Sunday, January 29, 2012

Real Time With Bill Maher: 'Why Can't America be More Like Canada?'

Source:Real Time With Bill Maher- comedian Martin Short on Real Time in 2011.

Source:The Daily Press 

"Canada is a country that has health care and not a lot of gun violence. And we've become just a more war-like mean, cramped conservative country"  

Why can't Canada be more like Canada? Well, because America is America and Canada. (To be as overly simplistic as possible) Canadians are a very collectivist and a very welfare-centric country. America likes their individual freedom and individualism, their personal freedom, the ability to make their own decisions without Big Government trying to tax them to death because Uncle Sam believes its more qualified to spend Americans money better than them. 

With Canadians, I think they don't mind Big Government spending a lot of their money for them, just as long as the services that they get are good and their money is spent well. The political cultures in both countries are just very different.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Onion: 'Did Media Treat Michele Bachmann Unfairly Because She's an Insane Woman?'

Source:The Onion- U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (Republican, Minnesota) unfortunately not on the road to sanity and mental health.

Source:The Daily Press 

“The First Responders debate whether the media is harder on Michele Bachmann because she is a woman who is crazy. (Aired 11/1/11)”

From The Onion

In many ways it’s easier to get attention these days, especially in the era of the information technology revolution, by saying things that make you sound like you’re from another planet. Or in Michele Bachmann’s case, sound like you’re running for President, of another planet, who wants to hear a politician say: “I’ll do what I believe is in the best interest of the country. I’ll make decisions based on what I believe is the best thing to do”.

Every time there’s a politician or candidate who speaks like that, you can hear insomniacs snoring in the background, getting the best sleep of their lifetimes. Perhaps introducing their brains to sleep for the first time in their lives.

It’s the politicians and candidates, who say things, just to use Michele Bachmann as an example (for no apparent reason) who says things like: “same-sex marriage is the biggest threat to our national security”. I guess sometime before she said that, the United States won the War on Terror. I could’ve swore the War on Terror was a bigger threat. Or the national debt or deficit, unemployment were bigger threats. Perhaps Representative Bachmann misses the House Intelligence Committee meetings that she’s a member of, that released that information. (Her shrink wouldn’t let her out of the institution that day)

Maybe Barack Obama actually is God and fixed all the problems that her inherited (except for gays getting married and living happily ever after, while not bothering anyone) and hearing rumors that President Obama was God in disguise as a human being and President of the United States, was not a rumor, but a fact.

So now the biggest threat to American civilization is actually same- sex marriage. If you’re having a hard time reading that with a straight face, imagine how hard it was to write it. You know with the typing and everything, but hey maybe Representative Bachmann’s gay husband Marcus can fix the same-sex marriage issue, by converting gay people to straight.

Its much easier I would say especially in America, because of our size and wealth (310M people, the largest economy in the world) and how far advanced we are technology wise and everything for mentally unbalanced people (lets say to be nice) to get attention for themselves and whatever they think they are trying to accomplish.

The reason for is this is because of how abnormal the mentally handicapped are and they do and say things, that sane people just wouldn’t say or do. Mitt Romney only gets media attention for one of his speeches, when he says something that makes him seem out of touch. Like when he said he only made 400K$ giving speeches. Well, 90% of the country would love to only 400K$ a year. But generally people don’t remember much if anything that Mitt said in one of his speeches.

Mitt isn’t very memorable as a speaker because he’s one of the sanest people to ever run for President. The guy is about as exciting as a bowl of oatmeal, which might be insulting to oatmeal. But when someone lets again use Michele Bachamann, says something that sounds so far out in left field (or right field in Michelle’s case) that they couldn’t see centerfield with binoculars or a telescope, it gets reported right away, because it’s crazy, interesting and provocative. And gives the “mainstream media” something else to make fun of.

If you’re lonely and feel like you’re not receiving your fair share of attention, give a crazy speech, say things like “America should be less Socialist like China”. Take pictures of your sensitive area and post them on Twitter, especially if you’re a public official. It will always work and you’ll always get attention for doing (excuse the expression) doing crazy shit like that. But one thing it just might not be the kind of attention you’re looking for. But as the saying goes, all free media is good media. I know I said no more blog posts about Michele Bachmann until she runs for reelection for House. But this popped in my head. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

VOA News: Steve Baragona- 'First Lady Announces Healthier US School Meals'

Source:VOA News- no, I don't miss school lunches.

"With rates of childhood obesity and hunger on the rise nationwide, the U.S. government has announced new rules for healthier school meals. VOA's Steve Baragona has more." 

From VOA News 

"Voice of America (VOA) is the state-owned international radio broadcaster of the United States. It is the largest[4] and oldest U.S.-funded international broadcaster.[5][6] VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 47 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by a non-American audience.

VOA was established in 1942,[7] and the VOA charter (Public Laws 94-350 and 103–415)[8] 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.[9] 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.[2][3]

While some foreign audiences[which?] have a positive view of VOA,[10][11] others[which?] consider it to be a form of propaganda." 

From Wikipedia 

When it comes to government involvement in people's lives: I'm all in favor of government research, information, facts, advisories, even volunteer standards as far as what people should be doing with ourselves and how we live our own lives. It's the big government, nanny state, prohibitions, as far as what people do to themselves and what free adults put in their own bodies, that I have a problem with, especially since we have to pay for it. But I'm not a fan of big government authoritarianism either. 

So if Uncle Sam or in First Lady Micelle Obama's case, Aunt Michelle wants to put out accurate reports about the consequences of junk food in our school system and saying that our students need to eat healthier and the Federal Government can help with the financing of that, just as long as they're not passing an additional unfunded mandate down to our localities, I'm in favor of that. But if they were to outright try to ban junk food and soft drinks in our school system, I would have two major problems with that, both on a personal, as well as on constitutional grounds as it relates to the 10th Amendment.

Talking Points Memo: U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann- 'We Should be Less Socialist Like China'

Source:The Daily Press

“Bachmann: We Should Be Less Socialist… Like China”  

“Social welfare in China has undergone various changes throughout history. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is responsible for the social welfare system. Currently the form of social welfare is in between 40-75% according to their means of production.

Welfare in China is linked to the hukou system. Those holding non-agricultural hukou status have access to a number of programs provided by the government, such as healthcare, employment, retirement pensions, housing, and education. While rural residents traditionally were expected to provide for themselves,[1] in 2014 the Chinese Communist Party announced reforms aimed at providing rural citizens access to historically urban social programs.[2]

In pre-1980s reform China, the socialist state fulfilled the needs of society from cradle to grave. Child care, education, job placement, housing, subsistence, health care, and elder care were largely the responsibility of the work unit as administered through state-owned enterprises and agricultural communes and collectives. As those systems disappeared or were reformed, the “iron rice bowl” approach to welfare changed. Article 14 of the constitution stipulates that the state “builds and improves a welfare system that corresponds with the level of economic development.

In 2004 China experienced the greatest decrease in its poorest population since 1999. People with a per capita income of less than 668 renminbi (RMB; US$80.71) decreased by 2.9 million people or 10 percent; those with a per capita income of less than 924 RMB (US$111.64) decreased by 6.4 million people or 11.4 percent, according to statistics from the State Council’s Poverty Reduction Office.[3]

Welfare reforms since the late 1990s have included unemployment insurance, medical insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, maternity benefits, communal pension funds, individual pension accounts, universal health care.[4]

Furthermore, for many of the minority groups, there are some benefits available.[5]

During July 2020, Beijing social security center put restrictions on the social security withholding and payment, which was allowed to be operational previously via third party organizations.”  

From Wikipedia 

Representative Michele Bachmann to me at least makes the case for why every single candidate running for President, should at least have to pass a modern social studies, as well as history class, before they are even eligible to run for President. And have to take and pass those course like a year before they decide to run for President.

Representative Bachmann also defines at least one version of the term asshole, as someone who speaks out of their ass, because they don’t know what the hell they are talking about. She sounds like an auto mechanic or janitor trying to sound like an expert on brain surgery or astronomy. 

According to Representative Bachmann, America should be less socialist like China. Apparently not aware that China is the People’e Republic of China. They are a Communist State, that yes have in the last 30 years has privatized a lot of their economy and industries, which is why they’ve seen the economic growth and reductions in poverty that they’ve seen. But they are a Communist State that even has a welfare system and a generous one at that. 

I don’t know where Representative Bachmann gets her information or intelligence,  but it’s not from the House Intelligence Committee (where she’s a member of) or she’s simply lying out of her ass and represents the stereotype of the American politician as someone who says what she or he thinks people want to hear and what she wants them to hear, but wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped her or him in the face, because she’s been lying or bullshitting for so long.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

C-SPAN: Dennis Prager- 'Top 10 Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse'

Source:C-SPAN- Right-wing radio talk show host Dennis Prager: speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in 2011.
"Dennis Prager's Top 10 Ways Liberalism Makes America Worse. From Townhall." 

From Townhall

I think Dennis Prager is smarter than what he seems to want people to believe, especially on the hyper-partisan Right. You even hear him say things that he meets all the stereotypes of the stereotypical (meaning not real) Liberal in America: 

He's from New York

He's Jewish 

He went to Columbia University

Which tells me that Dennis Prager is not talking about Liberals, but stereotypical Liberals. (Meaning not real Liberals) 

Hyper-partisan right-wingers, people who are right-wing populists, want Americans to believe that Liberal is a short way of saying anti-establishment, hipster Un-American revolutionary, who wants to move America to Scandinavia economically, politically and culturally, who hates everything that America is supposed to stand for, who wants to take down the man (meaning the white man) and replace the American government with some type of socialist state. Perhaps a democratic socialist state, but perhaps not, because remember that Far-Leftists actually don't have any real issues with communism. And some of them are actually honest enough to admit that. 

So, maybe Dennis Prager is actually talking about Socialists and like closeted Socialists in America he's scared to death of the s-word, as well as c-word. Or he's like these other hyper-partisan, right-wingers, who want Americans to believe Liberals actually meet the stereotypes of what Liberals are supposed to be and what they are supposed to believe in, because they're afraid that Americans might discover that they're actually pretty liberal and it's not just Far-Leftists who are illiberal (meaning not liberal) but Far-Rightists are just as illiberal, because they have their own crackdowns when it comes to things like free speech, personal freedom, even property rights and U.S. Constitution. And these Far-Rightists are terrified that Americans will learn what the Far-Right really is and who they really are. 

You can also see this post on WordPress.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Freedom Forum: Steven R. Weisman- 'The Life of Daniel Patrick Moynihan'

Source:Freedom Forum- author Steven Weisman talking about his book.

"The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan never wrote an autobiography, but a collection of his personal letters is now available in a new book." 

From the Freedom Forum 

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to someone like Daniel Patrick Moynihan who was essentially a professional intellectual and thinker, as well as public servant. But what I'm interested in is his politics and what he wanted to do in and with government, because he's been described by some on the Right as a Progressive or Liberal and by some on the Left as a Conservative, because he worked for both Democratic and Republican President's. 

I think it's pretty clear that Pat Moynihan wasn't a Conservative. He did work for President Richard Nixon and then later President Gerald Ford, but Richard Nixon was never a Conservative, at least not as President. There's a whole bunch of economic policies and an economic agenda that came out of the Nixon Administration in the early 1970s that made it clear that President Nixon wasn't a Conservative. Things like Welfare To Work, what's known now as the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, by the Right, subsidized employment to encourage low-income and low-skilled adults to work, all came out of the Nixon Administration in the early 1970s originally, but didn't become law until the 1990s and 2010. 

Pat Moynihan wasn't a Liberal, at least not in the mainstream media or pop culture sense. But those aren't the real definitions of liberal either. Moynihan wasn't what the rest of the developed world calls a Social Democrat, that the American mainstream media, pop culture, and closeted Socialists call Liberal. Moynihan believed that government had a real role to help people in need and to see that everyone has access to clean water, air, safe working conditions, labor rights, etc, but he didn't think government could manage people's lives for them and take care of mentally and physically able people from cradle to grave.

Pat Moynihan wasn't a centrist. He had a real government and political philosophy that was about progress , moving forward, and making things better. But he also believed that there were real limits to what government can do for people. 

If you want to look at Pat Moynihan's politics, you want to look at Theodore Roosevelt and the old Progressive wing of the Republican Party, people who were Center-Right Progressives who believed that government had a role to make things better in society and empower people to help themselves, but that it wasn't the job of government to try to do everything for everybody. 

Pat Moynihan represented the progressive center in American politics that has all but disappeared in America today, at least in the Republican Party. And represents a positive and progressive era in American politics that has all but disappeared. 

Real Liberals: What is Liberalism?

Source:Real Liberals- Liberals believe in the defense of private property rights. But that's not the whole philosophy.
"The principles behind the liberal philosophy" 

"Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best “a necessary evil.” Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power... 

From Britannica 

There are terms like Real Liberal and Classical Liberal because there are people who call themselves Liberals or are called by others Liberals, like the mainstream media and hyper-partisan, right-wingers, even though these so-called Liberals aren't very liberal at all. They are people who in many cases don't even believe in personal freedom and free speech, let alone private property rights and economic freedom. Even though the foundation of liberalism is private property rights relating both to economic and personal freedom. 

I think a lot of people (at least outside of America) when they think of a Liberal, they think of someone whose some antiestablishment, hipster with long hair, looking to take down the man (meaning the white man) and creating new society that's dominated by women of all races and ethnicities and minorities. They supposed Liberal supposedly hates everything that America is supposed to stand for. 

There also so-called Liberals who believe that liberalism is a philosophy that believes that the role of government is to meat the needs of the masses. Meaning to the role of the national government is to take care of the people, even if that so-called protection infringes on individual freedom and choice. 

I've been asked and been labeled several different things since I've been blogging now three years about how I would describe my politics.

When I speak about things like individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom of choice, people automatically assume I'm a Libertarian.

And when I speak in favor of things like decentralization of the Federal Government and I express concerns about big government and speak against things like single payer Medicare For All health insurance, or creating a 21st Century New Deal or speak in favor of American power even in a limited way like being in favor of the Libyan no fly zone, people assume I'm a Conservative. I've actually been called a Conservative on YouTube. I was called that to be insulted, which I wasn't, not that I'm a Conservative. But because I actually know what conservatism is and can differentiate between conservatism and neoconservatism or religious conservatism or even libertarianism.

I've been labeled a Classical Liberal, which so far has been the most accurate way to describe my politics. Especially if classical liberalism is used to differentiate from what's called "modern liberalism". Which I just call democratic socialism and I'll explain why later. 

To give you a clue about about I would describe my politics, just go to the link of the blog site. . The name of the blog site is called FRS FreeState, thats what my politics are.

I believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility, as well as limited government, which leads to good government. And no you don't have to be a Libertarian to believe in these things. A lot of Libertarians today tend to be anti-government and I'm not one of those people. And I don't want government out of the economy all together as well.

Yes, I have respect for Ron Paul and Milton Friedman and perhaps you've noticed. I've quoted Professor Friedman on this blog several times. But, Professor Friedman self-described his own politics as liberal and let others call him a Classical Liberal, is they wanted too.  But we are a little different on economic policy and I just laid out a few differences. Liberalism is not libertarianism and it's certainly not socialism. Even though we have some things in common, as it comes to social issues.

Dennis Kucinich is no more a Liberal, than Rick Santorum is a Conservative. Representative Kucinich is what people call a "Modern Liberal." I'm a Liberal because I believe in liberal democracy, which is why I'm also a Liberal Democrat. Again because I believe in liberal democracy, individual liberty, personal responsibility, freedom of choice and limited government, equality of opportunity. These are all liberal values.

When you think libertarian, think of someone that yes believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom of choice. But also think of someone who wants to return the Federal Government, back to only what's laid out for it in the 10th and 11th Amendments, meaning we would only have a State Department, Defense Department, Treasury Department and a Justice Department and thats about it. Thats what you call small government, which is different from limited government.

When you think of a Socialist, think of someone who believes in big government in the form of a welfare state. Socialists believe we need a large welfare state and high taxes to promote economic equality. And when you think of a Liberal, think of someone who believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility, freedom of choice, equality of opportunity, rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. And limited government and that government should be used to empower people who need help but not take care of them.

I really blame the so-called mainstream media and our public education system for the lack of education that a lot of Americans have when it comes to American politics. And why Americans get Liberals mixed up with Socialists and Libertarians. And Conservatives mixed up with Libertarians and Christian-Fundamentalists. And why people who are Democratic Socialists, like Senator Bernie Sanders or Representative Dennis Kucinich, are labeled Liberals, when we are really different from these other political factions.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FORA-TV: Daniel Lowenstein- 'Five Reasons to Keep the Electoral College'

Source:FORA-TV- Professor Daniel Lowenstein: on the Electoral College.
"UCLA Law Professor Daniel Lowenstein offers five arguments to maintain the Electoral College as the method for choosing the President of the United States.

The Electoral College was developed by our founding fathers and enshrined in the Constitution as a system of checks and balances to ensure a fair outcome in the choosing of our presidents.

However, the highly publicized 2000 presidential election, in which Al Gore may have won the popular vote but lost the contest to George W. Bush, galvanized those who wish to see the Electoral College scrapped in favor of a national popular vote.

Come hear our panel of distinguished experts discuss the merits and pitfalls of the two systems, and the wisdom of moving from a tried and true process to something new - The Commonwealth Club of California

Daniel Lowenstein teaches Election Law, Statutory Interpretation & Legislative Process, Political Theory, and Law & Literature. A leading expert on election law, he has represented members of the House of Representatives in litigation regarding reapportionment and the constitutionality of term limits. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the award-winning theatre troupe Interact and regularly brings the company to the School of Law to perform plays with legal themes, such as Sophocles' Antigone, Ibsen's Rosmerholm, and Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.

Professor Lowenstein worked as a staff attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance for two and one-half years. While working for California's Secretary of State, Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 1971, he specialized in election law, and was the main drafter of the Political Reform Act, an initiative statute that California voters approved in 1974, thereby creating a new Fair Political Practices Commission. Governor Brown appointed Professor Lowenstein as first chairman of the Commission. He has served on the national governing board of Common Cause and has been a board member and a vice president of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights."


Why do we have an Electoral College in the United States? To keep elitist Democrats and Republicans who believe people who live in small states are redneck and hillbilly's who don't matter and that their votes don't count, from ignoring them. If you're in a tight presidential race and it's going to come down to a few of states swing states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana matter and that forces you to campaign there. 

And those voters get to see who'll be the next President of the United States as well who are also taxpayers. Instead of snobby Democrats just campaigning in the Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Florida, a few big States in the Midwest and California. And just speaking to the wine and cheese yuppie crowds. Now they have to campaign in Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado. 

Or snobby Republicans just campaigning in the Bible Belt Bible toting crowds and cherry pick a few states in the Midwest. In order to get elected President of the United States. Now they have to see if they can pick off Pennsylvania or Michigan or Illinois or Wisconsin or Minnesota. That's why we have the Electoral College, to prevent snobby presidential candidates from just targeting 50% of the voting public. Plus one vote in order to get elected President of the United States. 

We don't live in a majoritarian democracy, where 50% plus one is all you need to get into power as far as being President. Or a parliamentary democracy where we let our members of Congress make these decisions for us. We live in a republic in a form of a liberal democracy and being President is harder to achieve. Is our Electoral College perfect? of course not, but I sure as hell would take over anything that the rest of the world has. But we could definitely improve it. 

And if that probably takes a constitutional amendment to accomplish that, then I would be open to that. I have a problem with presidential candidates winning the popular vote in at least one case by a million votes with Vice President Al Gore back in 2000 and not winning the presidency. Even though a million more voters preferred that Al Gore be President of the United States, instead of Governor George W. Bush. I'm not saying that as a Democrat, I really have a problem with that and see that as small d and l anti-liberal democratic. 

But not to the point where I'm willing to throw out the Electoral College. And replace it with a popular vote or move to a parliamentary social democracy like you see in Europe. I would like to see a political system that keeps the Electoral College, but amends it to be President of the United States, you have to win the Electoral College as well as popular vote. If there's a split decision, we would have a runoff a week later between the top two presidential candidates. Which would be decided by popular vote. 

I would like to see other changes to our presidential electoral system as well. If you only win lets says 40% of one state but finish first with multiple candidates, you shouldn't be awarded with all the electoral votes. But instead they would be divided up for everyone. Based on what percentage of the vote they get. 

If you win 60% of a state or more, then you can keep all of the electoral votes. That would be a better electoral system that would be more democratic. But not scrap the Electoral College because some people believe others have too much say based on where they live and don't like their culture and lifestyles. 

You can also see this post on WordPress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So This is Washington: The Real Mitt Romney?

Source:So This is Washington- U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) running for reelection in 1994.

Source:The Daily Press

“Footage from the Romney/Kennedy Debate, October 1994” 

Who is Mitt Romney? Which is a question I would like to know the answer too and 18 years later since he started running for office in 1994, I still don’t know the answer too. I think we know who is father was, George Romney who was a Progressive Republican from Michigan and Governor of that state. But his son I think the best answer to that question is he’s whoever he thinks he needs to be at any given time depending on what public office he’s running and what jurisdiction he’s running in.

In 1994 Mitt was a Progressive Northeastern Republican, which is different from being a Progressive Democrat.

In 2002 Mitt when he ran for Governor, I think was still that Progressive Republican, but took harder right-wing stances on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, because he wanted to run for President in 2008 as a Republican.

In 2012 Mitt sounds like a Neoconservative on foreign policy, national security, and homeland security, and a Tea Party Republican on economic policy, except for trade, because again he wants to be President as a Republican.

It’s that old pop culture cliche will the real Mitt Romney stand up. (Actually, I just invented that myself) The problem with that is there might not be a real Mitt Romney, at least not one Mitt Romney when it comes to politics. And he might not know who he is ideologically either.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Democracy Review: Real Time With Bill Maher- 'On Un-Presidential Campaign For President'

Source:Democracy Review- Bill Maher and panel on Tea Party activist Sarah Palin.

Source:The Daily Press

“Sarah Palin’s Unpresidential Campaign on Real Time with Bill Maher. As they said, Palin is absolutely unbelievable…. 

Sarah Palin (whether she’s even aware of it or not) is not a politician. She’s barley a political activist. She’s basically a Fox News host (except she’s not smart enough for FNC to have her own show) who goes around the country telling people the first thing that comes to her mind. Which is generally very cute and funny.

As Melissa Harris Perry  on this show said, Americans are use to reality TV, even if they know it’s not real and hearing someone like a Sarah Palin speak about subjects they know nothing about like they are experts. Paul Revere being the perfect example of that.

Sarah Palin at best is a political entertainer and satirist and sometimes a damn good one who can be very funny (even intentionally) but she’s not a serious politician and perhaps never has been. 

Think Progress: 'CEA Chairman Alan Krueger on Income Inequality'

Source:Think Progress- Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger.

"CEA Chairman Alan Krueger on Income Inequality" 

Just on a personal note first: Alan Kruger speaks very slowly and carefully, or methodically (if you prefer) as if he's very careful in what he's saying and doesn't want to go too far, at least in this video. 

But as far as what he said in this video, the last I would argue 40 years, the middle class in America haven't done very well. We seem to get a severe recession in every decade that we can't simply recover completely from. The 1990s might be ab exception to that where we got unemployment down to 4% and poverty down to 13%. But wages haven't kept up with economic growth that we've gotten during this period for the middle class, while the top and continued to do very well. 

I don't play class warfare here or anywhere else. I think it's great to be financially independent and wealthy. I just want to see more Americans who are at least comfortably middle class and not worried about losing their homes and going into poverty, if for some reason they become short-term unemployed or have a serious health issue to deal with. 

You don't do that by punishing the wealthy simply for being wealthy and then transferring that money down to Americans who are struggling. Or just give it to government to spend on their behalf. But by empowering individuals who are struggling to moved up the economic ladder on their own. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Associated Press: Rita Foley- 'Unemployment Ticks Down to 8.5%'

Source:Associated Press- Joanie Ruge talking about the jobs report.

"A burst of hiring in December pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011." 

From the Associated Press 

At risk of sounding like I work at the communications office at the Obama White House: we were in a huge hole at the start of 2009 that was so deep you dimply can't completely dig yourself out of that in 3 years. We lost 1.5 million jobs just in the last two months of 2008 alone and another 5 million in 2009. And when a good jobs reports is 200 thousand plus for any month during any economic period, it's going to take a while to get the economy back to full health and unemployment. 

But recent trends from 2010 and 2011 show that the economy is getting better as far as consistent but not great economic growth, as well as good job growth. So if you are President Barack Obama having to run for reelection in 2012 with the economy that he has, he should be feeling good about recent economic trends.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

C-SPAN: George Will- 'Dependency on Government is The Liberal Agenda'

Source:C-SPAN- Conservative columnist George Will, at CPAC in 2010.
"George Will: 'Dependency on Government Is the Liberal Agenda' Visit Polijam FOR ALL THE TOP NEWS!!!" 

From Polijam

Ronald Reagan a man I'm sure the great conservative author and columnist George Will admires, had a saying and I'm paraphrasing: "That it's not that people don't know thats the problem, but it's the amount that people don't know that's not true thats the problem." And the people who are dangerous are the people who who know so much thats not true and actually believe what they say. Representative Michele Bachmann, qualifies for the ladder.

George Will who I like for his sharp wit and intellect about politics, sports, and other issues qualifies for the former when it comes to liberalism. I'm sure Mr. Will is a genius about everything else he talks about, but when it comes to liberalism he's a raving moron. Sort of sounds like the drunk on the street corner who always has a bottle in his hand and perhaps is only sober when he's asleep, who feels the need to shoot his mouth out about everything that he knows nothing about pretending to be an expert on everything he talks about.

I'm a Liberal and damn proud of it that's how I describe my politics and it's always how I've been describing my politics since I started following politics in my late teens. I'm a Liberal Democrat because I believe in liberal democracy and thats what liberalism is about: liberty for the individual. Not because I believe in the state or that government's job is to make society equal.

Government's role is to insure that everyone has a good opportunity to reach their potential in life. Based on what they contribute to society, not to try to manage outcomes. And thats what separates Liberals from Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists, who believe the role of government is to insure that equality of outcome is insured in society. Not equality of opportunity, which are two different things.

What George Will is describing when he talks about liberalism, looks like socialism, which are different political ideology's from liberalism. I've never called myself a Progressive because today's definition of Progressive and perhaps in the past, even though the first eight letters in progressive spells progress and if Progressive is someone who believes in progress then I'm definitely a Progressive, but the popular definition of Progressive is someone who believes in using government to insure quality outcomes in society.

A so-called Someone today is someone who wants to use government to ensure equality of outcome in society. Which is different than equality of opportunity, that's a simple definition. But the best way to ensure equality of opportunity I believe as a Liberal, is through individual liberty. Empowering people through education and job training so they can have the individual liberty to reach their full-potential. If I was a Socialist, I would believe in using government by empowering it to ensure equality of outcomes.

Socialists, would raise taxes on people who are already doing well, to take care of the people, not empower the disadvantage, but take care of the people who are disadvantage. With high tax rates on the rich and probably middle class as well. And that's George Will's whole point about government dependence. To talk about liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, progressivism whatever it may be, it helps to know what you're talking about.

Assholes, quite frankly speaking out of their ass. Liberalism and progressivism, and socialism, are three different political ideology's and not one in the same. And Conservatives especially (Christian-Nationalists, who are different from Conservatives) like to make Liberals look bad by trying to make us look like Socialists. But Liberals believe in defending liberty and expanding it for people who don't have it. People who are struggling have the opportunity to become independent and make their own way life. 

This is what Liberals believes is the proper role of government. Not to take from the wealthy to manage the daily lives of people who aren't doing well. Or outlaw wealth all together so everyone is dependent on government. Which is what Socialists tend to push and are in favor of.

This is not a debate about government doing everything, or almost nothing. But instead a debate about government doing practically everything, versus limiting government to doing only what it does well. Including helping people who are snuggling achieve economic freedom for themselves. 

The Socialist versus Liberal debate, instead of Liberal vs Liberal, radical Liberals (who are actually Socialists and even illiberal) vs Center-Right Liberals (or Classical Liberals) who push for liberal democracy and a society where everyone has a quality opportunity to succeed in life on their own.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A&E: Beyond Scared Straight (2011)

Source:A&E Network- this is from a clip of Beyond Straight.

"Beyond Scared Straight, the Emmy-nominated series that profiles unique crime prevention programs aimed at deterring troubled teens from jail, returns for its ninth and final 11-episode season.

Inspired by “Scared Straight!,” the Academy Award and multiple Emmy-winning documentary film by Arnold Shapiro, Beyond Scared Straight follows teens who pride themselves on bad behavior ranging from theft, drugs, promiscuity, gang affiliation, violence and arson. These defiant teens are forced to spend a day (and sometimes a night) in jail, interacting with convicted felons who give them first-hand experience of life behind bars with the hope that they see where the path of destruction they are headed down could lead them. Since the series’ inception in 2009, Beyond Scared Straight has profiled 331 teens in crime prevention programs in 29 prisons and jails across the county.

“While it is sad when a successful series ends, I’ve decided that it’s time for Beyond Scared Straight to come to a close,” said series creator and executive producer Arnold Shapiro. “I am so proud of the teenage lives that have been changed and even saved over our 83 episodes and six years of production. It gave kids who were heading down the wrong path a preview of their future and a road map on how to change it. Happily, the majority of them made life-altering adjustments to their dangerous behavior.”

Beyond Scared Straight is produced by Arnold Shapiro Productions for A&E Network. Executive Producers are Arnold Shapiro and Paul J. Coyne. Executive producer for A&E is Laura Fleury." 

From A&E 

"A&E Network presents "Beyond Scared Straight," a new series executive produced by Arnold Shapiro and based on his Academy Award and multiple Emmy-Winning documentary "Scared Straight!," that will profile unique approaches to juvenile crime prevention in prisons around the U.S. The series premieres Thursday, January 13 at 10PM ET/PT with a special 90-minute episode at a women's prison in central California. 
"Scared Straight!" has become an iconic name and a cultural phenomenon over the years. The film made a huge impact - showcasing the radical and effective juvenile intervention program that took place in a New Jersey prison. Since they were created, both the prison program and the film have turned countless kids away from drugs, violence and crime. The power of the original "Scared Straight!" program has inspired dozens of inmate-run intervention programs in men's and women's prisons across the country; and this series will showcase several of them.  Under the auspices of Arnold Shapiro, "Beyond Scared Straight" profiles the new approach to keeping today's kids from becoming tomorrow's convicts... 

Source:A&E Network- this is from a clip of this episode.

From A&E 

This is why I'm against warehousing our prison inmates:

There will always be prison inmates who are simply committed to being career criminals who believe that the laws in society don't apply to them and who believe they're above the law. And there will always be prison inmates who for whatever reasons never get with the program in prison and as a result end up doing a lot of their time in solitary confinement. Doesn't mean we should be giving up on people and accept the fact that their families have given up on them simply because they're not just in prison or serving long sentences, or even serving life without the possibility of parole. 

It's not so much that I care about the personal lives of our prison population, as I care about the lives of the people who live in the free world. If we want safer communities, then we need fewer criminals, especially career criminals, and people who go back to their criminal careers once they've finished their last prison sentence or got paroled. 

We also need to get to youth-at-risk before they become career criminals and longtime prison inmates. And showing them what life will be like for them as adults if they stay on the road their headed on and what life will be like for them in prison, especially in a maximum security prison and using the prison inmates there to give these juveniles those lessons is a great idea. 

Prison inmates, including lifers and people who are doing 25 to life, 40 to life, or life without the possibility of parole, shouldn't be treated like animals at a zoo. But instead given the opportunity to make their prison sentence a very productive one, not just for themselves, but for their families and even the opportunity to give back to society. 

We can do these things like education, not just high school, but vocational or even college, while they're in prison, as well as doing real work, like with these scared straight programs and other programs designed to prevent future career criminals and prison inmates.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Highlands USA: 'Life After Prison: Saverio Sammy Telesco's Story'

Source:Highlands USA- former long-term prison inmate Saverio Telesco talking about his life in and out of prison.

"After several bank robberies Saverio "Sammy" Telesco was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Telesco rehabilitated himself through his faith and has successfully re-entered society. He served 18 years and is currently on parole." 

I'm not very familiar with the Sammy Telesco story, but what I've heard about him is that he's example of why we shouldn't be warehousing prison inmates, including people who are doing life without the possibility of parole. That instead we should treat them like human beings and treat them according to their behavior. And make it clear to them that their prison sentence will be exactly what they make of it. 

Prison inmates can either do very hard time and spend most of their prison sentence by themselves and barely be able to communicate with even their families, other than letters. Ot their prison sentence won't be enjoyable and feel like they're on vacation or even in the military, but it can be a very productive experience for them where they can get help correcting their bad behaviors and way of life. 

As well as get a good education and get the skills that they need to be successful once and if they're free again. As well as the opportunity to give back to society and do some real community service and work with young people who are currently on course to becoming career criminals and longtime prison inmates themselves.

Monday, January 2, 2012

CSPAN: 'Bill Clinton 2008 Democratic National Convention Speech'

Source:CSPAN- President William J. Clinton (Democrat, Arkansas) 1993-2001.

"Pres. Bill Clinton Address at Democratic National Convention" 


"Bill Clinton: HOME RUN Democratic Convention Speech: Bill Clinton speaks before the 2008 Democratic National Convention." 
Source:CSPAN- President William J. Clinton (Democrat, Arkansas) 1993-2001
Source: CNN- President William J. Clinton- 1993-2001-

This photo is from CNN's coverage of President Bill Clinton's 2008 Democratic National Convention speech in Denver, Colorado. But the video that the photo is from is not currently available online right now.

Source:CSPAN- President William J. Clinton (Democrat, Arkansas) 1993-2001

Happy Holidays and New Year to everyone what a better way to kickoff 2012 than a post about the 2012 presidential election.

I think before we talk about President Clinton's 2008 DNC speech, I think we first have to talk about what led up to this speech and why he was speaking in favor of then Senator Barack Obama, instead of his wife Senator Hillary Clinton, who not only ran for President in 2007-08, but was the clear favorite and frontrunner to not just win the 2008 Democratic nomination, but to go onto win The White House. Because at this point there was nothing in life that President Clinton wanted then for his wife to be the first female President of the United States. 

I'm sure that President Clinton believed everything that he said in favor of Barack Obama during this speech. But this speech showed that he was a team player and could suck it up and learn to live with his wife's huge upset loss and be a team Democrat and understand that for the Democratic Party to win back The White House, he and his wife were going to have to get on board together and unite the party behind Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden. When the Clinton's could've easily just became sore losers and almost hoped that the Obama/Biden campaign lost and that wait for 2012 to run for President again.

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