The 2008 Presidential Debates: It’s Energy Independence Stupid!

The candidates need to focus. We believe there is one primary cause of America’s current problems. It isn’t Wall Street. It isn’t Main Street. It isn’t corruption. Quite simply, it is dependency on foreign oil and natural resources.

There are many nations we purchase oil from; they are not all rogue.  But what nations have led to problems for the US and yet still profit from selling us their oil directly or indirectly?  Iran, and for every barrel we purchase, we support their nuclear endeavor. Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 terrorists were born. Russia, which is now invading Georgia.

Now we even talk about attacking Iran or defending Georgia when it is OUR OIL money that is supporting Iran and Russia.

We are allies of Israel. It puts us at odds with ourselves and our own policies supporting Israel while we depend on her worst enemies for the bulk of our oil.

We realize that we purchase much or our oil from allies and local nations.  Please read our series on natural resources to find out who we depend on the most for our oil, but even those nations have seen their currencies advance strongly in the face of our dollar’s collapse as our economy weakens and our deficit rises.

This election could still go either way, but the advantage is currently with Obama.  We believe, however, there are many closet voters just waiting for their opportunity to elect McCain instead. It is popular to say you are for Obama, or to just hate Bush, but we believe that many Americans that take these positions are really not in favor of Obama’s policies, inexperience and lack of spending discipline.

When Clinton ran for President the first time, he came up with a slogan. It narrowed the issues and allowed America to identify with his ideals and his campaign. That slogan was, “It’s the economy stupid”. It focused his objectives and gathered a nation around him to fix our economic problems.

We face a myriad of problems, but most have been brought on by our dependency on foreign oil.

1. 9/11 brought on by our presence in the Middle East to protect our interests with respect to foreign oil.
2. War in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
3. Two attacks on Iraq, the second of which led to occupation. There is little doubt that many consider this a war over oil. Well, if we didn’t need their oil, it wouldn’t be an issue, would it?
4. A huge Federal deficit.
5. More pollution outside the US because we don’t use our own advanced technologies to tap the resources we need.

It’s energy independence, stupid!

Who Won The Vice Presidential Debate 2008?

This debate is normally relatively ignored. It is not considered important in general, and it usually does not draw much of an audience.  This year was played up as being different.

We watched this debate, and from our vantage point, neither candidate made it worth watching.  Biden was interrupting and off topic, focusing on attacking McCain and Bush rather than addressing the actual issues and the future.  His personal focus was on the “little guy”.  Palin was obviously nervous.  She focused on her ticket’s future agenda.  From a personal perspective, she focused on moms and identifying with family and people in America.

Palin was not aggressive enough or mean enough to deal with an opponent bent on negative and accusatory politics.  She also does not have the background to really debate the past in Washington.

Palin did come across as a very positive, forthright and honest person.  We believe America will like her and identify with her more than with Biden.

Our main complaint in Palin’s comments is she keeps on blaming Wall Street, and she should focus more on policies that created an environment that not only made bad loans possible, but encouraged them.  And those policies have been in place for decades, but were most strongly pushed in the late 1980s.

We don’t see either candidate swaying the partisan vote, or even the undecided.  We are not saying the debate was a waste of time, but it didn’t present anything new.  The bottom line we see from both parties is they both want change going forward having learned from past mistakes.  Biden seemed more bent on criticizing the past, but we find that funny seeing as he has been around for three decades.  We understand though.  It is the in thing to hate Bush.  Other than that, it was just basically a repeat of the policies already stated in the first Presidential debate.

Palin did get a chance to call Biden on a number of his positions that now directly contradict positions he had taken when running against Obama in the primaries.  Biden got to attack the “Maverick” concept of McCain.

Palin did deliver partially on arguing for tapping US resources, and it was interesting to see Biden actually move towards clean coal!  But neither gives a plan we can grasp for how we get to energy independence.  McCain, because he is behind, needs to grab the reigns there and provide a clear plan, because it is a major differentiator.  He should also push getting Iraq to financially assist in the war.  We think that would kill the Obama financial justification of a fast exit strategy.

We think Obama, going forward, should be more forthright in the hows and not the what’s.  We are getting kind of sick of hearing how wrong headed Bush was, and how this is wrong and that is wrong, and this is what we are going to do differently, etc.  We want to know HOW!! Do that, and you get our vote.

Biden only had one major gaffe.  On a bill which Obama voted for, which would have raised taxes on people making as little as $42000 a year, Biden said McCain voted the same way on that bill.  McCain did not even vote on the bill.

Palin had one gaffe, getting the name of the General in Afghanistan wrong.

Palin had some problems in knowing which bills were which in some instances.  But Biden kept commenting to “go look it up”, which we find a silly debate comeback, having heard it again and again in conversations when the other party had run out of real arguments.

We think overall, Palin won.  Why?  Because she didn’t lose.  Biden has over 30 years of experience in Washington and is known for his debating skills.  Governor Palin has little exposure to this kind of debate, and yet Biden failed to convince us the Democratic ticket was the better choice.  Biden should have wiped the floor with Palin lipstick, and he gained little, if any ground.

If you want more on the debates, please read this:

Who Caused The Financial Meltdown? Was McCain Negligent? 2008 Presidential Debates Don’t Tell All.

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Presidential Debate 2008 Round 2: The Hard Questions

Have a question for the two candidates? Publish it here by leaving a comment!

It is getting down to the wire here and McCain is behind in the Polls.  It is time to take those polls seriously and take off the kid gloves if you are the Republicans.

We are going to summarize the questions we would ask Obama if we were confronting him in a debate.  We will follow with a similar segment asking McCain the questions we would ask if we were confronting him.  Everything goes here.  It is time to get nasty.

Our opinion of Obama, and it would be the central part of our attack in any debate, is that he is great at stating what he will do with absolutely no specifics.  We would primarily be asking “how”.  With Obama, the key tactic has to be to pin the sucka down.

1. You say you pay for every penny of your hundreds of billions in dollars worth of programs.  Tell us exactly how.  If it is by closing “loopholes” and “rolling back tax cuts”, give us the specifics.  What loopholes will you specifically close.  What “tax cuts” are you taking away?  Are you dependent on funds from your planned withdrawal from Iraq?

2. If you are rolling back tax cuts, how is that different from increasing taxes?

3. If you are focused on raising the capital gains tax and taxes on dividends, aren’t you concerned about the negative fall out on the stock markets which have already been pummeled over the mortgage fiasco?  Would you also be concerned with fixed income seniors dependent on these dividends as income?

4. You claim deregulation led to the mortgage fiasco, but we fail to see the exact deregulation of which you speak.  Could you elaborate?

5. Wasn’t it Barney Frank that resisted legislation sought by the Bush administration in 2003 to better regulate mortgages, and, specifically, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Didn’t he repeatedly say there were no problems there while the Bush administration warned of “systemic risk”?

6. On Social Security, you say you will pay for it partially by raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year 10 years from now.  Isn’t that a cop-out on America?  Aren’t we going to have to start paying back Social Security with interest in less time than that?  And how does deferring the problem to your successor solve the problem now?

7. You say you want to send more troops into Afghanistan?  Isn’t that just your own version of the Surge?

8. You imply you want to violate Pakistan’s borders or threaten Pakistan if we are not allowed to go after the Taliban and Al Qaeda within Pakistani borders.  Of what specific threats do you speak?  And if you would attack without government knowledge and cooperation, wouldn’t that be an act of war?

9. You have a plan to get us out of Iraq in 16 months.  Have you asked General Petraus what he thinks of such a plan?

10. In the last debate you claim that Iraq has a huge surplus.  We would like to know, if that is true, why haven’t you suggested to ask them to contribute financially to the war effort rather than using it as justification for bailing on them.

11. You claim your energy plan includes increased production.  If you don’t support drilling, where would that increased production come from?

12. In an interview, you referred to your Muslim Faith, and had to be corrected.  Since the beginning of the campaign, you distanced yourself from the pastor of your church for stating to “God Damn America”.  What faith are you Senator?  What church do you attend?

13. If you are Christian, Senator, how does abortion conflict with your Christian belief?

14. Your healthcare plan says it will include those with pre-existing conditions.  How would that work Senator?  Wouldn’t people just wait until something catastrophic went wrong and THEN join the plan?

15. You imply that giving tax breaks to oil companies is a bad idea, but then you say that providing a tax break to companies that invest in America is a good idea.  Many oil companies invest in America, so how will you resolve that?

16. You say you may delay programs because of the financial crisis.  Being absolutely specific, what programs would you delay?  Do not include what we need to do.  We only want the answer to the question.

17. You preach energy independence.  Can you please give us your exact plan for reaching energy independence along with the time frame?

18. You speak of hard negotiations with Iran.  Senator, when is the last time you were involved in any form of international negotiation?

McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

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?

Obama’s Position

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?

Continue on next page…

Who Caused The Financial Meltdown? Was McCain Negligent? 2008 Presidential Debates Don’t Tell All.

As you probably know, if exposed to any news at all in the past week, the Federal Government is bailing out the financial industry to the tune of $700 billion. Their plan is to buy up bad mortgage debt with the hope of resolving the financial crisis and perhaps some day recovering that money. No government estimate has ever come in on time and on budget, so don’t bet your life on that $700 billion being enough.

To put that $700 billion in perspective, with that same amount of money, we could have followed Boone Pickens plan and erected enough wind power facilities to generate 20% of the US energy needs with wind power!!! Instead, we are buying BAD MORTGAGES!! Think about that. Instead of burning coal and oil, we could use wind for 20% of our energy, but we are buying bad mortgage debt instead!

As it turns out, the funniest aspect of the debates last week, and the saddest, was an accusation made by Senator Obama. Obama stated that regulations had been hurled out the window by the Republican administration, and that disregard for government regulation resulted in our current financial malaise.

But it wasn’t deregulation at all, it was the weakening of mortgage requirements.  Mortgage requirements, specifically for the poor and minorities, were severely weakened over a much longer period than the tenure of the Bush Administration, going back as far as the Carter Administration. Regulations as a whole were not reduced on Wall Street. In fact, regulations on public companies are more stringent today than they ever have been.

This article has moved to its new home, The Lie Politic. Please continue reading by clicking here and you will be directed to the new site. Thank you!

9/26 Presidential Debate 2008: McCain Gaffes May Have Lost Debate. Will It Happen Again?

In this segment we respond to comments from Senator McCain in this debate that are direct quotes from the transcript. We feel McCain avoided many questions, provided weak answers to some and made out and out mistakes on some others.  Here are the quotes and our responses. All quotes are taken directly from the transcript.

Don’t miss our debate with Obama as well, it demonstrates how Obama could improve for his next debate.

When asked about our current fiscal crisis, McCain responded,

1. “…have no doubt about the magnitude of this crisis. And we’re not talking about failure of institutions on Wall Street. We’re talking about failures on Main Street, and people who will lose their jobs, and their credits, and their homes, if we don’t fix the greatest fiscal crisis, probably in — certainly in our time, and I’ve been around a little while.”

In general, this was a very weak response Senator. The rest of the response involving requiring transparency, etc. did not define the true magnitude of the problem,  its cause or its solution other than consuming 700 billion dollars to buy troubled securities, which we already knew.

2. “Somehow we’ve lost that accountability. I’ve been heavily criticized because I called for the resignation of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. We’ve got to start also holding people accountable, and we’ve got to reward people who succeed. But somehow in Washington today — and I’m afraid on Wall Street — greed is rewarded, excess is rewarded, and corruption — or certainly failure to carry out our responsibility is rewarded.”

That is way too broad of a stroke Senator. There were specific people responsible for this disaster. Alan Greenspan was one of them. It wasn’t “Corporate America” that made the mortgage mess. It was created by artificially low interest rates and investment houses taking on risk they likely shouldn’t have. But they only make up the banks and investment houses like Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch and mortgage companies like American Lending Association. That is not “Wall Street”. They were public companies, but Wall Street consists of thousands of great companies not even remotely involved in mortgages, so please stop making that correlation, it is offensive to Americans.

3. “And Main Street is paying a penalty for the excesses and greed in Washington, D.C., and on Wall Street.”

Washington we understand, the banking system we understand, but you are stretching it big time blaming it on Wall Street as a whole. It is deferring responsibility. Our Fed screwed up. Admit it and move on.

4. “We Republicans came to power to change government, and government changed us. And the — the worst symptom on this disease is what my friend, Tom Coburn, calls earmarking as a gateway drug, because it’s a gateway. It’s a gateway to out-of-control spending and corruption.”

If anything loses this debate for you Senator, it is this statement. It sounds clever, but it condemns your party. It does not share responsibility for the growth in government with a Senate and House controlled by the Democrats. Government as a whole overspent and grew too much, both sides, not just yours. Get your act together Senator, what you say has implications.

5. “I suggest that people go up on the Web site of Citizens Against Government Waste, and they’ll look at those projects.”

We will do that Senator. We recommend all Americans that are going to vote do just that.

6. “Right now, the United States of American business pays the second-highest business taxes in the world, 35 percent. Ireland pays 11 percent. Now, if you’re a business person, and you can locate any place in the world, then, obviously, if you go to the country where it’s 11 percent tax versus 35 percent, you’re going to be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment…”

You completely missed an opportunity here and left an opening for Obama. The issue here is that because of this high tax rate, many companies are basing themselves outside the United States. Tax incentives are huge in other nations trying to draw corporations to situate within those borders. Our tax system on corporations is so repressive that many of them just pack up and leave.

We also think you should agree with Obama on the issue of removing tax breaks for companies that do situate themselves outside the US. Having your central office in Bermuda or Panama should not reduce your tax burden for profits made in the United States. If you want to keep a business person from locating elsewhere, you can’t give them US tax breaks for doing so.

7. “And so, again, look at the record, particularly the energy bill. But, again, Senator Obama has shifted on a number of occasions. He has voted in the United States Senate to increase taxes on people who make as low as $42,000 a year. And that’s just a fact. Again, you can look it up.”

Senator, if you are going to make such a claim, you should have the specifics. Obama was able to easily deny this claim. When you say for folks to go “look it up” you are using a childish debate tactic that just proves you didn’t do your homework. If this statement is true, you should have had the name of the bill, the date it was signed and proof of Obama’s support. This was a major gaffe.

8. “I think that we have to return — particularly in defense spending, which is the largest part of our appropriations — we have to do away with cost-plus contracts. We now have defense systems that the costs are completely out of control.We tried to build a little ship called the Littoral Combat Ship that was supposed to cost $140 million, ended up costing $400 million, and we still haven’t done it. So we need to have fixed-cost contracts. We need very badly to understand that defense spending is very important and vital, particularly in the new challenges we face in the world, but we have to get a lot of the cost overruns under control. I know how to do that.”

One major problem is “year-ends”. By creating budgets based on a fiscal year, you are making businesses run like a person with a cell phone contract that loses their minutes each month. The companies know they have a limited time to spend the money and as the year-end approaches, they spend it with total disregard for cost. This “use it or lose it” philosophy has wasted more taxpayer money than any other policy. Fixed cost contracts are interesting, but is that realistic with the current complexity of government projects? The US government is not the only one with budget over runs. Massachusetts “Big Dig” went over their initial estimates by 500% and leaked when finished! The cost of such large projects is incredibly difficult to estimate.

9. When asked about how to approach the fiscal crisis, one suggestion McCain made was “How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.”

We like brevity Senator, but this left the stage wide open for Obama. It also sounds like it would threaten a huge number of jobs. You seem to forget that a vast number of people work on government programs. A spending freeze would be an abrupt action that could result in a huge loss of jobs in America.

10. “And Senator Obama, who after promising not to vote to cut off funds for the troops, did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Obama did vote against funds for the troops, but you both did on bills that did not favor your overall strategies. Bringing this up without providing the complete story gave you less credibility when Obama responded.

11. “And I’d like to remind you, also, as a result of those recommendations, we’ve probably had the largest reorganization of government since we established the Defense Department. And I think that those men and women in those agencies are doing a great job.”

Was this part of the huge growth in government you speak of negatively? How expensive was this reorganization and how much of the 40% growth in government you cite was related to it?

NOTE IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN RESPONSES TO DEBATE MCCAIN COMMENTS IN THE DEBATE, PLEASE MAKE A COMMENT AND WE WILL TRY TO INCLUDE THEM IN OUR ARTICLE.

9/26 Presidential Debate 2008: How Can Liberals Say Obama Won? You Have To See This.

This segment has 30 comments from Senator Obama in this debate that are direct quotes from the transcript with our responses to each.  Here are the quotes and our responses. All quotes are taken directly from the transcript.

When asked about our current financial crisis, Obama responded

1. “But we’re also going to have to look at, how is it that we shredded so many regulations? We did not set up a 21st-century regulatory framework to deal with these problems. And that in part has to do with an economic philosophy that says that regulation is always bad.”

Fact is, there are much heavier regulations than ever on our businesses. The reporting of stock options, Sarbanes Oxley, and stricter SEC reporting requirements have cost corporate America billions, sent some into bankruptcy, often forcing them to sell to larger corporations or severely delaying financial reports. We allow Chinese companies, like China Energy Savings Technology (CESV) enter our markets without any proof of their viability and let them steal American investors money as they collapse when it is proven they never had a viable business in the first place or any of the cash they claimed they had. Don’t you think you should instead prevent that and help American Companies reduce their costs so they can create more jobs?

In addition, what specific regulations do you think were shredded Senator Obama?  Wasn’t it Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, that backed bills specifically to force banks to provide mortgages to people that were not credit worthy, and wasn’t it also Barney Frank and the Democrats that fought legislation by the Bush administration in 2003 that would have more stringently regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Didn’t government regulations instituted and endorsed by Democrats lead to this problem in the first place?

2. “I mean, we’ve had years in which the reigning economic ideology has been what’s good for Wall Street, but not what’s good for Main Street.”

Wasn’t Wall Street doing swimmingly well during Bill Clinton’s reign with record low interest rates set by Alan Greenspan? Didn’t Main Street benefit with record low unemployment and strong job creation? We fail to see the correlation between Wall Street doing well and Main Street doing badly.

3. “Well, Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused, which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up.”

But didn’t you do that after you decided to run for President Senator? Prior to that you appeared to clearly support the earmark system asking for $932 million for your state alone.

4. “What I do is I close corporate loopholes, stop providing tax cuts to corporations that are shipping jobs overseas so that we’re giving tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States.”

Specifically what loopholes do you close? You seem to imply you want to provide loopholes to companies investing IN the United States. Would that include Exxon? Didn’t you criticize John for tax breaks that would include the oil companies?

5. “And I pay for every dime of it.”

Senator, with all due respect, you don’t pay for diddly squat. We do, including your salary. If you mean you have a way for US to pay for all your 400 billion dollars worth of programs, show us how. We don’t believe it. Words are cheap.

6. “My definition — here’s what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut. And if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase.”

How will that sort of tax system pay for $400 billion dollars in new programs?

7. “John, you want to give oil companies another $4 billion.”

When you provide a corporate tax break, you cannot exclude certain businesses because they are successful. That is ludicrous. Your own tax plan says you will reward companies that invest in America. Many oil companies do, so wouldn’t your plan reward them too? Besides Senator, the oil companies are going to make that money anyway, because if you raise their taxes, they will just raise the price on gas and oil. You are just placing the burden on the consumer. Let the oil companies drill, build refineries and expand the use of other resources within the US at their expense. That will create jobs, lower the price of oil and gas and reduce our trade deficit allowing us to put that money to good use, like alternate energy sources for example.

8. “And if we want to talk about oil company profits, under your tax plan, John — this is undeniable — oil companies would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks.”

But you have a tax program that would reward them as well, and how does that 4 billion stack up against your 400 billion in new programs you claim you can pay for?

9. When asked what programs he would give up…

“Well, there are a range of things that are probably going to have to be delayed.”

How long would you delay your promised programs? Until you are no longer in office perhaps, blaming the failure to institute those programs on the Republicans? We hope you don’t go that route Senator, because if there are reasons your programs cannot be instituted, and you really don’t have a plan to pay for them, you should be telling us now!

10. “We have to have energy independence, so I’ve put forward a plan to make sure that, in 10 years’ time, we have freed ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil by increasing production at home”

OK, now we have heard enough. How do we increase production without drilling and without using coal and other natural resources more extensively? Will you stop talking about what you will do, and give us a fact or two on the hows?

11. “…most importantly by starting to invest in alternative energy, solar, wind, biodiesel, making sure that we’re developing the fuel-efficient cars of the future right here in the United States, in Ohio and Michigan, instead of Japan and South Korea.”

Japan constructs many of their cars here, providing American jobs. Many American corporations like General Motors have partnerships with Japanese car companies that have been mutually beneficial. The primary problem with the American auto companies has been poor quality and expensive labor. How do you suggest we get the companies to build more complex cars with better quality and with lower costs? Perhaps more automation? But wouldn’t that cut jobs?

In addition, it has been primarily American car companies that have fought mileage rules like you propose. The reason? The rules favor the smaller cars better manufactured in Japan and South Korea!  Perhaps you would do better getting higher mileage vehicles, on average, by shutting down American auto manufacturers?

12. “We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just — a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families.They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care. I’m meeting folks all over the country. We have to do that now, because it will actually make our businesses and our families better off.”

While we agree, wouldn’t it be better to get our costs under control like reducing the trade deficit before we attack such a huge problem? Estimates are your plan will cost at least $150 billion dollars. You want to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but wouldn’t that encourage people to just join the plan AFTER a health problem becomes obvious? The costs would be huge for that kind of plan.

13. “Well, look, I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to free ourselves from the dependence on foreign oil.”

How? Specifically, and on what time table? You don’t support drilling, you don’t support nuclear, you don’t support coal. Will we be converting our entire truck fleet in the United States to bio-diesel? How about our planes? Do you suggest solar power panels glued to the wings? Our hundreds of millions of cars? How about we make them all foot powered like Fred Flintstone’s?

14. “The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.”

We have a 700 billion dollar bail-out of our financial sector going on here Senator. That is a freakin’ shot gun, not a hatchet. And you claim all we need is a scalpel??!!!

15. “Let me tell you another place to look for some savings. We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we’re going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we have to look at bringing that war to a close.”

The expense is huge, but would Iran stepping into Iraq be worse? Their influence with the Iraqi Shiites is huge. And can you imagine the genocide of Sunnis and Kurds if it happens? How about instead you tell Iraq they have to start helping pay for the war effort? Wouldn’t that make more sense than abandoning them? If they have the surplus you claim, it should not be any problem at all.

16. “And because of the economy’s slowing down, I think we can also expect less tax revenue so there’s no doubt that as president I’m go doing have to make some tough decision.”

We got that Senator, but we haven’t heard one likely tough decision you will make yet? Tell us one, just one!

17. “We are spending $300 billion on tax cuts for people who don’t need them”

That is a bunch Senator, could you please get explicit for a change and tell us what tax cuts? If you are referring to the Capital Gains and Dividends tax cuts, those help people that invest in America, then you should consider that a vast number of people in America are invested in our markets. Removing those benefits will make investing in America less popular. Tax breaks on dividends help retirees living on fixed incomes. Do you really want to pressure our stock markets further after this government induced fiscal calamity you blame on Wall Street?

18. “Senator McCain is absolutely right that the violence has been reduced as a consequence of the extraordinary sacrifice of our troops and our military families.”

So you are saying that “The Surge” worked? That it was the correct strategy?

19. “The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.”

So were tons of people Senator, including many Democrats, and it doesn’t matter one iota to determine how to address the problems of today. Senator Lieberman, Al Gore’s Vice Presidential Candidate has specifically broken away from your party because of your beliefs in how to handle the war now, and they cannot be based on whether or not you were right seven years ago. You were wrong more recently about the Surge. Completely wrong. Do we want that kind of judgment in the Presidency? Both George Bush and Senator McCain were right, and you were wrong.

20. “And right now, the commanders in Afghanistan, as well as Admiral Mullen, have acknowledged that we don’t have enough troops to deal with Afghanistan because we still have more troops in Iraq than we did before the surge.”

Admiral Mullen said that we don’t have enough troops in Afghanistan. He never said it was because we had too many in Iraq and praises the soldiers in Iraq and the results of the Surge.

21. “When asked about more troops in Afghanistan: “Yes, I think we need more troops. I’ve been saying that for over a year now.”

But isn’t that the same tactic we employed in Iraq that worked?

22. “And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.”

Now, you say you do not endorse attacking Pakistan but you want to take out Al Qaeda in Pakistan. How do you do that without attacking? Didn’t we try this several times before, failing and accidentally killing innocent civilians? Didn’t that alienate the Pakistani population? Pakistan is a country with borders you must respect. What you are speaking of amounts to war on Pakistan.

23. “Well, let me just correct something very quickly. I believe the Republican Guard of Iran is a terrorist organization. I’ve consistently said so.”

Would you expect them to move into Iraq if we move out? How will you prevent that if we fully withdraw?

24. “But we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough direct diplomacy with Iran and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain, this notion by not talking to people we are punishing them has not worked.”

Ask Jimmy Carter about how well diplomacy works with Iran. What experience do you have with international diplomatic negotiations and talks Senator? According to Israeli intelligence, Iran is already on the verge of having a nuclear bomb, and rumors have it they may attempt to take out Iran’s Nuclear sites as early as next month. How long do you think you have to negotiate?

25. “Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran — guess what — without precondition. This is one of your own advisers.”

No, Henry Kissinger never said anything about negotiating without precondition. Later in the debate you deny this statement.

When McCain asked, ” Look, Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve of face-to- face meetings between the president of the United States and the president — and Ahmadinejad. He did not say that.”

You responded, “Of Course Not”.

You are wrong on one or the other Senator. That is the definition of double speak.

26. When confronted about McCain’s energy policy towards alternate energy, Obama stuttered “He — he — he objects…” When McCain denied it and said he has always voted in favor of alternative energy, Obama responded, “All right, fair enough. Let’s move on. You’ve got one more energy — you’ve got one more question.”

So it appears Obama wrongly accused McCain of policies against alternate energy and admitted it. Hmmm.

27. “Look, over the last eight years, this administration, along with Senator McCain, have been solely focused on Iraq. That has been their priority. That has been where all our resources have gone.”

So now that it is working, you want to destroy their progress?

28. “We have weakened our capacity to project power around the world because we have viewed everything through this single lens, not to mention, look at our economy. We are now spending $10 billion or more every month. And that means we can’t provide health care to people who need it. We can’t invest in science and technology, which will determine whether or not we are going to be competitive in the long term”

It seems like you are placing great weight on pulling out of Iraq for paying for all your programs, but suppose, just suppose you are wrong and we pull out and the violence starts all over again, civil war breaks out and genocide begins, and Iran and Al Qaeda strengthen in Iraq. Are you willing to take responsibility for that decision to better fund your health care program? Or will you, like everything else in your campaign, blame George Bush?

29. “Well, let me just make a closing point. You know, my father came from Kenya.”

Was he a Christian? In what religion were you raised? Now that you have distanced yourself from the pastor of your church for preaching “God Damn America”, what Christian church do you attend Senator? We have no problem if you are not Christian, but we do have a problem if you are lying about it.

30. “And part of what we need to do, what the next president has to do — and this is part of our judgment, this is part of how we’re going to keep America safe — is to — to send a message to the world that we are going to invest in issues like education, we are going to invest in issues that — that relate to how ordinary people are able to live out their dreams.”

We are sorry Senator, but that paragraph totally loses us. You can have all the dreams you want, but if someone puts a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, your dreams don’t mean squat.

Obama Versus McCain on Abortion

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

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.

McCain’s Position

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.

Promoting Adoption

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?

Protecting Marriage…

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.

Obama’s Position

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”.

Conclusion

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.

Round Six, Draw

Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action