The old Nissan vs. Nissan debate…

So, everyone who’s been on the interweb for more than a few years knows about the old Nissan vs. Nissan court case.  What’s that?  You don’t know about it? 

Well, to avoid big yawns from those that do know about it, here’s the synopsis.  Go to nissan.com.  Whoa, that’s not Nissan, right?  Mostly.  Now go to nissandriven.com.  There they are!  The deal (briefly) is that some guy whose name is Uzi Nissan (seriously) has been using the nissan.com domain since the early days.  During these early days Nissan used to be known as Datsun (they were very very early days).  Once Nissan got it together and decided to re-brand themselves, they also decided that they just absolutely needed that nissan.com domain.  Awesome.  Only Uzi Nissan sure as heck wasn’t gonna give it up (can you just imagine the sheer amount of traffic that domain must get?  It’s a freakin’ gold mine!)  So Nissan Motors got nasty.  And not in a good way.

That started back in 1999.  Yeah, seriously, like 10 years ago.  A series of legal battles known as Nissan vs. Nissan ensued.  At the end of the day, the little guy won out and Uzi Nissan got to keep his domain.  I remember when this was in the news… and his website was basically a link to the legal documents and battles that were raging during the early 2000’s.  All pretty rough, no doubt.

So this begs the question: do we boycott Nissan for being a big fat faceless corporation that cares nothing about anything but itself?  Apparently their evilness isn’t limited to trying to yoink domains from small businessmen:

In
another example of Nissan Motor’s flexing its corporate might, age old
eminent domain laws have been rewritten in Mississippi allowing the
State to take land and homes from local landowners for the sole private
benefit of Nissan Motors.  How the State of Mississippi was “convinced”
to change these laws is unclear, but it is clear that local individuals
are being deprived of their property rights so Nissan Motors can build
its own plant.

Wow.  Nissan Motors’ evil knows no bounds.  They do however, make a mighty fine car.  Knowing (or at least being aware) that Nissan is capable of such vile acts, can we really purchase a Nissan (or by proxy, an Infinity) and support this beast?  I mean, I hate it when Corporate America flexes and squashes small businesses (damn you, Wal-Mart!) but at the end of the day, it’s Corporate America that really sways the economy and creates the environment you enjoy now.  They make the fancy cars, and the sweet computers, and the big televisions, and all that great stuff that you call ‘name brand.’  And listen: it’s not like Sony isn’t doing the same thing.  Or IBM.  Or (ahem) Motorola.  When it comes to achieving their goals, there’s not much a hefty-sized corporation isn’t gonna do (and if they get caught, just throw lawyers at.) 

So what do we do, then?  Do we boycott all the major corporations and manufacturers, opting instead for the small businessman and the craftsmen that roll cigars on the plump thighs of Puerto Rican women?  I’m not so sure we could, even if we wanted to.  It’s all well and good in theory, and when we get our self-righteous rage on, and our chests puff up in indignation, but at the end of the day I want the best technology money can buy.  I want the best bang for my buck.  I want what Corporate America is here to give me.

And that kinda sucks.

This FairTax thing everyone’s talking about

So a while back I was reading Wired magazine (the best magazine ever, by the way…) and I read about this book that promised to show me a way to abolish the IRS and reform tax law forever.  Feeling how I do about the IRS (that is to say, rather negatively at the best of times) and pretty much over the fact that the government really does just sit around with one hand in our pocket and one hand in theirs, I decided to look into it. 

FairTax Book

The book is called “The FairTax Book” and it’s written by some talk-show host I’ve never heard of and an equally obscure Senator. Thing is, they make sense.  You go through the book in a matter of hours (it’s a quick read and its written very well), they show you examples and issues, and you walk away feeling a couple of things.  First and foremost you feel “Wow, though, what a great plan.”  And it’s true.  It’s a great plan, theoretically.  It’s all very neatly proposed and seems to cover all the bases, all the arguments I could think of. 

The second thing you feel (and it’s unfortunate) is “this will never happen.  Congress will never, ever, in a million years
let this through.”  That kind of depresses me.  If the government
doesn’t want something, regardless of whether the people do, then it
just won’t happen.  Hmph.  The government is so convinced that they know what’s best for us that they treat us like children.  The terrible part is that it seems that we’ve bought into that and just sit back and ‘let the politicians politick.”  To me, that’s on par with voting for a politician simply because that’s the party you’re registered to.  Political decisions based purely on something so irrelevant as political party make me ill.

FairTax LogoThe democrats hate the FairTax act.  It takes away the government’s power to take away our earnings, which (potentially) threatens the resources available for all the social programs democrats love to dump money into.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I believe our government is so negligent and mis-manages resources so badly that any reform would be a positive step.  Republicans don’t seem all that pleased with it, probably for the same reasons.  One thing I found amusing – politicians don’t pay income tax.  To me, any resistance to this act smells of greed – greed to keep a hold on that nice 30% of their income that we pay, yet they get to keep.  That’s a big sweeping generalization, of course.  I’m sure there’s plenty of legitimate reasons to resist tax reform.  I just can’t think of any.  And the ones I’ve read about have traipsed all over the spectrum from ridiculous to well-thought-out, but misinformed. 

There’s a lot of misinformation rolling around.  One of the biggest is the whole 23%/30% tax proposal.  Opponents to the FairTax love to say “They’re trying to sneak a 30% sales tax on you.”  There’s simply no shortage of explanations why that doesn’t make any sense.  Here’s a really good one from their home page.

A few sites that I’ve found interesting and that may provide information for the interested (and/or merely curious) are: FairTax.org, Citizens for Alternative Tax Plans, and the FairTax Scorecard .  There’s no shortage of websites dedicated to being negative about the FairTax – here’s an example.  By all means read the information – but so much of it is uninformed and fabricated information that it just doesn’t make sense.  It reads like crazy survivalist propaganda.

It’s really just a big propaganda battle.  What can we do?  Honestly, read the book.  There’s lots of interesting ideas, even if you’re not into the FairTax act as a whole.  It’ll open your eyes to a lot of facts about the government that I guarantee you didn’t know.