Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Warning! This piece might contain language that may offend people who are still living in the 1950s and forgot to move with the times in America as the rest of country moved forward without them.

Just to say one thing about George Carlin: Goddammit George Carlin fuckin cussed a lot! What the fuck was his fuckin problem? What kind of asshole fuckin cusses that much? God dammit he must have been fuckin pissed off. Not that I would ever tell him to watch his fuckin language, because someone like that who is generally that angry not just at people, but basically an entire country, probably wouldn’t like that humor and perhaps not have even understood it. But he might have grasped the hypocrisy from a statement like that.

As far as stupid people in America, not saying we have a monopoly on that compared with the rest of the world. Especially with countries that don’t allow women to even drive cars or show themselves in public, who murder people simply for being gay through government force. As well as terrorists who murder people simply for not being Muslim, as well as gay. But we might have more than our share of stupid people especially with a region of the country that values their religion over education and knowledge. That alone can create a lot of problems there when people who simply don’t respect knowledge and think Jesus or whoever they pray to is all they need. That alone would qualify as stupid thinking, or lack of thinking.

See, people who don’t have knowledge tend to be stupid. Knowledgable people tend to be intelligent. The actual definition of intelligent is someone who is having or showing intelligence, especially at a high level. The actually definition of stupid, is having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense. Someone who takes America to war over bogus ( to be overly generous ) evidence that never existed in the first place, is the classic definition of s stupid decision. Making a decision on no real evidence and information.

Buying stuff ( or in many cases junk ) that you simply don’t need and are buying it perhaps only because it’s a status symbol for you like buying that latest smartphone simply because it’s the latest smartphone, even though you bought the latest smartphone last week, would qualify as a stupid decision. Even if it did allow you to be one of the first five people to share that latest purchase on Facebook, Twitter, or perhaps my favorite Google+. Sure! That decision made you look like totally awesome ( or whatever ) for an entire five minutes. But now you have two smartphones that you’re not using and still paying for both of them.

When you have a country that is as vast and diverse from all sorts of vantage points and not just racially and ethnically, a country that is also as free and individualistic as we are ( at least outside of pop culture,where most people look like a clone of the latest hot celebrity ) and then you have an entire population that values their religious and cultural beliefs over knowledge, reason, and science, you’re going to have a lot of stupid people. Because you’re going to have a lot of people who are literally free to do whatever they want short of hurting innocent people, including deciding to not be educated and not believe evidence and facts. This is why America at times at least can look like a national morons convention where everyone is late, because everyone went to the wrong place for the convention.

George Carlin: ‘Life is Worth Losing’- Dumb Americans


Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I don’t want to make this all about Donald Trump, but when I thinking about The Truth Matters I think of that Kellyanne Conway line from February last year I believe when she’s on NBC’s Meet The Press with Chuck Todd and Todd asks her something about the truth and facts and Kellyanne looking back at it I believe she was somewhat reluctant in saying this because of how bad it would sound and make her look with the mainstream media going after her for about a week on this, but she said, well there are alternative facts. With Todd essentially saying that no, there aren’t alternative fact. There’s the truth and then there are falsehoods.

Alternative facts and Martians have one thing in common and even that is only one thing it’s a very important thing, they don’t exist.

You have facts which is the truth and and how people know what’s going on with either themselves or people around them or in society in general.

There are falsehoods things that simply aren’t true. And then there’s garbage ( to be nice ) which is a nice way of saying lies.

The truth is what’s going on and what’s happening what we know to be true. America is a federal republic. That would be one truth.

Falsehoods are things that are simply wrong and people unintentionally say falsehoods all the time thinking what they said is correct not having the right information with them at the time that they said what they said or did what they did. Like the weather report saying that i’s going to rain tomorrow and maybe it’s an overcast day but the weather is dry the whole day because the storm moved onto another area.

And there’s garbage or lies when people are representing things as the truth that simply aren’t true. Like Donald Trump claiming he would work all the time and not spend as much time playing golf as President Obama. That was obviously a lie.

There’s no such thing as freedom without facts and real hard information that people have to have to make the right decisions. Without the truth you’re a blind person with eyes feeling your way around the world never knowing for sure what’s in front of you. But with the truth, as well as a sane, sound, intelligent, sober, experienced mind, you can be as free as a bird and do anything that you’re personally capable of doing. The truth and always knowing what’s going on and always knowing the truth about your self is the most important and effective tool and freedom that anyone can have. And when people especially public officials are caught telling either falsehoods or flat-out lying it’s the job of the media and the public especially to always hold those people accountable. To promote this most important tool that people have and discourage the archenemy of the truth which is falsehoods and nonsense.

Politics and Prose: Bruce Bartlett- ‘The Truth Matters’

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

In this long PBS style fundraiser marathon of a speech that Robert Reich gave in Washington about his book The Common Good, I got the sense that he was talking about what’s called the social contract. This idea that Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists and some Progressives push that government is there to make sure everyone is taken care and has what they need to live well in society. And Reich is probably using the New Deal from the 1930s and the Great Society from the 1960s, as his idea of what the social contract or the common good is.

As a Liberal I’m all in favor of a public safety net for people who truly need it. And if we’re going to continue to have a public safety net for people who are uneducated and under skilled, than that safety net should be used to empower people so they can get a good enough job to become economically self-sufficient and no longer need public assistance at all. Instead of just giving low-skilled workers and non-workers money that is produced by people who work hard for a living and don’t qualify for public assistance.

I’m all if favor of requiring people to who are on Welfare to go to work and even take the first job that opens up for them that they’re qualified for. As well as giving them child care assistance so they can go to work, if they have kids. As well as education assistance so they can go back to school and further and finish their education, so again they can get themselves a good job. That programs like Medicaid and Food Assistance, to use as examples, Public Housing would be another one, would be for low-income workers, instead of non-workers.

My idea of a safety net ( which I prefer over social contract or welfare state ) is a public social insurance system. There for people who can’t survive even in the short-term without that financial assistance. But also there to help those people get on their feet economically. Similar to auto insurance, or property insurance. You don’t use those insurances to pay your bills. You use them when your car is in an accident, or your house is on fire or gets flooded.

A safety net should be for people who lose their jobs, don’t have a good education, can’t afford health insurance, don’t make enough money to feed themselves, can’t afford housing. Not for people who simply don’t want to work in America.

Politics and Prose: Robert Reich- ‘The Common Good’

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I believe in the cliche life is a highway and then add Tom Cochrane’s line, I want to ride it all night long. On the highway of life ( to use a another cliche ) you make a lot of turns, stops, you accelerate, you stop for gas and just to get a bite to eat and get some rest.

Imagine driving from Washington to Los Angeles in a cross-country trip. Ordinary if you don’t run into bad weather, car trouble, have any major accidents, decide to go for a joy ride after getting loaded one night on one of your stops in St. Louis let’s say, and you’re a good driver, this cross-country trip should take you about 7-10 days. Well, imagine your life being a a cross-country trip or a trip around the world but it takes you about 80 years ( give or take ) instead and not because of car trouble or any of the other factors that I just mentioned.

That is what life is which is a very long journey if you live a normal life in years. And on that journey you’re going to have a lot of ups and downs. Richard Nixon once said that he wanted to die with at least one more victory than defeat. Well, hopefully life for you will be a lot better than that and the best thing about this is that you have complete control over your own life once you move out from your parents and start driving on your own highway of life with the ability and freedom to make your own decisions. But even before you move out from your parents as a young adult you still have a lot of freedom to make your own highway and ability to decide what that journey will be for you.

Do you finish high school, to use as an example. Do you do well in high school which allows for you do be able to go to college. If you go to college, do you do well in college. Do you stay out of trouble as a youth or get into trouble on a regular basis. These are all choices that we make as children, adolescents, young adults, full adults, and moving forward. It’s up to us to make either good decisions or bad decisions with our own lives and then we have to live with the consequences of our own decisions for good and bad, or for in-between.

In a free society like a liberal democracy like America, we all have choices that we make in life. The question is what kind of choices do we make. If you have not just a habit of making good choices like you just happen to be very lucky and perhaps you should take that luck to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, but you tend to make good choices and decisions because you’ve decided to based on good information and facts instead of flipping a coin, drawing straws, you’re going to be happy in life. At least compared with a screwup who acts on impulse, or doesn’t care about anyone other than them self, perhaps lost their brain somewhere and never went back to look for it.

To achieve happiness in life you have to figure out what makes you happy. What you’re good at and what you want out of life. And then make the right decisions to accomplish those things. Instead of sitting on your ass and expecting happiness to pick you up off your couch or getting lucky. The ultimate investment in life is your own life. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get back and the happier you’ll be. You only get out if your investments what you put in them.

Politics & Prose: John Leland- ‘Happiness Is A Choice You Make’

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

David Frum’s Trumpocracy argues that thanks to President Donald Trump and perhaps other people and other things our liberal democracy and liberal democratic form of government is at risk. That Donald Trump represents a right-wing nationalist populist movement that puts their political and cultural values over everyone else and everything else. Including the U.S. Constitution. The one clue that you need to know about the Trump Nationalist Tea Party populist movement is not conservative, is that they’re not traditionalists. They don’t believe in conserving the status quo. They want to blow up the system and the Washington way of doing things and replace that system with their own political system which wouldn’t be democratic.

Just as political and current affairs junkie, I hate it when political commentators and reporters, call people Conservatives when they’re not conservative. The tax bill and budget that the Republican Congress passed in the last two months that will add trillions of dollars to the national debt and as a result we’re looking at a deficit of over a trillion-dollars next year which would be our first trillion-dollar deficit since 2012. Conservatives don’t borrow and spend and they don’t blow up tradition and the status quo. They protect and conserve the system that they’re part of because it works and they helped design it. Donald Trump represents an anti-conservative movement that is nationalist, tribalist, and authoritarian, that believes their movement are the real Americans and everyone else are Un-American.

Donald Trump by himself I don’t believe is as scary as people want to believe. As much as a wannabe nationalist dictator that he wants to be the problem is he operates in a system with checks and balances and still is part of a liberal democratic form of government and there real limits to what he can do by himself and he like no other President in American history is above the law. If he’s guilty of anything illegal or impeachable we’ll know about it and Congress will have an opportunity to act on that.

What people should really worry about are the people and voters that Donald Trump represents and the prospects for those people coming to power in America. Not just at the Federal level but the state and local levels which is more important, since a lot of members of Congress come from state and local government. And establish regimes that pass laws that make it close to impossible for members of the opposition to even vote. That is what we should worry about as people who believe in checks and balances and liberal democracy.

Politics & Prose: David Frum- Trumpocracy

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Groundhog is one of my favorite comedies from the 1990s as well as all time. Because the movie which obviously is not believable that a basically normal even narcissistic man like Phil Connors ( played by Bill Murray ) could literally live the same exact day over and over with only Phil making any changes for how his day goes, unless he’s literally dreaming and just having the Hollywood dream of a lifetime. The movie is only about 1:45 minutes give or take, so why couldn’t a man be sleeping have this dream going on his head while he’s asleep.

The movie starts off with Phil who is a selfish unhappy narcissistic weatherman for a local TV station in Pittsburgh, which is a midsize city in a small market, with hopes of landing a job for a big station in a big market like New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, wherever it might be. But instead of getting a job like that he gets another assignment from his Pittsburgh station to cover another small-town event in rural Pennsylvania small-town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Doing exactly what he doesn’t want to do which is to cover small-town events with small-town people with Pittsburgh perhaps being the biggest city they’ve ever seen in their lives.

And narcissistic Phil sees himself as much bigger than that is unhappy and cynical the whole time he’s there, until he realizes he’s living the same day over and over again. Groundhog Day which is a one day event for everyone else in this town becomes a daily event for him. With no one else realizing what’s going on with him. Because everything else is normal for them. But in Phil’s case the same day starts over and over again every time he goes to sleep and wakes up in his hotel room.

Groundhog Day for me is the opportunity for one guy to live the same day over and over and learn from those experience and try not to make the same mistakes. Phil becomes a less sarcastic, cynical, narcissistic, selfish man as the movie moves along. Once he realizes he’s in the same day over and over with no tomorrows. He also becomes adventurous knowing that there’s basically no consequences for anything that he does. He can literally do whatever the hell he wants because he knows he’ll start the same day over and over once midnight comes.

There’s a scene in the diner where he drinks an entire pot of coffee and eats all of the pastries in the diner while he’s smoking. He robs an armor truck. He jumps off a building. He drives a truck over a cliff intentionally. He drives a car on the train tracks and gets into a police chase and spends a night in jail. Of course, only one night because the same day just starts over for him once midnight comes. He also starts to get involved with his producer Rita ( played by the adorable Andie McDowell ) who doesn’t like him and sees him as an egocentric selfish jerk. And spends each Groundhog Day learning about her and what she likes and is interested in and changes his behavior and interests just to get her to like him.

I prefer movies that are realistic, with great actors, great plot, cover original great writing, with clever wit with a cast that is also witty but can act as well. Groundhog Day has all of that except for the realism. Unless again we’re talking about one man with a really strange dream while he’s asleep that no one else could possibly know about. Groundhog Day is that 100 minute escape from reality when people simply just need an entertaining break and time to escape and is a very entertaining and very funny movie.

Classic Movies Trailer Vault: Groundhog Day 1993- Trailer

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I agree with David C. Johnston that Donald Trump is not the disease in American politics, but a symptom. His presidency is an example of what can happen when Americans are literally so pissed off about American politics, American politicians, the lobbyists that they actually represent instead of the everyday American voters who work very hard for their living and proud of that.

Not just Independents but Democrats voted for Donald Trump. Far-Left-Wing Democrats and third-party voters who voted for Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries for President, voted for Nationalist Republican Donald Trump for President. Who came out in favor of banning Muslims from entering America and a huge border wall that is supposed to be about two-thousand miles along and cover the entire American-Mexican border, even though no one actually believes that is even possible to accomplish let alone will ever happen, except for Donald Trump’s Far-right Breitbart Fox News voters. Even Donald Trump knows enough about immigration to know his wall won’t ever happen, but he’s also smart enough to know that his base doesn’t know that.

Think about that for a second. Socialists voting for a right-wing Nationalist for President, even though they had Green Party Socialist candidate Jill Stein, as an option to vote for President. Donald Trump for all of his weaknesses and lack of knowledge about everything other than how to make money for himself and entertainment, understands the American political system very well. Not the governmental system where he’s not even a student of American government at this point, but instead barely knows it exist and sees the U.S. Justice Department and White House Legal Counsel Office, as his personal law firms that are supposed to be in the business to only represent him.

But Trump is smart enough about American politics to know where American voters are at least on the right-wing side of it and not the Center-Right of the Republican Party, but the hardcore Right if not Far-Right. And he knows what he can do and has to do to get those voters to vote for him and support him. He also knows that there is this so-called Reagan Democrat wing in the Democratic Party who generally vote for Democrats for President and who voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama for President twice, but that these voters haven’t been part of the economic recovery that we’ve been living though since 2009. And hate our American political system and the politicians that get elected for obvious reasons. And that Donald Trump completely represents the anti-political as well as government establishment in America.

Donald Trump represents what can happen when you have a Congress with a 15% approval rating. Where you have a large percentage of middle class workers who haven’t gotten a raise in twenty years, where corruption in politics and government looks like the norm instead of a surprise and for the Far-Right in America Trump represents what can happen when you have an America that looks like America which is the world ethnically and racially, instead of just looking like Europe.

All Donald Trump did in 2015-16 was to be smart enough to understand these things and be smart enough to take advantage of them. You want to get the Donald Trump’s of the world out of the American political system and more importantly out of the American government, you need better government and better people working in government especially at the top. And even more importantly you need better and smarter voters who vote for good people to represent them. Even if they tell them things and take positions that they don’t want to see and here from time to time.

Politics and Prose: David Cay Johnston- ‘It’s Even Worst Than You Think’

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