Health Care Reform? Must Be Visible to Only a Select Few…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

…And that may be Democratic Congress Critters and THE ONE?

Whither True Health Care Reform?

Let’s see…this morning on NPR I heard about Massachusetts “Walmart” of health plans…where, in a half hour, you could compare loads of health care plans and enroll…VOILA! Just like that!! (Assuming you have the cash…)

Of course, the Federal version being debated in conference would provide so much more, looking more like what’s up on the Medicare site…the one that is so full of wonderful plans for medical and prescription insurance that you can’t compare any of it easily and which leaves you unsure of what the differing costs will actually be! The current idea being dealt with in conference  will be much better than that in Massachusetts because you’ll be able to plug in your scenario (Example used: “Hey, I think I might get breast cancer”) and shop for a plan specific to your worries…although, when you DO get cancer, who know what will happen!! Of course, the debate is over this provision’s “mandate-iness”–let’s see, if it’s left up to the states and you’re in a Republican state, the odds are YOU WON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THIS catalog of health care plans!!

(This was part of a bigger story about how union leaders don’t want their “negotiated for pay cuts/freezes” “Cadillac health plans” taxed…and they marched over to the White House to inform THE ONE that they couldn’t guarantee union votes during the midterms…Reality bites!)

Of course, the single payer option is gone already…

Now, I’m seeing reports that the EMPLOYER MANDATE for large companies to insure their workers may be gone, too?**

Now, what does that leave???

Not a helluva lot, as far as I can see! The same Swiss cheese non-system we’ve got, only more expensive, most likely, especially, if the expert I heard is right, not having a nationwide availability of the “shopping mall” for health care will definitely NOT help drive down costs…and, of course, health care shoppers will be left to the political winds even though there will be some vague business in the provision about the the Feds will be able to step in if the states don’t do things right…which, probably wouldn’t happen, from what I gather, as the Feds are apparently shy of doing such things.

Disgusting. A majority in both Houses, frittered away for WHAT????????

Foreign visitors to this blog must be wondering what the hell gives with health care in the U.S.  Well, let me inform you, that it’s just a political football  whose prime requirement involves making a buck for companies that lobby.  In other words, it’s not for people!!

**This headline and a pic of Nancy Pelosi and a couple of others appeared on the Comcast.net front page about 5 pm MT…when I went back to grab it…it was GONE!
UPDATE: The story is not on the front page, but is showing up at the bottom of the email section. It’s an AP story, which means linking to it is forbidden.

Link to the NPR story:

To Critics, Cadillac Tax Looks Like a Yugo

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

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…

***

Here’s glimpse…more pictures over at ORR:

Chiles ready to be frozen...

Chiles ready to be frozen...

***

Related post–last year’s batch:

Exhausted….from GREEN CHILE!

Forget the Mainstream Media “Business Analysts”: Economics Prof Explains Obamanomics and Conducts Experiment That Proves His Point

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

American Lassie forwarded this little ditty which does what the mainstream media can’t won’t do–explain what extreme government control can do to a country’s get up and go.

Now, I, personally, believe in a strong social safety net, so I’ll NEVER be a Republican.  I’m not far over on the other side of the spectrum which seems to put unfettered business and profit above everything else.  Sadly, we’re in a situation now where pandering to business combined with the autocratic streak of the extreme left, is playing into GOP hands for the future.  When they get back in control on the back of their OWN misinformation and scare tactics, their own autocratic stamp will be put on our lives…the table will have been set for extreme cuts to the social services we need.  The GOP have blocked anything that even tries to help strengthen the social safety net in the past and I think they’re salivating right now at the thought of having a carte blanche in the future to wield a harsh and punitive knife so Medicare, Social Security, etc.  And many workers will suffer, as usual, at the hands of employers, as they have done for eons.

Of course, IF we actually have a sane Democratic Party that fights this in the future, we may survive, but at this point, we don’t have a sane Democratic Party, so all bets are off!

So, here is the current state of affairs explained simply. You may want to pass it around to anybody you know who is confused and needs a basic primer…Of course, things are way more complicated in real life.  After all the big banks are TOO BIG TO FAIL, so that sort of skews the curve…

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class.

Economics Prof in Action

Economics Prof in Action

——————————————–
That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.
All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D!
No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Could not be any simpler than that.

NOW, NOW…THERE, THERE…LITTLE VOTER

~~By Kenosha Marge

Have you ever written and/or emailed your Congresscritter or Senator and gotten back one of their “now,now…there, there” letters? A letter so condescending it makes your eyes bleed from just reading it?

As the blood rushes through your veins and threatens to blow your damn head off you wonder how you could have ever voted for this creature. And if you didn’t, you take some small satisfaction in that. You comfort yourself with the thought that at least this was one Asshat that you didn’t support among all the other Asshats that you did.

However, that doesn’t address the question, why on earth do these “elected” officials think it wise to send voters such letters? Do they really think we are that dumb? (If you answer yes you win a Kewpie doll.) Looks like Kewpie has had a close encounter with our government.

a kewpie-doll mARGE POST

It is obvious and has been for a very long time that the people that we elect to represent us don’t represent us or respect us.

I can understand the lack of respect. After all they lie to us again and again, do more flip-flops than seen at the last Summer Olympics and they can still count on our vote. What’s to respect in that?

Politicians are well aware that for the most part we will continue to support “our” party, even when “our” party doesn’t support us. Where we gonna go?

A “good” Democrat would sooner chew his/her leg off that vote for one of those rat-bastard Republicans. And a “good” Republican feels the same way about voting for one of them Wing Nut Democrats. I guess being good human beings and good Americans comes somewhere further down the list. Much further on the good human being part if many of the scurrilous remarks made about the “other” party are any indication.

Politicians are well aware that if they can just get some talking point stuck in the empty heads of many of the electorate they have won their battle. Nothing will dislodge these bits of misinformation from said empty head. No proof, no new information, no tablets coming down from the Mountain will change their minds.

If you doubt this then the proof is in that there are a whole lot of people around that still believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that he had something to do with 9/11. Or all the little people giving their pennies and nickels financed Obama’s campaign. These people have the cognitive abilities of a box of rocks. I may be maligning that box of rocks.

A box of maligned rocks

A box of maligned rocks

I  I have been disabused of the notion that our conservative/Republican brethren and sisters were less well informed than our own better, brighter, more informed people on the liberal/Democrat side. The last election and the immerging Obot Nation proves that Republicans have not cornered the market on stupid.

But I digress; let’s get back to our non-representing Representatives. They are our Representatives because we elected them. Enough of us voted for them so that they get to go to Washington D.C. and not represent the people that just elected them.

In many cases voters cast their vote without having the faintest idea what this person has done or not done for their district/state. Having that letter “D” or “R” is all that matters. And we wonder why they don’t respect us. They count on our stupidity and we seldom disappoint them.

Many of these politicians have been slurping at the public trough for decades. They are therefore now eligible for that nice little pension that we taxpayers are going to pay for. Even if we don’t have a pension plan for ourselves at least we can rest easy knowing these people that did/do such a second-rate job will have a comfortable retirement. If we can ever get them to retire.

Some of them can’t even dodder onto the floor of the House or the Senate. Some are off in rehab, for the second time and must be hauled back to vote on important bills. See:  http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/rep.-kennedy-returns-for-climate-vote-2009-06-26.html

I feel sorry for the husband of a friend of mine who has an alcohol problem. That doesn’t mean that I would vote for such a person. Sympathy from me you get Congressman Kennedy. My vote? Not in this lifetime!

Once these people are elected/re-elected, they can cozy up with their real constituency, which would be the folks with the money.

Let’s see now– talking points firmly embedded in constituency’s empty head? Check.

Little/no concern about better-informed and/or recalcitrant voters because they have nowhere to go? Check.

Send condescending letters to any voicing disapproval/concern for actions not in keeping with what they were lead to expect? Check.

Call person with the most money to donate to my/his/her campaign and assure them that I will vote whatever way they want me to so long as the money keeps coming my way? Check!

There are many reasons we as voters are not respected and represented by those that we elect to public office. Many of them are just so damn sure they are smarter and know better than we do that our outrage or protests don’t even register unless and until it threatens their re-election.

Threats to re-election means it’s time to either dust off the old talking points or get some new ones. After all, those pointy-headed little voters keep falling for the same play why change it when you are winning the game? And if they voice some disapproval, send a condescending letter to explain it to the poor rubes.

Now-now, there-there little voter, we know what’s best. Don’t you worry your silly/pretty/empty little head about it.

About Sarah Palin…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I was at the gym on the Wave when I saw the news about Sarah Palin’s resignation. My first reaction was “Oh, this is bad!  They’ll call her “a quitter.” I listened patiently to the patter on FOX and later at home and, of course, the term “quitter” was brought up, as well as speculation about her not having a thick enough skin,” her family concerns, and maybe how having a Downs child demands more time than she originally thought.  Or maybe she she was just “fed up.” I was informed that she had been acting “bizarre.” I heard the radio news playing back the Katie Couric interview about what Palin read. (Frankly, she said she read everything, which sounds just about like how I would answer on the fly…I’m sure if she had specified at the time, people would have criticized her even for that!)

I can only speak for myself but as I heard more of what she actually said today, especially the part about working for Americans in the future, I actually began to feel good about all this. I love that she focused on the political climate in Alaska. I loved that she didn’t consult with the Congressional delegation.

The “elite” have been out to get her since Day 1 and the Letterman crap didn’t arouse much passionate defense. (The late comments by NOW were just that–late and rather pro forma to save their image after they got an earful, most likely.)  Frankly, the Republicans don’t seem to want her either.

You know what? I would love it if she left the Republican Party and traveled around speaking, pointedly, about the political climate in this country. I’d love if she began saying point blank that the media is garbage.  I would love it if she mused out loud about the criticism about her “stupidity” and lack of “experience” and compare that to this fraud in the White House’s experience and his need for a teleprompter. I would love it if she starting hanging around with a Ron Paul or some of those Democratic reps who don’t approve of a lot of the Obama Adminstration’s crap, the GOP and the demise of this country.

I would love it if she spearheaded a third party.  Basically, I’d love it if she essentially started campaigning against Obama by going after the creeps around him, some of whom have been going after her in Alaska. She can also talk about the Republicans who join in the game.  She can without any problems call out the elites in D.C.  I think the harsh attacks on Palin belie a great deal of fear…She has nothing to lose, so I would love to see her really unleashed on her own terms.

However, if she chooses not to, that’s OK…because I don’t want to see her go down in a small plane “accident”…

Right now the punditry and the elite are rather shocked, it seems. Well, screw them!  We’ve been inspired by the women of Iran recently and maybe here in the U.S., we can be inspired by a woman who isn’t afraid to go out there and be herself and speak her mind.

Whatever she does, it will be interesting.

For now, I’m hoping she goes on every damned talk show and simply unloads.  I hope she gives Obama and the rest of the Villagers some nervous moments.

And maybe she can provide the spark that gets this country to wake up…

Just a couple of days ago she let this drop:

Palin says she’d beat Obama in long run

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she’d come out ahead if she went one-on-one with fellow jogger President Barack Obama in a long run, according to an interview published online Tuesday.

“I betcha I’d have more endurance,” she told Runner’s World magazine.

snip

“Sweat is my sanity,” Palin told the magazine.

Somehow, I don’t think Palin is a quitter. She’s playing the game her way.  Whatever her plan is, I say:

GO, SARAH!!


SWITCH THE PARADIGM! Why We Really CAN Make a Change for the Better

(Editor’s Note: This inspiring essay comes just in time for the July 4th holiday.  Enjoy the holiday but take some time to reflect on what it really honors…IA)

~~By Grail Guardian

I’ve been reading a lot of internal squabbling on various web sites lately about whether or not people can or should vote for Republicans in order to restore the political balance in Washington. I’ve “listened” to both sides of the argument and for those who have not been paying attention (or living an actual life instead of following the blogs) I offer this brief summary of each:

Pro: Voting Republicans in is the only way to offset Obama and the idiots in Congress that are bleeding the country dry. The Democratic majority is killing the American economy and Constitution and is out of control. No third party candidate will be able succeed in the current system, so we must hold our noses and vote for all Republican candidates and hope they induce a stalemate in Congress.

Con: The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, and we’ll just end up swing from far left to far right (then back again) if we vote them back in. I can’t vote for someone that supports everything I have fought against all my life just to stop the Democrats (i.e.: abortion rights). Replacing one form of evil with another does no good, therefore I must look for the least offensive Democrat to support despite the fact that they will likely vote along party lines (think Kirsten Gillibrand in NY).

I must confess that I can find some truth in both of these arguments, but there’s something I need to point out here: These are not the only options!

That’s right – I said it! There are other choices. To wit, we need term limits and alternative candidates that don’t belong (a totally accurate term in every sense) to either political party. But, but…Grail, you say, how could that be? No Congress critter will ever vote for their own term to be limited and everyone knows that no third party candidate can possible get elected!

Wrong! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play Switch That Paradigm! The exciting game show where you, the American public, actually get to choose the winners! No, it’s not American Idol. Not even close. It’s a nifty concept I learned about from commenter Practical Madman over at Logistics Monster, and it’s called Get Out of Our House. Here’s the concept: If we want to stop the insanity in D.C. we must clean out the political lifers in Congress; the Obama administration (or any other administration for that matter) cannot pass legislation without the support and complicity of Congress (at least as of the writing of this piece), no matter how many mouth breathers support him. The easiest way to do this is in the House of Representatives, since the whole barrel of monkeys is up for re-election every 2 years under the Constitution (yes, all 435 members are up in 2010). Besides, the Senate isn’t exactly a cohesive majority, and if the bills can’t pass in the House they aren’t making it to the Oval Office for signature. Get Out of Our House, or GOoOH (pronounced “go”) wants to dump all 435 members at once and replace them with ordinary citizens that actually (gasp) vote for what their constituents want. That’s right – you and me for Congress!

Here’s the deal: if enough regular Americans are willing to participate, they group can raise enough money to support candidates in every district. People who wish to run for office complete a comprehensive position questionnaire that is posted on line. There are no right or wrong answers, no political philosophy you must adhere to, no liberal or conservative viewpoints required at the door. You answer the questions, and sign a legally binding pledge that if you are elected you will vote the way you answered on the questionnaire or abstain from the vote if there is fuzzy or unrelated material attached to the bill, as Congress is wont to do. (Note: there is an alternative option wherein you can change your vote if you post your intent to do so online at least 7 days in advance and a majority of your district votes that it’s OK for you to change your vote.) Once the candidates have locked in their answers, a series of Selection Sessions are held where members get the chance to vote for or against candidates that best represent how they would like their Representative to vote. Sessions are held until there is only 1 candidate per district, and that person becomes the GOoOH nominee for the district. The whole organization is based on the concept that the candidates will not follow any particular school of thought; for instance, voters in New York City would probably tend to select a candidate with more liberal viewpoints, whereas voters in Butte, MT would be more prone to select a candidate with conservative views that fit the local political consciousness.

Oh, and did I mention that all candidates agree in advance to a few interesting conditions:

· To run for no more than 2 terms (it was originally 1, but was changed due to input on the site)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are an attorney (originally excluded, but again changed due to commenter input)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are wealthy (a multi-millionaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you vote contrary to your stated positions (per the questionnaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you accept funds “other than your federal paycheck”

Are there drawbacks to the system? Yes. Some of the bigger ones are: the $100 membership fee (that is used to fund the candidates that are eventually selected, the fact that at least 500,000 members are needed to make it work, and the inability for people not on the web to participate in the upfront process (we all get to vote eventually, but you must register online).

Some of the other advantages are: the ability to join an existing organization that is prepared for the political process, regardless of your political views, the ability of average Americans to have a “hands on” role in actually choosing the nominee from a large pool of candidates (rather than just the guy who has lost the last 3 times in your area), and the inability of political interest groups (lobbyists, PACs, unions, or even religious groups) to influence the candidates. I personally believe that America is at a “do or die” juncture as a free Republic, and GOoOH may just provide a way back to the basics. We are at a crossroads that our Founders predicted and feared:

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” –Samuel Adams

“A government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have… The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” –Thomas Jefferson

Now is the time for all good PUMAs to put up or shut up. We all agree we want change. We all agree that the current system is not working. We all agree that the time to stop the juggernaut poised to crush our nation is extremely limited. We call agree that 2008 ended the political process as we knew it forever. And who better to change things than us? And who are we? Simply average Americans that have seen the road the political corruption and corporate greed of the current government is leading us down and wish to return to the Constitution as it was written. For those of you that need a bit more background, I offer this excellent video courtesy of Diamond Tiger at Logistics Monster that explains the current political situation in concise and frightening terms. Take 10 minutes and watch it all the way through; if you are not scared at the similarities between circumstances preceding the fall of Rome and the current fall of America at the end, then go in peace and enjoy your final moments of freedom. If you are disturbed and unwilling to take any more, take a serious look at the GOoOH site and see what you think. I know it is not the ideal solution, but if we wait for perfection our economy will be collapsed, there will be record inflation not seen since 1920’s Germany, government will have taken an extraordinary amount of power away from We the People, and our country as we know it will be gone.

Change is inevitable. The only question is: which side of it do you want to be on?

This:

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Or this:

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These images should remind us of a few very simple concepts:

· Ordinary people can make a difference if they believe enough to fight against tyranny

· You can speak truth to power, no matter how well ensconced it may appear

· Women can and do lead the way

· We have what everyone else in the world wants, and we are letting it slip away with little more than a whimper

· “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (This quote is generally attributed to Edmund Burke but the true source appears to be unknown.)

The truth of the matter is simple: the concept that we, the people of the greatest nation in the world, cannot alter our destiny or stop The Powers That Be from destroying our Republic is nothing more or less than the same mass-marketing advertising scam that has been used to brainwash the masses into thinking we need the latest bright, shiny object on the market to distract ourselves from reality. It’s a sales job – that’s all! If enough of us are disgusted and use our votes, any candidate can be elected and any party can be successful. When you get right down to it, isn’t that all political campaigns have evolved into? Never-ending infomercials! And now the very office of the President of the United States of America has been turned into the world’s largest infomercial. (I’m surprised he doesn’t have a Guthy-Renker logo on his backside!) But that’s really good news, because that means that we don’t have to buy it! We can shop around for what we really want, no matter what they tell us on the tee vee! For cryin’ out loud, when have they ever told us the truth? Isn’t that the whole concept of Madison Avenue (and K Street)? Lie big, lie often, and then lie some more and eventually people will buy what you tell them because that’s what Charlie and Katie and Brian tell them to do!

Well, I’m here to tell you the sad news: Edward R. Murrow is dead and so is the “fourth estate”; John F. Kennedy was barely elected (and probably only then because of “creative” voting in Daley’s Chicago) and there was no “magic bullet” (no matter what Arlen “Which party am I in again?” Specter wants you to believe); aspartame and fluoride are actually toxins sold to us to make profit off of useless chemicals; and the United States Constitution does not grant the government the right to tax income or sales, no matter what the IRS says. They are all advertising scams designed to persuade compliant Americans to buy the “official” version of a convenient fabrication. The idea that no third party candidate could ever win a national election is another such ad campaign, and we have bought it lock, stock and barrel. We even preach it to each other. So the time has come to shift our paradigm and alter our vision of “reality” (whatever that is). Dorothy eventually looked behind the curtain and discovered that Oz was nothing more than a two-bit carnie hustler, and that the ability to return to where she wanted to be was always within her own power. We, too, must accept that we’re not in Kansas anymore and take a good hard look at what’s behind that curtain.

You can save this nation. You can be a US Representative. If you believe in the Constitution of this Republic, I propose you owe it to America to step up to the plate and either be a candidate or at a minimum support the system that may just be capable of returning every day, common sense Americans to the business of running this country.

The choice is yours; what will you choose?