13 May 2011

As frustration builds with many (should I say, most?) voters, the call for a third party gets stronger.  With hypocrisy, corruption, and empty headed thinking abounding with both Republican and Democratic parties, the idea of a third party absent these qualities seems alluring. Is this real or simply a mirage? The odds against a third party winning a US national election are staggering.  Individual State requirements work to restrain any national candidacy.  Given today’s campaign financing expenditures, where would the money come from to support a third party. Some simplistically suggest the individual voter will abandon the major parties and flock to the third party with votes and money.   And, if your name is Bloomberg, why worry. Pundits say that President Obama will spend over $1 billion on his reelection. A third party candidate will be lost at sea. So is that it for third party power? I do not think so.    A third party candida...

12 May 2011

Here are the spending cut ideas for different sections of the federal budget that I think would be the best way to avoid a fiscal disaster down the road, with some specific suggestions on how:   Social Security Social Security was initially created in the 1930’s to be a social safety net to reduce the level of poverty our senior citizens were experiencing.  I believe this goal is very worthwhile as I don’t want to live in a society where getting old is a key cause of poverty…and I want to pay my share of taxes to support this goal.   It’s important to fund Social Security as a social safety net and not a universal retirement program. My proposed changes: My proposed changes: Raise the retirement age to 70, over an appropriate period of time to allow for people to plan. Create a way for people to qualify for retirement at 64, 66 or 68 if they have worked enough years in a job that is physically more demanding. Change the calcu...

09 May 2011

I believe that most people, regardless of their political beliefs, would agree that the level of our federal government’s spending and taxes has been “highly influenced” by what our politicians have considered important to their re-election.   Add to this the reality that most citizens want their fair share of any “free lunches”, then you have Politicians + Citizens = we now have the perfect storm for excess spending and under-taxation. About half the citizens are duped into thinking they can get their free lunch in the form of low taxes and the other half are duped into thinking that they can get theirs via specific spending that benefits them.  Many citizens think they can get both - and they do.  Of course most of us citizens don’t think that we have been duped. No, we all “deserve” and have “earned” what we want… yeah right!!! All this patriotism on the part of our politicians and citizens just gives me goose bumps.  All kidding as...

09 May 2011

The Pew Center for the People and the Press has done one its Political Typology Surveys that they do every few years.  This time around, one of the things they found was that more and more people are becoming Independent.  There’s nothing surprising about that, but what is surprising is that the center in American politics is not a monolithic group: With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington. Yet at the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on iss...

09 May 2011

In a political party system where many view the Center as a mere blend between two purer ideologies of conservatism and progressivism, political independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York often has something creative to say. Elected in a city of greater diversity, wealth and population than many US states and several countries, he’s someone that’s perhaps worth listening to. Yet is he actually creative? On last week's broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, Mr. Mayor did not disappoint. In a roundtable segment in which he was accompanied by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Obama Adviser David Axelrod and moderator David Gregory, he touched upon a number of topics with a degree of freedom we don’t often see from our two well known – and all too well defined – major political parties. He displayed agility of one comfortable with his thought process and willing to share it in a tone of centrist legitimacy. It was a thought process less defined by...

26 Apr 2011

I'm not sure I've read a better story in a long time... Turns out locals in Brandon, Mississippi appear to have conspired to keep the blight wing Westboro (insert derogatory cuss words here) types from protesting outside of the funeral of USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers... and succeeded. There was a scuffle in a bar, which allowed the police to detain some of them, and the cars that these folks were going to drive to the funeral all had cars parked behind them for the duration of the funeral, and the tow trucks (aww shucks) just couldn't make it until after the funeral was over to move them. Explaining what happened, someone on a message board had this to say: A couple of days before, one of them ran his mouth at a Brandon gas station and got his ass waxed. Police were called and the beaten man could not give much of a description of who beat him. When they canvassed the station and spoke to the large crowd that had gathered around, no one se...

25 Apr 2011

I wish this article went into ten times more detail, and said what the outcomes were from the example it brings up in comparison to other similar school systems, but this snippet from a piece at Education Week pretty well sums up what a centrist model for how to design a school system might look like: You needn't be a free-market fanatic to recognize that choice and competition, when properly designed and regulated, have much to contribute--more options for families, stronger incentives for schools, greater potential for dynamism and innovation. Yet the current education system, which is roughly a hundred years old, is an extreme institutional form--an all-government system--that fails to take any serious advantage of these contributions. Such a system may have made sense a century ago, as the Progressives struggled to eliminate spoils and corruption by installing a more professional set of arrangements. But today, the all-government system they...

25 Apr 2011

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." - Alexis de Tocqueville   Socialism (actual socialism, not the garbage the right wing nuts call socialism in the West, which is really just liberalism / more highly regulated capitalism with a bigger social welfare safety net than ours) has been shown to not always be so destructive under certain circumstances, but widespread socialism in underdeveloped countries has a long history of disastrous results. Heck, even Marx didn't think that socialism would work until you already had a prosperous capitalist economy churning away. This is being illustrated once again in Bolivia, where president Evo Morales rode into control of their government with widespread support among socialistic blocks of voters and has since scared so much investment away t...

23 Apr 2011

Just so you know - Jack is reporting from a vacation in Scotland. - SK Things are not always what they appear to be.  Here in Scotland there is scant news of the American crisis around the deficit.  It turns out that the UK has its own budget and debt difficulties.  The one advantage of being in Scotland is to pause and think about the American political crisis without all the Washington or media 7/24 spin. Upon reflection, I had hoped that the Democratic and GOP deficit reduction plans would be much more than what they appear to be.  Silly me. The GOP “Paul Ryan” plan is bold (at least a little bit) but shameful.  It slashes discretionary spending and tackles Medicare/Medicaid.  For no apparently good reason, however, it heaps the costs of tax breaks for the wealthy upon the middle class.  It is doubly shameful because it will drive the middle class and the most vulnerable to skimp on medical care because they might not be able to afford i...

22 Apr 2011

There are a lot of myths flying around about what No Labels is “really” about, and even more garbage being tossed at it from both ends of the spectrum.

This video isn’t polished… the sound is actually pretty bad, but it is one of the best summaries of what No Labels is really about. It’s centrist independent political analyst on CNN, and columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, John Avlon (one of No Labels’ founders) talking with a local No Labels chapter meeting in Westchester, New York. Worth the watch.