Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Republic: Opinion: Noam Scheiber: Raising the Minimum Wage Isn't Just Good Politics: It's Good Economics

There are both good political as well as economic reasons for raising the minimum wage in America. If it is done right and I’m going to give you an example of why it make sense to raise the minimum wage in America. Raising the minimum wage in America if it is done right makes so much good sense that I can give you two good examples from both a political, but as well as an economic example and give you both of them from the Right even though I’m a Liberal Democrat

The political example would be this. Imagine you are Joe or Mary taxpayer in America and you work very hard for a living just to pay your bills. And raise your kids and you are a little angry about that and feel overtaxed, because here you are playing by the rules and doing everything you can to pay your own way. But you are also paying taxes to pay for people who don’t pay their own way because they are low-skilled.  

And as a result low-skilled workers work low-skilled minimum wage jobs and have to collect public assistance in order to survive. Because these low-wage employers are able to pass their employee costs onto you. And have you make up the difference for these workers housing, groceries and health care. But you raise the minimum wage to ten, twelve dollars and hour with a break especially for small employers and you keep their public assistance benefits where they are now, now these low-skilled workers can pay more for their costs of living. And Joe and Mary Smith and many others won’t have to pay as much in taxes to make up the difference.

The economic example is pretty simple. You want more people working and fewer people collecting Unemployment or Welfare Insurance, than working has to pay more than not working so people are incentivized to work for a living. And not collect public assistance checks for a living instead. You raise the minimum wage to ten or twelve dollars an hour with a thirty percent tax break for employers especially for small employers and you have employers pay their share of the public assistance costs with like a payroll tax. 

And tell employers they can get all that money back if they instead just pay their low-wage employees those costs. Or train them so they can move up in their organization or a combination of both. Now employers won’t be able to pass their employees costs on to the backs of average Joe and Mary taxpayer. And many others and you would be able to cut the middle class tax burden in this country. The politics for Democrats are very good here. 

And this would be a very good way to get Democrats to the polls in 2014 and get organize labor to help them out. It is actually good politics for Republicans as well if they are truly interested in reaching out to the working class. And not just there to carry the water for the wealthy and corporate America. Because they could say they are in favor of this as well so we can cut the taxes for average workers.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lucky Larue: Video: Vince Lombardi Teaches The Power Sweep

The Power Sweep
Lucky Larue: Video: Vince Lombardi Teaches The Power Sweep

To judge whose the greatest head coach of all-time in the NFL you first have to know what is the job of the head coach and what his responsibilities are and what you expect from him. To me at least the job of the head coach is of course to win and win at least a good deal more than he loses. And make the playoffs and be successful in the playoffs. But more than that the job of the head coach is to get the best out of his team with the players and talent that he has.

A head coach could inherit a young inexperienced team that doesn’t have that much talent. And not make the playoffs and not even come close to having a winning season. But could still have a successful season if he gets the most out of his players that he possibly can and perhaps even overachieves. And that team wins a few games that they shouldn’t have because they were playing better teams. And a coach could have a very talented and experienced football team and have an unsuccessful season. Even if they make the playoffs especially if they go out early in the playoffs or lose the conference championship. When that coach had the best team in the league that year.

And based on these standards Vince Lombardi is definitely the best head coach in the history of the NFL. Because no head coach ever got more out of his players and was a better motivator than Vince Lombardi. Because he always knew what he wanted from his team. What type of team he wanted to have on both offense and defense. The available talent that he had and how to get the most out of his talent. And a perfect example of this is the year before Lombardi arrived in Green Bay.

The Packers were 1-11 and in Lombardi’s first season in Green Bay, they were 7-5 their first winning season in eleven years and Lombardi had basically the same team to work with in 1959 than the previous Packers coach had in 1958. But the difference being that Lombardi knew how to get the most out of the players that he had. He knew where to play them and how to use them on both sides of the ball. In 1958 the Packers had a talented football team. But in 1959 the Packers were a good football team, which was the difference.

The difference between a good head coach and a bad head coach is of course the good coach knows what he is doing and the bad coach spends most of his time trying to figure it out and experimenting. But the reason why the good coach knows what he is doing is, because he knows what type of team he has. And then sets expectations for his team and player based on that. And then knows how to get the most out of the players that he has and Vince Lombardi is simply the best at this.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Onion: Peter K. Rosenthal Looks Back at It's a Wonderful Life

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

How can one Uncle Billy can completely change the complexion of a movie review? You know if I had an uncle who was that big of an asshole and screw up, I doubt my life would be so golly gee swell. (To use a term from that era) Especially if I was relying on a dipshit like this to help me run my business. First of all, if I’m dumb enough to rely on a dipshit to help me run my business, I’m probably not that much of a businessman to begin with. Maybe Uncle Billy has something that he can use as blackmail that keeps him in business with his partners. Maybe he saw Joe kissing Sally instead of his wife Mary and threatening to use that against Joe or something. But the people who go into business with someone like Uncle Billy are people who go out of business. Because they are not smart enough to hire people who are not dipshits to work for them.

It's a Wonderful Life, is a classic 1930s, 1940s, 1950s Jimmy Stewart movie. Where he represents a a very simple man from a very simple time. (At least according to Hollywood) Where he's a very well-liked town and knows everybody there and they seem to like him, because he's just like everybody else in that town. You don't cuss, even words like damn and hell are considered sins. And if there wasn't for this little annoying thing like the First Amendment, you might get arrested for saying damn or hell in public. Joe Smith is married to Mary and they have 2-3 kids. Of course Joe works and of course Mary stays home and raises their kids. Because it's considered a sin for women to work in Pleasantville. Because in Pleasantville women are not only not expected to work, but be subservient to their man. Perhaps Pleasantville is the capital of Saudi Arabia or at least part of Saudi Arabia. Except in Pleasantville the people aren't Muslin or Arab, but Protestant and tend to be Anglo-Saxon. Except for the servants, who of course are African-American and in some cases even use to be slaves. 

And Joe Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is curious what life looks like outside of Pleasantville USA. And is curious what life looks like outside of his collectivist town where everyone seems to almost be a clone of someone else. Where everyone talks and thinks the same way, lives their life the same way. Again absolutely no cussing, no dancing in public, no drinking on Sunday. Everyone says Grace before they eat, etc. And Joe wants to know if everyone else in America lives this way and perhaps what big city life would be like. The problem is that Joe is dumb enough to get in bed, I mean go into business with his Uncle Billy and of course Billy's nickname is screwup, or even even dipshit and runs the business into the ground like a drunk autopilot crashes a plane. And now Joe is stuck in Pleasantville or Bedford Falls (to be precise) and left there pick up the pieces and put his life back together. 
The Onion: Peter K. Rosenthal Looks Back at It's a Wonderful Life

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Atlantic: Opinion: Josh Freedman & Michael Lind: The Past and Future of America's Social Contract

The Atlantic: Opinion: Josh Freedman & Michael Lind: The Past and Future of America's Social Contract

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

When we are talking about the social contract, we should be clear about what are we talking about. Because this gets to the heart of what we want from government in America especially the Federal Government. Are we talking about the American tradition of the safety net that has helped contribute to the largest and most powerful economy and country in the world. Or do we want a Scandinavian welfare state.

Where the Federal Government would play a huge role especially in an economy of seventeen-trillion dollars in a country of three-hundred and ten million people in providing us with most of the services that we need to live well in America. Or are we talking about building off of the New Deal not to turn Americans into Nordics economically and ideologically, but to empower more Americans with more economic power in this great vast diverse huge country of three-hundred and ten million people. And empowering more Americans regardless of race, ethnicity and gender with the economic power to live in freedom to be able to take care of themselves.

As a New Democrat I’m in favor of the third option of building off of the New Deal by not having government take care of more people. But using government to empower more people to be able to take care of themselves. Which would be great for the economy as well as the fiscal condition of the country. With fewer people collecting from the social insurance system and more people paying into the system. Because we would have a larger middle as well as larger upper class with more people starting new business’s.

Because of the greater access to education including college and fewer people in the lower economic class either unemployed. Or working low-income jobs, but still collecting public assistance to survive. And again and I’m not trying to sound partisan ideologically, but again this gets to what do you want from government. And who do you trust to provide people with the services that they need in life. Do you trust government to take care of everyone. Do you trust an unregulated and almost completely tax-free corporate America and so-called free market to work for everyone. Or do you trust an educated workforce and educated individuals to be able to make their own decisions with their own lives.

As a Liberal I believe an educated public with the right tools and education can take care of themselves and do not need big brother or big government or a nanny state to do that for them. And the main problem with our workforce right now is that we do not have enough workers to be able to make with enough of an education to have the power to be able to take care of themselves. And a big reason why the Left right now is debating what should the role of government, especially the Federal Government be to address the income and skills gap in this country.

I believe Liberals agree with Progressives or Social Democrats that the Federal Government should be doing more. But we differ on what that new role should be. With the lets say further Left of the party essentially wanting to transform America into Scandinavia economically and politically. With the JFK/Clinton New Democratic Coalition of Liberals saying that when people have the tools that they need, they tend to make good decisions with their own lives instead. And do not need government doing everything for them.

My message of economic power and creating what I would call and economic power system, for lack of a better term right now, is about education K-College and quality education for all through college. Once we establish that and lookout for the American economy especially as we move towards energy independence, rebuild our falling infrastructure system and actually start paying down some of our national debt.

The energy and debt are already under way, but the infrastructure still needs a new plan out of Congress to make that happen. And universal access to education and job training for our low-skilled and low-income workforce as well. Our population that collects from public assistance whether they are working or not. So they can get the skills that they need to also live in freedom, the economic power they need to be successful in America.

This shouldn’t be about big government versus small government at least on the Left. But more about big government versus limited, but good government only doing the things that we need it to do for people. And then let the people with this new-found freedom, let them fly and let’s see what Americans can do for themselves. Once they have the power over their own lives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ed Valanzuela: Happy Birthday To You!

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Happy Birthday to my lovely and beautiful mother who turns, well she would probably kill me even from three-thousand miles away if I gave that out. But Happy Birthday mom and to having a lot more birthdays as well, no matter how long you live.
Ed Valenzuela: Happy Birthday to You

The New America Foundation: Michael Lind- 'The Next Social Contract'

Source:The New America Foundation- from Michael Lind's book.

Source:The New Democrat 

"The American social contract—the implicit division of obligations among individuals, families, employers, communities, and government—has long needed an update. Policies, programs, and assumptions designed for the single-earner families and industrial workplaces of the postwar era are consistently failing to provide security and opportunities for families today. New America took up the mission of designing a new social contract in 2007 and was the first organization to frame its vision in these terms. The initiative that followed generated vital ideas that continue to shape debate and policymaking. 

The American social contract is in crisis. Even before the Great Recession exposed its inadequacy, it was clear that the existing American social contract — the system of policies and institutions designed to provide adequate incomes and economic security for all Americans — needed to be reformed to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. What is needed is not mere incremental tinkering, but rather rethinking and reconstruction. Policies that have worked should be expanded, while others that have failed should be replaced. The result should not be just a modification of today’s partly failed economic security system, but a substantially reformed system incorporating the soundest elements of the old — a new social contract for a new America." 

From The New America Foundation 

"Michael Lind, historian, Policy Director of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program, and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012), on infrastructure reform and our innovation system after the 2008 crisis.  

Watch more!  Subscribe to the Intelligent Channel!"

Source:The Intelligent Channel- talking to economic historian Michael Lind.

From The Intelligent Channel 

Source:The New Democrat- I believe this is a cartoon about Theodore Roosevelt, who is one of the founding fathers of the American public safety net.

What Michael Lind is talking about her is borrowing a helluva lot of money for a country that's already deep in national debt (meaning the United States of America) to pay for things like infrastructure, research and development, and I'm sure a European democratic welfare state, as well. Perhaps making the political calculation that American taxpayers would never agree to pay for the new taxes and tax increases to fund all of these new government services and expansion of current government services. So this needs to be soled in a way that government can tell the people that they're getting all of these new so-called free government services (because no one will pay the taxes to fund them) and it's not going to cost them anything. 

If government could just borrow the money for everything that it does, you wouldn't need taxes for anything. Why do we have taxes? 

One, to pay for the government services that we get and actually need like defense, national security, infrastructure, the regulatory state, etc. 

Two, so government doesn't have to borrow the money form other countries to pay for the government services that provides for its people. Every national government in the history of the world has run deficits to pay for its government. That's just the nature of economics everywhere in the world, especially capitalist free world. But one of the good reasons for taxes to limit how much a national government can borrow, knowing that your foreign credit could actually run out, if foreign creditors don't believe you can pay back what you actually owe. So of course every civilized country in the world has to have taxes or tariffs to pay for its government services. 

What comes to what's called the social contract and I don't like that term because it's not as if taxpayers have a choice in whether to pay for the government services that it gets, short of  leaving the country. 

What I believe government's role in America is to see that everyone has a real shot at making it in America on their own and not needing public assistance at all or some universal welfare state to pay for their cost of living. 

Things like infrastructure investment, research and development, that government finances, can help in insuring that every American has the opportunity that they need to make it in America. 

But an overwhelming majority of Americans don't expect government to take care of them from cradle to grave. Otherwise the Socialists would've been running America a long time ago, instead of being stuck in third-party status or trying to overtake the Democratic Party.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NFL Films: NFL: 1978- Week 12- Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants: Miracle at The Meadowlands

Source:NFL Films- Eagles DB Herm Edwards, with the Christmas gift of 1978, courtesy of Giants QB Joe Pisarcik.
Source:The New Democrat

"Check out where the Miracle at the Meadowlands lands on NFL Top 10 worst plays."

From NFL Films

There are games that can send mediocre teams to the playoffs and end seasons for teams that may think they are good and are in the playoff race. And 1978 Miracle at The Meadowlands is that game, because both teams were still in the NFC Playoff race at this point, but basically had to win this game. 

Especially the Giants at 5-6, or have to win out and probably get help from other teams to get the fifth and last playoff spot in the NFC. The Eagles-Giants rivalry is one of the oldest and best in the NFL, top 3-5 and has had a lot of staple games. But when you lose or win a game where the team that is leading late in the game, only has to run out the clock with victory formation and they blow that and fumble the ball instead, that becomes the staple game of this great rivalry.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New America: The Weekly Wonk: Mark Schmitt: Liberal Brain Freeze & Security Narcissists

New America: The Weekly Wonk: Mark Schmitt: Liberal Brain Freeze

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I disagree with this blog from the New America Foundation the author of it Mark Schmitt. Liberal Democrats have a clear agenda and clear proposals coming from President Obama who is a Liberal Democrat, at least on economic policy, even though he comes up short when it comes to civil liberties and the War on Drugs. But President Obama has clear liberal leanings when it comes to economic policy. And has had a liberal economic agenda since becoming President of the United States.

And Senate Democrats have had a clear liberal economic agenda since taking control of the Senate when Democrats won took back Congress back in 2007. And House Democrats have had a clear liberal economic agenda since they took back the House in 2007 as well. And so have liberal or progressive governors at the state levels as well. And it’s just that these policies and agenda have been blocked in many ways by a partisan Senate Republican minority that has only had one goal since losing the Senate in 2006. Win back the Senate.

Senate Republicans believe the only way to win back the Senate is through obstructionism and make Senate Democrats and President Obama look like they can’t govern. And House Republicans winning back the House in 2010 have only made these problems even worst for Democrats. Liberal Democrats aren’t out of ideas when it comes to economic policy. And neither are Republicans, it just that Republicans have a lot of bad ideas right now that aren’t gaining in popularity.

But the liberal democratic economic agenda is built around building an economy. Where everyone has the opportunity and good opportunities to succeed in life and doing a lot of this through the private sector. With the Federal Government laying out priorities and goals for building this economy. By empowering people who need it to be able to move ahead on their own. President Obama’s and other Liberal Democrats economic agenda is pretty clear.

Investing in around a trillion dollars in new infrastructure investment to rebuild this country. Which would create millions of private sector jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries.
A national energy policy designed to move America to energy independence by investing in American energy resources and investing in all of them so we can get off of foreign oil in the future.
Comprehensive immigration reform to bring in new workers with the skills to do the jobs we need done. And to bring millions of illegal immigrants out of the shadows and have them pay the taxes they owe. So American citizens do not have to pay as much in taxes.

Education and job training especially for our low-skilled adults so they can get themselves good jobs. And become members of the middle class and not need public assistance in the future.
Tax reform to encourage more economic investment inside the United States and that even includes lower corporate taxes on investments in the United States. And closing wasteful corporate welfare. Today’s so-called Progressives though seem to hate the notion of lowering corporate taxes inside the United States, even if that means cutting corporate welfare.

It’s not that Liberal Democrats are out of economic ideas and ways to expand the American economy. But we do not have the power that we need to put our agenda through right now. And are dealing with a Republican opposition that has taken the, “our way or no way approach to economic policy.” And only having one goal of retaining control of the U.S. House, winning back the U.S. Senate. To set up a Republican winning back the White House in 2016.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The New Republic: Opinion: Michael Kazin: JFK's Assassination Made Governing Harder

The New Republic: Opinion: JFK's Assassination Made Governing Harder

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

There were columns and blogs written about a month ago talking about why there hasn’t been a liberal version of the Tea Party movement. Which is something I believe Liberal Democrats need if we ever want to move the country in a strong liberal democratic direction with the people behind us. So we have not only the troops behind us to get our agenda passed, but also the political support to stay in power once we get our agenda passed. And in 2009-10 we came pretty close when it came to the economy.

Health care reform obviously and financial reform, but didn’t have the political support to stay in power after we got these policies passed through Congress and signed by a Democratic President into law. Because the Tea Party in the Republican Party came to power and cost House Democrats not only their majority, but sixty-two seats and turned a large majority in the Senate, 59-41 to a tight majority of 53-47 going into the next Congress. So Democrats have come close and in recent years to moving the country in a clear liberal democratic direction, but came up short thanks to the 2010 Congressional midterms.

The future of the Democratic Party looks good if the aftermath of the Healthcare.Gov start up doesn’t ruin it of moving the country in that liberal democratic direction where personal and economic freedom will be available to everyone, where everyone in the country will have the ability to reach their full-potential in life. And not be judged by their race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexuality and not be denied the ability to succeed in life because they come from low-income families.

Where everyone will have the ability to get the skills that they need to live do well in life and where even low-skilled adults will have those opportunities as well. And I say this because the country is moving in a liberal as well as libertarian direction. More liberal than libertarian, but these are probably the two fastest growing political factions in the country. This doesn’t mean we are moving to an era where big government will become popular and where Americans will want an even bigger government, which is different.

Americans and the younger generations are part of this and aren’t interested in big government. Or small government, or looking for a bigger government or a smaller government. But a government that is a good government that is efficient and spends the tax dollars that it needs and spend those dollars wisely. Which is a good opportunity for Liberal Democrats to say, “we aren’t tax and spenders either. And we aren’t looking to gut the programs that people need as well.”

Liberals should say they want to create a society where everyone is treated fairly and where everyone can live their own lives and not be denied things simply because people do not like people like them, because of who they are and are bigots. And a country where everyone can succeed economically as well and these are the voters that Democrats should be speaking to. Because they can say, “we aren’t looking for the Federal Government to takeover everything, but instead empower people who need it to be able to takeover their own lives instead.”

The money is in the Democratic Party and on the liberal Left to build this movement. Barack Obama proved this in 2008 and someone like Hillary Clinton who’ll be looking to take the safest positions possible she can when she starts running for president in 2015 and go straight for Independents, is probably not the right person to build this movement. But someone with serious liberal credentials who’ll have the message that, “we don’t want government to try to do everything, but see to it that everyone can succeed on their own instead.” And that Democrat hasn’t emerged yet for president.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

VOA News: Video: Luiz Ramirez: Future Role of US Troops in Afghanistan Debated

The only thing that American troops in conjunction with NATO should be doing right now is helping to train and develop the Afghan military so Afghanistan can defend itself from domestic and foreign invaders including the Taliban and other terrorists groups. We’ve been there twelve years and have our own problems back at home economically and financially. That these wars being put on the national credit card have played a big role in. As well as security interests in other places that we need to address. And we can’t afford to occupy other countries indefinitely. So we should be and are working to develop the Afghan military and central government so they can govern themselves. As far as American troops accused of criminal acts, they should be tried in America, just as long as they are held accountable. And not given the message that they aren’t accountable under law.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Professor Noam Chomsky: 'America Is Not a Democracy'

Source:The Film Archives- MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.

"Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talked about his book, On Anarchism, in which he examines the political ideology of anarchism, from its history and early proponents to the author’s thoughts on its current usage and practicality. Noam Chomsky spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts." 


"In practice Chomsky has tended to emphasize the philosophical tendency of anarchism to criticize all forms of illegitimate authority. He has been reticent about theorizing an anarchist society in detail, although he has outlined its likely value systems and institutional framework in broad terms. According to Chomsky, the variety of anarchism which he favors is:

    ... a kind of voluntary socialism, that is, as libertarian socialist or anarcho-syndicalist or communist anarchist, in the tradition of, say, Bakunin and Kropotkin and others. They had in mind a highly organized form of society, but a society that was organized on the basis of organic units, organic communities. And generally, they meant by that the workplace and the neighborhood, and from those two basic units there could derive through federal arrangements a highly integrated kind of social organization which might be national or even international in scope. And these decisions could be made over a substantial range, but by delegates who are always part of the organic community from which they come, to which they return, and in which, in fact, they live.

On the question of the government of political and economic institutions, Chomsky has consistently emphasized the importance of grassroots democratic forms. Accordingly, current Anglo-American institutions of representative democracy "would be criticized by an anarchist of this school on two grounds. First of all because there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly – and critically – because the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere."

Chomsky believes anarchism is a direct descendant of liberalism, further developing the ideals of personal liberty and minimal government of the Enlightenment.[20] He views libertarian socialism thus as the logical conclusion of liberalism, extending its democratic ideals into the economy, making anarchism an inherently socialist philosophy." 

"On Anarchism provides the reasoning behind Noam Chomsky's fearless lifelong questioning of the legitimacy of entrenched power. In these essays, Chomsky redeems one of the most maligned ideologies, anarchism, and places it at the foundation of his political thinking. Chomsky's anarchism is distinctly optimistic and egalitarian. Moreover, it is a living, evolving tradition that is situated in a historical lineage; Chomsky's anarchism emphasizes the power of collective, rather than individualist, action. The collection includes a revealing new introduction by journalist Nathan Schneider, who documented the Occupy movement for Harper's and The Nation, and who places Chomsky's ideas in the contemporary political moment. On Anarchism will be essential listening for a new generation of activists who are at the forefront of a resurgence of interest in anarchism - and for anyone who struggles with what can be done to create a more just world." 

Source:Amazon- Noam Chomsky's book

From Amazon

"Noam Chomsky: America is not a Democracy"

Source:CSPAN- MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.

"Democracy (Greek: δημοκρατία, romanized: dēmokratiā, from dēmos 'people' and kratos 'rule'[1]) is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy"). Who is considered part of "the people" and how authority is shared among or delegated by the people has changed over time and at different rates in different countries, but over time more and more of a democratic country's inhabitants have generally been included. Cornerstones of democracy include freedom of assembly, association, property rights, freedom of religion and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights.

The notion of democracy has evolved over time considerably. The original form of democracy was a direct democracy. The most common form of democracy today is a representative democracy, where the people elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy" 

From Wikipedia 

"Anarchism is a political philosophy and movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy.[1] Anarchism calls for the abolition of the state, which it holds to be unnecessary, undesirable, and harmful. As a historically left-wing movement, placed on the farthest left of the political spectrum, it is usually described alongside communalism and libertarian Marxism as the libertarian wing (libertarian socialism) of the socialist movement, and has a strong historical association with anti-capitalism and socialism." 

From Wikipedia 

The Right likes to say that America is not a democracy, but a republic. The Far-Left (or left-wing, if you prefer) likes to say that America is not a democracy either, but for different reasons. America isn't their version of democracy, which is a majoritarian, social democracy, with a large, centralized, national state, where the chief executive would be elected by either the Congress, or House of Representatives in Congress, or directly elected by the people without an Electoral College. 

The Right is right (so to speak) that America is not a majoritarian, social democracy. We don't do everything by majority rule or vote. Our constitutional and individual rights can't be thrown out simply because you have one more vote in the House and one more in the Senate and a President that signs the bills that throws at least one of our individual rights out. Everything that Congress and the President does has to be constitutional, whether it's popular or not. 

But if you go by the Wikipedia definition of democracy (check above) America meets most of the components that you see in most democracies. The people elect their legislators and executives. We have a free press and guaranteed right to free speech. We have property rights that can't be taken away by a majority vote in Congress and a presidential signature. Actually, none of our constitutional rights can be taken away by Congress and the President. We have freedom of religion. America is a pluralistic country where everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, has the same constitutional rights as everyone else. 

I think of America is a liberal democratic, constitutional republic, based on the values of liberal democracy and classical liberalism (meaning the real liberalism) but we're not the social democracy that leftists want and perhaps we'll never be. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Hamilton Project: Blog: Melissa Kearney & Lesley Turner: Helping Lower-Income Middle Class Families

The Hamilton Project: Blog: Melissa Kearney & Lesley Turner: Helping Lower-Middle Class Americans

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Fifty to sixty thousand or even forty-thousand dollars a year might sound like a decent income in America. But when you count the fact the average American family brings in around fifty-thousand dollar a year, even with the Great Recession of 2008-09 and the fact that those salaries in large wealthy metropolitan areas like Washington, New York, Boston, San Francisco to use as examples, where that money is not that much in those areas because the cost of living is so high. Because with all the benefits of living in a big city or outside of a big city in a big metro area.

And that most Americans live in metropolitan areas and many us live in large metro areas like the ones I mentioned. And then you might have to add education if you have kids and you live in an area without the right public schools for your kids, or you have high health care costs. Fifty-thousand dollars a year give or take which technically puts you in the American middle class might sound like decent money, but not if you have a high cost of living. And not because you are bad with money, but simply you have high costs that you have to meet for your own good and family.

So those are the problems a large if not the largest middle class in the world here in America, but a middle class that in a lot of ways is struggling just to make ends meet. And struggling to afford housing, education, health care, putting money away for retirement. Things that they have to do, but since they aren’t technically poor, they aren’t eligible for public assistance. That is what happens when your cost of living increases over lets say a ten-year period, but your wages drop.

As a country with lack of economic growth, long-term high unemployment, all the jobs that were lost that haven’t been gotten back from the Great Recession and we are left with a percentage of the population the largest in our country our middle class that still have the same bills to meet and same obligations. But has fewer resources and again since they make too much money for public assistance, they have to meet these obligations out of their own pockets with fewer resources to pay those bills.

In the future I’ll be writing posts about how I believe we can and should address these economic problems. Through things like a new middle-income tax credit, job training and education for our lower- middle class workers. But with this post I just wanted to first address the problems and then go from there. Like any good doctor would, not that I’m a doctor, but to fix problems, you first have to know what the problems are.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NY Giants: Video: CBS Sports: NFL 1985-NFC-WC-San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants: Pat Summerall Intro

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The NFL on CBS was a great show for many reasons and Pat Summerall might of been the number one reason. But their timing and intros were classic and so well done and knew exactly how to put things and show things to people. First New York Giants home playoff game since the 1962 NFL Championship that was at Yankee Stadium, the day this wildcard game was played. Giants Stadium opened up in East Rutherford, New Jersey in I believe 1976 and this was the first Giants home playoff game there. And how does CBS Sports introduce this game, with Bruce Spingsteen singing Glory Days. The Glory Days of the New York Giants from the 1950s and early 60s. With Pat Summerall a former New York Giant of course doing the intro. A simple two-minute video or so and this is one of best NFL videos and intros of all-time. Just for those reasons.

CBS Sports: NBA 1990- Detroit Pistons vs Portland Blazers: 'Game 5 Best Plays'

Source:CBS Sports- the Pistons trying to win their 2nd straight NBA Finals, in game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals.

Source:The New Democrat 

"1990 NBA Finals - Detroit vs Portland - Game 5 Best Plays. The best highlights from the 1990 NBA Finals Game 5." 

From Gear Master 

The Blazers probably peaked a season too early in 1990 and not prepared to play in the 1990 NBA Finals mentally as far as knowing what it took to win the NBA Finals. And they were playing a very veteran team in the Pistons who had just played in four straight conference finals and playing in their third straight NBA Finals and going for their second straight NBA Finals Championship. 

The Blazers having not even being to the conference finals with this group before reaching the 1990 NBA Finals, against a very experienced, deep and intelligent Pistons team for the NBA Championship in 1990. So this was a matchup of a very good experienced team in the Pistons, with a great player in Isiah Thomas and a great head coach in Chuck Daly. Vs. a young and very talented Blazers teams, without a lot of big game experience. And that showed up a lot in at least four out of the five NBA Finals games.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Merkin Muffly: NBA 1983-ECQF-Game 3- Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics: Highlights

Source:Merkin Muffly- The Hawks vs Celtics, 1983 NBC EC Playoff.
Source: The New Democrat 

“Deciding Game 3 of 1983 Celtic/Hawks, Ainge gets bit by Tree Rollins. Bird holds Dominique to 1 of 6 shooting.”

The Hawks and Celtics had a pretty good rivalry with each other in the 1980s, especially in the late 80s where they seemed to meet in the Eastern Conference Playoffs every year. The Celtics won every series including 83, but 85, 86 and 88 as well, but the Hawks played them very well even at the Boston Garden and even won some games there. 

The Hawks probably should’ve won the 88 series and I believe had a better team. They were up 2-1 or 3-2 in that series, if not both leads in the series with the opportunity to close out that series at home. But lost both games.

The Hawks in the late 80s always looked like they were going to make a real run at the NBA Finals in the regular season, but always failed to even get to the Eastern Conference Finals.

A difference between a good team and a very good team: the good team has potential, the very good team consistently moves on in the playoffs. And at least plays for conference championships.

Friday, November 15, 2013

PBS: Video: American Experience: JFK, Extended Preview

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The PBS version of John F. Kennedy is the best program at least I've seen of Jack Kennedy this month. Not that there has been a lot of quality programs and films about his so far in November. Because the rest of them have been about the assassination and why he was in Dallas in November, 1963. Or why he so highly regarded in pop culture as a cool president. But the American Experience program is truly about his life and his career. 

Jack Kennedy before Congress, in Congress, the famous 1960 presidential election against Richard Nixon, the Kennedy Administration obviously and all of the key moments that happened in his administration. How he put his administration together, the relationship he had with the Southern Caucus of right-wing Democrats in Congress that had the real power in the House and Senate. Even though he did have large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. 

President Kennedy's policies to stimulate economic growth and expand educational and college opportunities. The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, his hard push for civil rights legislation. All of the things that you tend not to get from the commercial networks or the entertainment cable networks. But that you only get for the most part from PBS and films you see at the theater.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ABC Sports: MLB 1982-NLCS Game 3- St. Louis Cardinals @ Atlanta Braves: Full Game

Source:ABC Sports- Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner.

Source:The Daily Press 

"1982 NLCS Game 3 Cardinals @ Braves

From Classic MLB 

An interesting matchup for a championship series with two teams that were almost nothing like.

The St. Louis Cardinals as a team hit less than 100 home runs that season. George Hendrick who was a solid power hitter for a lot of his career, led the Cardinals with eighteen home runs. This was a team that would get on base by walking and slapping singles and the occasional double. And then stealing a lot of bases and stretching singles to doubles, doubles triples, scoring from first base. Playing great defense and getting great pitching. This was known as Whiteyball named after the great Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog.

The Atlanta Braves in 1982 were a power hitting team led by Dale Murphy and Bob Horner with Chris Chambliss as well. So this was a matchup between a speed team in the Cardinals both on offense and defense. Vs a power hitting team that pitched and defended well enough to win the AL West in 1982.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The New Republic: David Greenberg- 'JFK Was An Unapologetic Liberal'

Source:Twitter- David Greenberg.

Source:The New Democrat

"In the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the hype—the movies and books and magazine covers, the roundups and reminiscences and retrospectives—is in overdrive. How can America resist another JFK love-in? The popular adoration of Kennedy, five decades on, puzzles pundits and historians, who note, correctly, that he neither led the nation through war nor racked up a legislative record on par with that of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, or Lyndon Johnson."

From The New Republic 

“What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label, “Liberal”? If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But, if by a “Liberal,” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties – someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say that I’m a “Liberal.” [Applause.]

But first, I would like to say what I understand the word, “Liberal,” to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a “Liberal,” and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.

In short, having set forth my views – I hope for all time – 2 nights ago in Houston, on the proper relationship between church and state, I want to take this opportunity to set forth my views on the proper relationship between the state and the citizen. This is my political credo:

I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, and the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, this faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith, for liberalism is not so much a party creed or a set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of Justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves…

Source:CSPAN- U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) accepting the 1960 Democratic Party nomination for President, in Los Angeles, California.

From the JFK Library 

"September 14, 1960
"...if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

Did Kennedy feel the need to defend liberalism? Liberalism has been under coordinated assault on two fronts – first, on the part of "Big-Business" interests which enlisted Lewis Powell, who in 1971 wrote the Powell Memo for the conservative leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce that laid out a multifaceted blueprint to diminish Liberalism’s appeal - that would roll back many of FDR's New Deal protections for Americans, as well those from later moderate administrations  [ "HEIST: WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM FULL ENG 2011" -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34lf5... ].

The second organized front against Liberalism was aimed against liberal ideology, and came from the Neoconservative movement spearheaded by neoconservative philosopher Leo Strauss, beginning in the 1960’s, described in the BBC documentary:
The Power Of Nightmares: Part 1 Baby Its Cold Outside (2004) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTg4q...
The Power Of Nightmares: Part 2 The Phantom Victory (2004) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QTaJ...
The Power Of Nightmares: Part 3 The Shadows In The Cave (2004) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD1BR...

The following is an excerpt from the book review of "Leo Strauss and the American Right" by Shadia Drury, professor of philosophy at the University of Regina.
[ http://www.swans.com/library/art11/md... ] :

"...Their job, at first, is to wean America away from its "love affair" with liberalism. To do this they will drive a wedge between liberalism and democracy....Democracy is the rule of the people, or rule according to the will of the people or the majority." It can easily be used to suppress liberalism. By demagogic manipulation democracy, through a populist appeal, can be turned against liberalism.
The essential first task... is to produce ideology...to attack liberalism and gain power.
"Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat, and following Machiavelli, he maintains that if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured." The fundamental political categories are "us" and "them." A sense of perpetual crisis and war cements the society together with absolute loyalty to the gentlemen. But the categories "us" and "them" do not stop at external enemies. The sense of crisis makes the struggle against internal enemies an even more desperate war of "us" against "them."

"Ayn Rand -  Godmother of GOP Philosophy?" - https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&ar=2...

"Ronald Reagan - a Democrat?.....Yes, seriously!" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmjrl...

"Medicare - John F. Kennedy vs [now Republican] Ronald Reagan" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z00Dq...

Continuing from Kennedy's speech:

"But first, I would like to say what I understand the word "Liberal" to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a "Liberal," and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.
I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves...."

Source:U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy- at the 1960 NY State Democratic Party Convention.

From U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy

JFK in a video from 1960 when he was running for President of the United States as U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, gave a speech at the New York State Liberal Party convention defining liberalism and what liberalism is to him. And a couple of things from this speech that partisan right-wingers who like to view him as a Conservative and so-called Progressives (who are really closeted Socialists) who are in love with the welfare state (perhaps make love to it) and based most of their politics around what the Federal Government can do for people should take from this speech. Which will be on this blog and that you can find for yourself on YouTube. 

For right-wingers he was saying why he was a Liberal and what liberalism isn’t. Which should be enough evidence for them if that is what they are interested in seeing, instead just trying to score political points off it, as well as with his administration. 

And for the let’s say today’s so-called Progressives (who are actually closeted Socialists) when you see this video about how Jack Kennedy felt about his liberalism and liberalism in general, they should know, again if they are interested in facts and not just scoring political points, from JFK while he was in Congress or as President of the United States, wasn’t as far to the Left for them when it came to economic or foreign policy. 

Democratic Socialists (to be real)  like to partially quote Jack Kennedy’s speech from 1960 on liberalism. And they only use the part where he says: “If being a Liberal is someone who cares about the welfare of others, their education, housing, health care, their economic security” (to use as examples) then he meaning JFK is a Liberal. And they use this one part of a much larger speech. And David Greenburg of The New Republic whose column today in The New Republic that you can read by clicking the link on this blog, his column was no different. 

Today’s Democratic Socialists (not Communists) use it to make the case that JFK was a Liberal. But in the way that Social Democrats see liberalism and Liberals, people who believe that it is the job of government to look after people and take care of people and that is how you secure freedom for everyone. Instead of empowering people to be able to make their own decisions and be able to take care of themselves. Which is the real definition and version of economic liberalism: using government to empower those who need it in order to be able to take care of themselves. 

I’ll just layout the other half of what Senator Kennedy said about liberalism from 1960, which again you can see by viewing the video from this blog. Senator Jack Kennedy said:

“That if being Liberal is about being soft abroad, or being Liberal is about being against local government and local control, or being Liberal is someone whose not concern with people’s tax dollars”, then I’m not a Liberal.” So there goes the social democratic version of JFK that today’s so-called Progressives or so-called Modern Liberals and how JFK was not that type of Democrat. Now here is the liberal version of Jack Kennedy and how he described his own Liberals:. 

“If a Liberal is someone who looks forward and not behind, who welcomes new ideas, cares about the welfare of others, then I proud to be a Liberal”. But most people on the Left care about the welfare of others, because most leftists have a role for government when it comes to the economy. Because they do not want a small percentage of the country controlling so much of the wealth. 

President Kennedy did not govern as someone who had a new government program or expansion of a current government program to meet most of it not all the economic and personal needs of people in the United States. He wanted government to be there to help people who needed it, but also to help them be able to help themselves. 

Senator Kennedy also went on to say in his 1960 speech about liberalism: “That being Liberal is not about being in favor of a superstate, or being in favor of government force when voluntary action will do to solve our problems in society”. 

JFK was in favor of a strong effective Federal Government to so the things that we needed it to do. Not to try to run people’s lives for them. That government should be there to help people in need be able to help themselves. And meet the national security, law enforcement, equal rights protections meaning civil rights challenges, as well as foreign policy concerns of the country. That is what liberalism was to him, as well as myself. And what liberalism actually is and not how it has been successfully stereotyped by the right-wing and use to run with by the New-Left.

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
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