Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Salon: Opinion: Joshua Sager: GOP's 30-Year Spin Job is Over: We Are Not a Center-Right Nation

Salon: Opinion: Joshua Sager: GOP's 30-Year Spin Job is Over: We Are Not a Center-Right Nation

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

First of all just to comment on Joshua Sager's column in the Salon which is hardly a center-left publication, but still worth reading similar to The Nation. Which should give you an idea of where I'm coming from. Joshua's Sager's idea of a center-left America looks like, well Sweden. A country of roughly nine-million people which doesn't have nearly the amount of diversity across the board that a huge country like America has. That is essentially a country of Social Democrats and other Socialists. Where their center-right party looks like Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, not Barry Goldwater ideologically.

What is center-left in one country is not necessarily center-left in another country. Especially when you are comparing a small country with a huge country. The amount of what could be called Scandinavian Social Democrats in America including Salon, The Nation, AlterNet and other far-left publications in America might add up to 30-40 million Americans in a country of roughly three-hundred and fifteen-,million people. In Sweden and their population of nine-million people or Scandinavia as a hole of twenty-five million people or so the number of Social Democrats in that entire region might be the entire region. Sweden is sort of divided between Marxist Socialists and and Bernie Sanders Social Democrats.

But where I agree with Josh Sager is that America is a center-left country and the idea that we are center-right and that depends on how you define center-right as well, has been proven false over the last 5-10 years. Americans like economic freedom and personal freedom as well. They believe in things like public education and economic opportunity for people who are disadvantage economically. And believe that government has a role to play in seeing that Americans who need it get a hand up so they can make it in America. They believe in things like public infrastructure investment, public education, regulating business, protecting workers and consumers.

And if you look at the issues and a big reason why the Republican Party is in so much trouble today and can't find enough candidates to win Republican leaning Senate seats to win back the Senate and win back the White House is because the country has moved left as the Republican Party has moved right. But we haven't gone from a Barry Goldwater center-right country to a Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein social democratic far-left country. Right now we are in the land of Clinton politically this center-left New Democratic era. That says "government isn't the problem or the solution. But when used effectively in a limited way can play a positive role in most Americans lives".

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The New York Times: Editorial Board: End Marijuana Prohibition

The New York Times: Editorial Board: Repeal Marijuana Prohibition

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I believe The New York Times hits the nail on the head by why they believe marijuana prohibition should be ended. Other than saying that "marijuana is clearly less dangerous than alcohol". I don't believe that has been proven yet, but we do know the side-effects and risks are similar. Which tells me that you either prohibit both of them, or legalize both of them. But you don't prohibit one of them because they have a strong lobbying force advocating against marijuana prohibition. Which are the alcohol, tobacco, junk food makers and Prison Industrial Complex who would all lose a hell of a lot of money to marijuana legalization.

The arguments against marijuana legalization are tired and old. Because they could be used against either alcohol or tobacco. Especially alcohol when you say things like. "Marijuana can be addictive, or leads to harder drugs, over-consumption is dangerous, it can lead to other crimes and car accidents". You replace marijuana with alcohol and you are talking about the same side-effects. So I'm not buying that and besides it is not the job of government to protect people from themselves. But to regulate how we interact with each other. Meaning protecting innocent people from predators and punishing those who hurt innocent people.

The Times gets the federalist argument correct on this and speaking as a Liberal Federalist myself (and yes there is such a thing) that instead legalizing at the national level and attempting to prohibit states and localities from keeping marijuana prohibition in place that instead you let the states and localities make these decisions for themselves. And let them figure it out for themselves which is exactly what is happening with gambling and same-sex-marriage and I believe at least at same point with prostitution as well.

The New York Times is a progressive paper with a few right-wing writers like David Brooks and Ross Douhat. Which means they could've taken the personal freedom or social liberal approach by saying "that marijuana is personal or freedom of choice issue". Or they could've taken the progressive paternalistic nanny statist approach which is what alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs is based on. But they got it right this time and I expect people in power on sides of the political spectrum will take them seriously.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lizard King: Video: The Doors Full Concert Live in London 1968

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

At least the early part of this concert sounds like the Oliver Stone version of The Doors from 1991 with Val Kilmer playing Jim Morrison. With The Lizard King drunk and wasted and barely being able to stand up and move around without losing his balance. And giving an awful performance in Miami, Florida and finally getting frustrated and starts cursing at the audience. Which is a true story and one of the few things that the Oliver Stone movie portrayed accurately. The New Haven concert would be another one.

The actual Live in London concert was very good and you get to Jim Morrison and The Doors (as I call them) at their best. With The Lizard King at his best in his classic rock and roll uniform the black leather suit, concho belt and cowboy boots that he put on the rock and roll map himself. Which is about an hour long that I have on DVD. They play everything and Morrison is brilliant on the vocals and very entertaining as well.
The Lizard King

CBS News: Video: See it Now: Edward R. Murrow on Senator Joe McCarthy: No Fear From 1954

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This was not commentary on Edward R. Murrow's part, but Ed Murrow accurately describing the dangerous actions of Senator Joe McCarthy who was the Chairman of the Select Committee on Communists in Government. Not the exact title, but close enough and what Murrow was doing was explaining how dangerous this type of fascism on the Senator's part was to our American values of Freedom of Assembly and Speech. That Americans shouldn't be judged by who we associate with, or what we think, but by how live our lives as Americans.
Edward R. Murrow

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Nation: Opinion: Bryce Covert: We're Punishing Poor Mothers For Our Own F ailures: How Welfare to Work Should Work

The Nation: Opinion: Bryce Covert: We're Arresting Poor Mothers For Our Own Failures

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I actually agree with Bryce Covert that if we are going require Welfare mothers (for lack of a better term) single mothers on Welfare to work which is what I believe, than we as taxpayers should not only pay for their education so they can finish their education and get a good job, but also subsidize their childcare at least in the short-term so their kids are looked after. While their mom's are either in school, going to job interviews, or working.

Which is why I'm against cutting money for public assistance in order to pay down the debt and deficit. The debt and deficit are serious issues that have to be addressed especially in the long-term and we shouldn't be adding to either in the short-term. But cutting public assistance to pay down debt is not the way to go. You don't cut people who can't survive without your help and put into horrible situations where they may decide to make desperate decisions in order to comply with their Welfare requirements.

I actually wrote a blog about expiring Food Assistance benefits last November as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. You don't cut Food Assistance simply because more Americans need it. Or cut public housing because more Americans need it. Or cut Medicaid because more Americans need it. Or any other type of public assistance simply because more Americans need it. There are better more cost-effective ways to reform those programs that doesn't require hurting people who need that assistance.

Yes require people on public assistance especially Welfare to work so they don't get the attitude that they don't have to work in order to take care of themselves. Unless they are disabled, but do it in a humane cost-effective way that benefits the country as a whole economically especially them and their kids. By providing them with financial assistance to finish their education so they can get themselves a good job. But also childcare so someone is looking after their kids while they are in school, in job interviews, or are working.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CBPP: Commentary: Arloc Sherman: Policymakers Often Overstate Marginal Tax Rates: How to Make Work Pay

Father of the Negative Income Tax

CBPP: Commentary: Arloc Sherman: Policymakers Often Overstate Marginal Tax Rates

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger 

I saw a video this afternoon of President Richard Nixon giving a speech to the country outlining his Welfare reform plan from 1969. In it he talked about the dangers of paying people more not to work than people could make in not working. I agree with that which is why I'm not only in favor of increasing the minimum wage to 10-12 dollars and hour and indexing it for inflation. But tying today's Welfare payments to that of what a full-time minimum wage worker would make  at today's $7.25 an hour minimum wage.

You tell someone on Welfare that they can not only make more money working than not working whatever the job is and you also tell them even if you do take a short-term low-wage job that pays more than not working and we'll meaning taxpayers will help you finish your education which includes credits for childcare and finishing their education including vocational training. You now have incentivize them to leave Welfare and reenter or enter the workforce. And for people who simply are on Welfare because they are uneducated and don't want to work they'll get kicked off of Welfare for simply being irresponsible, or their time limit will run out on them.

But again work should pay more than not working. So I'm not only about increasing the minimum wage, but I would propose and idea that was proposed by the great economist Milton Friedman in the 1960s. He called it the Negative Income Tax, my version of that would be would instead of cutting people's Welfare assistance once go to work you let them keep that up to the point that they are no longer collecting or making a poverty income. Whatever money they make from washing their neighbors laundry, or looking after their kids and doing other household chores, or cooking food for people you allow for them to keep all of that money plus what they collect from public assistance.

As well as going back to work with an official job again up to the point they are not longer collecting or earning a poverty income. Why, so we encourage people to work and go back to work and finish their education so they can finally get themselves a good job. Instead of saying "for whatever you try to do for yourself and that allows you some type of economic independence, we Uncle Sam or whatever government are going to penalize you in the form of some tax. To encourage you to stay on public assistance and not work at all so you become complete dependents on us the government".

Monday, July 21, 2014

CBS Sports: Report: Josh Katzowitz: Jon Bon Jovi Also Wants to Keep Bills in Buffalo: How the Bills Can Succeed in Buffalo

Ralph Wilson Stadium 

CBS Sports: Report: Josh Katzowitz: Jon Bon Jovi Also Wants to Keep the Bills in Buffalo

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I think it would be borderline tragic if the Bills were to ever leave the Buffalo area especially for a Canadian city like Toronto or any other city in Canada. With all due respect to Toronto and other great Canadian sports cities, but Buffalo is great Americans football market as far as how they support their club. Their fans aren't the reason why the Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999. Their management has been by not settling on a general manager and head coach and not finding the right people for those positions. And as a result they switch head coaches almost every year or two years.

The Bills have been close to becoming a playoff team a few times the last ten years or so and even producing a few 9-7 winning seasons and a few 8-8 seasons. But never quite getting over the top, but haven't been able to find that head coach to get them to the next level. And give that coach the players and talent needed to get over that hump. And a part of that has to do with revenue and where they play. Which is where my solution comes in how to save the Bills in Buffalo.

The City of Buffalo and Upstate New York is pretty well known for having a lackluster economy where good jobs are hard to fine. You not only keep the Bills in the Buffalo area, but move them to downtown Buffalo with a retractable roof downtown stadium and you'll have a club with the revenue stream to compete against the rest of the AFC East. But now the Bills with that dome stadium would be in the market for the Super Bowl. And be able to attract December and January college bowl games. And other major events to the area. Which would a big economic boost for the rest of the economy there.