Obama attacked John McCain in a recent TV interview, saying “Say It To My Face”. What is amusing about Obama’s response is that it is, in and of itself, an attack. Obama has been running a negative attack on McCain from day one. For him to criticize the McCain camp for any negative comment is laughable.
Obama has attacked every facet of the current administration and made every attempt to link McCain and the Bush Administration, no matter how different those policies are and no matter how different they are from the past. Obama started this dirty campaign during the primaries, and now he whines and cries wolf when McCain strikes back.
One of Obama’s best quotes ever.
“I am surprised that, you know, we’ve been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days, that he wasn’t willing to say it to my face. But I guess we’ve got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate.”
Maybe McCain should, but then again why give Obama any chance to defend his radical positions. Should we give his nonsensical attacks equal time to the real issues. The Republicans should take a new tack. The Obama campaign is brilliant at promising America nirvana by spending money they do not have. With the economy getting flushed down the toilet, neither man has the ability to deliver on any of the promises, so McCain may as well follow Obama’s lying lead and promise planetariums in every house, free real estate for every citizen, new appliances for every home owner.
As an example of the foolishness of the Democratic camp, one should consider heavily the promise of the Obama Health Plan. It is insane. He promises to cover pre-existing conditions, for anyone. In Massachusetts, they instituted the exact same plan last year. IDENTICAL. And after JUST ONE YEAR, premiums on most plans are up 40% in the state as healthy people are forced to pay for the sick. It is just another TAX people!! Welfare for the ill. They are just finding another way to tax you without your knowledge!!
In Massachusetts, and nationally, if Obama gets his way, your best bet is to just pay the tax penalties; they are vastly cheaper than the exorbitant price of insurance that has now exploded to about $20000 to $24000 a year for a decent plan. Then, just pay the doctor out of pocket. It is way cheaper for a person of normal health. And then, if you get sick, sign up!! You can be on the plan by the 1st of the ensuing month. GREAT PLAN!!
Massachusetts is obtuse in pursuing this kind of plan, and Obama is using it as a model. The result will be everyone will be forced to pay ridiculous medical premiums to support people that jump on the train just as they get seriously ill.
I am pregnant, honey, sign up for insurance.
I was just diagnosed with cancer, sign up for insurance.
I just had blood in my stool, sign up for insurance.
Our tax dollars at work. Democrats need more of them. Lots more.
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 originally came to the conclusion that Obama’s plan for health care was vastly better than McCain’s. We believed that the money given through a tax credit to pay for health care in McCain’s plan would just provide the opportunity for the insurance companies to raise prices, and that a universally available plan that was affordable to everyone was a great idea. To read our original opinion, complete this article to the end to see where we went wrong.
After we submitted our article, one of our readers pointed out to us that a major part of Obama’s plan is to take everyone into the health care plan, even those with pre-existing conditions, and we started to wonder how that would be paid for and by whom?
Obama’s health plan is modeled after the plan instituted last year in our home state. Massachusetts’ health plan, within just one year, has clearly demonstrated how completely wrong we were. The state has instituted the exact same plan as Obama promises. Let’s see how well it has worked.
Massachusetts told us how our health care would get more “affordable” if we forced everyone to purchase health care, but then they imposed a subtle and huge tax increase on citizens of the state. They required that all insurance companies cover all pre-existing conditions, no matter how serious, no matter how long they have existed and no matter how old the patient is. Take a second to think about that before you read further. No matter how long a person has been ill, no matter how old they are, no matter what state or federal government program had covered them in the past, they get to jump on the plan with the healthy and young. DO they pay more because they cost vastly more to cover? Actually, it is just the reverse. The state makes it even more painful by subsidizing the elderly and sick, forcing even more of the expense on the healthy and young.
The promise in Massachusetts was that insurance premiums would drop. Instead, what has happened is policy prices have skyrocketed 40% in a year as the healthy are forced to pay for the unhealthy and elderly, many that had been supported by state health programs. It is a great deal for the state, the sick and elderly, and a sharp indirect tax increase on the healthy and young.
Many have insurance through their jobs and thought that they were safe. But the fact is that their plans have soared in price as well and the companies in Massachusetts are being left with hard choices to reduce their health care coverage for their employees, charge significantly higher contributions to help pay for the healthcare or cut jobs to pay for the massively increased costs. This burden falls particularly hard on small businesses, the type that Obama says he will help. He says that he will only impose a tax increase on small businesses that earn over $250,000, but almost any small business with more than two employees meets that criteria, so they will raise their taxes and hit them with the sharpest increase in health care costs in our history.
So, what do the Democrats and Obama hope to gain? To get the healthy to pay for Medicare, Medicaid and other medical problems the US used to fund through entitlements. It is a huge tax increase that people just cannot see yet. We are seeing it clearly and painfully in Massachusetts in only one year!! The cost for a decent plan in Massachusetts has skyrocketed to $20000 to $24000 a year! There are cheaper plans, but they have HUGE deductibles amounting to thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.
This is a subtle way to shift the cost of Medicare, Medicaid and government programs to business, the healthy and the young. It also gets the insurance companies to collect the hidden tax. If you decide that you cannot afford it, or if you legitimately cannot afford it, what do they do? They penalize you on your taxes. Massachusetts REQUIRES that you have the insurance or they charge you tax penalties. Exactly what Obama endorses.
The result? Insurance companies have raised prices 40% in a year because they know you have to buy their coverage. Deductibles have soared and coverage for well-care such as blood tests are no longer covered by many plans until a huge deductible is satisfied. Where is that money going? To pay for the elderly and sick that can jump on the plans at any time. In fact, the sick and elderly can even to Massachusetts from other states and jump on board. It is health welfare paid for by Massachusetts victims, er, citizens.
This is the Massachusetts government mindset. If they cannot directly raise taxes in the obvious way, they run interference and get you to pay the tax another way. If you do not believe us, just check out the huge increases in insurance rates in Massachusetts following institution of their plan. Then realize the disaster it would be if applied nation wide.
Massachusetts lied to its citizens telling us that its plan would reduce health care costs. Instead, our premiums soared 40% in one year! It is cheaper for many to drop their health care insurance, pay the tax penalties and just jump on board if they get ill. This makes the premiums even more expensive. The state collects extra taxes and defers all their expenses to business, the healthy and the young.
Forcing society to pay massively increased taxes through their health care organization is NOT the way to address Medicare and Medicaid problems. It is a way to make the healthy poor. This plan must be defeated even if Obama gets elected. It is a tax increase of astronomical proportions.