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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Democracy Now: Video: Amy Goodman Interviews Tavis Smiley & Cornell West: The Rich and the Rest of Us


This post was originally posted at FreeStatePlus on WordPress 

Tavis Smiley who personally I like, but generally don’t agree with, but who’s someone who I respect, hosted a panel discussion that C-Span, thank God for C-Span, broadcasted on MLK Day on Monday. If you guessed Tavis Smiley was there, you would be correct, but it had Professor Cornel West, progressive activist Michael Moore, financial adviser Suzie Orman and a young women. Who’s name I can’t remember and I didn’t recognize it. 
But I thought what won the panel discussion even though it wasn’t a debate, but hit the nail on the head if you want to use that expression, I would’ve gone farther in what she was saying, but she did a very good job of making points and a case in how to win the War on Poverty. By actually moving people out of poverty, that you generally don’t hear from today's Progressives. Who generally use their time to bash capitalism, or call for more public assistance.
A lot of this discussion was basically about how we can move away from Capitalism and explaining how President Bush basically screwed the American economy. And that President Obama wasn’t progressive enough to fix it. Because he wasn’t in favor of their big government programs. And calling for more Welfare etc, when it comes to poverty. Progressive Socialists tend to be more about giving people in poverty more Welfare. 
More Welfare insurance at taxpayers expense of course. And are more interested in sustaining people in poverty. But this young lady was talking about actually moving people out of poverty. Which is completely different, so they can be self-sufficient and get off of public assistance. And she’s the only person that made this discussion worth watching. the War on Poverty a war that President Johnson declared in 1965 47 years ago. If you were born that year, your Middle Age now.  
And today you might not even remember LBJ as President. But the solutions to finally win this war, are pretty simple, but harder to put into practice. First of all you need a good economy that has strong job growth. We are finally starting to see that now. But to help adults who currently live in poverty whether they are working or on Welfare or Unemployment Insurance, is through education and job training. Get them back into school, so they can get themselves the skills they need to get a good job and get off of public assistance. That takes money, but would pay for itself in the long run, because we would be creating new taxpayers.
Long-term what we need to be doing to avoid kids living in poverty as adults. Or end up in the corrections system, is to make sure they stay in school. And get a good education, while their parents are going back to school. And to do this we need to reform our public education system. And that gets to better educators and competition inside the public education system, so low-income parents can send their kids to good schools as well. 
Not be forced to send their kids to schools because of where they live. That's called public school choice and we have to do something about our high dropout rate. Encourage kids to stay in school, not drop out and have kids and end up on public assistance. Or get involved in organized crime and in the corrections system. We proved in the 1990s with the Clinton Administration, with Welfare to Work. 
That we can do this, move people out of poverty and into the middle class. By empowering them to get the skills that they need to get a good job and not live on public assistance. To the point that we got our poverty rate down to 13%. I believe a record low for the United States is an approach that we need to get back to.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Big Government Is Not Stimulus: Why Keynes Was Wrong": How to Stimulate The Economy



Can Government stimulate the economy which I believe is the question here and broadly what is the Role of Government. Yes it can and it has by doing things like Tax Cuts and encouraging Consumer Spending and things like Infrastructure Investment. The 2009 Recovery Act which of course wasn't perfectly designed and could've been designed a lot better. Did Stimulate the Economy, we were losing around 7% in GDP Growth in early 2009 and losing around 700K jobs per month. With the Unemployment Rate going above 9% which we just got under in December, 2011. To by the Summer of 2009 we broke out of the "Great Recession" to the point. That the economy started growing again and we grew around 7% in the Fourth Quarter in 2009. We started creating jobs again net by early 2010 but of course haven't yet fully recovered from the "Great Recession". But Big Government with high Tax Rates and an expansive Welfare State is not the answer to a strong economy long term. Just look at the European Union, Scandinavia right now that reorganizing their Welfare States and cutting back Public Benefits. As well as the United Kingdom and Canada that have been cutting their Tax Rates. All these countries, even though they all have Conservative Parties, in Canada, Britain, and France they all have Conservative Governments. Are all basically Socialist Democracy's. The type of Democracy that American Progressives would like to build in America.

What we really should do in America and not just during Political Campaigns, is to have a real National Debate. About the Role of Government in America and include everyone on the Political Spectrum. Let Liberals like myself make their case for Limited Government, let Conservatives argue for their version of Limited Government. Which is different, Libertarians argue for Small Government which is even smaller. Progressives argue for their version of Big Government and Independents argue for what they would call Responsible Government. And take a long look at which Version of Government is Constitutional or the most Constitutional and what would work the best. And go from there, instead of screaming at each other all the time. And constantly arguing to the point that the country doesn't like anyone who's in charge. And then at the end nothing or very little gets done and we are stuck in the same place we've been in. For over ten years now, how do we destroy the other side and get all of the power. To pass our agenda and then how do we keep all of the power and stay in power.

Government Stimulus when designed and executed properly, is the answer of last resort. When no one else has the resources to spend the money to get the economy going again. But should never be the first result or relying on Big Government to take care of the country . That becomes very expensive and its a lot more efficient to empower people to take care of themselves. Because then they start paying taxes and supplying the resources that Progressives want. To fund their Big Government.

Monday, January 9, 2012

House Dem Chair: 'We'd love to see Regular Order': One way to Reform Congress



Its no secret unless your blind, death, stupid or crazy or a combination of all those conditions. And if thats the case I feel really sorry for you, that Congress is in need of serious reform. Not just in the Senate but the House as well but tonight I'll focus on the Senate Confirmation Process. Because I couldn't think of anything duller to write about and besides as boring as it might sound. Boring enough to put an Insomniac Convention to sleep for weeks, its actually pretty important. Because its gets to Governing the Federal Government especially the Executive and how little Governing the Legislative. Especially the Senate has been doing the last year or so, thanks to a lot of obstruction and I'm not going to place much blame here. Other then to say I respect Minority Rights both in the Senate and House and believe the House should have Minority Rights. Just not to the point that the Minority Leadership in either the Senate or House can block at will. Even to the point that they block because they feel they can make the Majority Party look bad. If they aren't able to pass anything, which is exactly what's going on with Senate Republicans right now. Led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who made the Political Calculation in 2009. That if he can prevent Congressional Democrats and President Obama from governing. Thats how the Republican Party get back into power. So what I'm going to do with this blog is offer some Constructive Criticism on how to Reform the US Senate.

This is what Majority and Minority Rights would like to me in the Senate and I'll focus on the House in a future blog. Stay tuned to your Local Blog Channel all you Political Junkies out there. The Majority Party led by the Leader would set the agenda of the Senate and would lay out a new Senate Agenda every year. These are the issues that the Senate will be debating on the Senate Floor. Then the Majority Party either working amongst themselves or with the Minority Party. Would write and offer bills that would be considered and voted on on in committee. And if they pass there, offered, debated, amended if any amendments are passed on the Senate Floor. But then voted on in the end if they can get 60 Votes. Then the Minority Party led by the Minority Leader would be able to offer their version of the bills, that the Senate Leader brings to the Senate Floor. That the Majority Party decides not to work with the Minority on. So you would have what's called Base bills offered by the Majority Party and then Substitutes offered by the Minority Party. The Leader would have to approve any Base bill offered by the Majority and the Minority Leader would have to approve any Substitute offered by the Minority. And the same process would work in committee between the Chairman and Ranking Members. That way both sides are included and have their ideas considered that are brought to the floor.

Minority Rights to me are about the right to be included and speak, to prevent the Majority Party from ramming their agenda through. Especially when on party controls both the White House and Congress. But its not a Right to Obstruct, lets stop the Senate from doing anything which is exactly what's going on which is why. The Senate Cloture Rule should not just be reformed but then eliminated but replaced. With what I would call a Motion to Table that could only be made by the Leader or Minority Leader on the Senate Floor. But it would still need 60 votes to be overturned. But it would only be allowed at the end of debates when all time has expired and all amendments have been voted on. No more Motion to Proceed Rule, the Leader would just have to call up any bill thats on the Senate Calender. Thats been voted out of committee or called up under Emergency Order. Where the Leader would need the consent of the Minority Leader to do that. Just eliminate the Motion to Proceed and give that power to the Leader instead, eliminate the Cloture Rule and replace it with a Motion to Table. You would see the Senate working, debating and voting a lot more.

You want to keep people who aren't qualified to serve in the US Public Service out of office, great I'm with you. Just as long as the Senate makes those decisions by voting on them. No more filibustering Executive Appointments, put in a 60 Vote Requirement for all Executive Appointments and limit. The amount of Executive Appointments that have to be confirmed by the Senate. And you would force Senators to have to vote up or down a lot more. And to show their disapproval for Qualified Appointments in the future, they would actually have to vote no. Which would be politically much harder, instead of hiding behind the Cloture Rule.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bad Lip Reading: Video: Rick Perry For President


This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Post on Blogger

When you’re trying to appeal to the farthest fringe flank in your party, the most ignorant of the ignorant, people who believe Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Abraham Lincoln, or homosexuals were behind the 9/11 Attacks, Barack Obama is an African Muslim who wasn’t born in the United States, the ignorant of the ignorant, to get their votes, because you want to win a Republican caucus to win the Republican nomination for president, you know your presidential campaign is in sad shape. Because you’re trying to appeal to worst in people to get their support. “Look I’m just as dumb as you are, hell I don’t even know my own positions by heart. We go well together, vote for me.

Thats the state of Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. “I can’t win this thing by appealing to the best in you, which is what Jack Kennedy and Ron Reagan did. So I’m going to appeal to worst in you the most ignorant people in the country. To get their support for president.” When you have to go to the Far-Right for their support this early on and it backfires winning 10% in the Iowa Caucus only toppling Michelle Bachmann as far as candidates who ran hard in Iowa, you know, well if you understand politics you know your presidential campaign is basically over. Win South Carolina or move back Texas and actually do your job as Governor there for good. Thats Rick Perry for President 2012, he’s preying he can have someone’s support, who’s actually eligible to vote.

What gets me is that Rick Perry is one of the leading fundraisers in the Republican Party right now. He has the money to go far as far as campaigning. He could probably make it to Super Tuesday in February financially without winning one state. But who are these people who are supporting him and still supporting him. Talk about a bad investment or business decision. It would be like thousand shares in Enron back in 2001-02. The day it filed for bankruptcy and then trying to get your money back. Or investing a million dollars in a store that sells snow mobiles in South Florida. Who needs a Snow Mobile on the beach?

This is a guy who gets mouth tied in a debate when asked which three Federal agency’s he would eliminate. Which is supposed to be the centerpiece of his fiscal plan. Which would be like someone singing the national anthem, a professional singer use to performing in front of big crowds, performing at a football game, can’t remember the first three lyrics of the national anthem. Or a taxi driver not knowing the speed limit. Or running in the State of Florida on eliminating Social Security and Medicare. Or coming out for the destruction of Israel in New York.

When you think of the term “not ready for prime time”, it fits in with Rick Perry for president. Like fries fit in with cheeseburgers. He’s clearly unprepared and had no idea what he was getting into. Like the media actually paying attention to what you say, asking tough questions, running negative advertising. I believe he was expecting that he’s Rick Perry he’s going to unite the Tea Party with the Religious Right. And have a cakewalk to the Republican nomination for president and it just didn’t work out for him that way.


Friday, January 6, 2012

"When You Learn, You Don't Return": The Role of Medium Security Prisons



Maximum Security Prisons are for our Violent Offenders, our murderers, terrorists, arsonists, batters, rapists etc. Medium Security Prisons are for our thieves, Non Armed Robbers, Shop Lifters. Perhaps even White Collar Offenders. These are Offenders we really should be trying to work with to get them to improve themselves. Because most of these people get out of Prison and we would be better off economically and everything else. If they don't come back to prison by giving up their Criminal Careers and instead become Productive Citizens. People who go to work everyday and pay taxes and don't commit crimes. First of all it benefits them and their families and potential Future Victims . Because we would be left with less criminals in the future but more importantly it would benefit society as a whole. Again less criminals on the street, in exchange for more Productive Workers with skills to get good jobs. But we would also be left with less Prison Inmates, which would be better for us economically and fiscally. Less need to build more Prisons. And Medium Security Prisons doesn't present and opportunity to go "Soft on Crime". I'm not talking about that here and anyone who is, doesn't know what they are talking about. They need to know why they are in Prison. There's a price to pay for harming society and having victims and so fourth. But here's an opportunity to turn these Non Violent Offenders around, so when they leave Prison. So they don't come back.

So what I would do with Medium Security Offenders, Offenders who are sentenced there as well as being promoted there. From Maximum Security or demoted from Minimum Security. Is get them in school, the Offenders who haven't finished college or haven't gone to college. Put them in College and Vocational Schools in Prison. So they can learn a trade and get a good job in Prison, that they would get paid to do based on the job they do. Take the jobs that would've been contracted out to the Private Sector for the Prison. But also other Government Institutions. And give those jobs to the Prison Inmates, things like Auto Repair, Wood Shop, Mess Hall, construction and other fields. Do the work that it takes to run the Prisons but also do other work. That they can market out of the Prisons and sell what they produce to Government Agency's but also the Private Sector. Get our Prison Inmates the skills that they need, the Inmates who've earned this right. Based on their Prison Records, the opportunity to get a good education and good job in Prison. So they can also pay for their Living Expenses. But also so they can transfer those skills and Work Experience that they picked up in Prison. On the outside once they are released from Prison.

Medium Security Prisons are for High School Dropouts basically who dropped out to earn fast money. Shoplifting and other robberies but who aren't violent generally. But represent a big enough threat to our economy that they are in Prison. These are people that we can work with, so they can turn their lives around. Become Productive Citizens and not have to come back to Prison in the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lockdown: Maximum Security: A Necessary Evil but at what price



The fact is we need Maximum Security Prisons in America, we have so many Prison Inmates that can't only be handled under those conditions. For lots of reasons that we can prevent in the future as far as future Prison Inmates. But the fact is we have to deal with our current Prison Population
as they are. Not say that they had a rough childhood or whatever and they should be left off the hook with probation or something else. We have to have Prisons for Dangerous Offenders and we need Maximum Security Prisons. For our most Dangerous Offenders, people who don't manage their anger very well. One of the main reasons why they are in Maximum Security Prison to begin with. And we have to make their Prison Sentences pretty tough based on why they are there and how they conduct themselves in Prison . So we can control them to the point and thats a main function of Prisons, to control the Prison Population to the point. To make it as safe as possible for the people who live and work there. But also so Prison Inmates can't escape Prison and once again become a threat on the outside. Slapping batterers, rapists, Gang Bangers, terrorists on the hand with probation or something. And hoping they don't do it again, doesn't accomplish anything. But gives them a Golden Opportunity to commit another crime, because they still have the mindset that got them to prison in the first place.

Thats the tough approach, while they are there in the first place and society is going to do. To prevent them from getting out of hand and what you do when they get out of hand. But we also need a Tough Love approach, because most of the people or at least a lot of them. End up back on the streets, so knowing this reality we should empower our Prison Population to improve themselves. So they can make their Prison Sentence as positive as possible, so it can benefit them. So they don't leave Prison angry but not wanting to come back either but leave Prison. Knowing they have a shot at making in life on the outside while giving up their Criminal Careers. When it comes to Maximum Security Inmates, I start with the Lockdown Inmates. People in Solitary Confinement 23 hours a day, give them a chance to get themselves out of that environment. By them improving themselves, with things like Reading Material, Counseling, more food. A few more hours out of their cells as their behavior improves. Let them even have visitors and after they get promoted out of Solitary Confinement and into school and Job Training. If they haven't completed that yet and then to work at Maximum Security doing the jobs that are needed to keep the prison running. Instead of contracting them out, pay them and then have them pay for their Living Expenses.

What we need to do with Maximum Security Inmates is to deal with their behavior, punish them when they are bad. But empower them to improve themselves so they don't make the same mistakes in the future. So they can get an education and Job Training be put to work, so they can pay for their Living Expenses. But also so they can get promoted to a lower Security Level, like Minimum Security Prison. Where they would have better opportunities for vocation and work and turn their lives around.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rep. Michelle Bachmann: Dropping out of Presidential Race: Her Light Finally went on



When I think of the strangest and nuttiest Political Candidates, people that can do the work of comedians and bloggers. As far as giving them material to write, so they don't actually don't have to do the work themselves. People that can right books on how not to run a Political Campaign, based on their own Personal Experiences. There are several, the guy who ran for Governor in New York in 2010 against Andrew Cuomo. You know what's his name that guy the guy who's family secretly voted for Cuomo. While they were trying to give their father and husband, brother etc the professional help he obviously needed. I can't think of his name right now but what was the New York GOP thinking. They still control the State Senate there and just voted to Legalize Same Sex Marriage last year. The NY GOP can't be that crazy but they did nominate Mr. What's His Name. If you know his name feel free to send it to me, I believe he brought a Hand Gun to one of his Public Events. He did a lot of strange things like that, hopefully he's in a Mental Hospital right now. And they are making room for Michelle Bachmann. Who'll have some more Free Time since she dropped out of the GOP Presidential Race. Only managing to get 5% in the State she's from. Michelle Bachmann is a Native Iowan, just listen to her accent, she literally lives across the border in Minnesota.

Michelle Bachmann lives within a few miles of the Minnesota-Iowa Border. She can literally say she understands Iowa because she can see it from her backyard. So they know her and decided they don't like her by 95%. Sarah Palin every comedians favorite Politician or Ex Politician, I don't see her running for anything ever again. Too bad for comedians and Political Pundits, great for anyone else who's alive and breathing. The Politician who coined the phrase, "I have Foreign Policy Experience, because I can see Russia from my backyard". Sarah Palin is my favorite Politician to make fun of, Public Figure actually. George W. Bush being a close second but he's keeping quiet so I'll let him sleep. But also one of my favorite Politicians to make fun of, someone who can't even get elected Statewide in her own State. For Senator, Governor or anything else, because Minnesota has a Sanity Clause. You have to fill out in order to run for State Office there, is US Rep. Michelle Bachmann. Formerly a Presidential Candidate who managed just 5% of the vote in her birthplace Iowa. Rick Perry a Texan got twice as many votes as Rep. Bachmann. Ron Paul another Texan got four times as many votes. Her light finally went on and there was finally someone home and she saw it and dropped out.

Michelle Bachmann is someone who represents what can happen when a Political Party lacks the strength and Leadership that it needs. To tell its people, look we are only looking for serious Political Candidates here. Fringe Candidates should stay home and continue to fight the fight so to speak. Perhaps grow up and get professional help but running for President of the United States. Is the Big Leagues we don't accept wannabes here. So bye bye Michelle Bachmann, back to the Mental Hospital better known as the US House of Representatives you go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian": The Differences between Socialism and Authoritarianism



The fact is every country in the World including America has at least some degree of Socialism in it. Basically anything run by government to serve the people is Socialist. Fine I accept that, as someone who's not a fan of Socialism and sees taxes and government. As Necessary Evils to have a Civilized Society. And when I hear someone say they are completely Anti Socialist and want to eliminate all Socialism in the country. I have to believe they are anarchists people who believe we shouldn't have any government. Very similar to what America was before the Europeans can over. The question is how much Socialism should we have and to what degree, how much of our Economic Liberty are we willing to have taken from us. To fund government to serve us and what government should be doing for us. That it does well, does better and can only do what the Private Sector can't do. I don't see Socialism as evil Authoritarian depending on how much Socialism you have. Do you let the government run everything in society without any Property Rights. Or do you have both a large Private Sector and Welfare State funded through high Tax Rates. And I would argue that we want Government and Socialism to be very limited to only do the things that the people can't do for themselves. Or can't do as well and for me that means National Security, Law Enforcement, Foreign Policy and Regulation of the Economy. As well as the currency, I don't even want government running the Safety Net in the country. That should be left for the Private Sector to be run as Non Profit Community Services.

Authoritarianism is really to me what a bad, evil even depending on who the Leaders are, Political Ideology. And when I think of the worst Authoritarian Leaders in the World and in the past. I think of Adolph Hitler, Germany, Joe Stalin Russia, Slobodon Milosevic Serbia, Saddam Hussein Iraq. And of course there are several others but these Leaders were definitely evil so Anti Opposition. That they would kill people for Publicly Disagreeing with them or trying to escape the country. Imagine trying to escape your own country where your from and grew up, where people of your own culture and ethnicity live and everything else. But none of these people are Pure Socialists because Socialists believe in Big Government on Economic Policy. But tend to be pretty Liberal or Libertarian even on Social Issues, yes there's even a term Socialist Libertarian. Author Noam Chomsky would qualify as one of those people, so to compare Socialism with Naziism. Naziism being one of the most if not most evil Political Ideologies we've ever had in the World. That would murder people just because they were of another race or ethnicity or both and weren't german. Is going way too far Nazis are Socialist on Economic Policy but not on Social Issues. They are racist and Authoritarian on Social Issues.

Socialism is Authoritarian in the economic sense because it limits peoples Economic Liberty. And the more of it, the less Economic Liberty people have because the more of it. The more dependent on government especially the Central Government people are in taking care of themselves. But Socialism in its purist democratic form and Britain and Sweden are perfect examples of that. With again large both Private and Public Sectors but with a lot of Social Liberty in that country. And something I believe America should look at when it comes to Social Liberty. While we still keep our Economic Liberty but Socialism is not evil.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jason Wright: Tribute to Ronald Reagan: How The GOP Has Moved Away From Reagan

President Ronald W. Reagan
Happy New Year everyone! I hope anyone reading this blog is now at least somewhat sober and prepared to have a great 2012. I wrote a blog last year for Ronald Reagan’s 100th Birthday laying out why even though I’m a Liberal Democrat, what I like and respect about President Reagan and I’ll probably be doing the same thing for his 101st Birthday this year. And since we are just a little more than a month away from his birthday and with the Iowa Republican Caucus tomorrow, why not kick off 2012 for FreeState Plus with a look at Ron Reagan and the state of the current Republican Party.

We are about 24 hours away from the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus which will decide who’ll have the momentum going into the New Hampshire primary. And the Republican Party still has no presidential candidate that resembles Ronald Reagan as a Reagan Conservative, a Classical Conservative. Who truly believed that big government was the problem with America and the way to get America going again was to get big government off the backs of the American people. And let free people live their lives.

All the GOP presidential candidates, of course except for Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, believe in some form of big government. Some new intrusion into the lives of the American people in how we can live our own lives and a new intrusion in how states can govern themselves. Even if they are within the U.S. Constitution. And got this idea that free people should be free to live their own lives. But as long as they are living them the way these Neoconservatives want them to live. And that’s another thing, there isn’t a Constitutional Conservative, again except maybe Ron Paul and John Huntsman. I find that unbelievable that a political party that calls themselves the Republican Party, wouldn’t have a Constitutional Conservative, all these candidates except for again Paul and Huntsman.

Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman and I’ll just say it, Paul and Huntsman are running for President in the wrong party. And I guess have missed the memo, or something and haven’t figured that out all of these candidates except for Paul and Huntsman, want to change the U.S. Constitution to limit our individual liberty. What happened to the Barry Goldwater/Ron Reagan Republican Party, Goldwater and Reagan are obviously dead. But their ideas are not, what happened to their supporters who voted for them. And the political activists that brought about the Reagan Revolution of 1980. Winning 44 States, 56% of the Popular Vote in the presidential election. Senate Republicans winning back the Senate for the first time since 1952.

These people again except for the Huntsman and Paul Supporters and few Members of Congress. Like Representative Paul, Senator Paul, Senator Lee, Senator Johnson, you don’t hear from Classical Conservatives in the Republican Party anymore. The GOP is now dominated by Religious and Neoconservatives Big Government Republicans that want to limit our individual liberty, mot protect it. Barry Goldwater and Ron Reagan would not recognize the Republican Party today and I believe may even of left it. You could get this sense of how Senator Goldwater felt about the current GOP in the late 80s and 90s after he had already left Congress. And neither one of them could win the Republican nomination for president in either 2008 or 2012. If they were able to run for it.