Venn

When trying to describe my political orientation I have morphed through many descriptions. Some have been decided by the state of my own beliefs, other times I have tried using terms that describe what political party I most associate with. I have toyed with using what is in vogue for most people that I politically agree with, and with using what most aptly describes my leanings.

My grandfather was involved with Boston city politics, becoming a campaign manager for a long time City Councillor. That meant he was a Democrat. It was from my mother’s side that I inherited the Democrat bent. My father was a cynic who rarely voted. He never subscribed to any party because he believed they were “all a bunch of crooks”. From my father, I inherited cynicism; which rested dormant in my mind until world events pushed me to recognize in an abstract way my father was right. All politicians are a bunch of crooks. Not because they necessarily stole from public coffers, but because most put the comfort of the wealthy before that of the voters. Oddly, as my own cynicism began to blossom during my later teen years and the Vietnam War through the Reagan administration, his lessened as he began to dutifully believe the President was justified to do whatever was needed because he knew things we didn’t. For a while I considered myself a Democrat.

In fact, I am still registered as a Democrat. But I cannot participate in their party activities. I’m still invited to their get-togethers, but I cannot find the space in my life to go. I am not #Demexit. I am #NoMorePoliticalParties.

My wife was brought up in an Italian Catholic home, but their religion was belonging to the Democratic Party. She has never wavered from that. She did try a few religions before settling on becoming a Jew. So a nice Italian Catholic Democrat girl, became a Jewish Democrat. Those are the Venn Diagram she individually lives in.

As I noted over the years I modeled my descriptions along more esoteric terms. Lately I have bundled them all together into a long stream such as “Progressive, Liberal, Left Wing, Bleeding heart, Social Democrat. I intentionally leave out the Liberal Libertarian part that was actually a moniker I used online for a while. Inevitably people would accuse me or tell me that if I used Libertarian in my self description that regardless of any modifier I use (such as Liberal!) then I am a Libertarian and are therefore required to follow the Libertarian agenda. I realized that thinking was true across the political spectrum when I stated opposition to early voting and was rebuked by someone telling me that “Democrats are in favor of early voting”. Perhaps I am not a Democrat? Is autonomy dead? Do most people actually look to political parties to tell them what to believe? Current events tell me this is so, more now, I think, than ever.

Watch the news, read the paper and everything is characterized into one single grouping for Liberals. Liberals believe Russia hacked the election, they tell us. Conservative voters believe that Trump will bring good business sense into managing US economic issues. None of that makes any sense. Russia did not hack the election, Trump has no business sense at all. I’m a Liberal and I know Conservatives that don’t believe Trump would know how to run a lemonade stand.

In reality, we are all defined by the Venn Diagrams that describe each of us. The media, in a day when there is time to tell the story that is real are supposed to be cynics, instead they are toadies of the lowest sort. I have noted some of the Venn circles that I find myself in, I bet almost every person that reads this shares at least one circle with me. That cannot be covered in today’s political party setup.

From here on I will call myself a #TrueLiberal. Anyone can use the nomenclature, it’s only purpose is to separate those of us that want to disassociate themselves from the any of the established Political parties.

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What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding

I just cannot believe how many people I am supposed to hate.

I’m a Progressive, proud Liberal, All American Bleeding Heart, a Socialist too albeit one that favors Free Enterprise Capitalism and disdains Free Market Capitalism, occasionally I can be a (Liberal) Libertarian. I also favor Democracy over any other form of governance, but I recognize it’s limitations.

I am supposed to hate all Republicans, except the Libertarians.  It would be presumed that I hate Donald Trump, perhaps John McCain but probably not until the next time he votes for another war. Some, perhaps many might believe that I adore Hillary Clinton, after all I am a member of the Democratic Party. That belief would be false, I’m a Berniecrat, but I don’t hate Hillary, I don’t hate John McCain, Donald Trump, or all Republicans.

Some of the harshest language that I hear comes from fellow Berniecrats. Many of them now hate Senator Sanders, along with Debbie Wasserman Shultz, John Podesta, Elizabeth Warren, and countless others that our Main Stream Media have dubbed Progressives. The online crowd I run with has a list a mile long and only a handful squeak by the tighter and tighter reins of the so-called alt-Left on who to love ad who to hate. And they are right, politicians like Senators Warren and Booker are not currently the aspirational Progressive voices this country desperately requires and is, in fact, yearning for.

Enough with hate. Because someone gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign means I should hate them. Because Hillary and company stole the primary from Bernie, is not reason enough to hate viscerally anyone.

Hate is a very strong and powerful word.

Using things or ideas of such power requires restraint. Hate the outcomes of their actions, not the actor. As an example lets look at John McCain. I “hate” that he advocates for policies of military aggression. I do not hate John McCain. I “hate” that John McCain is still in the Senate. I do not hate John McCain.  The same can be said for Hillary, Trump, the Koch Brothers, George Soros and countless, dizzying others.

A Rabbi taught that we should love others as we would love our brother or sister. That teaching of having goodwill toward each other, is not about any religion, instead it is about dispensing with personal vindictiveness, replacing it with a bias toward understanding. Think about ISIS, nearly all Progressives recognize their anger is fed by the actions of Western nations. We need to treat our political opponents the way we would like the US to treat ISIS. With respect.

I know and acknowledge that treating the DNC and Nancy Pelosi with respect is very hard when they are working so very hard at marginalizing the Progressives by using the name for themselves and otherwise ignoring us. We are being disappeared, like in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Orwell’s 1984.

This is a callout to Progressives. Stop hating. It is making me nauseous.  Thank You.

Progressive Policy Defined

BRADFROMSALEM

The components of a Progressive policy is unclear. How is it different from Liberal policy, or is it just an alternative name? It is both. Progressive policy is long term policy, while Liberal are the immediate policy. Progressive is larger in scope and is less forgiving of compromising on principles. Liberal is practical, Progressive is aspirational.

I have defined Progressive as being the sum of 3 non negotiable components. In order for a public policy to be Progressive it must be morally based, compatible with the principles of Democratic Socialism, and finally must seek out peaceful solutions as a primary objective.

Public policy in the US is any law legally enacted, Executive Order issued, or regulation published. For any policy to be considered morally based it must adhere to what is often called by Christians the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. This is but one version of the Golden Rule which is a consistent teaching of all religions and other moral structures. A policy is moral when it applies to all equally and any that are affected would apply the same benefits to their fellows and those that are not affected would want the policy to apply to themselves.

When a policy is morally based it already contains a critical component of a true Democratic Socialist society. Democratic Socialism is already consistent with the US Constitution in the clauses regarding eminent domain, the postal services, and interstate commerce; as well as the preamble’s commitment to “the general welfare”. Democratic Socialism also does not prohibit Free Enterprise or fair and open elections. Any policy that restricts government’s ability to act for the general welfare, restrict Free Enterprise, prevent or hinder fair and open elections, are not Progressive policies. To clarify, Free Enterprise differs from Free Markets by some critical criteria, which is that Free Enterprise promotes open markets for competition of any business that does not impinge on the General Welfare. Free Markets on the other hand promotes less regulation over the markets and prefers the market to provide all services even those that affect the General Welfare. Free Market capitalism is not compatible with Democratic Socialism, Free Enterprise as I have defined it is compatible.

Lastly, seeking peaceful solutions is worthy not only in international relations but also with domestic problems as well. Internationally, entering into discussions over differences with the stated and demonstrated intention of a peaceful resolution makes a solution much more likely. A show of force by the US is totally unnecessary, the world is well aware of America’s firepower, there is no need to flaunt it. Domestically, the threat of prison and other harsh punishments that do not fit the crime are not only immoral (see above) but pits citizen’s against each other and diverts precious resources of people, land, and facilities from being into uses that enrich the entire country.

Progressive Policy = Moral + Democratic Socialism + Peace

Within that short formula is not a rigid one size fits all, but instead a means of determining where compromise can be made, and a wide range of viable positive policies can be derived.

What In Tarnation is a Progressive anyways?

Maine Desert - Created by good intentions gone bad
Maine Desert – Created by good intentions gone bad

BRADFROMSALEM

We in America all talk of how we have a two-party system. Many persons disappointed in the current state of affairs have expressed a desire for a third-party.  Usually they want the third-party because “neither party is for the people”, or “they’re all a bunch of crooks”, and “it don’t matter who I vote for, they are all the same”.  All true statements, but only partly. Our present election system indirectly encourages office seekers and officeholders to put the interest of the people low on their priority list, it allows for unsavory legal and outright illegal deals to be made, and both of the two major parties have created a political infrastructure where you either sing the same song or don’t sing at all. But inside all the noise, there is a lot more going on and America is not really divided into two. We are not just either a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or a Conservative; or any of the tiny and not tiny offshoots of those four major alignments. What is unusual is that with negligible exceptions the Democrats have all the Liberals in their tent, and the Republicans have all the Conservatives. In the past, each party consisted of a coalitions of other groups along the political Right to Left spectrum. Not anymore. Right are Conservative Republicans, and Left are Liberal Democrats.

But as I noted, there used to be Republican Liberals. And most notably, the Republican Party under Teddy Roosevelt created the modern Progressive movement.  Progressives were and are a liberal faction that places as it highest goal the supremacy of the individual person.  This is similar and yet the opposite of the Objectivists, AKA the followers of Ayn Rand’s Libertarianism. The key difference between Progressives and the Objectivists is simply a question of how the supremacy is defined and how it is accomplished.  The Objectivists believe each individual is solely responsible for their accomplishments and that means in the Objectivists worldview that the more an individual achieves is an indicator of how much better or worse that individual is as compared to others.  A Progressive on the other hand believes that individual supremacy occurs when all persons are helped, guided, and encouraged to achieve whatever they are best at. This requires that our social mores and government (communal) actions are all biased toward the goal of each person achieving their individual supremacy. Objectivists are a special case of Conservative and Progressives are a special case of Liberals.

But beyond the individual person’s achievements there is another even larger gap. Progressives do not recognize the supremacy or even the legitimacy of the artificial person known as corporations to overrule the supremacy of natural persons. Objectivists, see the corporation as a collection of persons.  The persons who run the corporations then use the corporation’s achievements to justify supremacy over other persons natural and artificial. It is a difference of perception, one which I personally choose the Progressive argument.

So here is the Turing test to see if a person is truly a Progressive.  Many Liberals and Progressives will agree on policy details, but there is a big, huge, difference that will steer the decision-making once they have achieved public office. The test is an answer to a simple question. Do you believe that we, as a society, can achieve our loftiest ambitions by allowing corporations and it’s representative Natural Persons to have any say in our laws and regulations? Any person that answers ‘yes’ is not a Progressive.

 

LEANING FORWARD MSNBC FALLS FLAT ON ITS FACE

 

The Winter of a lot of Snow
The Winter of a lot of Snow

BRADFROMSALEM

The Left Wing equivalent of Fox News, MSNBC, has raised the white flag and surrendered. The Conservative movement has at last destroyed its only true Liberal foe and with the most recent election now passed, they stand alone as the near consensus of how America should be governed and educated, their agenda sets the ground rules for how we manage our economy, decide public issues such as immigration, gay marriage, abortion and all other subjects that prior to the death of MSNBC there were two equal sides. No more. There is no Liberal voice remaining, the other networks accused of Liberal bias by Fox News have been playing me too with Fox for years. Sorry Liberals, soon they will all be gone, except for Rachel; and she cannot pull the load herself. Sure, the rumors are that Rev. Sharpton will be given a weekend slot, and I pray he is not going to replace Alex. Chris Hayes may be out the door with Ed not far behind? No information on O’Donnell, perhaps he stays.  But other rumors are they are bring Morning Joe back to evenings. The Liberal experiment on TV in the post Reagan / Clinton America has ended.

But, the truth is the MSNBC that many Americans think was Fox’s counter network, never was. It was always and still is, a source of easy revenue for its parent NBC. Sure, early on it was planned as an experimental network with Microsoft and NBC joining forces with NBC providing the television expertise and Microsoft supplying bold, new ideas.  The mistake was that Microsoft was not built on new ideas, it was built by cherry picking others ideas and mixing them with ideas from another area of technology.  Microsoft is strongest at integrating not innovating. So, eventually there was little input from Microsoft, except as an investor.  And that is why all the prison shows. Cheap to produce and there is a segment of America that loves that type of programming.

For a while, Keith Olbermann brought an original presentation from a less heard political viewpoint and ratings started to rise. It appeared they had hit a formula that worked. It was timing as much as it was Olbermann. Before him they had tried Phil Donahue and fired him for being too liberal. They also tried Rush Limbaugh and fired him for not getting any viewers.  So, obviously, they started without a political agenda and only created an illusion of one after Olbermann hit ratings gold, and it was OK again to criticize the President.  In fact Roger Ailes, the head honcho at FOX, first ran MSNBC, and he left partly because they refused to let him have a political agenda.

So, in reality the change of course for MSNBC is actually the norm. It was created to be an innovative cable channel, but ended up being a kite. It soared when the winds of the political climate blew strong against the side in power and anchored to the ground on a slim string of sensationalist, reality shows about jail and criminals.

So, no the Left Wing has not lost its only voice. MSNBC was never a voice for any political agenda, it was and is all just programming for ratings without a clue that their audience got bored with their programming. Fox can do what they do and get ratings because it works well with their demographics. MSNBC tried to follow Fox’s programming and thought they would attract everyone that disagreed with the Fox agenda. After a while it stopped working. And bereft of ideas and creativity they began to slide. Soon MSNBC will be just another CNN, dead and nobody knows it, including CNN. Its too bad that by the time that happens, Jon Stewart may not be in a position to point it out.