In a dangerous world, protecting America’s national security requires a strong military. Today, America has the most capable, best-trained and best-led military force in the world. But much needs to be done to maintain our military leadership, retain our technological advantage, and ensure that America has a modern, agile military force able to meet the diverse security challenges of the 21st century.
While we agree Senator, how many more billions do you think we have to spend on the military and Iraq? Have you thought about asking the Iraqi’s for financial assistance, cuz we are broke guy.
John McCain is committed to ensuring that the men and women of our military remain the best, most capable fighting force on Earth – and that our nation honors its promises to them for their service.
We hope you have a bigger wallet than we do Senator. Darn it, wished I married a beer magnate’s daughter. Great tasting and less filling. Whoops, wrong beer, sorry.
The global war on terrorism, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and the rise of potential strategic competitors like China and Russia mean that America requires a larger and more capable military to protect our country’s vital interests and deter challenges to our security. America confronts a range of serious security challenges: Protecting our homeland in an age of global terrorism and Islamist extremism; working with friends and partners overseas, from Africa to Southeast Asia, to help them combat terrorism and violent insurgencies in their own countries; defending against missile and nuclear attack; maintaining the credibility of our defense commitments to our allies; and waging difficult counterinsurgency campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is clearly talking the talk, and you do have a background in the military, so certainly we can respect your opinion on the matter much more than that of Obama. But these are all things we know and we are going broke defending ourselves.
John McCain understands national security and the threats facing our nation. He recognizes the dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, violent Islamist extremists and their terrorist tactics, and the ever present threat of regional conflict that can spill into broader wars that endanger allies and destabilize areas of the world vital to American security. He knows that to protect our homeland, our interests, and our values – and to keep the peace – America must have the best-manned, best-equipped, and best-supported military in the world.
We agree to a degree Senator, but the primary reason we need the strongest military in the world is because our national interests are way too dispersed because we don’t use our own resources. We can’t go to war with the entire world every single time our national interest is threatened. We have to make it our national interest to not have to.
John McCain has been a tireless advocate of our military and ensuring that our forces are properly postured, funded, and ready to meet the nation’s obligations both at home and abroad. He has fought to modernize our forces, to ensure that America maintains and expands its technological edge against any potential adversary, and to see that our forces are capable and ready to undertake the variety of missions necessary to meet national security objectives.
As President, John McCain will strengthen the military, shore up our alliances, and ensure that the nation is capable of protecting the homeland, deterring potential military challenges, responding to any crisis that endangers American security, and prevailing in any conflict we are forced to fight.
This sounds like spending John. Big spending. If you are worried about the spending by Obama, we wouldn’t be talking about a military expansion.
Fighting Against Violent Islamic Extremists and Terrorist Tactics
The attacks on September 11th represented more than a failure of intelligence. The tragedy highlighted a failure of national policy to respond to the development of a global terror network hostile to the American people and our values. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 bombing of the USS COLE indicated a growing global terrorist threat before the attacks on New York and Washington. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden’s declaration of war against the United States hit home with unmistakable clarity.
America faces a dedicated, focused, and intelligent foe in the war on terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America’s weaknesses and strike against them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities.
In the aftermath of 9/11 John McCain fought for the creation of an independent 9/11 Commission to identify how to best address the terrorist threat and decrease our domestic vulnerability. He fought for the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the creation of the U.S. Northern Command with the specific responsibility of protecting the U.S. homeland.
We are figuring this worked Senator along with other policies because we have not had a terrorist attack on US soil since. We think you should bring that up clearly in the debate, although we are thinking you may not want to because it might be seen as taunting the terrorists.
We admire your experience in this area and endorse a continuation of a plan that appears to be working.
As President, John McCain will ensure that America has the quality intelligence necessary to uncover plots before they take root, the resources to protect critical infrastructure and our borders against attack, and the capability to respond and recover from a terrorist incident swiftly.
He will ensure that the war against terrorists is fought intelligently, with patience and resolve, using all instruments of national power. Moreover, he will lead this fight with the understanding that to impinge on the rights of our own citizens or restrict the freedoms for which our nation stands would be to give terrorists the victory they seek.
But how do you address Guantanamo and what do you want to do with captured terrorists? Our legal system isn’t going to address terrorism. It will just make lawyers defending them rich.
John McCain believes that just as America must be prepared to meet and prevail against any adversary on the field of battle, we must engage and prevail against them on the battleground of ideas. In so doing, we can and must deprive terrorists of the converts they seek and counter their teaching of the doctrine of hatred and despair.
As President, John McCain will take it as his most sacred responsibility to keep America free, safe, and strong – an abiding beacon of freedom and hope to the world.
The battleground of ideas is getting pretty sparse right about now. We would like to see a few.
Effective Missile Defense
John McCain strongly supports the development and deployment of theater and national missile defenses. Effective missile defenses are critical to protect America from rogue regimes like North Korea that possess the capability to target America with intercontinental ballistic missiles, from outlaw states like Iran that threaten American forces and American allies with ballistic missiles, and to hedge against potential threats from possible strategic competitors like Russia and China. Effective missile defenses are also necessary to allow American military forces to operate overseas without being deterred by the threat of missile attack from a regional adversary.
We don’t think Russia and China will be nuking us any time soon. Korea maybe, but we think we have enough deterrents against them, considering several of our missiles could blow away their entire population.
John McCain is committed to deploying effective missile defenses to reduce the possibility of strategic blackmail by rogue regimes and to secure our homeland from the very real prospect of missile attack by present or future adversaries. America should never again have to live in the shadow of missile and nuclear attack. As President, John McCain will not trust in the “balance of terror” to protect America, but will work to deploy effective missile defenses to safeguard our people and our homeland.
With all due respect Senator. We have enough missiles.
Since 9/11, there has been much political talk about national security. There is much talk by the Democrats about the failings of the Bush administration and much talk from the Republicans accusing the Democrats of being soft on security issues.
Before we begin discussing the issue, we would like to make one salient point, we have had no significant terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11. We consider that, regardless of what either side claims or says, a very important statistic.
The positions on both sides are lengthy. Unlike some issues, where the two sides seem to avoid the issue entirely or only gloss over it, this issue appears to draw major attention.
Obama’s Position is the most lengthy, here it is dispersed with our comments.
“After 9/11, our calling was to devise new strategies and build new alliances, to secure our homeland and safeguard our values, and to serve a just cause abroad,” Barack said. “Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won.”
“Obama declared that the war in Iraq and Bush’s failed foreign policy had made us less safe than we were before 9/11, and outlined a new, comprehensive strategy to fight global terrorism:
By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences…
When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.”
If Bush is giving terrorists what they want, why have there been no major terrorist attacks on US Soil since 9/11?
“The Senator’s plan has already drawn glowing reviews from leading foreign policy experts.”
Mind giving us one that isn’t a Democrat supporting your candidacy or one of your advisors?
Lee Hamilton, former Democratic Congressman, Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, Co-Chair of the Iraq Study Group, Member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council:
Senator Obama presented a thoughtful, substantive and comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. This is an important contribution to the national dialogue on this leading issue.
Did you expect a top Democrat to support McCain, or were you hoping we wouldn’t look it up?
Major General Scott Gration (USAF-Ret); Commander, Operation Iraqi Freedom’s Task Force West; Director Strategy Policy and Assessments, United States European Command:
Defending America will require taking the fight to the terrorists, and drying up support for terrorism and extremism worldwide. Senator Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy shows that he is committed to developing the capabilities required to defeat terrorists on the field of battle, and that he has the vision to defeat the terrorists in the battle of ideas.
Isn’t Gration one of your political advisors? Would you expect him to speak negatively of your plan acting in that position?
Samantha Power; author of A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide; Founding Executive Director, Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights Policy:
At a time when Americans are despairing over the Bush Administration’s handling of terrorism, Barack Obama has offered us a smart, tough and principled way forward. Where Bush overstretched our armed forces and sent them into an unnecessary war, Obama would heed the military’s pleas for counterinsurgency resources and beefed-up civilian capacity. Where Bush lumped US foes together, Obama would pry them apart. And where Bush threw out the rule-book, Obama would again make America a country that practices what it preaches.
A clearly liberal author? Wow, we would not expect her to support a liberal agenda.
Do you have anyone of any consequence at all that is not completely biased towards your campaign backing your strategy?
Let me also say that my thoughts and prayers are with your colleague, Haleh Esfandiari, and her family. I have made my position known to the Iranian government. It is time for Haleh to be released. It is time for Haleh to come home.
Aren’t you just following the dozens of calls for her release since her initial detention?
Thanks to the 9/11 Commission, we know that six years ago this week President Bush received a briefing with the headline: “Bin Ladin determined to strike in U.S.”
It came during what the Commission called the “summer of threat,” when the “system was blinking red” about an impending attack. But despite the briefing, many felt the danger was overseas, a threat to embassies and military installations. The extremism, the resentment, the terrorist training camps, and the killers were in the dark corners of the world, far away from the American homeland. Then, one bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, they were here.
And you were just ending your tenure with a radical group working alongside terrorists.
Everyone we speak to that works in America believes Social Security is just a pipe dream and that no funds will exist to support them when they retire. This isn’t just paranoia. Many politicians say the same thing. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the current system is unsustainable.
There are many ideas, such as taking Social Security private. We find it funny that some politicians argue against that as being unsafe and it should remain in the hands of the Federal government. The Federal government has borrowed against Social Security with impunity, and, based on current estimates, in about 8 years or so will have to start paying that money back with interest in order to pay benefits. Certainly, just examining the facts, Social Security in its current form cannot survive, and one can see it isn’t safe in the hands of the Federal government, who has acted like an irresponsible custodian stealing from her trustee’s trust fund.
Now the Federal government is sucking up mortgage backed securities at a huge rate, which means that all Federal investments will in part be based on these securities that have led to a major collapse of the financial institutions in America. We are not so sure that keeping Social Security in the hands of government is a good idea at all.
From CNN: “Demographics are a major reason for the funding shortfall. The number of workers, compared to retirees, has begun to shrink. That means the system will produce a smaller surplus, then none at all, and eventually it won’t be able to pay out all benefits promised to future retirees.” This clearly argues for a strong immigration policy in favor of more immigration and less protectionism. If we cannot demographically support our own programs, it only seems logical that we need to change the demographics.
It is currently suggested that there are only two ways to address the dire problems Social Security faces. Raise the payroll tax even more or reduce benefits. Some say to start now in small increments. Fact is, they have already been increasing the tax, increasing the income limit on which Social Security tax is charged. This has been a steady and subtle tax increase on Americans for years.
Medicare is an even bigger problem which we will address separately. But we will mention that we are once again looking at the only way to address the problem being an increase in taxes from about 3% now to about 7%. Doing the math, this implies that Medicare and Social Security alone will take approximately an additional 6% of Americans’ gross income. Turn that around and imagine how much an American could save if that 6% went steadily into a retirement fund and was possibly even matched in part or in whole by an employer.
We personally believe in the abolishment of Social Security and Medicare, phasing them out in favor of private investments such as 401Ks and a national solution to the disaster the United States has created in its health care programs.
What are the candidates positions?
Protect Social Security
Obama is committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. He will work with members of Congress from both parties to strengthen Social Security and prevent privatization while protecting middle class families from tax increases or benefit cuts. As part of a bipartisan plan that would be phased in over many years, he would ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound.
Increase taxes on those making over $250,000 may help contribute “a bit“.
Question, Senator. Does the rest beyond “a bit” come from the middle class below $250,000?
Despite the many smears of his opponents, Obama does not support uncapping the full payroll tax of 12.4 percent rate. Instead, he is considering plans that would ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee). This change to Social Security would start a decade or more from now and is similar to the rate increases floated by John McCain’s close adviser Senator Lindsey Graham and that McCain has previously said he “could” support.
But our Treasury Secretary already says we will have to start paying back what the Federal Government has borrowed from Social Security in less than ten years. And, c’mon, isn’t that a complete cop out? Putting off the plan for ten years. Senator, even if you won two terms as President, would place the burden on your successor. Great idea. Never seen that one before. You are pretty good at math. And in ten years, won’t inflation make it so people that earn 250,000 a year ARE the middle class not the wealthy?
This topic touches on every election even though many of us do not want to overweight it in the light of a Presidential election. The reason it plays so strongly in a Presidential election, however, is the President appoints Supreme Court Justices, and they decide upon the federal laws pertaining to abortion. In addition, and more importantly, it plays to the morals of the candidate, and provides the sides a way to condemn the other for their beliefs.
The Republicans have carved out the pro-life niche. Their belief is abortion at any time in the pregnancy and for any reason other than endangerment of the mother’s health, is wrong and an abomination. It is seen as murder of a viable living being. This belief, while it may sound extreme, is also the Christian belief.
The Democrats have played the “women’s right to their body” niche. They believe it is the woman’s right to decide, and that no one but the woman has that right. There are varying extremes, but they do not see abortion as a murder, but a right. This belief, while it may sound extreme as well, is the US Supreme Court’s belief (see Roe Versus Wade).
The fact is for most people, this is a very muddied issue. One has to believe that no woman wants to take the life of her unborn child, but that life’s pressures and circumstances are different for each. There are choices, such as having a child and putting that child up for adoption. With waiting lists years long for people wanting to adopt, it is hard for many to understand why any woman would abort an unborn fetus.
What people have to put into perspective is that a pregnancy does not take nine minutes or nine days, it takes nine months. It is not something most women can conceal and it has major ramifications with respect to one’s family and future. A single event can have life long implications.
There is a notion that this does not and should not involve the father, that he has no rights to his own unborn child even if he is willing to raise the child. This appears to be believed by both sides given the way fathers are dealt with in the courts with respect to custody and their rights involving their children. Fathers appear to never have real rights to their children in the United States. We would like a Presidential Candidate to stand up and defend Fathers’ rights, but have yet to see it happen as they tend to pander to women’s rights.
Many abortions involve women that cannot afford the child, that live in poverty, may be drug addicts and are for one reason or another, desperate to rid themselves of the fetus before it can impact their lives. In fact, one argument for abortion is that a woman in such a desperate situation will risk her life to abort her fetus herself if she cannot find a safe method, so it is inhumane to not allow a woman that outlet. Our horrific pictures of coat hangers come to mind.
The fact is the water is very muddy with respect to this issue. Everyone seems to have their own level of acceptance for either side. While some argue for Roe versus Wade, they believe there is a point, perhaps the third trimester of the pregnancy, at which the woman should no longer be allowed to abort. While some are pro-life, they believe there are certain extremes, such as rape and incest, when abortion is justified. The fact is though, if you are pro-life, it is the fetus that has the rights, and the fetus does not have any concept of how it was conceived. Therefore, it is very difficult to approve any form of abortion. It would be like a vegetarian that eats only McDonald’s burgers other than their vegetarian diet. It is a cow, but oh that special sauce. You are a vegetarian or you are not. There is no in between. And such is the abortion issue for many.
How has this played out in politics?
It is always the same mantra. In politics, it is difficult to take a position only part way because you can get cut to shreds seeming to waffle. Your personal beliefs can become your enemy if they do not seem firm. Imagine the debate. “Senator McCain, you claim to be a vegetarian, but how do you explain this video of you consuming a Big Mac last Thursday?”
So, typically, those politicians on the side of abortion cite Roe versus Wade and believe it is totally the woman’s right to choose in all cases. Similarly, those politicians that side with the pro-life argument favor the total “life begins at conception” position, arguing that at the moment of fertilization, a human life with his or her own rights to life exists.
Politicians tend to play this with the same repeated arguments against the other side. Those in favor of a Roe versus Wade will point at the other side and say they EVEN do not favor abortion in cases of rape and incest, and by bringing up the much more rare and often horrific instances that could lead to pregnancy, diminish the importance and wonderment of the rest. Those that are on the pro-life side will accuse the other side of murder, and some believe it in their hearts to such a degree that they believe, in an almost vigilante way, that they must protect the rights of that fetus.
So, the game is on, and one side is inferred to be murderers or at least support murder, and the other is implied to endorse incest and rape. These are great images to paint on your political nemesis.
While this may not sound all that political to many of us, it has huge political ramifications in elections. Catholics, and most Christians, are very heavily taught that abortion is murder and that one should not vote into power anyone that would support it. Inherently, that supports the right. Many people cannot understand why people vote the way we do, but we believe this issue decides many a vote on religious grounds. Because we are predominantly a Christian population, it has huge ramifications with respect to election results.
Interestingly, finding McCain’s position in a search was easy. It was more difficult to find a non-interpretive statement of Obama’s. Obama seems to want to hide his position or at the very least not put it in writing.
We take McCain’s position from his website.
Overturning Roe v. Wade
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.
Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.
However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion – the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, “At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level.”
It is not surprising that this is the position of the Republican running for President. It would have to be, because it has been for some time. We believe John’s position here to be pretty much rote.
In 1993, John McCain and his wife, Cindy, adopted a little girl from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh. She has been a blessing to the McCain family and helped make adoption advocacy a personal issue for the Senator.
The McCain family experience is not unique; millions of families have had their lives transformed by the adoption of a child. As president, motivated by his personal experience, John McCain will seek ways to promote adoption as a first option for women struggling with a crisis pregnancy. In the past, he cosponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against families with adopted children, to provide adoption education, and to permit tax deductions for qualified adoption expenses, as well as to remove barriers to interracial and inter-ethnic adoptions.
We do favor adoption vastly over abortion, but we would not vote for someone because of that belief. We are surprised at parts of John’s statements though. We were unaware of any discrimination against families that adopt or barriers to interracial or inter-ethnic adoptions. We would like John to elaborate a bit on that, because we know people that have adopted their children and are very well adjusted and the children have benefited from wonderful loving parents. What discriminations are there John?
We will not print this part of John’s position. He devotes a significant argument for promoting marriage to prevent abortion. We believe that the two are completely independent of each other. It is a political diversion.
To make it a more political issue, how about removing the marriage tax John? Whoops, not that committed are we?
Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology
Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases – hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.
For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.
As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.
Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.
We are unclear on the stem cell argument. We can understand the belief in conception within the womb, but the creation of stem cells by creating embryos outside the womb is less clear if it would save or assist human life, but there is really no other position the pro-life side can take if they believe every fetus has the right to life, and it really would not impact our vote.
Protecting Children from Internet Pornography
John McCain believes the Internet offers tremendous promise…
However, there is a darker side to the Internet. Along with the access and anonymity of the Internet have come those who would use it to peddle child pornography and other sexually explicit material and to prey upon children.
John McCain has been a leader in pushing legislation through Congress that requires all schools and libraries receiving federal subsidies for Internet connectivity to utilize technology to restrict access to sexually explicit material by children using such computers. While the first line of defense for children will always be strong and involved parents, when they send their child to school or drop their child off at the library, parents have the right to feel safe that someone is going to be looking out for their children.
OK, John, now you are way off in outer space now. We have somehow managed to mix in an argument against internet pornography with going to the library? We think you should think of removing this paragraph. We don’t think too many people are viewing child pornography at their local public library. This seems so deluded as to question your ability to make Presidential decisions and to draw necessary lines.
For example, would you go to war and kill thousands of innocent people because a single madman rules that nation? Whoops, we already did that.
Protecting Children from Online Predators…
Do you work for Dateline NBC Senator? We swore we were supposed to be reading about your position on abortion.
The Greatest Honor is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity…
OK, again, you are in outer space. In this section, John rambles on about compassion and human sacrifice and his military service to the nation. What? How can you bring up your military service when speaking of abortion? Could it be you are you speaking of soldiers that have raped the young girls of other nations in areas where the US is based?
We think you may want to rethink bringing up your military service every time you speak of any issue. Every position you take is not justified by Vietnam.
While we would not vote against you for being pro-life, we would consider voting against you for exploiting abortion by associating it with their military service to acquire votes. We find that an absurd association and, quite honestly, not worthy of a President.
Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose:
Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.
Obama buries his positions on abortion under Women’s Rights in an apparent effort to conceal them in the same way McCain appears to accentuate his. He obviously believes in a women’s right to choose under all circumstances. In fact he calls himself a “champion”. “We are the champions, we are the champions, no time for losers, cuz we are the champions, of the world”. A new theme for you perhaps Senator? We picture our champion Obama in front of an abortion clinic with a cape and big O on his chest ready to right the wrongs of those that would deny a woman her rights to abort.
Barrack appears to have no statements to make about encouraging adoption or providing support for unwed mothers. He seems to avoid the alternatives, almost promoting the act. We find it a hollow, cowardly position. We are not saying it is wrong for someone to support Roe versus Wade, but we also believe that any viable candidate should strongly suggest the alternatives and that support of those alternatives i critical to this issue. To speak of it with such brevity and to only refer to the courts certainly does not sound Christian to us. You did say you are Christian did you not Senator? Well, except when speaking in this interview.
Preventing Unintended Pregnancy:
Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.
Here we agree fully. We do believe in the availability of contraception and health information and preventive services. It is delusional to believe support of the family could possibly prevent unwanted pregnancies and we are certain Sarah Palin’s daughter did not intentionally get pregnant. We would like to say that we do see courage, though, in supporting one’s daughter through that pregnancy and we also support Sarah’s daughter’s right to choose, Roe vs Wade is not about a woman’s right to only abort her fetus. The Senator seems to have missed that fact in his attacks on Palin and her family. Senator, we just wanted to inform you, the other choice is to have the child and that takes vastly more courage than to abort it.
Therefore, because you avoided the topic, this leaves us wondering. Do you favor abortion over adoption? Do you believe Roe versus Wade applies at all points in the pregnancy? Do you find your Christian faith at odds with your political stand? What does your church preach? We do know the leader of your church was quoted as saying “God Damn America”.
We are offended by some of the associations made by John McCain with respect to abortion. We believe he went off topic, attempting to associate unrelated issues to abortion and to somehow associate his military service to protecting an unborn fetus.
But we believe Obama copped out almost completely avoiding the hard questions on abortion, leaving his position open to public interpretation. By not stating his opinions openly and clearly, he leaves that interpretation to others. We are disappointed in this shallow statement, but it does keep Obama somewhat slippery on the subject, allowing him to distort his view enough in the public eye so as to garner votes from either side.
We are dissatisfied with both sides stated positions, but we believe it is not up to the President to decide anyway, other than by the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, so we do not consider it central to our selection. We do believe that our opinion of each candidate is driven by the way in which each expresses his opinion. We believe McCain overstepped by a wide margin. We believe Obama understated and dodged the issue.
This topic can “border” on insanity. It appears that most of the positions we have heard regarding immigration, at least here in the US, are protectionist. This is in direct contrast to the apparent push for “free trade” we covered in our last article.
If you have read our prior articles, you know we love clichés. It is not because we love using them in our writing, but to exemplify that what we are writing about is a well-known topic, something frequently discussed and something likely a key issue.
The United States is referred to as the “melting pot” since the early 1900s. And it is part of what makes us great as a nation, our diversity. There probably isn’t a culture in the entire world that does not have family in the United States.
We realize there are racists and we are probably as guilty as the next guy. Racism plays a huge role in our resistance as a nation to immigration, but is it a practical fear?
“Irish need not apply.” What does that mean? In the 1800s and early 1900s, Irish Immigrants came to the US and were victims of discrimination. Many companies posted the signs, “Help Wanted, Irish Need Not Apply”. No one now would feel that an Irishman did not fit right into the American culture, but one of our Irish grandfathers actually had to change his name to get a job that paid him $10 a month in 1910. He raised a family of 6 that all went on to either become professionals or have children that did, and all of which contribute strongly to our economy.
After all this unfounded prejudice against the Irish, many of us now celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, end up in an Irish Pub and wear green to honor the Irish? Our point? Substitute any prejudice you have for the word “Irish”. If you thought being racist against the Irish was stupid, it will seem just as stupid being racist against those entering our society now.
Fact is, racist or no, legal immigrants, and in some cases, illegal immigrants, in our country, have vastly helped the US.
There are a number of reasons:
1. New immigrants typically do jobs that we would not do or could not afford to do. We interviewed one immigrant couple that has been here several years and the husband worked three jobs for the entire time. One was a security job where he could catch a few Zs. The wife worked as well while raising four children. Now, they have a nice house, the children have done well in school, and they are all headed for college.
2. Immigration brings in people with desire. These people come here to make a better life for themselves and are willing to work hard for it. That desire makes us competitive as a nation. It does not diminish it.
3. Immigrants pay fees to immigrate to the United States and contribute strongly to our tax base. That helps keep US Taxes lower.
4. Immigrants contribute to Social Security. Our population is not growing all that much organically. We are having fewer children. The immigrants don’t become welfare participants when they enter the US, they are typically aggressive workers that pay taxes and contribute to Social Security. The Baby Boom is over folks, if each family has less and less children, can our descendants be expected to pay for a pyramid scheme like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? The entire system depends on new participants, and if our own population does not supply those participants, where will the taxes come from if we do not immigrate?
5. Some economies have become dependent on “illegal immigrants” so much they are redefining the term. California is so dependent that they actually offer illegals medical benefits and a chance to get a license to drive instead of deporting them. Their economy depends on workers willing to pick fruit, clean bathrooms, do basic construction work to support their families. Why do the immigrants do it? Because it is vastly better than from whence they came, and they can send money to help support their families.
6. Immigration helps other nations. Why should we care? Well, we talk about the benefit of free trade helping both sides, right? Immigration assists those economies not as well off as our own. The people that come here to work and better themselves send money to their families and children at home, and that helps advance and support that economy. Allowing immigration helps eliminate poverty and hunger in the world while it also benefits US!!!
7. The concept of the melting pot makes us less hated throughout the world. The melting pot concept means that we have Muslims in our nation, as well as Asians, Europeans, Mexicans, Portuguese, etc. That helps us be loved at least a bit by those that want a chance to come here and by the families abroad that benefit from at least part of their families being able to come to the US. Then the only ones that hate us are those jealous of our success. OK, there are plenty of those.
What are the implied negatives of immigration?
1. We are importing a bunch of poor that will go on welfare.
2. They are stealing our jobs. We need to provide jobs to Americans not immigrants.
3. Immigration allows terrorists to enter our country.
4. We are racist, and we don’t want those Mexicans, Asians, Africans, South Americans in our neighborhoods. (Substitute Irish to see how stupid this sounds). Think about the huge population of Mexican, Asian, African, and South American citizens that have been here a generation or two and now contribute significantly to our nation as tax paying and voting members of our society.
This article is divided into parts. This first part includes our opinions regarding our use of fossil fuels and the direction we are taking to provide for our needs as well as to reduce our dependencies on those fossil fuels. It also makes suggestions that may seem somewhat radical for resolving these problems. In subsequent parts, we will look to expand on what we can do as a nation and look at the candidates, lining up their positions to see which best aligns with our opinion of how to approach the problem.
We are a “prima donna” nation. We (not the writers of this publication, but all of us) believe that it is all about us. We seem to believe that the world revolves around the United States, and if we protect our part of the world, it is just dandy if the rest of it falls into oblivion.
In some nations, it is all about a power grab to see who can get the most out of those resources, not how to preserve their environment or even preserve lives as they murder or enslave their countrymen for financial gain. Those that have gotten rich off of the US, like the Arab Nations, are more concerned with how to spend all the money than they are with how they destroy our environment. Despite all the billions that Saudi Arabia has made from oil, when have you ever heard they were investing in a plan to help reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels or offered a plan to reduce so-called greenhouse gases?
We have had many disasters throughout the world with respect to natural resources. We in America care about those disasters. A five billion dollar punitive damages award was the largest set of punitive fines ever handed out to a company for their irresponsibility, and it was leveled against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.
Unfortunately, money talks. Recently, Exxon lawyers and the company’s financial influence led to the ratcheting back of that award to a paltry 500 Million dollars by our Supreme Court. This was a pathetic slap on the wrist and a very small portion of Exxon profits as they have taken advantage of our resources and consumption to make billions.
Irrespective of this irresponsible action by our Supreme Court, we as a nation, do care about our environment, but our reaction to such disasters has been to become overly cautious at home. We have new technologies to tap oil shale, but we are so worried about damaging the environment we have tied up the progress for years. We have massive oil reserves in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, but we are reluctant as a nation to tap them because we are concerned about the damage to our environment. Despite the fact that we have never had a nuclear plant disaster in the United States (although we came close years ago at Three Mile Island), and despite huge advances in our technology, we have essentially halted the advancement of the use of Nuclear Energy within the US.
What does that show? We care. We think our fight will help the world to survive. We all seem to want the environment to be clean, to preserve every species, to maintain our national wilderness. We, as a nation, above all others throughout the world, will fight to defend and propagate our world. Problem is, we are too self-centered and approaching it all wrong.
We continue, like Al Gore, to preach to the choir. We are a very small part of the problem, although, because of our consumption of fossil fuels, we may be a huge part of the source. We have to address our consumption while removing the guilt imposed by people like Al Gore that use huge amounts of energy while telling the rest of us we are at fault. And we do not believe addressing our consumption necessarily, in the short run, means reducing it.
In our supposedly noble fight to maintain our environment, we have clearly favored the US environment over that of the rest of the world, despite the fact we consume such huge quantities of the world’s resources. We consistently demonstrate a not in my back yard (NIMBY) “prima donna” mentality. It is fine for us to build new refineries, just not where we need to build them, in America. It is great that we are drilling less and using fewer of our natural resources, so long as we can import them from elsewhere. Let other nations destroy their environments and we will gladly use their resources while we babble on about alternative energy to make ourselves feel better. As long as we don’t see it, that is fine with us.
Our NIMBY attitude is so extreme, we preach about alternative energy, but actually block projects that would reduce our dependency on oil and help clean our environment. This was exemplified when a battle arose over a plan for a wind farm for Cape Cod, Massachusetts that would generate nearly half the electrical supply for Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It was hoped that this wind farm would be in place by 2005. It didn’t happen. Why? NIMBY!! Wayne Kurker, president of Hyannis Marina, formed the “Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound”, specifically to fight the wind farm proposal.
This quote from Wayne demonstrates how everyone in America seems to feel. ”A good portion of us who migrated to Cape Cod came to enjoy Nantucket Sound, and if Nantucket Sound becomes an industrial, electrical generation area, then it’s no longer the national treasure that people currently feel it is. We look at this as our wilderness, our national park.”
Great point Wayne, made despite research demonstrating how good the project would be for the Cape and how we could have set an example for the rest of the nation to turn to alternative energy sources. It is fine to pollute the rest of the world, burn coal and oil to generate our electricity, just don’t ask us to do anything about it in our back yard.
We, as a nation, must discard this NIMBY attitude. We have to tap our own natural resources now and also execute new revolutionary plans for alternate energy. We have to reduce our dependency on foreign oil to reduce our trade deficit and strengthen our dollar and to put us in control of our own destiny. Or should we instead bomb Iran?
Then, after we have solidified our financial position and become essentially independent of foreign oil in any way we can, we can better focus on alternate energy sources to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We are saying to pursue all solutions, now, whether they are ideal or not so we control our own destiny.
We are suggesting immediate action to drill in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico as well as tap other resources in the United States. We have the largest reserve of coal of any nation in the world. We can build refineries that convert this coal into petroleum that is cleaner burning than the petroleum we use now. The refineries may pollute more, but we have technologies to assist us. And we have enough coal to make enough petroleum to last the United States 200 years! We should tap our Oil Shale reserves and build new safer Nuclear Power Plants and we should do it now!
And when we are done, and as the world realizes we are willing to supply our own needs, our dollar will strengthen, our trade deficit will drop sharply! We may even start exporting natural resources to the rest of the world as we steadily reduce our need to import them. We can further develop alternate energy technologies with the money we didn’t give to other nations to meet our needs.
Let’s leave Part 1 with a question we will answer when we return. What nation does the United States import the most oil and petroleum from? The answer will surprise you.
You have heard this famous cliché many times, we are sure. “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. There is even an acronym for it! TANSTAAFL. Go figure. For an explanation of how the cliché was derived, read the reference link. It is quite fascinating, well, at least interesting, well worth a click anyway.
Our politicians banter about the term “free trade”, but what it means is not exactly clear. Similar to the “free lunch”, it is practically a cliché. Our personal definition would be trade of merchandise between nations without taxes, duties or fees. So, if an item costs $5.00 to purchase from a company in Mexico, you don’t pay $30 because the US government wants $25 in tariffs, you actually pay $5.00!! This combined with free and equal access, so it is as easy to find and buy our goods there as it is to find and purchase theirs here.
This really does not exist for the individual. We have relatives and friends all over the globe and most nations examine every package sent, even those declared as gifts, and charge fees and duties to the recipients. This is even with our so-called allies. Recently we sent a video collection to a friend in Canada. Its value was $100. They taxed our friend $30 even though it was marked clearly as a gift. 30% is hardly free.
Similarly, when we arrive home from travel to a foreign destination, our bags are searched to see if we have anything to “declare”. If we do, we pay taxes and duties on it. “Free trade” is a pipe dream for the individual.
On a larger scale, free trade provides merchandise from foreign countries at a significantly cheaper price than if tariffs and fees were charged. The questions become, why is it cheaper and what does it really cost us to deliver those cheap goods to our shores?
Fact is, nothing is “free” in “free trade” except the word free, and the lie behind that word has cost America plenty. What America has gained with respect to “free trade” is primarily a lower inflation rate. Just ask Uncle Alan Greenspan. We are able to import vastly cheaper products than we could manufacture in the US, so products are indeed cheaper. Check that $10 shirt in the closet and your $39.99 shoes and see where they are made. We are willing to bet it isn’t in the US.
Most of our cars are manufactured in Mexico, Canada, Korea, Germany and Japan. Most bicycles, clothing, shoes, etc. (and we stress the etc.) are manufactured in China and throughout Asia. The other edge of the sword is that it is no longer profitable to make anything in America, so jobs are lost, but more importantly, the national trade deficit rises as we purchase vastly more than we sell. Perhaps, as our wonderful politicians state, you actually could train people for new jobs, but that would only make them buy more foreign products increasing the deficit even more. Great idea.
The biggest consideration of a huge trade deficit is a weak dollar. The dollar has collapsed versus other currencies since we instituted supposed “free trade” with many other nations. Now, think for a minute. If this were fair, why are their currencies soaring with respect to ours? Because the only thing we have to trade is our dollar!! We don’t make anything else, so all we can do is print money to buy it all!
It is apparent that the gain in lowering the rate of inflation does not compensate those that lost their jobs as a result, and it certainly does not justify our huge trade deficit. If “free trade” were equal trade, the huge trade deficit would not be there! But we do at least have EBAY for those that lost their jobs as a result.
NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was drafted for free trade among North American Nations. We cannot possibly cover all the facets and criticisms of this agreement, but it is also covered here. It has caused much of a stir over the years, and whether it was beneficial or not depends on your perspective, but we believe it the least of our problems.
We do not believe in “free trade”. We believe in fair trade. And we do not believe in fairness only for special interests, but for America as a whole. Certainly some businesses benefit strongly from marketing cheap goods in the US Market or exporting their labor to foreign nations, but who pays for that, and just as importantly, who gets paid for endorsing it (lobbyists, government officials)?
Here is an article that clearly defines how badly we are doing on the trade front. We agree completely with the Democratic position here. “In July, the politically sensitive deficit with China increased 16.1 percent to $24.9 billion, the second highest gap on record.
Critics contend the administration has not done enough to combat unfair Chinese trade practices. U.S. manufacturers say the Chinese keep the yuan undervalued by as much as 40 percent against the American dollar. That makes Chinese goods cheaper for American consumers while making U.S. products more expensive in China.”
On an international basis, we must be more restrictive with nations that cheat the United States. China, for example, while they provide cheap products, steals daily from Americans. They destroy American companies with illegally exported products and they cheat wherever it favors them. They market fake companies on our stock markets and steal from our investors by falsifying reporting information with the assistance of the NASDAQ and NYSE. And when one of these companies goes under, and the Chinese criminals make off with the money, no one prosecutes them; the Chinese government lines their pockets and Americans surrender another portion of their retirement portfolios.
Nations that cheat and steal from the United States should not be offered free trade even if it means cheaper products. Those cheaper products ruin US companies, destroy jobs and line the pockets of criminals. It is not that we think fair trade is not an objective we should seek with all nations, but we think our government has severely failed us in protecting us from economic theft by nations such as China that even cheat with 12 year old girls in Olympic Gymnastics. China does not deserve free access to our markets, and US citizens do not deserve to be abused by a government drooling over the evident opportunities for their special interests.
All that said, and now that we have made our opinions on “free trade” and trade in general as clear as we can without a complete dissertation on every possible trade agreement, let’s allow the candidates to have a say. After all, it isn’t we that are running for President.
So many people in our lives say, after the fact, “I told you so”. Does it ever help your current situation or make you feel better? Or does it just make you feel bad about yourself and wish what had gone before never happened? More importantly, did it ever make what had gone before any different? We will leave you to deal with these rhetorical questions.
Obama’s approach on this issue is to use exactly that tactic, “I told you so”. To tell not only McCain, but all citizens, Republicans and Democrats (including Biden) that believed in the war at the time that he (Obama) voted against it.
But the fact is, it doesn’t matter what our decisions were 7 years ago. 9/11 happened, we reacted, it’s over, we are there. We believe the candidate that should be favored with respect to this issue is the one most prepared to deal with it in the “now” not yesterday.
Vietnam and Korea were American disasters because we did not have the conviction to attack and destroy an enemy that was vastly inferior. Iraq was not the case. The US wiped out the Iraqi Army in weeks with almost no casualties. And we proved something in the process. That wiping out a nation’s leadership leaves us, by the nature of our government, responsible for that nation. As Colin Powell put it, “if you break it, you own it“. And after billions and billions of US dollars spent, indeed we do.
But what do our politicians really want to do now, in 2008? It seems Obama wants to bail and leave it up to Iraq to solve its own problems. It seems as though John is saying stay the course, but there is little indication there is a plan as to when it will be over. With McCain it seems like we could just police Iraq forever. With Obama, we see some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light might be a bus headed right for us as we emerge.
This is a lose-lose for both sides. The Iraq war was entered into not as the Democrats would currently have you think. It was not based on a lie. It was based on 9/11, an attack on us by radical Muslims and the belief that Iraq was the most rogue of the Muslim nations and had to be held accountable for harboring weapons of mass destruction and for supporting terrorism. No one now seems to recall, but Saddam was doing his best to avoid UN Inspections and did indeed appear to be hiding military secrets. Fact is, he just turned out to be a deluded lunatic that lived in a hollowed out tunnel after the war babbling to himself.
Now, what we realize is that even if Saddam Hussein was as dire and evil as he was depicted, the result of deposing him was an unstable Iraq. Imagine an America where US troops had to circle the streets daily to maintain order. Imagine what would happen if a nation stepped into our world and destroyed our government, regardless of whether it was led by Republicans or Democrats, introducing total anarchy. Would you want that government to stay and help restore order or would you want them to get out so you could? Sounds like the latter is the answer, but the only thing protecting you from the criminal elements is the very occupation force you despise. So, as Colin Powell presciently pronounced, once you depose the government, you become the government.
One interesting cause of war is what it does to a President’s approval rating. People think this is unique to Bush, and he is the worst President ever, but facts prove otherwise.
Bush’s approval rating is an abysmal 31%, but from CNN polling director Keating Holland we find… “Bush’s approval rating five years ago, at the start of the Iraq war, was 71 percent, and that 40-point drop is almost identical to the drop President Lyndon Johnson faced during the Vietnam War,”.
“Johnson’s approval rating was 74 percent just before Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, which effectively authorized the Vietnam War. Four years later, his approval was down to 35 percent, a 39-point drop that is statistically identical to what Bush has faced so far over the length of the Iraq war,”.
America wants a fast victory, and war just doesn’t work that way, especially not occupations. The estimates at the time of the start of the war were that it would take 5 years or more to resolve things, but it is like a car payment. The first year, you love the car. The second year, you start disliking the payment and by the fourth year, you want to get rid of it.
The fact is, however, Iraq has gotten much better. A tactic called “The Surge” endorsed primarily by George Bush, against the advice of his generals and advisors, has worked. Bush sent 5 brigades of additional man power to Iraq and the violence has been reduced dramatically. Rumsfeld and General Casey were sent packing and Bob Gates and David Petraeus replaced them. And regardless of what the Democrats claim and what the public believes, in this instance, Bush was right. “The Surge” has been a huge success and that will make it very difficult for any dramatic change by a new President whether it is Obama or McCain.