Friday, September 25, 2009

Is it time for a third party?

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that a third party does not make much sense in the American electoral system. At least, this is true by conventional wisdom. The logic is simple, a third party would take votes away from the party most closely aligned (politically speaking), and ensure that the party that is least aligned with the new party would win. Therefore the worst possible scenario is created if a third party enters the picture. Ross Perot did it, and to a lesser degree, Ralph Nader did it. It is difficult to even argue against this, but I will attempt to do so here.

The problem that a lot of people have with the Republican party is the meddling in social policy. I think most people under the age of 60 are pretty liberal minded, on the social level. Each successive generation is more liberal than the previous one, so clearly society is moving in that direction, at least in the near future. It has been moving in this direction for some time.

Now when it comes to fiscal policy, most people would prefer a small government that focused on a few key issues, and handled them efficiently. Common sense regulation is called for, but no undue interference in the economy. The reaction to the bailout of banks, insurance companies, and car makers, is evidence that people do not want the government getting involved in these areas, and rightly so.

It is time for a third party to emerge, one that has a fiscally conservative nature, but is also socially liberal. I think the Libertarian party comes closest to the mark on this, and I hope to see a serious influx of cash going into the Libertarian coffers, as well as some legitimate candidates running under that banner. I can think of no time better than now for a legitimate and viable third party to emerge as a serious contender, but that party would need to be well organized.

People are tired of the Elephants and Jackasses that are the current choices out there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How can they blow it, let me count the ways.

I knew that passing effective common-sense healthcare reform was going to be difficult. I least of all expected the Democrats, even with total control of the government, to be able to pass the kind of legislation that the USA needs. Even my low expectations are unlikely to be met. The Democrats are buffoons, and the "Blue Dogs" are clearly conservatives in Democrat clothing. It would be wise to purge them from the party by throwing lots of money and talented candidates at the Blue-Dog seats during primary season.

So far the ridiculous Baccus, I mean Baucus bill, creates a government requirement that everyone who does not have health insurance will have to purchase it or be fined up to $3800. I am not sure what percentage of these people cannot afford insurance versus those who choose not to purchase it (people in their twenties, for instance), but it sounds excessively cruel, even for the United States. Even car insurance is not a requirement, unless you own a car. Those who cannot afford it do not buy cars. Those who cannot afford health insurance get fined money they cannot afford, and their standard of living sinks further still. This is at a time when 80% of the population has actually seen their income level drop in real dollars.

I did not expect the healthcare reform to go anywhere near where I think it needs to go, but I did think people would finally be open to Regulation again. It is clear that the nation is entering into a Depression BECAUSE of the financial industry, an industry that has been deregulated over the past 20 years, courtesy of conservatives (Republicans mostly, but the Blue Dogs sure helped out). Instead of that Presidents Bush and Obama decides to give the wealth of nations to banks and insurance companies, no strings attached. It is now being reported that Obama is planning to borrow money from the banks we saved, at interest I am sure, to bail out other failing banks. Here is a wacky idea, let the failing banks fail or be bought out. That is how capitalism works.

Capitalism is not about unending and constantly growing profits as far as the eye can see. Industries fail. Companies fail. If you truly believe in Capitalism (which I do NOT), then you have to let things play out. If you believe that the government has to intervene now and then to correct the market, you are not a Capitalist, you are a Socialist (not a Communist). If you believe in using the taxpayers dollars to correct the market, you should also believe in using taxpayer dollars to help absorb the corrections of the marketplace. At least, you should if you believe in a Just Society.

I have come up with a great solution to the failing banks problem. Let the banks that we have saved from destruction lend the money to the failing banks to save them. Keep the taxpayers out of it. We certainly aren't given part of the profits when these guys succeed, so why should we have to pay for their failures. Let the chips fall where they may, or the coming fall will be FAR FAR worse.

Monday, September 21, 2009


There is a new virus that is posing as virus protection software. It is called Green AV, and here is how it works.

A message is sent that appears to come from your own computer, warning you that a virus has infected the computer. If you click their OK button you are giving a company called Green AV access to your computer. Files are installed that allow them to take over a small section of your internet explorer window, the size of a pop-up blocker warning. The only thing you can do to remove this button is either A) buy the recommended internet security software that Green AV sells, or B) uninstall the program that you never realized they had installed to begin with.

I went to the Green AV website, found their Contact Us section, and sent them an email threatening them with legal action if they did not remove the virus they installed from my computer. No sooner had I hit the "send" button but a reply came back with a link to quickly uninstall the virus. Clearly they had anticipated people demanding that they remove the virus.

The really funny thing is that, while writing this post, perhaps five minutes after doing a google on "Green AV", and coming up with their website in the first five results, this time there is no sign of the Green AV website, but plenty of security warnings about this new type of virul marketing. I sure hope the government gets involved, because this clearly fits the definition of a virus, and they should be fined for each and every computer that has been infected. Create a site for people to add their names to the list of infected, and I imagine that would be the end of this egregious of a disregard for both the letter and intent of the law.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Status Quo, Disappointed with the Dems Again

Even when I was getting excited about an Obama Presidency, in my heart I knew that the Dems were going to get in the way and prevent a solution that I could stand behind from succeeding. Baucus proved my point. I think it is absurd, in the extreme, to financially penalize people who cannot afford healthcare. True, some are choosing not to purchase health insurance, but many just cannot afford it. Robbing them further by fining them for not having health insurance is cold, even for government.

Why is it that the United States spends more money, covers fewer people, and has a mediocre system to show for it? People need to wake up to what is in their best interest. Allowing corporations, whose only goal is increased profits, to determine health policy borders on lunacy. There is a place for a free-market economy, and there are places where the free-market has no business. Healthcare, adoptions, prisons, and regulatory systems are places where the free-market has no right to be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Eye of the Storm

I think we are currently in the eye of the economic storm that has ravaged not only the United States, but the global economy at large. Some of the top experts are saying it, and soon that will filter down into the general subconscious. The fundamental problems that lead to the crash of '08 are still there. If anything, they have gotten worse. The big banks and insurance giants have been told that they are too big to fail. That means they will be bailed out time and time again. Knowing that it is merely "good business" to ignore the risks to maximize the profits. After all, profits are privatized, but losses have been socialized.

Now there seems to be a lot of chatter about the next wave of housing foreclosures, this time in the commercial sector. The fickle public, which had been lulled into thinking the worst was over, will once again run around like chickens with their heads cut off. It will take consumer spending, which accounts for 2/3 of the economy, to pull the economy out of the dung-heap it currently is, but with more and more people losing their jobs it seems unlikely that consumer spending will have the money to achieve this, and credit has dried up to a trickle, with rates far beyond what it makes sense to pay. More and more people are going to decide that bankruptcy makes more sense than paying the leeches 30% interest on a debt that will never disappear. Take the first shot like a man and begin the healing process.

Tie down anything that is loose people, the winds are picking up again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Finally, the Moral Argument

It took President Obama a while to make a case that strikes home, but I think he finally did it in his big speech, charges of lying notwithstanding. Instead of merely making this about good economic sense, which healthcare reform definately offers, President Obama turned it into a moral debate, which is something it has always been.

There is something unappetizing about the wealthiest society the world has ever known letting millions risk bankruptcy because of bad health. The number one reason people go bankrupt in the United States is due to medical bills, and two-thirds of those people actually have health insurance. This is a cause that should have been dealt with decades ago, and it is troubling that so many are willing to stand in the way of progress merely to score political points.

This should have been an easy sell...certainly easier than giving hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the same people who are protected by golden parachutes. Let everyone hope that the American people start to realize what is in their best interest, instead of constantly cutting off their nose to spite their face.