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Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

If you’re going to label yourself anti-fascists, then at the very least that means you’re implying that you’re fascists. That you don’t believe in fascism and that you believe in free speech and freedom of thought. That people who disagree with you and even have beliefs that may offend you, have the same right to believe what they believe and say what they want, as people you respect and agree with. People that you consider to be political allies. And that you’re not going to try shut up speech and speakers, simply because you disagree with them, or are even offended by them.

If ANTIFA really were ant-fascists and opposed not just Nationalists, but Christian-Nationalists, Christian-Theocrats, Neo-Nazis, all on the Far-Right, but Communists and other Socialists on the Far-Left, who don’t believe people who they disagree with and are offended by have the same right to speak and believe that they do, but believed these political factions have the same right to free speech as people that agree with them meaning ANTIFA, then I could probably respect them. As a Liberal I love free speech and probably would even consider myself to be a free speech fundamentalist. But not just for people who share my liberal democratic values. But for people who are way to left of me like Communists who are part of ANTIFA and people who are to the right me. Conservative-Libertarians on the Center-Right and Christian-Nationalists and Neo-Nazis on the Far-Right.

But that is not what ANTIFA is about. They call themselves anti-fascists even though they believe in fascism and to use fascism to shut up Far-Right speakers and political activists, that they don’t like, disagree with, and are even offended by. ANTIFA are hypocrites at best. They are like so-called Conservatives who claim to hate big government, but are only talking about big government as it relates to taxes, spending, centralization, that has to do with the economy. But leave out that they actually want big government in people’s personal lives. And tell people what they can and can’t do in their homes and want consensual activities between adults should be legal or not. ANTIFA believes in using fascism to shut down and eliminate what they call fascism. So a more accurate name for this group would be ANTIFA-INO. Anti-Fascists In Name Only, because that is what they are.

Politics & Prose: Mark Bray- ANTIFA: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

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Source: A&E

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I doubt I’m the only person who has done this but for the last 10-20 years or so but I’ve been wondering why a somewhat normal seeming man like David Berkowitz would decide to go out and simply murder people in New York City or anywhere else. Not to look for justification for those murders and of course there are no justifiable murders. Murder by definition- the intentional taking of innocent human life by definition is a crime. The worst crime you could commit against anyone. Calling a murder justifiable would be like calling a cheeseburger a hot dog, a slice of pizza a peanut butter sandwich. Its simply not believable on its face.

But I’ve been wanting to know why would a somewhat innocent looking and normal intelligent man who had a good job and was able to support himself even if he was somewhat lonely and isolated, why would this person go out and decide to murder as many 10-20 innocent people and perhaps more. What would drive a normal productive man to go out and murder all of those innocent people for no apparent reason and why after being found sane and able to stand trial for his murders how would a serial murderer like David Berkowitz (the self-proclaim Son of Sam) avoid the death penalty. The death penalty is for people who murder multiple people and get some pleasure from that.

Again, this doesn’t justify what David Berkowitz did and I’ not anti-military or even anti-war, but David Berkowitz joined the U.S. Army right after high school in the early 1970s and discovered early on that he was very good with guns. He wasn’t even in the Vietnam War but instead was sent to South Korea to join the forces there that was protecting the South from Communist North Korea. I believe Berkowitz discovered that he was good with guns and good at shooting people and perhaps even discovered that he enjoyed doing it. He gets an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1974 and comes back to New York City where he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and discovers that he’s alone and doesn’t fit in where he grew up.

What the Son of Sam means to me and I’m obviously not David Berkowitz’s biographer, is that he saw himself as the Son of Uncle Sam. This mythical character that is supposed to represent the U.S. Government and generally what most people believe and I’m one of them, represents what big government looks like in America. Americans who hate high taxes and over centralization of government, the War on Drugs, invasion of privacy, to use as examples. Not to say that Berkowitz hates big government, but I believe he saw it as his duty and was trained to murder people on the behalf of Uncle Sam as what he called himself The Son of Sam. Which is my little theory of why David Berkowitz did what he did.

A&E: Naomi Ekperigin- Infamopus Killers: David Berkowitz- The Son of Sam

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Source: The Nation

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I believe to listen to Gore Vidal speak or read any of his material, you first have to know where he’s coming from and what his political background is. He doesn’t view individual rights and freedom like most Americans do. He has more of a social democratic or democratic socialist approach to how looks at politics, rights, and freedom. He was as far to the left as Henry Wallace who ran for President for the Progressive Party back in 1948, Senator George McGovern, who ran for President three times for the Democratic Party, or Senator Bernie Sanders today.

So when Gore Vidal talks about rights and freedom, he means the right not to go without the basic essentials in life.

The right not to starve.

The right not to want.

The right to health care and health insurance.

The right to housing.

The right to work if someone chooses to, but that work shouldn’t be required even for people who are mentally and physically able.

And for people who literally choose not to work in order to support themselves, those people are also entitled to the same rights that I just mentioned.

The rights that President Franklin Roosevelt proposed in 1944 in his second Bill of Rights speech. What would be called today welfare rights and perhaps back then as well. The rights for people to be taken care of instead of everyone going out there and making their own way in life and creating their own individual freedom for themselves. Which is very different from what the Founding Fathers created for America even though they didn’t tend individual rights for all Americans and not just Englishmen of wealth. Those individual rights that all Americans have regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender, apply to all Americans because that is how the Founding Fathers (Founding Liberals, really) wrote our Bill of Rights.

All what was consistent with Gore Vidal and is also consistent with the Socialist-Left today that Noam Chomsky and others argue, is that America doesn’t even have a two-party system, let alone a multiple party system. That we have a one-system that has people called Democrats and others called Republicans. Who are both controlled by big business in America and the National Security State.

Gore was somewhat conspiratorial to say the least. And even though he was a helluva lot smarter than your everyday JFK assassination conspiracy theorist and a very intelligent and funny man in general, he had his own conspiracy theories as well.

The Nation: Gore Vidal- Speech at The Nation in 1990

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Source: Vanity Fair

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Looking back at it now twenty years later (think about that for a second) the difference between the 1960s especially the early 1960s with President John F. Kennedy and the 1990s with President William J. Clinton, has to do with the internet age and media culture. The personal scandals that Bill Clinton was involved both real and fake in the 1980s and 1990s, aren’t that different in seriousness from the real scandals that President John Kennedy was involved with in the early 1960s.

President Clinton, had a short-term affair with a White House intern. President Kennedy, had affairs with mob girlfriends, women who were still involved with their mobster boyfriends and would then tell those men about their involvement with President Kennedy. Judith Campbell was one of President Kennedy’s White House girlfriends. She was Italian mobster’s Sam Giacana’s girlfriend as well. Bill Clinton while as Governor of Arkansas in the 1970s and 1980s, had an extra marital affair with former model and now writer Gennifer Flowers. Jack Kennedy when he was Senator Kennedy in the 1950s and after he married his wife Jackie, had multiple affairs with multiple women, which continued while he was President in the early 1960s.

So what’s the difference between the affairs that Jack Kennedy had in the 1960s and the affairs that Governor and later President Bill Clinton had in the 1980s and 1990s? Only one difference really which is the media.

If you wanted to watch TV back in lets say 1963, you had three channels to choose from. In some big markets maybe there would be an independent station that wasn’t affiliated with CBS, NBC, or ABC. PBS didn’t even come around until the late 1960s. Forget about satellite, there wasn’t even cable. You wanted to read a newspaper of magazine, you had to subscribe to one and it would be mailed to you physically, not electronically and you would probably get it once a week. Same thing with a newspaper but it would be sent to you everyday. Or I guess you could actually leave the cocoon of your house and get some fresh air and go down to your local convenient store and pick up a magazine or newspaper.

You could also get news on the radio and have serval choices there. Cable TV and satellite, didn’t come around until the mid 1970s. And probably wasn’t universal until the mid or late 1980s. The internet, what the hell is that back in 1963. That didn’t come around until the early 1990s and wasn’t mainstream until 1995. Smartphones unless you include Blackberrys, have only been around since 2007.

My point here is (and yes I have a point) is the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton affair of the mid and late 1990s, was not new at least as far as how serious it was. Yes, both people especially President Bill Clinton who is old enough to be Monica’s father and of course was married, but then the fact that he’s President of the United States having a White House affair with a 20 somethingWhite House intern, showed horrible judgment here and have been paying a price for it ever since. The difference being is that we knew about everything that Bill Clinton was involved with by late 1991 and certainly into 1992 and for his whole presidency, because of new technology and the information age.

No longer just network news, radio, and the newspapers. Not just 24 hour news networks, but online publications (that we call blogs today) Americans simply having the ability to find out everything that they wanted to find out whenever they wanted to by only having a laptop or desktop, or a smartphone. As well as a new media culture that instead is run by lets gets the truth before we put it out, even if that takes longer, is now about having to get something out there before their competitors do, or it will cost them money. Especially ratings and advertising. Not sure that attitude has dominated network news as much as cable news and online publications, but others probably know that better than me.

Not saying the Clinton-Lewinsky affair wasn’t serious and shouldn’t have been paid attention to. How serious it was and what should’ve been the consequences for it, are really up to the people involved especially the people who were directly hurt by it. Most notably Bill Clinton’t wife and daughter. And to a certain extent President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky herself. Not by some religious cult thats from the 1950s and got caught in some Star Trek time warp and suddenly finding themselves living in the 1990s and deciding that since they’re now in the 90s that they’re going to not only bring their lifestyle and culture with them, but try to force every other American to live like them. And of course I’m referring to the Clinton haters that Hillary Clinton correctly labeled the vast right-wing conspiracy.

My point is what happened between Bill and Monica, is not much more serious and consequential if at all to the political and sexual affairs of the 1960s. What made Bill and Monica and different is the time and technology in which their affair happened.

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Source: The Ripon Society- Gregory Koger

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Before I get into the Republican hypocrisy about the Senate filibuster which is as loud as Metallica heavy metal concert unclose with no earplugs and as obvious as the Grand Canyon is big, I just want to get to the constitutional arguments about the Senate filibuster.

Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution grants all Federal legislative powers with Congress. Under the U.S. Constitution Congress writes their own rules. So the Senate decided to have a filibuster and cloture rule. The House decide to have an almost completely majoritarian framework in how they run their business. Which is both the right of the Senate and House of Representatives to write and enforce their rules the way they decide to. Whatever rules they make for themselves are constitutional. Its the laws that Congress passes together that are subjected to judicial rules by the Federal judiciary.

Now the more fun side of this debate. Where were GOP calls for eliminating the Senate filibuster and calling it unconstitutional the first two years of the Obama Administration when Democrats controlled Congress and even had 3/5 majorities in both the House and Senate? But under then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a few Senate Democrats as well, were still able to block some bills proposed and passed by House Democrats. Like extending Unemployment Insurance and additional stimulus bills to the economy. Senate Republicans were able to do this because they stayed inline and prevented Democrats from getting 3/5 majority vote in the Senate.

Or where was the GOP call to eliminate the filibuster from 2011-15 when there were two divided Congress’s because House Republicans won back the House in 2010 and held onto majority in 2012. With Senate Democrats keeping the Senate in 2010 and 2012? Senate Republicans with 47 and then later 45 members, were able to block a whole list of Obama Administration executive and later judicial appointments simply by preventing Senate Democrats from obtaining 60 votes. Which is why then Senate Leader Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster in 2013 on executive and judicial nominees.

There are very good reasons why Congress is more unpopular than traveling salesman, lawyers, trial lawyers and make conmen look like good decent moral people. One of those reasons is hypocrisy.

Members of Congress will say they believe in fiscal responsibility and even fiscal conservatism. Until they become fiscally responsible at least in the sense that they’re now in power and in control of the nation’s fiscal policy. They run against deficit spending when they’re in the opposition, especially when they’re in both the opposition and minority, which is where Republicans were in 2010 and 2011. And then whey come back into power which is where Republicans are now, deficits no longer seem to matter to them. Especially if they have political priorities and objectives and things they need to accomplish in order to get reelected in 2018.

Why try to pay for tax relief and tax reform and ask people to pay for those things with few government services, when you can just finance those things on the national credit card and get way with it, if they’re successful in passing it this year? Being in the political opposition is easy in the sense that you can complain all you want and not really pay any price for it. But governing is difficult because it means making decisions and risking offending groups that you may need to win reelection. Which is where the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans find themselves now.

Republican complaints about the Senate filibuster today and Congress failing to move on anything because legislation getting blocked in the Senate, well their a couple of problems with that.

One, the House isn’t passing much if any legislation right now either. At least legislation that even Senate Republicans want to deal with. So maybe the GOP should look at their colleagues in the House when it comes to gridlock or their own Senate Leadership. But the second reason is more obvious and is nothing more than hypocrisy on a month long sugar high. The GOP was in favor of the filibuster when they were in the opposition, especially the opposition and minority, because they could use it to obstruct the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans. Now they’re against it because they’re divided and can’t seem to find enough votes to even pass legislation with a simple majority, let alone a super majority. Opposition to the filibuster is nothing more than political hypocrisy at this point and a big example of why Americans hate politics and hate Congress.

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Now This World: U.S. Senator Rand Paul

Now This World: Trace Dominguez- U.S. Senator Rand Paul: What Is a Filibuster?

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Source: Bob Daugherty 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Looking back at it The Hollywood Blacklist and The Hollywood 10 and the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee which was as Un-American as anything they were investigating and perhaps the most Un-American committee we’ve ever seen in Congress, looking back at The Hollywood Blacklist and The Hollywood 10 and the investigations that they were under simply for their ideological beliefs.

Because they were not just Socialists and some of them were simply Socialists and not Communists, but there were also Communists in this community. But they weren’t being investigated for being American traitors working for Communist Russia. They were investigated for being Communists, for having communist beliefs. This was the most extreme form of political correctness that we’ve seen in this country, at least in the 20th Century, because this wasn’t just people getting shouted down because they have what might be extreme political views, or just having political views that offend some political activist community that actually might not be extreme.

Which is today’s version of political correctness that the Far-Left (talk about Communists and Socialists) uses to try to shut up and censor right-wingers who they disagree with. But this is government-sponsored state-run political correctness. That says your (meaning Communists and Socialists) First Amendment rights aren’t as strong as people on the Right and Far-Right, simply because you’re Communists and Socialists.

If they were the KKK, Neo-Nazis, fundamentalist theocratic Christians who believe women’s place is in the home and it should even be illegal for them to work, or gays should be in jail and prison simply for being homosexual, well the argument from the fascist Far-Right would be there that they’re just expressing their First Amendment rights to free speech.

But if you’re a Socialist or Communist who believes in state-run health care and health insurance, having a state-run banking and even energy, but aren’t active politically in the sense that you’re running for office, or even campaigning for any Far-Left political candidates or politicians, or have any affiliations with Communists states, well you’re Un-American according to the fascist Far-Right. Who had this Leave it to Beaver 1940s and 1950s view of what it means to be a real American. Sort of the like 1940s version of the modern Tea Party today.

To put it plainly, political correctness really sucks. The only thing that was Un-American during these supposed investigations of Socialists and Communists in Hollywood, was the House Un-American Activities Committee itself. We have guaranteed free speech rights in America which means you can be on the Far-Left and believe in democratic socialism or even communism and believe that right-wing and perhaps even Center-Left political parties shouldn’t even have the right to exist.

Or you can be on the Far-Right and be a Far-Right Nationalist-Tribalist who believes your culture and faction in the country including ethnicity and race are the true Americans and the only people who will standup for America. And see everyone else as threats to your state and therefor aren’t deserving of the same constitutional rights as your culture and political faction. Or you can be religious theocrat who puts your religious beliefs over everything else including the U.S. Constitution and are so fundamentalist and have so much faith in your religious beliefs that you believe everything else should not only live under your cultural values, but be forced to live under them in some religious theocracy.

Just as long as the Far-Left and Far-Right aren’t violently acting on their beliefs even in an attempt to defeat or eliminate the opposition in order to accomplish their political beliefs. We have a right to free speech and belief, but not a constitutional right to violence short of self-defense. Americans have a constitutional right under the First Amendment to be stupid and even be assholes. Just as long as we’re not violent assholes and physically trying to hurt people simply because we disagree with them or even hate them. Our guaranteed right to free speech and beliefs the ability for every American to think for themselves is as American as anything we’ve ever had in this country and still have.

What’s Un-American are not political beliefs whatever they are, but trying to censor those views simply because you disapprove of them or are even offended by them. If Socialists and Communists want to hold political rallies attacking America with their rhetoric and call America the real evil empire in the world and argue that we’re some materialistic racist corporate state, because we allow wealth and don’t expect government to manage our daily lives for us, they have the guaranteed right to make those arguments and even publish articles, book, produce documentaries. Even if their nothing but great fiction, at best.

If the KKK, Neo-Nazis, want to argue that America is going to hell because of our non-European immigration in the country and that non-European-Americans are Un-American, they have can hold peaceful political rallies, publish articles and books, produce documentaries, making those arguments. And be treated by the public with the public’s free speech rights as the complete assholes that they are.

There’s nothing dangerous about free speech short of people telling others that certain people should be physically harmed, or have their property attacked, be falsely libeled and accused. What’s dangerous is trying to eliminate speech and thought in America simply because you disapprove of what the speaker is thinking and saying. Because the same thing can happen to you by the opposition when they don’t like your politics. The American way to confront speech and politics that you disagree with is to peacefully speak out and organize against it. Make the case as far as why the opposition is wrong. Publish articles, books, produce videos, documentaries, with the best available information that you can get about why the opposition is wrong. Which is as American our great diversity and melting pot that represents the entire world that we all call America.

Bob Daugherty: Mysteries & Scandals- The Blacklist & The Hollywood 10

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Source: Fix The Debt

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

“The Fix the Debt Campaign is bringing together Americans from all walks of life and from across the country to get the national debt under control. Learn more and join us.”

What Fix The Debt really only offers here are goals that they would like to see accomplished in the next Federal budget that Congress passes and the President signs. Which may happen as soon as 2050 since Congress no longer passes budgets The the last budget that Congress passed was in 2006. What they do instead is pass some appropriations bills and generally its real just the House that passes any appropriations bills. And September comes along which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone since September is an annual event in America and Congress realizes that the Federal Government funding is about to run out and decides to pass a short-term spending bill keeping the entire government running until the end of the year generally.

It use to be better than this when Congress would pass an omnibus bill generally in December that would fund the entire government until the following September. Omnibus bills are one appropriation bill passed by Congress instead of all 13 bills and passed instead of a budget. They’re not as good as a budget that comes with appropriations bills later on, but are certainly better than running a Federal Government with a four-trillion-dollar budget and without around five-million employees three or four months at a time. Better for the workers and better for the economy, because investors don’t have to worry about government shutdowns as much and the negative impact they have on the economy.

The only real solution that Fix The Debt offers here and I doubt the author of this article is actually named Fix The Debt, I mean that is no name for a real human being, but no name for the author is given here, but all they talk about is Congress should pass a budget. Pass a budget that puts us on path to reducing the national deb. And then they offer only one real solution in their article which is called PAYGO. Which is a wonky eggheaded term that in American English means pay as you go.

Makes sense right, is you’re going to purchase something pay for it instead of running up big credit card bills that you can’t pay back or writing checks that bounce like fully pumped basketballs that are slammed on a highway. But Congress doesn’t operate in the real world. They operate in the world of political bases and political contributions. And tend to see their number one job is to get reelected. Especially if they’re in the leadership of the major party in the House and Senate and don’t want to lose their majority during the next election. Or if they’re in the leadership in the minority party they tend to see their number one job is to not only get reelected but add to their membership and win back the House or Senate.

So as long as Congress functions on short-term spending bills and the only real deadline they care about are their primary elections and election days, we’ll never see any real solutions to addressing the big deficit of six-hundred-billion dollars and the national debt of twenty-trillion-dollars. Because addressing these issues will cost political capital and support. Because it will mean addressing entitlements, the defense budget, the tax code, emergency spending like disaster relief, and our public assistance anti-poverty programs so we have fewer Americans living and working in poverty and more Americans working and paying payroll and Federal income taxes.

But if you’re looking for real solutions that might happen at some point in the future, or more realistically could happen in the short-term, I believe PAYGO and disaster relief reform might be the only things that could pass both the House and Senate and get signed by President Trump. Applying PAYGO to disaster relief and the defense budget. No more waiting until the hurricane season in the late summer to realize that we may need a lot of money to pay for that cleanup and help people be able to get back to their lives. With Congress passing a disaster relief package of somewhere around 50-100 billion dollars that of course is put on the national credit card. (Another way of saying national debt)

But instead showing some common sense (almost as rare as July snow in Los Angeles, in Congress) and knowing that August and September are annual events in America and are hurricane season in the Southeast, as well as the Southwest in Texas with all the heat and humidity and that this is a region that will probably get hit by at least one storm and that it could be a major storm and that this region is probably going to need a lost of assistance to handle any recovery that might be needed. And again, to go back to the need for the Federal budget that the Administration and Congress should plan for these events upfront and pay for them upfront.

We need a natural disaster fund in America that should be paid for by the people who receive that assistance when their property is hit by one of these major storms and need financial assistance in order to recover from it. People who live in higher risk areas should pay more for this insurance because they’ll get more assistance when they are hit by a storm or some other natural disaster. This would save the Federal Government 20, 50, perhaps even 100 billion dollars or more each year, as well as taxpayers because the Feds would no longer have to borrow to pay for disaster relief and taxpayers would have less interest to pay back on the national debt when they make purchases.

A fully functioning PAYGO that is tied to the entire Federal budget whether its disaster relief, as well as the defense budget and increases to all parts of the Federal budget including invasions, humanitarian relief efforts that are Defense Department are involved in, repairing and building new bases, alone won’t fix the deficit and the national debt. We really need a comprehensive approach here that deals with the tax code, entitlements, poverty assistance, as well as defense and disaster relief. But it would be a good step forward and tell the markets and Wall Street that the U.S. Government is finally serious about the national debt and sees it as a national priority and at the very least will stop asking to the problem that it created.

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Source: Crash Course 

Crash Course: Adrienne Hill & Jacob Clifford- Deficits a& Debt

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