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Monday, June 30, 2014

Washington Post: Opinion: EJ Dionne: The Vital Incoherent Center: What Makes up the Political Left & Political Right

American Voters

The Washington Post: Opinion: EJ Dionne: The Vital Incoherent Center

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Again it depends on what you mean by liberal and conservative and you do lump Religious Conservatives, Neoconservatives and Libertarians in with Conservatives on the Right and do you lump in Progressives and Socialists, or Social Democrats in with Liberals on the Left. If that is how you do that then Conservatives will be the largest voting block in America. Because that includes the Bible Belt, with the Libertarian West and the Neoconservative large military at call costs traditional American Neoconservatives.

With Liberals or Centrists coming in second because when it comes to American politics Americans tend to have strong feelings on the issues one way or the other and are not stuck in what is called the mushy middle when it comes to Centrists. And Socialists whether they self-define their politics as socialist or not do not make up a very strong voting block in this country. 10-15 percent at best the religious-right badly outnumbering them.

But that is not how I define political labels or make up my mind which political camp people fall in. What I do instead of saying "someone is on the Left so they are automatically are liberal. And someone who is on the Right they are automatically conservative". What I do is look to see how far to the Right are they. If they are center-right, I call them conservative. A little further Right I call them libertarian. Lets say far-right people who I could call big government Republicans or rightists people who want to impose their social values on the rest of the country through government, I call them Religious Conservatives or Neoconservatives.

Same thing with the Left. Center-left such as myself would be the Liberals. A little further Left people who are a little more government oriented, but do not have a new government program or tax increase to solve all of our problems for us, I would call Progressives. People who are lets say on the far-left  people who believe in big centralize government is the only way to ensure economic, social and racial equality and tend to have big government ideas to solve all of our problems for us. And tend to like high taxes and tend not to like the military or law enforcement, I call people of these politics Socialist or Social Democratic. Occupy Wall Street comes to mind or the Green Party.

If you just looked at the center-right and center-left in America and people who tend to not be against government all together, but who do not want government trying to run their lives for them from either a personal or economic perspective you would see that is where a solid majority of the country is. Whether they call themselves Liberals or Conservatives, or even Conservative Libertarians. And based on that I would say Liberals and Conservatives make up the overwhelming largest voting blocks in the country. With Independents who may consider themselves to be Centrists but have similar views as Liberals and Conservatives. That they don't want big government, but they don't want an ineffective government either.

Americans tend to want government to do the basics that we can't do for ourselves, or that we need them to do as well to see that certain things get done that need to be done. Like protecting the country, protecting the streets, seeing that everyone gets an education. Funding infrastructure, helping people in need get on their feet. These are not big government or small government ideas, but limited good government policies that Americans tend to support whether they are liberal or conservative. And that is where Americans tend to be and we tend not to like the fringes on the Left or Right.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Detroit Pistons Official: Video: Unforgettable Moments: The Jordan Rules



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The Jordan Rules was a Detroit Pistons defense that was designed to stop the great Michael Jordan from the Chicago Bulls. It was created by the great Pistons point guard Isaiah Thomas and one of the Pistons assistant coaches. I believe Brendan Malone and this defense was designed to let anyone else beat the Pistons besides Michael Jordan. Which meant anyone else from the Bulls could beat them and have big games which of course didn't happen pre-1991. Whether it was Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright whoever it might be.

This all came about because in the late 1980s the Pistons and Bulls, Detroit vs. Chicago which is a great sports rivalry because of those two big cities to begin with and that they are fairly close together and they met in the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs four straight years from 1988-91. Two very physical and good defensive teams meeting in the playoffs to go to the NBA Finals. So these series always meant a lot and this was a time when the Pistons were looking to win their first NBA Championship after coming very close in 1987 and 88. With the Bulls looking to take their place and jump ahead of them.

The Jordan Rules itself were fairly simple. Again anyone but Jordan can beat them meaning anyone besides Michael can take open shots and get good looks at the basket. Now they still have to execute and take advantage of those opportunities. But when MJ has the ball at least two guys on him every time he tries to drive and keep him off of the wings where he got most of those incredible dunks. Force him into the lane and to go up against the Pistons big men where he would either take a hard foul. Or would just be stopped with the Pistons getting the ball back.

And the other thing being make MJ work on defense. Whoever he is guarding in the Pistons backcourt. Or if he's guarding Mark Aguirre the Pistons small forward. Make MJ run through a lot of hard screens from either Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, James Edwards or Dennis Rodman. And give Jordan's man a lot of shots and good looks at the basket. So MJ doesn't have anytime to rest on the court. And pre-1991 before Scottie Pippen became the great player that he became the Jordan Rules was the only successful defense against Michael Jordan.
Jordan Rules

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Constitution Center: Constitution Daily: NCC Staff: Danielle Allen Traces Equality in the Declaration of Independence: Freedom and Equality in a Liberal Democracy

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
Freedom vs. equality which I guess has been an ongoing debate between Progressives and Libertarians perhaps for an indefinite time now. And this whole discussion is really relates to what is called income inequality. And the Progressives concerns with it and Libertarians there to say that “people should be allowed to keep the fruits of their labor. And even if they make a lot more money than their fellow Americans because they earned that success”. With Progressives there to counter that “if we don’t look out for struggling Americans then that affects everyone because of the lost purchasing power. But also because the social costs that come from it”. But also because they believe society has a role to essentially take care of the less-fortunate among us.
As the great libertarian Economist Milton Friedman said “without freedom there isn’t any equality”. Why because if people don’t have the freedom to do as much for themselves as they can and have the ability to take care of themselves as much as possible, than they won’t. So yeah if you encourage people not to be successful by taxing most of their money way from them to take care of others you may reach equality. A country that has a lot of struggling people in it where most of the country struggles. And very few Americans having much if any freedom at all. But that is not the society that most Americans want.
Americans tend to want to be as successful as they can and you accomplish that by making sure people have the freedom and tools so they can do that. It is not a freedom vs. equality issue for me as a Liberal. But how you get to a society and an economy where as many people as possibly can have the tools to get the freedom they need to be successful in society and not need public assistance to financially survive. And to get there instead of having government take so much from the successful and people who live in freedom we empower as many people as possible who want to work and be successful in life to get themselves the tools to be able to accomplish that for themselves.
Which means things like expanding education and job training for low-income adults whether they are working or not. And making those opportunities for anyone who needs it. And having an education system that produces more high-skilled students and workers. The question for me at least is not freedom vs. equality. To that is a false choice like choosing between food or water.
To me it is how you produce a society where many people as possible that is people who want to live in freedom and would work hard for it, how are they able to accomplish that for themselves which is living in freedom. And then allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor or at least the most of it so they are encouraged to be successful in the future as well. That is how you have a society that is both free and equal. Not take from the very successful to take care of the rest of the country. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brookings Institution: Up Front: Melissa S. Kearney & Benjamin Harris: Fighting Poverty Should be a National Priority

Clinton Initiative on Poverty

Brookings Institution: Up Front: Melissa S. Kearney & Benjamin Harris: Fighting Poverty Needs to be a National Policy Priority

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

This blog covers and writes about poverty a lot as it should. But writing about something a lot can make it difficult to put things in a new an interesting way and makes it difficult to sound repetitive and boring. So this post will be different in the sense and look at poverty simply and purely as an public investment pure and simple. "We as taxpayers give people who aren't able to make it on their own in life this amount money and this is what we expect in return from the money that we give you". Instead of looking at public assistance almost entirely from a public charity perspective.

The question for me at least as a New Democrat and Liberal is not whether or not we should have public assistance in America. But what is it for and what we should get in return. Yes what we should get in return that public assistance is a hand up and not a handout. Again "we give you money to help you sustain yourself in the short-term and this is what we expect you to do while you are getting our money". That is where the hand up and public investment function kicks in. The money people on public assistance yes receive money to survive in the short-term, but they are also getting help improving themselves as people.

Preparing themselves to not only reenter or enter the workforce, but reenter or enter the workforce with the skills needed to get themselves a good job. Which is what Welfare to Work from 1996 was about at least from the Clinton Administration and other New Democrats. "You get help to pay your immediate bills and cost of living with a wide variety of assistance. But what you do in return is finish your education and making sure your kids are not only in school, but getting a good education as well. So you get the skills you need to get yourself a good job and so do your kids if you have any".

If we simply look at public assistance from the perspective of public investment and investing in human capital included in that immediate cost of living instead of looking at simply, or mostly as public charity then public assistance would be popular in America. Because hardworking Americans who perhaps struggle just to pay their bills, but who are not poor would support these policies. Because they would not only see them as public investments in their fellow Americans, but the country as a whole.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The New Republic: Opinion: Danny Vinik: "How President Obama's Promise Not to Raise Taxes on the Middle Class Makes Governing Harder": Why Raising Taxes on the Middle Class is a Bad Idea

Middle Class Home

The New Republic: Opinion: Danny Vinik: President Obama's Promise to Not Raise Taxes on the Middle Class Makes Governing Harder

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I'm just going to be real here and say that Socialists have this belief that if government especially the federal government or central government (depending on the country) is not doing something or running something that is supposed to benefit the country than that program or policy is not 'substantial'. They also believe that there's no such thing as a bad tax increase except for maybe when it comes to the poor. Because all taxes and tax increases benefit the people because it goes to government to serve the people. Now whether you call yourself a Socialist or not and I doubt Danny Vinik from The New Republic does, these are socialist beliefs.

So when Danny Vinik says that anything that President Obama does that doesn't increase taxes on the middle class as well as the wealthy, or is not a Federal Government run program is not 'substantial' as Mr. Vinik says in his New Republic column today he is just making that point for me about how Socialists view taxes and the role of government especially the national government. If you want paid family leave in this country is very simple to do without raising taxes on anyone. It is called a paid family leave law and you have a paid sick leave law as well. You just pass a law that requires to pay their employees these benefits once they are eligible for them. Instead of having a new government program to run them.

As far as raising taxes on the middle class. The last thing you want to do in a struggling economy especially with a struggling middle class is to make the lives of these people even harder and make it harder for them to pay their bills. Especially as they see their income falling and their bills and cost of living rising. Which is exactly what would happen with a middle class tax increase either through the income tax or payroll tax. And neither Democrats or Republicans are interested in doing this at least at the leadership level. And only the socialist left believes this would be good policy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Constitution Center: Constitution Check: Lyle Denniston: What Would James Madison Say About Newt Gingrich?

American Founding Fathers 

Constitution Center: Constitution Check: What Would James Madison Say to Newt Gingrich?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

To say the least it is almost impossible to tell how James Madison and the other Founding Fathers of the United States would think of current American political discourse. They put the country together pre-radio and TV let alone the internet and social media. But from their writings they did like good political debate as long as it was intelligent and based on the facts. With all sides being able to make their case. They did write the First Amendment and free speech is a big part of that.

That is not current American political discourse. We are long past the times when we had two competing sides who believed the other side means the best for America and that we not only believed the case that they were making was the best course for the country. But that they loved America as well. And are now at a point where the fringes on both wings not only see the other side as wrong, but that they are trying to destroy the country and don't even deserved to be heard. And in some cases with the haters of Rush Limbaugh believe government should step in and kick Rush off the air.

I'm a proud Liberal Democrat and believe the Tea Party wing and their allies on the Far-Right are largely responsible for the negative political discourse. With their claims that the other side Progressive Democrats are "Un-American and that Americans who don't believe in their traditional way of life are Un-American as well." Not just saying these things as a Liberal or as a Democrat, but as an individual and that is what a lot if not most of the credible evidence points at. With FOX News being their main mouthpiece to go along with right-wing talk radio.

But my side of the aisle and our fringe have some blame and guilt here as well. Whether you want to call it the MSNBC wing of the Democratic Party or Occupy Wall Street we have an element as well that believes the Tea Party and their Republican supporters are not only wrong. But are "bad people looking to destroy America and everything that is good about this country especially as it relates to social insurance from their point of view. And that they need to be shut up and destroyed and not just defeated for the good of the country as well."

We are past the day when senators and representatives can have a long spirited, but respectful debate in Congress and then have a beer with their colleagues after the debate the people they just debated and even work with them to come up with a bipartisan consensus that they both could vote for. And are now at a point where the fringes on both sides who in too many cases have the loudest voices and get the most airtime and print because it is really partisan bickering that sells the most papers and get's the highest ratings. Who believe the other side is not only wrong, but evil and must be destroyed. Which makes consensus building and governing especially with a divided government almost impossible.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Slate: Opinion: Jamelle Bouie: Neocons Already Destroyed Iraq: Why Neoconservatives Should be Ignored on Iraq

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 

Slate: Opinion: Jamelle Bouie: The Neocons Already Destroyed Iraq Once

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

There's an old American expression "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". Which basically translates if you are dumb enough to get fooled multiple times by the same person, you are a fool who deserves to be fooled. The Neoconservatives lost the argument over Iraq as early as early as 2006 when their Republican allies in Congress were kicked out of the House and Senate because of Iraq and how badly the Bush Administration botched that war and occupation. And for all of the Republican support and American tax dollars to pay for those failures.

And because of all of this and the trillions of dollars added to the national debt and the thousands of lives America has lost in Iraq and the millions of lives Iraq has lost in Iraq a country of twenty-five-million people. Not a large country America except for portions of the Far-Right has no interest in going back in and trying to save a country from itself. Iraq has been left up to Iraq which was an original goal of the Bush Administration that the Obama Administration followed through on. Because they wanted to get us the hell out of Iraq a situation they knew couldn't be fixed by Americans themselves.

Iraq now has a functioning federal government and military even as flawed as it is. But at least it represents Iraq and they have the responsibility to govern and defend themselves. And if they aren't willing to live up to their own responsibilities they can't expect Americans to do that for them and be left with the bill for those operations.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Omar Al-Nidawi: How PM Nouri Al-Maliki Lost Iraq

Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki 

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Omar Al-Nidawi: How Maliki Lost Iraq

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

It would be easy and perhaps even tempting to blame crisis going on in Northern Iraq and the fact that it is now under control by Islamic terrorists on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney when they were President and Vice President. But the fact is both President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been out of office for over five years now. And Iraq was fairly stable when they left office with a competent federal government.

George Bush and Dick Cheney deserve a lot of blame for what happened in Iraq and their mishandling of that war during the six years we were over there during their time in office. But the fact is Iraq is now under the control and responsibility of the Maliki Administration which is what Iraq wanted. And when Iraqi troops fail to even bother to try to defend their nation against rebels when they were trained to fight for their country. Its kinda hard to say that is somehow the United States fault or to blame it on one president.

The blame goes to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and his corrupt dictatorial administration and his failure and unwillingness to unite his country. And what he's done instead is try to centralize the power in his own office instead of reach out to the different diverse groups in that country. And has been left with forces that aren't willing or able to defend and fight for their own country and instead walked away when given the opportunity to defend their country. And as much as the American Neo-Cons want to blame President Obama for the fall of Northern Iraq they should first look at the corrupt Iraqi government that they backed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Slate: Opinion: Reihan Salam: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio's Welfare Mistake

Source:
I guess the Socialist has arrived in New York City to be their mayor in Bill De Blasio. In saying that people on Welfare there need not to go to work or be actively seeking work in order to receive their public assistance. I’m saying this half-jokingly and I agree with the Mayor that education and job training are important when it comes to people in Welfare who are low-skilled. But not as a replacement to working and looking for work. Because work experience especially people with paper-thin resumes even if they have a resume is a form of job training. 
The fact is we need all of these things when it comes to Welfare and moving people out of poverty which is what the 1996 Welfare to Work law is about. Moving people from Welfare to the fast food industry or working in other areas of the food service business and making minimum wage is not a success. Because they’ll still be on public assistance as it relates to public housing, food assistance and Medicaid. 
And saying to people on Welfare that they “can continue to collect their Welfare and not need to bother to even look for work let alone go to work. And maybe we’ll make educational and job training opportunities available to you. But that won’t be required either because we really just want to take care of people on Welfare. And less interested in moving people off of Welfare”. That doesn’t work either for obvious reasons and the key reason why Welfare was reformed in 1996. 
The goal of Welfare and public assistance in general is to move people off of public assistance and in to good jobs so they no longer need public assistance at all. That comes from a combination of education and work experience and this can be done at the same time as people on Welfare are improving their skills with a low-end job and improving their skills so they can get themselves a good job. 
Welfare to the middle class should be the goal of Welfare. Not Welfare to more Welfare. Or Welfare to independent poverty with no assistance for people to improve their lives.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Economist's View: Daniel Little: Economic Institution's and Democratic Equality

Opportunity Society
This post is an excellent opportunity to layout what President Bill Clinton and other liberal New Democrats in the 1990s and to a certain extent today call the ‘Opportunity Society. Building a society where most if not all Americans have the opportunity to succeed in life. Not where freedom especially economic is guaranteed, but where we all have a quality opportunity to obtain economic and personal freedom for ourselves and families. And to layout how an Opportunity Society differs from the welfare states of Scandinavia. And how it differs from FDR’s New Deal created in the 1930s and LBJ’s Great Society created in the 1960s.
The Opportunity Society that New Democrats started talking about in the late 1980s and early 1990s was also designed to counter the Reagan Revolution of the early 1980s. That made government especially big centralized government look like the problem and what was holding back freedom for millions of Americans. What the Opportunity Society says that government shouldn’t be seen or be the problem or the solution for Americans who struggle, or for Americans in general. But as one tool that can help people in need get the tools that they need to live in freedom and be able to take care of themselves.
But also the Opportunity Society is something where that all Americans again regardless of income level and how they start out in life have a quality of opportunity to succeed in life. Where universal quality education is available to all. Especially for Americans who are growing up in low-income communities. Or trying to raise their kids in those communities. Or simply trying to survive on their own in those low-income communities. And where quality universal education includes K-12, but also college, vocational and job training as well for everyone.
Again government shouldn’t be the source or the problem when it comes to quality of life in America. It should be a tool one tool especially when it comes to financing that Americans regardless of how they start out in life can take advantage of to obtain freedom for themselves. So they are taking care of themselves and not needing public assistance for their economic survival.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Slate: Opinion: John Dickerson: Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices Plays it Safe

Hillary Clinton did a book event last Friday with a local Washington book store Politics and Prose and was interviewed there by a women who worked for her at the White House in the 1990s and when Hillary was Secretary of State during the first Obama Administration. In her speech she was talking about hard choices even though she really didn’t mention any that she made herself. And also talked about big ideas even though she really didn’t mention any of her own. 
This is the major weakness of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate and why she’s not President of the United States right now. She doesn’t let people know what she is about politically and doesn’t want to take hard stances on key issues other than the traditional key Democratic issues as it relates to women’s issues and civil rights. But then doesn’t seem to want to be on the record of the 21st Century Liberal Democratic issues as it relates to the War on Drugs and marijuana. To go along with privacy especially at it relates to the War on Terrorism. 
Hillary wants to be where she believes is the safest place for her politically. But she sees and American political scene that is looking for a strong leadership and strong leaders. So she believes the way to capture those voters is to talk about those things and try to convince people without giving much evidence to support herself as a strong leader that she believes in strong leadership too. So she talks about the need for ‘big ideas’ and writes a book called Hard Choices without laying out those things. 
If Hillary Clinton can’t communicate to the American voters Democrats and otherwise of why she should be the next President of the United States other than the need for electing a female President, she’ll lose another Democratic presidential contest where she was the heavy favorite going in. Because at the end of the day American voters want to know who they may vote for and what would come with electing that person and where they are on the key issues of the day.