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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Saturday, October 31, 2015

University of California Television: An Evening with Christopher Buckley 2009: Interviewed by Dean Nelson

Great Political Humorist
University of California Television: An Evening with Christopher Buckley 2009: Interviewed by Dean Nelson

I like Chris Buckley’s line saying that it is unfair for satirists, because they are now in competition with USA Today. Applying that a lot of jokes come true, or as I would put it, get elected. We do now have a Congress that represents America. Not exactly the best of America, I hope now anyway. Or maybe I’ll join Alec Baldwin the next time he threatens, or is generous enough to leave America. USA Today, in the business of news and report serious issues. Satirists, are in the business to make fun of what’s going on and life in general. The problem for satirists is that USA Today and other news organizations now report on a lot of things that look like comedy. Like the government shutting down, because the House of Representatives can’t get the President to repeal his own signature legislation.

Sarah Palin, who I actually have a lot of respect for as a satirist, comedian and a beautiful women, even if someone who has just graduated from high school is more qualified to be either President, or Vice President of the United States, is the perfect example of satire, or a real-life comedy story. In Supreme Courtship, Chris Buckley, writes about a fictional character from Texas, a very attractive female judge who loves firearms and the Southwestern Texas lifestyle. Sarah Palin, who other than being from Alaska instead of Texas, has a lot in common with the fictional Texas judge. A very attractive women with a keen sense of humor, from rural Alaska, who loves the country lifestyle and is a big fan of guns, who has a great personality. But who is more qualified to be a fictional TV character than Vice President of the United States. And yet she’s nominated for Vice President by the candidate who comes within a few large states of winning the presidency.

As I’ve blogged before you can’t follow Washington politics and that is national politics and I’m sure Washington city politics as well, without a sense of humor. Unless you have a lot of money that you don’t know what to do with and decide to spend all that money on shrinks and vacations at mental institutions as a patient. Because you’re suffering from a severe case of depression. Because there’s so much nonsense (to be nice, bullshit to be accurate) that happens here that we all pay for.

U.S. Senators, who rather be president to the point that they their main job becomes running for president, instead of serving their people in Congress that the taxpayers have to pay for. A taxpayer-funded Defense Department that is so big that it can’t be audited. One f the funniest true stories of all-time. Taxpayer Congressional investigations that purely designed to hurt the leading presidential candidate from the other party. The largest entitlement programs in the world that are going broke if they’re not fixed. That no one in Congress has the balls to actually fixed, because that might mean that they have to go home and find a real job. That they’re a lot less qualified for.

But again the problem with satirists and people who write satiric books for a living about current affairs, is that it becomes harder to find new stories to write about even if you think you have something that is really funny. Because chances are that story is actually true, or something very similar to that has already happened. Tobacco companies have said under oath that tobacco is not addicted. Which was the story in Chris Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking.

We actually do have a Congress that makes con man, used car salesman, personal injury attorney’s, gold diggers, look popular. As well as the nerd in class whose hand is always up to not only answer every question, but answers the questions that the teacher puts to other students and then wonders why they never have any money for lunch, or are always getting kicked in the butt, because their lunch money is always stolen and they’re wearing a kick men sign on their butt.

The thing about Washington and American government is that jokes are not just funny, but they get elected and a lot funny made for Hollywood stories actually come true. You would go nuts and became Michelle Bachmann’s roommate at a mental institution if you couldn’t laugh about it. But that is democracy for you and as the great political satirist George Carlin said, “politicians are a reflection of the people.” They’re not God, or aliens from another planet, or even robots. (Even if they look and act like them for their lobbyists) And they represent the best and worst of us.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Commentary Magazine: Opinion: Noah Rothman: "Donald Trump Goes Full Democrat": The Panderer in Chief

The Donald
Commentary Magazine: Opinion: Noah Rothman: "Donald Trump Goes Full Democrat": The Panderer in Chief

Donald Trump reminds me of a used car salesman who tells a potential customer that he has a great deal on a 1978 Ford Pinto, of Chevy Chevette, as if there’s such a thing as a great deal on a Pinto, or Chevette. Maybe the salesman is drunk, or high, or something, but anyway he says he has this great deal on this car and as he’s showing the car the doors falls off as he tries to open the door. And tries to explain by saying that, “oh yeah, this car has flexible doors. So you can take them off if you want more air in the car when you’re driving.” He sees this customer isn’t as smart as a pile of bricks and that they’ll buy anything he tries to sell them. Well that is sort of how Donald Trumps feels about American voters. At least Republican voters and that is only assuming he actually cares. That he’s not running for president simply because ego and publicity is drug to him that he if he doesn’t get his body goes into shock.

Trump looks at Republicans voters as marketing opportunity. As a market to sell himself and he’ll anyone anything they want to hear to get their support. The man makes Mitt Romney look like a man of hard rock never bending principles. Mitt Romney, was the king of flip-flops at least in 2011-12 and I personally called him Flip Flopper and changed his name for him with consulting him about it. But compared to The Donald, Mitt looks like Barry Goldwater. A man who was rock solid when it came to his conservatives principles. The Donald, truly isn’t a politician simply, because he unelectable. He’s suffering from the worst form of political whiplash, because how many times he’s officially changed his mind when its come to abortion and other key issues in the country.

Donald Trump, will never be President of the United States. I don’t believe any intelligent person about American politics believes he has a snowflake’s chance in Los Angeles of ever winning the presidency even if Republican voters are taking him seriously. Because of what he’s said about immigrants, especially Latinos, women, that new political maps have been made to cover all of his changing positions on the issues. But I think he actually knows that and is essentially running for president for the fun of it. Perhaps trying out for a new movie where he plays himself running for president, or something. Donald Trump For President, makes the GOP presidential debates look like the worst prim-time TV programs since reality TV was officially created in the late 1990s. And until the GOP wakes up the country will stuck having to see him.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bitcoin Faucets: Dennis Miller Live- Christopher Hitchens From 2001

Source: Bitcoin Faucets- Dennis Miller-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Chris Hitchens, seemed to hate Bill Clinton so much that he almost loved the man. His hatred of Billy Jeff, reminds me of the pastor and activist on the Christian-Right who claims how evil and dangerous homosexuality is, it comes out that he’s gay himself. And has had relationships with adolescent boys. The strongest opponents of homosexuality in several cases have been closeted gays. I guess the thinking that if they act all butch and are strongly against homosexuality in public, no one will ever know they actually speak with a high voice and cheat on their third wives with men. Without Bill Clinton, what would Hitchens have to write about in the 1990s? Wait, Tony Blair and New Labour coming to power in Britain? He might hate Tony Blair more than Bill Clinton actually, if that’s possible.

Keep in mind, Chris Hitchens was a Democratic Socialist. Bill Clinton, New Democrat, who moved the Democratic Party from this malaise of Utopians who were never happy about anything except when new news got worst and more people were suffering and they could make a case for more big government. So that I think is the main beef that Hitchens had with Billy Jeff. To the point that he calls the man a rapist without much if any evidence to back up that charge. Billy Jeff, if he wasn’t a busy and important man and had better things to do other than concern himself with Chris Hitchens, could have sued him for libel and probably have a hell of a case. Hitchens reminds me a little of the Republican political strategist/JFK assassination conspiracy theorist Roger Stone. Who officially will never support the Warren Report, even though he’s probably smart enough to. (Jury is still out) And has written books arguing that Vice President Lyndon Johnson had President Kennedy killed.

I’m surprised that Oliver Stone hasn’t picked up on one of Chris Hitchens’s conspiracy theories. And made a movie or documentary about one of them. There certainly enough dumb people and escaped mental patients, or people who should be committed, that would see that film for the movie to make money. Maybe Oliver Stone and Bill Clinton are friends, or Stone at least is an admirer of Clinton. Perhaps a contributor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign or a member of her husband’s Foundation’s board. But that is where Hitchens was at least in the 1990s and early 2000s before he became a Neoconservative who wanted Islam destroyed or something. And jumped into President Bush’s back pocket (no more room in the front pockets) and became a cheerleader for the so-called War on Terror and the Iraq War. When Hitchens was focused on something, he wouldn’t let it ago. Until he found something else to bury himself in.
Bitcoin Faucets: Dennis Miller Live- Christopher Hitchens in 2001



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Canan Dian: Christopher Buckley Discusses Christopher Hitchens Life and Mortality

Chris Hitchens & Chris Buckley
Canan Dian: Christopher Buckley Discusses Christopher Hitchens Life and Mortality

What I like most about Christopher Hitchens is why he never would have made a very successful politician. Because he had this big habit of always saying what he thought and what he knew. And he didn’t give a damn what others thought about it. His consistency for the most part and the on exception to that being how his national security and foreign policy views changed after 9/11, I believe are unparalleled. He wasn’t just an ant-Christian, or anti-Christian-Right radical on the Far-Left, but he was a true Atheist. He didn’t bash the Christian-Right for their positions on homosexuality, women’s place in the world, censorship, while he defended Muslims for believing that women and gays should be second-class citizens. He critiqued and attacked religious extremism wherever he saw it.

Politically, I’m not sure I have ever had much in common with Chris Hitchens. I’ve never been a Democratic Socialist, or a Neoconservative. I don’t know of many other people who’ve gone from one end to the other politically like that. But I’ve always respected his consistency especially with his Atheism. He’s someone who if he was alive today would be treated like a bigot by the New-Left in America, similar to how Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, are now treated. As being anti-Muslim and anti-Middle Eastern and so-forth. He was anti-Muslim, but he was also anti-Christian and anti every other religion. He saw religion as a dangerous force in the world and with his new neoconservative leanings and perhaps would have if he could had religion outlawed in America. Not sure about that, but he was a true militant Atheist.

I believe political and current affairs writers should be judged on their ability to learn, grasp and to be consistent. Do they say and write things that add up and where you could at least make a good case for their beliefs. Or do they just write for their team and over hype all the positive things about their side, while underplaying the low points of their side. And are they consistent, or do they contradict themselves. Do they bash religion, while only concentrating on one type of religion, or are they a true Atheist who doesn’t like religion in general. And will critique negative aspects of religion wherever they see it. Do they bash big government on one side, while praising it on another, but without calling it big government. Chris Hitchens, meets at least all of my standards as a great current affairs writer. Because he was someone who learned, who understood facts and made his arguments based on them. And adapted when he was wrong and because of these things and many others he’s still missed today and will be for a long time.


Friday, October 23, 2015

New York Daily News: Opinion: S.E. Cupp: "Yes, The Benghazi Hearings Are Political. So What?": At Least She Can Admit it

New York Daily News: Opinion: S.E. Cupp: "Yes, The Benghazi Hearings Are Political. So What?": At Least She Can Admit it

The great CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow on his newscast See it Now, one night devoted his whole show to the Joe McCarthy hearings in the Senate. And he said that and I'm paraphrasing here, "one of the purposes of Congressional hearings (referring to the Senate McCarthy hearings) is to find out the truth and how government operates and to get information and facts about proposed legislation." Would someone please tell me what we learned at the House Benghazi hearing yesterday about that Benghazi tragedy? Not all tragedies are criminal. There are times when mistakes are made and people are unprepared that result in a tragedy. And House Republicans can talk about coverup all they want, so we really don't know what happened at Benghazi. But if that is the case then they're horrible lawyers and investigators, because it would be almost impossible to cover up a tragedy like that today.

All we got from the Thursday House Benghazi hearing was House Republicans giving Hillary Clinton the Christmas gift of the year. Even though she really had to earn it by devoting ten hours of her life to those Republicans. Most of them not being in Congress when she left to become Secretary of State in 2009. The gift being 10 hours of free publicity on national TV. Where she looked like the responsible adult, explaining to little children what can happen when you forget to close the door at night, or leave the door open during a big rain or snowstorm. And in her case when you have a U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya and you don't have enough security in an area where the host government can't protect their foreign visitors. The Benghazi tragedy happened, because our embassy over there was undermanned and unprepared, especially as it relates to the security. But we knew all of this two years ago.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Human Events: Opinion: Ann Coulter: "Save Us From Paul Ryan And The Kemp Boys": How Speaker Paul Ryan Will Benefit The GOP

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, R, Wisconsin- Incoming Speaker of The House
Human Events: Opinion: Ann Coulter: "Save Us From Paul Ryan And The Kemp Boys": How Speaker Paul Ryan Will Benefit The GOP

Apparently to be considered a Conservative with the Tea Party/Far-Right base on the Republican Party, you have to hate Barack Obama. See him as a criminal, be willing to shut down the U.S. Government to get exactly what you want and repeal at any cost anything that the Obama Administration was able to get passed through Congress in their first two years. On policy grounds Representative Paul Ryan the most likely incoming Speaker of the House, is inline the Tea Party on 99% of the issues that they care about. But he's more interested in tactics, vision and governing, then fighting the good fights and losing badly. Representative Ryan, is a legislature. He came to the House of Representatives to legislate and accomplish certain policy objectives. The Tea Party, is not about governing, because to govern in Washington especially in a divided government you have to work with the other party.

A Speaker of the House, who can't work with a President of the other party, the Minority Leader of the House when controversial legislation has to be passed and they don't have the votes to pass it on their own side, who can't work with the Senate Leadership regardless of which party runs it, won't be Speaker for very long. Because the job of the Speaker is to govern and not just pass legislation that gets blocked, or voted down in the Senate, or even it makes it out of the Senate and gets vetoed by the President. The Speaker, is not a political activist, but a the leader of their House Caucus and the leader of the House as well. He's not there simply to do whatever the most vocal and active political activists in their party want to do, but to govern. And again if your party doesn't control the presidency, you have to work with the other party in order to do that.

Paul Ryan, by far in a way is the best candidate for Speaker that House Republicans have. Wouldn't be my choice for Speaker as a Democrat, but just at the House Republican side right now, I'm not sure they have anyone who comes close. Paul Ryan, doesn't need the Tea Party, or to be a member of the House. Doesn't want to be President, or run for the Senate, or even Governor of Wisconsin. There are plenty of other jobs that he could be doing in Washington, or back home in Wisconsin. Unlike John Boehner, he doesn't need the House Republican Conference. But they need him if they want to be looked at as a responsible governing party again. That can take two steps forward without stepping on one of their own toes. Or put their gun back in their holster without shooting off one of their toes. A Speaker Paul Ryan, would mean that the House could function again and that Congress could function again. Because the Senate would know there's now an adult in charge of the House.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Informed Atheist: Dennis Miller Live- Christopher Hitchens From 1999

Source: The Informed Atheist-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Chris Hitchens, doing a great impersonation of Ayn Rand on Dennis Miller. And I believe he wasn’t a fan of her, but what he’s saying is that you always go off the best evidence available and that you should always do your own thinking. Hum, what part of that do I disagree with? Nothing! Which I guess is what happens when you come from parents who aren’t religious at all. When you have a mother who at best is an Agnostic and your father is a flaming Atheist. Perhaps to the left of both Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher combined. Whose totally against religion whether it comes from the East or West. Always trust yourself and the real evidence in front of you. And if you can’t do that, then you’re probably not very bright, or you have self-confidence issues. And perhaps you need someone to babysit you and do your thinking for you.

As far as Bill Clinton, Billy Jeff was Chris Hitchens biggest target in the 1990s. Hitchens, was a self-described Democratic Socialist and essentially believed that everyone had the right to live off of the welfare state and not have to work for themselves. Clinton, being a Center-Left New Democrat, believed that physically and mentally able people on Welfare should work. And that government could help them improve themselves so they can get themselves a good job. But at the end of the day people who could and needed income to survive were going to work for it, unless they could get someone else to pay their bills for them voluntarily. Clinton transformed the Democratic Party from more of a social democratic big government party from the 1970s and 1980, to a positive government party. That wanted to use government to improve people’s lives, but not run them for them.

As far as what they’re talking about with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. Hey, today’s Progressives always say that America should be more like France. Well they got that with Bill Clinton. Not sure you be elected President of the French Republic without at least one sex scandal in your background. You would be looked down upon as being too conservative and responsible or something. Clinton had a phonebook of sex scandals in his career and his popularity only went up as a result. He served six terms as Governor of Arkansas and then two terms as President of the United States. You could at the very least argue that the second job was a promotion. I don’t think you go that far in life and I’m not talking about flying from Little Rock to Washington, but the jobs he had without being popular. So Billy Jeff’s sex scandals only seemed to help him.
The Informed Atheist: Dennis Miller Live- Christopher Hitchens in 1999



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Baxter Sapp: CBS News Special Report: Archibald Cox Pre-Saturday Night Massacre

Baxter Sapp: CBS News Special Report: Archibald Cox Pre-Saturday Night Massacre

I believe President Richard Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald, was essentially an admission of guilt. That whatever credibility that President Nixon had left in this affair was now gone. Because the President was essentially telling the country that Cox and his staff are on to something and they better stop him before the Cox team finds out what happened here. The Cox office was put together by President Nixon’s Attorney General Elliot Richardson to find out what happened in Watergate.

The Cox Special Prosecutor’s offices, was not put together to bring down President Nixon and his administration. Richard Nixon and his team with their behavior and that Nixon recorded what he did and who he talked to, brought himself down. The Cox office was responsible to investigate crimes that President Nixon originally had nothing to do with. The break in of Democratic Headquarters in Washington in 1972. But if Watergate breaks, then so would other criminal activities that the White House was also involved in. Because people would have talked to save themselves.

The Nixon White House knew that the people who actually did the Watergate burglary, had real evidence and information that could be used against the White House in other matters to save themselves. That they had connections with people who were involved in other criminal activities of the Nixon White House as they had to do with other break ins. That is the main reason that Nixon wanted Cox shut down. I believe the White House knew that Cox and his team would not just find out about what happened during Watergate, but perhaps about the other activities like the plumbers unit.

The plumbers did other break ins to find out information about Nixon opponents. Like Daniel Elsberg and people in the national media. The Watergate break in, really was a third-rate burglary by high school drunks who couldn’t find anything better to do on a Saturday night. And decided to break in to the Watergate Hotel. (Or so it seems) But if Watergate broke, then so would other illegal activities that the Nixon White House was also involved in. And the White House couldn’t afford that.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge: Anything Goes with Chris Buckley

Great Political Humorist
Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge: Anything Goes with Chris Buckley

Chris Buckley, (and I call him Chris because we’ve never met before) is one of my favorite political satirists along with P.J. O’Rourke, Dennis Miller and now Bill Maher. Since he’s ditched the Far-Left when it comes to free speech and other big government social issues and is still one of the best critics of the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right in America. I like Buckley, because like George Carlin who makes fun of people and things that deserve to be made fun of. He’s not John Fugelsang, who only makes fun of right-wingers when it comes to politics. Buckley makes fun of politicians and Washington in general. I mean it’s a city that doesn’t need any heat and humidity, even though we get a lot of it every year, because of all the hot air that comes out of our 535 member Congress. That has both a House and a Senate.

American politics is very easy to be make fun of. You can literally make a career of doing it and a lot of people like Chris Buckley have. And even if you come to politics with a strong ideological bent and you have a good sense of humor, you’re denying yourself a lot of great material and perhaps employment and financial opportunities if you just concentrate on one side of the aisle. I mean how you only make fun of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump and never take a shot at Dennis Kucinich. Whose the president of the Republic of Dreamland and sees a world that only exist in make-believe. Where there’s no violence, or ignorance, or poor people. Who believes the old hippie saying of Give Peace a Chance should be the our national foreign policy. And that the use of force is never an option even when we’re under attack. “If we don’t hit them back, maybe they’ll get bored and go away.”

Again, something I love about Chris Buckley who I see as a non-partisan political humorist, he’s someone who at least leans right if he’s not a Conservative and yet he looks at politics and politicians for what they are. The George W. Bush Administration, comes into office as what they called compassionate conservatives (as if Conservatives aren’t compassionate) and lives up to that as best as possible. And spends more money than a convention of Irish drunken sailors could spend at their favorite Irish bar. With the two unpaid for wars and the seven-hundred-billion-dollar Medicare expansion, all of this borrowed. And he didn’t like that about President Bush, as well as going to war on bogus evidence (to be real nice) and the mismanagement of that war even after it was found there were no WMD in that country. And those weapons were probably destroyed by the United Nations, or our own people in the late 1990s. Again, how you not make fun of a President like that?

If you live in Washington and are involved in it politically in some way nationally whether you work, or write about it, it is really the last place you should try to take yourself, or people around you especially your allies too seriously. I’m a Liberal Democrat and I could write something negative and funny about Hillary Clinton everyday. As well as her husband, not that I don’t like Hillary and that I still don’t love President Clinton. But lets face it, they’re both great political characters. Hillary, doesn’t know who she it until she sees the latest poll. Bill, still hasn’t gotten the memo that he’s no longer President and that he’s still ineligible to run for President again still tries to run everything. And I could write something negative and funny everyday about the United States Circus, better known as the Republican Party. And I think that is where Chris Buckley goes. He makes fun of people and things that deserve to be made fun of. Regardless of political affiliation.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The American Conservative: Opinion: U.S. Senator Mike Lee: The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform

U.S. Senator Mike Lee, R, Utah
The American Conservative: Opinion: U.S. Senator Mike Lee: The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform

I think the conservative case of criminal justice reform is very clear and comes from a couple of angles. One, the conservative principle of the punishment meeting the crime and personal responsibility and so-forth. Someone should explain to me why 3-5 years in prison is a just sentence for being in possession of pot, or even cocaine, when all they’re being charged with is illegal possession of an illegal narcotic. Then the other reason being from a fiscally conservative standpoint. Locking away millions of people in prison is very expensive. Especially when we don’t get much for that investment when you look at how violent our prisons are. The fact that we have so many people returning to prison after they get released. The poor health care, lack of opportunity for self-improvement, all the inmates that have serious mental health issues that don’t get treated and I could go on.

This is not about going soft, or hard on crime. We know the dangerous consequences when serious crimes are not taken seriously and when lighter crimes are treated harshly. You get a country where people don’t feel safe to leave their homes when you go too soft. And an overly expensive and wasteful criminal justice system when you go too hard on crimes where the offender could just have been in rehab, a halfway house, done their time in county jail, given probation, or a combination of all of these factors. This should not be about being tough or, soft, or even liberal, or conservative. Even though as a Liberal I believe we have the right approach here. This should be about being smart on crime and being just with our criminal justice system. The sanctions meeting the crimes and the sanctions coming with opportunity for self-improvement so the offender doesn’t end up back in the criminal justice system.

The reasons why you have Conservatives like Senator Mike Lee, coming together with Progressives like Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and why Conservatives like Newt Gingrich are coming together with Progressives and Liberals outside of Congress, is because the Center-Right and Center-Left both see the waste an injustice in the criminal justice system. And in an era with low economic and job growth and high debt and deficits, you have the two sides looking at ways to cut waste in government and get more bang from our taxpayer bucks. The criminal justice system is a great place to start. When you consider that we have two-million people in prison in America with so many non-violent offenders being sent away for long prison sentences. When everyone involved especially the public would have been better off with a lighter approach. And reserve our harsh sentences for our violent offenders.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

CBS News: 60 Minutes Presents: Gotti- The Story of John Gotti's Crime Family From John Jr.

CBS News: 60 Minutes Presents: Gotti- The Story of John Gotti's Crime Family From John Jr.

John Gotti, is not someone who I see as evil. At least not in the pure evil sense like an Adolph Hitler, or Saddam Hussein. Gotti was clearly a bad guy and I think anyone familiar with him knows that. But this not someone who didn’t have positive qualities. This is a man who loved his wife and kids and took care of them the best that they can and provided very well for them. Who raised his kids and his children have actually turned out pretty well. Especially considering their father is one of the top and most successful Italian gangsters of all-time. His daughter Victoria, is a very successful businesswomen and John Jr. has made a life for himself as well. And as far as John Jr. I hope he’s sincere in that he wants nothing to do with the gangster life and wants to live a productive life.

John Gotti Sr. went to prison for the last time in 1992 and was given a life sentence and died in prison about ten years later. He was in solitary confinement and yes there have been gangsters who have run their crime families from prison. Lucky Luciano, is a perfect example of that from the 1940s. When you’re in solitary you don’t have any outside contact from prison except for the occasional visits. So it would have been impossible for Gotti to run his crime family from his situation in prison. So someone on the outside had to do it for him. His son would have been a candidate for that. I think its clear that John Jr. ran that family at least for a time in the 1990s. What he did with it, I don’t think anyone will ever know. And its pretty obvious why he wouldn’t want to admit that he did. Because any crimes committed under his watch he could be held responsible for them.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Alan Hutchen: NFL 1983- The Story of The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders

NFL's Bad Boys
Alan Hutchen: NFL 1983- The Story of The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders

I believe the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders represent everything that their creator Al Davis dreamed of on both sides of the ball. His football philosophy was all about pressure and toughness on both sides of the ball. He believed that you literally beat the hell out of your opponents on both sides of the ball to beat them. I mean you look at that defense with Howie Long and Lyle Alzado as your defensive ends. Howie Long, arguably being the best all around defensive end and perhaps defensive lineman of the 1980s.

And then you have Bill Pickel and Reggie Kinlaw inside. Who were both stout against the run and rush the quarterback as well. And then the linebackers, you're talking Ted Hendricks, perhaps the best all around outside linebacker of all-time. Pro Bowler Matt Millen inside, Rod Martin on the other side, who perhaps should be in the Hall of Fame as well. They had two cover corner in Lester Hays and Mike Haynes. Most teams are lucky to have one.

Man for man, I believe the Raiders were better in 83 than the Chicago Bears were in 85. You argue about the numbers and stats, but I believe the 83 Raiders and the versatility of their linebackers were better than the Bears linebackers who were primarily blitzers and run stuffers. But teams don't win the Super Bowl just with a great defense. You need at least to have a good offense that moves the ball and puts up points and doesn't turn the ball over on a regular basis and makes the job of your defense even harder.

And the Raiders in 83 had more than that led by quarterback Jim Plunkett and the great tailback Marcus Allen. One of the top 5-10 all around running backs of all-time. And they had tight end Todd Christiansen  and the great Cliff Branch on the outside as a receiver. A big strong offensive line with Bruce Davis, Charley Hannah, Mickey Marvin, Dave Dalby, who was part of all three Raiders Super Bowl championships and Henry Lawrence. Big strong mobile offensive line that was great in the running and passing games.

To me at least the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders represent what the Raiders of the 1980s should have been. They were poised and ready to replace the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 1970s as the dominant team in the NFL and I believe were in better shape and had better personal than the 1980s San Francisco 49ers who became the team of the 1980s in the NFL. And you can't call the 1980s Raiders a failure since they did win two Super Bowls and made the AFC Playoffs five times and won three division championships. A great decade for most clubs in the NFL, but the Raiders actually underachieved.

Al Davis, almost ruined Marcus Allen's career and not allowing his coaches to use him in the way they should which was as their premier player on offense. And they were never able to replace an aging Jim Plunkett at QB. I mean the reason why the NFC won thirteen straight Super Bowls in the 1980s and 90s, was because post-83 the Raiders slipped and became a team that was just fighting to make the playoffs every year. With the Denver Broncos taking the lead in the AFC West over the Raiders. But for one season in 83 we got to see how great the 1980s Raiders could have been.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Weekly Standard: Opinion: Benjamin Katzef Sliberstein: Sorry Leftist Americans, Your Swedish Utopia Does Not Exist: Why Sweden Can Afford Socialism

Social Democracy of Sweden
The Weekly Standard: Opinion: Benjamin Katzef Sliberstein: Sorry Leftist Americans, You Swedish Utopia Does Not Exist: Why Sweden Can Afford Socialism

Imagine a county about the size of Turkey in land, but with only about nine-million people, that is not just energy independent, but exports a lot of their natural resources, that is also social democratic in nature when it comes to their politics. You have a country like that and you’ll have a very socialist country in the sense that you’ll have a lot of welfare state benefits that are funded through your large energy sector and private enterprise economy. Sweden, is a social democracy, because they tend to be social democratic when it comes to their politics and they can afford to be socialist. Especially compared with even Germany to their south that has a lot more people and imports a lot of their energy. Not because there’s some magic to the welfare state and government giving people a lot of social services.

When a politician, or political candidate tells you that they want to give you a lot of free government services, ask them if they are also going to give you a free beach house in North Dakota with a great ocean view. Also ask them how much are they going to have pay for their free government services. Which I know is sort of like asking a four-hundred pound gluten who can barely walk, because they’re so fat, how skinny are you. Or asking a blind person how well can they see. But that’s just it, because there’s no such thing as free government services. Even people on Welfare and public assistance who aren’t working, or going to end up at least paying back some of the money they received when they weren’t working assuming they go back to work. Everything that government does for people comes with a price. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or free government services.

If America was energy independent and we had kept our infrastructure system up to date and our entire country was full developed and we didn’t have a Bible Belt that was so poor compared with the Midwest, Northeast and West Coast, then maybe I would consider thinking about considering democratic socialism as the economic model for America. Not exactly going out on a limb I know, but I’m not impressed with democratic socialism as a political ideology. But the simple fact is we can’t afford democratic socialism as an economic model. What we need to be doing instead is encouraging more people to work with better education’s and getting good jobs and becoming as economically independent as possible. While still leaving in place a safety net for people who truly need it.


Monday, October 5, 2015

POLITICO Magazine: Opinion- Jonathan M. Katz- Roger Milliken- The Man Who Launched The GOP's Civil War

Roger Milliken-
This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I’ve always seen the Republican Party as a conservative at least in the classical sense of a party that was made of classical Conservatives, or Conservative Libertarians, small l libertarians even like Barry Goldwater. Moderate more pragmatic Conservatives like Bob Dole and a progressive wing that is all, but gone in the GOP now with people like Nelson Rockefeller. And then add the Christian-Right that started coming over to the GOP in the late 1960s and has stayed ever since, as well as Neoconservatives who are beyond hawkish when it comes to foreign policy and national security and along with the Christian-Right they haven’t gotten the message that it’s no longer 1955 and America is sixty-years older now. The Robert Taft/Barry Goldwater wing of the Republican Party has always been there.

The Republican Party just now has a hyper-partisan Far-Right that doesn’t believe in governing and perhaps even government if it means working with Democrats especially a man that they hate in Barack Obama. As partisan as the 1990s was you still had Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott leading the House and Senate Republicans in Congress, who both had a very good working relationship with Democratic President Bill Clinton. And Senate Leader Lott’s case, he had a good working relationship and even personal relationship with then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. That is all but gone now in the GOP, other than maybe Senate Leader Mitch McConnell who I believe wants to govern and get things done, just as long as his caucus will allow him to.

Other than the emergence of the Christian-Right and the Neoconservatives, I don’t believe the GOP has changed a lot ideologically. What has changed has been their approach to politics and how they work in Congress. Where people who would backbenchers thirty-years ago like Representative Steve King and Senator Ted Cruz, are now seen as leaders in the Republican Party with real influence. Senator Cruz’s influence seems to be dying now where Mitch McConnell no longer seems concern with him and what he might do. But you still have about sixty, or more Republicans in the House that can be the difference in whether or not bills get passed over there. Which is why Speaker John Boehner has gone over to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to pick up votes on bills that have to be passed. Like government funding bills and the debt ceiling.

I believe what has really changed about the Republican Party is that they’re a lot more partisan. And because of the New Right they’ve moved further right, where fighting big government is no longer alway their biggest issue. But using government to influence even through force how Americans live their own lives. That sees personal freedom and even individualism as dangerous things now. Once you move away from Christianity, the 2nd Amendment and political advertising. And these changes are bad enough when you have a divided country politically with divided government, but you still have issues that need to be worked on and agreements that have to be made between the Republican Leadership and Democratic Leadership for the government to get its work done and do the things that we need it to do.




Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ian Ward: NFL Films NFL 1983: The Story of The 1983 NFL Season

Jim, John & Dan
Ian Ward: NFL Films NFL 1983: The Story of The 1983 NFL Season

I believe the story of 1983 when it comes to the NFL is the explosion of the passing age and revolution in the NFL. The NFL was moving away from ball control power football where you run the ball 3-5 times or more even when defenses are looking for that and pass only to keep the defense somewhat honest and give them something else to think about. (And perhaps give your running backs a break) To an era where if teams didn’t throw more than they ran, they were balanced at least and had both a good running game and a passing game. The 1980s was a great decade for the quarterback. It was a time when they weren’t just the most important player on the team, but now they were stars putting up all sorts of great stats.

The 1980s was a decade for the NFL where you saw a lot of great quarterbacks including three that were all drafted in 1983 that are now in the Hall of Fame. Of course Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly. But you had other great quarterbacks that were drafted pre-83 that are also in the Hall of Fame. Dan Fouts and the quarterback of the 1980s Joe Montana. Eric Dickerson, one of the top 3-5 running backs of all-time and I believe the best running back in the 1980s at least far as running the ball was drafted in 1983 by the Anaheim Rams (as I call them). Running back Curt Warner, was also drafted in 1983 and without the injuries he’s probably in the Hall of Fame as well. And great receivers like Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, both from the Miami Dolphins, Art Monk the best receiver other than Jerry Rice in that era, was a big part of the 1980s as well.

The NFL was moving away from power run ball control possession passing with the occasional threat of a deep pass, to an era that threw the ball everywhere. Short, middle and deep and threw the ball a lot. It was a passing decade with at least two different types of passing games that were prominent in that decade. The possession passing game of the San Francisco 49ers, perhaps better known as the West Coast Offense. And what I call at least the Vertical Spread Offense. Where you’re always looking deep on every pass play, but you work the whole field with multiple receivers and force the defense to cover the whole field against you. Which was run by the Los Angeles Raiders that won the Super Bowl in 1983 and the San Diego Chargers.

But this is all before you get to the two great teams of 1983 that played in the Super Bowl. By far the two most consistent teams in 1983 that of course being the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins. Both teams had great offenses that scored a lot of points both through the air and on the ground. But the Raiders were dominant on defense and simply punished teams on defense with their two press corners Lester Hays and Mike Haines, plus they could get to the quarterback with just their DL. And they could add in outside linebacker Ted Hendricks. (Arguably the best all around OLB of all-time) And the Redskins simply struggled on offense most of that game and had a hard time dealing with the Raiders speed on defense.

Not that defense was non-existent in the NFL in 1983, (Roger Goodell wasn’t Commissioner yet) but the story of the 1983 NFL season was all the new offense in the league. The great passing games, all the points, every good team in the NFL that year every good team seemed to have at least one great running back and a great wide receiver and at least a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. You had several great offensive minds leading their teams and still leading their teams. Like Don Coryell with the Chargers, Tom Flores with the Raiders, Joe Gibbs with the Redskins, Bill Walsh with the 49ers and several others. I believe 1983 is where we really see the influence of the American Football League on the NFL and it made it a great all around season for the league.




Thursday, October 1, 2015

TBS: Housesitter 1992 With Goldie Hawn

Golden-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I’ll be one of the first to admit that Housesitter is not a great movie and perhaps not a very good movie. It was pretty funny though at least Goldie Hawn was pretty funny it, but I guess she’s funny in anything because she’s Goldie Hawn. One of the best comedians and comedic actress’s of all-time. But Housesitter is also one of those movies that guys such as myself will watch even if it’s not a very good movie, if it has a beautiful sexy women in it. And in Goldie Hawn’s case a hot sexy women in it. This scene with Goldie going up to rural Massachusetts to check out a house that she knew of because of a guy she slept with the night before that she met for the first time (played by Steve Martin) told her about this place. Which sort of shows the quality of this movie, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Checking out Goldie in those Levis and the suede boots as well with the tank and the coverage of her in that outfit, with her body, the cute butt and the beautiful legs and everything, sort of reminds me of The Dukes of Hazzard where you don’t have to be a fan of that show to be a fan of Daisy Duke (played by Catherine Bach) on that show. Just seeing her in it and seeing her like that is really all the motivation to see that movie. Goldie Hawn is a true Hollywood Goddess. Very funny, a hell of an actress, gorgeous, baby-faced adorable, beautiful body, who wears Levis about as well as any women can. And if you get through lets say the first ten-minutes or so of Housesitter before Goldie appears, I believe she might keep you in the movie the rest of the way.
TBS: Housesitter 1992 With Goldie Hawn