TruthOut: Richard Wolff- Varney & Company: Richard Wolff Debates Stuart Varney on Socialism

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Source: Democracy At Work- Richard Wolff & Stuart Varney

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

If Richard Wolff was truly an Marxist he would be calling for the elimination of private wealth and ownership all together. Since Communists at least in the Marxist and Leninist sense don’t believe in private property and wealth at all and believe in the state ownership of the means and production of society. That the central government owns and runs the economy and all business’s that are part of the economy. Where private production and ownership are outlawed. Which was how the Chinese economy operated up until forty years ago until they started privatizing a lot of their economy. And how the Cuban economy was operated up until ten years ago until they started privatizing. Perhaps Professor Wolff calls himself a Marxist economist because he’s studied and taught Marxism, but not someone who practices and believes in the philosophy himself.

So this wasn’t a debate between capitalism and Marxism. The two socialist examples that Stuart Varney laid out were Denmark and France, both countries have large private sectors. France has the 6th or 7th largest economy in the world with only 65 million people. Not that they’re a small country but that they have such a large economy even though their population is nowhere near the top ten in the world. What they were discussing was more like democratic socialism or social democracy, versus and free and uninhibited capitalism where you have a fairly small national government that taxes wealth at very low rates and doesn’t regulate much if any.

Democracy at Work: Richard Wolff Debates Stuart Varney About Socialism

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BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

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Source: BBC- Jayne Mansfield 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I guess in one way Jayne Mansfield was a great actress and not just a great comedic actress and comedian, but a real great actress at least in the sense that she had so many people fooled. She wanted to be seen as the dumb blonde who needed her hot adorable sexy image to pay her bills. But in actuality she always knew what she was doing. An intelligent woman who wanted to be viewed as a bimbo and was such a great actress that she pulled that off. She had people thinking she was exactly as she came off which was as a bimbo.

Marilyn Monroe had the famous quote that it takes a smart woman to play the dumb blonde. Well that was Jayne Mansfield, the smart woman who played the dumb blonde. She knew what Hollywood was and how she could be successful in it and played her talents to the hilt. A hot adorable woman with a great body, but who also had a great sense of humor and comedic timing, who was also an accomplished singer. But knew exactly what people in Hollywood and what the fans noticed first and what they wanted.

Which was to see hot this adorable woman with the great curve appeal and then you add to that which was she was a great entertainer. Someone who should exchange wisecracks with funny people like Tom Ewell, Edmond O’Brien, Merv Griffin, Jack Benny, Cary Grant, and many others. She was better than Marilyn Monroe at least in this sense that Jayne knew she was really good and had made it and deserved what she accomplished. Unlike Marilyn who was battling mental illness and depression and was heavily medicated for a lot of her adult life and had even attempted suicide and been committed at one point.

Jayne had a plan from day one and knew what she needed to do to make it in Hollywood. But unfortunately Jayne Mansfield falls in the class of what could’ve happened if only and ends up dying at 34 in 1967 because of a car crash where she wasn’t even driving because her and her crew were in a big hurry to meet a big appointment that they had in New Orleans the next morning.

By the time Jayne died in 1967 she was woking the nightclub circuit as a singer because her Hollywood career at burned out because the major studios no longer wanted to work with her. Jayne mentally in many ways was just as adorable as she was physically. She came off a little girl both physically and personally. And was fairly immature and developed bad habits like drinking heavily and not able to take criticism very well and work to expand her image so she could get better and bigger parts. Which is why she fell out of Hollywood and down to the nightclub circuit just to pay the bills and keep working.

BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

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Foreign Policy: Opinion- Daren Acemoglu & Simon Johnson- It’s Time To Found a New Republic

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Source: Foreign Policy Magazine

Source: Foreign Policy: Opinion- Daren Acemoglu & Simon Johnson- It’s Time To Found a New Republic

I read this article called It’s Time To Found a New Republic from Daren Acemoglu and Simon Johnson over at Foreign Policy Magazine. And it wasn’t just the title of the article that caught my attention. It’s Time To Found a New Republic, if they spent more time on the title maybe they would’ve called It’s Time For a New Republic, Time To Create a New Republic, The New American Republic. When something is found you don’t need to fine it, because it’s already there.

But getting pass the wording of the title of their piece most of their article was about American history and the progressive movement. Starting with the Progressive Era of the early 1900s and going up to the New Deal of the 1930s and the creation of the our national infrastructure system of the 1950s. And then towards the end they were had some policy proposals.

Ranging from a national basic income, which I disagree with, to ending partisan, racial, and ethnic gerrymandering which I’m in favor of. When I saw the title of their piece I’m, thinking maybe they were talking about creating a new form of American government. That the problem with American society (as they might see it) is the structure of our government all together. Perhaps they don’t like our Federal system based on limited government and would propose replacing that with a unitarian style of government that you see a lot of in Europe. Where most of the governmental power in the country is based with the national government. Instead of spread out between the national, state, and local government’s.

Just to comment on Daren Acemoglu’s and Simon Johnson’s economic proposals. I don’t believe the problem of income inequality (if you want to call it that) has to do with our government structure and how power and responsibility is spread out. Not that they were arguing that either necessarily. But it has to do with the skills gap and opportunity gaps in the American economy.

If you live in rural America and grow there, or you’re raised in a rough part of an inner city your chances of doing well in America are far lesser than if you come from a middle class neighborhood in a city or from the suburbs. Also if you have parents or even one parent who are doing well in life, not necessarily rich but doing well enough for you to be raised right and have you what you need to do well growing up, your chances of doing well in America are much better if you come from a low-income family in a low-income neighborhood, where your parent or parents are just struggling to survive.

So you want to reduce income inequality (again, if you want to call it that) you have to reduce the inequality that’s part of our education system and have an education system where more Americans can simply get a good education. Regardless of where they live and where they grow up and who their parents are. And of course regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender. Which should go without saying anyway.

As well as having an adult educational system in this country where low-income adults whether they’re currently working or not, can advance in the American economy by finishing and furthering their education and getting themselves a good job that leads them to economic independence.

As well as having that system available for workers who already have a solid education. High school diploma plus some vocational training and perhaps a college degree, but now find themselves working in a field where those jobs are disappearing or where they’re no longer able to make the money that allows for them to live comfortably. And allow for them to further their education perhaps even in a new field for them.

The problem with the American economy has nothing to do with our form of government. Or our Federal Government is too small, our state and local government’s, have too much responsibility, or middle class Americans are undertaxed and have to much personal and economic freedom and have to make too many decisions on their own.

The problem with the American economy and why we have income inequality (if you want to call it that) has to do with education and skills. We need to move pass the idea that schools should be funded based on the property values of the people who live in those communities . Which has to do with property taxes. And sending kids to school based on where they live, instead of what’s the best school for them.

And get pass the idea that if you start at a low-wage low-skilled job because you’re low-skilled, that you’re stuck working jobs like that indefinitely. Because you can’t afford to go back to school or simply don’t have the time for it, because you’re working multiple low-wage jobs just to try to survive.

You close the skills and education gaps in America, you reduce poverty, because you’ll not just have more Americans working as long as you have pro-growth economic policies in place that promote economic development and growth, but you’ll also have more Americans working good jobs. Which will also improve your long-term economic and financial outlook of the country. Because you’ll have fewer Americans on public assistance.

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Source: RCO 64

RCO 64: The American Form Of Government

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Alan Eichler: Robert Osborne Interviewing Lana Turner- 1982 TV Interview

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Source: Alan Eichler- Bob & Lana 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Just to be a little personal when you’re talking about cute Hollywood blondes, Lana Turner is at the top of the list. Even in her late forties and fifties she was still as cute as a little girl and not just because she was really short. Love Has Many Faces from 1964 I believe is Lana’s best movie and one of the best soap operas of all-time (at least in my opinion) Lana worked with the gorgeous baby-face adorable Stefanie Powers in that movie. And Stefanie is maybe 20 at that point and as cute as can be and Lana is in her early forties and Lana is the cutest women in that movie. That movie also had a beautiful adorable brunette in Ruth Roman in it. Peyton Place from the 1950s, she’s cuter than her daughter in that movie.

Lana Turner was always an adorable gorgeous baby blonde with a keen honest intelligence and quick wit. Which made her perfect for soap movies in the 50s and 60s like The Big Cube in 1969 which is more of a cult favorite than anything else, but still a very entertaining and funny movie. And made her perfect for TV soaps like Falcon Crest in the 1980s. The Bad and The Beautiful where she plays a brand new soon to be the next hot star in Hollywood and she works with Kirk Douglas, Barry Sullivan and Dick Powell in that movie. She was like a little girl in that movie as far as physical stature but that little baby face and how she spoke and came off in that movie. The Bad and The Beautiful is the prefect title for that movie. Because there were no angels in that movie. But ordinary people simply trying to survive working for a selfish producer who was user of talent.

If you were going to put together a list of the top 5-10 Hollywood actresses of all-time I believe Lana Turner would have to be on it. Of course it would also have to have The Love Goddess Rita Hayworth on it. Slim Lauren Bacall would have to be on it. Elizabeth Taylor would have to be on it. Ava Gardner would have to be on it and if you left Ava off she might sue you for that. Susan Hayward would have to be on it. I believe Lauren Bacall is the best perhaps Liz Taylor is just right behind her.

But Lana Turner is in that group as well because she was so convincing and a great dramatic comedic actress who combined great dramatic affect with quick wit as well. And self-deprecating humor as well and not afraid to make fun of herself. Maybe that had something to do with the alcohol or maybe just because she was so honest. But I believe the best actresses and actors are the most honest which allows for them to be the most convincing because they look like they’re playing themselves. Which is why Lana Turner is so high up the Hollywood best ever list.

Alan Eichler: Robert Osborne Interviewing Lana Turner- 1982 TV Interview

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Retro Report: Prop 13- Mad as Hell: Howard Jarvis’s Impact On California

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Source: Retro Report 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Just to comment on this video and I don’t blame Retro Report that much for this, but this story took place in 1978 and most of the TV coverage was in black and white. You would think you were watching some newsreel or documentary from 1955 or something instead of something from the late 1970s when color TV and footage was dominant and the only way you could see something in black and white was with a black and white TV or watching a movie from the 1950s or early 1960s.

The video is right about where Howard Jarvis got his political inspiration for his political movement. It was from the movie Network 1976 and the Howard Beale character (played by the great Howard Finch) and to understand that movie you have to not only understand and be aware of the 1970s, but the mid 70s especially. America goes into recession in 1974 and that goes through 1975 and that is on top of the energy crisis and oil embargo of 1973 making energy in short supply and very expensive in America. Which goes on top of high interest rates and inflation of that period.

The Vietnam War is ending which was a great thing in many ways, but you end up with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American military personal coming home from Vietnam and leaving the service, but having a weak economy and economic outlook to return to and having a hard time finding work. And add that to the rising unemployment of from the recession and you just have a weak economy. And that is not enough you have a shrinking middle class because of the recession and a shrinking blue-collar base in America who are paying a lot in taxes and seeing their taxes go up even as their income goes down and finding themselves working less then they’re accustomed to.

So when the movie Network comes around in 1976 and the movie being made in 1975 at the heart of that recession, it was perfect timing. You have a Howard Beale character who gets his national talk show in the movie and uses that platform to talk about how pissed off he’s at the state of affairs in America with so many middle class Americans now finding themselves working and making less and that is if they’re working at all. And he’s saying he’s mad as hell about seeing big wealthy corporations continue to make millions if not billions as the little guy is struggling just to survive in America. And that it’s time for America to step up and tell their politicians that they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

And California just happening to be the largest most populated state in America perhaps feeling the brunt of the recession of the mid 1970s and poor recovery of the late 1970s the most and being one of the highest taxed states in America. California becomes the perfect proving ground for anti-tax economic Conservatives in America with Howard Jarvis being their spokesmen. You want to know what caused the start of the Regan Revolution of 1980, there isn’t any one thing. But the movement for tax cuts and lower taxes really got going in the late 1970s. And Ronald Reagan who just happened be be Government of California right before Jerry Brown was one of the leaders of this movement. And they were successful in getting their tax cut in 1978.

Retro Report: Prop 13- Mad as Hell

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Joan Collins Archives: Mark McMorrow- Film Flashback: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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Source: Joan Collins Archives 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Unlike Seven Thieves which I blogged about a couple weeks ago Joan Collins and Paul Newman, really are the only two reasons to watch Rally Round The Flag Boys. Joanne Woodward is pretty cute and funny in it, Jack Carson is great as the stumbling awkward U.S. Army Captain who tries to come off as a lot tougher than he actually is. Jack Carson is simply one of the top comedic actors of his generation.

But the first hour of this movie is pretty funny with Joan playing this beautiful (if not gorgeous) rich housewife in this small town about an hour outside of New York City who really only has one problem. Her wealthy business executive husband never sees her. The man is either working all the time at the office, out-of-town on business (or with his mistresses’s) or going out with his mistresses. I added the mistress part myself to make it sound funny, but the point being the man is never around and never seen with his beautiful adorable wife Angela Hoffa (played by Joan Collins) in the entire movie. And Joan can get kinda prickly about little things like never seeing her husband. Even if he gives her an allowance that makes her a millionaire.

But Angela comes across Harry Bannerman (played by Paul Newman) early in the movie when he gets to the train station in their small town coming back from work and his wife is too busy to pick him up. Angela just happens to be there perhaps thinking this might be the night where she actually gets to spend some time with her husband, but of course he’s still not there and still at work. And offers to drive Harry home. And that is where Angela and Harry who are neighbors get to know each other a little bit and find out that they have something in common. Which is they don’t get to see their spouses very often.

Harry’s wife Grace Bannerman (played by Joanne Woodward) is the busiest housewife in Putnam’s Landing if not America as a whole. Except she’s not very busy at home (if you get my drift) but instead is more like a First Lady and is involved in every civil activity known to man. At least in Putnam’s Landing and isn’t around much for her husband Harry, but he works a lot as well and doesn’t see his wife a lot either. They have a townhall meeting in Putnam’s and the Mayor there announces that the U.S. Army wants to open a base there, but won’t tell them why they need the base there. And his wife is appointed to run a new committee to deal with the new Army base coming to town. And appoints her husband to be the liaison between the town and U.S. Army about the base coming to town. Harry just happens to work in public relations and is in the U.S. Naval Reserve so is very qualified for this job.

To get back to Joan Collins which is really the only reason why I’m writing about this. There are two very hysterical scenes in this movie where Joan is her usually adorably funny self. Perhaps three with her picking up Paul Newman early in the movie and driving him home. But the first one being where Paul drives Joan home from the meeting because his wife stays late at the meeting and Joan invites him in to her home. And they have a hilarious but innocent party where they get drunk and do a lot of dancing and fall back down the stairs together after trying to go upstairs.

The other scene being where Joan follows Paul to his hotel in Washington where he’s there to talk to the Pentagon about his new role in Putnam’s and gets to his hotel room and Joan is there waiting for him. Harry makes it real clear that he’s happily married and doesn’t want to get involved, but Angela doesn’t take no at least not very easily and makes a big play for him. And Harry’s wife arrives there and sees them together. After that the movies gets really silly and looks more like musical comedy than anything else.

I saw this movie a few months ago and have it on DVD and tweeted that and shared that on Google+ as well that the only reason I saw this movie was to see the adorably funny Joan Collins in it. Joan actually saw that and liked it. Saw this movie over the weekend to refresh my memory about it and to prepare for this piece. Take Joan Collins out of this movie and replace her with a much more ordinary woman who doesn’t have Joan’s comedic ability and talent like a Deborah Kerr or someone like that (no offense to Deborah Kerr) and I don’t have much incentive to watch this movie, at least not a 2nd time. This movie is an example where a great actress and actor can pull the movie together by themselves. Especially if that actress is as beautiful, adorable, sexy, and funny as a Joan Collins.

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Source: James Neff- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward 

James Neff: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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The Baseline Scenario: Opinion- James Kwak- The Importance of Fairness: A New Economic Vision For The Democratic Party

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Source: James Parks- Congressional Democrats 

Source: The Baseline Scenario: Opinion- James Kwak- The Importance of Fairness: A New Economic Vision For The Democratic Party

Economic fairness and social justice even is a good debate in the Democratic Party and it seems to becoming from two wings in it.

From the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren social democratic wing that believes the problem with the American economy is that rich people have too much money and everyone else simply struggles just to survive and in many cases can’t survive on their own and in some cases don’t even have a job. And are complete dependent on public assistance for their survival. Well, they’re half right about too many Americans simply not having enough in society to live well. And argue that what we should be doing is taking from the rich in high taxes to support the middle class and poor with bigger current Federal social insurance programs and new social insurance programs for the middle class and poor.

And then you have this Cory Booker/Martin O’Malley wing that believes there are too many Americans who struggle and there should be something done about it, but it becomes a question about what should be done. The Center-Left liberal wing of the party that’s still in existent today that John F. Kennedy and many other Democrats did a lot to build don’t take a class warfare approach. And blame rich people for everyone else’s struggles in life. And say the problem is not that there rich people in America but the problem is that there aren’t enough successful people in America. You have very few at the very top. And then you have a lot of Americans who struggle to get by but generally do. And then you have a lot of people at the bottom who simply live in poverty.

I come down with Center-Left of the Democratic Party. If we want to remain a major political party in America we’re going to need to connect to more blue-collar Americans particularly in the Midwest who believe and in many cases are accurate in this belief that they’re already taxed too high. And aren’t looking for more government welfare but instead for an opportunity for them to do well in America. For good jobs and more economic development to return to their communities. Government even the Federal Government can help in seeing that these things happen with more and better infrastructure investment in these communities. Including inner cities and underdeveloped rural communities. As well as tax credits to increase job training and education for adults who simply don’t have enough education to get a good job right now even if the new economic development happens in their communities.

But at the end of the day if you want more economic and job growth, you want wages to increase in America, an expanding workforce where most of the jobs that are created are good middle class full-time jobs instead of part-time jobs and you want less poverty in America, then Americans have to continue to be encouraged to do well in America. And that means not taxing everyone so high including the wealthy to the point that they’re wondering why are they working so hard and being so productive when Uncle Sam just takes most of their money from them in taxes and gives it people who aren’t doing well economically.

If you want a definition for economic fairness, I’ll give you one anyway but the same definition for economic fairness is the same definition I have for social justice. And it’s about equality of opportunity. That every American has a quality opportunity to do well in life no matter their race, ethnicity or gender, or where they’re born and how they start off in life. That every kid in America has an opportunity to go to a good school no matter where they live. And aren’t sent to school based on where they live, but instead sent to school based on what’s the best school for them.

And even for adults who didn’t take advantage of that opportunity to go to a good school as a kid and are now a low-skilled adult working multiple jobs and still living in poverty or perhaps not working at all and completely dependent on public assistance, that they are given the opportunity to finish and further their education so they can get themselves a good job and do well in life as well.

The same economic debate in the Democratic Party about what our vision should be what type of party we should be on economic policy I believe gets down to one question. Do we as Democrats believe in equality of opportunity which is where the Democratic Leadership is where every American as an opportunity to do well in life, but what they make of that opportunity is completely up to them. Or are we going to become a party that believes in equality of results which is what Sweden essentially practices as a country. Where the national government essentially collects all the resources of the country and then gives them back equally to everyone in the country in the form of welfare state payments.

Again I come down with the Center-Left wing of the party and I’ll paraphrase Senator Cory Booker here and say we should be a country where we all rise. Where everyone has a quality opportunity to do well in America. But how they do will be based on those quality opportunities. The old cliche that you make the bed that you sleep in. And for people who take advantage of those opportunities those Americans will do very well in America. And get to live of their production and enjoy the fruits of their labor even if they’re very wealthy, but obtain that wealth by getting a good education and being very good at their job and with their investments.

And for the Americans who didn’t take advantage of those quality opportunities they had they won’t do very well. But not because of where they were born, or maybe they only had one parent, or because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or any other circumstances that they couldn’t control. But their lack of success in life will because they didn’t finish their education and perhaps made other mistakes early in life that has weaken their economic outlook.

You need government to see that everyone can do well in life, but not to babysit us and try to take care of us from cradle to grave. But to see that there’s an environment where everyone can do well.

Where everyone is treated equally under law and not denied opportunities in life, because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. But to see that everyone can go to a good school.

Where the infrastructure system is modernize so everyone can get around and where economic development can be done and good jobs are created.

Where you have  tax system where people and business’s are encouraged to do well and aren’t taxed out of business.

A regulatory state to see that consumers and workers are protected from predators but not to try run business’s in a way that big government would run them.

And a safety net for people who truly need it but not to babysit them and instead tries to lift them up so they can rise in America as well.

That will be the debate going into next year when the Congressional mid-terms take place and Democrats fight to win back the House and perhaps the Senate as well. And into the 2020 presidential election and Democrats pick their next party leader. What kind of party are we going to be on economic policy. And it will be between people who want to see more Americans do well and be empowered to create their own freedom and life independently. And Democrats who believe our economic problem is that government is too small and Americans at all levels are undertaxed and that we have rich people at all.

James Parks: House and Senate Democrats on Economic Agenda

 

 

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