Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Obama's tax plan will destroy Social Security system.

Social Security was begun as a national retirement plan. Workers paid into this plan a set percentage of their income, beginning at 1% in the old days, and received a payout when they reached retirement age. Employers matched this contribution, much like a traditional retirement plan. There is an upper limit of income that is taxed, and a corresponding upper limit on benefits. Although not exact, there is a correlation between what's paid in and the benefits paid out. This made Social Security fundamentally different from a welfare program. This resulted in almost unanimous public support. Some Democrats have said that Social Security taxes are regressive. This is total nonsense. Contributions are capped, but so are benefits. If you raise Social Security taxes for upper income groups but not benefits, it is not a retirement plan; it will then become simply a welfare or “spread the wealth” plan.

Obama says his income tax plan will lower taxes for 95% of Americans. There is just one problem with this, 40% of Americans already pay no income tax. Obama’s response to this is that these people pay Social Security tax. Well, that's not income tax, but a contribution to their retirement plan. So if he wins and implements his tax plan, for the first time in the history of Social Security, 40% of the people who will get retirement benefits will have paid nothing for them. Social Security will then loose all pretext of being a retirement plan, and will become a national welfare program.

This will cause Social Security to lose public support in a massive way. If your retirement benefits have no correlation to your retirement contributions, it is just a welfare program. 60% of Americans that will then pay all Social Security payroll taxes will no longer support Social Security politically. This will be the death knell for the Social Security system, as we know it today. This should alarm everyone, regardless of his or her politics. If you support McCain, get out and vote. If you support Obama, and he wins, urged him to scrap this disastrous tax plan. Leave Social Security contributions out of income tax plans. If you take some peoples income taxes to pay others Social Security taxes, Social Security will be destroyed forever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can we afford the third war that Obama might bring?

Joe Biden's recent remarks that after Obama is elected, there will be a manufactured crisis somewhere in the world to test him brings up some interesting points. When a nation chooses a young and inexperienced leader, especially one that has a history of opposing armed conflict, it is only natural for America's enemies to choose this time to test us.

This has happened historically many times, not just to America but also throughout history. It happened when we elected John Kennedy and Khrushchev decided to test us with the Cuban missile crisis. It happened when England chose Margaret Thatcher as prime minister and Argentina decided that was the right time to test England. Margaret Thatcher was not young and inexperienced, but in the male-dominated macho world of Argentina, it was just assumed that a woman would not be a strong leader. If they had done their research they would have found out that she wasn't called the Iron Lady for nothing.

Part of this is of no fault of Obama himself. He can't control how old he is or how much experience he has. But part of it is the fact that he ran his whole campaign on the premise that we need to get out of Iraq quickly as possible. This could cause extremist groups all over the world that oppose our presence anywhere to attack us and hope that we leave. He will have no choice but to fight back, and fight back hard, to prove himself and prevent future tests. There is a very strong possibility that this could lead to another war that we don't really have the troops and the manpower to effectively fight right now.

Of course, Obama's supporters will point out that that he is almost exactly the same age and has almost exactly the same years of experience in government as Sarah Palin. Of course, there are two major differences, one she's running for vice president, not president and two she has a reputation for being a very tough fighter.

Although McCain's critics a point out that he might be a little erratic and have a bad temper, that is just the kind of leader that no one really wants to test. Nixon sought to convince the North Vietnamese that he was just a little crazy to improve his bargaining position. Somehow I can't help but think about Richard Pryor's attempt to convince his cellmates, in one of his movies, that he was insane so they would leave him alone.

One of the reasons that virtually everyone in the rest of the world wants America to elect Obama is they think that he will not be assertive on the world stage, and America's power and influence will diminish. And of course each of those countries hopes that partially they will be there to replace that influence. But I believe it is in interest of the United States that we choose a leader like McCain, who no one will dare test. An international crisis and possibly a third war are something we just cannot afford at this moment in our history.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Obama McCain health care plans fact checked.

Most of the last two years we've seen Obama talk about his health care plan that he says would lower people's insurance premiums by $2500 a year. We watched him first discusses his plan in debates with Hillary, who had a slightly different proposal. Now it is time to put his plan and McCain’s under the microscope.

Obama's health care plan, that he says will lower premiums $2500 dollars a year per person, sounds wonderful. I as an individual pay about 6000 dollars per year for my health care plan. So, taking $2500 dollars off would be great. The key question of course is how to do this. If the government simply gave everybody $2500 dollars a year, for every man woman and child in the country, we would be talking about a yearly expenditure that exceeds the much talked about trillion dollar bailout plan.

As it turns out his plan simply involves the automation of medical records and other paperwork currently in the healthcare industry. An examination of his plan by shows some surprising results. His plan would in fact, lower health care costs, but by nowhere near the percentage he is talking about, and it would take 10 years to accomplish. In addition, there are upfront costs to implement the plan, which someone has to pay for. So the net savings in an Obama first-term would be negligible. In addition, when inflation in health care costs is taken in consideration, and the growth in health care costs usually exceeds the inflation rate, the most conservative inflation estimates would show that Obama’s plan at best, would slightly slow the increase in health care costs for a short time and result in no actual decreases at all.

I often wonder why Hillary and Obama, both in the Senate, simply didn't put forth a plan that would lower everybody's cost of insurance by 2500 dollars year. If it were so easy the plan would have pasted in the Senate a hundred to nothing. But there is no free lunch, and as Obama himself said previously in his debates with Hillary, if fixing health care were easy, it would've already been done. So unless Obama has some great secret strategy and again, if he's got some great secret strategy to do this why have we not heard about it in the Senate? Perhaps the conclusion has to be that he himself knows his plan will not work when put under the microscope of a Senate hearing. If there was an easy solution, he's right, it would have already been done.

McCain’s health care program is based around the elimination of what has been since World War II, the employer-based health care plan. Employers began to increase the benefits to their employees, like health care, because they couldn't legally raise wages. This system has developed over time into one in which most people rely on employers for their health insurance. McCain's plan would allow more individuals and not their employers to choose their own health care plans and to help pay for it, a 5000 dollar tax credit. The problem with this plan, is that most individuals are completely unqualified to compare one health care plan to another. These plans have page after page after page of fine print with exclusions on things that are paid for or not paid for. It is almost impossible for most people to make a reasonable choice of a health care plan without hiring a lawyer to look over the contracts and see exactly what is covered and what is not. Even if you could determine what's covered in each plan and what's not covered under each plan then you have to guess what illness you're going to get to be able to make any kind of reasonable decision on which health care plan was actually better for you. John McCain's plan depends on the free market to lower rates. The problem with this approach is that the free market lowers rates by putting those very exclusions of treatment into their contracts to lower their costs and therefore offer a plan that sounds good but costs less, so people will buy it. They'll find out that the plan doesn't cover whatever it is they needed for it to cover when they are in the hospital and it's too late.

Before consumers can reasonably be able to shop for health care plans, a major problem in the insurance industry needs to be addressed. If anyone is ever going to hope to be able to make a reasonable choice between competing health care plans, there must be some standards that all health care plans must meet. There must be a national minimal coverage standard so that everyone knows if they purchase an insurance policy, that policy will cover everything in those standards. Insurance companies could add benefits, like John McCain's debate mention of hair transplants, cosmetic procedures, etc, and sell premium or super premium plans at additional cost. But the consumer must know that if you purchased a health care plan, all basic health care needs are covered. People must be able to trust that if they purchase something in this country called a health insurance policy, and they get sick and go to the doctor then that is covered.

There must also be some standardization as to how insurance companies calculate deductibles, co-pays and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. These three items are the key to choosing a policy. Once you understand what a health care policy is, i.e. one that meets the minimum national standards to be called a health care policy, the next question that you have to ask is what you're co-pays are, what you deductible is and what your maximum out-of-pocket expenses are. These standards would tell a customer that a policy that has a $1500 deductible is, in fact, a better policy than one has a $2500 deductible. They would not have to hunt for some fine print containing coverage exclusions, or something else that makes what appears to be a better policy in actuality a worse policy for the consumer. The basics contained in a health care policy must be standardized. There must also be standardization in how insurance companies list and advertise the three basic components that can be used to compare plans, i.e. co-pays and deductibles and maximum yearly out-of-pocket expenses. Ever try to read the small print on the bottom of your TV screen during an insurance commercial? This standardization would let people look at a short summary and determine which health care plan is really best for them. Insurance companies would compete on the basis of their own internal efficiencies or inefficiencies, their level of customer service and the efficiencies or inefficiencies of their network of health care providers they contracted with to provide the services, but not on which services are covered and which are not in the standard plan.

Once the deductibles, doctor co-pays and out of pocket expenses are standardized and the minimum coverage is standardized, you can make a rational decision with a one-page sheet of information of which plan is actually better for you. Do you want a plan that has higher premiums but a lower deductible so that once you budged for your monthly premiums; your health care is covered? Or do you consider yourself a healthy person that wants to pay lower premiums with higher deductibles so that you would use your insurance for the worst illnesses and pay for more routine visits out of pocket?

This standardization would also greatly reduce costs to health care providers. They spent an enormous amount of time and resources trying to determine what procedures are covered, and getting paid for them by the insurance companies, for each of their patients and they’re many different plans. The enormous amount of paperwork involved in this today is a part of what Obama’s plan would computerize or otherwise automate. But why not eliminate it instead of automating it? Your doctor should spend his time deciding how to treat you illness, not on how to classify it so it’s covered by your health care plan.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Change you can trust, a slogan that could turn around McCain's campaign?

Change you can trust contrasts beautifully with change you can believe in.

Everyone wants change, only with a team that we can trust to implement it. If you're in a tough spot, you want someone to come to help you that you can trust, not someone you believe may want to help you.

John McCain, polls show, is rated as highly qualified and highly trusted. This slogan, change you can trust, reinforces this message.

It can even be added on to John McCain’s current slogan. Country first, change you can trust. Or perhaps Change you can trust that puts Country first. Or how about Change you can trust that puts America first

It implies without directly saying it that the other side is perhaps a little less trustworthy.

It also reinforces the message that in a time we are facing battle with Al Qaeda worldwide and two conventional wars, John McCain is a commander in chief you can trust to lead us to victory.

There are 30 days left before Election Day. Sarah Palin’s debate performance was good, but it's really up to John McCain to win.





John, are you listening???

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Democrats created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess then stopped reforms

A brief history of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess is in order. Back in the days when a Bank or Savings and Loan approved a home loan, they did so with lending standards that had historically led to only safe loans. They had to because they kept the loan and were responsible if it failed. These standards included 3 major parts.

First, the mortgage payments could be no greater that a set percentage of your income, usually about 40 percent.

Second, a down payment was required of about 10 percent or above so the new owner would immediately have some equity in the home.

Third, A good credit rating was required to prove you had a history of paying your bills.

Some adjustments could be made, for example people that had poor credit could get a loan with a larger down payment so if the loan failed, the bank could still resell the house and cover the loan.

With the well intentioned goal of increasing the level of home ownership in lower income and minority groups, Lenders were encouraged to make home loans that did not meet normal standards with the promise that Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac would buy these loans and the lenders were not responsible if they failed.

The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac crisis has its roots in the Community Redevelopment Act signed into law during the Carter Administration. President Clinton, influenced by multiculturalism, encouraged it further by dictating where mortgage lenders could lend. Tough new regulations required that lenders increase their lending in high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make loans that sound business practices had previously rejected. And again, Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac bought these loans, which means taxpayers were ultimately responsible if these loans failed.

As long as home values rise, failed loans could be covered by selling the house. If however, home values fell as they did during and after the 1973 Arab oil embargo when energy prices doubled, just as they have today, these failed loans caused a huge financial impact on Lenders and Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. The huge increases in energy costs are an indisputable part of this financial crisis.

In 2003 the huge level of risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had come to represent for both taxpayers and financial institutions was becoming apparent. The Bush Administration attempted to reign in the problem by raising standards for loans that Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteed. Congressional Democrats blocked this reform so that minorities and low-income groups could continue to buy homes that by most standards they could not really afford.

From the New York Times September 11, 2003

The Bush Administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, and the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed. ''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

John McCain saw the huge Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac train wreck coming in 2005 and lead a reform effort to again raise lending standards and protect taxpayers from what could become catastrophic costs from failed loans.

From the Congressional Record:
ACT OF 2005The United States Senate, May 25, 2006

Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]: Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

For Years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs— and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the
report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

These efforts were blocked by Congressional Democrats. Obama never lifted a finger to help any Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac reform effort. Perhaps that’s why Obama received $105,849, Nancy Pelosi $47,000 and Harry Reid $60,500 from Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac lobbyists and John McCain got none.

In a truly amazing insult to our intelligence, Obama campaigns daily on the premise that Bush and McCain are responsible for this mess! If Obama wanted to truly be a bipartisan leader he would distance himself from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who closed down Congress to go on vacation rather than allow any votes on the energy crises, and Barney Frank who fought Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac reform.

Also see:

Obama vs McCain, who is really more of the same?

Democrats blocked Bush’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reforms.

Economic and Energy crisis, the real 3 a.m. call for Obama and McCain.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Democrats blocked Bush’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reforms

After the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now AIG, everyone is wondering whose next and what really caused this mess. A look back in history provides some answers as to how we got here and what do we do now. The government leaned hard on banks back in the 70's thru the 90's to help those deemed less fortunate attain the American dream of homeownership. Problem is the folks who were being left out also tended to have bad credit histories. Under the banner of fairness, the banks capitulated and created what has become today's sub prime loan market. The rate of homeownership did in fact increase significantly in the last 10-15 years with much of that increase coming in disadvantaged groups.

When Bush took office he attempted to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise credit and down payment requirements because of the huge and growing risks the government would face in an economic downturn.

From the NEW YORK TIMES September 11, 2003:

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

Democrats such as Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina blocked reform.

From the NEW YORK TIMES September 11, 2003:

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, and the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of
North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

What actually caused the bank failures is the simple fact that home values are falling not rising. In a normal market where values are rising, banks don’t lose money on a failed loan because they get the house, which, with a rising value, is worth more than the loan.

The same thing happened in 1973, when energy costs doubled from the Arab oil embargo, banks failed, stocks fell, jobs where lost, home values fell.

Also see:
Democrats created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess then stopped reforms.
Obama vs McCain, who is really more of the same?
Economic and Energy crisis, the real 3 a.m. call for Obama and McCain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Economic and Energy crisis, the real 3 a.m. call for Obama and McCain.

Lehman Brothers fails today. Falling values for homes continues to affect financial institutions all across the country. The real truth is that the crisis in the economy and the energy crisis are really one and the same. As the price of energy, and everything else has soared, this has a ripple effect throughout the entire economy. Gas cost more, so you have less to spend on other things and all the people that work in the stores that sold you those things now have a lower income. They therefore cannot afford to buy things, like houses, and on and on down the line. Plus the cost of everything that you have to buy goes up. Everything in every store you ever visited got there by truck. Any energy prices are causing the cost of driving a truck to go up. There is an underlying energy cost in virtually every single product that you buy, be it houses, electronics or food. Farmers had to buy gas to plow their fields, plant their seeds, harvest the crops, and transport the crops to market and on and on.

The underlying economic problem in this country for quite some time is the very simple fact that we import more than we export. You can relate how this works to a household budget. Your imports are the amount that you spend your exports are the amount of income you earn and if you continuously spend more than you earn, you're not going to end up doing very well economically. For years, the biggest factor in our trade deficit has been the importation of oil. Decades ago when oil was cheaper, we decided to make a trade-off. That trade off was a willingness to spend money to import oil and produce less domestically, because it was dirty. The oil spills off the Gulf coasts and off the coast of California were an annoying problem for anyone who went to the beach. I am old enough to remember visiting the beach as a youngster, and at the steps of every hotel along the beach there was basically some rags in a bucket of kerosene or some similar solvent to clean your off the bottom of your feet so you wouldn't track oil back into the hotel. The technology has greatly advanced. Offshore wells now have shut off valves below the seafloor. They close automatically in an emergency to prevent large quantities of oil from leaking into the sea. As a side note, 80% of all the oil on the earth that’s ever been formed has already leaked to the surface. The amount of oil spilled into the ocean today by man is only a tiny fraction of natural leakage of oil. Oil is lighter than water or rock, and after enough rock builds up over the top of it, it gets squeezed and the pressure goes up. If there are any fissures or cracks in the rock, it rises to the surface. Bacteria consume it and it becomes part of the food chain. After all, crude oil is pure organic material; it only causes problems in high concentrations, like a major oil spill. There have been no major oil spills off the coasts as a result of offshore drilling in many years.

And most importantly, the economics of our decision to import oil instead of producing it domestically has changed. At current world prices, and especially their peak price reached a few months ago, we are spending hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to import oil. The cost of the Iraq war is also an economic drain but the economic drain of the Iraq war is only about 20 or 30% of the economic drain of importing oil. In 1973, the Arab oil embargo caused a similar economic crisis in our country. Of course the obvious effects were the gas lines and the increased price of filling up your car at the pump. But our entire economy suffered greatly. Inflation soared and jobs were lost. Pretty much the same thing that we're experiencing right now. It was because of the ripple effects of energy prices, which is an underlying cost to produce virtually everything we eat or use in our daily lives. This is somewhat mitigated however, if the energy that we are paying increased prices for comes from inside the US. Because the net wealth stays inside our country, increased income from producers of oil is used to purchase goods, products and services that everyone else depends on for their income. If the money flows outside of the United States it is a net loss of wealth.

Earlier this year, when the price of energy soared, that was the 3 a.m. wake-up call. It should have been easily foreseen by Obama and McCain and everyone else that the ripple effects of virtually doubling of energy prices would have throughout the economy. The fallout was going to be brutal and widespread. McCain reversed his earlier position, and the position of pretty much everyone else, and said it was time to open up the outer continental shelf, but not ANWR, for drilling. He made it part of the way but didn't really propose an all-out plan to increase production. Obama came out against offshore drilling. It's McCain that got a grade of “incomplete” and Obama, a grade of complete failure.

The real solution to both the energy and related economic crisis is to become energy independent. Either Obama or McCain could have said the following statement and passed their 3 a.m. test:

“We are in a national emergency. We must become energy independent. This emergency requires the concerted efforts of our most creative and hard-working people all across the country. We need to greatly increase our investments in alternative energy sources, especially carbon free sources, like nuclear, wind and solar. But we also must realize that the time has come to explore every resource we have available to us. We need to produce every additional alternative energy source we can produce, and we need to extract every last barrel of oil and cubic foot of natural gas on American soil that we can find in an environmentally sound way. And we need to do it very quickly. We are out of time.”

The question of course is which candidate will figure this out, and will they figure it out before it's too late.

Also see:
Obama vs McCain, who is really more of the same?
Democrats blocked Bush’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reforms.
Democrats created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess then stopped reforms.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Did Obama attempt to sabotage US efforts in Iraq?

The most disturbing news of the day is an article in the New York Post that talks about Obama's efforts to stall a US troop withdrawal agreement with Iraq.

The article states that during Obama's recent trip to Iraq, when he met with the most senior Iraqi leadership, he tried to sabotage US efforts to negotiate a troop withdrawal agreement. It quotes senior Iraqi officials as saying that Obama actually tried to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington.

It quotes Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying "He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington.”

The article then goes on to report another serious charge that while meeting with top US commanders including General David Petraeus, he tried to get them to actually change their military viewpoints on a realistic withdrawal date for US troops.

Obama's motivation for such an attempt would appear clear. He spent the last year and a half of his campaign talking about what an incredible mistake the surge was. And he is of course facing an opponent in John McCain that fought for the surge when it was extremely unpopular. It would seem that it would be convenient for Obama for our efforts to appear not to be going nearly as well as they are. But for a presidential candidate to actually interfere in United States war efforts for campaign gain or advantage is a very, very shocking accusation.

This also brings up the question of campaign promises. His campaign has been saying that he is for a withdrawal by 2010. However if this was delayed because of his efforts to stop a troop withdrawal agreement from being negotiated until after his election, followed by the Iraqi election shortly thereafter, followed by the time needed to put together a Iraqi coalition government after the election, the withdrawal by 2010 is simply not possible.

According to the article, the overall impression that Obama left on the leadership of Iraq is that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success because that takes away his main attack against the Bush administration. When asked about his foreign-policy experience, he always says its not about experience, it's a matter of judgment. And he goes on to say that the true test of his judgment was his decision that Iraq was the wrong war and would never be a success and his decision to fight tooth and nail against the surge.

These are very, very serious charges that need to be either proved or disproved as quickly as possible. I personally hope that this story goes the way of “Sarah Palin’s daughter is actually her granddaughter” story. This accusation is to incendiary to leave hanging out there. It needs to be proved or disproved by the mainstream media. I hope they devote a good amount of resources to doing this so we either know this is true or not, as soon as possible.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln in 1863, "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged".

I strongly urge you to read this article and draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Obama vs McCain, who is really more of the same?

It was always going to be a stretch, comparing John McCain to George Bush, which of course is the centerpiece of Obama’s campaign attack. McBush, more of the same, 4 more years, etc. McCain and Bush together like twins. Anyone who saw the news for any length of time knows there are probably no two men in the Republican Party more different than George Bush and John McCain. Their battles have been epic and legendary.

There main attack is of course McCain voted with Bush, 90% of the time. I realize what they're trying to say, although technically of course, Bush doesn't vote on anything, he either signs a bill, which he may or may not agree completely with, or he vetoes a bill which he may agree with in some parts, but he vetoes it because of a specific part of the legislation. Let's go ahead and accept that George Bush and John McCain voted together 90% of the time, which of course brings up the question is McCain really bipartisan, or more of the same.

So I decided to do some research to find out how often Obama voted with his party led by Nancy Pelosi and of course in the Senate, Harry Reid. Astoundingly Obama voted with his party 96% of the time! There's only one group in politics today that has managed to achieve the dubious distinction of having a lower approval rating than President Bush. And of course, the winner of this dubious honor is the democratically controlled House and Senate. This was achieved when, to the astonishment of I think 70 to 80% of people in the country, at a time when gas prices and oil prices and energy prices in general had reached an all-time high, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi decided they would close Congress and go home and take a vacation instead of simply passing a bill to do something about it.

Obama says that he is going to be the great uniter, to see past red states and blue states, and just see American states. This phrase rings a little hollow, however, since he voted exclusively with the blue states and Democrats 96% of the time. So if by more the same, you mean more partisan deadlock that has stopped Washington from accomplishing anything for years, Obama is more of the same. It's a little difficult for Obama to argue voting with his party 96% of the time makes him more of a uniter than John McCain, which voted with his party 90% of the time. Or, as Obama asks, is a 10 percent chance of change enough? How about 4 percent?

Also see:
Democrats blocked Bush’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Reforms.
Economic and Energy crisis, the real 3 a.m. call for Obama and McCain.
Democrats created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess then stopped reforms.

Friday, September 12, 2008

John McCain to support drilling in ANWR, biggest news from Palin/Gipson interview

John McCain to support drilling in ANWR, the biggest news from the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gipson.

The world watched with bated breath awaiting Sarah Palin’s first big interview with the mainstream media. There were no huge surprises in this interview; she performed well by most accounts, not brilliantly but very well for someone in her position in their first big interview. Some of the questions that Charles Gibson asked seemed to be to set up traps for her, as any good reporter would. The nearest she came to a gaff was when he asked her about the Bush doctrine. But, the Bush doctrine means different things to different people. It can mean a preemptive war, it can mean democratization of dictatorships to lessen the chance of war in the future, or it can mean that people who give comfort and support to terrorists should be judged and dealt with the same as the terrorists would be. Sarah Palin then asked Charlie Gibson, what exactly he meant by the Bush doctrine, asking him to be more specific. And again he tried to trap her by instead of answering; he said “well, what does the Bush doctrine mean to you?” She then went on to explained her view of what Bush's policies had been and also her view of some of the mistakes he had made. Sort of a gaff, but maybe not.

Charlie Gibson then pushed her on points of disagreements with John McCain. But keep in mind, and this is very important, during the Democratic primary debates, Joe Biden and Obama disagreed a lot.. So it may turn out that Sarah Phelan was in fact ready to be interviewed all along on what she thought. However, it is the vice president's job to support the presidential candidate's positions. Joe Biden will support the positions of Obama, even know some of those positions he argued about during the debates. That's just the way the system works, the vice president supports the president. So, what she may have been going through for the last few days was not someone coaching her on how to answer questions or how to speak, but simply a detailed analysis of what John McCain's policies are, because those are the policies that she is supposed to go out and support. She seems to be her own woman, but will generally support McCain’s polices just as Joe Biden will support Obamas, no surprise there. However, I believe that she would push her own in some ways, to get her policies at least hearing with John McCain.

And so the biggest news out of this debate came when Charlie Gibson and Sarah Palin were walking down a lane and he was asking her about areas that she disagreed with John McCain on, and specifically asked her about ANWR. She smiled and said well, that's one of the areas that we disagree on. But the smiling face certainly didn't seem like someone who is being educated on an issue and was about to change her mind. The smile was as someone who is very, very sure of her position and knew it would prevail in the end. Charlie then asked her if ANWR was something they had agreed to disagree on. Sarah Palin laughed and smiled and said yes. She then added this caveat. Smiling even more broadly and more sure of herself, she said, I think we'll all be coming together on this in a week or so. The look on her face was not the look of someone who is about to lose an argument.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin letter to Harry Reid on Energy Policy. "Energy Expert"?

Sarah Palin letter to Harry Reid on Energy Policy.
Is she a "Energy Expert"?
Any comments??

June 23, 2008
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building .
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senate Majority Leader Reid:

In previous correspondence to members of Congress, I have urged the enactment of legislation to authorize development of oil and natural gas in a small portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I will not repeat the arguments in favor of this legislation but will briefly focus on a few key points that have become even more evident since my last correspondence.

That letter began, “With the price of oil hovering around $100 per barrel”. Now, just a few months later, the price is close to $140 per barrel, and there is no end in sight. What will it take for Congress to enact comprehensive energy policy that includes increased domestic production of oil and gas, renewable and alternative energy, and conservation? It seems to us outside of the Capitol Beltway that Virtually every effort to accomplish this is met with criticism and failure. In my opinion, the debate about energy policy is no longer theoretical and abstract. Our failure to enact an energy policy is having real consequences for every American in their daily lives and has begun to affect America’s place in the world.

In the last few days, proposals have been tabled to permit oil exploration and development in the 80 percent of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) which is off limits to such activity. I strongly support oes development in Alaska and elsewhere as a necessary component of a sound energy strategy. However, it makes no sense to consider the oes and to ignore the possibility of exploration and development in highly perspective upland areas, including the coastal plain of ANWR-the most promising unexplored petroleum province in North America.

With appropriate stipulations, oil exploration and development in the OCS can be conducted in a safe manner. Uplands development can be accomplished even more safely. Advanced technologies, such as directional drilling and the re-injection of oil wastes, ensure that the footprint of development would be less than 2,000 acres (approximately one-quarter of the size of Dulles Airport).

In advocating for oil development in ANWR, I have never guaranteed that this new domestic production would immediately reduce the price of oil. However, incremental production from the coastal plain should help reduce price volatility in the U.S. Additionally, ANWR development would send a strong message to oil speculators and producing countries that the United States is serious about addressing its energy problem.

Yet, there is an even more important point. The location and quantity of oil production are changing world geopolitics. Countries that produce significant quantities of oil and natural gas are gaining in power and prestige. Several of these countries have objectives and value systems that are antithetical to U.S. interests. We are becoming increasingly dependent on these insecure sources to our long-term detriment. Further, it has become clear that U.S. petrodollars are financing activities that are harmful to America and to our economic and military interests around the world.

Much attention has been focused on the importance of crude oil and gasoline in fueling our nation’s transportation system. This need for petroleum will not end anytime soon despite efforts to develop new technologies and to diversify our transportation system into mass transit and more fuel efficient automobiles.

Meanwhile, the true significance to the nation’s economy of products refined from petroleum is becoming increasingly apparent. These products undergird our entire society and economy and provide precious jobs and revenue. The soaring prices of chemicals, plastics, fertilizer, and other products - and the loss of jobs - graphically illustrate this point. We must recognize that it will be many years, if ever, before we discover alternatives to the petroleum-based products that every American uses in our daily lives.

If we don’t move now to enact an energy policy that includes more oil and gas production from domestic sources, including ANWR and the federal OCS, we may look back someday and realize that we failed to perceive a critical crossroad in the history of this nation. I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to say that this nation’s future and the quality of life for every American are dependent on the decisions you make or don’t make in the next few months.

Thank you for considering my views.

Sarah Palin

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sarah Palin pushes McCain over Obama in latest polls

McCaine/Palin now lead Obama/Biden by 2 points!
Sarah Palin's favorabilty ratings now exceed McCains AND OBAMAS by 1 point!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some sobering thoughts for both sides in the Sarah Palin frenzy.

I never heard of Sarah Palin before Friday's announcement. I immediately googled her and found some fascinating material. Keep in mind this was before all the new pages appeared so all the articles were on what see had actually done. OMG!

Everyone seems assured Biden will destroy Sarah Palin in the VP debate.
Newsflash, 2 years ago she debated the sitting GOP Governor, who also happened to have spent over 20 years in the US Senate, and killed him and won the election in a landslide.

Every seems assured she wont hold up without a teleprompter.
Watch this video interview with Newsweek on female governors last march.

There seems to have been a 2 year old grassroots effort to get her to VP, first for Rudy, and only later for Jonnie. Look for the older stuff on this site; front page is RA RA for her and McCaine now.

Newsflash for the GOP bigwigs that think they can use her to stay in power and forget about her, that's what all the Alaskan GOP bigwigs thought to, they don't have jobs now. She is so hated by the old time GOP powers that her name is not mentioned on the GOP's state website.

"In the roughly three years since she quit as the state's chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic. Political analysts in Alaska refer to the "body count" of Palin's rivals. "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah," says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called "Voice of the Times," which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct."

Funniest video take on Sarah Palin, done by 2 guys who think there slamming her, just like Archie Bunker was supposed to be making fun of people like him but became their hero.