Saturday, March 30, 2013

Loyiso Guma: Malcolm X- Our History Was Destroyed by Slavery

Source: Loyiso Guma-
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Press

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 Social 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.
Loyiso Guma: Malcolm X- Our History Was Destroyed by Slavery

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-
Source: The Heritage Foundation: Jim DeMint- Social Conservatism & Fiscal Conservatism

Political labels can be overused and I only tend to use them when describing my politics or someone else's politics and what these things mean. Because a lot of times people use these labels to put people who they disagree with or don't like down and when they don't even know what they are talking about.

Like people who are called social Conservatives when they don't believe in social freedom. At least to the extent that people should have the freedom to live their own lives because they see certain behaviors as immoral. Even when they aren't hurting anyone else with what they are doing. Someone who tends to look at politics from a religious lens especially social issues, whether it's Islamic or Christian, don't tend to believe in personal freedom. Personal freedom- the right for people to live their own lives. Religious-Conservatives instead believe government and the Constitution should be religiously based and that personal freedom needs to be restricted or conserve their moral code.

But personal freedom or any type of freedom can also be dangerous when it doesn't come with responsibility and the rule of law. Because with freedom of course comes risks, which is why so-called Progressives today don't tend to be in favor of economic freedom. And in some cases not big believers in personal freedom as well. For example things that can be dangerous for our health and economic well-being.

So basically people who believe in social freedom and individual freedom generally, believe in individual responsibility as well as the rule of law. So people can't hurt each other intentionally or by acting irresponsible. But also so people who make good choices with their freedom aren't forced to subsidize people who make bad choices.

Liberal democracy which is a free society, is a  great system for any society that believes in personal freedom, personal responsibility and the rule of law, to have in their country. But it isn't perfect and has it's drawbacks like risks versus reward. But as former British Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, "democracy is the worst system in the world, except for all the rest which is how I look at it." I would only add liberal democracy to that.

Whether you are a social Conservative or a Liberal in my case across the board or a Libertarian, the fact is you believe in social freedom. The right for the individual to live their own lives and be held accountable for the decisions that they make for good and bad. Not the right to hurt innocent people, but the right to live their own lives until they've given up that right by hurting other people. So when someone calls them self a social Conservative or social Liberal, I'm going to assume they believe in a high deal of personal freedom until I see evidence that contradicts that.

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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You can also see this post at The New Democrat, on WordPress.

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: Latin America: Juan de Ornis: Reelect President Dilma Rousseff: Social Democracy in Brazil

Reelect Rousseff: 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.

From what I know about the Federative Republic of Brazil a country thats physically the size of the mainland United States. A country of 190M people with the fifth largest economy in the World, is that the two main political parties in that country are both Democratic-Socialist parties. The Workers Party led by President Dilma Rousseff and the Socialist Party so one way or the other Brazil is going to have. Some type of Social Democracy, the question is what type of a Social Democracy and how much will be expected of the Federal Government. There to meet the needs of the people and how much freedom will the Brazilian people have to meet the needs of themselves. And how much opportunity will be there for the people to move up and not be dependent on the state in order to survive. And the other question being since we are talking about a Social Democracy and not a Communist Republic or a country with. Social and political freedom but with essentially no economic freedom where the state does own the means of production in society and. By the way those types of Democracies do not exist anymore if they ever did. What does Social Democracy mean especially in a country as large as Brazil with this large of an economy.

This is a country thats deep in resources including oil and steel that can generate its own energy and export it. As well as deep in land and in people and is a Social Democracy with a considerable amount of freedom , economic, social and political. So Brazil is not only an economic power now but if they make the right economic decisions and continue to move people out of power and bring up living. Standards all over the country where all Brazilian people have access to a good education and can get themselves the skills that they need to be successful in life. And even start their own business's, this is a country that could be the next superpower in the developed Democratic world and a country that could. Not only take on America and Europe but even pass them and be the dominant economic as well as political and militarily power in Latin America. Depending on how well Mexico continues to develop its large Democracy as well.

So what you get with Social Democracy at its best, especially in a huge country like Brazil. With all of its people land and natural resources. Is a country similar to Canada, where there's a strong functioning safety net thats also affordable and doesn't drain resources from the private sector. That basically provides basic human resources that people need to live well but where the people have the freedom and. Responsibility to do the rest for themselves, so in a Social Democracy everyone has access to education and healthcare thats affordable. And generally provided by government but where taxes aren't so high that they discourage people from working hard, being productive and being successful because they are. Able to keep a lot of what they earn in society which could be the future of Brazil.

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 
Source:Durham University- Professor Conor Gearty talking about his book about civil liberties and income inequality.

“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.” 

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: Latin America: Michael Shifter: So Long, Hugo Chávez: The Potential of Social-Democracy in Venezuela

So Long, Chávez: After a reign of 14 years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died on March 5, 2013. Regardless of what follows, Chávez’s legacy, and the damage he left behind, will not be easily undone.

Now that Hugo Chavez is dead and of course no longer President of the Bolivar Republic of Venezuela. The Venezuelan people have a big mess to clean up because the only positive mark that President Chavez had on Venezuela. Was establishing some type of safety net in this country and building things like schools and hospitals, assistance for the poor and so fourth. But did very little despite Venezuela's wealth in energy resources to develop the Venezuelan economy and infrastructure to create a larger. Middle class in Venezuela so fewer Venezuelans would need public assistance in order to survive. Hugo Chavez was not the Franklin Roosevelt of Venezuela. But more like the Fidel Castro of Venezuela but at least under President Castro Cuba now has a education and healthcare system that even looks first world. Where Venezuela still doesn't have that despite Chavez being President of Venezuela for fourteen years. He did very little to advance the economy there or build much of a Democracy there.

The future of Latin America is not in Venezuela but in Brazil and Mexico two countries that are poised to becoming developed countries. And in Brazil's case a world power thats shown that Socialism can work as long as its combined with Democracy. Which is  what Social-Democracy is about, freedom to go along with a generous welfare state but also combine with economic freedom, to go along with. Social and political freedom so you don't have such a large class of people in one country dependent on the state in order to survive. But you use the resources that you have to build your economy so as many people as possible have a good opportunity to be successful in life. With things like healthcare and health insurance for everyone, a quality education for everyone, a modern infrastructure system and using. Your natural resources to develop your country and also so you have things you can export.

This is the model that Venezuela should be looking at if they want to be a Socialist State. Moving away from Castro/Chavez Communism or state ownership but looking to build a Social-Democracy where. The Venezuelan people have freedom to not only vote but able to live their own lives and not be dependent on the state. Where their infrastructure system is developed that benefits the entire Venezuela people and all they have to look at for a model is their neighbor Brazil.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

MSNBC: Republican Presidential Debate- U.S. Representative Ron Paul: Entitlements Are Not Rights

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.

But we all pay for it through taxes even if we are never covered by it. Social insurance is exactly that it's insurance that people collect when they need it, which is how Social Security should be looked at as well. I would allow all Americans at any age level who pay into Medicare to be able to use Medicare as their main health insurer. And have the option before their senior years to pay into and collect Medicare as their health insurance. Instead of having to wait until 65-67.

I was for a public option as part of healthcare reform in 2009-10 that wasn't part of the final 2010 Affordable Care Act. But even then it's not an entitlement because under that plan non-senior citizens who collect from Medicare would still have to pay into it. Like they would pay premiums for other health insurance. But that doesn't mean we are entitled to Medicare, we still have to pay for it. We don't have a constitutional right for Medicare.

 Obviously there are different views to what Americans are entitled to in America. There's a liberal view which is what I share as a Liberal, there's a social-democratic view to what Americans are entitled to. There's a conservative or conservative-libertarian view of what Americans are entitled to. And of course there's a classical libertarian view to what Americans are entitled to as well. The view I believe in is that Americans are entitled to live in freedom and that it's the job of government to protect our freedom so we don't lose it.

The job of government is not to protect us from ourselves and treat us like their children with very little if any individual freedom for ourselves. But to protect our freedom and property rights. Protect our freedom for us to be able to live our own lives as we see fit, to be able to chart our own course in life. Ss long as we aren't hurting anyone innocent people with what we are doing. And for Americans who don't live in freedom who don't have the same economic and personal freedom that other Americans have, it's the job of government to empower those people to get the same freedom as the rest of the country has.

That Americans are entitled to freedom and an opportunity to live well in life. But at the end of the day we live our lives based on what we do with them. That nothing is given to us other than a good opportunity to be successful in life. The so-called progressive or social-democratic view to what Americans are entitled to is to live in security and to be protected. Not just as it relates to physical protection but economic protection as well. That all Americans are entitled to health insurance, a good pension, that we are entitled to make a good living, that anyone who works shouldn't have to live in poverty and so-forth.

Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists believe that no matter  the skills set is and so-forth, that we are all entitled to live well no matter what we do with our lives and what our skills are and what we produce for society. Which is one reason why Socialists tend to be reluctant to means-test programs like Medicare and Social Security. Because they believe all Americans are entitled to those programs. And thats the big Democratic divide on the left in the Democratic Party what are Americans entitled to in a democracy.

Are we entitled to property rights and right for one to chart their own course in life and live as well as they possibly can as an individual. With government seeing that everyone has the opportunity to achieve that freedom for themselves. Which is where I come down as a Liberal Democrat who believes in liberal democracy and the individual freedom and property rights that come with that. Or are we entitled to a basic quality standard of living simple because we're human beings. Which is what Democratic Socialists even in the Democratic Party tend to advocate. Even if that means individual freedom both economic and personal are restricted. To see that everyone has what they need to live well and equally. That is the current economic debate in the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WMAR-TV: Maryland: Via AP: Senate Approves Measure to Repeal Capital Punishment

Senate approves measure to repeal capital punishment

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: Congress: Russell Berman: House GOP to Consider bill on Job-Training Programs: Reforming Job-Training in America

House GOP to shift focus from cuts to consider bill on job-training programs - 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 lone 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. 

You can also see this post on WordPress.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CFR: Video: The Meaning of Power in the 21st Century

Power in the 21st Century will be based on economic power and human capital. The countries that will do very well in these areas, especially large countries with large economies or the. Potential to have large economies, will be the most powerful in this century. And at some point in this century we'll have more then just one superpower in the World and I expect America to. Be one of those superpowers but it has challenges of its own to not only be the number one power in the World. But to remain a superpower in the World and emerging superpowers in the World all understand. That power in the 21st Century will be based on a countries economy and the amount of power it can generate from that. China, Russia, Brazil and I would add Mexico to that list all understand this and I believe the European Union understands this as well. Even though they are further behind economically except for Germany with huge debt and deficit. Burdens with economies that are barley growing if at all and not creating jobs.

Power in the 21st Century will be economically based because without strong economies. Its hard to generate the resources to be a major player in the World when it comes to military and. Diplomatic power, the Communist Republic of Korea is a perfect example of that where really all they have as far as leverage. Is their weapons programs but its a country that can't feed itself and relies on others to do that for them. But the reason why China, Russia and Brazil are emerging as world powers is because their economies are generating the power and influence. For them to do other things as it relates to world affairs and America not only needs to understand this but also successfully adjust to it. And not have a national debt thats growing faster then its economy and finally start generating economic and job growth that brings down. Its high levels of unemployment and poverty.

So the successful powers in the 21st Century will be the economic powers and the economic powers. Will be the countries that are the main players in world affairs and will be looked to, to use their power and influence. To deal with issues and concerns around the world, like governments that murder their people for wanting freedom to use as an example. And for America to remain the number one power in the World, they are going to have to have a strong economy again.

Ramona Horstlich: Ted Bundy Documentary- The Charming Serial Murderer

Source: Ramona Horstlich- One of Ted Bundy's murder victims-
Source: FRS Daily Press

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.
Ramona Horstlich: Ted Bundy Documentary

Monday, March 4, 2013

FRS FreeState: President William J. Clinton- Memphis Church of God in Christ Speech: From 1993

Source:Pics Bud- President William J. Clinton, 42nd POTUS 
I saw this speech last week when I was watching a documentary about President Clinton and his Presidency. I might of 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 and 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.

But what President Clinton was attempting to do was to layout what MLK would think of America. And 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. 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. But 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.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

92nd Street Y: Video: Former Vice President Al Gore: Six Drivers of Global Change

Vice President Gore is right about how the World is changing but the question is how should America adjust to it so we are as strong as we need to be. At least thats the debate going on in Washington between the two major political parties but also different factions in those. Political parties because are challenges are clear.

With a economy thats barely growing if at all, with high unemployment, debt and deficits, the sequester will not make these challenges any easier. Along with high poverty and not enough Americans able to adjust to not only the challenges that they. Face today but the challenges that they'll face tomorrow in an economy thats not only knowledge based. Where future success for people is not only tied to not only what you know but what you can do and how well you can. Do those things to make yourself as successful as possible and thats just not how the economy is based today, domestically but also globally. But that it anything will not only become even greater and we simply don't have a large enough workforce in America. That has the skills to be successful in life, which is why we have such large population of people who. Live in poverty but a lower middle class who aren't that far away from having to live in poverty themselves.

So the challenges for America now but as well in the next 5-10 years will be economically related and if we solve these issues correctly. It will enable us to be able to deal with the issues we face militarily, foreign policy challenges, debt and deficits as well. But we can't solve these issues without solid economic and job growth, with a larger well educated. Workforce that will be able to take advantage of the new economy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Brookings Institution: Video: An Enduring Social Safety Net: How to Have a Strong Safety Net in Times of Deficit Reduction

In times of deficit reduction its easy to cut the areas of the Federal budget where most Americans don't depend on. Benefits that don't directly effect them at least in the short term and this goes to the area of anti poverty programs. That effect roughly 1/5 Americans, as well as tax credits for middle class workers where most of the country does benefit from. But actual programs like Welfare Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, Food Assistance. Public Housing and so fourth really only benefits people who don't have a big say and power play in Washington. To speak up for them and a lobbying effort to see that their benefits are protected unlike corporations and labor unions to use as examples. So these programs are easy to cut because whose going to stop Congress and the President from doing that. And even though just cutting them to save money may save money in the short term. It costs us more long term because now we have people who've lost their benefits that they have to have to survive. And become desperate and do things they wouldn't normally do.

Myself as a Liberal I want the safety net to work better and be more cost effective. That is people who are on public assistance, don't stay on it as long as do not collect as many. Benefits and are paying more into the system instead because now they are working instead. With a good job because while they were on public assistance they were improving and educating. Themselves so they have the skills to get a good job and not have to depend on public assistance in order to meet ends meet. That the safety net becomes a way for people to build their lives up and improve themselves, not just there to collect public assistance checks. Which means investing more up front or investing differently which would save the country a lot more money down the run. Then simply cutting peoples public assistance checks or kicking them off of programs.

I would go further then that actually and change the way the Federal Government operates in the area of social insurance. And simply get the Feds out of the business when it comes to social insurance and not have them run a national system. But instead treat social insurance like it treats public education where the states and locals. Would have the main responsibility when it comes to running these programs but with basic national standards in place. To see that these programs remain in place and are serving the people who need them. Which would save the Feds somewhere in the neighborhood of one trillion dollars a year. And the Feds could just concentrate on doing the things that we need it do to. National security, law enforcement, justice system, foreign policy, regulation and the currency. And providing resources to states and locals who come up short financially and we could not only save a lot of money. But make these programs work a lot better for the people who need them.

There are ways to cut the debt and deficit just to cut it and make it look like you are saving money. At least in the short term and then there are ways to cut the debt and deficit that actually solves the problems. Both short and long term and a lot of times you can cut your debt and deficit by simply making programs work better with the resources that it has. And decentralizing how they are run which is my approach.

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