Resist “Common Wisdom”: Allow Yourself to Think “Third Party” (Join the Many Who Have Done Just That Throughout U.S. History)

(Editor’s Note: This piece from Kenosha Marge is cross-posted from her bunker up North known as “Witch’s Will“. Orignally posted under the title How do I know? The experts tell me so.”)

September 30, 2009

By Kenosha  Marge

It occurred to me recently, while bemoaning the fact that we do not have a viable 3rd party choice in this country that perhaps “I” was part of the problem. Part of the problem because I believed that we couldn’t have a viable party because the “common wisdom”  or   the “experts” tell us so.

Just as the power of positive thinking works, so does the power of negative thinking.  If we are convinced something can’t happen then we won’t make much of an effort in that direction. No use us “spinning our wheels” is there? The old beating our heads against a brick wall approach that everyone tells us is stupid and not constructive. Add painful.

Remember that old limerick that went something like this:

They told the young man it couldn’t be done

With a smile on his face he went right to it

He tackled that job that couldn’t be done

And you know what, he couldn’t do it.

Thinking about that limerick and how I let that kind of thing insidiously convince me that we couldn’t have a viable 3rd party I realized that I was a knothead. Of course that’s something I all ready knew, but I suddenly realized that on this issue I was more of a knothead than usual.  I was allowing the “common wisdom” and the “experts” to shape my opinion and thus help to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I am not naive enough to believe that having a 3rd Party choice would solve all our problems. Getting rid of most of the corrupt and corrupted politicians in Washington D.C., while putting the fear of re-election into the rest is what’s absolutely necessary. Add a cease fire with shooting ourselves in the foot by electing the same old pols with our same old partisan votes.

Those would be the same pols that disappoint us time and again. As a punishment we re-elect them. Perhaps they packed us in pork and we consider that good governance. We do if we consider getting ours at the expense of the good of the country good governance.  Let me state for the record that I don’t.

My mantra has become “Partisanship is un-American and unpatriotic and dammit, it’s lazy too.” Quite a wordy mantra, it definitely needs some work. However, it work for me.

We get so focused on the Democrats and Republicans that we forget how many other parties have come and gone since the founding of our government.

Most know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and that Andrew Jackson was a Democrat. But did you know that Thomas Jefferson was a Democrat-Republican? Perhaps that doesn’t seem so strange given that we basically have the same thing today, they just pretend to be different on television. The two major parties each take a turn to screw the public, steal from the public and score points off their “adversaries” by doing things that will harm the public. Unlike Jefferson, what we have now are Democrat-Republican-Asshats.

Historical political parties

The following parties are no longer functioning. Some of them had considerable influence. Listed in order of founding.

Gone and mostly forgotten until Googled at Wikipedia.

The Top Three of the 3rd Parties are:

Constitution Partysocially conservative, fiscally conservative

Green Partysocially progressive, fiscally liberal

Libertarian Partysocially liberal, fiscally conservative

Libertarian Party: Founded in 1971, the Libertarian party is the third largest political party in America. Over the years, Libertarian Party candidates have been elected to many state and local offices.

Libertarians believe the federal government should play a minimal role in the day-to-day affairs of the people. They believe that the only appropriate role of government is to protect the citizens from acts of physical force or fraud. A libertarian-style government would therefore limit itself to a police, court, prison system and military. Members support free market economy and are dedicated to protection of civil liberties and individual freedom.

Constitution Party

is a United States political party rooted in the paleoconservative movement. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party in 1992. The party’s official name was changed to the Constitution Party in 1999; however, some state affiliate parties are known under different names. The party’s goal as stated in its own words is “to restore our government to its Constitutional limits and our law to its Biblical foundations.” [1] The party puts a large focus on immigration, calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants and a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued.[2] The party absorbed the American Independent Party, originally founded for George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign. The American Independent Party of California was an affiliate of the Constitution Party since its founding, but disaffiliated itself after the 2008 Constitution Party Convention to support Alan Keyes and his America’s Independent Party. The Constitution Party’s affiliate in California now bears the name of California Constitution Party.

Green Party of the United States (GPUS)

is one of the political parties in the United States, and similar in mission to many of the worldwide Green Parties. The Greens, a voluntary association of state parties, have been active as a nationally recognized political party since 2001. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by their corresponding states. The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), a forerunner organization, first gained widespread public attention during Ralph Nader’s presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. With the founding of the Green Party of the United States, the party established a national political presence becoming the primary national Green organization in the U.S. eclipsing the earlier Greens/Green Party USA which emphasized non-electoral movement building.

I have voted for Green Candidates now and again. Now I’m not sure I want to do that again. Being fiscally liberal is not a good fit for me. And voting for a “Green” is quite often the same as voting for a Democrat. The same skunk with a differant stipe isn’t what I’m looking for.

There are literally dozens of other “3rd Parties”, many whom I must confess I had never heard of before. There is a link below if you want to take a look around and see what’s available.

The problem for most 3rd Party candidates is getting on the ballot.

In most states a 3rd party candidate must gather signatures from citizens. The number varies from state to state. Here’s just a sample:

Georgia: The legislature passed a law in 1943 requiring that new party and independent candidates submit a petition signed by 5% of the number of registered voters in order to get on the ballot for any office. Previously, any party could get on the ballot just by requesting it. The result has been that since 1943, there has not been one third party candidate on the Georgia ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.

Florida: The ballot access laws for third parties and independent candidates have been very severe ever since 1931. Since 1931, there have been only two third party candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives on the ballot and only one third party candidate for the U.S. Senate. There has not been a third party or independent candidate on the ballot for Governor of Florida since 1920. Currently, a filing fee of 7% of the annual salary of the office is also required unless the candidate is a pauper, while a third party or independent candidate for any statewide office (other than president) needs 196,255 valid signatures — no independent candidate in any state in the U.S. has ever successfully complied with a signature requirement greater than 134,781 signatures.

Arkansas: The legislature passed a law in 1971 providing that new parties could not get on the ballot unless they submit a petition signed by a number of voters equal to 7% of the last vote cast. Because this law in 1977 was held unconstitutional (courts have since held that petition requirements cannot exceed 5% of the electorate), the legislature changed it to 3%. No political party has ever succeeded in getting on the Arkansas ballot, under either the 7% or the 3% rule — partly because the state requires that the petition be completed in the four months during the odd year before an election year.

West Virginia: Third party and independent candidates for office (other than president) must circulate their petition before the primary. It is a crime for any petition circulator to approach anyone without saying “If you sign my petition, you cannot vote in the primary.” The law can be enforced because it is illegal for anyone to circulate a petition without first obtaining “credentials” from election officials for this purpose. Furthermore, it is impossible for third party or independent candidates (not running for president) to ever know in advance if they have enough valid signatures because if anyone who signs a candidate’s petition then votes in a primary, the signature of that person is invalid. For candidates, it is impossible to know who will actually vote in the primary, and it is too late to get signatures after the primary.

Tennessee – 25 signatures is all that is required as of 2006 to be put on the ballot for any elected office. A candidate for President of the United States must put foward a full slate of candidates who have agreed to serve as electors (11, at least until the 2010 census). A party must mainatain five percent of the vote statewide in order to be recognized as a party and have its candidates listed on the ballot under that party’s name; the last third party to do so was the American Party in 1968; none of its candidates received five percent of the statewide vote in 1970 and it was then decertified as an official party.

Texas – For a registered political party in a statewide election to gain ballot access, they must either 1) obtain five percent of the vote in any statewide election or 2) collect petition signatures equal to one percent of the total votes cast in the preceding election for governor, and must do so by January 2 of the year in which such statewide election is held. An independent candidate for any statewide office must collect petition signatures equal to one percent of the total votes cast for governor, and must do so beginning the day after primary elections are held and complete collection within 60 days thereafter (if runoff elections are held, the window is shortened to beginning the day after runoff elections are held and completed within 30 days thereafter). The petition signature cannot be from anyone who voted in either primary (including runoff), and voters cannot sign multiple petitions (they must sign a petition for one party or candidate only).

Both major parties make it as difficult as possible for 3rd Party candidates to get on a ballot. It’s not that they fear that any 3rd party will win,although Ross Perot did give them a scare, it’s that 3rd parties often act as spoilers.

Perot’s candidacy received increasing media attention when the competitive phase of the primary season ended for the two major parties. President George H.W. Bush was losing support, and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton was still suffering from the numerous scandal allegations made in the previous months. With the insurgent candidacies of Republican Pat Buchanan and Democrat Jerry Brown winding down, Perot was the natural beneficiary of populist resentment toward establishment politicians. On May 25, 1992 he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine with the title “Waiting for Perot”, an allusion to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.

Whatever the reason the fact remains that we could have more choices when we vote. We can have more choices if we insist that those choices be made available to us in every election, local, state and national. We owe it to ourselves to look around and see what’s available.

Or we can just make our selection from a very limited menu as usual. Funny thing is, we wouldn’t accept that at a hamburger joint but we accept it meekly when it comes to our government.  If we don’t work to change that we have only ourselves to blame.

It doesn’t matter what the experts, the mavens, the pundidiots, and common wisdom is trying to tell us. Because all of the above are so wrong so often that why we listen to them/it at all is a complete mystery to me. A mystery I suspect would baffle the offspring of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. And that’s the picture I leave you to try to get out of your head. Big winking smiley with sunglasses

links110_a

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States#Historical_political_parties

This link is for modern political parties:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_(United_States)

Ross Perot link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot

Campaign to get 3rd Party Candidates on Every Congressional Ballot

http://www.breakthematrix.com/Third-Party/campaign-to-get-3rd-party-candidates-on-EVERY-Congressional-ballot-in-2010

Getting 3rd Party Candidates on the ballot a difficult endeavor

http://www.satireandcomment.com/sc1007thirdparty.html

Ballot access

http://www.ballot-access.org/winger/fbfp.html

Ballot access laws by state

http://home.earthlink.net/~maxhamforpresident/id28.html

Trust and Loyalty: A Wonderful Dog Shows Us What We Could Use More of Today

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s nearly  7 years ago (late October) that I rescued my precious Slick from the street. Hard to believe he’s about 8 years old now.  He and Toro and Tico are my loves and I cherish every moment with them… And they seem to like me, too. It’s like having three toddlers…they follow me around, cuddle, and seek me out for an extra belly rub at the most inopportune moments!   (LOL!)

Recently, I’ve heard this observation a few times:  that, with today’s troubles and our uncertain futures, TRUST will be the most important commodity of all.  Having people to trust will be paramount in terms of survival.

I think that applies to our animal friends, too. The trust and loyalty they show us is a rare quality among people.  So, it  makes it even more important that we work to keep our babies’ trust and keep them safe and secure.  Sadly, too many animals are being dumped at shelters because of economic hardship….and then, there’s this dog who lost her family in a car crash.

Or, did she?

If you haven’t seen this video, watch the whole thing, and then tell me that it didn’t move you.  Just notice what this wonderful animal did…to stay close to her family…And it isn’t over yet…And if you cried, like I did…well, it was a good cry, wasn’t it?

Loyal Dog Waits at Crash Site

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

Kisses and cuddles to Ella…(and extra special hugs for my three tonight…)

Pizza as an Economic Indicator: The Charts to Prove It…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Haven’t been posting lately because of family obligations….aging parents take lots of time…

However, I’ve been mulling over the investing scene in very brief spare moments.  It’s a process of re-education, after nearly 20 years of “buy and hold.”   No more of that. Oh, it’s OK to hold, but it’s time to learn how to take money off the table.  Being 20 years OLDER puts some urgency behind this effort.

Trying to understand technical analysis, learning about business cycles, you name it.  Then, trying to figure how that all actually fits in during a time when NOTHING is normal!

Of course, most of the official economic numbers are pure fiction, as is the story about how everything is “improving.” Even phony numbers can’t hide the truth, that the long-term picture is not rosy at all. Full time “spinners, ” however, have the story down pat and a lot of Americans are willing to believe it.  It’s an easier story to buy into if you’re in financial trouble.   HOPE, you know…

Locally, I’ve discovered an economic indicator that might apply to your neighborhood, too.

I’ve noticed a SEVERE drop-off in pizza deliveries! No kidding, before the economic mess hit, the Papa John’s, Dominos, and Pizza Hut drivers were in and out of here constantly, not only for dinner, but for lunch, too.  These day…nada.  Oh, last week there was one delivery I saw, to a house were new people were moving in. But, as for the regular trade?  It’s gone. Kaput. Zip.

If you want to get a view of how officialdom views the economic landscape these days, then take a gander at this stuff from the Council of Foreign Relations’ Center for Geoeconomic Studies.  They’ve issued  a nifty-keen treatise entitled…(drumroll)

Quarterly Update: The Recession in Historical Context (pdf file)

How does the current economic and financial downturn match up to past contractions? As before, this chart book provides a series of answers, plotting current indicators (in red) against the average of all post–World War II recessions (blue). To facilitate comparison, the data are centered on the beginning of the recession (marked by “0”). The dotted lines represent the most severe and the mildest experiences in past cycles. Because the current downturn is frequently compared to the Great Depression, the appendix plots the current recession against the 1930s.
Three things to look for in this update:
• Some economic indicators suggest a rapid return to economic growth. Manufacturing sentiment has breached 50, indicating an expansion, and is now nearly at its post-war recession average.
• The fiscal deterioration is unprecedented, but the stimulus that is in part driving the budget deficit has had some positive impact. The “Cash for Clunkers” program raised auto sales relative to the start of the recession to a normal level from well below its post-war minimum. This has helped clear auto inventories.
• Although financial market spreads have come down from unprecedented levels, they remain well above the average during recessions. And even though the rate of job losses has decreased, unemployment is still increasing. Even in the worst previous post-war recession, unemployment was improving by this point in the cycle. Difficult credit conditions and a challenging labor market could impede a sustainable recovery.

The charts are fascinating…here’s the first one (sorry it’s so small):

• The year-over-year fall in real gross domestic product (GDP) is the worst in the postwar period.

image

(Recessions start at “0” and baseline numbers indicate the number of months out from the start…in these charts, “12, 16, 10, 24” represents 2009.)

There are loads more fascinating charts which tell the tale and belie any talk of  “positives”…

It’s worth a visit to the CFR site, because it has lots of data floating around that’s interesting and discussion of current foreign affairs and global economics.  It’s like going into the belly of the beast, but it’s not all kissing up to our current leader, either.  So, pick your way around and you can find some interesting nuggets.

I have to wonder if, while these think-tankers are churning out their reports, they’re sending out for pizza as often as they have in the past…

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PS: Check out the section of the blogroll titled Economic News/Analysis/Contrarian Blogs on the right which lists various economic blogs and resources if you want an ongoing dose of reality…

A Look at the Surreal Health Care Debate…Dr. Weil, A Tea Party Guy, Newt Gingrich and One Unholy Media Stew

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

“A Look at the Surreal Healthcare Debate” …well, not by me, but one offered up by Thursday (9/10)  night’s group of cable ghouls that I happened to see over the span of a few short minutes.

For some unknown reason I turned on CNN and caught a bit of Larry King.  Dr. Andrew Weil was on, blasting the same-old, same-old of the current health care “reform” efforts.  While the challenges are correctly recognized, the solutions are within the same model we have now. Weil is usually quite sanguine, but Thursday night in his own quiet way, he seemed pretty frustrated over the structure of our non-system. He predicts that whatever is done will fail, because costs won’t come down.  He thinks that high-tech stuff is way overused and he especially is irate over the drug advertising on TV.  We are the only country that allows this and it makes the physician more prone to dishing out the drugs when a patient comes in with a request rather than time spent on real discussion with the patient.  He wants that advertising stopped now!  He likens our ties to Big Pharma as being like the role of Wall Street in our lives.

He stated that places like Germany, Australia, and Norway are places where health care seems to satisfy people (Germany and Australia are part public and part private), but they, too, face the same problems of rising costs.  He mentioned that in Germany and other places, however, people seem to be willing to learn to “take care of themselves,”– they can take care of their own rashes and colds without running to the doctor, he said.

Basically, it seems Weil wants a system where doctors really take the time to know their patients and use modern medicine as well as tried and true remedies and new alternative approaches. He hope kids who are being exposed to new ideas will pass them to their parents. He figures we’ll see a different sort of  person coming into the system to be doctors if the approach to medicine changes, people who will have a real committment to healing  and dealing with patients differently if the attitude about health care changes. He sees some movement among some doctors toward this now. The system currently is all about insurance payments, not medicine, and a fear of liability suits, hence the overuse of reapeated/overkill diagnostic tests.  He strongly believes in preventative medicine, in getting people to understand how they can help themselves in terms of diet and stress management so they stay healthier longer.

He also pointed out that while we hear about eating more fruits and vegetables, they seem to be the most expensive foods, as industry is pushing cheap, processed stuff  full of things that are government subsidized to keep them cheap…all the sugar– corn syrups, fructose, etc.– and oils…which is diametrically opposed to what the message to eat better is saying.

Part of the show involved an interview with the guy leading the “Tea Party Express.”  This guy was revolting to me.  King asked if there was anything in the current reform bills that this guy approved of.  NO.  Well, King asked about the move to end the “pre-existing condition” stranglehold.  NO, was again the answer.  King then posed a hypothetical question…If you wife had a health problem and couldn’t get insurance, would that change his mind?

Well, this BOZO said NO, because he was SURE in the free market there would be someone to write a policy for her!  I guess it was that idiot Roland Martin (?) who actually said the correct thing, that there would be no one there to write a policy for her, that could be easily affordable.  On this I totally agree…this guy, who is leading an awful lot of lemmings these days, has no clue.  Heck, if you’re on disability you pay DOUBLE what the normal Medicare supplement costs!   (I know this from personal experience.) Has this guy ever applied for a policy in the open market with a serious precondition?  The waiting times to be covered, if it’s even allowed, are daunting and the premiums are sky high!  And, not all companies offer the same options. So, yeah, MAYBE she could get a policy, but if she could, it wouldn’t be cheap OR offer immediate coverage in most cases. He’d have to look long and hard. Very hard…

His glibness really bugged me.  It annoys me that that people like him are uninformed or so wedded to their own ideology and are leading lots of people who are also uninformed.  The folks who follow the leaders are often too busy to keep informed or really don’t have the capacity to understand a lot of what’s going on, and are so vulnerable to being fooled and ultimately lead toward their own destruction.  This guy sounded like a Republican or Libertarian, but the key point was he was so rigid. Had the compassion of a a robot…Frankly, I saw the two sides of the same coin (Obama/Organized “Opposition” leader  = same crap) and the pied piper mentality that has befallen this country. The  often-misquoted Janus myth really doesn’t describe this situation, but the visual seems to help create the mood…

Janus

Janus

That’s not to say some Tea Party folks aren’t well-informed…many are and many are Independents or ticked-off Democrats who are along for the ride for other reasons than Republican reasons.  But, I’m so uneasy about hooking into people who are so against any change at all.  I wish there were people without long-term agendas doing the leading…and when I say “long-term agendas” I mean the Republican agenda which would love to ditch the security net as quickly as possible or take back ANY restraints on the health industry/insurers.  The leader of the Tea Party Express, along with Glenn Beck fall into this category.

After this little segment of insanity, I then caught a bit of Greta van Susteren who was chatting with Newt Gingrich.  Greta seems to have come completely on board with the FOX stance of complete negativity.  There she sat with old Newt who had the GALL to say that we need more “scientific reasearch” along with the standard GOP stuff about taxes, more freedom to sell policies across state lines, etc., which do squat to really reform much of anything.   Let’s see…didn’t Bush CUT research funds to the bone????

Well, yes, he did without much upset from Republicans, who were also busy doing the cliffhanger bit on paying doctors who participated in Medicare. Dr. Weil mentioned how far back we’ve been set back by this and even referred to the “religious” groups (and Bush) who howled about stem cell research. For Weil to get into that hornet’s nest was pretty surprising, but, as I said before, Weil seemed pretty pissed off in a quiet way.  Weil is grateful that there’s been some restoration of funding for research, but I don’t think he’ll be looking to Newt and the Republicans to come in and do MORE when they retake the government.  Would you??

So there you go…Greta sits there and doesn’t challenge old Newt. I’ve noticed that she NEVER puts anything into context…that lawyer’s brain of hers is permanently atrophied, it seems.  I used to have some hope that she could put together SOMETHING informative, but she’s gone downhill and spends way too much time on missing children cases…

And, so,  people like Newt say things that are LUDICROUS and the Tea Party Express guy with the stick up his ass (looks like a blond, ex-army guy or something, with a strange look in his eyes) leads the way to…WHERE?

Which is why I prefer to watch “You Are What You Eat” on BBC America…at least it provides some visual shock value in terms of the junk people consume, some discussion about the effects on health, and some inspiration that things can actually CHANGE, one unhealthy person at  a time…

Oh, The Heck With it All…It’s GREEN CHILE Time!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

You know, sometimes it’s hard to post, not only because of a heavy schedule, but also because one gets fed up with politics. This has been happening on a grand scale lately for me.  I’m fed up with Democrats, Republicans, the rush to canonize Glenn Beck, since he won’t be so dedicated to “the truth” when the Republicans get back into power again…etc., etc.

Lately, I’ve felt political discourse has disintegrated to the point of sheer crap and I point the finger at everyone!

But, there’s been a moment of respite as the green chile has hit town…

I’ve posted pictures of how I’ve processed 25 lbs. of the glorious green over at sister site Open Range Ramblings…if you want to get a glimpse of the New Mexican passion for chile, click …

Oh, The Heck With It All…It’s GREEN CHILE TIME!

You may not be impressed by the pictures, but trust me…these babies are delicious…

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Here’s glimpse…more pictures over at ORR:

Chiles ready to be frozen...

Chiles ready to be frozen...

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Related post–last year’s batch:

Exhausted….from GREEN CHILE!