The Federalist: Opinion: David Corbin & Matt Parks: New York, New York: “What a Progressive City Looks Like”: What is Modern Progressivism?

The Federalist: Opinion: David Corbin & Matt Parks: New York, New York: What A Progressive City Looks Like

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This blog talks a lot about political labels, for good reason.  They have real meaning, when they are used correctly, and are a good way to analyze political philosophy.  However they are mis-used so much in American political discourse, especially by people who know as much about liberalism and conservatism as fish know about auto racing, that I want to set out a scheme for separating the schools of  political thought.

I’m thinking of something like a billboard of all of the great ideological politicians in American history, from the far-left to the far-right.  Norman Thomas the great former Socialist Party presidential candidate would represent the Socialists.  President Lyndon Johnson would represent the Progressives.  President Thomas Jefferson or two-time Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie, who was actually to the left of President Franklin Roosevelt on civil liberties, individual freedom and civil rights, or President John Kennedy could represent the Liberals.

Mr. Conservative himself, Senator Barry Goldwater, could  represent the conservatives. Of course, Ron Paul could represent the Libertarians and Ross Perot, the Independents, people who are not far enough left or right to be Democrats or Republicans, or sufficiently conscious, politically, to know where they are.

It’s interesting to see how these labels play out in the real world.  New York City is an interesting political laboratory.  It is stereotyped as one of the most the leftist cities in America.  People who live there will tell you that it’s a very far-left, big government, high-taxing, nanny city where jumbo soda and junk food bans can get passed without politicians having to worry about losing their jobs.  How else could someone as far to the left as Bill De Blasio be elected mayor? 

New York City has moved to the left of FDR’s  progressive New York toward a socialist utopia where government is responsible for improving people’s lives instead of the people having the freedom to do so for themselves, when provided the necessary opportunities by government.  Progressives abhor a government that tries to run people’s lives for them.

Real Progressives believe that government must provide or protect certain services and legal rights that are necessary for fully civilized life, e.g., public safety, civil liberties, public health, health care, education, public transportation, physical infrastructure,  economic support for the unable, etc. 

Government should not be involved in the management of the lives of individuals who are capable of succeeding on their own.  This philosophy precludes  government involvement in religion and personal decision-making across the board that doesn’t involve individuals hurting innocent people. Like medical decision making, i.e., religious observances, the voluntary ending of life for the infirm elderly, termination of unwanted pregnancy, etc. 

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The New Republic: Opinion: Jonathan Cohn: Tax Day 2014: “More Taxes Would Make a Better Society”: The Ultimate Socialist Drunken Fantasy

The New Republic: Opinion: Jonathan Cohn: Tax Day 2014: Higher Taxes Would Make For a Better Society

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Well, I guess it is official now, with this piece from Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic (his link is  above)  the classic American liberal magazine is dead.  Or perhaps, it has just been taken over by Socialists or Communists and the Liberals there are now forced to write pieces endorsing big government and critiquing the Right.  Or perhaps the Liberals at TNR were simply kicked out and sent away.  Maybe the TNR Liberals were kidnapped by the new TNR big government statists.

Jonathan Cohn calls tax day a time to celebrate. What’s next?  He and the other big government statists are going to call for making tax day a national holiday or something?  Here’s some helpful information. If you believe middle class Americans are under taxed, which apparently Mr. Cohn does, arguing in his piece today that all Americans except for the working poor should be taxed more, you are not a Liberal. 

People who believe that middle class Americans, auto mechanics, law enforcement workers, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, government workers in general (not including politicians, but Representative Jim Moran disagrees with that) and military personal are under-taxed are, simply, wrong.  These are workers who generally make 40-70 thousand dollars in a good year serving their fellow citizens and their country.  Mr. Cohn, playing the role of Uncle Sam, says,  “I have all of this new government that I want to create at your expense and I need your money. I’m the government and I’m a socialist, its my money to begin with and I’m just nice enough to let you have some of it!”

People who believe that hard-working middle class Americans are under taxed are not liberal and, I  argue, not progressive either.  You don’t hear socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders or progressive senators Tom Harkin and Sherrod Brown calling for increased taxes on middle class Americans.

People who believe that hard working middle class Americans, who technically aren’t poor but who live paycheck to paycheck and will need Social Security to have any type of solid retirement income, are under taxed are socialist, big government, statists. 

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Hookup Shl: Video: HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher: New Rules Dead Man’s Party: The Power of Language in Politics

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The Republican Party learned a long time ago, lets say back in 1993-94 when they were planning a   takeover of Congress, that they represent a lot of ignorant Americans whom they need to keep them in power.  These people collect the public assistance, that the party likes to bash, to support themselves because they are too dumb to finish high school and get the skills that they need to be successful in life.

I mention this because the GOP, led by political wordsmith Frank Luntz, are the masters of the word game in politics, something that Democrats have only caught on to since 2005-06, when they saw their opportunity to finally win back Congress.

So, as Bill Maher said, the estate tax is the death tax.

To quote Representative Michelle Bachmann, same-sex-marriage and pornography are threats to national security, not just immoral.

Gun regulation is complete state-control of firearms in America.

Health insurance expansion and a Patients Bill of Rights are a government takeover of health care.

To the rest of the country, which finished high school and gets its news from some place other than the Washington Times or FOX News, these charges are garbage.  But to uneducated Americans, who don’t know any better, it looks completely reasonable to vote Republican in election after election to keep those immoral Democrats from taking over.


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PBS: Video: Pioneers of Television: Bob Newhart Listens Funny

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Bob Newhart’s unique sense of humor was the thematic core of the Bob Newhart Show.  If you are  wondering who the Bob Newhart Show was named after, you are probably also wondering what state Florida is in.  I make that crack because it is a pretty good example of Bob Newhart’s sense of humor.  It was very dry, like the Mojave Desert, with no real physical or emotional expression.  He would say very funny lines with a completely straight face.

Newhart played psychologist Bob Hartley, who lived and ran a private practice in Chicago.  He played himself in the role as a very straight-laced, almost totally unemotional person who delivered a lot of great lines as if he were on stage. This is sort of hard to explain in writing  but he would deliver great sarcastic lines with a straight face that someone who isn’t very quick or lacks a great sense of humor could easily take seriously.  Anyone with a quick wit could easily tell that he was joking.

To give you an example, Bill Daily who played the Hartley’s neighbor in their apartment building was always coming over without knocking on the door first and would just walk in. After he would come into the Hartley apartment, Dr. Bob would say, “Come in Howard,” after Howard was already in the apartment.  That might sound simplistic and trivial but Newhart had such a quick and accurate way of uttering such lines that they were hilarious.


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Lew Rockwell Blog: Opinion: Christopher Cantwell: Top Ten Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice to You: How Libertarians Are Easy to Make Fun of

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Lew Rockwell: Opinion: Christopher Cantwell: Top Ten Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice to You

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Contrary to popular belief (and yes I feel like a geek for saying that) I’m not a Libertarian.  Anyone who doesn’t believe that will have all the evidence they need after they read this post.  I know this is shocking and for anyone who is feeling completely overwhelmed feel free to get loaded on their favorite alcoholic beverage or perhaps something illegal to help calm them down. I hear marijuana has now been decriminalized in Maryland. I’m not interested in eliminating the Federal Government, except for perhaps three departments.  Just don’t ask Rick Perry which three those are.

There are several reasons that I’m not a Libertarian.

One:  Unlike Alex Jones  I’m sane, don’t live in a mental hospital and am not an escaped mental patient.

Two:  I’m not a big enough asshole to be a Libertarian and view everyone who doesn’t agree with me  one-hundred percent of the time as a statist or big government lover, as we saw in Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Three:  Referring to number one, I don’t believe 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the United States Government.  We were actually attacked by foreign terrorists, as all of the hard evidence indicates.

Four:  Referring again to one, I don’t believe Barack Obama is a foreigner, born in another country. I not only know where Hawaii is but I can find it on a map.  Like ninety-percent or more of the rest of the country I believe Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His Hawaiian birth certificate is a hell of a big clue, the smoking gun, if you will.

The stereotype of Libertarians is that they are pot addicts who may have done time in prison for non-pot related activities.  They are like from another planet where government doesn’t exist and have the idea that because they didn’t vote for the administration in power they don’t have to follow their laws or rules.

As long as Libertarians are viewed through this stereotype as people who want to destroy government, at least where they live, they’ll always be viewed as anarchists or escaped mental patients who don’t deserve the keys to a big wheel let alone the keys to the car that governs the nation. But Libertarians aren’t interested in political power, right. Just the power to be left alone. So I guess they have no real incentive to change their ways. 

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PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Brooks on Kathleen Sebelius’s Legacy, Civil Rights and Jeb Bush

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It seems to me, an outsider, even though I live in the Washington area, that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stepped down, at least partially, because she was tired of dealing with the idiots in the Congressional Tea Party.  These stupid and rabidly partisan members, especially in the House, showed her not an atom of respect.  In hearings, they would use all of their time attacking the Affordable Care Act vociferously and mindlessly without regard to fact or reason.  They were so ignorant and rude that, many times, they would not let her respond to their own questions.  Secretary Sebelius would just have to sit there and listen to their rude, stupid, and ignorant verbal garbage.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act was one of the best pieces of legislation that the U.S.Congress ever passed and that a President ever signed into law.  It is the  overwhelming positive piece of the  legacy of President Lyndon Johnson.  It ended legal racial discrimination, the denial of access to public accommodations to people because of their race.  It is still the law of the land because the property rights argument has never held water, when it comes to racial discrimination.

Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush’s younger brother, has never shown that keen an interest in being President of the United States, that drive that says you not only want the job but that you believe you are the most qualified person in the country to do the job.  He would have several strikes against him in the eyes of the ignorant far-right in the GOP (see above), immigration, education, civil rights, common sense, etc.  He’s simply not dumb enough to be a member of that part of the party.  I don’t see how he could win the GOP nomination and he seems to know this.  He appears to be very reluctant to walk into the weed-whacker of the Tea Party’s ignorance, stupidity and bigotry.  This is good for the Democrats and bad for the GOP (Thank you Richard Nixon for your southern strategy) because he would be far and away their best and most qualified candidate for president.


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Townhall: Opinion: John C. Goodman: A Republican Vision For Health Care Reform: Its About Time

Townhall: Opinion: John C. Goodman: A Republican Vision For Health Care Reform

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The thing about the Republican critique of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, especially from the Tea Party, that has probably annoyed me the most, is the fact that they’ve never been able to present an alternative of their own. Even when they took back control of the House of Representatives in 2011, they offered nothing but but repeal and cut. “We’ll get rid of ObamaCare or, at least try to, knowing that the Democratic Senate will block it and then we’ll start over and do it again (50 times and counting).”  The Keystone Cops were not that dumb. They probably would have stopped at 10.  The GOP message seemed to be. “Let’s go back to the old health insurance system, pre-2010, that left roughly fifty-million Americans without coverage and then maybe we’ll come up with something better later (Please hold your breath).

Its is now 2014, another election year, with a new Congress and still the same players in charge. A Republican House and a Democratic Senate and over three years later still waiting to see the House Republican Leadership articulate an alternative to the Affordable Care Act.  Had they had that alternative, gee I don’t know, maybe back in 2009-10 when they were completely out of power, when voters were saying we don’t like ObamaCare yet but we don’t like the old system either the  Republicans could have said, “We understand both your concerns and this is the alternative we would offer if we had the power to do it.”

We have seen proposals from different Republican groups. including the Heritage Foundation and The American Enterprise Institute but without Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor in the House saying,  “This is the way we should go.  Lets assign that bill to the proper committees, have hearings, and even mark it up and maybe we’ll get some House Democrats, who are worried about reelection because of ObamaCare, to join us.”  But, we’re still waiting for the Republican congressional leadership to articulate a health care reform plan. 

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