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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Friday, February 22, 2013

Right Coast: AP Md.: State House Bill Would Legalize Marijuana In Maryland: Why This Would Be Good For The Free State of Maryland

Right Coast: Bill Would Legalize Marijuana In Maryland: ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland lawmaker has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana.      Delegate Curt Anderson introduced the measure in...

I'm in favor of the United States Government legalizing marijuana at the Federal level. Or at the very least taking a Federalist approach and getting out of the way and not arresting people for using or selling. Marijuana in states that have already legalized it so of course I'm in favor of my home and native state of Maryland doing the same thing. Which would be an economic and fiscal benefit for the state across the board. In the areas of more tax revenue for the state. More jobs, more business's and so fourth, less people going in the state criminal justice system and living off of tax payers for free. As long as it was treated like alcohol and not given special treatment or treated worse. Twenty one or older to possess, use or sell, taxed heavily even, no driving under the influence and that sorta thing. And that treatment is available and fully funded for whatever addicts may result from using marijuana at the patients expense. Which won't be major problem because marijuana isn't as addictive as alcohol and tobacco.

From a philosophical standpoint from my own as well as Maryland the state I love. What's the state of Maryland called, the Free State of Maryland which fits perfectly where we are overwhelmingly. Liberal and Democratic where lets says Social-Democrats as well as religious and Neoconservatives don't have as big. Of a movement as they do in Vermont and South Carolina respectively where Marylanders are expected to be able to live in. A certain amount of freedom where we've just in 2012 alone legalized same sex marriage and casinos. Where we still lead the country in public education, we are still taxed too high from my point of view. But where we do very well in areas like infrastructure and education and where legalizing things like. Gambling, casinos and marijuana would allow us to bring down our overall tax burden and would also bring more people to the state to consume those products.

I don't see marijuana passing in at least the session of the Maryland State Assembly and I haven't seen Governor O'Malley's position on it yet. But at least its finally been introduced in the Assembly and we'll see where it goes in 2013 if anywhere.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AEI: Fiscal Policy: Alex Brill: Bowles-Simpson Doesn't Address Unsustainable Healthcare Spending: How to Reform Healthcare and Control The Debt and Deficit

Bowles-Simpson doesn't address unsustainable health care spending - Economics - AEI 

I love talking and writing about healthcare when it comes to deficit reduction because we'll never get the national debt and deficit under control. Without getting our healthcare costs under control and is one of the things that the Obama Administration understood and got right when healthcare reform was debated. Back in 2009-10 that unless we get our healthcare costs under control, we'll never get the debt and deficit under control and we won't have a strong economy in the future. As long as healthcare represents such a huge chunk of our economy and since Medicare and Medicaid both represent such a huge chunk. Of our economy these two critical programs in our healthcare system are great places to start.

Florida Governor Rick Scott a Republican last time I checked anyway has agreed to take the Medicaid money. Thats part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act in return for expanding the Florida Medicaid system. I think thats a good step on his part as much as Republicans and Libertarians may hate that. Because it means more low income Floridians which I'm sure Florida has at least its share of will have access to. Health insurance in Florida and will mean that doctors and hospitals in Florida will have to deliver less uncompensated healthcare. But I would take it a couple steps further, I would turn over the entire Florida Medicaid system over to Florida even with a Republican Governor and Legislature. And allow for them to run their own Medicaid system with the money to run it under the condition that Medicaid money is. Only used for Medicaid and the patients, doctors and hospitals that it covers and that Medicaid remains a non profit health insurer thats fully financed.

I would turn Medicaid over to all of the states at least that would like to run their own Medicaid system. And no longer have to deal with the red tape coming from the Federal Government. Again as long as its fully financed, Medicaid money is only used for Medicaid and the services that it provides. And that each Medicaid system remains non profit but more importantly to save the Feds and states money I. Would make Medicaid fully financed and financially self sufficient and sustainable and create its own revenue stream like with Medicare to fund it. And like I laid out yesterday I would do the same thing with Medicare as well so both of these huge healthcare programs in the country. One of them completely run by the Federal Government and the other partly run by the Federal Government would be run by the. States instead creating one hundred new non profit health insurers in this country. Giving the private health insurance market a lot more competition. And saving the Federal Government hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

The other thing I would do with both Medicare and Medicaid is make them both public options. So they aren't just both left for lack of a better word with elderly and sick but younger healthier wealthier people. As well that would bring down not only their healthcare costs but the healthcare costs of the rest of the country as well. But we also need to change how Medicare and Medicaid compensates doctors and hospitals and stop the practice. Of compensating them based on how much healthcare they deliver but by how healthy their patients are. And allowing people on Medicaid to opt out of Medicaid their choice and using the money they would get from that to purchase their share of what it would cost to buy private. Health insurance and I would do the same thing with Medicare to bring down the costs of both programs. But then we need to look at preventive care as well and get bast sick care and start rewarding healthy living. And charge people who decide to live unhealthy instead.

We should at least to begin to imagine a healthcare system where we all have access to affordable healthcare and health insurance in this country. The Affordable Care Act is just a first step to that and we need to go much further to create this healthcare system. Where healthy people who are healthy because they've chosen to live healthy are rewarded for making those decisions. And people who've chosen to live unhealthy have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. And with a healthcare system like that it would be affordable and we could cut our healthcare costs in half. Because we would have a much healthier population.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Commentary: Fiscal Policy: Peter Wehner: Entitlement Reform and Common Ground: How Decentralization and Means Testing Could Save The System

Entitlement Reform and Common Ground: pIn a New York Times op-ed, my Ethics and Public Policy colleague Yuval Levin offers a simple, excellent idea that offers a way out of our current political impasse on entitlements. He argues that Medicare and Social Security should be means-tested (e.g., allocating benefits according to need) and explains, with typical intelligence and clarity, why [...]/p

I use to believe that means testing along with raising the retirement age was the best and fairest way to save the entitlement system. I still like the idea of gradually raising the retirement age as long as there's an exception for disabled workers. Widow and widowers who have average means at best, as well as for disabled workers and people who've worked physically demanding jobs their whole lives. But means testing for Medicare is simply bad healthcare and fiscal policy. Because we want more wealthy people I would argue across the board as far as age groups go in the Medicare system. Because younger and wealthier people especially if they are both young and healthy, well are healthier. Then someone in their sixties and seventies who has diabetes or high blood pressure, perhaps has already had a heart attack. Has gone through a hip replacement or something and the more healthy and wealthy people you have in the. System the less your healthcare system is going to cost including Medicare which of course has to deal with our broader healthcare system.

So we want more wealthy people in Medicare but have them pay for their full Medicare coverage. Including the payroll taxes they've paid up to that point but even go further then that. And scrap the payroll tax all together allow Medicare to serve as a public option for all adults and their families in. America but give them the option to use Medicare as their regular health insurer and bring in younger and healthier. People to the system but go even further then that and allow for each state to setup their own Medicare system. Something a lot of Governors would love to do, especially Progressives who rather see a national single payer system. But also forward looking Conservative Governors, people like Bobby Jindal in Louisiana or Rick Perry in Texas. Who want to use Conservative private market principles to deliver better healthcare for their people rather. Then the Federal Government trying to tell them what they should be doing instead with Medicaid and so fourth.

Medicare and Social Security are really two different problems and issues and I don't like putting them in the same blog. So I'm not going to do that other then to say reforming Social Security is fairly simple. Raise the cap to 500K$ or a million dollars gradually from 110K$ or whatever it is today. And then tax wealthy people on their Social Security income at the rate that someone making that money for their. Living would pay but without an earned income tax credit. And gradually raise the retirement age with the exceptions I've already proposed for Medicare as well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Human Events: Opinion: Pat Buchanan: "Who Killed The Middle Class?": How To Rebuild The Middle Class

Buchanan: Who killed the middle class? - Conservative News

To pose the question "who killed the middle class", as if the middle class is already dead. Is misleading and perhaps even insulting but the middle class is certainly not as strong or as large as it was just fifteen. Years ago as it relates to the rest of the American population, the only population in this country thats grown in that time span is the lower economic class. People who live in poverty and this has to do with several reasons. The Great Recession of 2008 that threw so many middle class workers into unemployment and into poverty. We've encouraged as a government jobs to be sent oversees where workers would make less money over there. When we could've had that economic development and those good jobs in this country. We've piled up debt and deficits in other countries trying to takeover their governments and trying to defend them, again money that could've been invested in America. And we've seen our infrastructure and public education systems crumble and not produce the quality jobs that. This country use to be accustomed to seeing, plus we haven't had the trade policies that get American products in foreign countries to be sold. And we have seen Americans buy foreign products because American companies aren't producing the material. That Americans prefer and they prefer foreign goods.

So thats the report of how bad things have gotten in America but again for every problem thats not fatal. There's an opportunity to solve the problem and the American economy is a perfect example of that. We don't have to live in a 1-2% rate of economic growth or not even growing at all. Don't have to do that and we simply can't afford to do it if we ever expect to get our debt and deficits under control. And start to create the economic and job growth that brings down our rates of unemployment and poverty. This starts in four areas, infrastructure, energy, trade and education. An infrastructure investment plan that rebuilds this country and starts to do the things for Americans that we've been trying to do in. Afghanistan and Iraq and puts millions of people to work in the construction industry. With all the new jobs that it would create but in our manufacturing industry because of all the supplies that will be. Needed to do that work.

We need a national energy policy that finally moves this country towards energy independence. But investing in all of our natural resources so we can export our energy and not import as much if not at. All which again means jobs in this country producing energy for American and other countries that are not. Producing their own energy and we would see a huge energy industry in this country with all sorts of new. Energy companies and not just in oil, gas, coal and nuclear but also in wind, solar and in ethanol. Again American jobs created for Americans in the United States and good jobs as well and adding to our middle and upper middle classes. And then we need a public education system, we already have private schools that do this and do it very well. But we need a public education system where most Americans go to public schools that produce the workers that will take these good jobs in America.

President Obama has already talked about the need to do those things but he doesn't right now have the partner or partners. That believe in these things who still live in a world thats bases their economic policy around cutting spending, taxes and regulations. Thing we should do in a strategic way but thats simply not enough to put our economic and fiscal houses in order.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Washington Times: Opinion: Texas State Representative: Jerry Madden: Texas Criminal Justice Reform a Model For America

MADDEN: Texas criminal justice reform a model for U.S. - Washington Times

Even Texas I guess when they became the leader in America when it comes to incarcerating people at least on a per capita basis. Or decided that can no longer afford to incarcerate so many people in this country. Has decided that enough is enough and that they have to reform their criminal justice system. That being tough on crime is not necessarily smart or effective on crime that you have to be tough on criminals who. Represent a threat to society but you also have to be smart and effective otherwise you are going to continue to lockup people. To the point that your prison budget is going to drown out other resources that could go to other areas like infrastructure, education including higher education. And that you are going to have to keep taxes up to the point that they don't need to be otherwise to have the funds. To pay for your prisons that eat up so much of your overall budget. So you have to lockup people who hurt innocent people especially if they have a history of doing that. But that no all inmates and crimes are the same and should be treated the same way. ,

So a smart but effective true criminal justice system would have a corrections component to that. And would be based on the realities that not all criminals and crimes are the same thing. That offenders that represent a true threat to society need to be locked up in prison but that while they are in prison. They would be expected and given the opportunity to make productive use of that time no matter how long. They are sentenced to be in prison that would not only be productive for themselves but their families and society as a whole. While they are in prison but also so when they get out of prison which a majority of inmates do, they have a real shot at making a productive life for themselves legally and not have to go. Back to prison because they now have the skills to succeed at life.

And that when it comes to non violent offenders who don't represent a real threat to society as far as the economy to use as an example. That perhaps society and themselves would be better off serving their time in county jail or in a. Halfway house where they can work, pay for their cost of living and successfully transition back into society. Thats what a smart and effective criminal justice system looks like and Texas has already started to put some of these reforms through.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

National Review: Video: ABC News: This Week: Dr. Ben Carson: President Obama's Policies 'Don't Lead to the Growth of Our Nation'

I guess I take a few things away from this video. One another opportunity to lets say critique the flat tax and thats putting it nicely because the flat tax now matter how its constructed. Even if it were at lets say 5% which no one that I know of at least is advocating. Because you would be looking at deep across the board budget cuts in the Federal Government that perhaps. Only classical Libertarians would subscribe to but most of the proposals I've seen the flat tax would be between 15-20%. And what are the effects of that, a 50-100% middle class tax hike on people making lets say 50K$ a year today. How are they suppose to afford that, we would see huge drops in consumer spending and a rise in unemployment as a result. Because of this huge new tax bill that so many Americans who are currently in the 10-15% tax rate would have to pay. As a result and on the other side we would see a 50% tax cut for people paying lets say 33% today in Federal income taxes. Money they probably wouldn't spend anyway because they are already spending the money they want to and need to live well. And people who are currently paying nothing in Federal income taxes, lets say the working poor would see a huge tax hike to. Go along with sales and payroll taxes they pay today money they simply don't have.

As far as President Obama's policies not leading to economic growth. He's the only politician in the Federal Government right now that has a plan that would lead to economic growth. In the areas of infrastructure investment, energy policy and tax reform, I would like to see a real. Deficit reduction plan from him which is still the missing piece but the rest of the package is there. Infrastructure investment to rebuild the country and plug the 1T$ hole we have there putting millions of people back to work in the private sector rebuilding this country. Not creating new Federal programs and government jobs but private sector jobs. Same thing in energy by utilizing all of our natural resources including oil, gas, coal and nuclear. But also wind, solar and ethanol and tax reform that also helps us pay down the debt and deficit but also. Encourages companies to invest, expand and hire in America rather then moving those resources to over countries.

Dr. Ben Carson is right to his own views but he's simply wrong about these two things. And President Obama is not looking to expand the Federal Government and make us look like Europe economically which of course is what Progressives want him to do. But instead he's very consistent with the American Liberal economic model thats made us the economic power that we. Are that only has government do the things that it needs to do to allow the American people. To do the rest and be able to build their own lives on their own with the tools to do so.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Common Sense Cap: The Phil Donahue Show- Milton Friedman On Why Capitalism is Best

Source: Commonsense Cap: Professor Milton Friedman-
Source: Commonsense Cap: The Phil Donahue Show- Milton Friedman On Why Capitalism is Best

This is an interesting debate to have, because when you are talking about capitalism, it depends on what version of capitalism you are talking about. Because there are several versions of capitalism. Like socialism, there are many versions of it. And another thing about capitalism is that it’s not a political philosophy, but an economic idea that private enterprise is best over state enterprise and state ownership, at least generally speaking. Thats what it is this idea that individuals are better off making out of life what they do themselves economically.

Instead of government trying to make their economic decisions for them and trying to run the economy for them. Thats Capitalism in its basic form. So when you are talking about capitalism, or debating capitalism, unless you are discussing, or comparing capitalism with state ownership, meaning government owns the means and production of society, you should know what type of capitalism you are talking about, because again there are several versions of it.

To know how there are several different versions of capitalism in the world, but also in America as well. Just look at Europe, which for the most part made up of social democracies, or socialist republics. But they all have private enterprise systems where the majority of the people in those countries work for private companies and organizations. But the difference being that they have democratic socialist systems. Where yes the economy and enterprise is private for the most part, but where the state meaning the Federal Government there plays a big role in providing human services.

Human services that Social Democrats and even some Euro Conservatives don’t trust the private sector to provide. Things like health care, health insurance, but most of the countries also have private hospitals and clinics as well. Plus private health insurers, take Germany which has a private health care system. And where there health care system costs half of ours, but where the state also has a role in providing these services. Education, pension, childcare to use as other examples.

So this is not a debate about capitalism vs socialism, but different forms of capitalism and which are better than the others. Or capitalism vs state enterprise and its real hard to make the case that state enterprise is better than capitalism. Take North Korea to use as an example. But a better debate is whether democratic socialism like you see in Europe is better than economic liberalism, or economic conservatism that we have in America.

Where we tax and spend a lot less, but where we also regulate like in Europe and where we also have a safety net. Both private and public to help the people who fall through the cracks of the private sector. And where we also have a public education and public infrastructure system so products that are created by private enterprise as well as their workers can move around in a timely and affordable way. But then you also have state capitalism like you see in China and now in Cuba a mixture of private and state enterprise.

The American economic system is not perfect and needs to be improved. But myself as a Liberal like the notion that individuals can make out of life what they put into it and be able to collect the rewards of their production. And deal with the consequences of their bad decisions with a system that promotes economic and job growth and success. With a good public education system,a good infrastructure system, a national energy policy that promotes and utilizes all of our natural resources and a safety net that empowers people who fall down so they can get back up on their own.

Commentary: Politics: Peter Wehner: Saving the Republican Party

Saving the Republican Party: pThe Republican Party is in trouble: In the wake of the presidential election, everybody has said so, and everybody is right. From there, however, a hundred paths diverge and a thousand voices have been heard. The relevant questions are these: How deep is the trouble? How much of it is self-inflicted and how much is a [...]/p

If you are going to write a blog with the title of Saving the Republican Party. Some questions need to be asked and answered like. Is the Republican Party in need of being saved. Is the Republican Party worth being saved. If it is how could the Republican Party be saved. If the answer to that question to the first question is no, then you believe the status quo in the Republican Party is fine or in good shape. But if the answer is yes, that it needs to be saved, then another question would be how to save the. Republican Part,  If the answer to the question is yes that the Republican Party is not worth saving. Then another question would be what would be next, do we become a one party state with the Democratic Party. In position to be the governing as well as majority party for years to come. Or does another party on the right emerge and what does it look like and what happens to the modern Republican Party without. Having the people and resources to remain a major party in American politics.

To answer a couple of my questions myself, I do believe the Republican Party does need to be saved and should be saved. And that the people and policies and politics are already there to make the Republican Party a governing party again in the near future. Probably not by 2016 if 2012 voting trends hold but within ten years or so. The other reason I believe is that in a Liberal-Democracy that has at least two political parties. The benefit of that is choice which is what you don't tend to get one party states that tend to be Authoritarian anyway to begin with. A direction that the far-right in America would definitely like to move us in but something the overwhelmingly majority of the country doesn't want. We need at least two strong parties that believe in freedom, a Liberal and a Conservative Party to balance each. Other out to give the people a good choice in who to vote for. The idea being that both parties believe in freedom and the idea being which party represents the best choice overall.

My argument for this is not that Republican Party has become too Conservative but they've become too far to the right. They aren't Conservative enough, they don't believe in enough freedom. The modern GOP has basically become a party that believes that government should stay out of the economy. Except for subsidizing big business and making it harder if not impossible for labor to organize. And have become a Theocratic as well as secular Statist Party on social issues and national security. That social freedom has to be restricted or even contracted for the good of our national security and morality. And somehow this also protects religious freedom and have expanded religious freedom to not only. Believing that Christians have the right to believe in whatever they want but to force their views in law over everyone else. Even if thats the overwhelming majority of the country and if the country moves to keep these views from becoming law. That somehow that violates religious freedom. And there just are not enough people in the country who share kind of thinking in the country for the GOP.

So how could and I believe the only way the Republican Party can be saved short of outlawing traditional Democrats from voting. In swing states which won't happen and of course thats a good thing but to save the GOP. They need to get back to being the classical Conservative-Republican Party that they were up until the early 1990s or so. And separate from the far-right in America or put them in a small box where they won't have enough power to cost the GOP elections, national elections. The White House or Congress, because without the far-right the GOP probably adds to seats to the House in. 2012 and takes back the Senate and probably wins back the White House this year as well because of all. Of those voters who voted Democratic would've probably been in play for Republicans if they didn't have. The Todd Akin's of the world running for office. So the GOP needs to do with Theocrats and Neoconservatives what the Democratic Leadership has done with the Social-Democrats or the far-left. And tell them you don't run this party anymore and you don't have anywhere else to go as well.

Its not that real Conservatives or Conservative-Libertarians don't exist in the GOP today. Its that they don't have enough of them. The Rand Paul wing of the GOP is not hurting the GOP but they don't have enough Rand Paul's or Ron Johnson's or Mike Lee's, Justin Amash's and others in Congress. And they need a lot more to be successful in the future.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Washington Times: Opinion: Emily Miller: Long Live Liberalism: Building a True Liberal-Democracy

MILLER: Long live liberalism - Washington Times

If you want to know what Liberalism is at least in economic terms and are worried that he it sound Socialist or like some type of Socialism. Then either listen to or read President Obama's 2013 State of The Union address again if you have to. And you'll have a very good idea about what it is because it gets to building an economic system that works for the entire country and not just for the few. And economy where all Americans have the opportunity to be successful in life with no guarantees. That at the end of the day what Americans get out of America is what we put into it and you want to know. What American Capitalism is, a lot of it is also economic Liberalism, this idea that from no matter how you start out in life. That if you get yourself a good education, are responsible, work hard and are productive. You can come from nothing basically and make something very good out of your life which is what millions of Americans have done. And why we have seen so many people around the World and how they've been lifted out of poverty. Because those countries have embraced at least to a certain extent the American Liberal economic model and have become less Socialist.

What President Obama and Liberal-Democrats want to do and Barack Obama has always been an economic-Liberal. At least since becoming President but what Liberals want to do in this country is take what works about American private enterprise. That people are free to make out of life what they put into it and manage companies or run them or start their own. Or have a career in public service and be successful at that and what Liberals want to do is make this system work for the whole country. So we have an expanding growing middle class, with more people becoming wealthy everyday. Because more people are getting themselves a good education and using those skills to be successful professionally. And we are lifting people out of poverty constantly because they are going to school or going back to school. And getting themselves a good education so they to can be successful in life as well. And not have to live off of public assistance either.

This is going to sound strange coming from a Liberal but to quote Ronald Reagan. Who lately seems to be the only Republican President we show much respect for. But thats what the city on the shining hill is and is about which makes America great. This notion that if you educate yourself, work hard, are productive, play by the rules. That you can be successful in life, Liberal-Democrats just want that city to include the entire country where 1/5 Americans aren't left out of living there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Helmer Reenberg: Video: Gerald Ford, Hale Boggs & Richard Nixon on The JFK Assassination, November 23rd, 1963

This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Post

Representative Ford and Representative Boggs, basically giving their feelings about how they felt about the JFK assassination and how they felt about the incoming President Lyndon Johnson who was President Kennedy’s Vice President. Representative Ford basically saying that President Johnson was going to get what is called a honeymoon period in American politics. That House Republicans at least were going to see what the new President has in mind for the country and how he plans on moving forward. And that House Republicans were ready to help President Johnson at least in the beginning with anything that they can. And they helped President Johnson quite a bit in the 88th Congress with tax cuts and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Marijuana Policy Project: Video: Amendment 64 Implementation in Colorado: How to Regulate Marijuana in America

I've been officially in favor of marijuana legalization since I became a blogger back in 2009. Because of all of the people who are in prison in America thanks to the War on Drugs. And lot of these people simply aren't criminals, they are people who take marijuana for recreational. Use or for medical reasons that are suggested for them because of their doctor and the fact that. Marijuana is probably about as dangerous as alcohol, similar side effects. You don't want to operate an automobile while you are high or posses guns or use heavy machinery and use a. Lot of marijuana but for recreational reasons if you by in large live a healthy lifestyle. You are probably okay with marijuana, similar with a beer after work or wine with dinner, a. Martini with your appetizer that sorta thing, marijuana could be dangerous if you smoked a pack a day. Like with tobacco smokers but other then that we are not talking about a drug that kills people on the. Spot like with heroin or cocaine where you can die from it by overdosing from it. So thats one reason why I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana, at least getting the Federal Government out of. Way and taking a more Federalist approach with how we deal with drugs in this country.

But thats just one reason and how I would backup my position if I were debating this somewhere. But my main reason for me as a Liberal from an ideological standpoint, gets to the whole freedom of choice aspect of it. And gets to individual freedom and responsibility, that I don't believe government should be in the position of trying to protect people from themselves. That its governments job to regulate how we interact with each other and not try to save us from. Having to make decisions, decision making is one of the advantages for living in a Liberal-Democracy. And then get the responsibility to deal with the consequences of our decisions. I don't think we should be locking up people for simply possessing and using marijuana. Now if they were to break laws while on marijuana like driving while high that sorta thing. Then of course should step in there and arrest those people but for simply using marijuana or. Possessing it is not a good use of tax dollars and jail as well as prison space.

So again when it comes to marijuana, it should be treated like alcohol, hell I would treat tobacco like alcohol as well. Twenty one or over to use, posses or sale and have to have a license to sale but we also have to look at how we treat cocaine, heroin and meth. Does it make sense to lock people up in prison for simply possessing or being on cocaine, heroin and meth. Or would be better off getting these people in rehab at their expense in private facilities. Put those stays on their medical records instead of criminal records. And just strip people of their cocaine, heroin and meth for simply possessing those drugs. And have them pay a fine for having them rather then sending them to jail and prison. Which would be my approach that I may layout in a future blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Country Pac: Video: State of the Union: Tea Party Response With Senator Rand Paul: 2/12/2013

I actually wish the Tea Party had more Rand Paul's, Marco Rubio's, Ron Johnson's, Mike Lee's, and Justin Amash's. Five US Senators and one US Representative all Republicans in Congress right now and if the Tea Party had more members like this. I could take this movement more seriously and respect it rather then treat them like the Big Government wing of the. Republican Party which the Tea Party basically is right now since they are now in bed with the. Religious right or always were with them.

But having said that its as if Senator Paul was responding to a speech from Jill Stein of the Green Party or Bernie Sanders. Officially and Independent but a Democratic-Socialist in the Senate that caucus's with Senate Democrats. Because President Obama didn't give a Franklin Roosevelt New Deal or Great Society we a need a Federal Government to build a fair society. For us Big Government speech but he instead was talking about what we need government to do that. Its already doing but do it better and be more effective and efficient with what it does but that these key areas. That we need government to do, like in infrastructure, public education, research and development. And a tax code that promotes success and independence, economic and job growth and that we need to get the debt and deficit under control. So we can have an environment where private enterprise can take off and be successful that benefits as many. Americans as possible rather then just a few.

This wasn't the Mitt Romney State of The Union response and certainly not address. But a speech from a real classical Conservative-Republican whose the real thing and who has serious. Federalist and Libertarian leanings and if you are with that wing of the Republican Party. Which unfortunately has gotten much smaller from where they were thirty years ago. Then you loved Senator Paul's speech but if you are again with the Big Government wing of the GOP. Or in the Democratic Party, then you didn't like this speech as far as agreeing with much of it. Especially as it relates to Liberals and the debt. So this was a tailored speech to the Conservative-Libertarian wing of the Republican Party and in the country. Not designed to reach out to new people.

New York Times: Video: State of The Union GOP Response: Full Speech: 2/12/2013: Not Ready For Prime Time

Before I get too far into this speech too far I just want to say first that I like and respect Senator Marco Rubio. Who to me at least not all by himself represents the best of the future of the Republican Party and represents its best hope of once again becoming a real. Conservative Party that can broaden its base past the Bible Belt and rural America and non Caucasian voters. But just on style alone Senator Rubio failed tonight, the whole water episode. Reaching for a sip of water while on live TV having all day to prepare for this speech other then to vote. On the Violence Against Women's Act and that was really probably it as far as what he had to do. Today so he knew how long he was going to speak tonight and had the time to make sure his mouth was moist. And so fourth and not to get dry in the middle of what was only a fifteen minute speech. The good news for the Senator was the the prime time game was already over and most of the country. Probably went to bed before the late local news which is really about all of the audience Senator Rubio had tonight. And yours truly political junkies.

But again this is a current affairs blog where I value substance and intelligence over style and ignorance. So one paragraph on why Senator Rubio's water episode is enough but his facts weren't very good either. President Obama is not trying to cut Medicare or grow the size of the Federal Government but to reform both and make them both more efficient as well as better. Which will make the Federal Government actually smaller and we heard the President's agenda tonight. Where's the Republican Party's, how are Congressional Republicans going to respond to President Obama. What's the Republican game plan and since Senator Rubio is a rising star in the Republican Party as well as Congress. And I'm sure in on these things, I was kinda hoping we would here that from him. But its not really his fault since Republicans are divided between the House and Senate and not sure who should take the lead. And how to counter the President whose approval and agenda are up.

I'm not trying to make Marco Rubio sound empty headed or anything because he's a good intelligent man. With a bright future if he avoids the Pat Robertson Christian Coalition church of politics but his speech tonight sounded like a classic Mitt Romney stump speech. Of speaking in values and goals without having a plan and policies to achieve those and I don't believe. He was very effective as far as his future or for the Republican Party tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

President Speeches: President Gerald Ford's 1975 State of The Union Speech

President Gerald Ford's 1975 State of The Union address was interesting for several reasons. First of all it was his first one since becoming President of The United States. So it was his first opportunity to layout in front of a huge audience in front of Congress on national TV. In prime time what he believes the situation of the country is and where he wants to take the the country, what his administration would be focused on since becoming President of The United States in August, 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned because of Watergate with Gerry Ford being Vice President of The United States before that.

So this speech was President Ford's opportunity to layout for the country what type of politician he was and what type of Republican he was, what he believed in and where he was ideologically and who he was politically. And if you listen to one of the first lines of this speech, he says the State of The Union is not strong. High inflation, interest rates, budget deficit, too many people being unemployed and so-forth. So the American people got to see how honest he was as a leader.

Again a State of The Union speech is an opportunity for the President of The United States to not only layout what he believes the situation of the country is, but where he wants to take the country and what he wants to accomplish. And with the speech you hear a Conservative Republican President who is focused on the economy and fiscal policy. Too many people out-of-work, a weak economy that went into recession in 1974-75, with a rising budget deficit. And you also hear his solutions for it with an across the board tax cut to respond to it.

But another interesting thing about the speech is that you hear both the economic and fiscal Conservative. Gerry Ford speech which separates him from President Reagan. We need greater economic freedom and lower taxes, but we also have to pay for our expenditures by cutting the budget. Because this tax cut won't pay for itself. Unlike with President Reagan who was a supply sider. When it came to economic policy and believed that tax cuts pay for itself.

There are a lot of things I like and respect about Gerry Ford the man and politician. The man was one of the most decent, and honest politicians as well as public servants we've ever had. He came from the Harry Truman/Dwight Eisenhower school of public service as far as how public officials should talk to people. But he was also the real thing politically. A Conservative who was actually Conservative, because he knew what conservatism actually was. Rather than someone whose further to the right, but called themselves a Conservative.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reagan Foundation: State of the Union: President Reagan's State of the Union Speech- 1/27/1987

State of The Union speeches can be important are not matter at all and be forgotten. Depending on who the President is, where he stands in the country politically and so-forth. And the situation of the country and so-forth, which in a lot of ways will determine how the President will be able to do that year. And what he'll be able to accomplish and for the President an opportunity to layout where he believes the country is and where he wants to take the country.

1987 was an interesting year, time and State of The Union for President Ronald Reagan. Because it was the start of his most politically difficult year for the Reagan Administration. Because of the Iran-Contra scandal and Congressional hearings come as a result of that both in the House and Senate. As well as economic difficulties that came for later with rising interest rates. And a rising national debt and deficit that led to the Wall Street crash in October of 1987. And with President Reagan becoming the most unpopular he had been at least since the 1981-82 recession.

So this State of The Union was the start of a very interesting and tough year for Ron Reagan as President and an opportunity for him to layout what he thought the condition of the country was. And where he wanted to take the country further. It was also the start of President Reagan's last two years as President and running out of time as far as being an effective leader that can push the country as well. 1987 was President Reagan's last year to basically move the country and to lead them in a certain direction. Partly because he accomplished almost everything he wanted to pre-1987, including tax reform through a divided Congress and 1987 was the year to deal with scandal, Supreme Court nominees. Including Robert Bork and then later Anthony Kennedy, as well as further negotiations with the Soviet Union.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Washington Examiner: Video: Backlog Inside The VA

If there's one group of Americans that we should all be doing everything we can to repay the debt that we owe to them. Its our veterans whether they serve in the military, foreign, intelligence or public health service, homeland security services. And that we should never have backlogs for these people and need to do everything that we can to make sure they get the benefits that they. Deserve and need even if that means giving our veterans choice in how they receive those services.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ideas In Action TV: Video: James Glassman Interviewing Thomas Sowell: A Conversation With One of America's Leading Conservatives

Tom Sowell even with his strong Libertarian leanings when it comes to economics as well as the War on Drugs. Showing strong Neoconservative leanings when it comes to foreign policy. With his position on Iran literally calling for America to attack Iran to prevent them from getting. Nuclear weapons and calling the Iranian Theocracy 'suicidal', even though they are back at the negotiating table when it comes to their nuclear program. Because the Iranian sanctions are working. If the Islamic Republic were suicidal, they would attack or invade Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Israel. Those are countries that could all wipe them out militarily if they were go to war or they would attack Iraq or Afghanistan. Knowing that America would respond and attack them back with air strikes and perhaps even ground troops. So this view that professor Sowell has about Iran is simply Neoconservative nonsense but of course people can believe what they want.

As far as Barack Obama and perhaps the Democratic Party in general. Its good to hear Tom Sowell admit that Barack Obama is not a Socialist, perhaps one of the few Libertarians who. Understands that, Charles Krauthammer the Conservative columnist calls President Obama a Social-Democrat. Which is another form of a Socialist as I've blogged before there are Socialists and then there are Socialists. And not all Socialists believe in the state owning the means of production to society and society as a whole. Social-Democrats are a perfect example of that but Social-Democrats do believe there should be a big role for government. In providing services for their people but thats not even where Barack Obama is. He hasn't expanded the safety net or welfare state at all as far as creating new social programs. Something that actual Social-Democrats have throughout the Obama Administration criticize President Obama for.

Tom Sowell really doesn't have a political party at least a major political party. He's obviously not a Democrat and doesn't fall inline with the Tea Party Republican Party today. Especially with the religious and Neoconservatives in the party but someone who examines ideas and policies from both party's. As well as push his own.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Human Events: Politics: Neil W. McCabe: House Leader Cantor: Calls For Real Policies For Real Americans: An Opportunity Agenda For The Republican Party

Cantor calls for real policies for real Americans - Conservative News

I've blogging in the last few months about what I call an Opportunity Society for the Democratic Party. What the real Liberal-Democrats in the party should be pushing as we respond to the challenges of the 21st Century for America. Not how we build off of the New Deal and Great Society but how we move past it. And try to build a society the country as a whole, not just government but to empower Americans who don't have it. The same freedom and opportunity that most of the country has which is the freedom to live their own lives which is what Liberal-Democracy is about. And not be dependent on the state and not having the state trying to run or control their lives for them. President Obama I don't believe ever used the term Opportunity Society in his second inaugural address but spoke in those terms. Of expanding freedom to more Americans so more Americans have freedom to live their own lives in. America which is how Liberal-Democrats should counter the New Deal, Great Society and the Reagan Revolution from the. Republican Party and now its time for Republicans to create their own opportunity agenda for the 21st Century as well.

The Conservative-Republican message in the past has been that if we just cut taxes and regulations across the board. Especially for the wealthy that somehow all of this new revenue with rules being eliminated would trickle down to the rest of the country. Including for Americans who simply don't have the skills to benefit from good jobs that are created. Because they don't have the skills to work those jobs, which is probably the main reason why the GOP has always been seen as the party of the rich. Because they are seen as people who are only in favor of the wealthy. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum two Republicans who by in large have embraced Reaganomics. And I would actually add George W. Bush to this as well, three Republicans who I rarely agree with on anything. Including probably the weather in the South Pole right now are Republicans who speak past Reaganomics or supply side economics. And talk in terms of how can we make economic freedom work for the rest of the country. Especially Americans who don't have the skills to enjoy that freedom.

I guess what one of the best things about the 1996 Welfare to Work Law or welfare reform. Is that it was both a Conservative and Liberal policy and law and combine two things that Conservatives and. Liberals speak in favor of at least traditionally. Responsibility and opportunity, that its not the job of government to take care of people at least indefinitely. Who are mentally and physically capable of working but just lack good skills to be able to get a good job. That allows them to be able to take care of themselves and be independent of public assistance. Thats how Republicans can communicate to non traditional Republicans by instead of just speaking in favor of tax and regulation cuts. But how can government empower Americans who need it to be able to take care of themselves. And maybe they could call it the Empowerment and Responsibility Society.

If Republicans were to propose and economic agenda thats about empowerment and responsibility. That government and it doesn't have to be the Federal Government. But that government through the current public assistance system. Could be reformed to empower people who need it but then have them to take that opportunity to empower themselves to make a good life for themselves and their families. Then they would be able to expand their base and reach new Americans they haven't been able to reach. Before or at least in a while.

Washington Times: Congress: Tom Howell Jr.: Mainstream Republicans Push Long-Term Budget Fix

Centrist Republicans push long-term budget fix - Washington Times

A group of what I would call real Conservative-Republicans the mainstream wing of the party and what's left of it. Are pushing for a what's called a grand bargain that would deal with the debt and deficit based off of the Bowles-Simpson Commission.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Eric Cantor: Video: House Leader Cantor: "The American People Want Results, Not Politics"

Eric Cantor showing a keen grasp of the obvious in response to a rather dumb question. About what you think the average American feels about about the Republican Party right now.

AEI: Fiscal Policy: James Pethokoukis: The US Government: "A Weaponized Entitlement Machine"

The US government: A weaponized entitlement machine

As much as people perhaps in both political party's and perhaps Americans as a whole like to complain about a bloated Federal Government. I've done the same thing myself when I blog about government waste and things that I believe could be done better by state or local governments. Or non profits in the private sector but if you subtract national security including homeland security, intelligence and defense. As well as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we would have a Federal budget of around 2T$ in an. Economy of 16T$ and todays budget is currently over 4T$. A lot of people when it comes to government waste, point at things like foreign aid or social insurance spending. Sometimes agriculture if they are really trying to be factual, agriculture alone is around 50B$ a year. Or they point at Congressional earmarks a big chunk of those go to agriculture but foreign aid and public assistance. Is around 50B$ a year again in budget of 4T$ in an economy of 16T$, so throw in earmarks which Congress has limited. So that at most is another 20B$ a year.

So the heart of the Federal budget. Has to do with Social Security, Medicare and defense things that are all very popular with Americans for the most part. But they alone are more then half of the Federal budget. Which is why I'm skeptical to say the least when it comes to plans to reduce the debt and deficit. Even when it comes from Democrats because rarely does either party go at the heart of the matter. Defense and entitlements when it comes to saving and I haven't even mention the 500B-1T$ in what's called. Tax expenditures or tax loopholes that are designed to meet some economic purpose. But there's plenty of waste in the tax code as well, so when I write a plan or outline for deficit reduction. Like the famous bank robber when asked why does he rob banks and he replies because thats where the money. Is and thats where I go where the money is, I look for savings in what I call the big three, defense entitlements and the tax code. Partly because I'm not an elected official and I can risk offending special interests.

So when you hear someone say they have a plan for deficit reduction. And you are interested in hearing what their plan is, ask them what do they do about the big three. If they say well I or we didn't cover those areas, then you know they don't have a plan because unless they are looking to completely. Eliminate the rest of the Federal budget somewhere around 1T$ not including the big three. Then they don't have a real plan.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reagan Foundation: Video: Joint Session of Congress: 1981 Address on The 1981 Economic Recovery Act

This speech was given I believe just a week after John Hinkley shot President Reagan outside of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. President Reagan also had a national TV address about the 1981 Economic Recovery Act which consisted. Of across the board tax cuts and cuts in regulations in business and once he decided that the economy and defense budget were his top priorities. President Reagan essentially gave the shaft to his goal of having a balance budget by 1984. Thats a big part of the legacy of the 1981 Economic Recovery Act, the goal of balancing the Federal. Budget took a back seat to economic recovery and the defense budget in hopes of ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Because the Reagan Administration along with Congress poured hundreds of billions of dollars. Each year as Ron Reagan was President and the tax cuts for the new spending didn't keep up with. Which is how the debt and deficits piled up and the Reagan Administration knew this. Which is why they moved to deficit reduction in 1982, 1984 and 1985, tax reform in 1986. They wanted an economic recovery but when they saw the debt and deficits piling up. They changed course again and moved back to deficit reduction.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

National Review: Video: DOD Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel: "Iranian Regime Elected, Legitimate"

What Chuck Hagel meant to say was the the Iranian Government is the recognized government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Heritage Foundation: Staff Writers: Saving The American Dream: Fiscal Cliff and Beyond: Why The Heritage/House GOP Plan Won't Work

Saving the American Dream: Fiscal Cliff and Beyond

This idea that the Federal budget can be balanced in ten years, an idea that the Neoconservative Heritage Foundation think tank. And House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is throwing out there is nonsense to put it nicely. We got a budget deficit of around 2T$, I believe 1.8T$ to be exact, so to reduce that completely in ten years. When it took the Federal Government eight years in the 1990s to reduce a then 290B$ budget deficit in eight years. Today's deficit is six times that so to reduce the 1.8T$ figure over ten years, you are looking at 180B$ a year in savings over ten years. Now in a Federal budget of 4T$ thats achievable but economic growth which shrunk by .01% last quarter. Is going to play a factor, so we would need probably to average 3-4 economic growth in the next ten years. We've averaged around 2/% the last ten years as we've been piling up debt and deficits. Not go through anymore economic crisis's or crisis's oversees that we have to respond to. No more super storm Sandy's and then you also need a real plan to actually accomplish this and means real savings and cuts in things. Where there's real money and not concentrating on just 10-15% of the Federal budget which gets you about 50B$ a year.

To balance the Federal budget in ten years a lot of things actually everything would have to go your way. Starting with first passing a real plan out of Congress and getting it signed by the President. Good luck where currently one side has no interest apparently in coming up with savings in defense. Or new revenue from tax reform and the other side having no interest in savings when it comes to entitlements. The problem with thats is thats where the money is more then half of the Federal budget. You don't touch those areas, you don't solve the problems, you don't have real economic and job growth and cutting the poverty level. You don't solve these problems, so looking at a balance budget plan from Heritage and House Republicans is like looking at a fiction novel. Where the author has one hell of an imagination and perhaps needs to seek professional help. It can't be done the way they want to do it because they don't go where the money is and only concentrate on 15% of the Federal budget.

We shouldn't even be talking about balance budgets anyway especially with a budget deficit larger then most economies. And a national debt larger then any economy in the World including the United States. A balance budget is way down the line, what we should be talking about instead is a plan that gets the debt and deficit under control. And then maybe ten years from now we are talking about how to balance the budget. And the way to solve the debt and deficit issues of today, so they are no longer growing faster then the economy. Includes savings in defense, entitlements including the broader safety net and tax reform. If you are talking about a serious plan and not Fantasy World.