Monday, April 29, 2019

The Washington Post: Opinion- Karen Tumulty: ‘Joe Biden’s Biggest 2020 Competitor May Be Joe Biden’

Source:The Washington Post- Joe Biden:”being Vice President, is just not good enough?”
Source:The New Democrat Plus

“Former vice president Joe Biden has finally entered the 2020 presidential campaign. Columnist Karen Tumulty argues that he must prove that he isn’t a politician of a different era.”

Source:The Washington Post: Opinion- Karen Tumulty: 'Joe Biden's Bigget 2020 Challenge May Be Joe Biden'

I mostly agree with what Karen Tumulty said about Joe Biden here, but I guess I would put it differently and add a few things.

If Joe Biden really wants to be President of the United States ( and I believe it’s a safe assumption that he does ) he should’ve ran for President in 2000. Looking back at least, a strong primary run against then Vice President Al Gore would’ve been good for Vice President Gore and the Democratic Party as well. Gore, only had one opponent at all in 2000 that being former Senator Bill Bradley, who didn’t even win a primary against Gore. Then Governor George W. Bush, had a very strong primary challenger in Senator John McCain, which I believe only made the Bush Campaign better because it served as a strong playoff for Bush which of course was the 2020 general election against Gore. Gore didn’t have that, because Democrats by 1999 had already decided that they wanted Vice President Gore and didn’t make any room for anyone else to run against him.

Then Senator Biden, should’ve run for President in 2004: as we know now before the Democrats nominated Senator John Kerry as their presidential nominee, Senator Kerry wasn’t even the frontrunner before he won the nomination. He had to fight like hell just to try to raise some money and stay alive in late 2003 and wasn’t raising any money until he won the Iowa caucus. Senator Biden, would’ve been a strong contender that year because there were no frontrunners in that election on the Democratic side, but you had a Democratic Party that wanted to win and was prepared to get behind the nominee to defeat President Bush.

Then Vice President Biden, could’ve run for President for 2016: Hillary Clinton, was a strong frontrunner going in, but if you remember anything from 2007-08 she was not just the strong frontrunner going in to not just win the Democratic nomination then, but to beat Senator John McCain or whoever the Republican Party would nominate for the general election that year. But by the time super Tuesday was over in February 2008, her campaign was all but over, because then Senator Barack Obama won practically every major state on that election night.

It could’ve occurred to Vice President Biden and someone on his team that maybe Hillary isn’t as strong a frontrunner that she may seem to be and probably needs a strong challenger, which is exactly what she got, except it came from the Far-Left in the party from Socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Not from the Vice President of the United States who has 100% name id not just in the party, but in the country. And was a loyal and great Vice President to a popular President in Barack Obama who the Democratic Party absolutely loves.

It’s that old cliche that you only get one chance to make a first impression, which of course is not only true but in politics you have to seize on the moments that you get and then take advantage of them. Which is what John F. Kennedy did in 1960, what Jimmy Carter did in 1980, what Bill Clinton did in 1992, what Barack Obama did in 2008. You can’t just assume that they’ll come back simply because you don’t you’re ready or you simply don’t want to run.

Would Barack Obama really had been the great Democratic contender that he was in 2008 had he waited until 2016 let’s say when he had already been in the Senate for 12 years before he decided to run for President, because he wanted more foreign policy experience? We’ll never know that of course, but probably not because 12 years later he would’ve already had a fairly long Congressional record and probably a lot of controversial votes and caught in Congressional speak and sound like a politician going a speech on the floor of the Senate, instead of this young vibrant man who spoke off the cuff and from his heart using beautiful language which is how he won the Democratic nomination in 08 and then the presidency, because he was so fresh, new, and likable, came off as a human being and not just as someone who was running for office.

And with Joe Biden, forget about being in the Senate for 12 years and instead triple that where he was one of the most powerful, influential, and respected not just Senator’s who has ever served, but members of Congress that has ever served in either the House or Senate and don’t fantasize for a moment that the other Democratic contenders don’t know exactly how long Biden’s Congressional record is and is going through every possible controversial vote ( at least in today’s Democratic Party ) that he has ever made and will try to pull anything out that they can get their hands on that could hurt the former Senator and Vice President.

It’s not Vice President Biden’s experience that I have issues with: experience is generally a good thing in life especially if you learn from it and then apply correctly and make good judgments, it’s the fact that and to paraphrase Joe Biden himself: this is your father’s Democratic Party anymore. Even 10 years ago Joe Biden would’ve been seen as a strong Center-Left Progressive Democrat who fights for the middle class and for civil rights, who wants an America where everyone can succeed, who will also defend and protect the country from foreign and domestic predators. This is what progressivism at least use to be and what it was about and what I believe it still is and what it means to be a Progressive.

The problem that Biden has is that the party is so far to the left now to the point that people who would be viewed as Progressives just 10-20 years ago like Joe Biden and Barack Obama, are now seen as Centrists or even as Conservative Democrats, because you have this large and growing faction of Socialists in the party that view anyone to the Right of them as either Centrists or Conservatives, even if they’re Democrats with solid Center-Left credentials. Like a Joe Biden or Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton even who is one of the strongest and most famous Feminists anywhere in the world, but in today’s Democratic Party she looks Conservative. Or even Nancy Pelosi who is the Speaker of the House with a long Progressive record in Congress.

But then there’s the issue of Senator Biden’s Congressional record, so let’s talk about this so-called apology tour that he night have to go on to win the Democratic nomination:

It’s not that voting for the 2003 Iraq War will be a problem at least in the sense that it was the wrong decision and wrong war and we should’ve never been involved in and we knew that by the summer of 2003 when we learned that Saddam Hussein not only didn’t have nuclear weapons program, but he didn’t even had weapons of mass destruction. And then the chaos in the country after the Hussein Regime was toppled without even putting up a fight. Biden, should have to explain that and admit he made a bad call there.

It’s the other votes that he had in Congress that 25-30 years later still look like very solid votes at least as far as how the policies turned out, whether the Far-Left of the party likes them or not:

like 1994 Crime Bill where we saw record low crimes rates in America during the 1990s, including in big cities with large minority populations like Chicago, New York, and Washington.

Or how about the 1996 Welfare to Work Law where we saw record lows for poverty in America, because you had all of these people in poverty who were going back to school and getting the skills that they need to become economically self-sufficient and were finally able to get good jobs for themselves. Senator Biden’s support for deficit reduction and free trade, you could add to his possible apology tour and explain why he no longer supports these successful policies.

I could be wrong here ( and of course that wouldn’t be the first time ) and perhaps the Democratic Party even the Far-Left is so tired of losing and seeing Donald J. Trump ( the king of real reality TV ) as President and want to take his American Nationalism Show off the air for good and will support any popular national Democrat including Joe Biden in order to defeat President Trump. We saw that in 1992 when the entire Democratic Party united behind then Governor Bill Clinton and in 1976 under then Governor Jimmy Carter. But those are just two elections and as Will Rogers once said he’s not a member of any organized party: he’s a Democrat.

The Democratic Party tends to put ideological purity with the current Far-Left base of the party over electability, at least as the presidential level. And we’ll see which course they take in 2020 and how they treat Joe Biden. Will they get behind Joe, or stay home, go third-party with someone like Jill Stein and back a Socialist instead.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Economist: Daniel Franklin- 'What's The Point of NATO?'

Source:The Economist- Uploaded by The Economist.
Source:The New Democrat

"NATO was set up in 1949 to counter the Soviet threat. Its North American and European members must continue to change the alliance if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century."

Source:The Economist

 If there is anything that I actually agree with President Donald Trump on and if there is one thing that he's gotten right in his two years as President, it's NATO and the fact that the United States is essentially responsible for the national defense of the entire West, or at least the northern part of the west. With Britain, France, a certain extent Germany playing major but much smaller roles in the defense of Europe. And this is as someone who is in favor of the concept of NATO and view is as the most successful international organization not just in the world today, but in world history.

Just as an American who comes from a country that values individualism and that everyone should at least try to take care of themselves if not support themselves, why should American taxpayers be forced to subsidize the national defense of other developed countries: it would be one thing if Germany was poor, but they're a country of 80 plus million people, with an economy of over 4 trillion dollars, with 4th largest economy of the world. Their gross national domestic product is about as large as Japan's and they have 50 million fewer people than Japan, without nearly as much territory as Japan and without the natural resources of Japan.

Germany, has roughly the same per-capita income as America without the national debt and budget deficits that we have and yet we as Americans are forced by international law to subsidize the national defense of another entire large developed country. Why is that? If there is anything that Americans dislike more than crooks, liars, and hypocrites, its freeloaders.  The reason why we do this is because Germany sees itself as a great social democracy that doesn't believe in national defense, at least not as a large priority and more than willing to let someone else especially a superpower that has a great relationship with ( at least pre-Donald Trump ) to take care of their national defense for them. But as an American that's not a good enough reason for me.

With the rise of nationalism both in America, Britain, and Europe now is the perfect time for Europe ( especially Germany ) to step up to the plate ( or step up to the ball, to use a soccer phrase ) and knock one out of the ballpark ( or kick one in the net ) and handle their own national defense. Which would be great for Europe's security, as well as economy. They would no longer have to worry about whether American taxpayers will continue to subsidize their national defense. And they would create millions of good jobs in their countries in their defense industries, because their militaries will now be first world, with first world defense resources and money to secure their own countries.

A new European defense alliance that could either replace NATO or go along with it with the Euro states now responsible for their own national defense and be partnered with Britain, America, and Canada in the West would make Europe a world power and keep them relevant especially with the rise of Vladimir Putin's Russia who are looking to bring back the Russian empire, as well as China in the Far East that wants to be the next superpower in the world.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Economist: Lane Greene- 'The Truth About Lies'

Source:The EconomistPresident Barack Obama: 44th POTUS and no more dishonest than any other politician or vote.
Source:The New Democrat

"From little fibs to big fat whoppers, lying is part of human nature. Lane Greene, our language guru, examines the difference between lies, falsehoods and plain nonsense."

Source:The Economist

From Dictionary

A lie is a: "a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood."

Similar to terms like racist or bigot, Islamophobe, antisemite ( and unfortunately I could go on ) liar is a real word with real meaning and shouldn't be misused especially by people who are simply trying to score partisan points for their team and make the other side look as bad as they can get away with by spinning convenient facts to make their arguments. So if you're going to call someone a liar, you better know that they're deliberating making false statements with the intent to deceive and you better know that they tell lies, otherwise you're just falsely libeling that person.

If I told someone that I was 7'0 tall, I would obviously lying there, but only because I'm a half foot short. ( Or more ) But if I told someone I was 6'5 when I'm 6'4 3/4, I wouldn't be lying there especially if I believed I was 6'5, or just rounded it up. People make false statements all the time, doesn't mean they're lying all the time. Most if not all of us lie anyway, but tell real lies or flatter people because we want them to feel good. The only difference between the average Joe or Mary on the street compared with famous people on the street like politicians, is most of the country doesn't know when we're lying, because most of the country hasn't heard of us.

What makes politicians different is that they're public people and have to be public people to accomplish anything in their current job, or to get elected to higher office. And of course politicians lie, the question is do they lie more than the average Joe or Mary or any other average non-famous American. And I would argue that they don't simply because politicians are no more or less American and human as anyone else other than they're famous and are very ambitious people.

And politicians tend to represent people who say they want honest people and yet they elect and reelect people who in many cases are dishonest and see lying as a way to avoid taking tough stances on positions and to coverup their less than honest behavior. ( Let's say ) So in that sense at least voters are liars as well because when polled they say they want honest, moral people representing them while they elect and reelect dishonest and crooked people. So who do voters have to blame for that other than the person that they see in the mirror?

To paraphrase Lane Greene: there are liars and bullshitters and I would add idiots.

The liar consistently says things that they know aren't true to deceive who they're talking to.

The bullshitter is even worse because that person simply makes things up and could probably care less if people who they're talking to knows that they are bullshitting them.

The idiot, is the biggest asshole of the group, but not internally because they continually speak out of their ass about things that they know almost nothing about and believe that they're a lot smarter than they actually are. And aren't even smart enough to know what they're saying is simply bullshit. (Nonsense or garbage, if you prefer ) Stay away from the idiot, because that person is probably the most dangerous of the group. Sort of like a drunk gunslinger with a loaded gun.

But not everyone who makes false statement are liars. And as we've learned from the Russia investigation the last two years, you don't have to be lying to get in trouble with law enforcement officials. You can be arrested and prosecuted for simply making false statements to those officials even if you believe what you're saying is the truth. Which is another reason why we shouldn't call ever false statement a lie and every asshole a liar, because they might simply not know what they't saying and what they're talking about. And be no more dishonest than you're average politician.

Monday, April 8, 2019

My Footage: Wendell Willkie- 1940 Republican National Convention Speech

Source:My Footage ”1940 Republican National Convention: Wendell Willkie gives speech”
Source:The New Democrat

“This clip is available for licensing without time code and logo – To inquire about licensing email us at or call us at (212) 620-3955 – Please Subscribe to our channel, as we are constantly adding new clips. Thanks!


Time: 1940s, 1940, June

Setting: Philadelphia Convention Hall, Philadelphia, PA

People: Wendell Willkie, Charles McNary, Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Robert Taft, Thomas E. Dewey,

Objects: banners, podium, microphone, ballots,

Subjects: 1940 Presidential Election, 1940 Republican Primary, 1940 Us Politics, 1940 RNC, Wendell Willkie Speech, 1940 RNC Opening.”

From My Footage File

People even if they’ve ever heard of Wendell Willkie ( and I would be impressed if they did ) might ask why blog about Wendell Willkie who was a Liberal Republican back in the 1940s who advocated for civil rights, civil liberties, the Constitution, limited government, and a strong but limited national defense, especially since his Republican politics no longer exists except for perhaps a few exceptions. People like former Governor Bill Weld, Senator Susan Collins and perhaps a few other Republican in Congress today. Well, for me that’s exactly why I at least who is a strong admirer of Wendell and consider him to be one of my political heroes blogs about Wendell Willkie.

I don’t want to make this a partisan post other than to say that the Republican Party today whether you want to define it as a Nationalist party or a Christian-Right party looked nothing like they did up until really the late 1980s, or early 1990s. Back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Conservative Republicans were people like Barry Goldwater, not Ann Coulter or Steve King or anyone else who is part of the New-Right today that are supposed to be the Conservatives.

Back in 1940, Wendell Willkie was to the left of President Franklin Roosevelt on civil rights, civil liberties, and even personal freedom. Imagine that for a moment: a Republican who is to the left of a Democrat on civil rights, civil liberties, and personal freedom. But Wendell was to the Right of FDR on economic policy. Wendell believed in the public safety net, but didn’t want a socialist welfare state where welfare benefits would be universal, which is what FDR was pushing for by 1944 with his so-called Economic Bill of Rights.

Wendell Willkie, represents the Grand Ole Party where you could have both Liberals and Conservatives in it. as well as Progressives but where they could all function together in this national grand party, because they shared similar values that at least Classical Liberals, Conservatives, and Progressives believe in. Like equal rights, equal justice, civil liberties, property rights, personal freedom.

The GOP was a party that could nominate Wendell Willkie, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Barry Goldwater, because back then Liberals, Conservatives, and Progressives weren’t like apples and oranges, they weren’t the complete opposites of each other and shared similar values and objectives, but had different approaches in how to defend those values and accomplish those objectives.

Back in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, liberal wasn’t another word for hippie or hipster. It had real meaning and instead being a Liberal meant you were someone who not only believed in liberal democracy, but that liberal democracy needed to be defended and you had to confront authoritarian states when they threaten you or your allies, or threatened your liberal values. Like Communist Russia, to use as an example.

Which is how someone like a Wendell Willkie, Tom Dewey, Ike Eisenhower, could not only do well in the Republican Party politically, but win the Republican nomination for President, because they believed in those liberal values because they were Republican values. That is how much the Republican Party has changed today, because that wing of the party is almost extinct with the Far-Right now looking so mainstream inside that party.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Skeptic Magazine: Michael Shermer- Interviewing Cass R. Sunstein: On Freedom

Source:Skeptic MagazineCass R. Sunstein: talking to Michael Shermer. 
Source:The New Democrat

"In addition to discussing his book Sunstein and Shermer talk about what it was like to work in the Obama administration, the issue of free will and determinism in the context of his theory of libertarian paternalism and choice architecture, opt-in vs. opt-out programs related to everything from menu options to organ donations, the electoral college, term limits for Supreme Court Justices, free speech on college campuses (and trigger warnings, safe spaces, and micro aggressions), Universal Basic Income, taxes, and terrorism.

About Professor Sunstein’s principle, Dr. Shermer wrote in his book The Mind of the Market:

"Libertarian paternalism makes a deeper assumption about our nature — that at our core we are moral beings with a deep and intuitive sense about what is right and wrong, and that most of the time most people in most circumstances choose to do the right thing. Thus, applying the principle of libertarian paternalism to the larger politico-economic system as a whole, I suggest that the default option should be to grant people the libertarian ideal of maximum freedom, while using the best science available to inform the policy that gives structure to the minimum number of restrictions on our freedoms. Let’s opt for more freedom and add back restrictions on freedom only where absolutely necessary and with great reluctance."

This dialogue was recorded on March 4, 2019 as part of the Science Salon Podcast series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California."

From Skeptic Magazine

From Wikipedia

"Freedom, generally, is having an ability to act or change without constraint. A thing is "free" if it can change its state easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being without undue or unjust constraints, or enslavement, and is an idea closely related to the concept of liberty. A person has the freedom to do things that will not, in theory or in practice, be prevented by other forces. Outside of the human realm, freedom generally does not have this political or psychological dimension. A rusty lock might be oiled so that the key has freedom to turn, undergrowth may be hacked away to give a newly planted sapling freedom to grow, or a mathematician may study an equation having many degrees of freedom. In mechanical engineering, "freedom" describes the number of independent motions that are allowed to a body or system, which is generally referred to as degrees of freedom."

Depending on what ideological faction your talking about, freedom can mean different things to different people: for example, Socialists tend to define freedom as individuals not having to make complicated decisions for themselves and not having to deal with private for-profits that are trying to get people to spend the most money as possible, even if they don't need what they're getting, or it's not good for them. Which is why Socialists tend to advocate for more government over individual, private choice.

Or Religious Conservatives and Nationalists, who believe freedom is the ability for people to make sound, moral decisions and live a moral life. Which is why they believe that activities and choices that violate their religious and cultural values should be outlawed. But as along as people are living a sound, moral life and make sound moral decisions, ( according to Religious Conservatives ) they should be able to do whatever they want to.

My personal definition of freedom is the ability for individuals to make their own personal and economic decisions for themselves, just as long as they're not hurting innocent people with what they're doing. My liberal definition of freedom is different from a Libertarian's definition because I believe the best freedom is having the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves that they possibly can based on the best available evidence and facts that are available. Which is why education and information is the best fuel for any freedom that you're talking about.

That education and information is for human beings what gas is for cars, what electricity is for computers. That without that fuel and energy people would still have the freedom to make their own decisions, but not have the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves, because they don't have the knowledge to make the right decisions for themselves. Without education and knowledge, people are like pilots trying to lands planes in the night blindfolded without any lights.

Freedom  and anarchism are not the same things, because most people who believe in at least some level of personal freedom aren't Anarchists. And every developed country of the world not have has one form of a democratic government or another where the people have at least some high level of personal freedom. So when the Far-Right or Far-Left puts down people who believe in freedom as being Anarchists, again most people aren't Anarchists, but that's not what we're talking about here at all. Just the freedom for individuals to make their own personal and economic decisions, just as long as they're not hurting innocent people with what they're doing. Not the freedom to harm innocent people with what they're doing without any legal consequences for them.

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
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