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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interesting: Video: Bio's Biography of Sophia Loren: The Italian Goddess

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Sophia Loren is perhaps the best looking Italian woman, American or native Italian, that Italy has ever produced, even though I'm more obviously more familiar with Italian-American women than native Italian women. I would put Sophia up against any other ethnic Italian woman who has ever lived and any other woman period who has ever lived as far as physical beauty and appearance go. A perfect example of that is her role in Grumpier Old Men from 1995 when she is 60 years old and still a goddess, turning on older and younger men at this point.

But as the corny saying goes, it doesn't stop there, because, like Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe, and other goddesses who've worked in the entertainment business, she was a very talented entertainer who could act and sing and make anyone laugh and go toe to toe with great comic actors like Cary Grant when it came to wit and wisecracks, as in the movie Houseboat. She is an actress with great comedic timing and stage presence in addition to her physical beauty and stage command.

Another thing I love about Sophia is how real she was, coming from nothing and raised by people other than her parents in Rome, Lazio, Italy in the 1930s at the height of the fascist Benito Mussolini regime. She made something great of herself with incredibly hard work, especially after we saw the Sophia that the rest of the world is so familiar with, this tall, curvy hot baby-face goddess with the great Italian voice.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Federalist: Opinion: David Harsanyi: Rand Paul is Right, Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism: Why Conservatives Shouldn't be at Odds With Libertarians

The Federalist: Opinion: David Harsanyi: Rand Paul is Right, Social Conservatives Should Embrace Libertarianism

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I don't want to sound overly technical here but it all depends on what you mean by a social conservative. If you are talking about conservative, which means to conserve, then from a political standpoint that means being in favor of conserving social freedom, which is the ability of people to manage their own own lives without big government interfering. If this is what a social conservative is, then great, I give you Rand Paul, and conservatives and libertarians should be able to work well together.

Conservatives like to talk about the dangers of big government, and if you are a conservative, at least in the American sense, then you are opposed to big government interference in our economic and personal lives. If you are worried about government interference and you want to conserve your freedom, meaning to limit the size of government, then you should not be in favor of a Federal marriage amendment because you believe marriage is a State issue, to use one example. Why? Because conservatives are also Federalists, who believe in States' rights and local control.

But if we are talking about religious conservatives and how they relate to libertarians, then we are talking about a whole new ballgame because what is conservative politically is not always conservative religiously. Yes, if you are a conservative, political or religious, you believe in conserving life, and I know of some religious conservatives who are opposed to the death penalty as well as abortion, for example.

But with issues like marriage, privacy, pornography, women's place in the world, if you are a religious conservative, you are interested in conserving how society as it was previously and seriously putting limits on these areas to preserve our moral health. However, if you are a political conservative you probably believe this is not the business of government, especially the Federal government, to oversee what free adults do in the privacy of their own homes.

The Republican Party at its best going forward, if it wants to remain a major party, will be conservative libertarian with the potential for growth because it then would be able to compete with the Democratic Party throughout the country and probably continue to have a strong base in the South, with religious conservatives who will have nowhere else to go and with young people who are managing and running businesses including their own and do not want big government interfering in their economic or personal lives.  With a coalition like this, the GOP would do very well in the future.

There should be no friction between conservatives and libertarians because they tend to believe in the same things although differ when it comes to national security and foreign policy. However, the real friction will continue to be between libertarians and the Christian right, who for obvious reasons will never get along very well because libertarians see government at all levels as too big and the Religious right sees government as too small as it relates to our personal lives. 

Online Mob Movies: Video: Bio's Bill Kurtis, Vegas and the Mob: The Mafia Presence

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Las Vegas and Southern Nevada in general became a personal State for the Italian and Jewish mafias, an area they developed and owned by means of legitimate investments in Vegas that served as a cover for their criminal activities, turning Vegas into a bank they could use to fund their criminal operations but also to buy the politicians and public officials needed to keep law enforcement off their backs.

Then you add the crooked elements of organized labor in the 1940s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and perhaps even longer than that with Jimmy Hoffa, Sr., and company, which had all the resources they needed not only to stay in business but also to keep the politicians and public officials at bay and to send the message through their henchmen and hit men that messing with them would have a heavy price in terms of lives lost or ruined.

Las Vegas is the ultimate story of starting from scratch and building a major city with all the investments, businesses, and land as well as people to maintain these operations. The American mafia, Italian and Jewish for the most part, had a huge role in this along with the people they brought with them. As in government and organized labor, it took really clean, powerful people unconcerned about whether the mafia would destroy them to bring down these characters.

Thomas G.: Video: ABC News Coverage 1968 RNC Coverage: Debate Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The ultimate debate, when it comes to wit, humor, and intelligence was between Gore Vidal and Bill Buckley. You don't need a moderator in a debate like this and there really wasn't one, with Howard Smith letting Vidal and Buckley basically just go at it because the two men could carry the conversation by themselves and knew where to go and what they wanted to say. They also both listened to each other and knew how to respond to their opponent's legitimate points in an intelligent way.

It would be nice to see more debates like this, with two people literally just going at it and no one asking questions but just giving them topics to talk about.  They already knew what to say because they knew what they thought. That should go without saying, but a lot of politicians and candidates either don't know what they think or do not know how to express it in a way that doesn't hurt them politically, so they are afraid to say what they think.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Book Archive: Video: CPAN's BookNotes: Strom Thurmond Biography From 1993: The Politics of Southern Change

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The best thing I can say about Senator Strom Thurmond, as someone who is not a fan, is that he was a reformed segregationist who reformed his views and rhetoric as the predominant views changed, even in South Carolina, especially as African-Americans became more prominent there. Or perhaps he changed his views because he believed he made mistakes in the past, but he changed his views to the point that he could be reelected in South Carolina overwhelmingly, including winning over African-American voters.

Senator Thurmond is one of the last of the Dixiecrats, those who would be considered perhaps far-right Republicans today in the South. But up until 1970 or so, Dixiecrats were a major part of the Democratic coalition of people who were Federalists, up to the point that they believed that States could deny people access because of race and had the right to run segregated institutions, and State's rights, as they saw it, outweighed constitutional and individual rights.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Townhall: Opinion: Daniel J. Mitchell: "Is America Doomed to Becoming a Failed European Style Welfare State": How Public Sectors Effect Economic Growth

Townhall: Opinion: Daniel J. Mitchell: Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

One thing I tend to agree on with Progressive economists on is that there isn't any magic number to attach to how big the public sector has to be or how small it has to be that is the signal that government is too big and must be trimmed down. Before the Great Recession, America was doing very well economically for about 25 years, with a few slow-downs in between and periods of high unemployment, with our public sector to Gross Domestic Product ratio somewhere around 20 percent. The European Union as a whole did well economically also, especially Germany, with its public sector to GDP ratio around 45 percent during the same time period. And Scandinavia, among  the biggest governments in the developed world during the same period, grew well at around 65 to 70 percent.

When it comes to economic growth and the public sector, it is all about what you need government to do. What do people need to do for themselves and what do government and the people need when it comes to resources to be able to do for themselves so the society as a whole can prosper?With Scandinavia being rich in natural resources and land and with its socialist culture, it can afford expansive welfare states that come with higher taxes because it also has very small populations.

This situation is similar to Canada's but if you actually looked at the Canadian federal budget, the size of its government is not that much different fromAmerica's, the difference being that it has a much smaller national security budget and spends a lot more on public social insurance programs and on infrastructure.  Canada also has a great deal of land and is energy independent.  It also has a small population considering the vast physical size of the country.

America is different because we are rich in land and in natural resources but for whatever reason, we are still importing a hell of a lot of oil and gas when we are capable of producing all of the natural resources in the world, including oil and gas, and even though we are a country of 310 million people, we have thousands of square miles of land with very few people, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah. And we could easily produce all of the energy we need for ourselves if we just got around to doing it

My point is that a Scandinavian welfare state, considering the size of our population and the fact that we are still importing a hell of a lot of energy and have a large deficit when it comes to infrastructure, would not be the right economic model for us with those factors alone.  Since that is not the right economic model for us, it doesn't mean it can't work in other countries and has worked in other countries, but not all countries are the same and they have different needs and populations.

It's all about what government needs to do and what you need people to do for themselves and what businesses need to be productive and profitable. Once you get those factors figured out, then you get to how big the national government should be and how much it should tax to finance those operations that is consistent with strong economic and job growth, where most of the country has well-paid jobs and can pay its bills without government overtaxing it. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Online Mob Movies: Bio's Bill Kurtis, Vegas and the Mob: Organized Crime & Organized Labor

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Take Jimmy Hoffa and Bugsy Siegel, and Howard Hughes as well, away from Las Vegas and that city might still be a desert town, a country town, perhaps a place where people go to get some peace and quiet, but not the the entertainment capital of the United States that it is today. This city was literally built with blood money from the Italian and Jewish mobs, but also from crooks in organized crime such as Jimmy Hoffa, Sr.

Good business people, whether legitimate characters or crooks, are always looking for the next profit and investment where they can make that next fortune. There was no one in Vegas 80 years ago, a city of perhaps 10,000 people, similar to Bethesda, Maryland, if you are familiar with my area, which was, pre-1970 at least, just a stop on the way to somewhere like Washington or Baltimore, but that started to change in the late 1930s and early 1940s as the mobs discovered Vegas.

That is what you see in this video about the men who built Las Vegas and gave the Southwest and the broader West and even the United States (once the word was out that Vegas was a great place) the opportunity to either lose or make money, but Vegas was also a great place to have a good time just a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles.  It gave the State of Nevada a serious revenue source to build its infrastructure, schools, and everything that States need to do well.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Online Mob Movies: Video: Bio's Bill Kurtis: Vegas and the Mob: The Early Days

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Las Vegas was perfect for the Italian and Jewish-American mobs because it was a physically large but barely populated city, with great potential to become the entertainment capital of the United States, which was not the case for Cuba, Florida, etc.  The State of Nevada itself was a huge area with a small population that these mobsters could easily control by offering them jobs in their dubious businesses.

Benjamin Bugsy Siegel (the great Jewish mobster) and Howard Hughes saw what Vegas could be before anyone else, which would be a haven for money and for business that they could develop by bringing in people from all over the country, especially the West, and from outside the United States.  They could run legitimate profitable businesses but also cover up criminal activities.

The Italian and Jewish mobs, along with Howard Hughes and a few others, made Las Vegas what it is today, the entertainment capital of the United States, where millions of Americans and foreign tourists go every year to spend their hard-earned money, lose some money, and make some money, but also have a great time and escape their everyday tedium, which is the city you see today.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Federalist: Opinion: Donald J. Boudreaux: In Defense of Liberal Learning: How Liberal Education Liberates People

The Federalist: Opinion: Donald J. Boudreaux: In Defense of Libertarian Liberal Learning 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Liberalism is at its best regardless of its source and education is a perfect example. It's about giving people the tools they need to be successful in their own lives.  Education is a liberal concept because it is about empowering people and liberating them so they have what they need to live in freedom. That is exactly what a liberal education is, not teaching people what to think, but teaching them how to think and to be able to distinguish fact from opinion.

Forget about the welfare state and government dependency and other forms of big government that tend to be perceived as liberalism because that is not what liberalism is about. Without liberalism none of us would have the ability to achieve success in life because none of us would ever have the tools needed to be liberated and free from the welfare state and government dependence.  Liberalism is about liberating people and that starts with education, a liberal education at that.

Liberalism built America and a lot of what we've achieved has come from liberal values that derive from education, leading to liberation of the individual and liberal values like equal opportunity and justice for all so that every American can have that freedom and benefit from liberal democracy. These are the real liberal values and what made America great. It all begins with education so we can develop the tools and then take advantage of them. 

Revolutionary Workers Party: Video: Malcolm X vs. James Baldwin

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I have a problem with Malcolm X having a problem with the civil rights sit-ins of, I believe, from 1963, and perhaps earlier than that. Because what these young Americans were doing was saying that they were people too and that they could not be denied service simply because of their race or color. And all they were doing by going to these restaurants and diners and what Rosa Parks did on the bus by refusing to give up her seat to a Caucasian man was saying “we are here too and you can’t force us to leave.” Perhaps what Malcolm X would’ve preferred was that the demonstrators had bats or guns or something. And when a racist would tell them to move or try to physically move then that they would get hit the demonstrator.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The American Conservative: Opinion: James Antle: Five Ways Reagan Nostalgia Misleads Right-Wingers

The American Conservative: Opinion: James Antle: Five Ways Reagan Nostalgia Misleads Right-Wingers

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I saw a book event last week on C-SPAN that featured Ron Reagan the son of Ronald Reagan. Now I know that politically the two Ron’s in the Reagan Family are different politically. But it is clear that Ron Jr. respects and loves his father dearly and his father loved and respected him dearly. As well and the more Ron Jr. talks about his father, the more you could see that he respected his father’s politics as well. And considers his father to be a successful president. They just didn’t agree on all the issues like as they related to the environment, aids research and homelessness.

I bring this up because Ron Reagan wrote a book about his father’s life a few years ago. 2010 or 2011 and wrote about his father’s life a biography about his father and that is what this book event was about. And it was held about the time of President Reagan’s 100th Birthday late January, 2011. And after he was done speaking he was asked by one of the people at the book event at Politics and Prose, a Washington bookstore not very far from where I live in Maryland. “What do you think your father would feel about today’s Republicans talking about your father and comparing themselves to him?”

I’m paraphrasing here, but Ron Reagan said something to the effect that today’s right-wingers liked the political success of his father and the fact that he was a Conservative Republican or called that. But they wouldn’t of liked his politics that the party is much further to the Right today than it was when President Reagan left office back in 1989, some twenty-five years ago. You gotta know that Ron Reagan Sr. considered himself a Libertarian up until 1975 or so when he was first considering a strong run for President of the United States. Well the word Libertarian and Libertarianism is considered as bad as Communist or Communism by today’s Religious-Right and the broader Far-Right in the GOP.

Just read a column in the so-called American Conservative, even though it doesn’t sound that conservative to me at least in the Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan tradition. That said that and I’m paraphrasing here and the link of that column is on this blog, that said even though President Reagan did a lot for the conservative movement, he didn’t do much for advancing what is called social conservatism. Well again Ron Reagan was a Classical Conservative, again think of Barry Goldwater. Not a Religious Conservative or a Neo-Conservative which is very different.

Not arguing that Ron Reagan Sr. was a pure Libertarian because he wasn’t. The way he built up the military that by the way started under President Ford and President Carter, is a perfect example of that. But he did believe that people should have the freedom to live their own lives. And was more interested in how people interacted with each other, than what they did in their privacy. He ran on decreasing the role of government in Americans lives, not expanding it. Which makes him very different from the Religious-Right who believe Americans have too much personal freedom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Federalist: Opinion: Fred Cole: Sweat The Details Later: The Case For Libertarians Working Together

The Federalist: Opinion: Fred Cole: Sweat The Details Later: The Case For Libertarians Working Together

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This is the debate that the Republican Party should be having right now. Between Libertarians the Ron Paul’s of the world and the Conservative libertarian branch the old Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan wing of the party that seems to be led by Senator Rand Paul. And I would add Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Jeff Flake to that list as well. Because these are the real Conservatives in the Republican Party. Not the Far-Right faction of the Tea Party. But the Conservative Libertarians in the party.

The Republican Party will not be a governing party again at the national level which means controlling the White House unless they bring in new voters. And as big government is more unpopular both from an economic and personal point of view, Republicans need to drop big government and their Far-Right and get back to their conservative roots. If they expect to be able to compete with Democrats for the new voters that they need. Latinos, Asians, Jews, economically conservative African-Americans.

Right now the competing factions in the Republican Party that could actually move it forward and beyond their Bible Belt Neo-Conservative base, it’s the Ron Paul classical libertarian branch. The Rand Paul conservative libertarian branch and the establishment the leadership in the Republican Party. That is supposed to look out for the best interest of the GOP that tends to be economically and foreign policy oriented. And not so much interested in the social issues.

The conservative libertarian branches of the GOP is how they move forward and become a governing party again. That would even win back the U.S. Senate as well. Because they could tell Americans especially younger Americans that they have an economic message that young people could like. And they’re not trying to run their personal lives for them. Because the Religious-Right and Far-Right in general no longer runs the Republican Party.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Chomsky Videos: Video: PBS's Firing Line With William F. Buckley: The State of The Democratic Party, From 1985

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

What happened to the Democratic Party in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988 in those presidential defeats and in the case of 1980 when the not only lost the White House in a landslide, but lost the U.S. Senate and eleven seats at that, was that their Far-Left rose up in the late 1960s in response to the Vietnam War and to against American capitalism. As well and made the Democratic Party look way out of the mainstream than they actually were.

The Democratic Party lost five out of six presidential elections from 1968-88. They won in 1976, but Jimmy Carter ran against the Democratic establishment and to a certain extent the Far-Left. And went out-of-the-way to convince people who was a New Democrat and mainstream and someone who shared a lot of American values. Like hard work, honesty and so-forth who ran against Washington. But lost in 1980 partly because he wasn’t able to solve a lot of problems that he inherited. But also because the Far-Left didn’t like him and took their support somewhere else.

And because of the Far-Left rising in the Democratic Party, partisan right-wingers and Republicans were successfully able to paint all major Democrats especially national Democrats, as out of the American mainstream and somehow Un-American and big believers in big government. And anti-capitalist, anti-success, anti-military and other things and even though only a small faction of Democrats believe in these things. Republicans were able to paint most major Democrats as supporting these things.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RCP Video: Piers Morgan Tonight- Ann Coulter vs Piers Morgan- 10/26/2012

Source: RCP Video-Piers Morgan-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Ann Coulter actually make a good point about the mentally ill in America and their access to guns. Which is why we need to fully fund mental health care in America both in and out of institutions. And no longer release mental patients because of costs because now we are putting the resources in to fund mental health care in this country. And there are a variety of ways that we can do this. Requiring health insurers both private and public to cover mental health care would be one of them. And there will be a future post on this blog about how exactly could we fund mental health care in this country.

The mental health care may the only issue I agree with Ann Coulter on. And since I have so much disrespect for her and basically see here a hate-monger for the far-right, I may have to rethink my position on this. But where Ann goes back to Crazyland and visits her good friend Michelle Bachmann is that she’s not willing to do anything that would actually keep the mentally disabled for whatever reasons from getting access to firearms in the United States.

There are big government policies to cutting gun violence. Basically trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment that democratic socialist talk show how and writer Thom Hartmann suggested a few weeks ago. Or make it so weak that it is basically worth nothing. There are no government policies on this issue which is to do nothing. And there are limited government solutions to this problem which is to prevent criminals and the mentally disabled from getting firearms. While responsible adults would still be able to get firearms as long as they are responsible with them.

What we need is a twenty-four hour background check on anyone inside of the United States purchasing a firearm. And that check would be to make sure that no one with a violent felony criminal record, someone convicted of a violent crime or violent crimes could get access to firearms. Or the mentally ill someone with a record of metal illness could get access to firearms. As well as seeing that no one who still needs to be in a mental institution is able to leave until they are ready to.

The approach I’m talking about is supported by some sixty-percent of the American public. Even people who are on the far-left who want to outlaw firearms period for private use, would take this approach over doing nothing. And only the libertarian-right and the far-right see this approach as unconstitutional, because they are absolutists on the Second Amendment. And see any gun regulations are unconstitutional even though none of our constitutional rights are absolute.
RCP Video: Piers Morgan Tonight- Ann Coulter vs Piers Morgan- 10/26/2012

Monday, February 3, 2014

National Review: Lou Dobbs Tonight- John Fund: GOP Realizes Opposing ObamaCare Not Enough

Source: The Huffington Post- Senate GOP Leadership-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

The whole problem with the Republican Party especially the Tea Party’s critique of the Affordable Care Act that they call ObamaCare is that they’ve never had a plan of their own at least as a party. One plan that brings the whole party together. They never tried to pass a broad health care reform plan when they controlled both the White House and Congress from 2003-07. They just passed a very expensive Medicare prescription drug plan in 2003. That they borrowed seven-hundred billion dollars to pay for.

House Republicans when they were still in the minority led by John Boehner, had a substitute to the House passed health care reform plan in late 2009. But you don’t see many Republicans or anyone else speaking very highly of it now. Senate Republicans didn’t offer anything in 2009-10 as an alternative to the ACA. Either thinking they could block the ACA with just forty-one votes or hoping it would pass so they would have a campaign issue.

Right now the only plan on the table is the Affordable Care Act, because no one else has a plan. At least something that could even pass the Republican House of Representatives. Which means the only alternative would be going back to pre-2010 and back to the old system. That most of the country didn’t like because so many Americans either couldn’t afford health insurance. Or would be denied it because of a pre-existing-condition, or would lose their health insurance because they would actually need it.

If you repeal without replacing the ACA, you go back to the old system. And right now Americans who still do not like the ACA are saying that ObamaCare is still better than the old system. Which is why the politics of trying to repeal ObamaCare just doesn’t work and won’t work at least until they come up with an alternative to ObamaCare. And say, “we know you don’t like the old system or the current system. And this is what we would do instead and why it would be better.
National Review: Lou Dobbs Tonight- John Fund: GOP Realizes That Opposing ObamaCare Not Enough