Archive for December, 2013

U.S. Congress
Reform Party: Blog: Nicholas Hensley: Governing Only by Finding Common Ground is Irrational and Deserves the Public Interest

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I hope the title of this post is long enough, otherwise the hell with it. But I agree with the notion of this blog from the Reform Party that governing simply shouldn’t be about compromise. That even with a divided government with two parties that do not like each other which is putting it very mildly and certainly do not trust each other that both sides at the end of the business day still have a responsibility to not only govern, but to govern well.

And in divided government like today that means taking the best from both sides and putting into a package that works. And throwing out the garbage from both sides instead of just splitting the difference on each key issue. As if that is governing even when trying to go half way on each issue may not and in most cases does not result in a good end result. And there are plenty of examples going back to the early 1980s when the Federal Government became very partisan with a new Conservative President in Ronald Reagan, with a Conservative Republican Senate. To go with a Progressive Democratic House where they managed to govern very well with divided Congress’s.

It is not so much the art of the compromise that should try to be reached. But the art of the consensus. What do both sides want and on a lot of key issues both sides tend to have the same end goals. And after that has been established now where are both sides, what would each side do if they were completely in charge. In other words what is the opening offer from both sides so we know where both side is. And after that has been established you look to the common ground.

You find that and you put that in the final package and then after that you look for victories from both sides. The good from each side and put their ideas alone on certain key issues. For example the 1996 Welfare to Work Law is a perfect example. Republicans wanted time limits and work requirements in the new Welfare system. Democrats wanted job training, education and childcare for people on Welfare. What happened is both sides won and the final bill had job training, education, childcare, time limits and job requirements.

You take the good from both sides and throw out the things that probably wouldn’t work. Or that both sides simply can’t live with. Meaning both sides get their victories, but do not get everything they are looking for. Instead of just splitting the difference and running for the middle on the key issues. And that is how you get good government in a divided government.


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Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Richard Eskow: Was This The Social Contract's Comeback Year?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

When it comes to things like Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Welfare Insurance, Medicare. Public Housing, Food Assistance to use several examples, I prefer the term safety net or a public social insurance system or PSIS. Which are insurances that people who need them can collect when, well they need them. But if you able to take care or yourself and you have what is called economic freedom that is the ability to pay your own bills and be self-sufficient in life with money left over to spend in things you want, then that is essentially the American dream.

Then that is exactly what you and this is how a safety net or PSIS would be different from what is called in Europe especially in Scandinavia a welfare state. Where these are all sorts of public program funded through taxes there to take care of people. I as a Liberal Democrat do not want to have to live off of government or anyone else if I’m able to take care of myself. That would be just one example that would separate me from a Democratic Socialist or a Social Democrat. Someone who bases their political philosophy on what government can do for people when it comes to economics.

If you want to use the term social contract, fine I’ll go along with that. But what I’m really in favor of when it comes to American capitalism is individual economic power. Again which is another way of saying economic freedom. And what I would like to see in this country and perhaps even go back to is an economic power system that is there for all Americans to be able to take advantage of to create their own economic freedom.

And this is where government plays its biggest role along with regulating predatory behavior. And this comes from making quality education and job training available for everyone universally to everyone K-adulthood if needed. So as many Americans as possible have that individual economic power or people power to be able to take care of themselves. And live a good life however they define that for themselves without having to use public assistance or private charity. In order to pay their own way and bills.

If you are talking about having a federal government so big especially as it relates to economic policy that it is designed to meet a lot if not most of people’s economic needs, you are no longer talking about a safety net or a social insurance system, but a welfare state. A socialist superstate big government at about as big as it can without nationalizing the entire economy and outlawing private property all together. And that is not what I’m in favor of.

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Mike Shanahan
Real Redskins: Blog: Should Mike Shanahan Stay or Go?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Should Mike Shanahan stay or go as the Redskins Head Coach/Head of Football Operations. That will be the number question and decision that Dan Snyder will have to deal with in the 2014 Redskins offseason. When their season is officially over after playing the New York Giants tomorrow.

Reasons for letting Coach Shanahan go outnumber the reasons for keeping him. In four seasons with the Redskins the Redskins have lost ten or more games three times. And if they do not beat the Giants at New Jersey tomorrow a team that has a better record than the Redskins, won twice as many games 6-9 than the 3-12 Redskins and have already beaten the Redskins on the road this year, the Redskins after already having the worst season of the Shanahan era at 3-12, will fall to 3-13.

And you can’t make the case that Coach Shanahan doesn’t have the players. For one he’s also in charge of personal and two they picked by most of the so-called experts people who understand the NFL to win the NFC East probably the worst division in football this year with the Redskins actually having the worst team. You can say that Coach Shanahan doesn’t have a very good coaching staff especially at the top with his offensive coordinator who also happens to be his son in Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. But again Coach Shanahan picks his own coaching staff.

The reasons to fire Coach Shanahan are pretty sound and clear and a big reason why it would be a pretty popular decision in Washington. A city that hates to lose and hates losers. But some of the issues with the Redskins management even though Coach Shanahan doesn’t have complete control of the organization, isn’t all of Coach Shanahan’s fault and responsibility. He doesn’t have a solid football person like a team president that he can report to. Who can also supervise and advise him on things like how to sign players and manage the salary cap, negotiate trades, manage the facilities and so forth. Not so much a general manager but someone at the top besides the owner that Coach Shanahan can report to that the coach can get advise from sort of like a partner. But someone who outranks the head coach, like a head of football operations.

Bruce Allen is the team’s official general manager, but he reports and works for the head coach and not the other way around. It is not that Coach Shanahan shouldn’t have the final say in personal, but he shouldn’t be running the entire football operations department either. Someone besides Dan Snyder needs to be there and be able to say, “I like what you are doing here.” But when the coach makes a bad decision be able to step in and say, “we shouldn’t do that.” And even be able to veto things that do not make sense. Someone with a football background.

One of the reasons why the San Francisco 49ers were so successful in the 1980s was because of how their management was structured. Ed Debartalo didn’t try to be the owner of the franchise as well as the team president. Bill Walsh was the head coach/general manager, but he had a team president to report to in Carmen Policy. Instead of Eddie Debartalo trying to fill both roles as owner and president. Well right now Dan Snyder is trying to fill both roles as owner and president of the Redskins. He’s simply not qualified as a businessman and not a professional football man to fill both roles as owner and president. And for the Redskins to succeed in the future with either Mike Shanahan or a new head coach, they need a new management structure.

Their management structure is going to have to change or they are going to remain in between mediocrity and a consistent, to a losing team without much of a future. And another thing that Dan Snyder needs to consider is who out there would be better than Mike Shanahan. To be their head coach/head of football operations who would also be willing to work for Dan Snyder. To make this a little personal.

I’ve made the case for both firing Mike Shanahan and keeping him on board with a new team president. And a new offensive and defensive coordinator and giving Coach Shanahan one more season. And reevaluating him at the end of 2014. Because I haven’t completely made up my mind. But if I’m Dan Snyder I’m leaning towards keeping Coach Shanahan under this new proposed management and coaching arrangement. Instead of firing Coach Shanahan and starting over.

But I would also tell the head coach that, “look are defense was horrible this year and that has to change. You need a defensive coordinator that is going to run the defense based on the personal that he has to work with. We are going back to the 4-3 and you are going to move either Ryan Kerrigan or Brian Orakbo to defensive end. And get an outside linebacker whose a very good pass defender and tackler as well. So you can blitz less and get more of a pass rush with just four or five pass rushers. Instead so you leave more help for your secondary. And give up fewer big plays in the passing and running games.”

This should be a tough decision for Dan Snyder and I hope he hasn’t made up his mind yet. And that postseason meeting with both he and the head coach happens with minds haven’t been made up yet. Because again a very good case for dumping the head coach, but there is also a good case for bringing Mike Shanahan back under the right circumstances.

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News-CA-City of Los Angeles-Protest Against Income Inequality
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I agree with a lot of what was said in this Chicago Tribune editorial about the problems of why people at the bottom of the American income scale are at the bottom and why the people at the top are at the top. And as much as so-called Progressives or Social Democrats in America like to try to make the so-called income inequality argument in America about the rich stealing from the poor, it is not true at least in most cases.

The wealthy in America tend to be wealthy because they have a wealth of education and marketable skills that they have used to create their success. And have either gotten those skills by having wealthy parents who were able to send them to good schools including college, or came from strong middle class families. And went to good middle class schools and ended up going to and graduating from a good college. By either getting a scholarship, student loans or working really hard and going to school at the same time. Or a combination of all of those or some of those factors.

But there are also very successful people in America who didn’t come from wealth or even a middle class family. But had strong enough parents to make sure they not only stayed in and finished school, but got themselves a good education. Even if that meant one or both parents working multiple jobs to make that happen. So if you come from a good foundation even one with not a lot of money, but a lot of love and parents who’ll do whatever they can to see that you have a good shot at succeeding in life and you take advantage of those opportunities, you’ll do well in America.

The poor in America whether they are working or not, tend to of gotten off to a bad start in life. Dad walks out, mom left to raise their kid or kids by herself. Or dad in prison and mom not prepared to raise her kids in a proper way without the skills to do so. And then these kids make it worst for themselves by not finishing school and getting whatever education that they can. Having kids before finishing high school and essentially leaving their mother to raise her grandchildren for them.

And of course kids from both poor and rough neighborhoods falling into the wrong crowd as adolescents. Getting in trouble, not finishing high school and now looking at having a juvenile record and doing time. To go along with not having a high school diploma, having kids to take care of too early in life. Without much hope of giving their kids what their parents couldn’t give them. Which is a good start at life coming with a good education and a good shot at doing well in life.

So these are the main reasons for what I call the income gap in America as opposed to income inequality. So then it is about what should be done about these issues. And for me as a Liberal it always gets to opportunity and empowerment coming from education and job training. Having a public education system in this country that is not run by the Federal Government, but where everyone in the country can go to a school that is best for them.

Instead of being forced to going to a school based on where they live. Which is a big reason for the income gap in America with students not getting the skills that they need in life because they live in a low-income neighborhood. And the Federal Government can help with additional resources to our public schools so all of our public school students would be able to go to a good school.

And then with our low-income workforce whether they are currently working or not for our non-employed low-income workforce, it shouldn’t be about just getting them to work, but getting them good work experience as well as the skills that they need to get themselves a good job. Instead of just putting them to work in low-skilled low-income jobs without the ability that they need to get themselves a good job. Which is why job creation with our low-skilled workforce needs to also be about job training as well so this population can get themselves the skills that they need to get themselves a good job. And that means at least getting a degree at a junior college or a vocational school. So they have the skills they need to do well in life. And the Federal Government and private sector with private job training programs can help provide the resources for this.

If you want to do well in America it takes marketable skills and education to make that happen. Without that you are looking at a life of poverty and living in rough neighborhoods dependent on public assistance for your economic survival. And even if you are working dead-end low-skilled low-income jobs with not much if any hope for advancement and making a good living. But with a good education and job skills, you can do as well in life as your talents and you applying your talents will allow which will benefit the country as a whole.

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Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Socialism is one of those things that is hard to explain and define for many people. Which is why it means different things to different people sort of like liberalism. But to put it simply socialism is anything provided by government for the people that is funded by public revenue. Generally through taxes, but not always and it can financed through state-owned enterprises as well. Which was common in Cuba before they moved to a state form of capitalism a few years ago.

When people tend to think of Socialists, they tend to think of people who are Marxists. Named after the famous Far-Left philosopher Carl Marx. And a Marxist is someone who believes in state-owned economics. And believes the state meaning the central government for whatever given country should own and operate the economy and all of it’s enterprises on behalf of the people. To see that no one has too little or too much. I guess that would be what I would call a Classical Socialist to go along with the big welfare state. And all the social services that would come from the central government.

But anyone whose familiar with the developed world as it is called that is the wealthy countries of the world that have large middle class populations and even a decent number of wealthy people, but even the fast developing countries of the developing world like Mexico, China and India to use as examples, know that these countries don’t have state-owned economic systems. And that most of the industries in these countries are in private hands subjected to taxes and regulations by government.

But these countries aren’t completely capitalist either and have large and expansive welfare states. That provide most of the services that people need to do well in life. Like education, pension, health care, health insurance and other services. A lot of these countries tend to be social democratic and run by Social Democrats on the Left. Or people on the Right who even though they might not be Social Democrats aren’t interested in dismantling the welfare state. But in many cases there to see that it doesn’t expand and that these programs are run better. And even getting competition from the private sector to perform these services as well.

The future of Democratic Socialists or Social Democrats especially in America, but the developing world and Europe as well I believe is not the Marxist Socialist approach of government trying to do everything for everybody. But it is the Bernie Sanders wing of the socialist movement. Bernie Sanders the senator from Vermont the only self-described Socialist in the United States Congress.

Senator Sanders is someone who believes in capitalist private enterprise economy. But that is highly taxed and regulated to protect workers and consumers from capitalist predators, but also so the central government has the resources to provide most of the services that people need to live well in life. Which is the type of Socialist that gets elected in America, but also in Europe as well.
Munder Larkst: Howard Zinn on Democratic Socialism

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