Rik Schneider Online

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prager U: William Voegeli: Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: Prager U: William Voegeli: Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

William Voegeli, like most hyper-partisan right-wingers, makes the classical obvious mistake of mixing up social democracy, or democratic socialism or whatever you prefer, with liberalism. In Europe, Liberals, are considered right-wing. Why? Because Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists, are considered Center-Left there. In Canada of all places that constantly gets labeled as a social democracy, even though it has a federal system where the provinces and localities, have real power there, Liberals are considered centrists. Why? Because the social democratic New Democrats, are considered Center-Left or left-wing.

Voegeli, kept saying Liberals want more government and more spending and all the traditional Tea Party propaganda about what liberalism is supposed to be. Replace the name William Voegeli with Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin and you would get the same rhetoric. It’s supposed to be Socialists or Social Democrats, who are terrified of the socialist label (except for Bernie Sanders) who run for the hills every time they hear that label about them. So why are so-called Conservatives like Bill Voegeli afraid to use the s-word when talking about social democracy and socialism more broadly. Because they want to attach Liberals with every big government authoritarian ideology that comes down the pike. Even religious conservatism, whether its Islāmic or Christian. And they’ve been very successful at it at least since the late 1960s.

I’ll answer Bill Voegeli’s question in a couple of ways. The first way somewhat simplistic only because this is a simplistic question. And the second way in a more substantive way. The simple answer government is big enough only when it’s doing exactly what we need it to do. No more or no less, which is basically my definition of limited government. So when it’s doing too much, that’s called big government. When it’s doing too little, that would be called small government. Which is every Libertarian’s marijuana high or drunken fantasy.

The more substantive liberal answer is that you need government to protect, defend and promote.

Protect the people from predators, where law enforcement comes in. Defend the country from predators, which is where defense comes in, but foreign affairs and intelligence as well.

Promote freedom and the general welfare. And that doesn’t mean a welfare state, but protect everyone’s individual freedom and right to be free and live freely, short of hurting any innocent person intentionally or otherwise.

Assist people who need help and for whatever reasons get knocked off their feet. But only help them get by in the short-term as you’re also helping them get themselves up. Finding a job, job training, that sort of thing. Which is basically what the definition of a safety net is.

And then protect consumers and workers from predators that would hurt them in the economy. Not run business’s, but set basic rules again to protect workers and consumers. Which is what a regulatory state is.

Again, I know this sounds simplistic, but we’re dealing with a simplistic question and I’m really just correcting what Bill Voegeli said here anyway. Government is big enough only when it’s doing exactly what it should be doing and nothing more or less. You don’t need a big government managing people’s lives for them from either and economic or personal standpoint. But if you want government doing practically nothing and throwing caution to the wind, try living or visiting a stateless society that has practically no government. And see how long it is before you try to escape from that country.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bernard Goldberg: "You Know Who Donald Trump's Media Groupies Remind Me Of?"

Donald Trump Network-
This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Now I know I must be losing it and perhaps need to go through a long extended head examination. Because I’ve just agreed with Bernie Goldberg for the second time in two weeks. The first time two weeks ago at the FNC Republican debate. Where Bernie called Donald Trump essentially a panderer. Whose just telling his supporters what they want to hear essentially and that he would essentially destroy the Republican Party even if somehow he would win the presidency.

Because Donald Trump is so far out on the Right that he won’t be able to come through and if he did he would destroy the party, because Americans tend not to be Far-Right fascists and like the ideas of tolerance and inclusion and not dividing Americans. Bernie’s second point which is what this piece is about has to do with the Trump spokespeople at CNN especially. That the Trump Campaign doesn’t have real media consultants, but media groupies, cult followers that look at The Donald as some God or something that is incapable of doing anything wrong.

Thanks to Donald Trump CNN is getting their best ratings at least since the Malaysian Airlines crash. If not the Trayvon Martin killing in 2012 when they decided to donate their entire network to covering the George Zimmermann trial. But my main point here has to do with the fact I thought I was the only person who noticed this about the Trump spokespeople. Because thanks to the Tea Party/Neocon FOX News Channel and the Far-Left Move On MSNBC, I’m stuck with CNN and C-SPAN as my only real cable news sources. And CNN can’t get enough of the Trump media team.

Every burning house that Donald Trump walks in leaking gas and creating a bigger explosion, his media crew goes out-of-their-way to make it look like he’s completely innocent of whatever bonehead or bigoted thing he just said. The man picks up a KKK endorsement and instead of saying this might be a problem for them, they try to deflect it. And say that Trump is not a racist. Instead of acknowledging that maybe there’s a problem with their message if members of the Ku Klux Klan the most powerful domestic terrorist organization in America are endorsing their candidate.

Donald Trump tells people if they punch protestors in the face, he’ll pay their legal bills. “Back in the old days these protestors would have been taken out on stretchers.” Etc and unfortunately I could go on, but what does his media team that works for him do? Do they say he shouldn’t use violent rhetoric like that in public? No because that would be responsible and perhaps draw less attention and ratings to this horrid reality show of a presidential campaign. They say and I’m paraphrasing that since Mr. Trump didn’t actually hit the protestors himself, he’s innocent of whatever people around him do. Obviously none of these people are lawyers, because they would know about conspiracy to commit. When you get people to commit your crimes for you. Which is why Charles Manson is in prison today.

I swear to God as an Agnostic (so take that for what it’s worth) that Donald Trump could come out in favor bombing abortion clinics and perhaps saying in public that is what the pro-life movement should really do to prove they love Jesus. And his cult followers who are probably all addicted to Trump Vodka or Trumpism, which is a dangerous narcotic that is used to get people behind you, his supporters would say that, “that position just proves how pro-life Donald Trump is. By saying that people should be murdered, because they perform abortion.”

Tomorrow The Donald could come out in favor of President Obama and say how great of a man he truly is and a great president. And all of that birtherism was fun and games. And his cult followers would say, “see! We told you that Mr. Trump is a uniter and not a divider. He’s trying to rally the country behind our president.” Okay, the last one is a stretch about as long as the Mississippi River or Donald Trump’s hands, but you get the idea. But similar with any religious or now political cult, first with Ron Paul earlier this decade and now Donald Trump, their man is incapable of doing anything wrong. There’s no such thing as personal responsibility when it comes to their leader. Every time something goes wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. Or there’s some larger conspiracy trying to bring him down with these people. And they’ve created a really dangerous political environment for America as a result.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The National Interest: Opinion- Michael Lind- The Neocons Are Responsible For Trumpism

This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: The National Interest: Opinion- Michael Lind- The Neocons Are Responsible For Trumpism

What is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump I don't think can be explained so simplistically as "blame it on the Neoconservatives." There are a lot of things like the facts that we do have a shrinking Caucasian working class in America in the South, Midwest and Northeast. The Caucasian-American working class is much smaller today that it was even ten years ago and is only going to get smaller. Most of the country hasn't seen their wages go up in the last fifteen years. These are the millions of Americans that Pat Buchanan was able to speak to in the 1990s and early 2000s. That Rick Santorum was able to speak to in 2012 and to a certain extent Donald Trump now. Millions of Americans who no longer see the America that they grew up which wasn't nearly as diverse in the 1960s and 70s as it is today.

We now have an African-American President of the United States. We could very well have our first female President of the United States next year if Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016. Homosexuality is not just accepted in America but gays can now get married everywhere in America. We've always been a diverse country ethnically and racially, but now those things are celebrated to the point where our two young adult generations my Generation X and the Millennial's, don't judge people by ace at all. Which is why things like affirmative action has lost so much political support and in danger of being thrown out by the courts. This is simply not the country that Richard Nixon's so-called Silent Majority grew up with where it wasn't just men that basically ran the country, but predominantly Anglo-Saxon Protestant men from the Northeast and the South.

Those Tea Party rallies from 2009 all the way to 2012, when they said they were going to "take back America", that is what they were speaking about. Take back America from people who've made America so much more diverse and tolerant. When Donald Trump says, "we're going to make America great again", I at least believe he's speaking to the Silent Majority and is saying that he wants to make America great again for them. The Caucasian American working class of Irish, Polish, Jewish, Italian, Anglo and other Americans of European background. He's not saying make America great for everybody, but for the Silent Majority that he believes have been left behind. Even though this man has nothing in common with these people from an economic, cultural, political or religious background. He sees a huge political opportunity here for himself that he's exploiting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Prager U: Adam Carolla- Who Not to Vote For

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: Prager U: Adam Carolla- Who Not to Vote For

I agree with Adam Carolla’s point about the politician who says they’ll fight for you, but I think there’s a bigger problem in American politics. Actually its like a huge fast food combo of a problem. Imagine like a 40 ounce soda, a triple cheese burger and enough fries to feed three kids. But its only for one person and it cost around six bucks. Well if you eat this for lunch on a regular basis and you can eat like this at a lot of fast food joints in America, you’ll have a huge problem down the line in expanding body mass.

Well that is how big my fast food combo problem is when it comes to American politics. Politicians and candidates and who over promise, combined with dumb gullible voters who are dumb and gullible enough to take those political promises at face value. Who if we required citizens to get licensed in order to vote would fail every time the test came up, simply for not doing their homework as American voters. So don’t vote for people without first doing your homework on them. Listen to their soundbites, go to their rallies, listen to their commercials and interviews on TV. All that stuff is good and a way to become and informed voter. But means nothing if you don’t bother to your homework on them. And check to see if their current rhetoric and positions matches their past record.

The other politicians and candidates who you shouldn’t vote for are people who’ll say they’ll give you free stuff. Unless they’re very rich and know where you live, they’ll won’t be able to give you free anything. If you’re currently paying taxes including payroll taxes. So no such thing as free stuff from government for taxpayers. Even government has to get money from somewhere and sometimes oversees to pay for the public services that it provides. They don’t get their money by being great Wall Street investors or poker players. They don’t use Monopoly money or grow money on their trees in our public parks. They get their money from charging their taxpayers. And what we’re supposed to get in return are public services that they promised us. Including for the people who don’t want them.

Not all politicians are crooks and not all politicians are liars. And some of our politicians are neither, which seems to be shrinking minority today. The politicians and candidates that you should vote for are the people who know what the situation of the country and your community is. Have a realistic solution to solve them based on real evidence, experience and pragmatic policies. Shown they already know how to govern, because of course governing is about choosing and even working with people from the other party from time to time. (A good lesson for the Tea Party) And who doesn’t promise to do this or that, especially promises that just seem impossible for them to accomplish in their first or next term. And who don’t say they’ll give you free stuff. But instead lays out how much their programs are going to cost and then has a realistic and responsible plan to pay for them.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Washington Examiner: Opinion- W. James Antile- Did Dumbed-Down Conservatism Lead to Trump?

The Donald-
This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: Washington Examiner: Opinion- W. James Antile- Did Dumbed-Down Conservatism Lead to Trump?

What I’m about to say here may sound like that I’m at least implying that Donald Trump supporters are a pack of fools. Who’ll believe a used car salesman who tells them that Ford Escorts are as luxurious as Mercedes, if the salesman is charming enough. But that is not far off, because we have a reality TV star in a presidential candidate in Donald Trump who claims to be the person who’ll save America. And take America back as the Tea Party would put it and is some hard-core conservative or something, even though there’s nothing in his professional and personal background that suggests he has anything in common with them. Donald Trump ideologically, has been a Center-Left Democrat most of his career. His support for women’s rights and civil rights, etc. Pro-choice on abortion as late as 2004-05 when he was pushing 60.

But then Barack Obama becomes president and the Tea Party emerges and he believes he needs to change his tune if he wants to have any real influence on the Republican Party. Who doesn’t go Right, but goes Far-Right and doesn’t join the birther movement, but becomes the leader of it. Who claims based on nothing the Muslims were supporting 9-11 in New York and New Jersey. Who now has a base of support whose not interested in one’s record and professional background, but what they’re currently saying. And you speak the Far-Right’s politics that Christians should be in charge, Muslims don’t deserve the same constitutional protections as Christians, Latinos are Un-American and so-forth and so on, Barack Obama is destroying America, you play very well with this community. Which might be thirty-five-percent of the Republican Party, which is a sad state of affairs for them, but they represent maybe 15-20 percent of the country as a whole.

Donald Trump didn’t create the Phyllis Schlafly/Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump movement. What he did was own it and be able to speak to it and have the money to organize it to the point where now he’s to the point that he’s the favorite right now to be the next Republican nominee for president and take down the GOP with him in November. Where a lot more Americans will be voting along with Richard Nixon’s Silent Majority. Including women of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and Latinos and others that aren’t part of The Donald’s base. Even though Big Don had almost nothing in common with his voters five years ago before the birtherism and now is so loved by them that he’s getting KKK endorsements. But his voters don’t care about records and what people have done in the past. Just what they’re saying now. And the candidate who speaks to them is all they’re interested in.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Skep Torr: The Dark Side Of Political Correctness

This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: Skep Torr: The Dark Side Of Political Correctness

The dark side of political correctness, where should I start? The two most offensive aspects I find about it are the hypocrisy and the pure fascism of it. Apparently in PC World minorities are entitled not to be offended even if the critic is correct with everything they’re saying. But majorities are essentially free speech targets. In PC World you would almost be expected to make fun of criticize Caucasians, especially if they’re on the right. What the New-Left calls white people or the man. But even if you’re correct in how you criticize anyone else you’re somehow a bigot. Someone is bigoted to point out the horrible human rights record of Saudi Arabia when it comes to women especially. Because Saudis are Arab and Muslim. Even though they have a horrible human rights record.

But if you make fun of and criticize Southern Anglo-Saxon Protestants when they make bigoted statements towards women and gays, you’re somehow progressive, because you’re speaking the truth. Even though SASP’s are no more bigoted towards gays and women as Islamists. And then the fascist element if it. This idea that you can’t say something, because it might offend someone else even if you’re correct in what you’re saying and you especially can’t do this in college. Perhaps the first place where you want free expression and ideas to be heard so people can learn about them and learn how to think for themselves. I mean where do political correctness warriors think they live? It can’t be Communist Cuba where they wouldn’t be allowed to hold these PC rallies without government permission. They live in America where we all have a guaranteed right to free speech.

The alternative to political correctness is education and I mean real education. Not someone standing up in front of a class and telling people how to think, but instead sharing actual facts and real information and different philosophies out there and then letting the students figure out what this all means and what’s good and bad based on what they have learned. And instead of banning language because it might offend someone you use criticism that is correct to improve yourself. And use language and thought that’s simply wrong as an opportunity to point out how ignorant the commentator is. Instead of trying to shut someone up simply for being stupid and expressing themselves. Instead educate them on their own stupidity and see if they’re smart enough to learn and improve themselves. But fascism is never the answer in a liberal democratic free society.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Boston Globe: Opinion- Jeff Jacoby- 'If Supreme Court Had Term Limits, Confirmations Wouldn't be So Bloody': How to Reform The U.S. Supreme Court

This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: The Boston Globe: Opinion- Jeff Jacoby- 'If Supreme Court Had Term Limits, Confirmations Wouldn't be So Bloody': How to Reform The U.S. Supreme Court

For the life of me I don’t understand why two of the most important jobs in America which is being a U.S. Justice and public school teacher, don’t have to deal with the same accountability and in some cases no accountability as everyone else in America. Why is it that U.S. Justice’s and public school teachers don’t have to prove they deserve to keep their jobs and are doing a good job. And have to make a case to their superior that they should continue working in that same position. With their superior saying that they either deserve to keep their job, or perhaps should be released, be promoted, given a raise, or a pay cut.

But that is how the U.S. Supreme Court and the broader Federal judiciary operates. They’re given lifetime appointments and once appointed they can only be removed through impeachment and conviction by Congress. And only through serious ethical and criminal violations. Not for simply doing a bad job. And where I agree with Jeff Jacoby (for perhaps the first time in my life) is that is a big problem. And why Congress is so partisan right now, especially in the Senate where the two parties have to work together just to run the place properly. Because the Supreme Court and judiciary is always in play every two years during the Congressional elections with both parties fighting to win back or keep control of the Senate. To appoint or block Federal judicial appointments.

My other issue with the U.S. Supreme Court is the simple size of it. We’re a huge country of three-hundred and twenty-million people, with fifty states and some states that would make big countries. Like Alaska, California, Texas and Montana. And yet we only have nine U.S. Justice’s including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. And they have all of this power and can literally throw out laws passed by Congress and executive orders from the President with their judicial review that has become very political. And in many cases looks like laws get thrown out, because 5-9 Justice’s disagree with the laws. Instead of ruling on the constitutionality of them. Even though the Supreme Court has no one to answer to and has practically hundred-percent job security. Short of committing ethical or criminal violations.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress gets regulate the size and scope of the Supreme Court and broader judiciary. There’s no set limits for how large or small the court should be. You don’t need a constitutional amendment to reform the court. We need to start holding U.S. Justice’s accountable for their decisions. I’m not talking about making it democratic, but simply accountable. We need to end lifetime appointments and have Justice’s come up for renomination after their terms are up. And let the President decide if that Justice should be reappointed or not. With the Senate deciding on that reconfirmation. Or weighing in on a new appointment for that seat from a new nominee. And then expand the court to 50-52. One Justice for each state so the whole country can be represented on it.

The old phrase ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, could have been written for the U.S. Supreme Court. This is too important of an institution for it to be unaccountable in a country this large, free, democratic and important. U.S. Justice’s and Judges in general, should have to prove their qualifications and job performance on their job just like most if not all Americans. (Except for public employees. Ha, ha!) And you do this by holding them accountable for their judgment and expanding the court so more Americans are represented there. Not with a vote, but knowing that someone who comes from their state is up there representing them and defending the U.S. Constitution. And will need to do a good job in order to keep it.