Kire Schneider Online

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Father of American Liberalism

Monday, February 24, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Shields and Brooks on Ukraine, Trade Policy & the Minimum Wage

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

As far as Ukraine goes, I think Mark Shields had the best line when he said that all we can do is hope for the best there. And that means some peaceful agreement that calls for real elections, with the opposition having a real shot at winning, not stealing or having the elections stolen from them, but actually winning the elections with the ruling party, with the current Ukrainian administration accepting the results of the elections, and that means stepping down from power if they lose or continue to govern if they win.

As far as free trade goes, something I tend to favor, especially as someone who lives in a country of 310 million people that is part of a world of six billion people, we simply can't afford to close our borders. Our companies and economy, including workers, would be denied billions of dollars every year for not trading with other countries that can afford to buy our products.  I think even organized labor now understands that we must trade with other countries.

The real question is how you trade with other countries and have trade agreements that give your products the same access in foreign markets as foreign countries have in this country. Do you encourage companies, foreign and domestic, to invest in America or take those jobs overseas? So of course I want free trade, but we also need to stop encouraging companies to send good American jobs overseas in order for trade to work for America. 

Rebuild The Dream-CNN: Crossfire- Debating The Minimum Wage

Source: Rebuild The Dream- Economist Stephen Moore-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

You would think people who call themselves Conservatives (and I say that because it is debatable whether these people are conservatives), you would think these so-called Conservatives who are opposed to public assistance, or even the minimum wage would be in favor of raising it modestly. Because it would mean these workers would have more income to pay their own bills and as a result need less in public assistance. If you're opposed to Welfare in general, then that means corporate welfare as well. Which is welfare (or subsidies) that go to business's and even individuals, simply for just being successful. To oil companies simply for drilling oil in America. Which would be just one example. Or allowing a rich individual to right off their losses when their business goes into the ground. But another example of corporate welfare would be public assistance. That is financial assistance for low-income workers who are simply not paid enough money by their employers to allow for them to live independently and live in freedom. That allows for business's to pass on the cost of their employees to taxpayers. Business's pay their low-income workers very little and as a result their cost of doing business goes on to the back of hard-working middle class Americans. Which is another form of welfare.
Rebuild The Dream-CNN: Crossfire- Debating The Minimum Wage

Friday, February 21, 2014

Movie Clips: Grumpy Old Men 1993- Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau & Ann-Margret Star

Source: Movie Clips-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

What else do two lonely grumpy old men who also happen to be played by one of the best comedy teams of all time,Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, need more than Ann Margret. But that is exactly what this movie is about: two lonely guys who happen to live across the street from each other, their worst enemy, and yet probably couldn't explain why they do not like each other. And there just happens to be this gorgeous sexy redhead played by Ann Margret who moves into their little rural Minnesota town and energizes both their lives.

I haven't seen this movie in a while but if memory serves, these two senior citizens are in their late sixties or seventies and hate the hell out of each other but also happen to have lived across the street from each other in a rural small town in Minnesota for 40 years or more. They hate each other but don't know why and are also lonely widowers with kids, and  Jack Lemmon's character is a grandfather as well, with a son-in-law, and they have plenty of time to play childish pranks on each other.

Things change when Ann Margret comes to smallville Minnesota to live up the street from Walter and Jack and gives both of these lonely widowers something to live for. They are both old enough to be Ann's father but both make a big play for her and take her out in the hope of starting a romance. This movie becomes a competition over who will be Ann Margret's next boyfriend.
Movie Clips: Grumpy Old Men 1993 Official Trailer

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TCM: The Last of Sheila 1973- Richard Benjamin, James Mason, Dyan Cannon & Raquel Welch Star

Source: TCM-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

First, with this movie, just to get a little personal, what other reason do you need to watch a movie, especially if you are a guy, than to know that both Raquel Welch and Dyan Cannon are featured at the top of their game (well, Raquel Welch has always been at the top of her game), but these two gorgeous sexy goddesses in the same damn movie acting together?

Now, in case you are actually interested in this movie, even with Raquel and Dyan in it, it is still not a great movie, but a very entertaining and funny detective movie played by actors who are playing actors and not detectives. A Hollywood director, James Coburn, gives up his yacht to Hollywood friends and associates in Hollywood who play detective and solve the mystery.

The excellent cast numbers 10 or more. Richard Benjamin, a terrific comedian and very good if not great actor, plays Tom, a film writer, who thinks he knows who killed the women and gets a lot of it right about who could have done it, who had the access, and so forth. Phillip, played by the great James Mason (North by Northwest among other great movies) is reserved throughout the movie but at the end figures it out. Raquel and Dyan are basically just along for the ride and clueless, but, as I said earlier, very welcome additions.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Paul Woods: Video: TSN: CFL American Expansion 1995: CFL Commissioner Larry Smith

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Canadian Football League expansion, or CFL expansion in America, was a great idea because the CFL, lets face it, was a 9-team league back in the early 1990s, before they expanded inside the United States. From a country (Canada) of roughly 30 million people struggling just to pay their bills, let alone save a few dollars, they needed American fans and American dollars spent on the CFL to pay their bills. At the time, there were plenty of major markets inside the U.S. that could afford and want to support major league gridiron football.

The problem with the CFL expansion was that it was poorly executed and poorly thought out, which is what happens when you get 10-20 thousand fans at CFL games inside 65 thousand-seat stadiums, which is what they had in Memphis and San Antonio, because they didn't have the right marketing for America or the right management groups for the American teams.  Only Baltimore was profitable in the CFL, while Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Shreveport, Memphis, and Birmingham all folded in the CFL.

Thanks to the new United States Football League, the CFL, I believe, will have the opportunity to merge with the USFL, especially if they agree to play in the spring and summer instead of summer and fall. And you could have an American Football Conference and a Canadian Football Conference in this united league in the future. There will be a future blog about that, but bringing in an American conference would more than save the CFL financially and give lots of Canadian and American football fans teams to root for and follow.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

PBS: Video: NewHour: Shields and Brooks on the Debt Limit Drama and Health Care Reform

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The whole debt limit debate in Congress was really about the 2014 mid-term congressional elections for House and Senate Republicans who want to add to their House majority and win back the Senate and not see another fight on this issue, especially if they lose. House Speaker John Boehner brought a clean debt limit bill to the House floor and told his Republican Conference to vote the way they wanted on it, because enough House Democrats will vote in favor of it anyway and he could send it to the Senate.

As far as Senate Republicans go, who are still in the minority but can block legislation from coming up for votes if they are united, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rounded up enough Republican votes to allow for the debt ceiling bill to be voted on and then told his conference to vote the way they wanted, but we are not going to block this bill and we are going to move onto other issues where we can score political points.

With the Affordable Care Act, more Americans are getting health insurance than would have if nothing was done and we still have the health care system that we had pre-2010. The progress is slower than Democrats would like, obviously, but the progress is real and Americans are starting to feel it to the point that it may not cost Senate Democrats the Senate in 2014 alone and may give them a fighting chance to hold onto the Senate if they are able to make their elections about the economy, including immigration, where they have clear advantages.

Friday, February 14, 2014

PBS: Video: NewsHour: Closing the Gap: Senator Tim Scott on Expanding Educational Opportunities

This blog was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

If Senator Tim Scott is talking about expanding educational choice in the public school systems including charter schools, then I'm all for that as long as the Federal Government is not mandating this without the funds to pay for them. And I would also expand educational and job training opportunities for low-skilled workers and low-skilled adults who aren't currently working so they acquire the skills to find good jobs.

If Senator Scott is saying that we should do those things plus school vouchers and mandating them from the Federal Government and taking the decision away from States and localities about whether to use taxpayer funds that would normally go to public education to pay for private schools instead, then I'm not in favor of that on the Federal level, and if States and locals want to do that, then that is their business. But for the Feds to be involved in education at all it should be in public education as a helper and funder but not as a director.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Fiscal Times: Opinion: Mark Thoma: How Keynes Would Handle an Abnormally Slow Recovery: A Plan to Boost Economic and Job Growth

The Fiscal Times: Opinion: Mark Thoma: How Keynes Would Handle an Abnormally Slow Recovery
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I'm all in favor of trying to boost economic and job growth when the economy is weak with something like a new national infrastructure plan, a National Infrastructure Bank. But when you have a national debt as high as your Gross National Product, I mean 17 trillion dollars is one figure. I bet most Americans have a hard time getting their fingers around the total size of the American economy as well as national debt, and when it is that high it blows their minds. Your credit card bill is due and to keep what you need to pay back from getting even further out of hand you at least have to start paying some of that back to keep your credit from being ruined altogether.

We have a financial deficit, an infrastructure deficit, an energy deficit, a manufacturing deficit, and a tax deficit. Our corporate tax system is not competitive with a lot of the developed world. When your economy is just barely over the water, that is the perfect time to fix all of those things. But do it in a fiscally responsible way so you don't make your current financial situation any worse than it is or it has to be and, yes, interest rates are low right now but artificially low because of the Federal Reserve decisions, not because of any real strength in the economy.  So:

1. Let's encourage more corporate and other business-related investment in the United States, including manufacturing and energy.

2. Let's start rebuilding this country with a National Infrastructure Bank.

3. Let's encourage more manufacturing in America and stop encouraging companies to send jobs overseas.

4. Let's create a plan to move America toward energy independence by producing America's energy across the board, at least in the short term.

5. And let's have real tax reform so we can lower taxes on the middle class, which would also boost economic growth as well.

But let's pay for all of these policies instead of adding to our national credit card. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

ESPN: 30 For 30- Muhammad and Larry

Source: ESPN-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

I just lost some respect for the great boxing trainer Angelo Dundee when he said that he’s been asked, “why didn’t you tell Muhammad Ali that your time is over and you should stop fighting, or at least not fight Larry Holmes?” And Angelo saying that it is not his job to tell his fighter when they should stop fighting. That fighters have a god-given right to fight as long as they want to. Not the point because if you love or care about someone, that enough should be enough reason to say, “look champ, you shouldn’t do this because you will get seriously hurt.”

The story of the 1980 World Heavyweight Championship fight between the top two heavyweights of their generation at least, Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes is more than just a World Championship fight. But a fight between someone entering the prime of his career in Larry, against a fighter whose time was over and only regained the World Heavyweight Championship in 1978, because he fought Leon Spinks. But any really good or great heavyweight would’ve given Muhammad a similar beating. That Larry Holmes gave him in 1980.

This is a fight that’s all about one thing and only one thing. Money, the two best heavyweights in the world and so many fans wanting to see this fight. Had nothing to do with anyone else and the hell with the consequences as far as who get’s hurt in this fight. Because anyone who knew about both fighters and their current physical conditions, knew this fight should’ve never happened. That Larry was simply too strong for Muhammad at this point in their careers.
ESPN: 30 For 30- Muhammad and Larry

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Secular Talk: Video: The O'Reilly Factor: U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann's Stupidity Baffles Bill O'Reilly

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Forget about what the guy with the big mouth doing the commentary in the video. The O’Reilly-Bachmann exchange represents exactly what is wrong with the Republican Party right now. And Bill gave Representative Michelle Bachmann all the opportunity possible in about four minutes. When the asshole wasn’t speaking to make it clear that the GOP is the NMP right now the No Message Party. Because they do not have a unifying message because they are the opposition party. Without a clear frontrunner for 2016 so they got these tribes who really just speak for themselves instead.

I almost fell asleep listening to Cathy McMorris-Rodgers response to President Obama at the State of the Union a couple of weeks ago. And keep in mind I’m an insomniac and I don’t fall asleep very often. But at least there was some point to her message. Someone coming from middle class small town roots to the big time as member of the Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives. But with Michelle it is two minutes of what that she’s pro-American, apple pie and motherhood and so-forth.

Michelle Bachmann represents exactly why IQ tests should be required for anyone in Congress to serve on the House or Senate Intelligence committees. And thank God she only serves on one of them. Because give her one topic and you get competing messages on the same topic. As well as her volunteering other topics to talk about in a span of two minutes. And I wish this Congress could only end tomorrow so she is no longer in the House which she is retiring from at the end of this Congress.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Dish: Andrew Sullivan- Why is Liberal a Dirty Word?

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

The reason why in the past the word Liberal has almost been seen as bad as a cuss word or someone would call someone a Liberal like they would call someone a jerk or a bastard or an insult worst than that, is because of how successful the partisan right-wing going back to Richard Nixon and perhaps even to Barry Goldwater, to make Liberals look like something they aren’t. And liberalism something that it isn’t. Which is some big government statist ideology that is all about government running people’s lives for them. And against everything that has made America work mostly having to do with freedom.

Another reason why the word Liberal has been seen as something as bad as a horrible insult, is that people who aren’t Liberals, but have more of a big government statist Far-Left ideology, get called Liberals by people in the media who don’t understand liberalism. And people who again share that big government statist philosophy calling themselves Liberals. Even though they don’t even understand liberalism themselves. Or prefer to be called Liberal instead of something else that is even less popular in America. Like a Socialist, Communist or Statist.

But if you go up to 2008 the charge against Barack Obama when he was running for president, the charge from the right-wing was no longer labeling him a Liberal. But a Socialist and for good reason, because Americans now no longer see Liberal as a bad thing especially younger Americans. More Americans are learning more about liberalism and understanding it. And also more Americans now see their own politics as Liberal as well which is a big reason why young Americans overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama for president in 2008. And reelected President Obama in 2012.

Liberal is not a dirty word, but a clean beautiful word that is about liberty, liberation, empowerment. Notice the words Liberal and Libertarian sound similar, because even though they are certainly different. But they believe in similar things like individual rights and liberty and privacy. And are skeptical about what large organizations can do for them that they can’t do for themselves. Whether they are public or private institutions and more Americans now believe in these things as well.
Wendell Willkie: 1940 Presidential Campaign

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Young Turks: Video: Jimmy Dore & Ben Mankiewicz: Simple Weed Question Destroys Deputy Drug Czar

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

This video is the perfect example of why the U.S. Government whoever is in charge since the creation of the so-called War on Drugs, why they have lost credibility. And no longer have much credibility on the War on Drugs. Especially with young adults let’s say early fifties and younger, but adolescents as well. When the Deputy Director of National Drug Policy Michael Botticeli can’t or won’t answer a simple basic question of whether or not marijuana is as dangerous as cocaine, heroine or meth.

Representative Earl Blumenauer Democrat from Oregon who I like and respect, but do not agree with him on everything. Asked National Drug Policy Deputy Director Michael Botticeli who probably has all the information about the dangers of these illegal drugs as well as legal drugs and may even know this information by heart. Because it is a big part of his job. Was asked point-blank by Representative Blumenauer, “is marijuana as dangerous as meth or cocaine or heroine.” And Mr. Botticeli dodged the question, can only speculate why not being a mind-reader. But he must know the answer, but refused to share that information.

Representative Bluemenauer also made another great point that we’ve reduced the use of tobacco in this country. Not by locking people up, but by educating Americans about the dangers of tobacco. And then people seeing and knowing that and if they aren’t currently smoking, not getting into tobacco. And if they are current tobacco smokers getting off of tobacco or getting help for it. Which is exactly what we should be doing as far as how we deal with marijuana in this country.
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, D, Oregon 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Richard Eskow: The Populist Moment

Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Richard Eskow: The Populist Moment 

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

It is hard to describe America from an ideological standpoint as a whole. Because we are such a huge and vast country and then you throw in all of our political diversity. We are a country by American standards that goes from Communists, Marxists Socialists, Democratic Socialists and Social Democrats on the Far-Left, to Neo-Confederates and Christian Theocrats on the Far-Right. With Liberals on the Center-Left and Conservatives on the Center-Right. But with also Progressives on the Center-Left and Conservative Libertarians on the Center-Right. so we have a lot of political diversity in this country.

I believe the best way to judge America politically in general if you want to do that would be to go to the issues and where America stands on them. And go issue by issue, category by category to economic policy, social policy, national security and foreign policy. The two easiest ones to judge would be economic and social policy things that Americans think about all the time. Because it affects our everyday lives all the time. And even though I’m a Liberal I’m going to paraphrase Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater. To say that Americans tend to want big government out of their wallets and living rooms, as well as bedrooms, as well as boardrooms and classrooms.

America tends to be an anti-big government country except for some very Socialist areas in the Northeast and Northwest and the Bible Belt. But America tends to like that old Barry Goldwater phrase about big government. And tend to want government out of their economic and personal lives. Instead of having government trying to run their lives for them. Which is basically the definition of big government. Government trying to do too much for the people and run their lives for them.

I’m not saying America is anti-government or pro-government, but anti-big government. We like our schools and roads, bridges, infrastructure in general. As well as paying to help people who are down on the luck and need a handout as well as help getting up. And we are even willing to pay for those things as well as aid other countries who need that aid as well. But we don’t want government trying to make decisions for us that we can for ourselves. Meaning trying to run our lives for us.

Base on this I would describe America as a classically liberal country and not Libertarian. Which is different and if more Americans actually understood what a Liberal is and what liberalism is, more Americans would be self-described as Liberals. Because most of us want good schools and infrastructure in general and will pay those things because of what we get in return for them. But we don’t want taxes so high to pay for government to take care of us. Or to have government try to make our personal decisions for us either.