Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Maryland General Assembly: Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Source:The Washington Times- same-sex marriage coming to the Free State of Maryland.

Source:FRS FreeState 

“ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s same-sex marriage bill now moves to the state Senate, where floor debate could begin this week, after its narrow passage in the House. 

The bill, which would make Maryland the eighth state along with the District to legalize gay marriage, appears to have majority support in the 47-member Senate, which passed the bill last year by a 25-21 vote. 

After working furiously last week to gain several crucial votes in the House, supporters in the Senate will mainly have the task of protecting the support they already have.” 

From the Washington Times 

"The Maryland same sex marriage bill is now on Governor O'Malley's desk after passing the state senate."

Source:MPT News- the Maryland State Senate chamber.

From MPT News 

Maryland’s State nickname is the Free State. And to have a name like that for yourself to take that name and call yourself the Free State, to me at least as a Liberal, you have a lot to live up to, because it suggests you believe that Marylanders should be free to live their own lives. And not have state restrictions on how you live your own lives. That we are a Free State with free adults, people who live their own lives.

If you are a free stater, you believe that big government should not in our bedrooms or wallets. (As Barry Goldwater used to describe his own politics) That Marylanders would be able to live their own lives as they see fit. As long as they are not hurting anyone else with what they are doing. 

If your only argument against same-sex-marriage is that it violates your religious beliefs and that homosexuality violates your religious beliefs and therefor everyone else regardless of their religious beliefs should be forced to live under your religious values, then you don’t have a real argument against same-sex-marriage. Because America is a republic, not a theocracy. And so is the Free State of Maryland.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Senator John F. Kennedy: Church and State Speech (1960)

Source:Sohra Bah- U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) speaking about his views of the separation of church and state, in 1960.

"Listen to JFK here give his speech in 1960 when he was a Senator running for the Presidency and was getting a lot of heat from people(like Romney now) because he was Catholic and the U.S. had never had a Catholic President before. People were worried that the Vatican was going to sway JFK's actions as President. The people were wrong as he explains here in this video of him talking before the Houston's Ministers Conference." 

From Sohra Bah 

"On Sept. 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a major speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, on the issue of his religion. At the time, many Protestants questioned whether Kennedy's Roman Catholic faith would allow him to make important national decisions as president independent of the church. Kennedy addressed those concerns before a skeptical audience of Protestant clergy. The following is a transcript of Kennedy's speech:

Kennedy: Rev. Meza, Rev. Reck, I'm grateful for your generous invitation to speak my views.

While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election: the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida; the humiliating treatment of our president and vice president by those who no longer respect our power; the hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space." 

Source:NPR News- "Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addresses the great Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, on the issue of religion, Sept. 12, 1960" From NPR News.

From NPR News

"One of the political positions that I'm particularly proud of as an Adventist is our advocacy for the separation of church and state around the world. Here is video of John F. Kennedy's famous speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on the issue of religion in public life (1960).

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President  -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all." 

I can't really improve or add anything to what Senator John Kennedy said here. I would just say that he was arguing for the First Amendment, the U.S, Constitution, and liberal democracy all in the same speech. He was making the case for both the freedom of religion for all believers and nonbelievers, as well as Agnostics, and the separation of church and state, in the same speech.This is a speech this is a speech about both Communists and the Christian-Rightists could both hate. 

There was nothing in JFK's entire career in Congress that suggested that he was either a Catholic-Theocrat, or a State-Atheist. The opposites are true on both questions. He was simply be attacked by what's called the Christian-Right today, but back in 1960 that term wasn't around yet, but he was being attacked by Anglo-Protestants in America simply for being a Catholic and perhaps being an Irish-Catholic as well. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paul Krugman: 'The New Progressive Movement'

Source:Amazon- New York Times left-wing columnist Paul Krugman's 2007 book.

"This wholly original new work by the best-selling author of The Great Unraveling challenges America to reclaim the values that made it great.

With this major new volume, Paul Krugman, today's most widely read economist, studies the past eighty years of American history, from the reforms that tamed the harsh inequality of the Gilded Age to the unraveling of that achievement and the reemergence of immense economic and political inequality since the 1970s. Seeking to understand both what happened to middle-class America and what it will take to achieve a "new New Deal," Krugman has created his finest book to date, a work that weaves together a nuanced account of three generations of history with sharp political, social, and economic analysis. This book, written with Krugman's trademark ability to explain complex issues simply, will transform the debate about American social policy in much the same way as did John Kenneth Galbraith's deeply influential book, The Affluent Society." 

From Amazon  

"Have you read the reviews on Krugman's new book yet? Amazon 

The failure of the conservatives, made it inevitable that the Democrats would win in 1932, but it wasn't inevitable that FDR would be able to seize the moment to turn things around. 

Things are different now. The Democratic majority right now is a paper thin majority. However, the majority in the house is much different than it was in the 1990s. The south is the only region that is now strongly Republican. Pelosi is the first woman to hold her position. Republicans have always relied on race, but now that issue is much diminished. It was much easier to scare people about health care in 1993, but now people are much more alarmed about the situation. The possibilities are very great. 

There is a real progressive movement now in a way that there wasn't 15 years ago. Now it is a much more cohesive and conscious movement. It is nothing like the conservative movement. Everything from political activism to think tanks to talk radio has been greatly improved for the progressives. 

The effect is that new Democrats have been told that they absolutely must have a health care plan in place. The question is what happens next." 

Source:Paul Krugman Blog- New York Times left-wing columnist Paul Krugman talking about the so-called Progressive movement, in 2007 or 08.

From the Paul Krugman Blog

I know I've said this before, but it needs to be said again: political labels mean nothing if the people using and subscribing to any particular political label doesn't use them correctly 

To put it simply: if you are going to call someone a Conservative, then that person actually needs to be a Conservative and not a Libertarian or a Nationalist. If someone is going to call themself a Conservative, then they need to be a Conservative and not a Libertarian or Nationalist. 

If you are going to call someone a Liberal, then that person needs to be a Liberal and not some type of Socialist like a Social Democrat or a Communist. And if someone is going to call themself a Liberal, then that person needs to be a Liberal and not some type of Socialist like a Social Democrat or Communist, because the s-word and c-word scares the hell out of them. 

And if you are going to call someone a Progressive, then that person needs to be a Progressive and again not some type of Socialist (democratic or otherwise) because the s-word and c-word scares the hell out of either you or the leftist who doesn't want to be known as a Socialist. 

In every other developed, democratic country in the world, at least, someone as left-wing and believes in a big national government as much as someone like a Paul Krugman or other American leftists, that person would be known as either Social Democrat or a Socialist. Someone like that in America is called a Democratic Socialist, people like Senator Bernie Sanders who is the only self-described Socialist in the U.S. Congress (but not the only Socialist in Congress) and other leftist Democrats in Congress today, like in the so-called Progressive Caucus. 

Progressive in the political sense is about creating progress through government action. But limited government action, like using government to empower people who are struggling to take care of themselves. 

What's supposed to pass as a so-called Progressive today, is what Europe calls Socialists or Social Democrats. People who believe in a democratic form of collectivism where it's the job of the national government to take care of and meet the needs of the people and even manage their lives for them. Which is what Paul Krugman is talking about here when he's talking about the so-called modern Progressive movement.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Universal Newsreels: President John F. Kennedy- Proposes Tax Cut (1962)

Source:Universal Newsreels- President John F. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) talking about his tax cut plan in 1962.
Source:FRS FreeState

“John F. Kennedy speaks on his income tax cut that he wants to present to Congress in January next year (partial newsreel).”

At risk of sounding partisan: Neoconservative supply siders like to use President John F. Kennedy as their inspiration when talking about President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts from 1981 and saying that President Kennedy also not only believed in tax cuts, but that tax cuts pay for themselves, even when you are also dramatically increasing government spending, which is what President Reagan and that Congress of 1981-82 did. But President Kennedy didn’t believe that.

When JFK became President in 1961, the top tax rate in America was 90%. The bottom rate was 25% and he inherited and economy that was barely growing in his first two years as President, that was just coming out of the recession from the late 1950s. Whatever your political affiliation is I believe most Americans can agree that 91% is too high for a  top rate (regardless of your income) and that 25% is too high, especially for lower middle income Americans, who perhaps barely make enough money for pay any Federal income taxes.

When Ronald Reagan becomes President in 1981, the top tax rate thanks to President Lyndon Johnson getting tax reform passed out of Congress in 1964, was 70% and the bottom rate was 22%.

President Reagan got through a divided Congress a tax cut that lowered the top rate from 70 to 39 and the bottom rate from 22 to 15. While at the same time doubling the size of the Defense Department and increasing the rest of the Federal budget as well. So there’s no mystery to why four years later we had a budget deficit that goes from 60 billion, to 200 billion dollars under President Ronald Reagan, who talked like a fiscal conservative, but governed like a supply side borrow and spender.

What President Kennedy wanted to do and what President Johnson got passed in 1964, was yes, cut taxes across the board because they were too damn high across the board. While at the same time eliminating tax loopholes in the tax system and making sure the U.S. Government paid for its spending, instead of believing that tax cuts automatically pay for themselves.

If your definition of a fiscal conservative is someone who believes in spending less and not running high deficits and debt, Jack Kennedy was more fiscally conservative than Ron Reagan.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Democratic Party: Mitt Romney- 'The Story of Two Men Trapped in One Body'

Source:Democratic Party- the question for 2012: who is Mitt Romney? Not sure even Mitt knows.

"Mitt v. Mitt, The story of two men trapped in one body.   Learn more at:Mitt TV Mitt." 

From the Democratic Party 

The question I believe not just a lot of American voters, but perhaps especially Republican voters want answered in 2012 is: "Who is Mitt Romney?" 

When Mitt Romney ran for Governor of Massachusetts, he was basically a Center-Right, Northeastern Republican. People who would've been called Progressive Republicans in the 1950s and 1960s. Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller, Prescott Bush, Dwight Eisenhower, Tom Dewey, and many others. Center-Right Progressives used to be a large part of the Republican Party coalition up until the 1980s or so. And Mitt was this type of Republican in 1994 when he ran for U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy. Mitt doesn't get elected Governor of Massachusetts in perhaps the bluest of Democratic states (at least east of California, running as Bible Belt, Christian-Populist or Conservative Libertarian. 

But now go up almost 20 years from 1994 and Mitt wakes up one day and realizes that he not only wants to be President of the United States, but wants to run in a party where he and his fellow Progressive Republicans are no longer welcomed. A party that's now dominated by Christian-Populists and has a growing conservative-libertarian base in it. And he simply can't win the Republican nomination for President, with his Northeastern, Progressive record as Governor of Massachusetts. So he feels the need to try to get people to forget about his past and try to tell people: "This is who Mitt Romney is now. You should forget about the old Mitt."

To put it simply: Mitt Romney is whoever he feels he needs to at any given time and any given place, to tun for any particular office. 

If Mitt were running statewide in Mississippi (even though he was born and raised in Michigan) he would try to convince Mississippi voters that he's the biggest redneck, fundamentalist populist, on Jesus's Green Earth. 

If Mitt were running statewide in California, he would try to convince California voters that he's the hippiest of hippie lefty's, who thinks men are pigs and most Caucasian-Americans are bigots, capitalism is racist and only socialism can save us. 

We don't know who Mitt Romney is, because the one person who should know who is, doesn't know himself real well. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NAEH: Ian Lisman- 'The President's FY 2013 Budget Proposal: Ending Veterans Homelessness'

Source:National Alliance To End Homelessness- Ian Lisman talking about the President's budget.

"An interview with National Alliance to End Homelessness policy and program analyst (and veteran) Ian Lisman. Ian goes over best practices and strategies to end veteran homelessness." 

I like what Ian Lisman is talking here and is something I talk about when I'm talking about homelessness and poverty in America in general, which is not just transitional housing and making sure that there are enough beds and food in each shelter, but talking about ways to move homeless people, especially chronically homeless people from shelters to long-term housing. 

A lot of people who are chronically homeless are in that situation because substance abuse addicts like with alcohol, as well as illegal drugs. Or dealing with long-term mental issues that prevents them, as well as their substance abuse issues from getting jobs that they can hold onto and allows for themselves to become financially independent with their own homes and everything else that free people in a free society are able to do for themselves. 

What we should be talking about when it comes to homelessness and poverty in general, is to help people who are in these situations, help themselves so they're no longer homeless. That starts with a clean bed and good food. But long-term if you want to keep these folks from having to come back to shelter at all, we have to deal, with the issues that bring them to shelters in the first place. Which is drug addition, mental problems, and lack of an education which prevents people who are in these situations from getting and hold onto long-term good jobs that allows for these folks to live in freedom and not live in poverty at all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal: 'President Obama Budget Proposal To Set Up Year-End Clash With Congress'

Source:Wall Street Journal- White House correspondent Laura Meckler.

"The White House's budget plan, to be formally released Monday isn't likely to become law any time soon but it sets up a critical debate that will come to a head in the weeks after the November election. At that time, Washington must grapple with three major budget issues: what to do about the Bush tax cuts, what to do about $1 trillion in deeply unpopular spending cuts that are set to kick in, and how to again raise the debt ceiling. All three items will be on the late-2012 agenda, regardless of whether Obama wins a second term." 

I think Laura Meckler nails it about President Obama's budget proposal. The President has a divided Congress to work with, with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate. And even with a Democratic Senate and even if Majority Leader Harry Reid brought up the President's budget proposal under reconciliation, (meaning the Senate minority party couldn't block the bill by themselves) which he couldn't do anyway because reconciliation bills have to start in the House, but even if Leader Reid could do that, he only has a 53-47 majority. And he could lose a handful of centrist Democrats who don't want to vote for any tax increases right now, especially if they're up for reelection and plan on serving in the next Congress. 

So President Obama's budget plan here is essentially his economic vision for where he wants to take the country if he's reelected and has a Democratic Congress (House and Senate) next year with the votes to push his agenda through. These are the kinds of proposals and political games that you get with a democratic government when the country is so divided like we are politically and culturally today. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

POT-TV: Dana Larson- 'End Prohibition'

Source:POT-TV- End Prohibition with Dana Larson.

"Dana Larsen endorses Peggy Nash for NDP leader in the first of his new End Prohibition video series." 

From POT-TV 

You would think that if there is one country in the West where marijuana would already be legal, it would be Canada. I mean Canada is like the hippie-left capital and perhaps social democratic capital of the world, at least in the West. But the left-wing anywhere, including in Canada, is not just hippie-leftist, Social Democrats. You obviously have Communists over there, as well as democratic leftists who question personal freedom and allowing individuals to make their own decisions when it comes to their own personal lives. You have nanny statists in America when it comes to not just marijuana, but now sugar and salt, and you have nanny statists on the Left in Canada as well. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Pot Guy 420: Pat Robertson- 'Blames Liberals for Drug War and Overincarceration 2012'

Source:The Pot Guy 420- Reverend Pat Robertson, blaming Liberals for the War On Drugs and prison industrial complex. No, seriously.

"Pat Robertson created a firestorm when he first called for the decriminalization of marijuana in December 2010, causing even his Christian Broadcasting Network's own publicist to deny that that's what he actually meant.

Well, in a March 1 segment of "The 700 Club" that went largely unnoticed, Dr. Robertson is at it again, reiterating his call for marijuana reform and even blaming liberals for the U.S.'s over incarceration problem.
We here in America make up 5% of the world's population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners...

Every time the liberals pass a bill -- I don't care what it involves -- they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don't feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.

I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.

I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance. The whole thing is crazy." 

If I were to take Reverend Pat Robertson seriously about blaming Liberals for the War On Drugs and prison industrial complex (which I don't) then Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are Liberals. That's according to Reverend Robertson's logic and argument. (If you want to call it that) 

I don't want to blame anyone for the War On Drugs and prison industrial complex. This is a nonpartisan problem created by career politicians (Democratic and Republican) who are simply worried about getting reelected and promoted in office, who freak out about looking soft on crime and coming out in favor of alternative sentencing and rehabilitation, for our non-violent, low-risk offenders, especially our drug addicts who fill up the prisons in America. 

But if there's anything that's good about the Great Recession, it's that it's teaching taxpayers and even politicians (assuming there are politicians who care capable of learning) that there's only so much money that any government can spend, especially in tough economic times and we have to be smarter with how we spend our tax dollars. Especially our criminal justice dollars that tend to be the most expensive part of every state budget and a major part of the Federal budget. Which is why you are seeing these strange political coalitions forming like with Tea Party Populists on the Right and hipster leftists on the Left, coming together in favor of criminal justice reform.

ACLU: 'Laura Murphy on Today Show - Religious Liberty is Not at Risk'

Source:ACLU- Laure Murphy on the NBC Today Show.

"ACLU Washington Legislative Office Director, Laura Murphy discusses the recent controversy surrounding the Obama administration's announcement that it would keep in place a proposed rule that ensures that new insurance plans include coverage of contraception." 

From the ACLU 

I've never argued that the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) is a perfect piece of legislation, certainly not perfectly written. Which is what you can get from Congress and The White House when they care in complete control, where the opposition has no interest in working with you, and you are on a tight deadline to pass your legislation since you are already in an election year, which is what 2010 was. And the birth control mandate, along with medical device tax, and the Medicaid mandate, are parts of the bill that I would like to see either amended or taken out. 

As a Liberal (or Classical Liberal, if you prefer) I'm a strong believer in free speech, freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. (Call me a radical Liberal, if you want too) But that separation goes both ways. 

We don't have the right to force Americans though government force to not only accept our religious views, but to live by them. Catholics of all ethnic backgrounds, not just Irish and Italian, are overwhelmingly opposed to birth control. And then you have Uncle Sam coming in and forcing religious groups to pay for something that goes against their religious values, that they even view as a tool to commit murder. I'm not a lawyer, but this looks unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

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