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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Politics and Prose: Video: John Dean: The Nixon Defense

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Not being there or even being alive in 1972, I would say that President Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate burglary coverup the day he found out about it. The President is on tape like the day after they find out about in June, 1972 as telling his Chief of Staff to direct the FBI not to go into this Watergate business any further, period. I first heard about that in the early 1990s when I was in high school. President Nixon didn’t have someone on his team in the White House to say, “with all due respect sir, this is very important story and case. We can’t cover it up. It would be bad for American justice and bad for this administration.” Perhaps being a big more diplomatic, but he didn’t have someone to tell him no. And this is what should be done instead.

What President Nixon essentially had was a team of loyalists. A team of yes men who believed in him so much, or at the very least believed in how far they could go with him. They weren’t there to say this is what should be done here and there and give their advice. But to find out what the President wanted to do and go about accomplishing those things the best way that they can. President Nixon didn’t have a good team in his White House at least when it came to people who knew what was right and wrong and what should be done. Other than maybe Al Haig who was his second and final Chief of Staff who told him when it was time to step down and resign.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Second Term

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

As far as messing around with other people’s elections, that is something that the United States shouldn’t be involved with. If that kind of thing happened here and you could make a strong case that it did in 1996 with President Bill Clinton’s reelection from the People’s Republic of China, we would be freaking out in America over that and did. Congress actually investigated that election both in the House and Senate in 1997. Let other countries elect their own people and then make the best of it as far as how you relate with them. In defending your own interests and standing up for human rights in other countries. That is how you build up credibility with other countries and their people.

As far as Vice President Spiro Agnew, it always brings a big smile to my face every time I hear that. And not because a fellow Marylander made it to the Vice Presidency of the United States. But how would someone of a Spiro Agnew’s limited experience in and out of government makes it that far in this country. One thing you can say about the Richard Nixon White House and before that their political campaigns that ran Dick Nixon’s 1968 and 72 presidential campaigns, is that they didn’t do their homework on their own people. Spiro was already suspected of being corrupt when he was Governor of Maryland in the mid and late 1960s. You can see why President Nixon didn’t give his Vice President a lot of work and didn’t keep him very busy. Because he wasn’t very impressed with him and didn’t see him as much of an asset.

President Nixon was investigated for more than just Watergate in Congress, when the House of Representatives looked into his financial affairs as President in 1974. They reported that the President owed taxes to the IRS that he by law of course was obligated to pay back. But a lot of people owe back taxes that they haven’t paid back. And in most cases they’ve put that off because they can’t afford those taxes because they’ve run up debt. And are looking to put their tax payments off. I’m sure President Nixon had the money to pay his taxes assuming that the only income he earned while as President was his presidential salary. So I don’t know why he had back taxes to begin with.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The National Interest: Opinion: Seyed Hossein Mousavian: How to Fix The Syrian Mess

The National Interest: Opinion: Seyed Hossein Mousavian: How to Fix The Syrian Mess

This post was originally posted on The New Democrat on WordPress

I think I found an issue where I agree with Senator John McCain on. Someone who when it comes to foreign policy we rarely agree on anything. It is about Syria where four years ago I believe a NATO no fly zone was a good idea to stop the Assad Regime from murdering its own people, simply because they opposed the Assad Regime and made those feelings public. A no fly zone over Syria or at least parts of it would give the Syrian rebels a fighting chance, literally of taking out the current government there. Or at least bring President Bashar Al-Assad to the negotiating table and negotiate how he would step down from power peacefully.

One of the mistakes that America made in Iraq in 2003, is the same mistake that both America and Europe made in Libya in 2011. Which was to take out the current government including the military without anything to go in and immediately replace the government. So the country could function while they are transitioning and building their new country. So knocking out Bashar in Syria shouldn’t be the ultimate goal at least through military means. But to bring him to the negotiating table to get him to step down from power. And transition to a new government that could and would govern the country responsibly and respect the human rights of their people.

Bashar Al-Assad can’t govern a united Syria now or into the future. He’s lost the ability and credibility to do that. And leaving him in power even to help us take out ISIS there wouldn’t work either. Because he would go back to doing what he’s done before which started the crisis in the first place. All he’s interested in is staying in power at all costs. So what America and Europe could do is to aid the Syrian rebels in the air, but not arm them with lethal weapons. As the Syrian rebels take on the Assad Regime and at least bring Bashar to the negotiating table. But without destroying the government. Especially the military and law enforcement.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anang M-The Heritage Foundation: Larry Schweikart's A Patriot's History of The Modern World

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Even though I’m favor of Freedom of Religion in America, even as an Agnostic, I have a hard time agreeing that what makes America great at least up to the 20th Century is because of how many Christians are in the country. Or as Larry Schweikart put it, our Protestant Christianity. What makes us better and different from a lot of countries is our Freedom of Religion, period. The ability for people to practice or not practice their religion of your choice, or not practice at all, like in my case. And then raise their kids under their religious values and pass it on to their kids.

What makes America great, is our individualism, our freedom both personal and economic and how those things are protected by our Constitution. Our Constitution by the way, not just the best liberal in the classical as well as real sense, political and governmental document that has ever been written anywhere. Because of all the individual freedom that it protects. And then our diversity. How many countries in the world especially big countries are there that get along with each other better than America. That is as developed as America and as free as America, that are as diverse as America?

And I could add our Federal Republic and federalist form of government. Where most of the power in the country is not centralized in one individual or political party or even one government in the nation’s capital. But throughout the country where national responsibilities and things that go on in between states are handled by the Federal Government. But where the states and localities are responsible for what goes on in their states and localities.

These are the things that makes America great and exceptional. And I would add to that you won’t find another country where more freedom and opportunity for more people can be created in than America. And for so many different people where we don’t have a defining race, ethnicity or religion in this country. Because we represent the whole world, unlike anyone else. Or find a country that is so secure as well and as independent when it comes to our security. And yet we also protect our constitutional rights and civil liberties at the same time.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: The Vietnam War

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

First of all, I believe that Richard Nixon already knew by 1968, or at the very latest in the early days of his presidency in 1969 that the Vietnam War was already lost. Just from his own knowledge about the war, his own advisers and from things that people around him have said. Now that doesn’t mean that you declare that the war is lost in public. He personally wasn’t ready to do that and it would’ve been bad policy as well. Because it would’ve send the message to South Vietnam to stop fighting. And to the North Vietnam to go stronger and see what that can get out of the South and from America.

So when Nixon comes to office in 1969, his strategy about Vietnam was exactly how the hell to get out of there and do it the best way possible. To continue to defend the South as best possible so the North couldn’t simply overwhelm those people and kill millions of innocent Vietnamese. While at the same time negotiate with the Communist North about how to end the war. And this went on forever. The war was officially over by late 1972 early 1973, but American troops and other government personal were still in Vietnam until early 1975 when we finally got out of there.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon Interviews: Full Interview About Watergate

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I covered this last week, but the White House coverup of Watergate was about ending a story that the Nixon White House thought could explode in their faces. Which was an attempted burglary of Democratic National Headquarters. Even though the President, Vice President or White House Chief of Staff weren’t directly involved in the operation. But they were worried that this story would play in the media as if the Nixon Campaign in 1972 was involved in the Watergate burglary. When what they should’ve done was to say, “here’s this local Washington burglary of Democratic National Headquarters, lets let the Washington Police handle it. Because we’re not involved.”

Had Richard Nixon had a sounder more sober mind, not as far as intelligence, because he was really a brilliant man and perhaps the smartest president we’ve ever had, but a more sober mind in the sense that he could see things for what they are and act accordingly, he would’ve said, “Watergate is not our problem. And even if some of our people on the campaign are involved in it, the police will find those people and act accordingly.” Now President Nixon didn’t know that his own Attorney General John Mitchell was involved in Watergate. And I and others believed he ordered the operation when he was running the reelection campaign. But again the police would’ve figured that out and the President would’ve fired him.

But that is not what President Nixon and his White House team did. They played it like they were ones who not only knew about the Watergate operation, but ordered it. They acted as if they were the criminals in this story and because of their behavior they became the criminals and defendants in this story. All of the career lawyers and some of them former prosecutors who became defendants in this case and did time in prison. Like John Erlichman, John Dean, Chuck Colson and perhaps some others. Instead of just letting the story play to its natural conclusion and moving on with the business of the country.

Friday, March 20, 2015

American Enterprise: Blog: Arthur Brooks & Robert Doar: Welfare Reform And Lessons From The United Kingdom

American Enterprise: Blog: Arthur Brooks & Robert Doar: Welfare Reform And Lessons From The United Kingdom

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I don’t agree with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions on much if anything. But C-SPAN was covering the Senate Budget Committee markup yesterday and I saw part of that as the committee was voting on amendments to Senate Republicans budget plan for this year. Senator Sessions Republican from Alabama had a Welfare amendment to the Republican budget. And his basic point which I think is sound was that its been about twenty-years since Congress passed Welfare Reform. And twenty years since they worked on major reforms to our social insurance system. And its time for Congress to reexamine our federal Welfare programs.

When Republicans won back the House of Representatives in 2010 and took over in 2011 there was that famous Ryan budget. Offered by Representative Paul Ryan then Chairman of the House Budget Committee and now he’s Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. A big part of House Republicans deficit reduction strategy had to do with the American safety net. They argued that since the Great Recession America has spent billions of dollars on our public assistance programs. And these programs have grown so much in size and since we now have this deficit and debt, its time to cut back on them. Of course not realizing or acknowledging that the reason for the growth in those programs has to do the Great Recession itself. Not because Americans have quit work to jump on Welfare.

I’m all for reducing the size and need of our social insurance system. But you don’t do that by cutting and running or slashing and burning. You just make the problems worst and make people desperate who are simply looking to survive. What you do is you move those people off the those programs and into the workforce with good jobs. You make work pay and pay more than not working and that means increasing the minimum wage for workers and making that higher than what would someone get whose on Welfare and is not working. You don’t just make education and job training available for low-income workers and non-workers. But you make them requirements that if you’re on Welfare that part of what you’re going to do while you’re on Welfare is finish your education. Whether you’re working or not.

The way to reduce Welfare spending is to have fewer people in poverty. You do that by having a larger middle class and more people who are economically independent. That comes through things like more economic development and infrastructure investment in low-income communities. Education and job training for low-income workers and non-workers. Making work pay and pay than not working. Increasing today’s minimum wage for workers and applying the old minimum wage to non-workers on Welfare. Which will send a great message to people especially with kids. That they can make more money working than not working even at service jobs and still collect the public assistance they need. Including education to be able to move up and get out of poverty. That is how you reform Welfare.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Secular Talk: Video: U.S. Senator Tom Cotton First U.S. Senate Floor Speech

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I saw about twenty-minutes of Senator Tom Cotton’s first U.S. Senate floor speech. (Thank God for C-SPAN) And twenty-minutes was about all as I could take from the freshman Senator, who sounded like a freshman in his first ever Senate speech. You would think a military veteran who served in the Iraq War, would have a hell of a lot more intelligence and knowledge about American foreign policy and national security. But maybe that is a topic of a different debate. But his first speech was about American foreign policy and national security. Which is perfectly legitimate especially from a military veteran. But all he had I guess thanks to the Heritage Foundation, was neoconservative talking points. Which I’m about to get into.

I’ve argued before that the Neoconservative is not conservative. Conservatives move cautiously and shows a lot of restraint, especially fiscally. One of the big points about being conservative is that you move, you know conservatively. The Neoconservative is right-wing Utopian. With all sorts of grand utopian ideas about how how great the world would be if America just ran it. And tends to see money as no object that their grand world strategy is such a wonderful thing that you don’t even have to pay for it. Because if anything it will pay for itself. The Iraq War and the Afghanistan War are excellent examples of that. For the first time America decided not to pay for its war operations upfront. And we’ve paid for it ever since on our national debt card.

The Neoconservative judges military strength by the size of the military budget. Doesn’t sound very conservative does it. That the more you spend on your military the stronger your military is. That it is not about what you spend when it comes to your military budget and what you spend it on and what you get from that spending, but how much you spend. And the Neoconservative also judges military strength by the size of the military budget in relation of gross national product. So the Neoconservative would say, “ten years ago we spend six-percent of our GDP on the military and now we spend 3.8%. So based on that our military is now weaker, because the budget is smaller.” Instead of judging the military by the capability of the military. What we are capable of doing now, as opposed to back when. Are we stronger and more capable in these areas, based on what we are actually able to do.

Senator John McCain, whose also a military veteran and a decorated one, is called and criticized by the Left, especially the Far-Left as a Neoconservative on foreign policy. And part of that is accurate as for as his belief in the use of force and military strength. But one of the reasons why he has so much bipartisan respect in Congress and on the outside is because he’s also one of the first members of Congress to point out military waste in the budget. Like when a senator or representative sticks in funding for a plane that can’t fly, that the military didn’t ask for, he’ll point that out and even name the member who put in that amendment on the Senate floor. That is why he can get away with a lot of his neo-con positions on the military, because he’s someone who knows what he’s talking about.

According to the Neoconservative, there’s no such thing as military waste. That every part of the military budget is sacrosanct. And even if there’s something not working properly with the military budget, it’s because its underfunded. I mean they almost sound like Social Democrats or Socialists even when it comes to how they prioritize the spending that they love. If a public school is not working well, or a social program is not performing well, the Socialist will automatically say, “it’s because its underfunded. That if we just spend more money on it and raise taxes that will fix the program.” The Neoconservative takes that same logic, but implies it to military spending instead of social welfare spending.

Just look at Senator Cotton’s speech and I suggest you watch the whole thing. That you could do either on C-SPAN’s website or go to the Senator’s website and you could watch it there. He goes through the military budget and how little we are spending here and there. And as a result we are now weaker when it comes to our national defense. Because back in the day we spent more money on this defense program or that one. According to Senator Cotton, instead of laying how capable we are here and there and what are military is physically capable of doing now. I’m sure a lot of Neoconservatives love him, Dick Cheney and others may encourage him to run for president in 2020. But that is not how you judge government budgets military or otherwise. You judge them based on capability and results. Not by how much you spend.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Heritage Foundation: Video: William J. Bennett and Robert White: Going to Pot, Why The Rush to Legalize Marijuana is Harming America

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

You know, if I was a lawyer and I was listening to Bill Bennett and Bob White give their presentation about marijuana, I would probably conceive every point that they made about marijuana. Other than why they say marijuana should continue to be illegal. I would say all of their points about the negative effects about marijuana are probably right. I would just conceive all of that, but then my point about what they are saying would be, that the arguments that you are making against marijuana can be made about alcohol and tobacco. Probably especially alcohol as far as short-term negative side-effects. Tobacco’s danger is more long-term.

And that is really my point about marijuana legalization. I’m not a fan of marijuana and wouldn’t use it for anything other than maybe the food. But at the same time just because marijuana is not for me, doesn’t mean I should tell others they can’t have it either. I look at marijuana the same way I look at legal narcotics including prescription drugs. Is locking people up in prison and giving them permanent criminal records simply for possessing or using a drug that has similar side-effects as alcohol, worth it not? I have to say no just on that alone, but I can give other reasons regarding personal freedom, freedom of choice, anti-big government and anti-nanny state reasons why marijuana should be legal as well.

And my criminal justice reason for legalizing marijuana has to do with how many people we incarcerate in America and how many of those people are in there because of the War on Drugs as users. And marijuana being a big cause for that as well. Good productive non-violent Americans serving prison sentences for simply being caught with marijuana, or being caught having marijuana in their system. Money that could be spent dealing with violent offenders and violent inmates in this country. Money that could also be used for education and other infrastructure priorities. Things we desperately need in this country. Or could be used to reduce taxes across the board.

The War on Drugs and War on Marijuana in particular perhaps, is the ultimate big government Uncle Sam nanny state knows best for the entire country what people should be allowed to do with their own bodies and how they can live their own lives. Marijuana legalization supporters aren’t calling for a federal law to legalize marijuana everywhere and push the states out-of-the-way. They are fighting this battle and I agree with them here, state by state and taking federalist approach in how marijuana is legalized. And the Obama Administration at least to a certain extent is helping the states who decide to legalize. Which is not to lock up people for simple marijuana possession or usage in states where it legal.

The drug warriors are the Mike Bloomberg nanny statists in this debate. Except when it comes to marijuana there are nanny statists on the Right and Left. Neoconservatives and Progressives Right and Left who believe they know what its best for people to put in their own bodies and how they should live their own lives. And what the anti-drug warriors are saying is, “enough! Why are we locking up people for what they put in their own bodies when they aren’t hurting anyone else? Especially when what they put in their bodies has similar side-effects as alcohol?” As well as saying that marijuana doesn’t come without any negative side-effects. Which is why it should regulated and taxed like alcohol as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon The Complete Interviews: Foreign Policy

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The real genius of the Nixon Presidency was the foreign policy. President Nixon and his National Security Director, could simply see things happening twenty-years in advance. I don’t believe we’ve ever had two people that high up in the U.S. Government that knew so much about foreign policy and national security than Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. But President George H.W. Bush and his National Security Adviser, perhaps come close. Nixon/Kissinger, looked at both the world that they wanted and the world the way it was. And based on those two things tried to make the world as safe as possible.

Nixon/Kissinger, saw the Soviet Union, a country back then of around four-hundred-million people and physically the largest country in the world and the People’s Republic of China, already with a billion people back then and physically the fourth largest country in the world, just behind the United States, as trading partners. Even though we were enemies with both of them. But they believed the way you get bad guys to behave well is for their people to see what your country has to offer and how other countries govern themselves. I don’t believe the democratic awakening in the Slavic States in Eastern Europe like Poland happens in the late 1970s and 80s, without Russia being opened up in the early 1970s.

Nixon/Kissinger saw a day without the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. It happened twenty-years later, but they saw the end of the Soviet Union by the early 1970s. And wanted to open a relationship and dialogue between the two government’s and people’s before that day came and if anything to speed up that transition. While everyone else Left and Right was talking about containment of Russia in the early 1970s, President Nixon was interested in actually defeating Russian communism politically and economically. Let the Russian people know how bad their form of government and economic system is. And give them incentive to look at other systems around the world.

Ronald Reagan did not win the Cold War. No one President can win a war like that by themselves. President Reagan presided over the end of the Cold War in the 1980s and put in policies to see that happen. Like continuing with the military buildup, which actually started under President Gerald Ford and continued with President Jimmy Carter. And with the nuclear arms agreements with Russia. And with President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, putting in economic polices to move Russia passed Marxism economically.

The ending of the Cold War started under the President Nixon. And even Russia did have a military buildup in the late 1970s and were on the move in the Middle East and Central Asia, like in Afghanistan, they weren’t economically strong enough to sustain that. Their economy was already collapsing then because they were spending so much on defense and were going through economic shortages as a result. Not saying that President saw all of this happening, but opening up a country that huge and letting their people see your country, gave the Russian people a chance to see what a wealthy free country looks like. And President Nixon and Henry Kissinger deserve a lot of credit for that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Robert Batson: Video: Frost/Nixon The Complete Interviews: Watergate

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Richard Nixon being the very smart if not brilliant politician that he was, knew about the dangers of Watergate as soon as he heard about it and what the burglars were breaking in to. I mean think about it, you have Republican operatives who are at the very least connected with the Nixon reelection campaign accused of breaking in to the Democratic National Headquarters. Richard Nixon is President of the United States at the time of course and obviously a Republican, so of course the media is going to want to know what involvement did the Nixon White House have if any in the burglary.

So what President Nixon wanted to do at least early in the story, was to get the story finished and over with. So no one could make it look like someone in the White House ordered the operation, especially the President. And that the Nixon Campaign wasn’t breaking into Democratic Headquarters illegally to steal information and use it against the George McGovern Campaign. President Nixon saw Watergate as a time bomb that could blow up his reelection campaign and turn what was a runaway blowout victory, into a close election with Senator McGovern and perhaps even hurt his presidency.

So when President Nixon tells his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman to tell the FBI, “not to go into Watergate any further, period”, he was trying to put an end to the story and get the country passed Watergate and back to the issues that his administration was focusing on. And his reelection campaign and back on pace to his forty-nine state victory and winning 3-5 of the popular vote in 1972. The facts are, Watergate didn’t hurt President Nixon at all in 1972. Its early 1973 when Watergate becomes a big story and when Congress gets involved in it starting in the Senate with their bipartisan investigation of the story in the summer of 1973.

The Washington Post led by Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were focused on Watergate from the beginning. And to a certain extent CBS News and The New York Times. But The Post was really where the action was in this story from the beginning. And when they started breaking stories and getting hard information about the story, the other major national news organizations, network news and the papers and Congress as well started looking into this story. And the more facts that came out about it and the fact that the White House was trying to cover it up, the worst President Nixon looked.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The American Mind: Video: Charles Kesler Interviewing Francis Fukuyama: The Meaning of Life

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

There’s an obvious reason why people from at best developing countries, but in some cases come from countries where the economy is barely moving at all and come to America or Canada and Europe to a certain extent, but generally America. Because they want a quality life for themselves and their kids if they have any. They are looking to escape poverty or authoritarianism and in come cases both. And live in freedom and have the opportunity to build good lives for themselves and their children. Which I think is one of the points that Frank Fukuyama was making here.

You don’t many people emigrating from free developed countries, to move to some place where they won’t be able to find a job. Or if can get a job it would be less than what a minimum wage worker would work for in America. Or because they are trying to escape freedom of speech and assembly, or believe they have too much privacy. They in a lot of cases are tying to escape countries where they don’t have those things at all, like in the Middle East to be able to live in a country where they can have basic levels of freedom and human rights at least. And the opportunity to build a good life for themselves.

That is a big reason why America has ten-fifteen-million illegal immigrants in America and why we take in somewhere around a million new legal immigrants each year. Because there are so many people around world and not just in Latin America, but Africa, Middle East, Asia and yes still Europe, people who want to move to America to build good lives for themselves and their families. They aren’t looking escape freedom and a middle class way of life to live in poverty and under a superstate that is going to try to manage their own affairs for them. But to live in a country where they can do those things for themselves.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

U.S. News: Opinion: Peter Fenn: The Rapid Radicalization of the Republican Party

U.S. News: Opinion: Peter Fenn: The Rapid Radicalization of the Republican Party 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If it wasn’t for the fact that John Boehner had a choice in whether or not to run for House Minority Leader back in late 2006 after Congressional Democrats won back the House and Senate and then later run for Speaker of the House in 2010 after House Republicans won back the House, I would probably feel sorry for the man. Because he’s the head, but not leading a caucus of Republicans that doesn’t believe in governing. They believe in their principles and their tactics and their ideas and anything less than that is worse than actually governing and moving the ball forward on whatever the issue is at the time.

The House Republican Conference, which is what House Republicans call their team in the House, Democrats call their team the Democratic Caucus, but the HRC especially its Tea Party and Republican Study Committee are the main reasons why Congress doesn’t work. Not the only reasons, plenty of issues over in the Senate especially in previous Congress’s, where Senate Democrats would bring their own bills to the floor that generally wouldn’t even go though committee and Leader Harry Reid would bring them to the floor and not allow amendments. At least not any Republican amendments because Leader Reid didn’t want his members vote on things that could hurt them in their reelection campaigns. And as a result Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would simply block from consideration anything that Senate Democrats would try to pass themselves.

But House Republicans would say they passed all of these bills over in the House and say they did their jobs. Not mentioning that most of the legislation they passed was passed with mostly Republican votes without any Democratic input and would even lose several of their own members on their bills. And a lot of the stuff they would pass like having to do with the Affordable Care Act and cutting benefits there to pass other things wouldn’t even get a vote in the Senate because Senate Democrats would view it as unacceptable. And all these crisis’ would develop because House Republicans would pass their own bills and think everything they did was all the work they needed to do. And when the crisis is broken in the Senate thanks to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell with a compromise from both sides, they would pass it and send it back to the House and House Republicans would say, “hell no!” Because it isn’t their bill.

The 2011 debt ceiling crisis where House Republicans attached an ObamaCare rider to the debt ceiling increase is a perfect example of that. The so-called fiscal cliff in 2012-13 where House Republicans wouldn’t accept any tax cut extension that had any increases on the top tax rate, even if the bill extends tax cuts for everyone else in the country. They would’ve rather have seen tax cuts expire on everyone, than to see tax rates on the top go up. Then go up to the government shut down in the fall of 2013 where the government is shut down for a month. Because House Republicans wouldn’t pass a budget and the appropriations unless the Affordable Care Act was repealed. And the last almost government shutdown involving Homeland Security, where House Republicans attached an immigration rider involving President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

The Tea Party Caucus or the Republican Study Committee there, looks like to me anyway the audience of right-wing if not Far-Right talk radio in America and the publications and blogs that they follow. These people don’t believe in governing or government. At least not divided government, which means if they don’t get their way all the way all the time, nobody gets anything. And as a result some crisis gets created because this group in the House won’t compromise. Which is how divided government works. You can say this all started the day that Barack Obama became President of the United States, a man this group and their followers I’m sure hates for obvious reasons, which I won’t get into. But they gave President George W. Bush headaches over things like immigration and education reform as well.

One might say that these Republicans would be better and more responsible if they had a united government. Republican President, with a Republican Congress both House and Senate. But as the early days of this new Republican Congress has started, controlling both the House and Senate instead of just the House hasn’t improved their ability to even pass basic bills that government has to have in order to function. Like Homeland Security and later we’ll see if House and Senate Republicans can come together and pass a federal budget on their own. Because House and Senate Democrats won’t work with them on that, if the Republican Leadership doesn’t work with them. Meaning both sides work together and pass a united budget, instead of one side agreeing to pass the other’s budget. Give Republicans the whole government and they’ll just fight among themselves. Creating a hell for a mainstream Republican President.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Film Archives: Video: C-SPAN-The Dark Side of Richard Nixon & Henry Kissinger: Seymour Hersh 1983 Interview

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The Far-Left in America both see Richard Nixon and Seymour Hersh as war criminals. Because of President Nixon’s and his top National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s involvement in the Vietnam War. And their involvement with Far-Left Marxist dictators in Latin America and trying to even oust them. Not saying what Sey Hersh says about President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger was wrong, or all of it was wrong. But you at the very least have to take that into account when you hear Sey Hersh and his colleagues talk about Nixon and Kissinger. And know that what they are going to say about those two men are of course going to be negative. And to be made to look as negative as possible about those two men.

Now from my perspective and I’m a Center-Left Liberal Democrat, I improvise Center-Left because that is where Liberals are on the American political spectrum. And we are not always against the use of force and we aren’t anti-military. Unlike the Far-Left in America who would probably dissolve the military if they could. And having said all of that I consider President Nixon to be our best foreign policy President at least going back to Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman and FDR. No one new foreign policy and national security as a President better than Dick Nixon. And I consider Henry Kissinger to be our best Secretary State of all-time. If not Kissinger, then it would be George Schultz. Even though they are both Conservative Republicans.

And I say that, because Nixon and Kissinger saw things back in the early 1970s that most if not the rest of the country couldn’t see for another twenty-years. The ending of the Soviet Union for one and a point where America and China if not allies would at least not just be communicating with each other, but even working with each other on key issues. They both also saw China as a future world power and economic power. China now has the second largest economy in the world and one of the best militaries as well. They saw things that no one else could which is why they ran their foreign policy the way they did. That you talk to your enemies to encourage them to behave.

Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger both have their vaults of secrets that we’ll never know everything that they did exactly acting as representatives of the United States. In the President’s case, both extra legal and illegal like with the way he ran his White House to use as an example. But you can’t deny what they both accomplished when it came to foreign policy and doing things that no one else could’ve done at least when they did them. Like opening up the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China in 1971. To the point that America and China had an official relationship by the late 1970s. And these are things that you don’t hear from people who simply dislike Nixon and Kissinger if not hate them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

TNT: Video: Nixon and Kissinger 1995, The Ending of The Vietnam War

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I saw this movie last night in preparation for this blog and I gotta admit, I like this movie more than I did twenty-years ago when I saw it for the first time. Back then I guess I was under the impression that this movie was simply about the relationship of President Richard Nixon and his top foreign policy and national security adviser Henry Kissinger. And I guess that would’ve been interesting enough, but this movie is much deeper than that. They cover most of 1972 and the Nixon Administration trying to end the Vietnam War one way or another that year. And before Election Night 1972 if all possible.

This movie is basically about the last days of the Vietnam War. When the end of that war was declared and when both countries were officially no longer at war. And after the war was officially over in late 1972 or early 73, the last two years became about how to successfully get all American personal out of Vietnam and prepare for our next relationship with the new Communist Republic of Vietnam. And Henry Kissinger who at this point was President Nixon’s National Security Director the head of the National Security Council and not Secretary of State yet, was in charge of these negotiations.

This movie also covers the personal and professional relationship of Nixon and Kissinger. How Nixon being the paranoid man that he was and how jealous of all the good publicity that Kissinger was getting. While the American press was never a fan of Dick Nixon and him becoming President of the United States didn’t help the press in how they felt about him. According to this movie the Nixon White House wanted to use Kissinger and take advantage of what they brought to the White House, but at the same time make it look like Kissinger was just taking orders. And not actually running foreign policy. This is a very good, but unfortunately short movie about two of the most fascinating and brilliant people to ever serve in the U.S. Government.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AEI: Blog: Alex Brill: Representative John Delaney's Infrastructure Fund Proposal: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

AEI: Blog: Alex Brill: Representative John Delaney's American Infrastructure Fund Bill: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

One thing that actually has bipartisan support in Congress and in the rest of Washington is the need for infrastructure investment. Except for perhaps Libertarians everybody wants to do it and understands the needs for it and it really is just a matter of how to finance it. Because now need in the trillions of dollars in new infrastructure investment in this country according to the U.S. Core of Engineers. And that number just gets higher and more expensive the longer we wait or simply do nothing because of gridlock.

I like Representative Delaney’s idea of huge new infrastructure investment and we need to go real big and into the trillions in one bill. And do that over a 5-10 year period, because again we are going to have to pay for this upfront and if that means new revenue, you want to stretch that out so you don’t have raise a lot of new revenue real fast. And take a lot of money out of the economy upfront when the economy finally starting to recover fast. You also want to raise the money in a way so more jobs are sent out of the country as a result to avoid paying taxes.

So I don’t like Representative Delaney’s way of paying for infrastructure for a couple of reasons. One, it would send more jobs oversees by raising taxes on business’s. Two, it’s not just business that uses our infrastructure. We all do as a country and because of that we should all pay for it. And pay for it in a way that it doesn’t hurt people especially the less-fortunate in the country. I like the idea of bringing in business to finance these projects. But not through taxation and instead incentivize them to invest in infrastructure projects.

Which is why I’m in favor of what is called a National Infrastructure Bank. Which would be a non-profit independent corporation that would be in the sole business of prioritizing infrastructure projects and deciding what should be built and repaired. And then going to the private sector to get people to invest in the projects that the investors would get back in profits from the people who use the projects. The bridges, roads, airports, schools and everything else.

We should have a two-track plan to rebuild America. One that is upfront and takes care of current and older infrastructure needs. Which could be financed from oil and gas revenues, alcohol, tobacco and hopefully one day soon marijuana taxes. And that could be handled through Congress simply passing a large highway bill that would cover those projects and costs over that 5-7 year period.

And then long-term we need to finance infrastructure as well and that is where the NIB could come in. And could handle anywhere between 100-200 billion-dollars a year in infrastructure in this country. And when was the last time America invested that much money in infrastructure. The 2009 American Recovery and Investment Act, which was emergency legislation to deal with the Great Recession.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Marijuana Policy Project: Blog: Morgan Fox: Marijuana Now Legal in Washington D.C.

Marijuana Policy Project: Blog: Morgan Fox: Marijuana Now Legal in Washington D.C.

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I’m sick and tired especially as someone who is a Liberal Federalist of hearing Republicans talk about local control and federalism when they don’t seem to believe in it. Except when it comes to things that they agree with, which is not what federalism is about. Federalism is about decentralization of power from the Federal Government down to the states and localities to manage their own state and local affairs. Which is all the City of Washington wants to do. They want to be able to make key law enforcement decisions for themselves. Like whether it not to arrest someone for possessing or using marijuana. Or arrest adults from buying it or selling it to other adults.

Washington over the last twenty years has become one of the safest big cities in the country. No longer the crime or murder capital of the country and not even close. As I’m sure a lot of veteran House Republicans know under having live here and work in the city a lot of them. Whether they want to admit that or not. The economy has boomed the last fifteen years or even as the rest of the country has struggled for the most part in the same time period. Washington is no longer drowning in debt, deficits, unlike the Federal Government. And instead has run surplus’. They’ve shown they know how to manage their own city affairs and that is all they want to do.

House Republican should butt the hell out and instead paying attention to federal affairs like dealing with terrorism, investing in infrastructure, fixing No Child Left Behind, which would actually help Washington. And let Washington manage Washington and stop arresting adults for simply consuming or possessing marijuana. And stop threatening people about how they do their own jobs with arrests. Washington is not scared of Uncle Sam because the only a group of House Republicans have much of an interest in actually trying to stop marijuana legalization in Washington. So the city will probably win on this, but this isn’t a battle that they should even have to fight.

Monday, March 2, 2015

AEI: Blog: Frederick M. Hess: The Right Way to Start Fixing No Child Left Behind

AEI: Blog: Frederick M. Hess: Here's The Right Way For Conservatives to Fix No Child Left Behind

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

There’s obviously not a lot that I agreed with President George W. Bush on and not much I liked about his presidency. And I even consider him to be the worst president of my lifetime. I actually like his father as president even though I would’ve voted against him twice if I was eligible to vote in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But one thing that I liked and respect about President G.W. Bush was his push for real education reform and push to deal with poverty in America.

President Bush saw education as the civil rights issue of the 21st Century and said things like the dangers of soft-bigotry of low expectations. Now I don’t like No Child Left Behind, because as the late great Progressive Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone said back in 2002 when the laws was past, “NCLB has mandates in it that Congress will never fund and will devastate states and localities that have to try to make up for the lack of funding to deal with these new federal mandates.” But at least the effort was there from the Bush Administration to deal with education and poverty in America.

A new federal education bill should be about fixing low-income and low-performing schools. Where a lot if not most of our low-income students attend school every year and eliminating the school to prison pipeline in America. Build off of Race to The Top and Common Core from the Obama Administration and reward schools that have high standards. And support things like public school choice including charter schools. And set up a new federal funding stream to help finance public schools in America. So states and localities can move away from regressive property taxes to finance schools. And so we can get adequate funding into low-income schools.

The teachers unions say that the problem with public education is that we underfund it and spend too much on corrections in America. And what they would do is essentially spend more money in a the current bad system that doesn’t produce enough high school graduates let along college graduates. And the school choice crowd on the Right will say the problem with public education is that government is involved in the first place. At least at the federal level and with Libertarians saying the problem with public education is that it is public in the first place.

They are both wrong and with lets say the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party they are completely wrong. Spending more money on a bad system will just make that system worst because the people in it won’t feel the need to reform. Eliminating federal funding and standards will mean low-income schools in America won’t even get the resources that they are currently getting for education. And they are already underfunded. Education is one of the top three sectors of the American economy and that alone makes to a federal issue. We have to have people with the skills to do well in America. And need to know what is working and what isn’t.

This is not about spending more money on a bad system or eliminating public education funding even at the federal level all together. It is about making public education as strong as it can in America with the feds playing their limited part and seeing that public schools are as good as they possibly can be. You do that with more funding for low-income schools. Paying good teachers more and well and encouraging highly qualified people to go into education and teach in low-income areas. And giving parents the option to send their kids to the best school for their kids. Instead of the central office doing that for them. So public schools know they need to do a good job in order to get new students every year. So public education works for everyone in America who goes through it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daniel J.B. Mitchell: Video: Ronald Reagan Campaigns For Harry Truman in 1948

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

If you just saw or met Ronald Reagan in lets say 1978 or so and had no idea who he was other than Governor of California and looking to run for President in 1980 and someone told you that Reagan was once not only a Democrat, but a Progressive Democrat who voted for both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman for President, you might think that you were seeing same-sex marriages being performed at the Southern Baptist Convention, or looking at Martians with four eyes or something. And I’ll give you one more thing that might send you into shock therapy because I’m an evil bastard. Ron Reagan was not only a supporter of organized labor in the 1940s and 50s, but he ran the actors guild in Hollywood.

There’s plenty of evidence that Ron Reagan wouldn’t fit in very well in the Republican Party today at least as a national candidate and leader. Who would still do very well in California and probably could rebuild the Republican Party by himself out there. But today’s GOP at least the hard right believes that it should still be 1930 and things like the Great Society and New Deal should’ve never of happened. And that organized labor or even having the right to decided if you should join a union or is Un-American if not immoral as well. But that was the type of Democrat that Reagan was up until 1960s or so. A Cold War Progressive Democrat who was concerned with working people. Who was against American elitism.

Reagan was an FDR/Truman Progressive Democrat. Not a left-wing far-lefty radical, but a mainstream Progressive who believed in things like national security, national defense, liberty is worth defending, the right to organize, protecting the working class and even civil rights. Which is why he did very well with working class Democrats in the 1960s and 70s in California and won working classic Democrats over when he ran for President in 1979-80, while also being able to win over white-collar Republicans because wanted to cut taxes and regulations. What other Republican could do that today and win over a coalition like that and even be able to win over Latin and African-Americans and even women? Don’t see another Republican like that right now.