So, 60 minutes started off a new season with an interview of the Presidential candidates. Our first reaction was “FANTASTIC!!”. Our second was, “Will CBS be fair?”. The media has gone out of its way to demonstrate its liberal bias this year, and we were hoping CBS would make this a non-biased interview allowing us to get a good feel for the candidates and the issues. We wanted to see if they could take the high road and succeed where so many other news outlets have failed.
We are going to cover these 60 Minutes interviews, and then give you a summary opinion. We will not comment on the interviews themselves until the end, but we will comment on the format of the show as it progresses.
We hope to get responses, especially if you disagree with our interpretation.
Let’s start. Who gets to go first? This is an important decision and an indication of how fair CBS intended to be. Usually the one to go first has the toughest time in comparison to his competitor. This is so true, in fact, that Hillary Clinton quipped about it in her debates and interviews with Obama, because the media often started with Hillary and allowed Obama to follow up. Hillary recognized being continually placed in this weak political position, and called reporters on it.
CBS revealed its liberal bias by having McCain go first. They wanted an Obama finale. It appears that on every network and in every media outlet but Fox, the media continues to give the advantage to Obama and/or the Democrats in general. CBS was no exception.
CBS once again employed another subtle liberal manipulation at the beginning of McCain’s segment. The background was an open book with the pictures of the two candidates. CBS squarely placed Obama’s picture ABOVE that of McCain. Just showing Obama’s picture directly before McCain’s introduction was insult enough; especially when later introducing Obama, they not only did not show McCain above Obama, they didn’t show McCain at all.
McCain began, “There is a social contract that Adam Smith talked about between capitalism and the people. That contract has been broken. It has been broken by greed and excess, aided and abetted by a government in Washington that is dominated by special interests and corruption.”
When asked about the economic bail-out, McCain said, “We are going to take over these bad loans. We are going to take over these bonds and we are going to keep you alive, and we are going to have the tax payer help you out, but when the time comes and the economy recovers, then anything that is gained back is going to go to the taxpayers first.”
McCain admitted he has called for the termination of the head of the SEC, Chris Cox. It has been repeatedly believed by many that the SEC was asleep at the switch as the banks and brokerages robbed the nation blind. “Technically, he cannot be fired, but when I am President, when I want someone to resign, they (will) resign”. When asked who would replace Chris Cox, he said he was impressed with Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat that served in the cabinet of President Clinton.
When asked if he felt the Bush administration has failed, he responded without hesitation or partisanship, “I say the Bush administration has failed, the Congress has failed, Democrats and Republicans. I remind you the Democrats have had the majority in the Congress the last two years, so everyone has failed, and the cozy “old-boy” special interests that have prevailed in Washington have harmed the American people, frankly, in the most terrible fashion.”
He was asked if it was smart to cut taxes while the Federal Deficit was breaking all records, reaching 500 billion dollars, McCain responded , “Spending got out of Control. …the size of government increased by 40% in the last seven years. We Republicans presided over the biggest increase in government since the Great Society, Republicans came to power to change Washington, and Washington changed us.”
How would he pay for the tax cuts?
“You can eliminate so many agencies of government that are outmoded. Obviously I would scrub defense spending, obviously, we would look at every institution of government, I would stop these protectionist tariffs, I would stop subsidizing sugar. I think there are areas in defense where we can save a lot of money in cost over-runs”.
“I would move the political office out of the White House and into the Republican National Committee. I think we have to have a White House that is without Politics”.
When told he was referred to by Obama as President Bush’s third term, he responded, “Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq, climate change, treatment of prisoners and the 9/11 commission…are a number of issues in which I have stood up to my party”.
When asked about the Surge, McCain said “Many Political Pundits said my campaign was over. Senator Obama moved to the left of his party and said we shouldn’t, said the Surge would fail, said it was doomed to failure, and still fails to acknowledge he was wrong about the Surge.”
In your judgement, can you see her (Sarah Palin) as President of the United States. “Absolutely”.
He said he did support NATO membership for Georgia. “It does not mean that we have to go to war with Russia, it does mean that we have to respond, and that this kind of behavior on the part of the Russians is not the kind of behavior we expect of a country that is a member of the world community”.
When asked if he would turn to preemptive war against Iran, he responded “If it is a provable direct threat. Suppose that the Iranians had nuclear weapons and you had a whole lot of other information about Iranian intentions and you could make a case to the American people and the world, I think it is obvious we would have to prevent what we are absolutely certain is a direct threat to the lives of the American people.”
Senator Obama believes that America must commit to a new national energy policy focused on improvements in technology, investments in renewable fuels such as wind and solar power, and greater efforts in conservation, efficiency, and waste reduction. Shifting from our current investment and consumption practices to this new direction will be one of the great leadership challenges in the coming decade.
Wow, amazing how much that sounds like McCain’s policy. Do they have the same writers?
With the Department of Energy telling us that U.S. demand for oil will jump 40% over the next 20 years and with countries like China and India adding millions of cars to their roads, the price of oil is approaching a breaking point.
Point taken (pun intended), but the fact is as our economy weakened and our demand for oil waned, oil prices collapsed nearly immediately from nearly $150 a barrel to under $100. China and India had nothing to do with it. As we clearly demonstrated in our prior articles, we dwarf the usage of these countries and likely will for the next decade.
In addition to the high economic costs of our foreign oil dependence, the current consumption of fossil fuels has threatened the future health and well-being of not only our citizens, but our natural resources and air quality as well. Investments in cleaner and more efficient energy technologies must play a central role in mitigating these threats to our health and our environment.
Agreed, but the NIMBY environmentalists won’t even let you put in Wind Farms. Where will we place these technologies, in outer space? Is Nuclear on your list?
Recognizing the importance of energy security to national and economic security, Senator Obama has proposed the creation of a Director of National Energy Security in the Office of the President. This position, akin to the National Security Advisor, would oversee and coordinate all administration efforts on national energy security and policies.
Another reference by a candidate to “energy security” instead of “energy independence”. The latter will automatically lead to the former, and no assigned “Director” can change that fact.
Senator Obama is a leading advocate for increasing the use of renewable fuels to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign petroleum. In 2005, he enacted into law a tax credit for installing E-85 ethanol refueling pumps at gas stations across the country.
Fact is ethanol and methanol have proven to be a joke. We cannot generate enough from products we depend on for food, it is more expensive than gasoline and it pollutes just as much if not more. It is “renewable”, but we can’t renew it fast enough, so it is pointless.
In the 109th and 110th Congress, he joined with Senator Lugar to introduce the American Fuels Act to increase domestic production, distribution, and end uses of biofuels. Among other improvements, the American Fuels Act would expand the manufacture of ethanol-capable vehicles, offer tax credits to spur cellulosic fuel production, require clean-fueled transit buses bought with federal dollars, and provide incentives to ethanol plants to invest in E-85 blending equipment on their premises.
Ethanol is a joke. We would love to see alternate fuels adopted, but that has to be incorporated with a plan to use our own resources of fossil fuels and drop our trade deficit, or we will be so poor, we won’t have the funds to pursue alternative sources of energy at all. Certainly, that will reduce our usage, but we don’t consider poverty for Americans a viable solution.
Alternative fuels like hydrogen and natural gas are great, but are you so naïve as to believe this can be accomplished within any reasonable time frame? Our cars and the trucks that deliver most of our products throughout the world do not run on bio-diesel, hydrogen or natural gas. Are we to phase them out? By when? Will the US help pay for the trucking industry to transition from diesel to alternative energy sources and where will these alternate energy sources come from?
This is all a pipe dream Senator with no real plan.
As the author of the Fuel Economy Reform Act, Senator Obama has worked to gain bipartisan support for an innovative approach to raising automobile fuel efficiency standards (also known as “CAFE” standards) and break two decades of inaction and deadlock on reforming fuel economy laws. This proposal has attracted cosponsors from both parties – maintaining support from long-time champions of improving fuel economy standards while attracting support from traditional opponents. The bill would establish regular, continual, and incremental progress in miles per gallon fuel efficiency by an increase of four percent annually, and preserve flexibility by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to vary the rate of improvement and how best to technologically achieve those fuel economy targets. President Bush endorsed a similar approach in his State of the Union speech in January 2007.
We agree that improving fuel efficiency is a great thing, but it is naïve as well. People buy larger vehicles because they need them. Trucks can carry things, a Geo Prism cannot. SUVs cater to families, the Honda Civic does not. There is nothing you can do about that short of dramatically changing the way cars are built. More hybrids, fine, but who will pay for that? They cost vastly more than regular fuel vehicles, don’t get anywhere near the gain in fuel economy as they imply (20% is often the gain, it would take the entire life of the car to save back the fuel difference), and leave us with hazardous waste (the battery) every few years. In addition, the complexity of the manufacturing process for these automobiles and their replacement battery packs emits more Carbon Dioxide than the fuel savings garnered from the electric motor, so you are solving nothing.
There are other technologies, but none are practical at this time. We would like you to be more explicit, because if we are talking ethanol again, we have a real beef with your plan Senator.
Investing in New Technologies
Senator Obama introduced the “Health Care for Hybrids Act” to provide health care assistance to domestic automakers in exchange for their investing 50% of the savings into technology to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. His proposal has been praised by President Bill Clinton, the University of Michigan’s auto research center, and numerous newspapers.
In May 2007, Senator Obama, along with Senator Harkin, authored the National Low Carbon Fuel Standard Act (S. 1324), which requires a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the national transportation fuel pool by 2020, a reduction of about 180 million metric tons of emissions in 2020 – the equivalent of taking over 30 million cars off the road. The Obama-Harkin fuel standard embraces the growth of the renewable fuels market, including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel as a key component of fighting climate change, while creating incentives for lower carbon emissions in their production.
Praised by Bill Clinton? Pshaw. Why would Bill Clinton praise a Democrat? Never happen.
Interesting numbers thrown out, but no different from what John McCain has stated and no more realistic. Can you think of a reason the rest of the world hasn’t done this Senator when we already import most of our cars? Is it because they are dunces? Of course not. It is because it isn’t practical. Automobiles are manufactured and sold worldwide. If the nations that build our cars could come up with such technologies, don’t you think they would have by now? Japan already makes the best hybrids, not the US.
It is cute to offer US Automakers a discount to produce cleaner and more fuel efficient cars, if they all weren’t nearly bankrupt because they cannot build decent cars in the first place. I don’t think many Americans want to add more complexity to the automobile they purchase from Ford or GM when they have enough trouble with quality as it is. Maybe you can instead give the tax discount to the Japanese?
Working to Lower High Gas Prices
Oil companies are enjoying record profits while consumers are suffering from record high gas prices. In the 110th Congress, Senator Obama has introduced the Oil SENSE Act to eliminate unnecessary tax breaks to the oil industry. A version of the bill was passed by House of Representatives in January 2007.
In the 109th Congress, Senator Obama sponsored legislation, the FILL UP Act, requiring oil companies that made at least $1 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2006 to invest at least 1% of the their total reported first quarter 2006 profits into installing E-85 pumps.
Senator Obama also worked with Congressman Rahm Emanuel to obtain several million dollars to establish the first ethanol-to-hydrogen refueling station for refueling Chicago natural gas bus fleets.
All wrong. If you want to impose a tax on Oil companies, we are all for it. Make them build some refineries and drill responsibly and tap resources to use our current technologies. You can force them to invest in natural resources, but you can’t force a NIMBY population to allow you to even install wind power.
It all comes down to priorities Senator. Priority one. Energy Independence. Priority two. Energy Alternatives for electricity and heating piercing NIMBY conservationist groups. Priority three. Building an infrastructure for alternative fuels, but not ethanol or methanol, they just aren’t practical.
Senator McCain is the only one that has the foresight to realize that all our cars, hundreds of millions of them, are powered by gasoline. All our trucks that deliver products in the US are powered by diesel. Most of our electricity and heating comes from burning coal, oil or natural gas.
It is not practical to think that within any reasonable time frame we can change that. It is not realistic and it would destroy our economy in the process. It places the entire burden on us to convert while continuing to pay foreign nations for our current resources and maintain a huge trade deficit to do so. It is not a financially viable solution.
When you have run up your debt and you can’t pay the bills, you can do one of two things, try to pay down your debt and get control of your finances, or you can declare bankruptcy. We believe the only way to approach this problem is to reduce our dependency on an ever-growing importation of an international supply of natural resources.
This is vastly more practical and can be done with our current infrastructure and not with incredible expense to the citizen to convert cars, trucks and buses to use alternative fuels that would likely cost us more than gasoline. Building the infrastructure, converting our cars, converting our energy plants will cost an astronomical amount of money. Where will that money come from if we do not first get our trade deficit under control?
Round 4: McCain (but we want to see less pandering, the liberals are delusional here, McCain must point it out)
This is McCain’s opinion. We believe it panders a bit too much in an attempt to get votes. While we agree with Obama on Trade, this is an important facet of trade, and John is much more realistic in his approach than Obama. However, he spends most of his time sounding overly NIMBY. We have cut out many of his positions from his site.
Many, like those of Obama, are nonsense pandering to the conservationists and not making a stand to show us how narrow minded we can be. Climate change happened over centuries, we cannot fix it in 4 years guys. Don’t patronize us, get real!
From John McCain:
Economic development is essential to a strong American economy but urban sprawl shouldn’t be allowed to expand unabated at the expense of our remarkable wild and scenic public lands. Instead we should promote responsible growth and encourage state and local officials to implement open space initiatives and establish green corridors within our communities. This will require strengthening federal tools like Land and Water Conservation Fund that emphasizes recreation and the protection of wildlife areas.
Climate Change and Energy Independence
Climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge of our time. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Not only does our dependence on foreign oil bring about sizable national security risks but the preponderance of scientific evidence points to the warming of our climate from the burning of fossil fuels. We can no longer deny our responsibility to lead the world in reducing our carbon emissions.
John McCain has announced The Lexington Project, a comprehensive energy and climate strategy to provide America with secure sources of energy, ensure our continued prosperity, and address global climate change. This plan includes the elements necessary to achieve these objectives by: producing more power, pushing technology to help free our transportation sector from its use of foreign oil, cleaning up our air, addressing climate change, and ensuring that Americans have dependable energy sources.
This strategy recognizes that we must reexamine our national energy policy and enact reforms that allow the market to do more to open new paths of invention and ingenuity. And we must do this in a way that gives American businesses new incentives to develop clean and renewable energy technologies. The most direct way to achieve this is through a cap-and-trade system that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gases, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions.
We have an opportunity for American agriculture to be a major player in the pursuit of energy independence through the development of bio diesel and cellulosic energy. In moving forward, we must integrate environmental policies that maintain quality wildlife habitat near and downstream of farmland. The past quarter century shown that environmental stewardship programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetland Reserve Program have helped reduce wetland loss, improve water quality and minimize soil erosion. As we build our new energy economy, these programs should be recognized as good agriculture practices central to sustaining healthy ecosystems.
All that is fine John, but it is a solution for fifty years from now, we need a solution now. But John expanded on this view.
“The next president must be willing to break with the energy policies, not just of the current administration, but the administrations that preceded it, and lead a great national campaign to achieve energy security for America,” McCain said Tuesday.
Finally someone with some guts, although we would call it energy independence which, in turn, leads to energy security. If we were independent of foreign oil, we would not be at war in Iraq today, and it is highly likely we would not have experienced 9/11.
John is now supporting offshore drilling to tap our resources, and we are glad to see someone finally has the guts to support offshore drilling in the face of naive self-centered NIMBY conservationists? Are we finally breaking away from the “prima donna” attitude and accepting some responsibility for ourselves? Maybe not…
“When America set aside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we called it a ‘refuge’ for a reason,” he said.
We are getting mixed messages, but at least we are hearing some approach to providing access to US natural resources that sooner than later will reduce our dependencies on international oil and our trade deficit.
It is absolutely foolish to assume that anyone will stop drilling, destroying their habitats and killing other human beings to provide for our needs if we will not provide for our own.
One liberal diatribe makes this quote: “According to your best estimate, when will “drilling here and drilling now” reduce the price of gasoline in the United States?” You don’t have to ask the candidates this question, you know the answer. Sooner than if we take no action at all. A central argument against taking action has been that results are not immediate. By this argument, you should never attempt any long term objective. If you can’t deliver results today, it is too late. And year after year, while you maintain that “can’t do” attitude, other nations will eat you alive and your trade deficit will soar as you continue to import natural resources you already have for blood money. Had we strongly pursued energy independence ten years ago, we would likely be independent today. We didn’t do it. Why? It wasn’t because we believed in our environment and it wasn’t because we cared about pollution, etc. It wasn’t cost effective. Ten years ago, imported oil was cheap. But as it turned out, the deluded idea we could import our resources has resulted in the loss of huge numbers of human lives and cost us more economically than we ever imagined. That is hindsight, but we don’t need hindsight now to know we need to fix the problem and to see we have the resources to do it within our grasp.
The answers we are reading from the candidates also skip over a major problem we face in the US with respect to gasoline prices. We do not have enough refineries. Build them, with new technologies and governed by our laws. To hell with the special interests. If we don’t do it, someone else will and we can guarantee you it won’t be in their citizens’ interests or ours. It will be in the name of money.
The liberal side completely escapes us as does John’s desire to pander to them. We believe we should drill anywhere feasible, Alaska, Offshore, wherever we can. Build refineries. Accelerate the use of coal for petroleum, tap oil shale, and build alternative energy sources in the face of NIMBY self-interest groups.
Through it all, we guarantee you, the US will do it much cleaner and with much more consideration to the environment and human rights than any other nation on earth. Get used to it. We consume. Why destroy our economy in our wake? Take responsibility for ourselves! It will yield results. And if anyone asks you for a date for when it will deliver results like the liberal diatribe above? Ask them for a date when we will be independent of foreign oil if we don’t take action. Hypocrites need not apply!
We have an incredible dichotomy. We want clean air, to reduce green-house gases, to preserve our natural wildlife, and yet we use 24 percent of the world’s oil!! How can we, as a nation that believes in such ideals, still use 24 percent of the world’s oil? Fact is, we prove in practice, we don’t truly have these ideals, but we do have a NIMBY attitude.
We pass off the responsibility of tapping the resources to others and import it when we ourselves possess massive energy resources. And we don’t just hand off our responsibilities to Arab nations. In our first article of this series, we asked our readers which nation we import most of our oil from. Here is the answer, are you ready?
The nation exporting the most oil to the United States is Canada. We have vast reserves of natural resources in the United States while the nation immediately to our North is exporting oil to us as fast as they can tap it. We are honestly standing up and saying we will not drill on our land and use our resources, while our next door neighbor to our North provides most of our needs? Could we be any more hypocritical?
And take a look at number 3 folks. Do you honestly think that the two nations closest to us geographically are so vast in natural resources relative to us that we should import their resources at incredible expense while our trade deficit explodes?
We borrow the following chart from the US Energy Information Administration.
Crude Oil Imports (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
Total Imports of Petroleum (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
This map of the world which clearly demonstrates the highest use of oil per capita is educational. However, we believe it is a bit misleading. Warmer climates use less oil and more developed nations also use more. Still, it is very clear who the largest consumers are. We constantly hear about the increase in demand among developing nations, but we still dwarf their usage and we still import most of it. Interestingly, some of the major exporters, like Saudi Arabia, have very little use for the oil they export. Think about that for a minute. What else do they have to offer, and yet we are at war in Iraq, in part to protect our interests in the Persian Gulf?
Recently, our demand for fuel dropped off. When it did, our dollar strengthened, demonstrating a strong correlation between our trade deficit and the value of our currency. (see our article on Trade). It seems that most articles we have read on the matter have the cause and effect totally backwards. They are claiming oil prices dropped in response to a stronger dollar. Wrong!!! The weakened economy collapsed our demand for oil. That, in turn, reduced our trade deficit, which strengthens the dollar.
When you were in Junior High School, you likely read this book. It started with the famous quote “Call me Ishmael”. Does it ring a bell? The name of the book was “Moby Dick”. It was written about the hunt for an evil white whale by Captain Ahab and originated out the biggest whaling port in the world, New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford, at the time, was known throughout the world.
New Bedford still has a lone whaler on the hunt, holding a harpoon in his whaling boat, as a landmark in front of their public library, but worldwide the city is now an unknown spec. They do have the largest whaling museum in the country, and we think you should visit this museum to gain a better understanding of our history with respect to energy use. Why? Because the hunt for whales was based on our dependency on energy, specifically whale oil for lighting. We knew nothing about fossil fuels. We depended on whales for our energy. “Uncle Jed” would be rich had he owned a whaling ship. We murdered whales at will, a beautiful and intelligent animal, to provide for our nation’s energy needs.
We nearly caused the extinction of whales in the process, but thankfully, we discovered an alternative… fossil fuels. Our basic energy needs now are met almost entirely, directly or indirectly, by fossil fuels.
Initially, the US was able to meet its own demands for fossil fuels. Eventually, we could no longer satiate our own appetite, and in the mid 1900s, we started to import our resources in excess of what we consumed. A famous personality, M. King Hubbert, defined the concept of “peak oil” saying we would eventually run out of oil, and by a specific date, the cost would start to escalate. This theory has been brought to the forefront again and again, and is used at every spike in oil trading prices, because those on the long side want to make money. It has little to do with reality. There are enough fossil fuels in one form or another to last us hundreds more years and many are cost effective, but domestically, we are a NAMBY PAMBY NIMBY population.
The Environment and Us
We (US citizens) seem to care about our environment. We care about the warming climate, pollution, the decline of the rain forests and the transition away from the use of fossil fuels. Other nations think about money or survival. They are willing to sacrifice the world’s rain forests for their own benefit. They are willing to provide us oil and other fossil fuels at any cost to make a profit or eat. They do not care about their natural resources or the world’s. These other nations have major problems that lead to disaster with respect to natural resources world wide, and, in the same way we nearly killed off all whales in pursuit of our energy needs, they will kill off and destroy all their natural resources and even each other to provide our market, regardless of what it does to the world’s environment.
Every gallon of oil, every farm product, and in fact, every natural resource, we choose to import, when we already have access to those resources in large quantities within our own borders, is a cop out. It is not saying we are protecting our environment or our desire to preserve our jobs. It says we are not willing to accept responsibility for our own actions. We want to blame others while we drive our cars to work, heat our homes and consume natural resources at a higher rate per capita than any other nation in the world. We are not willing to accept the damage it causes within the US, but we are willing to encourage it outside our borders, no matter what the consequences, so we can blame others. This becomes even more evident when you realize we import such a vast amount of petroleum from Canada, but we want to protect Alaska. Does the US population have any concept of geography?
People throughout the US try to understand why we are hated throughout the world in the way we are. We have a theory. It is because we value ourselves above them. It is because we think our lives, our way of living and our children are worth more than theirs. We think that if we purchase oil from another nation, we preserve our environment within US borders. By tapping others resources, we pollute their environment, but we keep ours clean. Somehow, we believe, in an isolationist fashion, that if we do not tap our resources within our borders, it is OK, because someone else will suffer the consequences. We will not have to experience the results, “out of sight, out of mind”.
The deluded idea is we are acceptable in our minds, because those nations will make the hard decisions, and without any percentage of the consideration we have for our environment, tap and export their resources. Is it worth it to us to preserve a blind fish in a cave, while other nations destroy thousands or millions of species to feed us the same amount of oil? They don’t care, we do. And because we care too much, we are misguided.
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.
We have watched the web become a slingshot for the liberal press to fling articles at us bashing the Republicans and anything non-liberal. Honestly, we expect the web, with outlets like the HuffingtonPuffingtonPost to be completely biased against McCain and anything non-liberal, but CNN has gone overboard with their liberal tactics. They have totally reversed the facts in this article…
If McCain or his camp stood up and said these same things after being bashed repeatedly by the Obama camp and the liberal press, CNN would have used a title like, “McCain Can’t Take It”, or “Palin’s Crying Smears Her Lipstick”. The writers at CNN act like a bunch of children.
They are using a quote from an Obama advisor to state that McCain is dirty in his attacks on Obama? Fact is,from what we are reading, it is just the opposite. Throughout our newspapers and all over the web all we see are attacks on McCain and Palin. We haven’t even decided on who to vote for for president yet, but when we post any article on our website that favors McCain in any way over Obama, even if Obama’s position is a joke, we receive a string of hate mail and insults. When we criticize McCain, we hear nothing at all. They (the McCain camp), apparently, can take the criticism and move on while the liberals are apparently a slew of cry babies.
From what we can gather, the liberals believe a criticism of Obama is an attack, but a criticism of McCain is informational. The comments in the CNN article are bitter and childish and they aren’t being made by McCain or his camp! They are quotes from Obama and his. In fact, we can’t find one quote in the article that is a specific McCain attack against Obama, but we see quote after quote of insulting attacks from Obama.
Obama needs to be less of a cry baby and more of a man if he wants to get elected President. CNN and the other liberal outlets should try it. A bit of non-biased writing might help their image.
Let us know if McCain calls Obama on being a Muslim and we will believe Obama is more than a cry baby campaigner. In the meantime, Obama said he was a Muslim all by his lonesome. He didn’t need McCain’s help.
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.