Friday, October 30, 2009

What are We thinking?The beginning of the end of the Free Market?

First of all, I want to freely admit I am no economist. I am however an avid student of history. Will so many credentialed economists in complete disagreement regarding the state of the current economy and the very nature of the so-called "stimulus" package it is no wonder that the average voter feels completely in the dark.

When do we as Americans stand up and finally once and for all tell the elite class that enough is enough?

During the last few weeks we have all heard about the contention that the health care system must be reformed, but does reform have to mean "single-payer" or "public option"? Why is it that so many in Washington on the left of the asile demand that this be the means of providing reform? Why is anyhting less than "single-payer" deemed a flawed and failed approached by liberals and progressives?

In a word; control.

Many Americans today probably still believe they still live within a "free market" capitalistic system. Truth be told that by the end of President Obama's term we very well may not represent anyhting close to free market. Why?

For almost the entire last century our government controlled what amounts to about 15% of the U.S. economy on average. 15% never really felt like very much. What would you say if you were to learn that it is projected that if the U.S. government takes control of the health care system that the government will end up controlling almost 50% of the U.S. economy.

Control? Yes. Power? Yes. This debate on health care is not about health care. Its about a vision that the left has at "transforming the society". Listen to the rhetoric of the left regarding corporations and CEO's. The wealth (private wealth not public wealth) has been equated with greed by the left in an attempt to tarnish those that have been successful in the private sector. This move on healthcare is not about insuring 47 million more people, but about taking over control of a significant aspect of the economy whereby the government has no regulator. In fact, the government will have a monopoly on the system as in the end it will force private insurers out. What are we left with then? Zero options thats what.

How has the government managed to take control over the econonmy virtually under stealth-like conditions? Simple. The Obama administration has used bailouts as a means of gaining entry into various sectors of the economy in order to bring them under control of Washington and out of the free markets. Bailouts in areas such as finance, mortgage, insurance and auto manufacturing have changed the landscape of the free market system. Those that think that the government will return control are naive. The whole notion od "systemic risk" was the equivalent economic scare tactic no different than the accusations that the Bush adminstration used 9/11 routinely as a national security scare tactic.

There are many that will defend this outright intrusion into the private sector. If you take the mortgage industry for example, one has to ask why Fannie and Freedie were neccessary in the first place. Canada does not have a Fannie/Freddie equivalent and yet as a percentage of population only has 1% less in home ownership. In truth, the U.S. Government is the culprit behind the housing crisis. It is an example of how the government intentionally confuses buisness models with social programs. They turned to Fannie/Freddie to dish out millions of subprime mortgages as social policy and through business guided principle.

Americans will be subsidizing the auto industry/manufacturing for the next twenty plus years. There is no quick fix for an industry that has been unable to compete globally for over a decade. Its costs are too high and by having the government in control of the industry it will not be long before the world will begin to perceive the involvement as purely protectionist in nature. Liberals point to the cash for clunkers as some great achievment in the area of sales growth, but the fact is the government in the end is on the hook for paying for those sales in the form of the rebate. Most car buyers under the program are unaware that the rebate is deemed taxable income.

Our annual deficit for 2010 assumes a robust economic recovery. What happens if its not so "robust"? What happens when unemployment continues to rise? Well, for starters in classic liberal social policy unemployment benefits will be increased or extended thus creating an even greater burden on the federal deficit.

At some point we have to get through the smoke and mirrors of Washington. They are simply cashing checks they cannot realistically cash without increasing taxes on every American. What happens should the Chinese decide to cash in its chips regarding America? What if they decide to start selling the dollar? Do we really think that we control our own destiny anymore as the generations before us have?

It is shameful the manner in which this generation in power has betrayed everything the greatest generation and the ones before it have fought to create and defend in this country. Its ironic that a generation that rejected any government authority some forty plus years ago now yields that authority to destroy the very institution of the free market system.

The fact is every major issue being debated right now in the Congress is about control. Its not so much about control of you, but control of the wealth. Remember, we have a President who believes in "redistributing" the private wealth in this country. Never lose sight of that fact.

Its time we start looking through the prism of "redistribution" ideology when we examine anything this government undertakes in the future. if they are successful in taking over health care you can bet the next industry they take on will be energy.

If we are not careful, this government will find some manner in which to take over the energy industry whereby being able to monopolize that sector of the economy as well. Remember in 2007, the Oil Industry CEO's were the bad guys. Expect that rhetoric to return when we see gas prices rise in 2010.

Do you want to live in a Free Market system? If so, its time to get involved and get engaged. If you do not, it will not be long before you or your employer will be under the boot of Uncle Sam.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Real Issue Facing Republicans?

The real issue before the Virginia GOP is not in reality whether or not Bob McDonnell will win the election in ten days. Its a safe bet that he will. Its the divide within the Party that exists today in large part due to various insiders whom have sought to alienate portions of the traditional conservative base that are more fiscal conservative or libertarian in nature. It began early in 2008 with the nomination of Sen. John McCain, but reached its pinnacle moment with the removal of Jeff Frederick. Sure, Jeff said some pretty crazy stuff, but in the end it was insiders who sought to take the Party in an extreme rightward direction away from the majority of those Virginians whom have supported it over the years. The manner in which Fredericks removal was handled illustrates the insidership of the State GOP.

Why is this a problem?

In 2006/07 social issues were elevated to the top of the platform as a means of getting the base out to the polls. It was a strategic move, but it also put the social platform in the cross hairs of the generational divide. I learned very quickly that those absolutely against recognizing homosexual marriage came from two very different groups; one being the baby boomers + and the other the African American community. I can only speak from experience so I will simply say that the former has created a major obstacle for the State GOP going forward. The younger generation of voters have an entirely different perspective on such issues as homosexuality, race relations, equal rights and equal opportunity. Younger people are more open, tolerant and embrace inclusion over exclusion. Younger people value the right of privacy and reject anyone, let alone the government, to dictate choices or limit opportunity. These younger voters IMHO were manipulated by the false promise of change brought about by the marketers behind Obama's campaign.

I have spoken to literally hundreds of younger voters and they all have the same thing to say. Where they are becoming disillusioned with Obama and his administration, both Democrats and Republicans alike, they do not see a platform in the GOP right now that offers them a voice or an agenda to get behind. The biggest issue one would think with young folks would be healthcare if you believe the mainstream media, but in reality its future issues like spending, the environment and job opportunity/security. They know there will be no social security for them. They question the longetivity of such things as 401ks and retirement plans given the moves by Washington to dip into such areas and make changes to such laws impacting saving that are on the horizon. They have the vision to see a bleak economy over the next half decade and yet at the very point in time where they could be brought into the greater Republican community they are being turned away.

Why? Because certain Republican extremists have determined that the country and Virginia must concentrate on a social conservative platform and not a fiscal conservative one. They will use the spending issue as a sword of course, but the real agenda driving these social conservatives is control. Control of your life and control of mine. They believe they know what is best and if you disagree, even if you are a Republican, you are taken to the wood shed. Case in point, Jeff Frederick.

Local bloggers like Tom White over at Virginia Right is an example of the divide that is being created. Mr. White has sought to drive every moderate and fiscal conservative from the State GOP and refers to any Republican who does not put the social conservative platform above all else as a "liberal" conservative. Virginia Right recently made the claim that Henrico County is more conservative, or in his words a stronger shad of red, than even Chesterfield County. His posts illustrate a rejection of the notion that Virginia is an independent/moderate State. Some refer to this as being a "purple" voting State. To some, being "purple" is exactly what is needed in that it allows voters to take a look at candidates independently and make determinations accordingly based on the individual not the Party. Tom White rejects this. According to Virginia Right if you supported John McCain last Fall you are a "liberal-Republican". He fails to account in all his "analysis" why it is his own Henrico has such a poor showing as of late regarding conservative candidates. He downplays his vote of course as simply a vote for Palin and not for McCain or a vote against Obama not one for McCain.

White calls Henrico County home. Henrico supported Kaine over Kilgore, Obama over McCain, Warner over Gilmore and by less than a percent supported Allen over Webb. Compared to Chesterfield County, thats a pretty strong anti-conservative record that Virginia Right chooses to ignore when he blasts fellow Republicans in Chesterfield for not being conservative enough. Afterall, Chesterfield delivered support to Kilgore, McCain and Allen. Virginia Right's frustration is solely directed at "moderates". White refers to these voters as "liberal Republicans" not moderates. These voters are the biggest problem in White's eyes. He sees these voters as traitors to the cause. The problem is Virginia Right does not seem to grasp just what the real "cause" is.

The future of the GOP and the roadmap for succes is not through divisive attacks or trying to figure out which group is "more conservative" or anything like that, but by creating a vision for the Party that is rooted in core principles based on fiscal conservatism. The future or death of the formal GOP will be dertermined not by the aging population of the baby boomer generation now with the greater demographic, but by the younger generations to come as well as the growing Hispanic population throughout the country. True conservatism applied to such issues as immigration very well may bring that future into the fold, but people like Tom White will have none of that. White sees the GOP has more of a club. His posts at Virginia Right demonstrate his intent on discriminating against certain Republicans. Your welcome as long as you do what your told and follow the line of the social conservatives.

You would think that a candidate like Jim Gilmore would have provided an opportunity for Virginia to demonstrate just how "conservative" the Commonwealth really is and yet Mark Warner brought in more Republican support than any other statewide candidate since Chuck Robb. Virginia Right provides no analysis for this other than accusing all those Republicans who supported Warner as dead weight in the State GOP. Again, traitors to the cause.

After a series of hard fought battles for statewide office, the State GOP must continue to examine its platform. These battles will always be close in Virginia because of the extreme influence of independents and moderates. Tom White would alienate these voters. Banish them from the State GOP and leave the Party with about 26% of the electorate. The GOP needs to push past such advocates.

Bob McDonnell right now is winning the middle ground over Creigh Deeds. Bob is running the kind of campaign that needs to be run to win in Virginia. Bob has avoided the divisive side of politics that often follows many social conservatives. Bob understands the the Virginia voter and those attending the State GOP convention are very very different. The latter are very conservative and lean more towards the far right of the Party whereas the average Virginian comes down somewhere in the middle. This is why Virginia has a long track record of split ticket voting. It is not uncommon for us in Virginia to elect a Democrat as Governor and than support a Republican in the White House and this year vice versa.

Fact is not all Republicans are social conservatives and not all Democrats in Virginia are "liberals". There is a swell of voters in the middle, but instead of attempting to deliver a majority of them to the polls in support of the GOP, people like Tom White seek to alienate them. He seeks to ridicule and offer platitudes of prejudice against even self-professed Republicans claiming they are not "conservative enough".

He states that support for Sen. McCain is whats wrong with the Republican Party and that McCain is merely a liberal like the Snowe, Spector and others. I guess he also would throw in Lindsey Graham as well, but in reality maybe Tom White does not have to look any further than his own backyard. Eric Cantor (R-7) seems to fall off his radar and yet Cantor voted for much of what is wrong with Washington right now. How about all those bailouts? Gee, Cantor in the House, heavy weights like McCain, Graham and Snowe in the Senate all in a position of leadership and power and they are all "liberal Republicans" according to Tom White?Wow. Where all all those social conservatives. Oh thats right, most of them were defeated in the House and Senate races since 2006.

The difference between the fiscal conservative and social conservative is attitude. Fiscal conservatives are more than willing to work with all conservatives to bring about a reduction of taxes, spending, regulation and the size and scope of goverment without question in order to provide solutions for America's future. It is apparent through Tom White that we see that social conservatives have no esire to work with anyone who does not seek to elevate its issues to the front of the platform and cares very little for expanding ideas and growing the ranks through open dialogue and a genuine love for the country and ALL its people.

If people like Tom White are not careful their wish will eventually come true. The problem is there is not much you can do in politics with less than 30% of the vote. Not much at all folks. An unwillingness to compromise and expand the Party very well may be the GOP' undoing here in Virginia. Fortunately, Bob McDonnell does not subscibe to such radical viewpoints as Virginia Right or at the very least Bob has not in the execution of his duties acted in like fashion and could possibly go a long way to rebuilding the State GOP that was crushed last Fall throughout the Commonwealth.

The State GOP has real issues facing its future, but this divisive battle being waged by such people as Tom White against the rank and file should not be one of them. Evidently the heat is getting a bit hot for him over at Virginia Right these days. I hear that he has actually invoked moderation over at Virginia Right. Moderation? Yeap. Just another way to silence critics folks and control the dialogue. Who can blame him? He and the Henrico GOP have their hands full these days over there fighting back (or even denying) the voting trends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Delegate John O'Bannon Outed on Health-Related Record

Again, I have not seen such a hotly contested Delegate race and at times full of those campaign grenades often thrown out by staffers or supporters than what is going on currently in the final weeks of the race in the 73rd. Given my district's race is about as boring as it gets, I can't help but jump over to the 73rd where the action is. Afterall, Loupassi is a lock.

Just to prove that some of us do not blidly support candidates with an (R) or a (D) after theri name and actually have some intellectual integrity when it comes to issues and refuse to allow polticians to serve up platitudes by the mouthful I am tackling the 73rd.

Republican incumbant John O'Bannon and his supporters have been consistent at making sure that the "only physician in the House of Delegates" point has been routinely articulated either through tv commercials, canvassing or campaign literature. This of course is a very timely and strategic move given the national focus on heathcare reform out of Washington and all the town hall meetings these days.

There is just one big problem. Dr. O'Bannon after some nine years in the House of Delegates seems to have rarely sponsored health related bills that are to the direct benefit of the consumer. Instead all to often, Dr. O'Bannon has sponsored legislation, which for the most part has failed to pass in the House even with Republican majority, that entrenches the heathcare industry.

The Shields campaign has failed to deliver in these last few weeks a real arguement against O'Bannon or highlight his real record as an incumbant. Instead, it seems they are content to rely on the usual pro-choice groups whom have criticized O'Bannon for his pro-life positions on abortion. This is a mistake. The holes in the notion of the O'Bannon camp's contention regarding O'Bannon have little to do with the pro-life/choice debate but more about whose side O'Bannon is really on in the House concerning heath-related issues.

The pro-choice line of attack falls on deaf ears to those who do not consider abortion a prominent political issue. By this I mean most independents and moderates. Of course, the arguement can be made by the left that O'Bannon hardly cares about patient rights if he endorses legislation that would restrict a woman from doing with her own body what she choses. I think Shields needs to use an entirely different tact.

I think if the Shields camp really wants to begin to draw some distinctions between O'Bannon's claim of being the kind of Delegate looking out for patients(citizens) just as he has done for his own real life patients and his actual sponsorship record in the House. Now is the time Mr. Shields.

If you review the record, one finds a significant number of bills sponsored by O'Bannon that directly benefit corporate entities in the healthcare or medical industry and not patients.
For example, in HB250 O'Bannon sought to allow HMO or managed care health insurance plans that were newly established to obtain licensing before actually being certified of quality assurance by the State Health Commission. In essence, O'Bannon sought to streamline the process for insurers. In HB382, O'Bannon sought to make information exchanged by medical committees or medical review boards or even advisory committees "privileged" and inadmissible in a court of law. So much for patient rights folks in the case of malpractice or civil suits.In HB252, O'Bannon sought to establish bureau of Health Insurance within the SCC . In HB2455, O'Bannon sought to extend tax credits and incentives to biosciences and other technologies which would exempt equity and subordinated debt. HB563 O'Bannon sought to expand the "conscience clause" from doctors to such areas as pharmacology. In essence, here O'Bannon was seeking to permit a pharmicist for example to exercise the clause and not dispense say contraception to a patient. Evidently, as articulated by pro- choice groups O'Bannon sees "contraceptions" as abortants. This can also be reviewed in SB1104 more in depth.

Others; HB 1884 patient communication
HB247- require all hospitals involved in diversion to use electronic health records

The theme running through virtually all of these bills Mr. Shields are they come down on the side of business and industry and NOT patient care. O'Bannon has spent little time in the House being a patient advocate as so many of his canvassers have professed. Its time to step up in your campaign and hold O'Bannon accountable for just whose interests he has been looking out for.

Mr. Shields here's a hint. Start with Republican John O'Bannons Bio and work backward.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Call for Del. O'Bannon (R-73) to Put an End to the Lies

The race in the 73rd is a very good chance of boiling over. The reason for this is the fact that the Republicans believed that the seat in the House of Delegates would be relatively safe in this years election cycle. But that was nine months ago.

Incumbant, Dr. John O'bannon while certainly maintaining an edge in fundraising and community support is in a fight. How we respond to such adversity is a measure of who we are both as people and as leaders.

Dr. O'Bannon has an opportunity to call out his supporters, especially bloggers, who have been outright and blatant misrepresentation of ACORN's involvement in the 73rd race in an attempt to use the backlash (and rightfully so) to recent released videos to do nothing more than smear the Shields camp unjustly.

It is one thing for supporters of O'Bannon to call for Shields to denounce his former boss in Rep. Bobby Scott (D) support for the organization, but it is entirely different to link or disparage Mr. Shields or his campaign by saying they are in realtionship with ACORN.

In fact, ACORN has not been involved in any activities regarding the 73rd nor is it according to their office involved in any active canvass or voter registration drives in the area over the course of this race.

Certain over zealous and frankly factually challenged bloggers continue to attempt to link Shields and ACORN and thus it should be Dr. O'bannon's responsibility to call on those supporters to let the race stand on the issues and not on just inflammatory and falsehoods. His supporters will cry "this is politics", but is not this kind of stuff exactly what most of us have been voicing we detest anout the whole process?

Is not this kind of thing exactly why many ggod qualified people do not enter political life? It has nothing to do with the "heat" but who wants to deal with the kinda crap these folks have to deal with now given the new media.

Whose to blame? We are. We tolerate this kind of campaigning where bloggers shill for campaigns with falsehood and inuendo void of fact.

O'Bannon should put an end to this and allow the campaigns to get back to issues. O'Bannon will likely be victorious anyway, but how he wins may tell us more about the man himself and the kind of leader he truly is.

Pride cometh before the fall Sir. In winning in this manner, you very well may lose more than you will ever know.

Do the right thing.