Saturday, March 30, 2013

Minister Malcolm X: ‘Our History Was Destroyed by Slavery (1963)’

Source:Loviso Guma- Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X, on the Chicago City Desk in 1963.

Source:The Daily Press

“MALCOLM X – Our History Was Destroyed By Slavery (1963) Check all our videos/docs and share to your friends:Unstripped Voice." 

"Malcolm X: Our History Was Destroyed by Slavery"
Source:Loviso Guma- Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X, on the Chicago City Desk in 1963.

Malcolm X’s message was about empowering African-Americans who were simply being held down in America because of their race, to have the same freedom to live their own lives as Caucasian-Americans have. It’s really what his message is about and doing whatever it took to accomplish that and allowing for African-Americans to be able to decide for themselves how best to get to freedom in America. Even if that means going their own way and simply living in their own communities. And as he grew and developed personally and professionally, he realized that not all Caucasian-Americans were evil and devils.

Malcolm X, concluded and rightfully so, that it was the ignorant people in the Caucasian community that were the problem and need to be confronted and taken on. But the goal of Malcolm X’s message was always the same: empowering African-Americans to be able to own their own business’s and homes and so-forth. And not have to be dependent on anyone including government for them to live. But he wanted them to have the power to be able to take care of themselves.

Minster Malcolm, was a big believer in education, economic development and economic opportunity. Something that Liberals such as myself and Conservatives, should really respect about him.

Minster Malcolm X and Dr. Martin King, were both great men and both wanted freedom for the African-American community. They just went about it different ways and had different messages in how to accomplish those goals.

Dr. King, wanted African-Americans to be freed from poverty and racism. Minister Malcolm, wanted the same community to be free. And be able to live their own lives and be able to take care of themselves. Not have to live off of government even though very generous benefits. Not have to live off of government at all. True individual freedom including economic freedom. The ability to take care of yourself and be able to defend yourself. Malcolm, was a true freedom fighter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Think Progress: John Halpin- ‘The Obama Coalition, The Working Class, And RFK

Source:Think Progress- the Obama Coalition is a beautiful portrait of America.

“The potential of the new Obama coalition is truly impressive, given its 2012 performance and how many of its constituent parts are likely to grow in numbers over the course of the decade. But the word “potential” should be stressed. There is no guarantee that turnout and support levels will stay as high as they have been going forward. And there is definitely no guarantee that these constituencies will remain active and involved in the legislative battles that must be fought to turn progressive policies into law. Thus, implementing a progressive agenda will, to a large extent, be dependent on the mobilization level of the Obama coalition both in future elections and between those elections.

This is a big challenge, but Obama and his team have taken some significant steps to address it. These steps have been driven by the recognition that the best way to maintain enthusiasm and support is to deliver for the groups that put you in office. Thus, the administration has been aggressively pushing a number of policy priorities that resonate with the concerns of different groups in the coalition: immigration reform, curbing gun violence, same sex marriage, climate change and universal pre-K.

This strategy is a good one. These fights are all substantively important in policy terms and may, with luck, result in some important victories. And they should indeed pump up enthusiasm levels as different groups in the coalition see how strongly Obama is willing to fight for their priorities. Nor does it seem likely that a big political price will be paid for touching on issues that have a social dimension; the country has moved rapidly in a progressive direction on most of these issues and these issues lack the power they once had to elicit a backlash.” 

I think the main advantage that the Republican Party has over the Democratic Party has do with with their voters. I’m not talking about race, ethnicity, gender, etc, but cultural and generational. Republicans tend to show up and show in big numbers and when they lose, it’s generally not because their voters didn’t show up, but Democrats had record turnout, at least when you are talking about competitive elections in swing districts or states, or at the presidential level.

Republicans tend to get stereotyped as people who are all or nothing voters:

“You do exactly what I want you to do and say exactly what I want you to say and believe in the exact same things that I do, or I won’t vote for you.” When the fact is Republicans tend to vote for the candidate in the Republican primary who has the best shot at beating the Democrat in the general election. And the Republicans who didn’t vote for the most mainstream Republican in the primary, turn out and vote in the general for the Republican that they didn’t vote for in the primary, because that person isn’t the Democrat and is to the right of the Democrat, and they probably at least tend to agree with that Republican on economic issues.

Democratic voters are just very different. They tend to be younger and less politically active, more ideological, and tend to vote for candidates based on personal issues. They want someone who they like, who they have personal and cultural connections with. And they’re also voters who won’t show up in the general election to vote for Democrats just to beat the Republicans. But they have to like the Democrat personally and ideologically before they can vote for them.

So if you are a leader in the Democratic Party right now, especially at the Democratic National Committee or at the state level, you should be focusing on Democratic turnout. How do you get Democrats to show and vote during every primary and general election, even if the Democratic candidates or incumbents aren’t ideologically pure (according to the left-wing) and get those folks to turnout and vote for the Democrats anyway. Because at the end of the day, political parties are in the business of winning political elections. Not advancing partisan, ideological, political movements. 

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Karen Nussbaum: ‘New Culture War Addresses Fairness of Wealth Allocation’

Source:Working America- leader and labor organizer Karen Nussbaum.

“Jonathan Haidt has an interesting post, “Of Freedom and Fairness: The new culture war is about economic issues, and the side that better sells its idea of fairness will have the upper hand” up at Democracy Journal. With the old culture war moving off center stage, Haidt argues that,

…Economic issues such as taxation are moral issues–no less so than social issues like gay marriage–and neither side has full control of the key moral foundations that underlie economic morality: fairness and liberty. Both sides are vulnerable to being outflanked and outgunned. Both sides could use a detailed map of the moral ground on which economic battles are waged.

In this essay I offer such a map, showing the territory currently controlled by Democrats (equality and positive liberty) and by Republicans (proportionality and negative liberty). What remains up for grabs is “procedural fairness”: the integrity of the process by which we decide who gets what. Both parties are open to charges that they don’t want everyone to “play by the same rules.” Both parties have ways of answering this charge and persuading the broader public that its concept of fairness is the better one. The party that wins that point will have the upper hand in this new culture war.”

“GRITtv: The US’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, pledged at its ’13 Convention to work more closely with community-based affiliates & its grassroots organizing arm, Working America. Laura Flanders talked to WA Director Karen Nussbaum after the vote.” 

Source:The Laura Flanders Show- talking to Karen Nussbaum from Working America.

From The Laura Flanders Show 

Someone should define what positive and negative liberty means, whether you are left-wing or right-wing.

Just a thought, but when I hear let’s saying leftists (people who I tend to call Socialist or Social Democrats, that others call Progressives) talk about positive liberty, they’re talking about the freedom for people to not have to worry about themselves, not to have to go without the basic necessities in life and that government will make sure that no one has to take personal responsibility over their own lives, because government will either take care of everyone financially or outlaw certain individual personal and economic decisions that big government believes is bad for us and bad for society.

And when leftists are talking about negative liberty, they’re talking about people having the freedom to make mistakes with their own lives that government (according to them) has to pay for. That according to leftists, the world is too big and complicated of a place to let people make their own economic decisions:

Pick their own health coverage

Plan their own retirements

Where to send their kids to school

How much individual wealth that they should have, and unfortunately I could go on, but hopefully you get the point by now. And that we need a government big enough manage everyone’s life for them, because the world is too big and complicated a place to allow individuals to live freely. According to leftists.

I like Andrew Jackson’s 1820 presidential campaign slogan as well: Equal opportunity for all, special privileges for none” that’s where I am as an Independent Democrat with classical liberal and progressive leanings. Almost 200 years later that’s the America we should be trying to build.

We shouldn’t be trying to go back to the 1940s or 50s when minorities and women were treated like second-class citizens compared with Anglo-Saxon men. Which is what the Tea Party seems to want to do. Or try to move America Scandinavia economically, politically, and culturally. Which is what the New-Left (Socialists or Social Democrats) want to do with us.

What we should be doing instead is create an America where everyone has a real opportunity to succeed and live in freedom in America and then get to enjoy the awards of their successes and pay for their own mistakes themselves. Which is what personal freedom and responsibility is all about. Which the America that we should be working to create instead of on Christian-theocratic monarchy, or some socialist utopia. 

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Heritage Foundation: Jim DeMint- Socialism Conservatism & Fiscal Conservatism

Source:The Heritage Foundation- U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (Republican, South Carolina) speaking at The Heritage Foundation in Washington.
"Senator Jim DeMint spoke at the morning session of the fifth annual Values Voter summit. Among the topics addressed at the summit were the role of the tea party movement, the economy, the 2010 midterm elections, and the conservative legislative agenda."

Source:The Truth According To Scripture

As far as Senator Jim DeMint goes: he was actually one of the few Republican members of Congress that I actually respected when he was there in the 2000s and so far in this decade, before he left the Senate this year, to run the right-wing Heritage Foundation in Washington. Having said that, I didn't respect him because I tended to agree with him. I respected him because at least I knew what he believed, because he was honest enough to tell people what he believed, instead of constantly worrying about what political statements and positions could help or hurt him politically.

Now, I believe in fiscal responsibility as well. But it's one thing to say that government is too big, spends too much of our money, puts too many restrictions on individuals on one hand and then on the other argue that we have too much freedom on the other. 

In late 2010, Senator DeMint came out in favor out outlawing from the Federal Government, not just same-sex-marriage and pornography, but adultery as well. Is government too big, spends too much, does too much, or not? 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foreign Affairs: Gideon Rose: 'Iraq in Retrospect'

Source:Foreign Affairs- welcome to Iraq, also known as Hell on Earth.
“Ten years ago this week, the United States and a few of its allies invaded Iraq, writing the final chapter in Washington’s checkered decades-long relationship with Saddam Hussein. Thanks to problems of both conception and execution, the Iraq war ended up becoming the most egregious failure in half a century of American foreign policy, costing a vast amount of blood and treasure for all concerned and tarnishing the United States’ reputation for international leadership, honesty, morality, and even basic competence.

A swift and successful invasion dissolved into chaos once Baghdad fell: liberation turned into occupation; local uncertainty turned into insurgency and then civil war. Four long years after the toppling of Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square, a new and better-resourced American strategy managed to build on some positive local trends and stabilize the situation, so that by the end of the decade Iraq had pulled back from the brink and gained a chance at a better future. But even then nothing was guaranteed, as low-level violence and political turmoil continued; the withdrawal of the last American troops in December 2011 left behind a deeply troubled country… 

“Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs, discusses where planning for the Iraq war went wrong.” 

Source:Carnegie Council- Gideon Rose speaking about the Iraq War.

From the Carnegie Council

The Iraq War is a tough issue for me. Because pre-Iraq invasion and up until the summer of 2003 when it was discovered that there were no more weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that the Saddam Regime was so weak that it couldn’t defend itself and probably could’ve been taken out by what’s going on currently in Syria, or what happened in Libya by simply arming the Iraqi people and having a civil war and of course all the money that was not only spent but borrowed that American tax payers are going to have to payback, I was in favor of it.

Congress and the American people simply didn’t have enough information to make a decision like this and that had we just spent 3-6 months, or taken all of 2003 even to think about this, if we just had more information and better information, I don’t believe Congress approves of this war. Even if Republicans controlled both the House and Senate when. I’m not trying to sound like John Kerry from back in 2003-04 and say I was for it before I was against it, but that’s exactly my situation. And I’m not trying to make excuses about why I was for it.

I thought after 9/11 that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a Baathist dictator in the heart of Arabia in a big country the size of Iraq, we are talking about California here, with the Islāmic terrorists in the area, would be bad for not only the broader Middle East but for America as well. Because Saddam’s regime was so weak at the time and could’ve used the money that would come from selling his weapons to terrorists groups and other authoritarian regimes. What I didn’t know and this comes from not doing all of my homework is that Saddam no longer had any WMD and didn’t have connections with terrorists groups at all.

One of the legacies of the Iraq War is that there were many mistakes made upfront and have Bipartisan hands written on them. Like the fact that the Democratic Party led at the time by Tom Daschle controlled the U.S. Senate and that there was a divided Congress as a result. So Senate Democrats led by Leader Daschle could’ve simply said no to the Iraq War and killed it in Congress by themselves. Takes both chambers of Congress to write laws, but it only takes one chamber to kill laws and resolutions.

Senate Democrats could’ve simply said, “no, we are not ready to do this. Congress doesn’t have all the information that we need to make this decision.” And Joe Biden, Carl Levin and Bob Graham Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees could’ve spent the last couple months of that Congress in 2001-02 holding hearings to get more information about Iraq. And the situation it was in financially, militarily and everything else.

The legacy of the Iraq War is really about bad intelligence and not having enough solid information. How we not know going in that Saddam was as weak as he was and his country was as weak as it was. How we go in there without enough people to occupy this big country and not knowing that the Iraqi people weren’t ready to govern themselves. Takeover the military and law enforcement agencies and govern the country and the provinces and so-fourth. And how we not know how weak their economy was especially in the energy sector where this country should be energy independent.

All of these things we should’ve known especially Congress upfront before you commit your country’s resources and manpower to invade a country like this. Had we had this information upfront we would’ve known that Saddam isn’t a threat to anyone outside of his country. The legacy of the Iraq War on the positive is that one of the worst dictators and serial murderers and tortures of the 20th Century was eliminated allowing for a country rich in resources and in people to do very well.

With a real shot at a bright future, but at heavy cost for the Iraqi and American people. In lost treasure and in money and lives and for the most part. The lessons of it are how not to invade a country and do your homework and get all the needed information available and decide based on all of that. Is it worth it or not and go from there. 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dennis Prager's War on Drugs

Source:Sean Giordano- a human's brain on Sean Giordano and Lady Gaga?

“(Above) Michael Medved touched on Lady Gaga’s (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) astute and candid admissions about her addiction to marijuana. In this revealing discussion, she weaves a tale that has led her to a sober (more sober?) life. I give her props and pray she is not part of “Club Twenty-Seven.” More importantly, I hope she finds the Life Medved mentions (as I wish for Michael as well).”

"Some numbers coming down the pike about legalization of marijuana.

See more here:Religion Political Talk." 

Source:Sean Giordano- the brain on marijuana or alcohol?

From Sean Giordano  

Right-wing radio talk show host Dennis Prager I believe speaking out against marijuana legalization in Colorado or Washington. Populist-rightists love to talk about individual freedom, federalism, and local control, but just as long as individuals, states are doing what they approve of. But when they do something that violates their fundamentalist beliefs, they’re the first to call Uncle Sam for backup and to step in and outlaw what they disapprove of.

Source:FRS FreeState- Dennis Prager obviously on the right (unless that's a crossdressing, transgender man) but I don't know who the woman is.

Right-wing talk radio show host and columnist Dennis Prager I believe speaking out against marijuana legalization in Colorado or Washington. The Religious-Right or Populist-Right in America loves to speak out in favor of individual freedom, federalism, and local control, but just as long as they approve of the activities that people want to be involved with. Otherwise they're the first to call Uncle Sam for backup when something that they disapprove of is going on somewhere like in Colorado or the State of Washington.

Source:FRS FreeState- right-wing radio talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager, I believe speaking out against marijuana legalization in Colorado or the State of Washington.
Anytime I hear someone on the right (however they define their politics) say they believe in individual freedom and are against big government, I want to know where they stand on the War on Drugs, especially as it relates to marijuana.

People on the right unless they are actually conservative in the real sense, tend to speak in favor of choice and letting the individual decide, except when it comes to the War on Drugs and marijuana.

Economic freedom especially as it relates to opportunity for people who need it and not overtaxing and regulating is critical. But the ability for people to be able to make their own decisions with their personal lives and have personal freedom is just as critical. Without big government interfering with how they live their lives.

What Dennis Prager and I guess the Religious-Right in America, as much as they talk about individual freedom and the need for it, at the same time they bash Liberals for embracing individual freedom and freedom of choice when it comes to issues like marijuana and homosexuality and other key social issues. What Americans should be allowed to do in the privacy of their own homes.

Big Government Christian-Conservatives, have embraced big government prohibition as it relates to marijuana and harder narcotics. Which is just one example of why the Republican Party is having such a hard time right now appealing to young voters, because the Leave it to Beaver 1950s big government wing of the party is seen as big government paternalists, who want to control how they live their own lives and young people now tend to be liberal-libertarian on social issues.

Prohibition on its face is big government-paternalist idea, with the idea being that individual freedom is dangerous and when people have the freedom to make their own decisions, they make mistakes that s harmful to society. This was the case with alcohol prohibition in the early 20th Century and is the case with leftists who want to band tobacco, junk food, and soft drinks today and even marijuana in some cases. And yet now we see people on the right embracing the same thing which is prohibition. 

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hill: Erik Wasson- ‘House Democratic Budget Includes $1.2T in Taxes, $200B New Stimulus’

Source:U.S. Congress- U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (Democrat, Maryland) Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee (113th Congress)

“House Democrats on Monday unveiled a 2014 budget proposal that includes $1.2 trillion in new taxes and $200 billion in stimulus spending.

That’s about twice the level of stimulus spending that what was in the Senate Democratic budget, which included $975 million in new taxes.

House Republicans have a budget that would lower tax rates and cut spending by $5.7 trillion compared to the Congressional Budget Office baseline.

The House Democratic budget, authored by Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), would raise $1.2 trillion in revenue over ten years by ending tax breaks for both corporations and individuals.

“We focus immediately on accelerating the economic recovery, on growing jobs rather than shrinking jobs,” Van Hollen told reporters.” 

From The Hill 

This is a better plan then the House Republican budget plan because it moves us past the George W. Bush borrow and spend policies where you can cut taxes indefinitely and increase defense spending indefinitely without paying for any of it.

What House Democrats are trying to do led by Chris Van Hollen (Ranking Member of the Budget Committee) is say we have both a revenue and a spending problem. We are spending too much money in some areas. We aren’t collecting enough money to pay for the things that the Federal Government needs to do and we need to invest more in areas that we should be spending on, that leads to better economic and job growth, like in infrastructure, science, and other research.

So the goals are clear and very laid out and if Representative Paul Ryan wasn’t Chairman of the Budget Committee and Representative Van Hollen was, this plan would probably pass in the House.

The problems with the Van Hollen budget plan are both pragmatic and structural. This is the plan that will be offered by the House Democrats that will be the minority substitute to the Ryan Plan. Which is Congressional speak for House Democrats are currently the minority party in the House, therefor don’t have the members and votes to pass their own bills. They can only offer amendment and substitutes to what House Republicans will be doing. And therefor this plan will never become law, at least not in this Congress.

And then there’s the structural problem with the Van Hollen Plan: they want to raise taxes during a weak economy to pay for more Federal spending. I agree with them on infrastructure, I just don’t think you invest more in in infrastructure in a weak economy that’s barely growing a 1%, by making the cost of doing business in America more expensive. But instead have everyone chip into the new roads and other infrastructure projects that we need, as well as the improvements.

As I’ve written before, Congressional budget plans are generally not worth more than pop culture catch phrases and political slogans and tend not to be anything more than visions and wish lists: “This is what we would do if we just had the power and votes to get it done.” But at least this gives American voters a real choice in who they want to see in control of the House of Representatives two years from now: Republicans or Democrats. 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Foreign Affairs: Juan de Ornis: Reelect President Dilma Rousseff: Social Democracy in Brazil

"In February, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced that she would seek a second term in office. Given the country's poor economic performance, the coming election season will not be an easy one for her."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Professor Conor Gearty: ‘Liberty and Security For All’

Source:Amazon- Professor Conor Gearty's book about liberty and security.

“All aspire to liberty and security in their lives but few people truly enjoy them. This book explains why this is so. In what Conor Gearty calls our ‘neo-democratic’ world, the proclamation of universal liberty and security is mocked by facts on the ground: the vast inequalities in supposedly free societies, the authoritarian regimes with regular elections, and the terrible socio-economic deprivation camouflaged by cynically proclaimed commitments to human rights.

Gearty’s book offers an explanation of how this has come about, providing also a criticism of the present age which tolerates it. He then goes on to set out a manifesto for a better future, a place where liberty and security can be rich platforms for everyone’s life.

The book identifies neo-democracies as those places which play at democracy so as to disguise the injustice at their core. But it is not just the new ‘democracies’ that have turned ‘neo’, the so-called established democracies are also hurtling in the same direction, as is the United Nations.

A new vision of universal freedom is urgently required. Drawing on scholarship in law, human rights and political science this book argues for just such a vision, one in which the great achievements of our democratic past are not jettisoned as easily as were the socialist ideals of the original democracy-makers.” 

From Amazon 

“Watch Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at London School of Economics discuss liberty and security as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series on 23rd January 2013.” 
Source:Durham University- Professor Conor Gearty talking about his book about civil liberties and income inequality.

To paraphrase Professor Milton Freedom: you can’t have security without liberty. And I would add vice-versa. Whether you are being oppressed by the state or from criminals or terrorists, you are being oppressed. Whether you are in physical danger from your own government or by criminals or terrorists, the result is the same: you are in physical danger.

When government cracks down on individuals civil liberties and rights even to protect the society from attacks by criminals or terrorists or just to protect it’s own regime from people who want a new government and that represents them and promotes and protects their freedom, you are still being oppressed. And you are giving up your freedom or it’s being taken away from you, for the promise of more security, or not being further oppressed and in more physical danger from your own government.

When I talk about liberal democracy and a free society, I’m not talking about people having the freedom to hurt innocent people to to make decisions with their own lives that others have to pay for. But for the right for people to act and think for themselves or not act at all, so long as they’re not hurting any innocent person with what they’re doing. Since the so-called War On Terror was declared in 2001 by the United States, we’ve moved away from definition of a free society, for the promise of more security. 

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Foreign Affairs: Michael Shifter: So Long, Hugo Chávez

Source:Foreign Affairs- Venezuelan Socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

"Two decades ago, following the end of the Cold War, the United States and Latin America seemed more prepared than ever before to forge political and economic partnerships. Latin America was emerging from an era of stagnation and economic crisis and appeared to be moving toward market economies and liberal democracies. In the early 1990s, building on U.S. President George H. W. Bush’s widely applauded vision of a hemisphere-wide free-trade zone, Mexico, Canada, and the United States negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement. At the Organization of American States’ conference in 1991, which brought together 34 countries, a landmark... 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

MSNBC: Representative Ron Paul: 'Entitlements Are Not Rights'

Source:MSNBC- U.S. Representative Ron Paul (Libertarian, Texas)
"During a debate hosted by NBC asked Paul: "In your opinion, what services are Americans entitled to expect to get from government?" 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of entitlement is "a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract."

The word entitlements is use to describe Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Unemployment Insurance. When as progressive columnist Jonathan Alter pointed out in Monday in his column, that these programs are really social insurances that people collect when they need them. Just because we pay into Unemployment Insurance, doesn't mean we'll ever see a dime directly from it. (To use as an example) And hopefully we would never have to. Medicaid would be another example of that even though it doesn't have a direct revenue source to fund it. 

I actually agree with Ron Paul that constitutionally at least, we're not entitled to anything in America, other than our life and liberty. Everything that government provides or takes from us beyond securing our rights to liberty and life, has to pass the constitutional test and the will of the voters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Washington Post: John Wagner: 'Death Penalty Repeal Approved by Maryland Senate'

Source:The Washington Post- Governor Martin O'Malley (Democrat, Maryland)

"The Maryland Senate voted to repeal the death penalty Wednesday after four days of emotional debate, moving the state closer to becoming the sixth in as many years to abolish executions.

The 27 to 20 vote was widely seen as a key step in ending capital punishment in Maryland, which has not executed a death-row prisoner since 2005. The legislation now goes before the House of Delegates, where a vote could come as early as next week.

The House is expected to approve the measure, handing Gov. Martin O'Malley a long-sought legislative victory at a time when he is weighing a run for national office in 2016.

“It’s time to end this ineffective and expensive practice and put our efforts behind crime fighting strategies that work,” O’Malley (D) said in a statement.

Shari Silberstein, executive ­director of Equal Justice USA, a group that is working to end the death penalty, said that Maryland’s action is part of a national trend and that she envisions another half-dozen states adopting the policy in the next several years.

If I was a Maryland State Senator I probably would've voted against this being in favor of a limited use of the death penalty. But its easy to see why Marylanders would be against this with the death row inmates who've been found to be innocent... 

The Hill: Russell Berman: 'House GOP to Consider bill On Job-Training Programs'

Source:The Hill Newspaper.

"House Republicans will move off their relentless focus on spending cuts
next week to consider a bill aimed at improving and streamlining
federal worker training programs.

Republican leaders said Tuesday they would bring to the floor the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which would reauthorize a Clinton-era workforce investment law while consolidating dozens of job-training programs.

{mosads}The bill would mark the first House vote on legislation highlighted as part of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s “Making Life Work” agenda, a set of proposals unveiled in a speech last month designed to broaden the GOP’s fiscal focus and target measures to issues that more directly affect voters’ lives.

Policymakers in both parties have pointed to improved job training as a priority during the sluggish economic recovery, in which employers have complained that long-term unemployment and technological advancements have resulted in job openings that go unfilled because applicants don’t have the requisite skills.

“That is a bill that I think both sides can come together on,” Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday, “and to provide assistance for those who don’t have the right kind of training or skills so they can access the unfilled jobs that are out there in many of the industry sectors.”

In the months following the November election, Cantor and other Republican leaders have spoken of the need for the GOP to avoid being seen simply as the party of austerity by finding other appealing policy ideas that conservatives can rally around.

The ongoing budget wars have made that difficult, and party leaders found themselves once again holding a press conference in front of a banner touting spending cuts.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) acknowledged, however, that like President Obama, the House GOP wanted to tackle other issues.

Obama has called for restructuring job-training programs, a push that has given the Republican legislation the imprimatur of bipartisanship.

Yet House Democrats and advocate groups are pushing separate legislation, and say the Republican bill goes too far in eliminating federal programs.

The opposition could make for a challenging vote next week for House GOP leaders, who did not bring the legislation to the floor in the last Congress.

They have struggled to unite their narrower majority in support of the Republican legislation so far this year.

“This is all related to public relations,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, which will mark up the SKILLS Act on Wednesday.

“It’s not related to getting people back to work. It’s not related to getting people the training they need, and it’s not related to making sure that those people who need the most help get back into the economy and get taken care of. This is just part of the public relations campaign of Mr. Cantor’s speech.”

Miller predicted there would be “very little, if any” Democratic support.

“This just hasn’t been a bipartisan process at all,” he said. “They may get it off the floor, but it’s unacceptable in the Senate. So it’s unfortunate.”

The author of the Republican bill, Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), dismissed Miller’s criticism, and argued that her proposal was closer to the reform that Obama had envisioned.

“The unfortunate thing is we’re doing what the president asked,” she said. “The president said, get rid of this maze of programs. Come up with a one-stop program. The Democrats’ bill adds two programs and does nothing to consolidate, so it’s about as far away from what the president said he wanted as could possibly be.

“So if they want to continue down that road, then that’s fine,” Foxx said of the Democrats, “but we’re doing what the American people want and what the president wants. That’s bipartisanship.”

A GOP leadership aide said “a significant portion of our members” support the SKILLS Act, but stopped short of guaranteeing its passage on the floor.

“We will have the votes on the committee to pass it, and I think we will have the votes in the conference,” Foxx said.

Rachel Gragg, federal policy director for the National Skills Coalition, praised the Democratic legislation and said the GOP bill went about streamlining training programs in the wrong way by combining them all into a single block grant.

“It’s almost like consolidating for consolidation’s sake,” she said.

Gragg also voiced concern that because the $6 billion authorization in the Republican bill is treated as a ceiling, it would leave the program vulnerable to future cuts, perhaps as soon as when the Republicans unveil their budget for fiscal 2014.

The Democratic bill, by contrast, “at a minimum maintains current funding and in some cases increases funding,” Gragg said." 

From The Hill

This is exactly the direction that the House GOP should be moving in whether this bill is good or not. But these are the things that they should be talking about instead of their whole message being about how do we just the size of the Federal Government, but also talk about how to make the Federal Government work better, so Americans who need public assistance, don't have to stay on it as long and can move to the workforce with a good job instead.

President John F. Kennedy: Cuban Missile Crisis Speech: 10/22/1962

Source:David Von Pein- President John F. Kennedy's 1962 speech on the Cuba Missile Crisis.
“This high-quality version of President Kennedy’s 10/22/62 Cuban Missile Crisis speech is somewhat rare, because it is complete and unedited. Usually only small bits and pieces of the speech are presented on television and in documentaries. But this is the entire 18-minute address from start to finish.”

What President Kennedy wanted to show during this crisis was that his National Security Council was on top of the situation from the beginning. And the question which was a huge question, was what to do about it to prevent missiles from being launched at the United States.

President Kennedy, obviously did not want to go to war with another superpower and risk destroying the world in the process. Which might have happened had the United States gone to war with the Soviet Union.

Trying to invade the Communist Republic of Cuba with Russian ships in the area was not going to happen without some war. Which meant that the Kennedy Administration, was going to need a negotiated settlement with Russia.

Russia, was literally able to stick their own nuclear weapons on the island of Cuba, just ninety miles from Miami, Florida. With enough power to eliminate the East Coast of the United States. So President Kennedy and his National Security Council knew they had to get those weapons out of Cuba. They also knew that going to war with a country the size and that was as powerful militarily as the Soviet Union, probably wasn’t an option at all. So they were going to have to work this out diplomatically to get the weapons out of Cuba, America was going to have to give Russia something they wanted as well.

What prevented World War III during the Cuba Missile Crisis was Russia agreeing to pull their weapons out of Cuba, in return for America pulling their weapons out of Turkey.

America, didn’t pass new economic sanctions on Russia hoping that Russia would eventually take the weapons out of Cuba. As well as hoping they would never use them, or give them to Cuba. And America didn’t go to war with Russia and try to settle it that way.

Both countries had something that the other wanted and wanted something that the other had. And both were smart and sane enough to settle the crisis diplomatically. 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Council On Foreign Relations: The Meaning of Power in the 21st Century

Source:Council On Foreign Relations- Fareed Zakaria speaking.

"Moisés Naím and Fareed Zakaria discuss the transformation of power and what this means for U.S. primacy and how it conducts foreign policy.

Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, International Economics, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Author, "The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be"
Fareed Zakaria, Host, CNN; Editor-at-Large, "TIME"

Daniel W. Drezner, Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University" 

Biography: Ted Bundy

Source:Biography of serial murderer Theodore R. Bundy.

Source:The Daily Press

“American serial killer and rapist Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious criminals of the late 20th century, known to have killed at least 20 women in the 1970s. He was executed in the electric chair in 1989.

Who Was Ted Bundy?

Ted Bundy was a 1970s serial murderer, rapist and necrophiliac. He was executed in Florida’s electric chair in 1989. His case has since inspired many novels and films about serial killers.” 

From Biography

“Serial killer Ted Bundy, who was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives list on February 10, 1978. On February 15, 1978, Bundy was arrested in Pensacola, Florida, by local police after he was stopped for speeding while driving a stolen vehicle.” 

Source:FBI- Theodore R. Bundy is one of the most wanted serial murderers by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in American history.

From the FBI 

"In 1967, whilst a student at the University of Washington, he was to meet the girl who was to have the most profound effect on his life, fellow student Stephanie Brooks, who was from a wealthy family, and with whom he fell deeply in love. She didn't reciprocate with as much passion, however, and when she graduated in 1968 she ended their relationship abruptly." 
Source:Ramona Horstlich- One of Ted Bundy's murder victims.

Ted Bundy was a special serial murderer and I don’t mean that in a complementary way, but he was very successful at murdering people and even getting away with it up to a point. Because he had intelligence and an education level that murders or criminals in general simply don’t generally. To go along with possessing a certain amount of evil where he actually enjoyed raping and murdering women. And you put all of these characteristics together and you have a serial murderer whose able to rape and murder all the women he was able to.

I’m not saying that criminals in general are dumb and I’m not a professional criminal profiler. But what I do know about this is that the average career criminal who ends up spending at least a major percentage of their life in and outside of jail and prison, generally don’t have a very good education. And tend to get involved in crime early on and perhaps as a result don’t finish high school. Either drop out doing considerable time in juvenile hall. 

The average career criminal tends to be dumb in the sense that they’re not well-educated. They don’t have skills and knowledge that they can use to make a successful life for themselves outside of crime by the time they start doing hard time. And another thing that makes Bundy special is that he started his criminal career as a teenager as well.

Ted Bundy was a high school and college graduate who was studying to be a lawyer. Who defended himself in court and perhaps gave himself a better defense than the local public defender could have given him in Tallahassee where he was finally put way for good and given the death penalty. 

The average career criminal especially a serial murderer, doesn’t fit that profile. The average criminal that has Bundy’s criminal profile, is a screw up (to put it mildly) for the most part, whose done time for shoplifting and knocking off convenient stores and stealing fifty bucks and so-forth. That wasn’t Ted Bundy. Bundy was someone who if he didn’t have this murderous addiction (no pun intended) would have ended up as a lawyer. And perhaps a damn good one but had this horrible side that cost the lives of at least twenty women that we know of. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clinton Library: 'President Clinton's Speech at Mason Temple Church (1993)'

Source:Clinton Library- President William J. Clinton (Democrat, Arkansas) 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001) 

"This is video footage of President William Jefferson Clinton speaking at the Church of God in Christ's Annual Convocation at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis, Tennessee.  Mason Temple Church was the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's final sermon deliverance before being assassinated.  This footage is official public record produced by the White House Television (WHTV) crew, provided by the Clinton Presidential Library.

NOTE: MT01388 has minor frame damage at the top of the screen.

Date: November 13, 1993
Location: Mason Temple Church.  Memphis, TN." 

From the Clinton Library

President Bill Clinton at the Memphis Church of God in 1993. One of, if not the best speeches that President Clinton ever gave, at least in his first term, because it's so honest.

Source:Pics Bud- President William J. Clinton (Democrat, Arkansas) 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001) 
I saw this speech last week when I was watching a documentary about President Clinton and his Presidency. I might have seen this speech before, but I simply can't remember, but I already believe it's probably the best speech he's ever given at least as President of the United States. Even better than his first inaugural, or his 1992 or 2000 Democratic Convention speeches. 

All great speeches if you are not familiar with them, I suggest you watch or read them even if you don't like Bill Clinton, but someone who likes listening to good speeches. What made this speech great was the time that it was given, twenty five years after Martin Luther King was assassinated, not the anniversary of that assassination, this was November, 1993 MLK was murdered April, 1968, but twenty-five years after he was murdered. 

What else made this speech great was the simple honesty of it. He was attempting to speak for MLK, no one of course can do that we are simply talking about perhaps the greatest speaker this country has ever produced. What President Clinton was attempting to do was to layout what MLK would think of America Aad the African-American community twenty-five years later and the progress that it has made. But the challenges that still remain and what he died for and what he didn't die for. He said that fewer African-Americans as a percentage of the country lives in poverty and more live in the middle class. And are well-educated but still too many live in poverty and so-forth. 

The line in this speech that hit me the hardest not in a bad way, was when President Clinton said attempting to speak for Martin King: "I did not die to stop the violence from white people onto black people only to see black people killing other black people. I did not die to see that." And if you are an African-American I believe that's got to hit home that yes they've made progress, but we are still not at the mountaintop where Reverend King wanted African-Americans to join him.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Brookings Institution: 'An Enduring Social Safety Net'

Source:Brookings Institution- talking about the U.S. Federal budget.

"Panel 1: President of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association Edward Thomas; Professor of Health Care Policy in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School Michael Chernew; Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Jonathan Gruber; Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Jeffrey Liebman; and Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Paul Van de Water participate in a roundtable discussion on the nation's social safety net moderated by S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the University of California--Berkeley Haas School of Business Laura D'Andrea Tyson." 

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