Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brookings Institution: Clifford Winston: 'Open Legal Services to Competition'

Source:Brookings Institution- Clifford Winston.

"Clifford Winston: Opening up the legal services industry to competition is the way to go. From trucking to telephones, every U.S. industry that's been deregulated has been improved in two critical ways: with lower prices and more jobs. More:Brookings

The fact is American justice especially when to comes to dealing with legal services is about how much money you have and what you can afford to spend on your legal team. People win cases all the time because they had more money to spend on their case than their opponents. And can literally bankrupt the opposition or get them to drop the case or worst case scenario, force them to settle in way that doesn't hurt them and if their opponents had more resources, they could force the defense to pay more or give up more otherwise. 

People avoid going to jail or prison for crimes they probably committed. The OJ Simpson Case comes to mind in the mid 1990s, because they have a lot of money to spend on their defense. And people end up in prison a lot for crimes they didn't commit, because they didn't have the resources to put on a solid defense. And I'm thinking of people who have to settle for public defenders all the time, because they can't afford any lawyer, let alone a good enough lawyer who can put on a good defense for them. 

The American justice system unfortunately a lot of times is based on how much money you have. To sue or put up a solid defense, when it should always be about both sides putting up the best case possible. Having the resources to do so and the side that wins is the side that puts on the best case and has more facts on their side. 

But unfortunately thats of course not always the case and we've tried certain things to equalize this. With the Legal Services Corporation of America and public defenders offices and this is better than nothing but hardly equal. What the Brookings Institution is talking about is deregulating the Legal Services Corporation, which is a non-profit national law firm set up by Congress and funded by the Federal Government.

The LSC not having their own revenue being dependent on the politics in Congress and the Administration to determine their annual funding every year, instead of LSC going out and making their own money. LSC is a national law firm dedicated to representing people who can't pay for lawyers to defend them. Or represent them in prosecuting lawsuits. Its sorta like a national public defenders office, but the handle civil and criminals cases. 

What Brookings is proposing is to deregulate LSC and bring more competition into the system. And allow their clients to get a lawyers from private law firms. I'm guessing so their clients would have more choice in who represents them in court and out of court. Sounds like a reasonable proposal to me, the question is how would this be financed because these clients would still not have the resources to pay for their legal services. 

What I would like to do is two things, set up a system of non-profit law firms that have the resources to put on proper representation for their clients. As well as a legal services insurance system that people along with their employers would pay into. And then use that revenue to cover their legal bills. That the whole country would pay into and a system like this could replace both LSC and public defenders offices. Which can both be expensive to run because they don't have dedicated revenue to pay for them. And they have to compete with other parts of government budgets to pay for their operations. 

So what I would like to do is set up two systems, a legal services system and a legal insurance System. And each state would have their own systems that would have to meet basic Federal standards. And people would have the option of either paying into their state legal insurance system that would be run independent of government. Or buying private legal insurance, as well as the choice of paying for their state legal services firm for their legal services. Again run independent of government or paying for private legal services. 

Equal justice for all really needs to mean just that or its just another goal thats never been reached by this country. Instead of people getting the justice that they can afford. And end up not getting what's owed to them or end up going to prison and having a criminal record because they couldn't afford a sold defense.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Associated Press: 'Cuba Lifts Restrictions on Car Sales'

Source:Associated Press- automobiles in Cuba.

"In another sign that Cuba is trying to transform its economy, the government will now allow all citizens to buy and sell cars.  (Sept. 28)" 

When I think about Cuba, I think about what if and to put it simply, what would the Communist Republic of Cuba look like if Cuba instead of being a Communist Republic, was a social democracy, or a federal republic that was also free as well, because the Cuban people by in-large are well-educated and have a pretty good health care system (especially for a third world country) with first world resources. Sort of like Mexico, but Mexico's problems have to do with corruption and crime and they relate. 

Where Cuba's problem have to do with the old Castro Regime. But apparently the new Castro Regime is improved especially how it relates to their economy and foreign policy. Cuba is not a threat to anyone in the War on Terror and their military is not a threat to anyone. They are not looking to invade and occupy foreign nations and be the dominate power in the Caribbean or Latin America. 

Countries want to trade with Cuba and want to visit and invest in Cuba. But along with the old Castro Regime and America and this stupid policy of containment as far as it relates to communism, they have been in the way of Cuba reaching its full-potential, which I believe Cuba could become the Hong Kong of Latin America. 

Cuba is a decent size island of 11 million people, they are not overcrowded or are starving or people dying prematurely. This is a country that has a lot of room to improve and develop kinda like Libya. The question is whether the American Government, the Castro Regime and the Cuban-American community will allow it to happen and have relations with each other, back and forth, Exchange Students and yes free trade allowing people to go back and forth from each country, catching flights from Miami and other cities to Havana and other cities. Or take ships from South Florida to Cuba and go back in forth and see each other and spend money in each country. 

Or is the status-quo in Cuban-American relations going to remain in place which hasn't helped but hurt both countries, instead of the Cuban-American community working so hard to try to hurt the Castro Regime. What if they instead worked with Cuban nationals to form a democratic opposition there instead. 

Where free trade and travel can come into place where there would be an exchange of flow and ideas. This is where the Obama Administration could make a real mark in foreign policy and where the President would have a major accomplishment on foreign policy. That would be a positive point on his legacy, sort of like President Carter recognizing China in 1978 by opening trade and relations with Cuba, not unconditionally. 

Cuba would need to meet certain conditions, that any trade between America and Cuba would have to benefit the Cuban people. Instead of the Castro Regime pocketing most of the money. And that Cuba would have to release political prisoners and other things. And allow people to travel freely throughout the country and back and fourth between Cuba and America and vice-versa. 

Cuba as I see it at least is an island of potential that could become an island paradise in the Caribbean, if only the Castro Regime and the United States would allow this to happen. And allow the Cuban people make this happen for their own country and allow Cuba to move to its full-potential.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

James Miller Center: President Jimmy Carter- 1979 State of the Union

Source:James Miller Center- President James E. Carter (Democrat, Georgia) delivering the 1979 State of the Union address, in front of a joint session of Congress. 

"President Jimmy Carter - 1979 State of the Union. This is an excerpt. You can view the full speech here:James Miller Center January 23, 1979." 

Jim Carter had most of the abilities that one would need to be a great successful President. He was a very good man with a great conscience, he had great intelligence, one of the most intelligent President's that America has ever had, with the great ability examine issues and problems and know what they are and what they mean. But what he lacked was vision in where he wanted to take America and how to solve the problems that he faced. 

President Carter faced a lot of problems in his fours years as President, most of them not his fault and that he inherited. But was his fault was not just that he wasn't able to solve them, which is why he lost in a landslide election in 1980 to Ronald Reagan. I believe losing forty nine States and failing to get the 45% of the Popular Vote. Losing one of the largest landslides that and incumbent president ever lost if not the largest or in some cases had the wrong prescriptions. But that he didn't seem to have much of an idea in how to solve these problems. 

The economy was coming out of recession in 1976 when he was elected, but was still slow with high unemployment and I believe most people who become President who see that their country is at peace, would declare that the weak economy was the biggest problem the country faced and would make that their number one priority.

To a certain extent President Carter did focus on the economy by focusing on energy policy right away, to move America towards energy independence. As well as normalizing relations with the People's Republic of China. But he had a slow economy and one of his first priorities was deficit reduction. Even though the budget deficit wasn't that high compared with GDP, it never was in the Carter Administration. They had a very tight fiscal policy and deficit reduction was a big part of the Carter economic policy. And partially as a result the economy tanked in 1978 with high inflation and interest rates. As well as a recession in 1980, which happened on his watch. 

What the Carter Administration should've been doing was pumping money into the economy. A national energy policy that promotes our natural resources, that would've helped with the high gas prices, infrastructure investment that would put a lot of people back to work, expanding foreign trade, and tax cuts. (We still had a 70% tax rate in the Carter Administration) One good thing that President Carter did was deregulate the airline industry so we could have more airlines as well as bailing out Chrysler Motors, which saved a lot of auto jobs, jobs we couldn't afford to lose.

President Carter was great at examining the issues that he faced, a lot of them he inherited like the Panama Canal Treaty, the bad economy and others. And some of them he did a good jobs in dealing with them: China, Panama, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, and some issues he was able to advance like energy policy and deficit reduction. 

I don't consider President Carter to a successful President, but not a failure either. I would probably give him a C+, because he failed to be able to deal with some of the issues he faced. But was able to move America forward in others like in energy policy and foreign policy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

President Lyndon B. Johnson: The Great Society

Source:Sabb Fann- President Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat, Texas) speaking about his Great Society in 1965.

"Lyndon B Johnson - The Great Society" 

From Sabb Fann 

As much as the War in Vietnam is a huge part of President Lyndon Johnson's presidential legacy (and it is) As far as his mismanagement of that war)  it's not the whole story of the Johnson legacy, just like the Watergate scandal is not the whole legacy of the Richard Nixon's presidency. There plenty of positives aspects of both presidencies.

The Great Society agenda of the Johnson Administration. Represents a positive aspect of Lyndon Johnson's presidency. And I believe the main contribution of the Great Society along with guaranteeing that all senior citizens would have access to health insurance with Medicare, was what President Johnson wanted to accomplish with the Great Society his vision of it which I believe was its main contribution. 

President Johnson when he declared War on Poverty in 1965, was serious he wanted to defeat poverty and end it. He didn't want to contain poverty in America and just help people sustain themselves as they live in poverty, he wanted to empower these people to get themselves out of poverty. And I believe this vision influenced Bill Clinton when he became President and went about creating Welfare to Work along with the Republican Congress in 1996.

I believe to some extent both Bill Clinton and the Republican Leadership in Congress were influenced by Lyndon Johnson and thats what I'm talking about. President Johnson's vision of a Great Society not so much the followthrough with it and I'll get to that later but the vision is important. No longer should America just help people survive as they continue to live in poverty but actually empower them to get themselves out of poverty. 

I believe LBJ's Great Society agenda influenced what President Clinton called the Opportunity Society which was his agenda in this area. That government should help people who can't help themselves get the tools that they need to get out of poverty. Which is what the 1996 Welfare to Work Law is about. Which is about time limits to motivate people to go to school and go to work. As well as child care for their kids and as well education and job training. Things that were sort of left out in the Great Society. Welfare to Work and Unemployment to Work could've been done during the Great Society era. As well as designing public housing better.

Where the Great Society fell short was in its design and execution, not vision. The vision represents the best part of the Great Society. But the execution and design falls flat. Because even though there was talk about empowering poor people to get out of poverty and there was some of that like with the Jobs Core that trained low-income people and put them to work doing community service projects and other works as well as the Peace Core, a lot of the Great Society actually just kept people in poverty.

The Great Society had things like Public Housing and Food Assistance that was really just designed to sustain low-income people as they continue to live in poverty. For example, Public Housing projects being built in some of the worst communities possible. Instead of building those projects in middle class communities where they would have a better shot at life. And their kids could get a good education. And their parents could get educated and get good jobs.

When I think of President Johnson, I think of what wouldn't had happen had he not been President in that era. How long would African-Americans have to wait for their constitutional rights to be enforced. And his vision of what a Great Society could be that we as a country are still trying to create forty-five years later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

C-SPAN: Q&A With Brian Lamb- Mick Caouette on Hubert Humphrey: 'The Art of The Possible'

Source:C-SPAN- Brian Lamb, interviewing Mick Caoette about his documentary about Hubert H. Humphrey.

"Film producer Mick Caouette speaks to Q&A about his documentary, "Hubert H. Humphrey: The Art of the Possible." Program from Sunday, February 6, 2011." 

From C-SPAN  

"Producer Mick Caouette talked about his documentary on former Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The film is the story of his life with emphasis on his leadership role in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The documentary also features video from his political years running for the Senate, vice-president, and president. The program featured clips from the documentary. Producer Mick Caouette started working on the documentary eleven years ago, and it was released in the fall of 2010." 

Source:C-SPAN- Mick Caouette, talking to Brian Lamb, about his documentary about Hubert H. Humphrey.


"Mick Caouette is a documentary filmmaker who focuses on U.S. history and Sociology. 
"Hubert H Humphrey: The Art of the Possible" follows Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey through his civil rights work, the Vietnam War and his loss to Richard Nixon.  The film is available at and will premiere through APT on PBS fall 2010... 

Source:Mick Caouette- about U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.

From Mick Caouette 

"For the last half of the 20th century, America was consumed by two struggles: the civil rights movement and the cold war. For 30 years Hubert Humphrey stood at the center of both. While he is most remembered for his loss to Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential campaign, Humphrey left behind a legacy that few presidents can match. As a soldier of the New Deal and Great Society, he amassed one of the most prolific legislative records in senate history — from Medicare to the Peace Corps.

But Humphrey’s most significant and enduring achievements were in the area of civil and human rights. This film explores his 1948 speech at the Democratic convention and his pivotal contribution to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In November of 1977, for the first time in U.S. history, Congress held a joint special session to honor a single senator. Special feature – a 1976 Bill Moyer’s interview with Hubert Humphrey."  

Source:Amazon- about former U.S. Senator and Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey (Democrat, Minnesota)

From South Hill Films

The Art of the Possible, which is the name of a documentary about former Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, I believe is the perfect way to describe Hubert Humphrey. Because that's how Senator Humphrey saw politics and government: serving the people and trying to solve problems that they face. 

Hubert didn't see government as a debating society, where Democrats and Republicans, Liberals, Progressives, and Conservatives, bashed each over the head. With neither party having enough power to destroy the other party. But he saw government as a way to try to solve problems, analyze the issues, examine what the political situation is between both parties and try to find solutions that can pass through Congress and that the President would sign. And Hubert Humphrey had plenty experience at this. Being in Congress for twenty five years and being the Assistant Leader of the Senate from 1961-65. Leader Mike Mansfield's deputy and then Vice President from 1965-69.

Hubert Humphrey was pretty busy in that time period with the civil rights legislation. The civil rights debates actually were going on in the late 1940s. When Hubert Humphrey was elected to the Senate and he made his famous pro-civil rights speech at the 1948 DNC. 

And the 1964 Civil Rights Act where Humphrey had a big role in getting that bill passed. And ending the Senate filibuster from the Southern right-wing Democrats. And helping to bring aboard some Northern Progressive Republicans. 

And as Vice President he had a role in getting the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed as well as Medicare health insurance for senior citizens. But I believe Hubert Humphrey's legacy in Congress was the civil rights legislation. Who without him those bills never get passed.

Hubert Humphrey had the perfect approach to civil rights, because he saw it as about human and constitutional rights. Which trumps states rights, which was of course the argument that the Southern Dixiecrat Democrats were making. That the states had the right to enforce constitutional rights as they see them. Even if it violates constitutional rights of African-Americans and other racial minorities. 

The Republican Party of the 1960s even though they were the opposition party from 1961-69 and were a small minority party in both the House and Senate for the whole decade, deserve a lot of credit in Congress for those bills being passed at all.

Congressional Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, deserve a lot of credit for getting the civil rights legislation passed as well, because they don't pass in the Senate without Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, who without him these bills never get passed in this era. 

Hubert Humphrey tends to get lost when we are talking about great politicians and public servants for whatever reason. But without him a lot of important legislation never gets passed. And a lot of Americans would've been denied their constitutional rights as a result, just because of their race. Which would've been a disgrace in a liberal democracy like America. 

You can also see this post on WordPress

You can also see this post at The Daily Press, on WordPress.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge With Peter Robinson- Thomas Sowell: 'Explains The Great Depression'

Source:Hoover Institution- Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson & Thomas Sowell.
"The Master Conservative Economist of our time explains what happened in the Great Depression; quite to the contrary of what you may have been led to believe.  Go to for the complete video."

Source:Hoover Institution

For all the great things that Franklin Roosevelt did as President of the United States. Leading America as we saved Europe from Nazi Germany, pulling the country out of the GreatDepression, establishing the America's version of a welfare state which is really more of a safety net and I'll get into that later, as well as saving American capitalism even though he was very progressive if not a Democratic Socialist on economic policy, its not the New Deal that pulled us out of the Great Depression.

Its really our involvement in World War II that did that. Because of all the money that the Federal Government borrowed to fiance that war and people we put to work in our war effort. With the draft and all of the resources that it took to fight that war and all of the company's that we put to work building our supplies to fight that war. And all of the people that the war took out of our workforce and were sent to Europe and other places to fight that war. Leaving jobs for a lot of unemployed workers at home.

Democratic Socialists, like to point to the New Deal and government spending that pulled us out of World War II. Well they are half right, because it was government spending, but not on the New Deal, but our military. Where you can make a pretty good case, that World War II is where our military industry was formed. Because pre-World War II, America had a pretty small military compared with size of our country and economy. But by the time World War II ended, we had the first, or second largest military in the world.

We were pretty close with Russia and President Truman and President Eisenhower made our military every bigger.  Countries like Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy and Britain were the military powers of the world pre-World War II. But only Russia and Britain was still a military power after World War II. Because Europe took such a huge beating in World War II. And America came in and saved their necks (to put it mildly) so they could rebuild. We saved Europe from Nazi Germany and then helped Europe rebuild themselves with the Marshal Plan.

What the New Deal did was save American capitalism, but it also hurt it I believe especially in its efforts to deal with poverty in America. And its not everyday, week, month, or year that I agree with former Speaker Newt Gingrich on anything. (Including the weather) But he's right at least about one thing, the New Deal and Great Society did create what Speaker Gingrich calls a "Culture of Dependency" letting people go on these anti-poverty programs indefinitely without empowering them to become self-sufficient. But the positives of the New Deal are that it created a safety net for American capitalism. For people who fall through the cracks in the economy.

It helped people on hard time sustain themselves until they started working again. Things like Unemployment Insurance and Disability and Welfare Insurance, as well as Social Security so people would at least have a floor in retirement that they could count on. Pre-Great Depression, America pretty much had no such thing as a safety net or welfare state. If people lost their jobs, or didn't have a retirement, they were pretty much at the mercy of their families, or charity to help them out and support them. So to that extent the New Deal has been very positive.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Senate Democrats: Leader Harry Reid- 'GOP Games Put Families Affected by Natural Disaster at Risk'

Source:Senate Democrats- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada)

"Nevada Senator Harry Reid calls on Republicans to support funding for FEMA. Without Republican support, Reid says the agency tasked with helping disaster-struck communities across the country get back on their feet will be out of luck." 

I heard Senator Mary Landrieu (Democrat from Louisiana) last week on the Senate floor say something to the effect that the Federal Government can't plan for disasters. Meaning that they can't budget for them and put money aside to deal with them. Now if I didn't care I would've laughed at that statement, because America gets natural disasters every year. That comes from being as huge of a country as we are and the area that we are located in. We are prone to just about every natural disaster the world knows about. We get them every year and we have a general idea of the amount of damage they do and how much it costs to clean them up. 

This idea (or joke) that the Federal Government can't plan ahead for these disasters, is bogus. (To be overly generous) And sounds like to me an excuse for not planning ahead. 

The Federal Government could either put money aside, prioritizing, cutting back on things you don't need or need as much or finding new revenue. When you don't prioritize, you don't have priorities. In other words: when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. When everything is important and then nothing is important. 

The Federal Government has moved past prioritizing and has now moved to budgeting. (If you want to call it that) It's actually appropriating, budgeting means putting together a budget: "This is what we need to do, this is the money that we have, if we don't have enough money to cover what we need to do. Then we cut back on things we don't need or we find new revenue." This is how responsible people budget. Appropriating is just approving money to spend on something whether you have the money or not. 

 I don't agree with the House GOP Leadership on everything. (You don't say. Thanks for the tip, Captain Obvious.) Actually, it's rare when I agree with them on anything. But their basic message on disaster relief is sound, that we should help the victims of these storms and fund FEMA to do that in the short-term, but at the same time, we should find a way to pay for our disaster relief by cutting back on things we don't need or already have plenty of funding. Or raising new revenue to pay for the disaster relief. And there are plenty of areas that we can cut back on that wouldn't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve to be hurt or can raise revenue in areas that wouldn't hit anyone that can't afford to get hurt. 

Congress used to pass what's called a continuing resolution (both in the House and Senate) and they would come together and pass one, which lays out how much money the Federal Government can spend. And advises the Appropriation Committees on where to spend that money in the Federal Government. And then the Appropriations Committee would figure how to appropriate the money that the Budget Committees said they could spend. This system worked pretty well and we should get back to it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

VOA News: 'Palestinians Won't Stop Statehood Drive'

Source:VOA News- as the photo says.

"Voice of America (VOA) is the America's largest[1][2][3] and oldest international broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress.[4][5] VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 47 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its people.

VOA was established in 1942,[6] and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103-415)[7] was signed into law in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.

VOA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an independent agency of the U.S. government.[8] Funds are appropriated annually under the budget for embassies and consulates. In 2016, VOA broadcast an estimated 1,800 hours of radio and TV programming each week to approximately 236.6 million people worldwide with about 1,050 employees and a taxpayer-funded annual budget of US$218.5 million." 

From Wikipedia  

"Palestinian leaders plan to ask the world body for full status as a state, though that has already been assured a block by the United States. Still, Palestinian leaders say, they are undeterred." 

From VOA News

I guess Palestine could call themselves a country right now thats independent of Israel, but I guess someone could call themselves an elephant: doesn't make it true. Only elephants are elephants and only countries are countries. (I hope this isn't a newsflash for anyone) 

At best Palestine as an independent state would be like a much smaller version of Somalia without as many poor people or people starving, but still with the inability to govern and defend themselves. They would be a country without a Federal Government to govern the whole country. With the Palestinian Authority led by the Fatah Party governing West Bank and Hamas not much more than a terrorist organization. A very well equipped terrorist organization sort of like a small military. Much better equipped than the Palestinian Security Forces which is suppose to be part of a government.

Cyprus is divided between two governments as well. A Turkish Government and a Greek Government and somehow they've managed to share one island without destroying each other. But they both have capable government's capable of governing their share of the island. 

Palestine has the Palestinian Authority that has corruption issues and thats not capable of defending West Bank. They don't even have a tax system yet, they get their money through Israel (if you can believe that) the Arab League, European Union, United States and others. 

Palestine is not ready to be an independent country yet they still have some steps they have to take. But calling for statehood and demanding statehood would do a positive thing. It could bring or force Israel to the negotiating table and tell Israel that they are serious about wanting their independence. And get them to negotiate with Israel.

What Palestine has to do is what happened in the Balkans where those states broke away from Yugoslavia. But those states had opposition parties that were capable of governing the whole country. With some help from Europe and America, Palestine is not there yet. They have a responsible government in the Palestinian Authority, that if they had full control of Palestine and not just half of it in West Bank, then Palestine would be much farther along in getting statehood. Something that even Israel wants for Palestine under certain circumstances because they don't want to occupy Palestine forever. 

The Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas are the adults in Palestine. But Hamas is in charge of Gaza and they are not much more than terrorists that want to govern all of Palestine and knock Israel off of the map for a greater Palestine something that of course Israel would never go along with.

So what Palestine needs to be able to do before they can become and independent state, is be able to show they can govern all of Palestine with one central government. Not two state government's, that won't be a threat to their neighbors or sponsor terrorism and where their neighbors wouldn't be a threat to them either.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brookings Institution: Ron Haskins- 'Family Poverty a Long-Term Trend'

Source:Brookings Institution- Fellow Ron Haskins.

"Ron Haskins: Since 2000, we've been on a rugged road. More and more families, especially those headed by single mothers have slipped into poverty; and it appears that this will be a  long term trend. More:Brookings Institution." 

The Great Recession only highlights poverty in America and how big a problem it is, because when the economy tanks it makes it even harder for people in poverty to get out of poverty and find a job that lifts them out of poverty even if they've improved themselves and obtain the skills that they need to get a good job because employers obviously don't hire as much when they have less revenue to spend and less customers. 

What a great recession and high poverty means for as a country is we have to get the economy going again with solid economic growth of 4-5% consistent economic growth of 4-5%. And we need job growth of around and we need around 200K jobs a month for several months. We just aren't doing that right now, we are currently growing at around 1.0% in the economy right now and didn't create one single job net in August. So we need to get the economy going again while we are still helping low-income, low-skilled people move out of poverty by empowering them to get themselves out of poverty. 

To move people out of poverty, gets to education and job training, as well as temporary financial assistance, so when the economy gets going again people in poverty will have the skills and education that they'll need to benefit from the economic expansion. And there are several ways that we can put people in poverty back to work and have plenty of jobs available. 

And there are things that we can do to prevent educated, unemployed workers from falling into poverty by reforming our Unemployment Insurance system. And there are also things that we can do to prevent people living in Public Housing from becoming homeless which is the worst aspect of poverty. 

But we have to do certain things to move people out of poverty. We have crumbling infrastructure that needs to be repaired as well as built to avoid more disasters in the future. And we can reform our Unemployment Insurance system to retrain unemployed workers, so they don't stay unemployed for long periods of times. And get additional job skills as well as keep their current job skills in check and don't become out of place. And put our people in Public Housing to work and get them more skills so they can get their own place to live. And not have to worry about being evicted and becoming homeless. 

This country needs a national energy policy that gets us off of foreign oil by investing in our own natural resources, including oil and gas, nuclear, solar, wind electricity, and others. We have all of these things and we are not using them as much as we should. 

A national infrastructure policy that rebuilds and expands our crumbling infrastructure like with a National Infrastructure Bank. As well as continue helping our people on public assistance and retrain our unemployed workers, so they and other can benefit from all of these jobs that would be created. 

Sitting around and doing nothing as a country and remaining gridlocked, just makes these issues worst.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Associated Press: 'U.S. Poverty at 30-Year High'

Source:Associated Press- a look at poverty in Chicago, Illinois.

"The U.S. census bureau says 46 million people now live in poverty. 70 miles outside Chicago is Pembroke, where 50 percent of the people are unemployed. (Sept. 13)" 

46 million people live in poverty in America and thats just the official figure, it's probably closer to 60 million Americans who live in poverty in America. People in poverty are always at risk, especially when the economy is bad take now as an example, because even if low-income people go back to school or further their education or get retrained or a combination of these things, even with the additional skills, they are going to have a hard time finding a good job that can support themselves and their families and get them out of poverty. Because employers aren't going to hire as much with less revenue to operate in a bad economy. If anything employers are looking to cut back their workforce when economic times are tough. 

So to move the poverty rate down, that means having a strong economy thats growing at around 4-5% and creating around 200K jobs a month and we are no where near that right now. We are growing at a dismal 1% in the economy and we didn't create one damn job net in August. The other thing that we need to have a strong economy. 

If low-income people, workers and non-workers to be able to go back to school and further their education finishing high school and going on to a community college to get the education that they need to get a good job, that can support themselves and their families and move out of poverty. 

This is the situation we had in the 1990's when we had record low levels of poverty in America at around 13% officially because by 1995 we had a booming economy with high economic growth with an unemployment rate of 4.5% by 2000. 

We also had a different approach to the so-called War on Poverty with the 1996 Welfare to Work Law, that was about education and work as well as time limits, as well as temporary financial assistance to get the official poverty rate back down to 13% or 10% or even lower, we have to get the economy going again. Where we are growing at around 4-5% or higher and creating 200K plus jobs each month. 

And then build on what we were doing in the 1990s by not only empowering people on Welfare Insurance to get a good education and get themselves the skills that they need to get a good job that again can support themselves and their families. But can also move themselves and their families out of poverty. 

But where we are also encouraging low-income workers to further their education by going back to school or furthering their education. Or get additional training at their job so they can move up in their company. As well as empowering unemployed workers to further their education while on Unemployment Insurance. As well as subsidizing their employment that they don't get paid for to work at, again while they are still collecting Unemployment Insurance. So they don't eventually fall into poverty because their Unemployment Insurance runs out. 

Todays report on poverty is bad news for the country and the economy and just more evidence that we need to get our economy going again. It's also more evidence that we need to do more to empower low- income people to get themselves out of poverty. So when the economy gets going again, they'll have the education and skills to benefit from the economy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

VOA News: 'Fears of Greek Default Send Asian, European Stocks Lower'

Source:VOA News- a look inside the Greek Parliament.

"Voice of America (VOA) is the America's largest[1][2][3] and oldest international broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress.[4][5] VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 47 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its people.

VOA was established in 1942,[6] and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103-415)[7] was signed into law in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.

VOA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent agency of the U.S. government.[8] Funds are appropriated annually under the budget for embassies and consulates. In 2016, VOA broadcast an estimated 1,800 hours of radio and TV programming each week to approximately 236.6 million people worldwide with about 1,050 employees and a taxpayer-funded annual budget of US$218.5 million." 

From Wikipedia 

"Asian and European stock prices plunged Monday on fears that Greece may be edging closer to default.  This followed a German official's suggestion that an orderly bankruptcy might be part of the solution to the Greek debt crisis. Greek protesters expressed their frustration on Sunday." 

From VOA News

What's going on in Europe especially in Greece right now, could easily happen to America, if we don't rebuild our economy and get our national debt and deficit under control. We can't do one without the other and America has no business bailing out other countries fiscal crisis's, at least until we get our own financial situation fixed. 

Europe needs to get their own fiscal house in order and if Greece doesn't like the restrictions that the International Monetary Fund and European Union are putting them, then they should go their own course and fix their own fiscal problems. 

The good news is America doesn't at least at this point, need an International Organization or a foreign country bailing us out, we have the ability to do this on our own and the plan is already there. But if we wait and don't take it seriously and our fiscal problems are serious enough now, that we have to not only rebuild our economy but address our fiscal issues at the same time. 

We have the resources and money in our economy and demand if we address it and we just need to put them to work. We have infrastructure repairs and expansion that we need to do that we can pay for in our economy. All of these storms and earthquakes we've had lately, is just more evidence of this that we have fallen behind on our infrastructure and we have the construction companies that can do this work. 

We have all the natural resources that we need to be energy independent, but we are not energy independent obviously right now. Which is why we import so much foreign oil and every time there's a new crisis in the Middle East, we automatically have to respond to it, because it effects our economy with the oil. We need to get to a point with our energy sector, where we are not dependent on OPEC to decide what the price of oil is going to be in America. 

So what we need to be doing is putting people back to work and we have the demand in our economy to create these jobs in the sense that the work is there to do but we haven't tapped into that. We obviously don't have much consumer demand right now, people aren't spending enough money right now to give us enough economic growth to create enough jobs. 

But we do have enough demand in other parts of our economy like in infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, dams, etc and we could put unemployed construction workers back to work working on these projects and building new projects and we have demand in our energy sector like in oil, gas, solar, wind, nuclear, water. 

But since we don't have a national energy policy that would promote our own natural resources to create the jobs in these areas and we also at the same time have to have a fiscal policy, thats based on paying for things that government spends money on cutting back in areas, that we spend too much on or shouldn't be spending money on. 

And then reform, our social insurance programs and in national security. As well as tax reform, taxing more things but at lower rates. 

America is not Greece but we cold be its twin if we don't get our economy going again and President Obama's American Jobs Act is a good start. 

And the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction plan is a good start with our fiscal policy. But we need to do more in both areas so we can have a strong enough economy. Other wise we'll never get our debt and deficit under control.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

VOA News: Carolyn Presutti- 'Memorial Service in New York Honors Victims of 9/11 Attacks'

Source:VOA News- a woman being interviewed for this piece.

"Voice of America (VOA) is the America's largest[1][2][3] and oldest international broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress.[4][5] VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 47 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its people.

VOA was established in 1942,[6] and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103-415)[7] was signed into law in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.

VOA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent agency of the U.S. government.[8] Funds are appropriated annually under the budget for embassies and consulates. In 2016, VOA broadcast an estimated 1,800 hours of radio and TV programming each week to approximately 236.6 million people worldwide with about 1,050 employees and a taxpayer-funded annual budget of US$218.5 million.[9][10]

Some commentators consider Voice of America to be a form of propaganda." 

From Wikipedia 

"Ten years ago, the United States homeland came under attack. Islamic terrorists flew hijacked passenger planes into the two World Trade Center towers in New York and another into the Pentagon outside of Washington. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.  Sunday, family members attended a 10-year anniversary memorial service, where they were the first to tour the 6.5-hectare site on the original World Trade Center location.  VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports." 

From VOA News

I guess most like Americans when I heard about the terrorists attack on 9/11 2001, I was shocked and was wondering how this could happen to us. We are such a huge rich country in between two huge oceans, how could we be attacked like this by anyone? Then I heard how we were attacked not by bombs or missiles or tanks or guns but by hijacked planes that were hijacked to be used as weapons to crash into large buildings, with no regard for the passengers on the plane. Who were just trying to get from one place to another and not a threat to anyone or the people in the buildings. Who were guilty of nothing other than going to work that day. As well as no regard for the family and friends of these victims who lost their love ones. 

Then I went from shocked to pissed off, who did this and how and where are they. And lets go get them, for revenge, sure but also so they couldn't attack us or other innocent people again. Similar to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, we responded to that attack very effectively as we responded to the 9/11 attacks very effectively as well.

I don't say this proudly but perhaps the only time I ever felt proud of President George W Bush and saw him as President of the United States. And not just President of the red states and how he reacted to when he first got the info about the 9/11 attacks with that angry look on his face. And how he addressed the construction workers in New York City on the site of where the attacks were where one of them was speaking to the audience and others were yelling and interrupting. And President Bush said something to the effect: "we hear you, the world hear's you and soon the people who knocked down these buildings down will hear you as well. 

It's not an accident that President Bush had approval ratings in the 80s shortly after 9/11, because there was this feeling that he was trying to unite a divided country. 

 I wrote a blog post about the War in Afghanistan yesterday, I supported that war, we were attacked and Afghanistan was harboring some of the terrorists responsible for these attacks. We were more within our rights to go in there and take those terrorists out and if the Taliban Regime got in our way. We were more than with our right to take them out as well and we knocked them out of power. NATO backed our War in Afghanistan and have been assisting us from day one, because one of its members was attacked and the Taliban Regime was harboring some of the terrorists responsible for the attacks. 

Our original mission in Iraq in 2003 was to knock out the Hussein Regime in Iraq and remove the WMD. Mission Accomplished, why are we still there? The major question is America safer as a result of 9/11 and at what cost either way. We are safer in the sense that we now know what we are dealing with in Islamic terrorism. And how to prepare for it and we've taken out a lot of their assets including their leader Osama Bin Laden. 

And we now have a central authority that got off to a rough start in the Department of Homeland Security. Where they also have a Representative on the National Security Council. So we are clearly better prepared to deal with the terrorist threat but again at what cost. 

If you believe as I do that you can't have security without freedom, then you'll believe we are not safer. At least in the sense that we've subtracted some of our freedom for security. And I would argue unconstitutionally as well with parts of Patriot Act with law enforcement now being able to read our books and emails and with the warrantless wiretapping. 

Overall America has paid a heavy price for 9/11, for one thing we always have to remember it, the people who are old enough to remember it and lived through it. But also our economy we've gone through two recessions, the first one of 2001-02. We came out of that all right with the economy taking off in 2004. 

The second one of course we are still struggling to recover from, it's not called the Great Recession for nothing. We've had the worst ten years economically we've had at least since the 1970s or longer. And partially as a result have piled up a huge debt and deficit. That people born after 9/11 will have to pay back.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brookings Institution: Ron Haskins- 'The 15-Year Anniversary of Welfare Reform'

Source:Brookings Institution- Fellow Ron Haskins, talking about Welfare to Work.

"Ron Haskins: The welfare reform legislation began with heated partisan debate but both parties eventually came together to craft significant and lasting reform. However, many single mothers still struggles with multiple pressures. More:Brookings Institution." 

From Brookings

The 1996 Welfare to Work Law (or TANF which stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is definitely Welfare reform. It took a welfare System that was designed to support unemployed parents without the skills to take care of themselves and their families, basically by taking care of them and not expecting much if anything from them in return. 

People on Welfare were left in poverty by government but with a few more dollars at taxpayers expense. Let them live off taxpayers who go to work everyday and reformed it into a system that empowered as well as expected these low-skilled folks to finish and further their education, so they can get themselves the skills that they need to get a good enough job, that can support themselves and their families. As well as provide additional assistance for child care, education, transportation, so they can go to school and look for work, To go along with the public assistance that they were already receiving. 

And the results of TANF are very good: something like a million people left the Welfare rolls to get on payrolls within the first five years of this program. And then we had 9/11 followed by a recession of 2002-03 and of course the Great Recession 5-6 years later in 2008. But the economy had already started slowing in 2007. So of course this affected our Welfare system, because when the economy is slower. 

Employers aren't going to hire as much because they don't have as much demand. Especially people who are on Welfare and perhaps entering the workforce for the first time in their lives or have very limited work experience. 

Welfare to Work, worked (no pun intended) because it was exactly that: instead of leaving people on Welfare at home with their kids living in public housing in rough neighborhoods, sending their kids to bad schools, it empowered them to go back to school, finish high school, and then go to community college. And provide them with child care so someone can look after their kids, while they are going back to school and looking for work. And then helped them with Job Placement so they could get help finding jobs. As well as being temporary, giving people incentive to get themselves off of the Welfare rolls and to the workforce. 

Welfare to Work is a much different approach from what we were doing before in the 1930s with the New Deal and 1960s with the Great Society. Back then the approach was, that these people basically have nothing and if we help them get by, then we are helping them and by that we are doing what we can for them. Perhaps not realizing that they were helping them at the expense of people who work for a living. Including low-income people who decided that they were going to work for a living, even struggle instead of going on Welfare Insurance. 

I would go farther in Welfare reform - assistance for people with health care issues, physical and mental, so once they go back to the workforce, they'll be able to stay there making it illegal for parents (fathers and mothers) to abandoned their kids. If they can bring lives into the world, then they should raise them as well. But I wouldn't send people to jail for abandoning their kids, but take money out of their paychecks. And give that money to the parent who's raising the kid and give the other parent an opportunity to get back in their kids lives. 

And then I would take the TANF off of the Federal and state budgets all together and give its own revenue source. And then turn it into a semi-private, non-profit community service designed to move people on TANF out of poverty. And let each state have their own Welfare system that would have to meet basic Federal standards. But each state TANF Program would be independent of government. 

Welfare to Work I believed has worked (again, no pun intended) because of how it was designed, to move people on Welfare to the workforce with a job good enough to support themselves and their families and is something that we should build off as a country. Not try to go back to what we were doing in that past, allowing people to stay on Welfare indefinitely and having their kids suffer from it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Non-Corporate News: Dr. Martin Luther King- 'Why I Am Opposed to The War in Vietnam'

Source:Beyond Capitalism Now- Dr. Martin L. King, speaking out against the Vietnam War, in 1968.

"Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. against the "triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism." Audio.  This speech was released by Black Forum records, a subsidiary of Motown, and went on to win a Grammy (in 1972, according to Wikipedia, in 1970, according to Grammy website) for the Best Spoken Word Recording. Excerpts of a Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967. Text of entire speech:The King Center." 

"The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war.  I’ve chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam today because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence is betrayal... 

The speech that Dr. Martin King gave back in 1968 on the Vietnam War, could be made today by Representative Dennis Kucinich, Representative Ron Paul, or community activist Ralph Nader of the anti-war Left today. Not as effectively or be heard by by as many people, but the sentiments are very similar. 

The speech is  basically this: "Why are we spending billions of dollars in a foreign nation in an unjust war? The Vietnam War back then and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq today: why are we spending all of this money destroying and then building another country, when we could spend that money building America?" 

Representative Paul's approach to building America is much different than Representative Kucinich, or Ralph Nader. Paul would want to use the money that we are spending attacking the enemy and building up Afghanistan and Iraq and use that money to give back to the American people and pay down our debt and deficit.

While Kucinich and Nader would use that money through the Federal Government, to bring about universal government-run health care, education, transportation, etc. And other social insurance programs, but the goals and questions are the same. 

The Libertarian-Right and Socialist-Left would be making the same argument: "We have our own problems here at home, our country isn't as great as it could be and we are not as free as we should be. So why are we interfering in other countries civil wars, when we have our own problems here at home that we need to address?" 

Dr King, Representative Paul, Representative  Kucinich and Mr. Nader, have an isolationist foreign policy: "We shouldn't be messing around in other countries. Especially while we have our own problems at home. That what we need to do is keep that money at home and mind our own business. Let them solve their own civil wars and keep our money home in our own country making our country better and making our people more free to live their own lives."

One of the shames of Dr. King being assassinated at the early age of 39 back in 1968, was what we missed out as a country, had he been able to live out a full-life. And lived into his 70s or 80s, the work he put into the 1950s and 60s, would've just expanded into the 70s. And I believe would've continued his work on civil rights. 

Had Dr. King lived a normal life in years, he would've expanded his work in the areas of poverty and helping poor people move up in the world. As well as education, workers rights, foreign policy, he would've been a big pain for President Nixon in the early 70s on the Vietnam War. As well as been a pain to President Reagan in the 80s with his military buildup, but of course we'll never know. Because he was assassinated by a man in James Earl Ray who felt left out and felt he needed more attention in life. 

But Dr. King what he was saying about the Vietnam War in the late 60s, pretty much sums up the anti-war movement and what they were feeling as well. The anti-war movement was very alive in the 1960s and to a certain extent still alive today, but not as vocal. And the feelings then are the same as they are today: "Why are we spending billions of dollars in a foreign nation and involved in another civil war, when we have our own problems at home."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Genetic Identity 101: Liberalism- Liberal Democratic Ideology

Source:Genetic Identity- Sounds like the liberal defense of property rights. Which is what all actual Liberals believe in. Unlike Socialists, who get called Liberals.
"Genetic Identity 101: Liberalism." Originally from Genetic Identity.

If you watch this video, it should give you a pretty good idea of what liberalism is. And the point that it makes that most people have liberal leanings, at least up to a certain point including Conservatives.
If you believe in individual liberty of any kind, you have at least one liberal view. And then it's a question of how liberal you are.

Take, me I'm very liberal I'm pretty far to the left, (in the classical sense) because I believe in a lot of individual liberty. That innocent people (free adults that is) have the right to live their own lives as they see fit. As long as they are not hurting anyone else with their freedom and they can pay for their own actions. And then be held accountable for their actions. I'm definitely a Liberal not a Centrist. I'm basically one step away from being a libertarian, you could even call me a Liberal Libertarian and be accurate. And I'm miles away from being a Socialist. Actually, at least one plane fight way from socialist, whether it's a Marxist or a Democratic Socialist.

One thing thats wrong in this video is when they talk about the difference that Liberals and Conservatives have when it comes to so-called free markets.

This video suggested that Liberals and Conservatives both believe in free markets. That part is true.

And it suggested that Conservatives believe that people should be allowed to be rewarded for the good decisions that it makes in the market. Thats true.

As well and also suffer the consequences of their bad decisions in the market as well. Thats also true.

Thats called accountability something I mentioned earlier.

This video also mentioned that Liberals believe that people should be rewarded for their correct decisions in the market as well. Which is also true, but then suggested that government meaning taxpayers should bail people out when they make bad decisions. And I'm thinking of TARP of course of 2008, thats flat false! Liberals believe in accountability as I just mentioned.

Liberal and libertarian both come from the word liberty. And when you're talking in a political sense that means individual liberty.

Liberal does not mean collectivism or rob the rich to pay for the poor. Or democratic socialism having a large welfare state to take care of people. These are all Democratic Socialists beliefs that we are only as strong as our weakest link and that we should meaning government through tax revenue. Take care of the weak, etc.

Liberals however believe that free people in a free society like America, should have the freedom to take care of themselves. And make these decisions for themselves on their own as long as they are not hurting anyone else with their freedom. And then government should come in like take the market to use as an example, to punish people who abuse innocent people. As well as empower people who fall through cracks and can't take care of themselves. Thats what separates Liberals such as myself from Libertarians.

I've lost count of how many times I've been called a libertarian. (Not that math was ever my best subject) I'm not, I'm a Liberal and they are different. Liberalism/liberal democracy is a beautiful philosophy because it puts the power in the hands of the people,e not the special few or government. And then we lend some of this power through the U.S. Constitution to do the things that government can do better than free people on their own. And thats why I'm a Liberal.

The only thing I'm interested in politically when it comes down to a liberal amount of (fill in the blank) is a liberal amount of freedom and responsibility. Part of freedom is security in the sense that we don't have to worry about being physically, or financially hurt on a regular basis. And that is a an important role of government to protect the innocent from predators.

But where government can hurt people's freedom is to try to do for people what they can do for themselves. Like trying to make their health care, or other financial decisions for them. Or personal decisions in how we live our own personal lives like how we communicate with people. That is where Liberals tend to separate from Socialists and Communists on the Left and the Religious-Right and Nationalists on the Right. 

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democracy