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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Hollywood Reporter: Video: Victims of Hollywood's Blacklist


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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


Friday, February 27, 2015

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Kenan Malik: Why Multiculturalism Failed

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Kenan Malik: Why Multiculturalism Failed

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Washington Post: Editorial: Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in Repression

The Washington Post: Editorial: Venezuela and Cuba: Partners in Repression

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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

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

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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

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

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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


Monday, February 23, 2015

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

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

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Matthew Hormann: Video: The Hollywood Ten, 1950


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

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

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

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


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jnuss Bau: Video: The Hollywood Blacklist: 1947-1960


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The late 1940s and all the way up to at least the mid-1950s or so was one of the most fascist illiberal and anti-liberal democratic periods of our time. I think elements of today’s Tea Party and the Ann Coulter’s of the world would’ve loved to be alive back then. Because it was a time when an American could be perceived as being a bad person simply because of who they may have associated with in the past. Especially if you were on the Far-Left in America and at the very least had socialistic and communistic leanings as far as what people like that would want to accomplish for America. A more collectivist and equal society.

This is not what America is supposed to be about. We are supposed to be that liberal democracy liberal society free society that the rest of the world wants to mimic. Where everyone has the right to be themselves and believe in what they believe whatever that they may be and be able to associate with whoever they choose to just as long as we aren’t hurting any innocent people with what we are doing. But if you were around back in the late 1940s and 1950s and you were an adult and you were somewhat Far-Left politically and you worked in Hollywood, that is not the type of country that you saw. You saw a country where you could be viewed as guilty and immoral simply because of people you associated with and your political beliefs.

Were there Socialists and Communists in Hollywood back then, I’m sure there were and probably still today. At least when it comes to Democratic Socialists especially if you look at a lot of Hollywood’s political films. But just because someone’s political views are out of the American mainstream and puts them on the Far-Left or Far-Right in America doesn’t automatically make them bad people. And it shouldn’t cost them jobs either. Which is what happened to the Hollywood Ten back then members of the movie industry who lost jobs and whose reputations suffered simply because of their political views. Or their perceived political views, or people that they associate with, or had associated with in the past.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Brookings Institution: Blog: Martin S. Indyk: A Return to The Middle Eastern Great Game

Brookings Institution: Blog: Martin S. Indyk: A Return to The Middle Eastern Great Game

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Support Middle Eastern dictators in the past may have worked in the past up until 1978 or so with the fall of the Shah of Iran, as far as maintaining some form of peace and stability in this region. And giving America a good resource for energy which we don’t need anymore, as well as intelligence on certain terrorist groups and the worst dictators that had plans for expanding their territory like Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But we’ve paid a heavy price for both financially and with our own security. Like having troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia a country more than capable of defending themselves both financially and with their current military.

Not excusing 9/11 obviously, but our involvement in the Arabia and our subsidizing authoritarian states there is one of the motivations for the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 9/11. We subsidized the Shah of Iran for about forty years going back to Franklin Roosevelt and the Shah was a tough ruthless dictator that beat down the opposition. And the Iranians rose up and threw the Shah out of power and of course replaced that regime with another authoritarian regime the Islamic Theocrats. There are huge costs that America is still paying for subsidizing states that don’t have our best interest and their own people’s best interest at heart. And we’re still paying for them today.

And you can say that well if America and Europe didn’t subsidize these authoritarian regimes, something else that is worst would come instead. Perhaps if all you did was not subsidize them in the first place and done nothing else instead. But an alternative would be to give those states conditional backing. That they respect the human rights of their people. Like not arresting political prisoners simply for being against the current government. Respect the rights of their women, racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Most of the countries are fairly diverse across the board. And instead of backing authoritarian regimes, back people who want democratic change and to build a democratic society in their country.

Backing authoritarians doesn’t stop or prevent future violence or terrorism. Is just moves it around, because instead of the regime backing terrorists who would hit you, what you do instead of give the people on the ground in those countries who hate their government motivation to want to hit you. Get organized, join a current terrorist group or create their own that would work to knockout the current regime, as well as try to hit American targets. America needs to get past the better of two evils foreign policy in the Middle East. And stop subsidizing bad guys even if they aren’t as bad as other bad guys. And instead work with the good guys who want to build a developed peaceful society where their people would be respected.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Alan J. Kuperman: "How Barack Obama Failed Libya": Not Really

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Alan J. Kuperman: How Obama Failed in Libya

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I supported a limited intervention of Libya that would have a coalition between America and Europe especially NATO that would establish a no fly zone over Libya as the Libyan rebels did the groundwork in Libya to knockout the Gaddafi Regime there. I was in favor of this by February 2011 and even criticized the Obama Administration for not acting soon enough. President Obama finally makes the decision to intervene in Libya and be part of the NATO coalition that would hit Gaddafi forces in the air as the Libyan rebels did the groundwork. This was one of the most successful, cost-effective and quick military operations that America has ever been part of that ended in the early summer of 2011.

This was not Iraq 2011 where we would go in and invade the country with a hundred-thousand ground troops, knockout the government and establish our own state there to occupy the country. Why the Iraqi people would figure out what kind of country they wanted to have. The operation in Libya was about knocking out a murderous dictator who was simply only interested in staying in power in Libya. And this is something I believe we could’ve done in Syria by now. Knocked out the Assad Regime in coalition with NATO and not have to debate and consider if we arm the Syrian rebels or not. But that is a different debate.

Libya is not a failed state now because America and Europe decided not to occupy it. Libya is a failed stated because they didn’t have the leadership to unify the country around a new government that could bring this large country the size of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Algeria physically, but with only six-million people, together and plot the course for the new Libya. What they instead got was another semi-authoritarian government that wasn’t prepared to govern and defend the country. And now you have new rebels and terrorists including ISIS that Egypt of all countries has decided to intervene against and take out.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bliar 209: Video: The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The rise of Tony Blair I at least believe has to do with how he reformed the British Labour Party as Leader of the Opposition in the 1990s before becoming Prime Minister. When the Labour Party lost power in 1979 to the Conservative Party, the British economy was in bad shape. Because it was over-centralized, the economy was over-centralized and was too socialist with the U.K. Government owning so much of the economy and trying to run British industries themselves. The U.K. Government by 1979 owned something like seventy-percent of the economy.

When Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997 and the Labour Party which was New Labour took over they didn’t move to renationalize industries and perhaps nationalize British industries that weren’t under government control and ownership before. They didn’t reform the British welfare state by saying that people who were physically and mentally able to take care of themselves and work, no longer had to do that if they even if they were uneducated. He kept in place a lot of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s economic polices in place instead. And perhaps offended a lot of people in party who were much further to the left of him by doing that.

New Labour is Tony Blair and Tony Blair’s creation. They were out of power for eighteen-years from 79-97 because the British people remembered the state of the economy when Labour left power in 1979. And they also remember how the British economy finally took off and became the economic power that it is today in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And didn’t want to put Socialists in power that try to take the country back to where it was in the late 1970s. So Tony Blair’s challenge when he became Leader of the Labour Party in 1994 was to change the perception of the Labour Party. So it was no longer seen as Marxist, so socialist and central government oriented.

Tony Blair is a student of Bill Clinton and the New Democrats in America. Someone who didn’t want to transform his party into a conservative party. But someone who wanted his party to be a center-left party and not a far-left party. Someone who wanted to use government to empower people to be able to take control over their own lives and live in freedom. And not have to live off the welfare state or be forced to live off of the welfare state indefinitely. Blair wanted his party to be seen as a party that would defend the country and protect everyone’s freedom. And was very successful in doing that.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Bolinha Franca: Video: The Notorious Landlady 1962, A Diplomat Falls in Love With a Murder Suspect


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Kim Novak similar to Diana Dors in The Unholy Wife is the perfect women to play a murder suspect because she’s so cute and sweet. It is hard to believe she’s capable or hurting anyone let alone killing someone. Only in The Notorious Landlady the Kim Novak character is innocent and what happened to her husband no one actually knows. The Diana Dors character in The Unholy Wife is guilty of murdering at least two people. Jack Lemmon plays an American diplomat in London who has just arrived there needing a place to live while he’s in Britain. Kim Novak is also an American, but now living in England who owns an apartment house. It is basically a large house with a flat upstairs.

Bill Gridley played by Jack Lemmon finds the house and asks if he can rent the apartment there that is vacant. Not knowing that the women who owns the house is a murder suspect. She is very protective of her and her home and very specific about who she wants living there. And try’s to scare off Bill with a phony English accent that Kim does very well in the movie, but us unsuccessful and eventually gives in. Once they figure out that are both are American, they hit it off. Bill’s boss at the U.S. Embassy in London finds out where Bill is living and who owns the house and bring in Scotland Yard. Because they believe she murdered her husband.

Bill similar to me can’t believe that this women that he’s now renting a flat from and is in love with is capable of murdering anyone. Even though Scotland Yard and his superiors believe she’s guilty and basically spends the rest of the movie trying to prove that she’s innocent. Even though he has his own suspicions about who is the real killer and is Mrs. Hardwick played by Kim Novak is completely innocent in this case. This is not a great movie or a great comedy, but Kim Novak is great in it and looks great in it. And Jack Lemmon is his usual funny charming self.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Columbia Classic's: Pushover 1954- A Good Cop Goes Bad on a Stakeout


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

“Money isn’t dirty, just people are”. One of the better lines from Pushover delivered by the great Kim Novak who was great at delivering lines because she had a great voice and came off as so real because she was so real. She acted as if she was the person she was playing and delivered the lines not as an actress, but as if she was the person she was playing. I’ve at best seen bits and pieces of Pushover and saw the whole movie last night in preparation for this blog. And I was very impressed and saw a great crime drama involving real people and how they deal with bad situations.

Pushover starts off as being about a police stake out of a girlfriend of a bank robber that the police are after. Who stole two-hundred-thousand-dollars from a bank. They believe the girlfriend played by Kim Novak might be in on the operation or at the very least knows about it. And that her boyfriend is going to see her and perhaps tell her what he knows and where to meet her and all of that. Fred McMurray plays either a police sergeant or senior detective on this case who is leading the stake out and only has a police lieutenant to report to. He meets the girlfriend on purpose and they hit it off immediately.

Lona played by Kim Novak figures out that Paul Sheridan is a cop and has been investigating her. And he confesses to that and tries to get her to go downtown with him to tell the police what she knows about the bank robbery. She refuses and instead suggests that they get the money and split it and run off together. Paul refuses Lona’s offer strongly at first, but also wants to protect her from her boyfriend and the police in the stake out and tells her about the stake out and how to behave. How to answer the phone and how to talk to people and when to leave her apartment and everything else.

Paul finally gives in, but without a strong push from Lona. And now they are completely working together during this stake out that Paul is supposed to be leading as the senior detective or sergeant on the case. And now they are working together and just trying to buy time and not get caught and figured out while Paul’s men on the case are getting more suspicious of her and want to know what she knows about the case. Paul starts off as a good cop in the movie, but falls in love with the target he’s supposed to be investigating and the case goes bad from there.



Friday, February 13, 2015

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Alexander J. Motyl: Why Vladimir Putin's Days Are Numbered

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Alexander J. Motyl: Why Putin's Days Are Numbered

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you look at how the Russian Federation is set up and what type of country and the government they are supposed to have on paper, it is very sound and looks very similar as the United States. They are officially a Federal Republic with checks and balances in their Federal Government. A strong executive, but independent judiciary and legislative branches. With states that they call republics who are also independent of the Federal Government. With their own governments and independently elected governors of their republics. Sounds like America, doesn’t it.

But that is not how President Vladimir Putin governs Russia and no he’s not as bad as Joe Stalin and a lot of Russian dictators from the Soviet era. Russia is a hell of a lot better off now than they were in the Soviet era as far as being able to move around the country and being able to build lives for themselves and being able to live in some type of freedom. And they do now have an independent media and access to foreign media. But this is not a liberal democracy by any stretch of the imagination and doesn’t even advertise itself as one. And if Vlad Putin is not a dictator officially, he is certainly one in practice with all of the power he’s centralized in his own office.

But it looks like President Putin may have gone too far, because as much economic progress that Russia has made in the last fifteen years or so under his leadership, that has mostly been from their energy industry that is state-owned. Russia is one of the top three energy producers in the world. This is a country that should’ve been an economic superpower sixty-years ago with their natural resources and their educated public. But of course their communist system ruined that for them and the Putin Administration hasn’t done much to develop their other industries and create other industries. That America did a long time ago and that Europe in Japan did sixty-years ago.

And now that oil prices are falling and the with the American/European economic sanctions on Russia because of their unlawful invasion of Ukraine and all of the money that Russia has spent to try to occupy parts of Ukraine which is a large country, the Russian economy is taking a big hit. And people in the Russian Government and around the country know this and have only their President Putin to blame for that. And as a result President Putin’s strong hand on that entire country of one-fifty-million people is getting a lot weaker. And hopefully his days as dictator of Russia are numbered.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Washington Post: Opinion: Jonathan Capehart: "John Boehner Needs to Follow His Own Advice on DHS Funding": How Senate Democrats Should Try to Fix Another GOP Mess

The Washington Post: Opinion: Jonathan Capehart: John Boehner Needs to Follow His Own Advice on DHS Funding

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

It is not often that I agree with House Speaker John Boehner on anything and I’ll let you judge for yourself how often that is. But he has a point here. The House did their job at least in round one and passed a Homeland Security funding bill. They passed a bad bill with the immigration defunding and the Senate shouldn’t pass that provision. What the Senate should do is first debate the bad House bill and then try to fix it.

You may already know this if you follow me on this blog, but I hate the motion to proceed rule in the U.S. Senate. And you really need to be a Congressional junkie on Congress to know what the Senate motion to proceed rule is. But the Senate Leader can’t bring a bill up on the Senate floor without sixty votes. Which is stupid because the whole point of being in the majority in the Senate is getting to set the agenda. If the Leader can’t bring up bills on his own and needs sixty votes to do that, it really makes the role of the majority pretty weak.

Another good thing about the Senate is the role of the minority. Unlike in the House the minority can try to change or in this case fix any bill that the Senate majority brings up. They can do that with the amendment process and they can block bills if they have forty-one votes to do so. Senate Democrats having a sizable minority with forty-six votes can block bills on their own. Knowing that what they should be doing instead is saying, “we’ll debate the bad House bill, but we are going to try to fix it as well. And if we are able to strip the immigration defunding in it, we’ll vote for final passage. But if not, then we’ll block the bill on final passage”.

But to try to block a bill before it is even allowed to be debated, is a waste of time. Time that could be spent at least trying to fix the bad House bill and bringing along a few Republican Senators especially Republicans who’ll have tough races next year in the Northeast and Midwest who want to do other things in this Congress and get passed this issue. The House passed their bill a bad bill at that. Senate Republicans brought up the bill that they want. Now its the job of Senate Democrats to fix the bad bill. And if they are successful there, then they can send a clean bill back to the House. But if not then they can block the House bill and work with Senate Republicans on a compromise.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Hill: Congress: Keith Laing: Senator Bernie Sanders: $1T Infrastructure Bill Would Be Cheaper Than Iraq War

The Hill: Congress: Keith Lainge: Senator Bernie Sanders: $1T Infrastructure bill Would be Cheaper Than Iraq War

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be Bernie Sanders if we wasn’t proposing things like a trillion-dollars in infrastructure investment to rebuild America. And I agree with him as far as the amount of money that we should invest to rebuild this country and how that money would be spent. Which would to prioritize much needed infrastructure projects around the country and repairs that must be done to avoid future accidents and to put as many Americans back to work as possible.

The only areas where I disagree with Senator Sanders is how to finance this. What the Senator is talking about is funding this investment through the U.S. Government and taxing corporations’s oversees profits and eliminating tax breaks that they get at home. That part I don’t disagree with, except I would use that revenue differently. But the process is where I have the main problem, because what he’s talking about needs to go through a broader tax reform package that needs to be worked out in Congress between the House and Senate, with President Obama involved. Whatever tax reform that the President and Congress work out would probably a trillion-dollars by itself.

Tax reform and infrastructure are two different issues that should be treated separately. You could invest a trillion-dollars in infrastructure, pay for it without borrowing and not need to do tax reform to get it done. And do tax reform as a different bill. Both are important issues that have to be dealt with to get the type of investment in America that we have to have to make our economy as strong as possible. You could tax oil, you could tax gas, you could raise fees, you could tax things that aren’t very healthy for society. Like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana if it ever legalized federally. And you could bring in the private sector to invest in our infrastructure.

What we could do is to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that would work independent of the U.S. Government, but lets say owned by them. Similar to the Federal Reserve or Amtrak, that would be non-profit. And use this first trillion-dollars to get the NIB up in running and to prioritize infrastructure projects around the country. Consulting the private sector, state and local governments, as well as the Feds. And bringing in private investors to finance these projects around the country. But Senator Sanders bill is an excellent start to a critical issue for the country that has to be addressed.


The American Prospect: Opinion: Paul Starr: The Crash of The New Republic

The American Prospect: Opinion: Paul Starr: The Crash of The New Republic

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I would put it differently and if I was writing for The American Prospect, well if I was writing for The American Prospect, they probably wouldn’t of published what I have to say about The New Republic, because I wasn’t backing the party line. But for the sake of this piece had I wrote this article at The Prospect about The New Republic I would’ve put it differently. I probably would’ve called it The Death of The New Republic: How Chris Hughes Killed a Great Liberal Magazine. And he did it a couple of ways.

Chris Hughes took a great center-left liberal magazine, not a far-left more social democratic oriented magazine like The Nation or The New Republic and turned TNR into The Nation or The Prospect ideologically. You read TNR today and it is very similar to Nation or Prospect or the AlterNet, TruthOut, Salon or any other far-left publication that struggles just to stay in business today. Because they don’t have any advertising revenue. Because they are anti-business if not anti-private enterprise all together.

When Mike Kinsley was running TNR they were still that great center-left magazine. That had solid suspicions about big government in people’s economic and personal lives. Today’s TNR now not only supports a Scandinavian social democratic high taxed welfare state to manage people’s economic affairs for them. But backs Mike Bloomberg’s nanny state and would like to regulate how Americans can eat an drink.The New Republic might not become like The Prospect or Nation financially. Because they do have wealthy backers and are entertainment and tabloid driven with what they want to cover. So that alone might keep them in business. But The Liberal Republic is gone.

The other issue has to do with Chris Hughes himself. He’s a businessman first and comes from the OMG awesome entertainment universe and politics and current affairs is not his meat and potatoes. He goes where the money is and that is probably where TNR is headed with a few political writers left over to tell people what the far-left is thinking. And why middle class Americans are under-taxed and that the Federal Government is too small, states and local governments, as well as individuals have too much power and can’t be trusted and you need a bigger government to take care of them. Which is what you get from The Prospect, The Nation and Salon today.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: "The Economist Magazine is Wrong About Welfare's Impact on Family": Why People on Welfare Should Be Encouraged to Work

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: The Economist Magazine Is Wrong About Welfare's Impact on Family

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

As far as disability insurance, if you are physically and mentally able to working, meaning you don’t suffer from some physical or mental condition that makes it hard if not impossible for you to work full-time, you aren’t eligible for disability insurance. Lacking skills and education for you to be able to get yourself a good full-time job or a part-time job that pays very well like being an airline pilot, to use as an example is not an excuse not work or not to work full-time. It simply means you are uneducated or are low-skilled. Which can simply can be fixed education and job training. Unless you are learning disabled and aren’t able to get the skills necessary to support yourself with a good job.

Which means for people in poverty who are low-skilled or the long-term unemployed who do have an education, but perhaps had a job that no longer exists and are now unemployed or working part-time for a lot less money than they use to, disability insurance is not the answer for them. Because they aren’t eligible for it, again to take the low-skilled worker to use as an example unless they are learning disabled. What we should be doing for these workers is putting back to school to finish and further their education that government would finance for them. As well as encourage economic development in their communities and that is where infrastructure investment comes in.

This blog made this point several times yesterday and for very good reason. Infrastructure, education and job training solves a lot of our economic problems in America. I would add economic incentives to business’s to invest in underserved areas and incentives to employers to train their low-skilled workers so they can move up in their companies would also increase wages and create jobs in this country. Because now people who were either unemployed and on Welfare before or working a low-skilled low-income job can now get themselves a good job. And not longer need public assistance at all to support themselves.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Bilal Y. Saab: Saudi Arabia

Foreign Affairs: Opinion: Bilal Y. Saab: Saudi Arabia's Way Forward 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I’m not claiming to be an expert on Saudi Arabia and that their people and especially their government is ready for this type of government, system and constitution. Especially their government that currently benefits so much from their current makeup and setup. That their oil and gas revenues provides so much for their people and that most of the country is able to live pretty well in return. That their people in return give up individual freedom, or at least a lot of bit certainly from a personal perspective, but perhaps from an economic perspective as well. Since the Saudi economy is so dependent on their oil and gas.

What I’m saying is that what I would propose for them has worked very well in other countries with similar government’s or population’s. That Britain is a democratic monarchy where their government is separated from their monarchy. That their head of state is a Prime Minister who is independent of the monarchy. And that country has done very well for about sixty-years now under that system. Turkey one of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors in the Middle East is a very religious Muslim country. But their government is secular by in large even if their current government wants to change that. And their government has functioned very well the last thirty-years or so.

I believe the way forward for Saudi Arabia is not to abolish their monarchy or their form of Islam. But to separate them from their government and have those three things act independently, but in partnership with the others. A national government, hopefully federally under a federal system. That has checks and balances with an executive, legislature and judiciary. That again are independent of each other, but work in partnership. An executive that is led by a president or prime minister, not a king who is accountable to their legislature, judiciary and most importantly the Saudi people.

What Saudi Arabia will probably get instead from their new King is the status quo. Which is very conservative at least on sense that they won’t change anything. And if anything make their current system stronger and more centralized and dictatorial. But for this country to truly become a developed country and a giant in the world economically, politically and militarily, they need to diversify their government and their economy so their people have the freedom to make Saudi Arabia as strong as it can be. And not so dependent on a monarchy and energy industry doing so much for everyone else.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Marc Moyer: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Run For Doom, 1963


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I think Run For Doom is Alfred Hitchcock at his best because you see the full-scale of what he wanted to give his audience. A suspense/thriller involving people who were not saints or angels and not devils either, but real people who tend to be somewhere in between. With clever writing and a lot of humor and the female lead being a goddess. A gorgeous sexy women who is also very adorable and yet very clever and witty. Which is Diane Dors at her best, Jayne Mansfield who was also on this series and several other women who appeared on this series.

Run For Doom is about a nightclub singer with a bad history of marriages and relationships where the men in her life do not survive the relationship. And she walks away with a lot of money from the experiences. Diana Dors plays Nikki Carroll the nightclub singer and she’s performing one night and is introduced to a young doctor. Dr. Don Reed played by John Gavin and they naturally hit it off. Reed being a doctor is probably Nikki’s main interest him, but he’s a young doctor who doesn’t have a lot of money yet.

Dr. Reed has an ailing very wealthy father and his relationship with Nikki goes well enough for him to want to marry Nikki. Reed has gotten several warnings about Nikki’s history with men and her dead husbands and is warned not to pursue her. But I guess he’s blinded by his love for a women who doesn’t love him and decided to propose and marry her anyway. Reed’s father dies after finding out that his son is going to marry Nikki and now Reed is a very wealthy man. And naturally Nikki looses personal interest in Reed and looks to get out of the marriage.

Nikki has something that she can blackmail her husband on. Dr. Reed accidentally killed someone on their honeymoon by pushing a man over the cruise boat that they were on. And they didn’t bother to report the incident. Nikki tells the doctor to give her his money or she’ll report the killing to the police. Nikki also has a long-term on and off again boyfriend who wants her back. And knows what she is up to with her husband and decides to step in to get a piece of the action. And they have a physical struggle that leads to him strangling her and thinking he killed her.

To be honest with you, Diana Dors was the main reason why I’m so interested in this show. But it is a very entertaining and at times a pretty funny show as well. With Diana playing a women that is so cunning personally and bright and yet she looks too sweet and cute to hurt, let alone kill anyone. And yet she has a history of dead boyfriends and husbands. But in this marriage she is the one who doesn’t survive the affair.


Queen Latifah: Jaclyn Smith Ageless Beauty

Ageless Beauty
Queen Latifah: Jaclyn Smith Ageless Beauty

The title says it all about one of the best overall looking women of all time. Here’s a women whose going to be 70 in October, 70 years old. A gorgeous and still baby-faced adorable red-head who if anything is actually sexier now than she was in the late 1970s when she became a star on Charlie’s Angels. Her and Raquel Welch, they seem to refuse to age. As Raquel has put it several times, looking good is her job. That is what she does and has all the motivation to look good and take care of herself, because it is how she makes her living as a businesswomen and someone with her own fashion business now. I believe Jaclyn Smith is in the same category. That looking good and fashion is her business. And the best way I think she believes she can promote that is looking as good as she possibly can herself.

There isn’t a better women that could have coined Ageless Beauty, or could have had that term named for her better than Jaclyn Smith. She’s been in Hollywood , the entertainment business and fashion industry, for over forty years now. Before I was born I’m sure, which makes me feel a little younger and yet she still looks 10-15, maybe even twenty years younger than she actually is. Here’s a women who was born at the end of World War II which was seventy years ago and she looks better today than probably most women young enough to be her daughter. And I’m sure many women young enough to be her granddaughter as well. She’s the definition of ageless beauty and 10-15 years from now will probably still be modeling her own products, because she’ll be able to give people personal experience that they work.

This is going to sound corny, but so what, because it’s so true. You’re as young as you feel and age really is only a number. I’ve seen men and women in their late thirties and early forties who are going gray already. Men that young, going bald who look 10-15 years older than they actually are. From either drinking and smoking too much, or both, perhaps using harder drugs, not eating right, not exercising, not managing stress, etc. And I’ve seen men women who actually are as old in years as younger people, who look as old as they actually are, who look as young as the younger people who’ve aged too fast. And why is that, because time machines haven’t been invented yet. The younger looking healthier looking people like Jackie Smith, take care of themselves. They enjoy life while actually taking care of themselves. Instead of seeing how hard they can live before they die.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Economist: Staff- German-Americans: The Silent Minority

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I think I completely agree with this article from The Economist that I just read. Which is saying something because I don’t agree with them on everything. I tend to like their information and analysis, but tend to disagree with their solutions. They are a center-right publication after all. But as a German-American myself, as the name Erik Schneider would indicate, an asteroid sized clue there, we do tend to go unnoticed as an ethnic group in America. And I’m not sure if that is because we’ve been in America so long. The eighteen-hundreds for a lot of us, or because we’ve accomplished so much as a people who is goes unnoticed.

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner, the highest ranking full-time member of Congress and that includes the Senate Pro Tempore and the Vice President of the United States, is a German-American and a proud one. And a distinct one, I mean you might as well paint the German flag on his face, he looks so German. And yet you wouldn’t know it unless you are familiar with the German people and German names and physical characteristics and so-forth. We’ve created so much for this country as far as technology, food, culture, public servants, Dwight Eisenhower for example. And yet we tend to go unnoticed as a people and perhaps get taken for granted.

When Nancy Pelosi became the first Speaker of the House in America back in 2007, she was mentioned as being the first female Speaker and Italian-American Speaker. But when John Boehner becomes Speaker four years later, nothing is mentioned about him being a German-American who also happens to be the Speaker. Same thing with Newt Gingrich back in 1995. Newt was mentioned as being the first Republican Speaker elected since 1953, but not for being a German-American. And again I think this goes to the success of our people that we are expected to do well and accomplish big things. And Americans just aren’t surprised when we do.
Blue Ridge WV: Unconstitutional German-American Internment During World War II



Thursday, February 5, 2015

The New Republic: Opinion: Brian Beutler: Republican Homeland Security Spirals Out of Control

The New Republic: Opinion: Brian Beutler: Republican Homeland Security Spirals Out of Control 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how Democrats lose to these Tea Party and Neoconservative Republicans in any elections outside of the Bible Belt. Congressional Republicans know that if they vote to overturn President Obama’s immigration executive order, they may pass it in the House, but probably pay a price for it in 2016. But it will die in the Senate with even some Senate Republicans not comfortable about voting for it. And Senate Democrats would block it anyway with all of their forty-six members and perhaps with some help from some Senate Republicans. And even it did somehow pass both chambers, President Obama would certainly veto it.

Which leaves Congressional Republicans with only one tool left and it is a big tool, but comes with a lot of risks and after effects if it is used. Sort of like a nuclear bomb and what they say is, “if we can’t overturn President Obama’s executive order, because we can’t either pass it ourselves and perhaps are even divided on it. So what, we’ll strip away the funding for his executive in the Homeland Security appropriations bill”. Thinking the President will have to sign it in order to fund Homeland Security, which is something the Federal Government has to do anyway.

Senate Republicans are now learning what it is like to be in the majority. That you don’t always get everything your way. Even when you control the entire Congress, both the Senate and the House. And especially when the President is from the other party. They are going to have to cave at least in the Senate because they have vulnerable members in blue states up for reelection next year. And have other things that they want to do in this Congress. Homeland Security funding runs out at the beginning of March and they don’t want to get blamed for that department and those workers getting shut down. Which they will because they decided to attach a rider to this bill about immigration. When a clean bill would’ve easily passed both the House and Senate and get signed by President Obama.

Now here’s where I agree with Senate Republicans, a small but important point. I hate the motion to proceed rule in the Senate to begin with and would simply just eliminate it. And let the Leader of the Senate bring up whatever bill and nomination he wants to that has been cleared by the appropriate committee. And then let the Senate Minority Leader block the final bill after debate has been completed and the amendment process has been completed, if he has the votes to do that. So I would’ve voted to proceed with the House bill and then proposed an amendment to strip the immigration defunding part of the bill out. And if that didn’t get a vote or wasn’t passed, then Senate Democrats should then block the bill at the end, but not at the beginning of the process.


Monday, February 2, 2015

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: "Catholic Upbringing Made Me a Libertarian Activist": The Liberal Society Notion of Freedom

The New Republic: Opinion: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Catholic Upbringing Made Me Libertarian Activist

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I believe in both economic freedom and personal freedom. The idea that people should have the freedom to manage their own economic and personal affairs. Be able to make their own decisions in life as it relates to their financial and personal lives. What they do with their own time is their own business, as long as they aren’t hurting innocent people with what they are doing. I want taxes fairly low for everyone, at least compared with the rest of the developed world.

But I also want government there to do things for the people that we can’t do for ourselves, or do as well even in the economy. Smart regulations to protect the innocent from predatory behavior. Infrastructure, social insurance, but just for people who need it while they get themselves on their feet. Not a welfare state designed to take care of us for us. Again I believe we should have the freedom to be able to take care of ourselves. And that it is the job of government to see that we all have that. Not take care of us, but to see we all are able to live in freedom. Which is a big difference between a Liberal Democrat and a Social Democrat.

I’m not a fan of the welfare state on the Left, that’s wants government big enough to take care of everyone for them. And I’m not a fan of the nanny state on the Right. That wants certain behavior in life to be outlawed because it offends their moral and religious values and they see it as dangerous to a civilized society. Things like homosexuality, adult entertainment to use as examples. But again another issue I have with the Far-Left in America is that I’m not a fan of the nanny state on the Left either. That would also outlaw certain behaviors they see as dangerous, because they’re concern with our general well-being. And believe that individual choice has to be limited if not eliminated so we don’t make bad decisions with our personal lives as well. Things like what we can eat and drink, how we can communicate with each other. To use as examples, things like prohibition and political correctness.

So now having see what I believe in and the values and vision that I have, do you see me as a Libertarian because I believe in both economic and personal freedom. Libertarians don’t believe in government economic regulations, or the public safety net.

Am I a Liberal because I believe in personal freedom, privacy, freedom of choice and civil liberties. And I also believe in the public safety net, infrastructure, education, empowering poor people to be able to live in freedom on their own. I would definitely say yes. But keep in mind, American Liberals today get stereotyped as European Democrats. People who would be called Social Democrats or Socialists in Europe. People who believe in the welfare state, the superstate. They want a government big enough to take care of everyone. And again today’s Liberals supposedly don’t believe in freedom of choice. And see it as dangerous because they believe it means that people will make bad decisions. Today’s so-called Liberals believe in both the welfare state and the nanny state.

Keep in mind, Liberals are center-left. Most Americans are somewhere between center-left and center-right and the people who tend to decide presidential elections tend to be even closer to the center than that. Instead of being close to one of the forty yard lines, they are between the 45 and 50. And Americans tend to want the freedom to be able to manage their own affairs themselves, economic and personal. So if you want a government big enough to take care of everyone, you’re not center-left. Now you may be center-left in Britain, France or Sweden, but those countries are further to the Left of Americans anyway by in large. And if you want a government that big in America, you would be Far-Left in this country and not a Liberal. At least overall, even if you may have some liberal leanings.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Noize Feeler: Video: David Frost Hosts End Of The Year Show For 1983


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I think Diana Dors and Denis Norden had the best two lines or really topics in this video. Where they were talking about Elizabeth Taylor saying that Liz hardly got married in 1983. And Diana adding that Liz is finally in love now. No really she’s actually in love this time. Liz Taylor was a great actress perhaps the best ever, as well as a beautiful adorable very sexy women, similar to Diana Dors. But one of the things that Liz was famous for was getting married. Why, because she got married a lot. Sort of like the heavyweight boxing champion who’s been world champion several times. But a big reason for that is because he’s lost the title several times. Well Liz Taylor lost the title of wife several times and a big reason why she was married six or seven times in her lifetime.