Dictatorship of Moammar Gaddhafi. I believe they are going to need to be some type of a Constitutional Republic however they describe that. Where there's a Constitutional Right to practice or not practice religion. But where they also have Separation of Church and State. Where they are governed by Elected Civilians and governed by a Constitution and Rule of Law and not by a religion. Whatever that religion happens to be and then Libya will be able to move forward as a country and reach their Full Potential as a nation. I believe the model they should look at is Turkey, which is a country thats come a long over the years both economically and in other areas as well. Rather then to look at Iran as their model.
Libya has just ended forty two years of an awful Military Dictatorship of Moammar Gadhaffi one of the worst regimes in the World. They need to move past that in their own way and I believe they should replace Gaddhafi with something. That can represent the Libyan People as a whole and not replace that regime with something as bad if not worse. Like a theocracy, Iran might be a Developed Nation today with its Natural Resources, its size, population and Educated Class. Had they not go down the road of becoming an Islamic Republic in the late 1970s. Because that regime hasn't done much to develop that large country but use most of its resources to hold its people back. And to expand its influence in the Middle East and the rest of the World and sponsoring Islamic Terrorists Groups. So Libya should look east in what type of government they should form but not as far as Iran. And develop a government that works for the Libyan People and can represent them and respect their Human Rights.
Freedom of Religion is a great right to have in a country as long as all religions are respected equally and none of them are promoted. And the right to practice religion is as equal as the right not to practice religion. And where religion is separated from government and where the government governs based on objective evidence and not faith.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
If your looking for a game plan in how not to run for President, just get your name in the media and get a lot of media attention. Take a look at Texas Governor Rick Perry's Presidential Campaign. To use as an example, Social Security is popular with all Political Parties in America. Except for the Libertarian Party and perhaps some Far Right Third Parties in America but even some libertarians like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Have moderated their positions on Social Security and Medicare and even Medicaid, taking more of a approach of Block Granting them to the States or privatization. Even a majority of Tea Party members like Social Security and Medicare and even parts of their Leadership as well. If your running for President for the Libertarian Party or a Far Right Third Party, like lets say the Constitution Party. But they are between libertarianism and sorta Far Right authoritarianism. Then run against Social Security and these other Entitlement Programs but if your goal is to not only with the Presidential Nomination of your party. But to win the Presidential Election in the Fall, then don't take positions saying your for getting rid of things that are so popular in America. Just if you look at it as a Political Analyst, I would prefer knowing a lot of times this doesn't happen. For all politicians to say what they believe in and know and leave up to the voters to decide whether their positions are the right ones or not. But if I was advising a politician on just the basis of what does this person need to do to win the election and nothing else. Which is something I would never do by the way, I would tell them don't take positions on ending these Entitlement Programs at least while so many people need them like today. Don't come out for succeeding from the Union and don't take a position coming out in favor of starting wars or nuking another country. GOV Perry has come out for ending Social Security and for succeeding from the Union, two positions that will bite him on the hand to put it lightly as his Presidential Campaign moves along.
To a certain extent I respect GOV Perry's candor and bravado assuming he sticks with it, which I don't believe is a safe bet on his Presidential Campaign so far. Because its generally not something we get from Presidential Candidates that actually have a legitimate shot at winning their Presidential Nomination. Ron Paul would be the only other serious contender with that type of candor running for President right now. But I would give him the edge, because when he says he's anti Big Government. You better believe him, because he aint lying. He's anti Socialist Big Government, he's anti Authoritarian Big Government with limited Social Freedom. As he says he's "against the Welfare State and Warfare State". And doesn't come out for Constitutional Amendments outlawing abortion, or Gay Marriage, or outlawing pornography. Unlike Rick Perry who's for at least two of those Constitutional Amendments and I believe the Pornography Amendment as well. So he does support a form of Big Government.
Candor can get you far in American Politics, which is surprising to me that a lot more politicians aren't in favor of it. But candor is only useful if you communicate in a way that doesn't offend enough people to cost you an election. But you explain your positions in a candid but articulate way, that lets people know why you take those positions. And gets them thinking about them to the point, you know what I never thought about that issue that way. That makes a lot of sense to me and you bring them to your side.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Seems to me every time that America has to deal with big storms which is every year, we are a huge country between two large oceans with 310M people. We have to deal with big Winter Storms in the Winter, which goes without saying 2011 being no exception. We have to deal with flooding in the Spring and Summer with all of the rain, hurricanes and earthquakes in the Summer and even Fall. If you live in the Mid Atlantic as I do, Heat Waves in the Fall as well. America is capable of getting just about any Natural Disaster possible as well as Man Made Disasters. And almost every time we get these storms, we deal with them generally after they occur rather then before they occur. And I'm talking about mainly how we pay for them. Hurricane katreena of 2005 is an excellent example of this, where the Federal Government apparently wasn't even aware that it was happening as it was happening. At least not the White House and the Director of FEMA Federal Emergency Management Service Mike Brown lost his job as a result. And was fired by Mike Chertoff the then Secretary of Homeland Security which from some reason oversees FEMA. Even though DHS is mainly a Law Enforcement Organization and not a Disaster Relief Agency. I'm a big fan of reforming the Federal Government because it needs a lot of reform, its too bloated, too big, too wasteful, has too much responsibility. The things that it does well, it does real well and Emergency Management has historically been one of those areas. But the things it doesn't do well, its awful and wasteful at. Like managing a budget, where it wastes hundreds of billions of dollars a year alone in some agency's, Medicare and Defense being perfect examples of this. And this post will be about Federal Government Reform but I'll focus on Disaster Relief because of Hurricane Irene and how we can do a better job in this area.
Hurricane Katreena of 2005 is an example of where the Federal Government wastes a lot of money, six years later New Orleans and the Greater Gulf Coast is still trying to recover from that disaster. Where we borrowed in the neighborhood of 100B$ or more to deal with that storm. Because the Federal Government wasn't prepared to deal with it, didn't budget the money to deal with a storm like that. And the people didn't budget the money on their own to deal with that storm as well. Things like Property Insurance and lost their homes and ended up homeless and living in Trailer Homes set up by FEMA. Where of course FEMA borrowed the money to set up these projects and people ended up living in rotten conditions. And some of them having to move to Houston because their weren't enough adequate homes for them in the Gulf Coast. These issues that are preventable that are problems that don't have to happen, if we just better prepare ourselves up front from that start. So we don't wait for the problems to occur before we deal with them but we prepare for them before they happen.
What the Federal Government should be doing instead is stetting up a Federal System of Disaster Relief and Insurance that any Property Owner or Renter would have to pay into. That the Federal Government wouldn't run but somewhat oversee and they would regulate it. That would have its own Revenue Source to pay for their operations. That both the relief and insurance would be Semi Private, Non Profit . Where each State would have its own Disaster Relief and Insurance System, that would be funded through like a Payroll Tax. That the Federal Government would just regulate, so when there's a Natural Disaster, this system would already have the funds to provide the cleanup. As well as Disaster Insurance that people who paid into could collect when their property is damaged as the result of a Natural Disaster.
We deal with Natural Disasters every year as a country but never seem to be able to deal with the aftermath of them very well as far as paying for them. And with this bad economy where money is already very tight and with a National Debt and Deficit of 14T$ and 1.8T$. We need to as a country and the Federal Government needs to be smarter with our money.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Economic Sanctions on Authoritarian Regimes like in Iran and Syria to use as examples. Only work when they are done through coalition, if one large country like lets say America. Puts Economic Sanctions on a large country like Iran, that only works if other large economy's do the same thing. America has Economic Sanctions on Iran but Europe, Russia, China to use as examples all invest in Iran, similar to Cuba. So the way Economic Sanctions can work in a large country like Iran with all of its Natural Resources and its large educated population. Is to do it through coalition, the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Brazil to use as examples. And to prevent money from going out and into the Islamic Republic Regime that they use to hold their population down. Which what was done in Libya, what will be happening in Syria if not already and to a certain extent Egypt with Mubarak Regime. But if one country goes it alone and shuts them self out of doing business with another. They are only hurting themselves both economically, especially if that country had enough consumers to can afford to buy their goods. Iran being an excellent example of this where they buy European and Chinese Products all of the time. Cuba is an excellent example of this, where Canadians, South Americans, Europeans and I believe Middle Easterners go there and do business there all the time. Helping to keep the Castro Regime in power with all of the money thats spent in Cuba. So if removing the Islamic Republic Regime out of power in Iran is the goal, then first the Iranian People need to make this decision on their own. And decide that we no longer want to be a theocracy. And get organized by forming a United Opposition to take down the Islamic Republic, peacefully hopefully or otherwise. And them Democratic States in the West and others can help if they are in coalition with Economic Sanctions, as well giving the Opposition Rebels resources to get their message across.
But before they pass their Economic Sanctions they have to realize that these have costs on people in that country. So if they are going to do something like this, they better do in coalition and try to do it in the way. Where the Bare Essentials that are needed for people to survive can still get into the country. But where the Regime can't get money in or out of the country with Freezing Assets, which is what happened to the Mubarak Regime in Egypt and the Gadhafi Regime in Libya. A Sanction Policy can only work if it done in coalition and where other large major players in the World are also part of this policy. The United States can't bring down the Theocratic Regime down Iran on its own and needs partners, including with an Iranian Opposition to make this happen.
Economic Sanctions can work if they are done in an intelligent way through cooperation and not done by one player. But through a coalition of large players that all have stakes in the game and could get hurt by them. But are willing to do this for the betterment of the people who have to live under these Authoritarian Regimes.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
US Rep. Dennis Kucinich at Seattle Hempfest 2011: A better Advocate for Drug Reform then a Presidential Candidate
Even though I rarely agree with Rep. Dennis Kucinich on anything other then Social Issues. Decriminalization of Marijuana being one of them, like Rep. Ron Paul I have a lot of respect for Rep. Kucinich. Because he's one of the most honest Members of Congress, which you might be thinking doesn't sound like much. But its true he's a very honest man and one of the most honest of the 535 Members of Congress we have. He's very articulate and one of the best spokespeople for the Democratic Socialist or Socialist Libertarian Movement in America. The arguments that he makes for Decriminalization of Marijuana and treating heroin, cocaine and meth addicts like patients instead of criminals. Is very similar to the arguments that I make on this issue as well. Actually except for Economic Policy, Rep. Kucinich and Rep. Paul are very similar on most other issues. Its just that Rep. Paul is a Classical Libertarian on all issues for the most part, I believe abortion being the only on where he's not libertarian on. And Rep. Kucinich is a Democratic Socialist on Economic Policy. I'm closer to Rep. Paul on Economic Policy then Rep. Kucinich because I'm a liberal. But I'm very similar to both of them on Social Issues. I want government off of my back and out of my wallet, thats where Ron Paul and myself are similar. And only have government do things that we can't do for ourselves. If thats the type of government we had, our taxes would be very low and our freedom would be very high. Rep. Kucinich being a Democratic Socialist on Economic Policy, likes the idea of High Taxes to fund a large Welfare State of Social Insurance Programs. Similar to what they have in Britain and Sweden. So thats my main disagreement with Dennis Kucinich but we are very similar if not identical on Social Issues and actually similar on Foreign Policy and National Security.
But Rep. Kucinich is dead right as far as I'm concern on the War on Drugs, along with the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and with Libya coming to a close. The forty year War on Drugs in America is another war we should end as well. We've fought a stupid and hypocritical war, where we have drugs that worse for people then marijuana, that are legal. Like alcohol and tobacco and its been a stupid war where we arrest people for what they do to themselves rather then what they do to innocent people. And we lock them up in prison making our prisons more crowded then they need to be. Taking the space that should be occupied by actual dangerous criminals who do represent a threat to innocent people. When we would save so much money and actually make money as an economy and government and put people to work. With the Decriminalization of Marijuana. And then getting heroin, cocaine and meth addicts the help that they need in Drug Rehab and Halfway Houses where they would pay for their stays.
Its rarely if ever that I agree with Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Economic Policy, even though he does make good arguments. And is honest and believes what he says but he's dead right on most Social Issues and to a large extent on Foreign Policy as well. And deserves a lot of respect for that.
On a personal not this is my 100th blog for FRSFreeState
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
VOA News: Jerome Socolovsky- Libyan Uprising Boosts Morale in Mideast: Is The Assad Regime in Syria Next to Fall?
I’m glad the Libyan no fly zone has worked, but I’m not happy with Obama Administration’s approach to the WPA since. And because of this I wouldn’t be in favor of getting involved in a NATO no fly zone over Syria either. But that doesn’t mean America should sit still and watch innocent Syrians be murdered just because they are fighting for freedom either. What NATO, the European Union, the Arab League perhaps the United Nations can do and where Egypt and Turkey could play a very valuable role here, both large countries with well equipped and have large military’s, is to defend the Syrian people on the ground. With a force coming from the air.
With Turkey being a part of NATO and bordering Syria as well and with Egypt being near by, is take the lead role in forming a no fly zone over Syria, or committing ground troops in Syria with the Syrian opposition’s permission. Not to take out the Assad Regime exactly, just to prevent and to stop the Assad security forces from murdering its own people. And America can help with the EU, UN and AL with economic sanctions, keep money and resources from going into the Assad Regime. And supply money and resources military and otherwise the Syrian opposition as they fight for their freedom. And hopefully an operation like that would drive the Assad Regime out of power, or at least drive President Bashar Assad to step down from a power and to allow for a smooth transition to form the next government in Syria.
It’s been proven over the last ten years with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the U.S. military is over committed in the world. And that we can no longer afford to be the sole policemen of the world. But when we work with our allies like NATO in the Balkans in the mid and late 1990s and in Libya today. We can play a very constructive role in developing an environment where peace and democracy can take place. When our major allies step up and take a big role. Like what France, Britain and Egypt are doing in Libya today. That when we have and internationalist foreign policy, or as I would call a liberal internationalist foreign policy.
Instead of trying to do everything on our own like in Iraq. A neoconservative foreign policy we can get bogged down and flirt with disaster and where we are wondering how we get out of it. With Muammar Gaddafi out of power, or least no longer running Libya anymore. Hopefully the Assad Regime in Syria is the next authoritarian dictatorship to fall. But I don’t believe that will happen on its own, nor do I believe the United States should try to force that on Syria either. But we can play a smaller, but constructive role in making that happen.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A return of the old John McCain made an appearance on FNC today defending the Libyan Rebels and what they are trying to accomplish there. When he says he's a "Reagan Conservative" you better believe him because he's not a Neoconservative. I wish he was more of a Reagan/Goldwater Conservative on Social Issues like Gay Marriage but perhaps thats a different blog. Again its up to Libya to decide what kind of government and country they'll have and they'll make mistakes along the way. Just like Iraq in its early days and just like America in our early days. We are a country thats 235 years old and he haven't built a perfect democracy yet either and probably never will. Because there's no such thing as a perfect democracy or a perfect country even anywhere. What Libya needs to do is figure out what type of country works for them and what type of government they should have. Its a large country about the size of Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iran with thirty two districts or provinces. And they need to figure these things out for themselves, the rest of the World including the United States can't do it for them. We and the rest of the World can only assist as we should because it would be in our interest as well as other democracy's in the World. To have another Arabian Ally and another country that we can work with in that region. To go along with Turkey, Israel, Iraq and now Egypt as they'll hopefully transition to democracy as well. And as Sen. McCain said the Transitional National Council has already come out in favor of having the State meaning the Libyan Government be used to protect the Human Right for its citizens, including the rights of women, Ethnic and Racial Minorities as well as Religious Minorities. I'm not saying the Libyan Rebels are democrats especially not Liberal Democrats at least not yet. But these aren't Islamic Theocrats either or any other type of theocrat.
Personally and of course this is not up to me being an American Citizen and not a Libyan Citizen. I would like to see Libya develop a National Constitution that would make Libya a Federal Republic with a Federalist System. Which Checks and Balances and Separation of Powers, with an Executive headed by a President or Prime Minister. As well as a Bi Cameral Legislative Branch, where the Chief Executive and Members of Parliament or Congress are all elected. Representing Libya's thirty two Provinces and with a Judicial Branch thats appointed by the Chief Executive and have to be confirmed by the Legislative. As well as a Multi Party Political System because Libya is just coming to the end of forty two years of an Authoritarian Dictatorship where all of the Nation's Power was basically with one man and his allies. And a Federalist Multi Party System would allow Libya to share the power and the wealth of the country with everyone. And allow its Provinces to be able to govern themselves and make it harder for a dictator to come back into power. Especially with a functioning Federal Government that can defend and take care of themselves.
I have a prediction Libya won't end up being another Islamic Republic like Iran but a Federal Republic more like Iraq or Turkey. And how liberal and free its ends up, will be up to the Transitional National Council and the Libyan People. But the United States and International Community won't be able to make these decisions for them.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Libya doesn't have that. They don't have a constitution, or other government institutions that can balance the country until a permanent government can take power. Actually Libya doesn't even have state or provincial governments, in a country thats physically the size of Iran a very large country. But with only 6M people, so whatever Transitional Authority emerges in Libya will have a lot of challenges facing it right way. Not just creating a new national government, but a national constitution, as well as establishing provincial and local governments. Because all of the power in Libya was based with the Gadhafi Regime in Tripoli.
I don't claim to be an expert on Libya and saying that this would be the perfect system and form of government for them. But when you're talking about a country that is this big one the largest countries in the world physically, that is deep in energy sources, a bottom up approach when it comes to government and governing under a national constitution could work well for them. Something like a federal system and federal republic. Which was created in Germany almost seventy years ago, as well as Italy. Where you create twenty or so states and provinces with their own democratic government's that are accountable to their own people. With local democratic government's within the states, or provinces.
With the democratically elected federal government based in Tripoli that handles national affairs. Foreign relations, national security, interstate crime, security, the currency, economic development, financial aid to struggling communities, things that typical federal government's deal with in Canada, America and Europe. With a national constitution that lays out certain basic fundamental rights for the people that is hopefully secular, at least in nature, while protecting freedom of religion for everyone. As well as lays out the responsibilities for the national executive, legislature, independent judiciary and the relations between the federal government and the states and localities.
Libya is going to have to build a health care system, an education system, law enforcement, a judicial system, a military that can responsibly defend this large country, that doesn't violate human rights. Rebuilding Libya, or just building Libya won't be as challenging as building Afghanistan, which perhaps has never really had a national government. And Libya does has a very large supply of oil and could be if its not already an energy independent nation. So they do have some resources that they can use to build up their country and develop a lot of it. Because a lot of Libya has never been developed, one of the reasons why it only has 6M people in a land the size of Iran. The Gadhafi Regime never put in the resources to develop Libya to its full-potential.
Libya is yet another country that the United States shouldn't step in and try to occupy. Its about time that we learn our lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq. But what we can do with NATO, the United Nations, the European Union the Arab league, with the permission of the Libyan Transitional National Council, is to work with them to develop its country. With trade agreements, lifting economic sanctions on Libya, foreign aide so they can build up their schools, health care system, help them develop their legal system and governmental institutions.
But the TNC and the Libyan people need to figure out what type of country they are going to have in the future and the international community can help them reach that. Like stabilizing the Libyan oil industry, which would help them develop their country and provide the financial resources to do so. Its great that Moammar Gadhafi is out of power and at least not running that country anymore. But this won't be over until he is captured and then the Libyan people can move on build their own Libya the way they want to and become a valuable player in the international community.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
|CBS News- African-American Church-|
Even though the civil rights movement had lost its champion in 1968 in Dr. Martin Luther King, what he contributed to it was enough to keep it going. And what that movement had accomplished up to 1968, never happens at least by then without Martin King. The civil rights movement is exactly that. Civil rights for all Americans, not just the special few. It's not about special rights for special interest groups, but equal rights for all people. Which is what America should've always been as a liberal democracy. Individual liberty and equal Rights and responsibility for all, not just the special few. What the opposition to civil rights was pushing and had a lot of success up until the 1940s, was to push an anti-democratic agenda for anyone who wasn't Caucasian and perhaps not male as well and not Protestant. And the worst part of the argument was the hypocrisy and contradictions in their argument. Basing it on the U.S. Constitution and states rights, trying to use the Constitution to deny equal Rights and democracy for African-Americans.
Africans who if anything have been in America as long as Europeans. As well as the argument of states rights, saying the power of states is more important than the constitutional rights of individuals. And that states had the constitutional right to deny the constitutional rights of African-Americans. Who under the U.S. Constitution have the same constitutional rights of all other Americans. This was definitely a Far-Right argument coming from authoritarians, not Conservatives. Because Conservatives actually do believe in the U.S. Constitution and for enforcing and living up to it. Another ironic thing about the Far-Right in America, is that even though they've used the states rights argument to deny the constitutional rights of African-Americans fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, they've moved away from the states rights argument in the last twenty years or so on issues like gay marriage and marijuana. Saying the Federal Government has the authority to regulate these issues, not just constitutional rights for all Americans. Their argument is about political convenience, not constitutional principles.
Another shame of the assassination of Martin King along with the assassination of Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, was what could've been had these gentlemen lived out their lives. Jack Kennedy would be 93 going on 94 today so perhaps he would still be alive today, but that would be pretty impressive to live that long. Bobby Kennedy would be 85 today so there's a reasonable chance he would still be alive to today and Martin King would be 82 and chances are still living had he took care of himself. But that's not the shame I'm getting at and I'll focus on Dr. King even though Jack and Bobby are also heros of mine. I believe Dr. King as we moved into the 1970s would've moved to focus on workers rights and poverty. And empowering African-Americans to have a bigger stake in life, to get a good education and become successful and self-sufficient and not dependent on public assistance. And to even own their own business's.
Minister Malcolm X had a different message when it came to Black Power, than Dr. King. His message was about empowering the less-fortunate to become self-sufficient and not just for African- Americans. If you judge people by what they accomplish in their lives and not by how long they live, then it's hard to find someone who lived a better life than Dr. Martin Luther King. His message of peace and tolerance and equal rights for all. He was able almost by himself to put that message on the map in America. And a lot of people of all races owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his contributions to American society. Dr. King was a leader for equal rights and equal justice and wanted a society where Americans and not just his children, would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. Many ways why I'm a Liberal is because I judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. And believe no American should benefit or suffer, simply because of their race, color, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or religion.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
This notion of "Neoliberalism" that Democratic Socialists use to describe liberalism is a myth and when they talk about "Neo Liberals" the Bill Clinton's of the World. They are talking about actual liberals, people who are not as liberal as me especially on Social Issues but Economic Policy or even Foreign Policy. But they are still liberals with liberal positions and not centrists. Socialists don't like what they call "Neoliberalism" because it doesn't fit into their Collectivist Ideology. And liberals tend to support things like strong National Defense, strong Law Enforcement, Free Trade, Tax Cuts, Low Taxes, Fiscal Responsibility. Decentralization of Government Power, government living within the US Constitution. Empowering people to help themselves instead of empowering government to take care of them. Freedom of Choice in Health Care and on other Economic Issues as well as Social Issues. Liberalism unlike socialism is not Government Centered but People Centered, liberalism is and Individualist Ideology similar but different from Classical Conservatism and libertarianism. Whereas socialism is a Collectivist Ideology, government shouldn't allow some people to do a lot better then others and take from them when they do etc. And socialists especially in the Democratic Party, especially don't like people who I would call Moderate Liberals who emerged in the Democratic Party in the mid 1980s, people who were labeled "New Democrats". The Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman's of the World, democrats who wanted to move the party past the New Deal and Great Society and George McGovern era. When democrats were labeled by conservatives and others and I believe to a certain extent had a case. As Tax and Spenders, people who believe in a strong Centralized Federal Government with High Taxes to finance it. And saw the Democratic Party get whipped in three straight Presidential Elections from 1980-88 as well as lose the Senate in 1980 for the first time a generation. And saw the Republican Party hold the Senate for two more elections and decided it was time to move the Democratic Party past this era.
So you have Democratic Socialists in the Democratic Party who are anti liberalism because they know that their main competition in the party and also know liberals run the party. And you have others who don't know any better that get liberalism mixed up with libertarianism and people on the Far Right who mix up liberalism with Democratic Socialism. Libertarianism and Classical Conservatism are similar Political Ideology's from liberalism but are different. The similarity's are that all three of these ideology's are built around the US Constitution and Individual Freedom. The differences are that libertarians want government out of the economy all together and just want government to protect Individual Freedom and keep the streets safe. Classical Conservatives would like to privatize of Block Grant to the States a lot of the American Welfare State. Liberals believe government can help people in need empower themselves to become Self Sufficient and these are just the differences on Economic Policy.
The idea of "Neoliberalism" is a myth from Democratic Socialists who don't like liberalism and especially Moderate Liberalism. They feel they use to run the Democratic Party from the 1930s up to the 1990s and feel left out. And would like to get their power and back and take back the Democratic Party.
Friday, August 19, 2011
As I see it there are four Levels of Poverty in America and it would be bad to have to live at any of these levels in life and try to survive. But there are levels that are worst off then others. Level One as I see it would be the Working Poor, people with perhaps a Full Time job and maybe another job on the side and perhaps are able to get by. But don't make enough money to live above the Poverty Rate in America and perhaps live on some form of Public Assistance in America like Medicaid or Food Stamps. Then there would be Level Two people who are unemployed or under employed and perhaps work seasonable jobs or are on Unemployment Insurance or Welfare Insurance. If they are on Unemployment Insurance, perhaps they are well educated but the job they used to have no longer exists. Or they can't find another job in their field at this point. Or didn't finish High School or College or both and had kids before they were ready to support them on their own and are perhaps Single Parents with the other parent out of the picture. Then there's Level Three Poverty, the Hungry in America who don't have access to enough food because they can't afford it and they don't have enough food for themselves and their family or perhaps both. The odd thing about Level Three Poverty is that a lot of these people have jobs and perhaps Full Time jobs and perhaps another job on the side to go with their Full Time job. And perhaps collect Medicaid and Food Stamps, yet they don't can't afford to feed themselves and their families adequately. Then there's Level Four Poverty the Homeless in America people who suffer from perhaps all of the consequences that the other Levels of Poverty but what's worse. Is that they can't afford to feed themselves and their families adequately and can't afford a place to live at all. Plus they may also have a Health Condition or a Mental Condition or an addiction or a combination of all of these factors that they have to deal with. I'm concern with all four Levels of Poverty in America and have blogged about all four levels before but in this post. I'm going to concentrate on Level Four homelessness because thats the biggest problem with the most challenges as I see it.
What we've been doing to fight Homelessness in America for the last thirty years and perhaps longer then that, is essentially a warehouse approach. Essentially warehousing the homeless in America which might sound awful but its true, its also the same approach we've used to house our Prison Inmates as well which is a different blog. But what we've been doing with the homeless, is bring them off the street and into a Homeless Shelter or find a Homeless Shelter on their own. Give them a meal and a cot for the night and perhaps breakfast the next day. But then send them back onto the street no matter the weather good or bad or in between. To make room for the next group of homeless the next day. And with this approach we've saved a few homeless people for that night or day, from starvation or freezing to death or being mugged. But then we give them another opportunity to reach that fate the next day by kicking them back on the street the next day. And continuing the Cycle of Poverty as it relates to homelessness, instead of dealing with the issues of why they are homeless in the first place and how we can help them deal with these issues by empowering them to deal with their own issues. So they can become Self Sufficient and close this chapter in their life and move on to a better chapter.
What we should be doing instead of having Homeless Warehouses which is how I would refer to a typical Homeless Shelter. What we should be doing is having Housing Centers for the homeless which is already happening in big cities like Sacramento and San Antonio. Where these people can get help with their issues and while they are receiving this help. Would live in a motel like setting by themselves or with their family. While they are getting help with the issues that they have for why they homeless in the first place from a Housing Center. Like Health Care, Drug Rehab, education and Job Placement and then help finding their home if they need it. As well as other things they would need like getting a State ID as well as sign up for things like Welfare Insurance or Unemployment Insurance. Public Housing, Food Stamps and a job in the Housing Center. To help offset the costs of their stay there so these centers can pay their bills.
Homelessness in America is a huge problem and represents a major percentage of our Poverty Rate, especially with the "Great Recession" and the Housing Crisis that we are still struggling to recover from. But its an issue that we can overcome if we are clever and intelligent about it. And move pass the idea of warehousing people and instead empowering people to get themselves the skills that they need to become Self Sufficient.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I don't have high expectations for what the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction as far as them solving our debt and deficit issues. The republicans on the committee will never go along with any Tax Hikes and I don't see the democrats going along with any serious Entitlement Reforms even Means Testing. Which is what Round Two in my opinion of what Deficit Reduction should look like. After they took on Defense and Discretionary Spending in Round One with Debt Ceiling deal. If the Joint Committee passed a Entitlement Reform that had a combination of Means Testing in it as well as demanding that the wealthy pay more into it and take less out of it. As well as Tax Reform that eliminated most if not all Tax Loopholes and lowered Tax Rates on most of the people in the country. Then this Joint Committee would be successful even if Congress didn't pass it. But the House Democrats on this committee are there to back up Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and not there to pass Entitlement Reform. And the House Republicans on the committee are there to back up Speaker John Boenher and Leader Eric Cantor and not to pass Tax Hikes even on the wealthy. So unless half of this committee coming from the House grows up and makes some tough choices, even taking on their own Leadership, nothing will get pass. And we'll be looking at automatic Defense and Entitlement Cuts in January and 2012 another Election Year to figure out how to fix the problems. That the Joint Committee were unprepared and not capable of fixing themselves. As far as Senate Democrats go I like John Kerry and Max Baucus on this committee, they are both on the Fiance Committee and Sen. Baucus is Chairman of that committee. If there were some practical republicans on this committee then maybe a deal could be cut.
Again I believe Tax Hikes on the wealthy have to be part of any final Deficit Reduction package to get our debt and deficit under control. We can't get the necessary revenue to pay down our debt and deficit without Tax Hikes on the wealthy being part of the agreement. Without gutting Entitlement Programs and our National Defense but with the republicans that are on this committee. This is simply not possible in this Congress but that could change in 2013 in the 113th Congress. Depending if the President gets reelected or not and democrats take back the House and hold the Senate as well. Which of course is not a given at this point, democrats do have a better then 50-50 chance in the House in my opinion. And if the President gets reelected with a somewhat comfortable margin and winning around 35 States. I believe democrats will hold the Senate and maybe pick up a couple of seats as well. But with the Senate GOP Leadership still being able to block most legislation.
The most likely scenario from this Joint Committee is Status Quo meaning nothing and best case scenario is that they pass Entitlement and Tax Reform that looks controversial to both parties. Because the partisans in both parties want nothing and just be able to use this as an issue on the 2012 Campaign Trail.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Now that President Obama has finally put the Debt Ceiling debate behind him and Round One of Deficit Reduction is finished as well. It is time for the President to focus on the bad economy and putting people back to work. Especially with the Republican Primary's coming up with all of the Republican Candidates putting their attention on the President and the economy. And trying to put or keep the President on the offensive, which is what republicans have done a very good job of this summer. Its time for President Obama to punch back and become a counterpuncher to use a boxing analogy. But counterpunch in a way to take the momentum back put the Republican Party especially the House GOP Leadership on the defensive and bring them to the table to talk about actual Job Creation and not just Deficit Reduction. But not to just be the Chief Partisan for the Democratic Party, something he's not that good at and very comfortable in the first place. But to put ideas on the table in a package that he sends up to Congress and at least forces the Republican House to respond to it and maybe offer a Counter Proposal. And something that the Democratic Senate would take up and at least force the Senate GOP Leadership to try to block it. But for this to happen President Obama needs a Job Plan thats real and not just about goals but about solutions. That focus's on putting people back to work and can do this in several areas that would not only benefit the economy but help him achieve is goal of Deficit Reduction in as the President says in a balance approach. That encourages Economic Growth that would lead to Job Growth that would put people back to work. That would help bring down our debt and deficit with more people spending money and paying taxes and collecting less Public Assistance. But instead paying into these Social Insurance programs which would make them easier to finance in the future. We'll never pay down our debt and deficit or bring them under control, without strong Economic and Job Growth with wages going up substantially.
What I believe the President should focus on in his Jobs Package is Infrastructure Spending to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. With a National Infrastructure Bank, the Senate already has a Bi Partisan bill to accomplish this. A Comprehensive National Energy Policy that would promote all of our Natural Resources, creating new strong Energy Industry's that would lead to well paid jobs just like with a NIB. Tax Cuts to encourage spending in the economy, I believe the main reason for our weak Economic and Job Growth right now is because of the lack of Consumer Spending. And something like a Payroll Tax Cut could help with this and then more help for the Long Term Unemployed. Assistance for then to go back to school and get retrained to get a job in another field, as well as Tax Credits to business' that hire these people. Like allowing business's to deduct the first year of these workers salary's from their taxes. And then pass the three Trade Deals that are stuck in Congress, Central America, Columbia and Korea.
For the President to get reelected, he has to focus on the economy and put all of his attention there, not just for the sake of his reelection but the country as well. And hoping that the economy gets better in time for Election Day 2012 won't get it done. He needs a plan to make this happen instead.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
If you want to know why the Prohibition of Marijuana has failed, just look at the Prohibition of Alcohol. People still drank and sold alcohol during Alcohol Prohibition illegally just like people use marijuana illegally today. Just because you prohibit something. doesn't mean it goes away, it just means its illegal. And some people not everyone get arrested for it and go to jail or prison for that use. And why to face sanction for marijuana in this case, for doing something whether its good or bad to themselves. Not to someone else and then you look at what Law Enforcement is for, to protect innocent people from the harm of others. So then you look at Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920 and 30s and you see that it became legal again. Because government as well as a bad economy incentivize the Federal Government to lift the prohibition of alcohol. We now have a forty year War on Drugs in America and what have we gotten out of it. Trillions of dollars spent and if anything more people now smoking and using marijuana and other narcotics today then they did forty years ago. The same arguments that are made in favor of Marijuana Prohibition, could be used to argue in favor Alcohol and Tobacco Prohibition as well. Which just goes to the stupidity and hypocrisy of Marijuana Prohibition. The arguments in favor of Marijuana Prohibition aren't based on intelligence and sound evidence. But they are made based on politics, politicians and other Public Officials not wanting to look "soft on crime" or "soft on the War on Drugs". As well as greed because a lot of these Public Officials get a lot of money from the Alcohol and Tobacco Industry's. And these industry's don't want more competition especially from a legal Marijuana Industry. Which is exactly what they would get if marijuana were to become legal in America. If your anti Big Government and don't want government especially the Federal Government telling you how to live your life. And your pro Freedom of Choice, then you support Decriminalization of Marijuana and let the States at least figure out this issue for themselves. Like they are figuring out Gay Marriage.
What we should be doing as a country, a country thats suppose to be a Liberal Democracy and the "Land of the Free". Is be exactly that, let Free People be free to live their own lives and have the Freedom of Choice to decide these things for themselves. What we should do with marijuana is decriminalize it not promote it. Lift the Federal Ban on it and regulate it and tax it instead and let the States decide for themselves how to treat marijuana. Treat marijuana just like alcohol and tobacco and let Free People decide for themselves whether or not to consume marijuana or not. Because if people want to do something bad enough, guess what they'll find a way to do it whether its legal or not and to hell with the consequences. Marijuana is a perfect example of this where adults have purchased and used marijuana their whole adult lives without ever going to jail or prison for it. So knowing this what we should do instead of Decriminalize Marijuana instead to make it as safe as possible.
Free People in a Free Society should be free to live their own lives and government can come in to let their people know the benefits and costs that come with their choices. Not try to protect people from themselves like Big Brother and try to control how Free People in a Free Society live their own lives.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
If you look at Gary, Indiana from the out side you might believe Gary is just another victim of the "Great Recession". But if you look at it closer, you'll see that Gary was a Major City just 10-15 years ago of over 100,000 people just outside of Chicago a huge city of around 3,000,000 people. And back in the 1960s Gary was a city of 175,000 people bigger then Green Bay, Wisconsin which of course is home to a famous NFL Franchise. But why has Gary lost more then half of its population, like Detroit which is still a big city today and was a big city 10-15 years ago and a big city fifty years ago. Gary doesn't have much diversity in its economy, the Steel Industry employed most of its workforce fifty years ago. But they've now downsized and use new technology to do a lot of their work and don't need has many people to do those jobs. And as a result of this as well as Gary's extreme Crime Rates, the most dangerous city in America Per Capita at one point if not today. People have moved out of Gary to make a better life, leaving Gary with the problems to deal with on their own, with half of its population and half of its resources if less.
Gary to me represents in a lot of ways the rest of the country that is struggling not just the Midwest. And why as a country we need to literally rebuild our country. We have crumbling infrastructure, we don't sell enough of our own products to other countries and we don't produce enough of our own energy. Even though we have all the resources that we need if not more then anyone else in the World to do all of these things much better then we are doing them. To again make our country the dominant economy in the World and for us to be prosperous going forward. We simply just have to do it by putting our people to work to do these things. Imagine an America with great infrastructure, that was Energy Independent and could sell all of its products in Foreign Markets. That paid its bills and didn't pile up debt, thats not a Sweet Dream but a strong possibility, we simply just have to do this. We have three Trade Deals stuck in Congress right now that would help with this, Central America, Columbia and Korea. We have a Bi Partisan bill in the Senate that would create an Independent Non Profit Corporation that would I believe would still be own by the Federal Government they just wouldn't run it. A National Infrastructure Bank that would be Self Financed through the Private Sector. That would prioritize our Infrastructure Projects in America. And then gather investors in the Private Sector to invest in these Infrastructure Projects and then hire Private Company's to do the work. This would create alone hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Private Sector not Public Sector jobs. Good well paid jobs that this country badly needs. We also have all the Natural Resources that we need and then some, we should be exporting our Natural Resources as well. To become Energy Independent. We just need a National Energy Policy to get it started.
Gary, Indiana represents what a lot of the country is going through as we are struggling just to recover from the "Great Recession" and just get back on our feet as a country. But Gary also represents a lot of the potential of America that we just need to unleash and let take off and watch our economy become great again.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Drug Addicts who are just Drug Addicts and not Professional Criminals who literally hurt society to survive in life. Aren't criminals in the sense that they represent a threat to society, other then that some of them steal in order to support their Drug Habit, whether its heroin, cocaine, meth to use as examples. All they want to do is to feed their habit to continue to use those drugs and if that means stealing money or items to sell, then they'll do that. Its not really Drug Addicts that we as a society should be concern with, Drug Dealers who sell cocaine, heroin and meth. As well as of course murderers, terrorists, rapists, batterers etc people who represent a major threat to society. But if you get Drug Addicts off of their addiction, then they can move on with their lives and be Productive Citizens, even help other Drug Addicts get off of their addiction. Prisons are for people who are a threat to society that need to be in prison so they can't hurt other people These people are criminals and in a lot of cases are Professional Criminals who need to be in prison. And in a lot of cases when they get sent to prison, its not their first experience as an inmate. But Drug Addicts are patients perhaps even Mental Patients, people with a Mental Condition who can't get satisfied doing the thing that they are addicted to. And in Drug Addicts case keep using those drugs until it really messes them up or worse. But if you give them help with their addiction and get them off of the drug or drugs they are addicted to. Then they can be fine healthy people again living productive lives but not while they are addicted to drugs. Prisons are meant for criminals not Drug Addicts, Drug Rehab is meant for Drug Addicts where they can get the help that they need to get off of their addiction. And one of the reasons why we've spent trillions of dollars on the War on Drugs, is because we keep locking up Drug Addicts. Letting them out and then locking them up again for the same crime, repeating the Cycle of Addiction over and over.
So what would I do in the War on Drugs, first Decriminalize Marijuana with Regulation and Taxation and treat it like alcohol. Because it represents the same threat as alcohol if not less of a threat. And then use some of those resources to prosecute Drug Dealers and keeping heroin, cocaine and meth out of the country in the first place. And then instead of sending Drug Addicts to prison, force them into Drug Rehab instead at Private Facility's that they would pay for and stay there until their doctor feels they are clean. And then send them to a Halfway House where they can get help transitioning back into life with a job and place to live. That again they would pay for and then transfer all Drug Offenders who are in prison for either Drug Use or Drug Possession, that have good Prison Records. Into Drug Rehab and then they could leave Drug Rehab again when their doctor feels they are clean.
The whole War on Drugs has been a stupid and insane failure that never had to happen in the first place. If it was just fought in an intelligent way to begin with. Treating Drug Addicts the same as Drug Dealers, is like treating thieves the same as murderers. These are different level of crimes and criminals that should be treated differently. That would be an intelligent way to fight the War on Drugs.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Whatever your view on Drug Criminalization or the broader War on Drugs and your sensible, you probably agree that the War on Drugs that was started forty years ago. Isn't working and has even failed, all you have to do is look at the facts. Today in 2011 we have more Drug Offenders per capita if you take in consideration that are population has 100M people or more in 2011 then in 1971. Narcotics are available more today then they were in 1971, we now have 2M people in prison today, with hundreds of thousands of those inmates being in prison for drug use or drug possession. As well as a lot of these Drug Offenders being addicts or severe addicts and do their time in prison as addicts and if anything their condition gets worse. And they get new charges in prison for Drug Related Offenses, even though they aren't a threat to anyone. Now possessing or selling drugs in prison, is obviously a serious offense that has to be appropriately dealt with. But addicts feeding their habit is not a threat to anyone other then themselves. And if they just had gotten help for their Drug Addiction instead of punishment, they probably wouldn't be in prison in the first place. Taking up space for a dangerous offenders who needs to be there in prison for the good of society. Richard Nixon did a lot of bad things as President, most of them relating to his character and paranoia, like the Illegal Wiretapping and the Watergate Coverup to use as examples. But the worst thing he did as President as far as policy, was launching the War on Drugs and treating Drug Addicts and Drug Dealers as equals throwing them both in prison and forty years later and a couple trillion dollars later. We've paid a heavy price for it, money that could've been used on a lot of other things, like getting people off of narcotics and helping them with their addiction. Prison has a place for Drug Dealers, people who sell cocaine, heroin and meth. Law Enforcement can play a big role here in getting Drug Dealers off the street and keeping those three narcotics out of the country in the first place.
The good news is we have a lot of positive alternatives to the traditional War on Drugs that has failed, its hard to find anyone anymore who's credible. Who'll say the traditional War on Drugs has been a success. If you want Drug Addicts off of narcotics indefinitely, you do that by collapsing the Narcotics Market. This is where Law Enforcement can actually play a positive role by getting heroin, cocaine and meth dealers off the street and into prison. As well as working with our North American allies to keep these narcotics out of the country in the first place. Then you get Drug Addicts off of narcotics and help them with their addiction with Drug Rehab and send them to Drug Rehab. As well as transferring Non Violent Drug Addicts who are just in prison for drug use and have good Prison Records, to Drug Rehab instead of prison. And the Drug Addicts would pay for their Drug Addiction not Tax Payers so this program would pay for itself. And once they've successfully complete their Drug Rehab, get them into Halfway Houses to help them back on their feet and independent.
We have now forty years of experience to know what not to do in the War on Drugs. Someone intelligent once said the definition of insanity, is doing the same thing over and over again. Expecting different results, which is exactly why our War on Drugs is insane and has failed and why need to bring sanity to this issue. And why its time for a different approach.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I believe if Prison Inmates are going to get free Room and Board and get most of the services they use in prison for free. Which I don't believe they should, at least not the inmates that behave themselves well enough not to be in lockdown 23 hours a day and in General Population. And I'll get to what I mean by that later, then they should be working in prison, the inmates that behave themselves well enough to hold a job in prison. And earn their Room and Board while in prison, I'm not for Chain Ganges prison jobs shouldn't be designed to punish inmates. And that essentially what a Chain Gang is, to scare inmates into behaving themselves. But actual Prison Jobs that are design to to give inmates Vocational Skills that they can use when they leave prions. But also to make the prisons more efficient, where they wouldn't have to contract out as many jobs, because they would have the inmates to do them. And these could be jobs just to keep the prison running effectively, live the Mess Hall, laundry, custodial, barber, plumbing, farming on Prison Farms. But there could also be jobs that are for more High Skilled workers, skills that they could use to work a legal job once they are out of prison. Like in computers, construction, Auto Mechanics as well as jobs in the Non Profit Community Service Industry. Like counseling At Risk Youth for example, explaining some of the mistakes they made that landed them in prison. But not just to At Risk Youth but First Time Offenders who are in prison for the first time and a have a Release Date. We should bring back Prison Industry's and put our inmates back to work, because back in the day some of our prisons were Self Financed and paid for themselves. Meaning they didn't have to compete with other Law Enforcement, education, infrastructure etc for Tax Payer funds. Because most of the inmates had jobs in prison and the prisons could produce and sell what they needed to fund themselves.
The American Corrections System has gone so far down the road of punishment and locking people way indefinitely in their cells. To the point that we now spend more money on prisons then education and infrastructure in America. And if anything our Corrections System is growing in America and becoming more expensive and taking more money out of our education and infrastructure. Because our prisons unlike our education and infrastructure isn't Self Financed. We fund our education mostly through Property Taxes but we are now taking some of those Property Taxes to pay for our Corrections Departments. Because of how fast our Corrections Systems have grown in America . Partially because of the failed War on Drugs but also because we have a lot of Repeat Offenders. People coming back to prison because they don't have the skills to succeed on the outside legally and a lot of these inmates get released right out of Solitary Confinement without any skills. So a simple thing like being around a lot of people like at a Grocery Store is a huge experience for them and a lot of them can't handle it. Putting our inmates to school and then to work the inmates that want to better themselves would give them a good opportunity to stay free once they are released.
For about twenty years now we've tried the approach of "lock up and throw away the key" and it has completely failed. We now have more inmates, more prisons, more Repeat Offenders, more Violent Offenders. Its time that we try a different approach one thats aimed at giving our inmates a shot at becoming Productive Citizens once they are released and most of them get released.
Friday, August 5, 2011
170,000 jobs created in July is definitely a hell of a lot better then the 18,000 jobs created in June. And 9.1% unemployment is at least technically better then 9.2% unemployment. But for the Unemployment Rate to get down to a more desirable level that can be managed, where the economy looks like its clearly improving. We need to create 170K plus jobs every month actually get closer to 200K jobs per month or more. And thats going to take Economic Growth and 1.5% aint going to get that done. We need to be around 4% or better and for that to happen people need to feel confident about spending money and have the money to spend. In order to create demand so business's are making enough money where they actually need additional employees to fill new jobs to meet the new demand. And this won't happen sitting around and waiting for it to happen.
The White House and Congress need to pass legislation to help accomplish this since they just reached an agreement to start paying down our debt and deficit. They need to pass legislation to to help our hurting Manufacturing Industry and we start making and selling things again and the work is done by americans. And they can start by passing the three Trade Deals that are currently stuck in Congress and get our products sold in Central America, Columbia and Korea. That would be the quickest and most effective thing they can do. And then they can pass an Infrastructure Bill like a National Infrastructure Bank which would get our Infrastructure Projects up and running and cut some Red Tape through Congress as well as the Administration. This bill already has Bi Partisan support in Congress with Sen. Kerry and Sen. Hutchison authors of this bill. Because this would be an Independent Agency of the Federal Government. That would raise these funds through the Private Sector attracting investors and then hiring the company's to do the work. And then energy lets eliminate Corporate Welfare for Big Oil and Gas in exchanged for allowing them and alternative Energy Industry's have more access in the country. To produce American Energy in America and hire americans to do these jobs this is something we should've been doing all along but there is not better time then now to get started.
Today's Employment Record looks a lot better then it did in June and May obviously just because of the fact that a lot more jobs were created. And it looks more like April and March when we were in the 100K plus jobs created area. But this is just one positive Jobs Report and there's still a tone left to be done but we can accomplish it.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
President Obama didn't get the best Debt Reduction bill who could've and Debt and Deficit Reduction is something he clearly wants to do. Because for one The Tea Party Caucus ran the House GOP Negotiations during the Debt Negotiations, because a certain group of people didn't bother to vote in 2010. But thats a different blog but even with both of those factors, President Obama faced a smaller challenge then President Clinton. President Clinton faced a United Republican Congress and had to veto a lot of Spending Bills that were sent to him. Because even though Senate Democrats had forty seven seats a large minority, Senate Republicans passed those bills through a process called reconciliation. Which is complicated but to put it simply, it means that the Senate Majority Party can pass legislation with just a Simple Majority fifty one votes instead of sixty. And that the Senate Minority Party can't block legislation that comes up through reconciliation but the Senate Leader can only use the Reconciliation Process on budget related items. So President Clinton had to deal with a Republican Congress not just House, while President Obama only has a Republican House to deal with and didn't have to veto anything during this process. Because the Democratic Senate kept blocking legislation from the Republican House and of course both Chambers of Congress have to pass the same exact legislation before Congress can pass anything and send it to the President. And despite the fact that President Obama and democrats still control 2/3 of the Federal Government as far as the Lawmaking. The President had to give the House Republican Leadership as well as Senate Republican Leadership a lot of what they wanted in this Debt Deal. Democrats actually got quite a bit as well in Defense Cuts and protecting their top priorities but because of the fact they have more power then they did in 1995, they could've gotten more. And a lot of this is because of the fact that look I believe, Barack Obama is a great and brilliant man and is the Leader of the Good Guys. But his political skills don't match up with Bill Clinton's thats just a fact.
What Bill Clinton did back in the fall and winter of 1995-96 during the last Federal Government shutdown, even though he wasn't considered a Strong Leader yet and his Approval Ratings were in the 40s. Was to take the Congressional Republicans Budget and Deficit Reduction plan as for what it is. And took it to the American People and told them as well as the Congressional Republican Leadership, that every time he vetoed their Spending Bills. Was that I can't allow you to do as President of the United States what you want to do. And can't allow you to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. I can't allow you to weaken our Environmental Protection or Aide to Education. I can't allow you to do this as President at the same time while your cutting taxes for the wealthy. I'm paraphrasing here but thats pretty close. And he took this message to the public everyday and got through to the people and saw a 10-15 point jump in his Approval Rating as a result. Because the American People saw President Clinton as a fighter for them and someone who will stand up to Political Extremes. President Obama got in the game late and cut the best deal available at the time instead.
At the end of the day President Obama I believe got the best deal that he could under the circumstances at the time. He got a Debt Reduction Deal that will bring down our debt and deficit and start to get them under control, a Down Payment. This is Round One of two in Debt Reduction. But he could've done much better if he just learned from history of similar battles from that past.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
When it comes to Nation Building, the only time I can recall where the United States played a key positive role in this exercise was in the mid and late 1990s in the Balkans. Some might say the World War II Aftermath might be a good example of Nation Building. But the difference is, that those nations were already nations they just needed to be rebuilt. Germany, Italy, France, Britain etc were already nations with long history's before World War II. Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo weren't nations before the Balkan Wars but were Provinces or Republics in Yugoslavia. That was dominated by serbians in Serbia which was another Province or Republic in Yugoslavia before serbians changed the name of Yugoslavia to Serbia. But when it comes to Afghanistan and Somalia and to a certain extent Iraq, even though they've had an official Central Government for eighty years or so. This is not Nation Rebuilding but Nation Building, turning States or Territory's into Nations which are different things. And when it comes to Nation Building, the United States doesn't have a very good record of doing this, especially when we've had the lead role or are trying to do it by ourselves. Afghanistan and Iraq are excellent examples of this, which I believe is the main reason why we haven't invaded Libya. To take over that government and try to install a new government there and run the show so to speak. But instead are part of a NATO No Fly Zone in Libya defending the Libyan Rebels there against their own government as ironic as it might sound. And another reason why we haven't gotten involved in Syria as well trying to throw out the Assad Regime as well. Because we already have too many obligations that we have to meet and we are extremely limited with the resources we have right now. A 14T$ National Debt and 1.6T$ Budget Deficit will do that to you. But that doesn't mean we can't do anything to help Somalia and its people, we just need to play a more limited but more effective role.
Somalia a large country physically but with only 9.3M people is going through a horrible famine right now and its already one of the top 3-5 poorest countries in the World to begin with, if you want to call it that. And yes they definitely need a lot of Food Aid and not just from the United States but the Developed World in general especially and the European Union could play a big role here. The United Nations could also play a major effective role here, the African Union could play a constructive role here, as well as the Arab League. They technically have a Federal Government but they need an effective Federal Government and a military that can protect the country. And Law Enforcement that can protect its streets, so they are not always in Civil War. They need roads, schools and more infrastructure, they need everything that an effective country needs. They are not going to go from a Fourth or Third World country to a Developed Country overnight obviously. But they need the basics that a lot of Third World countries already have to get started that they don't have now. And they need a lot of international help to get there but America can't do it all.
America is good at a lot of things even internationally, like wiping out Evil Regimes but we are not great at step two. But what we can do is be a player in an International Coalition, not with troops on the ground but delivering resources and supplies and helping out the UN and others as they play more of a major role. To help give Somalia the basics as they start to build their own nation.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Again I think people across the Political Spectrum all the way on the Far Right all the way over to the Far left agree this isn't a perfect deal, maybe the only thing they agree on. Its exactly what a compromise looks like, both sides gave in. Republicans got their Budget Cuts but they also had to cut defense and weren't able to get Entitlement Reform. Democrats got Defense Cuts, an eighteen month extension in the Debt Ceiling and were able to prevent Entitlement Cuts. But they weren't able to close Tax Loopholes or get Tax Hikes on the wealthy.
But this is just what Round One of what Deficit Reduction looks like, what I would like to see in Round Two. Is Tax Hikes on the wealthy, closing Tax Loopholes and overall Tax Reform that broadens the base and lowers rates. But none of the reforms will make a damn bit of difference if we don't get the economy growing again. Where we have enough Economic and Job Growth to bring down our Unemployment Rate by putting people to work. And for that to happen, we need to be growing at around 4% GDP and to do that we should first not make the problem worst then it already is which is already happening. With the FAA Shutdown we need to put those people back to work and building more infrastructure at airports and other things. That represents around 100,000 well paid six figure jobs that we can't afford to lose in this economy. Another way to improve the economy is with Free Trade, there are three Trade Deals stuck in Congress right now that neither the House or Senate has acted on. Which is a Bi Partisan problem that the President is probably going to have to resolve and he can't to that by waiting to late in the Fourth Quarter before getting in the game. This is problem is around TAA or Trade Adjustment Assistance, which helps people who were laid off because their job was sent oversees and is not coming back. And it helps them get retrained to get a job in another field. The President and Congressional Democrats are in favor of this and Congressional Republicans are against it because they see it as Welfare or something and believe its too expensive.
What the President and Congress should really be doing is rebuilding our Manufacturing and Construction Industry's, not by running them obviously but creating incentives for them to produce. And turn the phrase, "Make it in America" into an Economic Policy and not just a phrase. A National Infrastructure Bank which already has Bi Partisan support in the Senate and has the President behind it, would be a great first step in doing this. A National Infrastructure Bank would essentially be an independent Non Profit organization. That would go around the country and to see where we need Infrastructure Repairs and expansion. roads, bridges, airports, schools, waterways and would raise the money in the Private Sector to accomplish this with investors. And then hire company's to do the work and they would get the employees to do the work. And the beauty of this, is that it would be Self Financed, just needing 10B$ in Startup Capital it could get from the Small Business Administration or something. And then it would also be independent of the Federal Government, they wouldn't have to run it. Liberal Democratic Sen. John Kerry and and Conservative Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison the Ranking Member on the Commerce Transportation Committee already have a Bi Partisan bill to accomplish this.
The Debt Deal is a solid not great first step in getting our debt and deficit under control by starting to pay it down. But its just Round One, Round Two should be about Entitlement Reform, Tax Reform and finally getting the economy moving again and putting people back to work. Which would be easiest and best way to pay down our debt and deficit.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Well my Fellow American Voters and democrats who didn't bother voting in the 2010 Mid Term Elections, this is what Divided Government looks like. This is certainly not my idea of how we should raise the Debt Ceiling and pay down our debt and deficit, I have my own plan thats on this blog site. But with this plan we'll be able to raise the Debt Ceiling, avoid default and start to pay down our debt and deficit and extend the Debt Ceiling for eighteen months so Congress can, I don't know move on to other issues. Just in case there's a snowballs chance in hell, that the Debt Ceiling, debt and deficit aren't the only issues facing America and I would be able to I don't know. Blog about other things, which I did the last two days. This blog site is called FRSFreeState not the Fiscal Times which is a real publication. And a big part of my blog is blogging about defending Liberal Democracy and Fiscal Policy is just a component of that.
Economic and Job Growth to use as examples, which would also help contribute to bringing down the debt and deficit should be next on the agenda. This deal pays down the debt and deficit without slashing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. There are no Tax Hikes on the wealthy or closing Tax Loopholes in this deal which is something I would've liked to see, where we could've raised 100-200B$ a year alone in Deficit Reduction alone without hurting anyone. There also no Tax Hikes on the Middle Class as well which is good. This is a cut only Debt Reduction and Debt Ceiling deal but there's also Budget Cuts in defense as well, something like 100B$ a year. Either right away or in the next few months with the brand new Bi Partisan Debt Commission. Another commission that apparently can do the work that Congress is suppose to be able to do on its own, which is part of their job. And the fact they haven't don't their job, is a big reason why we are here today. Its harder to find a more overpaid group of people then the 535 Members of Congress but perhaps thats a different blog. Round one looks like is about Budget Cuts including in the bloated Defense Department and getting the Debt Ceiling off the agenda for at least eighteen months which is a big deal in itself. Round two will be about Tax Reform and closing Tax Loopholes that are way too expansive that we can't afford and ending Corporate Welfare. As well as Entitlement Reform that doesn't hurt anyone who actually needs those programs.
This is what Divided Government looks like folks, if you don't like it, I suggest you bother to vote the next time you get a chance. And vote for people who don't take the attitude "my way or the highway" as well as getting involved in the Political Process. And work for candidates that wouldn't allow a situation like this to happen in the first place. And wouldn't risk putting the country in default if they don't get everything they want. With a Democratic President and Democratic Senate, we have a deal that doesn't slash Entitlement Programs and actually includes the Defense Department in Deficit Reduction. And in round two will get Tax Reform that closes expensive Tax Loopholes and Corporate Welfare and reforms Entitlement Programs in a way that doesn't hurt people who actually needs them.