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“Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening. My friends, we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.”
“A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him. To congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love. In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving. This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.”
“I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.”
“A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.”
“Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.”
“Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”
“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that. It’s natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought – we fought as hard as we could. And though we feel short, the failure is mine, not yours.”
“I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends. The road was a difficult one from the outset, but your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.”
“I’m especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother and all my family, and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign. I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me. You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate’s family than on the candidate, and that’s been true in this campaign. All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.”
“I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I have ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength… her husband Todd and their five beautiful children… for their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign. We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.”
“To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly, month after month, in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.”
“I don’t know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I’ll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I’m sure I made my share of them. But I won’t spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.”
“This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life, and my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.”
“I would not be an American worthy of the name should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone, and I thank the people of Arizona for it.”
“Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama – I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.”
“Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.”
In the third and final part of my series explaining why this Democrat is voting for McCain and not Obama, the discussion will center around issues of character, encompasing not only personal character but social policy beliefs as well.
This is a very simple subject to discuss when it comes to John McCain, but a very long and involved one when it comes to Barack Obama, so let’s get John McCain out of the way.
John McCain is very obviously a good, generous, straightforward, honest and honorable man. He is a man that has dedicated his entire life to the service of his country. John McCain the image is exactly the same as John McCain the man.
Country First is not just a campaign slogan for John McCain, it has been the over arching theme of his entire life. John McCain grew up in a Navy family, followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps and entered the Navy as well. He has stood up for what he believes in at every turn… even when it was to his disadvantage.
John McCain stood up to his party when it came to putting the marines in Beirut, when it came to recognizing that global warming is a real and pressing issue, when it came to the execution of the Iraq war, when it came to the creation of the prison at Guantanamo, he is against the use of rendition as a tool, he is against the use of waterboarding and views it as torture… and those are just a few of the innumerable examples of situations in which John McCain has stood for what he believes in even in the face of intense pressure.
Does John McCain have his faults? Of course.
There are basically 2 situations that the Obots tend to point out…
1. He left his first wife for Cindy. This is a fact, and his first marriage not working out is one of the great regrets of his life, but I think that some understanding should be given to John considering the situation he was in at the time.
John spend 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton, facing unbelievable amounts of torture, solitary confinement and dehumanization. He returned from Vietnam to a wife he had not seen for 6+ years, most of which he spent being tortured, only to find her paralyzed. Having a wife that is suddenly paralyzed is a difficult thing for any marriage and a significant number of these end in divorce. Add this to the recent trauma of spending over 5 years as a POW and is anyone really surprised the marriage did not work out?
The most important thing about this situation is that John always took care of his children. Always. And he and his first wife are still on very friendly terms. As a matter of fact, John’s first wife is one of his biggest supporters.
2. Keating Five. For those of you that are not familiar, the Keating 5 is a term that refers to a group of 5 Senators that were accused of corrupt dealings with a banker named Keating during the “Savings and Loan Crisis” of the 80’s.
The group of Senators was comprised of 4 Democrats and 1 Republican… John McCain.
Only problem is that John McCain (as well as John Glenn) was completely exonerated of any wrong doing what-so-ever by the Special Prosecutor Robert Bennet and recommended removing John McCain from any further investigation. So why was McCain kept in the group of those accused of wrong doing? Well, removing John McCain would remove the only Republican from the corruption case and politically the Democrats in power could not afford to have 3 of their Senators sit up there alone, going down in flames for shady dealings.
Against the wishes of the Special Prosecutor, the Democratic Chair of the Ethics Committee kept McCain’s name on the list and gave him what essentially amounted to a scowl and a wagging finger because McCain had done nothing wrong. The committee decided that McCain’s actions “were not improper nor attended with gross negligence,” about which McCain said… “I see it as a full exoneration”
This is usually the part where the Obots chime in with “But Cindy and her dad were in business with Keating!” Well, the first problem with this argument is that John has ZERO to do with his wife’s families business endeavors. ZERO. This is the reason that John didn’t know how many houses they owned… because he has nothing to do with his wife’s investments. The second problem with this is logic… The McCain family is one of the biggest real estate investors in all of Arizona, and Keating’s bank was one of the largest banks in all of Arizona. These two parties would almost have to work together on some level, and it’s not like they were wrapped up together in multiple projects. They were co-investors in one shopping center. One.
So those are McCain’s downsides… not too shabby. I mean everyone has skeletons in their closet and if this is all John has… I’ll take it.
As for Barack Obama… holy god. I am not even sure where to start…
One of the problems in evaluating Barack Obama and his character is his lack of a record. While John McCain has a multi-decade record we can point to and say, regardless of rhetoric, this is what this man believes and these are the decisions he would make, Obama’s record is razor thin.
We do have his voting record from the 143 days in the US Senate, and his voting record from his years in the Illinois legislature, but there are issues with those as well. On many of the harder and more controversial votes, Obama was either absent, voted “present” or voted but claimed he “pressed the wrong button.” All the records from his legislative office have mysteriously been lost as well, so we can’t even peruse through those to gain insight.
He has also sealed all his school records, so we can’t even take a look at his grades, what classes he took, his papers/disserations, anything. (Michelle’s either btw.) So that is not a help either.
And so what are we left with? We are left with two things… What Obama says he believes, and since every politician lies, that doesn’t do us any good. Or we can look at the people he has surrounded himself with over the years, which is pretty much all we have left since everything else has been seal, lost, walled off or shut down.
The thing about Obama and his associations is that, individually, they are no big deal. The problem starts coming in when you start taking a look at them as a group, what all of their philosphies are and how they all interconnect. Then we are left with a decision… is Obama the only person that doesn’t fit in the picture or is he the one that ties them all together?.
So let’s take a look…
1. Ayers and Dohrn – This couple led a group known as the Weather Underground which bombed several Federal Buildings (Pentagon, Capital Buidling, etc) and is responsible for the deaths of a few police officers as well as several of their own members. Ayers and Dohrn went on the run for a decade and were finally apprehended in 1980. Both of their cases were dropped because of technicalities, and they admit they are both “guilty as hell, but free as a bird.”
As Wikipedia puts it: “The Weatherman group had long held that militancy was becoming more important than nonviolent forms of anti-war action, and that university-campus-based demonstrations needed to be punctuated with more dramatic actions, which had the potential to interfere with the U.S. military and internal security apparatus. The belief was that these types of urban guerrilla actions would act as a catalyst for the coming revolution. Many international events indeed seemed to support the Weathermen’s overall assertion that worldwide revolution was imminent, such as the tumultuous Cultural Revolution in China; the 1968 student revolts in France, Mexico City and elsewhere; the Prague Spring; the emergence of the Tupamaros organization in Uruguay; the emergence of the Guinea-Bissauan Revolution and similar Marxist-led independence movements throughout Africa; and within the United States, the prominence of the Black Panther Party together with a series of “ghetto rebellions” throughout poor black neighborhoods across the country.” There are a number of quotes from Ayers and Dohrn talking about how youths will have to kill their parents and the genocide of capitalists.
The political philosphy that these people ascribe to is communo-fascist and both of them are totally unrepentant and freely admit that they wish they had done more at the time of their insurrectionist activities. Bill Ayers is the type of man that screams, yells and tramples on the US flag, calling the US an oppressor and murderer, and yet lives in his insular academic world with his cushy job and lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago with a multimillion dollar house. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn are still the 60′s radicals they were 40 years ago. They never grew up. He sees white people as evil oppressors of all african americans, he sees America as evil oppressors of the third world and he sees Israel as the oppressors of the Palestinians.
Barack Obama has attempted to minimize his connections with Ayers and Dohrn, saying that Ayers was just a guy in the neighborhood… and yet, Michelle’s first job at a law firm had her working with Dohrn. Obama was promoted to president of the Woods Foundation… By Ayers. Obama sat on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an organization intented to improve education but instead focused on increasing the “political awareness” of inner city youths, with Ayers. Obama lives a block away from Ayers. Obama has done a multitude of speaking engagements with Ayers. Ayers dedicated a book to Obama, and spoke about him in another book. Ayers helped Obama write “Dreams of My Father.” Ayers babysat the Obama’s children. And the first time it was announced, unofficially, that Obama was running for political office, it was at a party in Ayers’ living room.
This man is much more than just a guy in the neighborhood. He is a close personal friend and colleague.
Then we have Reverend Jeremiah Wright… wow. This guy is hard-core. A true black power movement figure that still sees the world in terms of black and white without recognizing how far the world has come. He has called the United States the “US-KKK of A” and called for God to “Damn America!” He made horrendously disparaging remarks about both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and has made even worse comments about white people in general. He is the type of man that screams, yells and tramples on the US flag, calling the US an oppressor and murderer, and yet lives in his insular world with his cushy job and lives in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Chicago with a multimillion dollar house. Jeremiah Wright is still the 60′s radical he was 40 years ago, except now he is a “Christian” instead of a member of the Nation of Islam (yes, Wright was a member of the Nation of Islam.) He sees white people as evil oppressors of all african americans, he sees America as evil oppressors of the third world and he sees Israel as the oppressors of the Palestinians… even going as far as visiting Libya’s Khadafi with his friend Louis Farrakhan and calling Khadafi one of the great freedom fighters for African independence!
Obama claims that, in the 20 years of attending the church, he never heard any of the “controversial” comments played in a virtual loop on television, a claim which I find very hard to believe. When asked about his attendence, he said not every Sunday, so I think to myself… maybe. Ok, maybe he is like a Christmas and Easter church attender, so maybe he has been 30 times or so over 20 years… no, when he clarified, he said a couple times a month. This means that he has attended services at this church hundreds of times, and the phrases that so offended much of America are part and parcel with the theological philosophy that the Rev Wright preaches, Black Liberation Theology. This is also a church that has published manifesto’s from members of the terrorist group Hamas. This is the Reverend that brought Obama to Christianity. This is the man that mentored him, married him and baptised his children. I HIGHLY doubt he knew nothing about this stuff. In addition, as with most churches that are not the traditional Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian variety, you don’t just go to the church closest to you. These are the types of churches that you actively seek out and choose because of the message of the preacher… because of the theological philosophy of the church.
And then there is Rashid Khalidi. Khalidi is currently a professor at Columbia. He was a professor at U of Chicago. He worked for WAFFA, a front organization for the PLO, as the press officer from the early 70′s to the early 80′s. He has called the creation of Israel one of the biggest crimes in history and called for its destruction. He has been more than sympathetic to the Palestinian terrorists, and was one of the reasons Ahmedinejad was invited to speak at Columbia University.
Khalidi and Obama were friends. Khalidi was a political supporter, personal friend, and regular dinner companion. The Los Angeles Times has a video tape of the goodbye party for Khalidi, which both Obama’s and Ayers/Dohrn attended. It is also reported that a variety of very anti-Israeli comments were made during this party, and that a dance troop that regularly performs a re-enactment of “infidel beheadings” as a part of the repetoir was in attendence. Because of the censorship perpetrated by the LA Times, we do not know what exactly happened at the party or exactly what Obama said during his speech.
And so now we turn to Tony Rezko. Here are 8 things you need to know about Rezko
1. They met in 1990. Obama was a student at Harvard Law School and got an unsolicited job offer from Rezko, then a low-income housing developer in Chicago. Obama turned it down.
2. Obama took a job in 1993 with a small Chicago law firm, Davis Miner Barnhill, that represents developers — primarily not-for-profit groups — building low-income housing with government funds.
3. One of the firm’s not-for-profit clients — the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., co-founded by Obama’s then-boss Allison Davis — was partners with Rezko’s company in a 1995 deal to convert an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. Altogether, Obama spent 32 hours on the project, according to the firm. Only five hours of that came after Rezko and WPIC became partners, the firm says. The rest of the future senator’s time was helping WPIC strike the deal with Rezko. Rezko’s company, Rezmar Corp., also partnered with the firm’s clients in four later deals — none of which involved Obama, according to the firm. In each deal, Rezmar “made the decisions for the joint venture,” says William Miceli, an attorney with the firm.
4. In 1995, Obama began campaigning for a seat in the Illinois Senate. Among his earliest supporters: Rezko. Two Rezko companies donated a total of $2,000. Obama was elected in 1996 — representing a district that included 11 of Rezko’s 30 low-income housing projects.
5. Rezko’s low-income housing empire began crumbling in 2001, when his company stopped making mortgage payments on the old nursing home that had been converted into apartments. The state foreclosed on the building — which was in Obama’s Illinois Senate district.
6. In 2003, Obama announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and Rezko — a member of his campaign finance committee — held a lavish fund-raiser June 27, 2003, at his Wilmette mansion.
7. A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood — a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million — $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko’s wife paid full price — $625,000 — for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005.Six months later, Obama paid Rezko’s wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it “boneheaded” because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.
8. Eight months later — in October 2006 — Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama’s run for the U.S. Senate. Obama has given the money to charity.
I would add only two things… since the article was written, Rezko has been convicted of fraud and that the money that Rezko used to “help” Obama buy his house very likely came from a man named Nadhmi Auchi.
Now, Auchi… there is a character… here is an incomplete blurb from Wikipedia:
Auchi was a member of the Baath Party in Iraq before Saddam Hussein came to power. While he denies any ties to Hussein’s government, British media reports indicate he sold naval ships to Hussein’s government in the 1980s.
He is one of the largest shareholders in BNP Paribas, a French bank involved in the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme for Iraq.
In 2003, Auchi was convicted of fraud, and given a 15 month suspended sentence and a £1.5m fine for taking illegal payments from French oil company Elf Aquitaine.
In recent years he has entered into several partnerships with Chicago-area businessman Tony Rezko, effectively coming to his rescue as his various investment schemes began collapsing. Auchi bought about 15 of Rezko’s pizzerias in Wisconsin, according to court records. In 2005 he took a stake in Rezko’s South Loop development at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street, a deal estimated by observers familiar with the details at $170 million.
In 2008 Stuart Levine, the U.S. government’s star witness in the corruption trial against Rezko, asserted that Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, were among the guests at party in Auchi’s honor that took place at Rezko’s residence on 3 April 2004. While Obama has acknowledged his ties to Rezko, a spokesman said that the senator responded that “Sen. Obama does not recall meeting Nadhmi Auchi at any time or on any occasion, and this includes any event that may have been held for Mr. Auchi.”
In 2008 The Times of London reported the discovery of state documents in Illinois recording that a Panamanian company by the name of Fintrade Services lent money to a fund raiser for Obama in 2005. Fintrade’s directors included Ibtisam Auchi, the name of Mr Auchi’s wife. Spokespeople declined to answer when questioned about whether he was linked to this business.
The Times also reported that Auchi’s company loaned Tony Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before Rezko’s lot and Obama’s new home were purchased in 2005.
I would add that Belgian officials accused Auchi’s bank of laundering money for both Saddam’s Iraq and Khadafi’s Libya during the Oil For Food programs. And the claims that Auchi had no ties to Saddam are paper thin at best.
And now we turn to Khalid Al-Mansour…. Al-Mansour is a black-muslim lawyer that is a rags-to-riches type who mentored the founders of the Black Panthers and is suspected of supporting and arranging for support from a member of the Saudi Royal family for Barack Obama’s collegiate career at Harvard.
And then there is Obama’s “other pastor,” Rev. Meeks, who is also a State Representative. Meeks is a preacher in the same vein as Wright and has been cited as one of Obama’s mentors, though Obama denies it now. Meeks has been known to say such lovely things as “We don’t have slave masters. We’ve got mayors but they are still the same white people who have presided over systems where black people are not able or to be educated…. They do the same thing. They preside over systems where they have the control of the lives of African-American and Hispanic people.”
And, though I could keep going, I will close with Larry Walsh. A close friend of Barack Obama and poker buddy, Walsh is currently under investigation by the FBI about a possible lobbyist kickback scandal.
As I said, taken individually there is a plausable deniability to each one of these characters… an ability to minimize the connection between Obama and the other person, but taken all together, it begins to look like a pattern at the very least.
Roe v Wade is the biggest issue that has been beaten over the heads of America’s women… and while John McCain is pro-life and thinks that Roe v Wade is a bad decision on tenuous legal grounds, he does not think that the Federal Government should make it illegal. He believes, as a Federalist, that the decision should be up to the states. End of story. And while Obama claims to support Roe, he nearly voted to confirm John Roberts and may nominate a man named Cass Sunstein to the Supreme Court, a man that also thinks that Roe is a bad decision. Also, the likelyhood of Roe getting overturned is slight. Even Antonin Scalia, the courts most conservative judge, is loathe to take the subject on and considers it to be a founding principle of law at this point.
Either way, both McCain and Obama have promised that neither will use a litmus test when picking SCOTUS appts. In addition, with a massive majority in the Senate, it is unlikely that any strict Pro-lifer would make it to confirmation.
GLBT rights… McCain and Obama basically have the same stance on this issue. Domestic Partnership, no marriage. EOS.
Equal Pay. While Obama supports equal pay legislation and McCain opposes it, it is interesting to note that in Obama’s office, women make $0.79 for every $1 the men make, and yet in McCain’s office the women make $1.07 for every $1 the men make. McCain also has many more women in higher level staffer positions than Obama. Add this to the fact that Obama risked splitting the Democratic party in order to avoid choosing a woman as a Vice President, while McCain… well, he picked one hell of a woman, and one that challenges the very foundations of liberal feminism.
So… after that whole long thing… who do you think has the better character to be President?
While foreign policy is technically the realm of the President and the primary job of the position, recently domestic policy has taken a front seat in much of the focus and the attention of the President.
Unlike in Foreign policy, the President has very little actual power in setting Domestic policy. The power is mostly derived from “the power of the podium” or the ability to command attention and focus the nation on a particular subject. And even though it is the area where the President has the least amount of power, the President can also be the biggest single agent for change.
Domestic policy is also the thing that most directly effects each of our lives. That is why it tends to be such a big part of the discussion in Presidential elections, especially since Clinton and his famous phrase “It’s the economy stupid.”
This time around, the economy is a pretty huge factor, especially considering the current circumstances. Domestic policy is a complicated and large subject, but this time around it will basically boil down to housing, taxes, environment/energy and healthcare in the campaign rhetoric, so I will stick that even though there are innumerable other issues that get mentioned all over the place.
This is arguably the most pressing issue that the country is facing at the moment and there is plenty of blame to go around. Both Democrats and Republicans bear much of the responsibility for the state of the economy, as do the banks and even the public.
Even though there is plenty of blame to go around, there are a very few specific events that provided essential links in the chain that let us to the level of catastrophe was face today… and the largest one was the conversion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into what essentially amounted to a hedge fund. It was the expansion of Fannie and Freddie into the marketplace that caused one of the major distortions heightening the devastation of potential economic disaster.
There were a few key points in which this distortion of the market could have been reigned in over the last several years, but the Democrats fought against them tooth and nail… including Barack Obama, who sits on the Senate oversight committee that is responsible for Fannie and Freddie.
Oddly enough, the Democrats fought to loosen the rules of mortgage lending, under the guise of opening up opportunities for the poor and minorities, which is fine, but they began to see any attempt to tighten lending standards as taking away opportunities rather than smart business.
This is a quintessential problem with having politicians directly involved in economic and business decision making. They tend to make decisions based on the desires of their constituency or based upon ideology and not based on sound economics.
On the other hand, John McCain had the good judgement and foresight to see the problems inherent in the new iteration of Fannie and Freddie. In 2005-2006, John McCain sponsored a bill that would have increased regulation and oversight on Fannie and Freddie. In short, these regulations would have reigned in many of the things that were causing the massive market distortions and either prevented many of the issues we now face or greatly mitigated the damage currently being done to the economy.
The bill was tabled… Obama and the rest of the Democrats let the bill die.
So much for Obama’s good judgement.
As for the proposed plans themselves…
Obama wants to provide incentives to mortage companies to refinance people into stable 30 year fixed rates, ask mortgage companies to voluntarily write down the balances on loans to something the people can afford, and to define “predatory lending” on a federal level.
The program proposed is total crap. And there are similar programs in place already and none of the banks are participating because it asks them to voluntarily forgive billions of dollars in debt owed to them… for what? Because Obama smiles real purdy? The write downs that Obama asks them to volunteer for would bankrupt every bank in the United States.
McCain, on the other hand, is the smart one. First, a bit deeper of an explanation of what has happened in housing…
The fundamental cause of the problems with the banks and the economy as a whole originate in the housing crisis.
The housing bubble led to greater and greater numbers of risky loans and exploded when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started acting much like a hedge fund and invested in the very paper they were insuring. This led to an explosion in the market and decreasing underwriting standards, especially when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made the “Alt A” programs available.
The banks began to group these loans (aka bank debt) together into packages and sell them off to other banks. The bank that bought them took these packages of loans and divided them into “risk tiers” and sold those tiers as derivatives. These banks then grouped the derivatives together and divided them further, until the original group was chopped into so many loans it was impossible to tell what was where.
This, in theory, should have minimized the risk associated with the loans.
Because of the grouping and dividing and selling and grouping and dividing and selling, virtually all the banks were heavily invested in these MBSs (mortgage backed security) and CDO’s (collateralized debt obligation.)
Then the economy slowed… and housing was the one beacon of light in a dimming economy, so the banks, hedge funds, investors, and consumers invested even more heavily in real estate.
As time went on, the banks began to discover that a much larger than expected percentage of the loans were given to people that should not have gotten them. The bulk of these “bad loans” were found in the Alt A realm that banks would not have normally invested as heavily in, but for the actions and rules of Fannie and Freddie.
With the economy continuing to slow, eventually the housing sector peaked and the dam broke.
Foreclosures began to happen at an epidemic rate because the people that should not have been in the loans they were given couldn’t pay.
So the banks/hedge funds and especially Fannie/Freddie realized that they should not have been offering all these loans tightened up their lending standards because they couldn’t continue to offer the crap loans they had been offering, which would have made the hole they were in that much deeper.
The side effect of this was that, especially in a slowing economy, fewer and fewer people could qualify for new loans to buy all the houses that were pouring on to the market from new construction projects (at an all time high) and from massive foreclosures.
The housing market glutted, the banks began to dump the foreclosures for next to nothing and all the other houses sat on the market for a year or more.
With only the foreclosures selling, they were the only sales to peg the prices of houses against and property values started dropping like crazy, especially in places where the bubble was biggest… CA, FL, NV.
This has caused the secondary crisis… there are millions upon millions of people upside down on their houses right now. Millions.
So because of the problems with 10-15% of the loans, and the foreclosures they led to, the values of the houses with credit worthy people now had problematic loans because their property was worth less than the mortgage was for. Hundreds of thousands of people are now “upside down” on their house, even though they have been faithfully paying their mortgages.
Essentially, the banks no longer knew what any of their loans were worth, because the assets tied to the loan weren’t worth enough to cover the outstanding debts, increasing the balance sheet debts of the banks by billions and billions and billions of dollars.
This made the banks “uncreditworthy” and so they stopped loaning money to eachother, leading to near of total collapse of a huge number of banks.
So, in order to solve the valuation problem, keep people in their homes and prevent more foreclosures, and to prop up the prices of homes as much as possible, earlier this year, the Congress approved a program called the “FHA Secure.”
This program basically works like this… if you have a $300,000 loan and your house is only worth $225,000 now, if the bank will lower the balance to the $225,000 then the FHA will insure the loan, making the loan more immediately marketable.
The bill and the program went into effect October 1. An extension of the plan is what Obama proposes in his answer to the housing problem.
Well, not a single bank has implemented this plan to date.
The problem is two fold;
First, it is voluntary… the banks don’t have to do it.
Second, it requires that the banks take HUGE writedowns and though it may help even out the bottom line in the long run, in the short term those HUGE writedowns would probably kill them at this point… especially perceptually.
Nobody wants that.
Ok, so now that we are caught up to present times, we can talk about McCain’s housing plan.
John McCain has basically taken the FHA Secure program, and instead of making the banks take the writedowns and essentially forfeit hundreds of billions of dollars… McCain wants to re-allocate the “Bailout” money to buy out the negative equity on these people’s houses.
Why is this great?
1. The estimated cost, about $300 Billion… A number that is less than half of the “Bailout” which only helps banks/Wall Street and does nothing directly for mainstreet.
2. It keeps people in their homes, reducing their balances and their payments.
3. It helps prop up housing prices, or at least stabilize them, because it will lead to fewer foreclosures.
4. It bails out the consumer and the banks in one fell swoop.
Helps the folks, helps the banks. Bingo. I think he has something right there!
This is the best idea to solve the crisis I have heard so far (other than the fed buying commercial paper… also brilliant.)
It’s also Hillary Clinton’s idea. Smart Lady. And McCain’s a smart guy for listening to her, and not being afraid to take advice from a leading Democrat. Further proof of his propensity to work across the aisle.
On the tax issue, there are really three problems with Obama’s tax plan… the fact that no one in his camp can seem to get the particulars straight, a closer analysis of the plan shows all sorts of unpleasant details the rhetoric does not reflect, and the reality of the future.
As for clarity, it seems that the Obama camp can’t exactly get straight who and what Obama plans to tax. Past history gives us some insight into inclination and current rhetoric coming out of the camp is all over the map.
In the past, both Biden and Obama have voted for a tax increase on people that make as little as $42,000 a year, a figure that gives even me, a moderate liberal, a shiver down my spine.
In the past week or so, the Obama camp has moved their target level of who will not get a tax increase from those making under $250k to $200k to $150k to $120k and such a sucessive and consolidated slide in rhetorical estimates seems fishy to say the least.
And also, there has been no real answer as to how giving the 40% of Americans that do not pay income taxes can even get a tax cut?
As for how effective the tax cut is even going to be…. well I have my doubts.
First things first, the 40% of Americans that don’t pay taxes. Well, the “tax cut” that these people are going to get is not a tax cut at all. Obama is famous for his rhetorical flourishes and, in this case, the flourishes basically equate to a lie. For the 40% of Americans that don’t pay taxes, it’s a refundable tax credit not a tax cut.
What does this mean? Well, when these people file their taxes, they will receive money back… even though they didn’t put anything in. Translation: It’s a handout. Rhetorically, the Republicans like to call it “Welfare” but it’s not, not really… but it is definitely a government handout.
When confronted with this, the Obama camp responds with… “everyone who works pays taxes.” Well, this is true, and they cite payroll and fica taxes. But they brush past what these taxes are! These are taxes that pay for social security and medicare.
So, essentially Obama’s plan is defunding Social Security from the contributions of 40% of wage earners… and then still giving them Social Security benefits even though they effectively put nothing into the system?
Whaaaat? That makes no damn sense. At all.
Now, as for the actual cuts… Well, even thought the Bush tax cuts did disproportionately lower the amount of money that the wealthiest Americans pay in taxes, it did cut the tax rate for all Americans that actually pay taxes and even with the Bush cuts, the top 10% of wage earners still pay 70% of all the income taxes.
And, so while Obama is promising not to raise taxes on people making less than… well, who knows…. what is Obama’s plan for the Bush tax cuts? He is going to let them expire… But Obama doesn’t “count” allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse as a tax increase, it’s allowing a tax cut to lapse.
See the difference? Me either. Rhetorical trick. Again.
When the income tax cuts lapse, Americans will see increases in their taxes, even if their household income is as low as $25,000.
Then there are the payroll taxes themselves and even though Obama promises not to raise taxes, by which he means income taxes, on people making under $250k, the payroll taxes would double for everybody making more than $94k.
So I guess that the people making over $94k would be making up for the 40% no longer paying into the system? Oh yeah, spread the wealth… you don’t wanna be greedy… like being able to afford to put your kids through college.
Then there is the increase in the Capital Gains tax. Now this is a friggin nightmare.
With the stock market eating dirt, capital infusion is absolutely essential. All the 401k’s and many of the pension and retirement programs in this country, not to mention personal assets, are dependent on the stock market and many Americans have seen their retirement savings evaporate over the last month or two. We need to strengthen the market and fast…
And yet Obama’s plan would DOUBLE the taxes on people that do invest in the market? How the hell is that supposed to encourage investment and capital infusion?
And the normal response I get from Obots is this… oh, rich people this, rich people that… well, 50% of all Americans are invested in the market. Yeah, 50%. That’s a tax increase on a lot of people.
Obama also wants to increase corporate taxes. Well, not only is this horrible for business, and will lead to more jobs being shipped overseas, and a therefore a contraction of the tax base, but it in effect raises taxes on every single American. Corporations don’t “pay” taxes — they collect taxes from customers and pass them along to the government. If corporate taxes are increased, the prices on the products are increased proportionally.
I also don’t understand why, if Obama and Biden, think it’s patriotic to pay my taxes so that the middle class and poor will get more benefits… and I make half what they do, yet gave twice as much to charity last year as they did!?!?!
McCain, on the other hand, wants to decrease capital gains taxes to encourage investment. He wants to cut corporate and small business taxes to not only keep jobs here at home, but create new ones. John McCain’s plan cuts taxes for ALL Americans, allowing them to keep more of their money and to decide for themselves to do what they want with their money.
And here is the part where the Obots start yelling about how people don’t need that extra money to rennovate their kitchens or to rent those jet ski’s on their vacation or to buy the custom made suit because those things are frivolous…
But they ignore the fact that this spending is responsible for millions of jobs across the country. What about the small businessman that owns the rental store, the businessman that owns the retail center the rental shop is in, the driver that works for the shipping company that delivers inventory, the factory worker that makes the jet ski, the miner that mines for the metals to build the jet ski and on down the line? Or what about the contractor, carpenter, electrician, manufacturer, logger, miner, rental companies, and delivery comapnies that are dependent on people redoing their kitchens? Or even the tailor, the cloth maker, the thread maker, the needle manufacturer, the miner, the retail space owner, and the like that depend on people having clothes made?
And what about all the sales tax revenues that are generated from these transactions, not to mention the payroll, income and fica taxes?
Cutting taxes does not necessarily mean lowering tax revenue. There are innumerable examples of times that taxes were cut, the tax base widened and revenues increased.
I also don’t really understand how the math works out to where Obama can increase the taxes on 5% of wage earners by 3% to pay for a tax cut for 55% of wage earners and a refundable tax credit for the remaining 40%, and still increase spending by $1 Trillon…. And decrease the Federal Deficit at the same time?
McCain and Obama are both ok on the environment in general. Both recognize that global warming is an issue and that we have to start decreasing our carbon emissions.
The difference is energy.
The newest controversy is coal. It has come to light that Obama has made a clarification of his energy plan.
Obama plans to tax the coal industry so heavily that it will bankrupt all the coal plants in the United States and that because of this energy prices will skyrocket.
His exact words… “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum” and “Energy prices would skyrocket.”
Well, I am friggin sorry, but gas prices already skyrocketed and put hundreds of thousands out on the streets… We need to find a different way to get clean energy without bankrupting the industry responsible for generating over half the energy in the United States, as well as being responsible a huge number of jobs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
As for the rest… they are basically the same. Obama has waffled and claims to now support off shore drilling, they both support the expansion of solar, wind and nuclear technologies and increasing funding to basic r&d for projects such as improved hybrid and battery technologies.
I would have to say that for all the rhetoric that the Democrats give to the environment, much of it seems to be lip service. It really hit me that this line is nothing but lip service when I went to the Democratic Convention in Denver this year and never saw one recycle bin… at the Pepsi Center, at Mile High, at the designated protest area, in the parks where information booths were set up, at the parties… Not a single one.
As crazy as it may sound, I actually believe that the Republican may have better environmental sensabilities than the Democrat. John McCain stood up against his party and declared an environmental emergency. The Republican Convention not only had recycle bins readily available, but actually recycled the unused paper flags that the Democrats threw in the trash in Denver. John McCain also has a section of his campaign paraphrenalia store that is environmentally friendly. Obama… not so much.
So, at best they are equals on environment and energy, and at worst, Obama will bankrupt the country… in yet one more way.
This is the part of both campaigns where I think they both pretty much suck… and suck hard.
Obama bascially thinks that by doing things like creating savings through putting medical records into an electronic format, that he would create so large of a savings that prices on insurance would go down by $2500 a year. Even the Obot reporters at the AP called this a bunch of bull. Just because you save insurance companies money, doesn’t mean they are passing along the savings.
McCain’s plan is horrendous as well. The $5000 refundable tax credit for healthcare threatens to end employer provided healthcare, which would leave millions of Americans unable to qualify for insurance because of tighter standards and pre-existing conditions.
The one thing that leaves me a bit hopeful about McCain is that he did put forward a bill that would allow Americans to import drugs from Canada, which would have made prices significantly cheaper for Americans, and also supported the bill that would have allowed Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate with drug companies on prices.
The Final Verdict
Housing – McCain is better… way better.
Taxes – McCain is better
Environment/Energy – Tenuous tie, possible McCain victory
Let me start off this discussion with a preface. I am, politically speaking, a dyed in the wool Democrat. I cast my first ballot at the age of 18 for Bill Clinton and I have cast every single ballot since for a Democrat. I voted for Gore and I voted for Kerry.
Not only have I always voted Democratic, I despise George Bush and believe he has been a horrendously bad President with only one thing nice I can say about him… he has done wonders for disease in Africa. That’s all.
George Bush’s foreign policy has been terrible. The war in Iraq was wholly unnecessary, and I opposed it from the very beginning. I think that the war in Iraq could have been successful, but it was mismanaged horrendously by the Bush administration, as has the war in Afghanistan. Instead of uniting the world in the singularly most unique and best chance for that to happen in more than half a century, he divided it… perhaps irrepairably for a generation.
George Bush’s economic policies have been mediocre. Instead of using his political capital to push through the good long term notions he had, like increasing the oversight on Fannie and Freddie, he instead used it on total crap… tax cuts for the top 5% of wage earners and the energy bill, which contained TONS of giveaways to the oil industry only to be followed by record high oil prices that put a nail in our economic coffin.
On healthcare, George Bush also helped block the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and the ability of Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies just like every private health insurance company does, which could potentially have saved the Medicare system a staggering sum of money. He also help pushed through a Medicare reform bill that was nothing but a crap sandwich in disguise, handing even more money to business and taking it out of the pockets of our retirees.
Let me also say that, for an undetermined amount of time, I have chosen to leave the Democratic Party…. or, more specifically, to quote an old phrase… “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.”
So, knowing that I believe all of the above, why would I support John McCain and not Barack Obama.
Well, the answer in it’s most simple form: John McCain is not George Bush.
In reality, it is more complicated than that. In the words of Bill Clinton,
For example, you’re a voter, and you have Candidate X and Candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything. But you don’t think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues, but you believe that, on the other half, the candidate will be able to deliver. For whom will you vote?
This is a pretty good summary of what is going on here… I would add something to that though. I also believe that Candidate Y will at least listen, and I mean really listen, to what I have to say on the half that we disagree on.
So, for this Democrat… I choose Candidate Y, John McCain.
The more detailed analysis is even more complicated than that… so lets get into it.
The Wars and Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy is really the true realm of the President. There is a mistaken belief that the President’s main job has to do with domestic policy and the economy. This is not true. In foreign policy, the President has real powers, but domestically the President is basically relegated to the “Power of the Podium,” meaning that he/she has the loudest voice in a room full of people talking because of their ability to command so much attention when speaking upon a subject.
And so, because the real realm of Presidential power is foreign policy and the conduct of war, that is what will be discussed first.
As for the Iraq and Afghan wars, the myth that both candidates would like you to believe is that their stances on the war are substantially different.
Well, I hate to break it to the people on both sides of the aisle… while the political philosophies behind their decisions, what the members of their parties want may differ greatly, the actual platforms of the two candidates are virtually the same.
Barack Obama claims that he will “end the war in Iraq” and get the troops out of there… in a year and a half… starting at some undetermined date… but will leave a residual force… yeah, of like 60-70,000 troops… oh, and those troops won’t necessarily be coming home really, they will be going to Afghanistan… and, umm, not sure when that will be done.
John McCain has basically the same plan… except he is actually up front about it. He plans to make sure the government in Iraq is stable, get their army and police forces trained, boost troop levels in Afghanistan and get that finished as soon as possible by using the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, or what I like to call the McCain Doctrine (more popularly known as “The Surge”) and to eventually get everyone the hell out of there.
In the vacuum of their policy ideas, the net result is the same… we are going to be in Iraq and Afghanistan for a very long time. Period. End of story.
The difference is on how the management of the specifics of the wars are handled and what each man will do with different eventualities.
Here is where the Obama supporter, hereafter referred to as “Obot,” brings up the theory of Obama’s superior judgement… because he was against the war from the beginning.
The funny thing is that the Obots ignore the fact that he wasn’t even in the Senate yet, so it was not his call to make and he did not have all the information the Senators did at the time (reliable or not)… he was armchair quarterbacking it.
Also ignored is the fact that he only said he was against it once… at an anti-war rally… in a room full of middle easterners… who were by and large against the war as a demographic… while running for office… in a heavily middle eastern district… upon whom he relied for the majority of his campaign finance support (ie Rezko, Auchi, Khaladi). In other words, it was a politically expedient and safe move for his situation, even though he likes to paint is as if he took some grand stand against the tide.
The Obots also ignore the fact that not a year later, Obama was quoted as saying that his opinion on the war was basically equivalent to that of George Bush, and then go on to ignore the massive military strategic and tactical ignorance that Obama displayed in opposing the McCain Surge Doctrine which succeeded, in Obama’s own words, “beyond our wildest expectations.”
Add this in conjunction with Barack Obama’s choice in running mate, and upon whom he is supposed to rely for foreign policy decision making… Joseph Biden, a man that voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF. And yet, even though I regularly heard Obots declare that they could never vote for someone that “voted for the war,” they have fallen in line behind Biden with gusto.
(As a side note, the AUMF was not a vote FOR the Iraq war, no matter what the Obama camp would like you to think, especially during the primaries when they were attacking Hillary Clinton vicously. The AUMF authorized the President to use military force if he deemed necessary during the negotiations with Saddam Hussein to allow weapons inspectors back into the country. It was meant to be used as an additional tool for the President to use as leverage to get Iraq to open up… a kind of “yeah, we mean serious business” type of a statement, and one that worked. Iraq did allow the weapons inspectors back in, but Bush got a bit antsy and sent in the troops anyway. Regardless, the vote for the AUMF was not to send in troops, it was to authorize the President to send them in if deemed necessary. These are two very different things.)
A this point, I feel I must state again, I was against the invasion of Iraq as well. I am glad that Obama chose to oppose it as well, but the situation greatly mitigates the stance.
Also, when it comes to diplomacy, John McCain is most certainly not like George Bush. John McCain recognizes and has spoken out against the failures of the Bush Administration to effectively use diplomatic means to solve problems. He has also criticized Bush for this mismanagement of relations with our allies. He recognizes the need to regenerate the good will and respect that America should garner from our NATO allies and fellow members of the UN.
As a man that has served in a war and spent 5 1/2 years as a POW, John McCain is the last person that would run head first in to an ill advised war and do so unprepared. McCain is a strong advocate of strong diplomacy and of using force only as a last resort. McCain is a strong advocate of the Geneva Conventions, staunchly against the use of waterboarding (aka torture) and will close Guantanamo on Day One.
There are also an innumerable variety of situations that could occur in different parts of the world that can cause serious problems for and threats to the US national security, something that even Joseph Biden, aka Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru, pointed out at some private fundraisers in the last few weeks(along with some other comments I will get to in a bit.) These threats range from a resurgent Russia, a declining Pakistan, a growing China, a threatened Taiwan, a freaked out Israel, an emboldened Iran, a cornered North Korea, a troublesome Venezuela, a tiresome Cuba, to a crazed Islamic fundamentalist movement.
So the question is, who do we want handling these potential situations?
On one hand you have Barack Obama. A man with the “superior judgement” to oppose the Iraq war that is mitigated by the situation in which he announced that opposition, the gross ignorance he showed in military strategy in opposition to the war, and the choice of a running mate that “supported the war”…. A man whose proposed policies are, in the words of French President Sarkozy, weak and full of arrogance…. A man who has no real foreign policy experience, except for the 143 days that he spent in the US Senate…. A man that actually had the audacity, yes AUDACITY, to claim that his foreign policy judgement was superior to Hillary Clinton’s because he spent a few years living in Indonesia as a child…. A man that everyone from Hamas to Hezbollah to Ahmendinejad to Castro to Kim Jong Il to Osama Bin Laden himself hopes will become President…. A man whose election, according to his running mate and foreign policy guru, will lead to an immediate and serious threat to our national security because our enemies will “test him”….
And on the other hand you have John McCain. A man that grew up in a military family with a father and a grandfather that were both Admirals…. A man that attended the Naval Academy and studied military strategy and tactics…. A man that has been in combat and lived through the absolute worst that war has to offer…. A man that has decades, not days, of foreign policy experience in the US Senate…. A man that showed superior judgement in the conduct of a war when he pushed for the Surge…. A man who has been there and done that for decades when it comes to foreign policy, diplomacy and war…. A man who everyone from Hamas to Hezbollah to Ahmendinejad to Castro to Kim Jong Il to Osama Bin Laden himself hopes will not become President…. And a man that no one needs to test.
I think the choice is clear when it comes to foreign policy, don’t you?
Be sure to be on the lookout for Part 2, coming tomorrow, in which I will be discussing domestic issues and policy and Part 3 on Monday in which I will be discussing character issues… all seen through the eyes of a Democrat-No-More.
For five years Ali and Mohammed have lived alongside US soldiers in their Baghdad neighbourhood near Rasheed Street, a prominent commercial artery running through the heart of the Iraqi capital.
During that time American culture and politics have become familiar to them, and they say that if they could, they would vote for Republican candidate John McCain in next week’s US presidential election.
“McCain would be best for Iraq because he would ensure stability,” said Ali, 66, an expert on the Sumerian era.
The personal qualities and political platforms of McCain and his Democrat rival Barack Obama are of little import to Ali, however. His focus is on Iraq and its neighbours such as Iran.
“The Iranians believe that if Obama is elected he will not take action against them despite their nuclear ambitions. That worries me,” said Ali, sitting on an old bench in Al-Zahawi coffee shop.
“If the Iranians get the bomb they will become the Tarzan of the region,” said the former teacher and lecturer at the University of Baghdad, referring to the vine-swinging strongman of the jungle in old Hollywood movies.
Mohammed, also a professor at the university, said he too preferred McCain “because Obama supports a rapid withdrawal of US troops.”
“Our army is still too weak and Turkey and Iran are threats. Iran’s President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad has warned Iran would fill the void left when US troops depart,” he said.
Today, a few hundred metres (yards) from Al-Zahawi coffee shop, is the famous Al-Mutnabi books market, the only place where Baghdadis can find English books and magazines….
Barack Obama’s image peers out between two editions of “Vanity Fair” magazine kept next to the memoirs of former US president Bill Clinton.
But “The Audacity of Hope,” one of Obama’s books, has yet to find a buyer.
“I have no customer for this book….”
“I trust the Republicans more. They’re more capable of establishing democracy in the world, especially in Arab countries,” said the 33-year-old. “Obama is far too left.”
As a person that lived through the Iranian Revolution, I can tell you that Iran has been a problem for the United States since the gross mismanagement of Middle East policy by President Carter and the subsequent religious revolution in the country. The naive manner in which Carter approached people like Ayatolla Khomeni was dangerous, and blew up in the face of the United States.
Obama is every bit as naive, and the Middle East is a much more dangerous place today than it was in 1979.
In the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, the 80′s were dotted with Iranian sponsored terrorist incidents, most notably plane hijackings, and Iran was engaged in a fierce war with the US supported Iraq. By the end of the 80′s, Iran grew tired of the 8 year war, the economy was lagging, and people wanted an end to the violence. A ceasefire with Iraq was signed in 1988.
During the 1990′s, Iran took a step back, especially as George Bush Sr. attacked Iraq, their mortal enemy. There were hints of moderation peeking through and possibilities for re-engagement were beginning to brighten during the Clinton years, but all these hopes were dashed against the rocks when the Supreme Council removed all the moderates from the ballot during the 2005 election. It was this year that Mahmūd Ahmadinejād was installed as President.
His nationalistic and religious rhetoric has fired up the base in Iran. The days of moderation and hopes for re-engagement are long gone and Iran continues to grow more hardline. Recently, a man named Ali Larijani has been named Parlimentary Speaker. He was the secretary of Iran’s national security council and chief nuclear negotiator prior to his new appointment.
Larijani stepped up the rhetoic in his most recent speech, explicitly threatening terrorist and suicide bomb attacks against the United States:
Only a few days ahead of the American presidential election, Iranian parliamentary speaker ‘Ali Larijani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah ‘Ali Khamanai have launched harsh verbal attacks against the United States.
“The US method and conduct, expressed by this aggression, will only be stopped by a clear-cut and unexpected response, whose grounds were set by the martyr Hussein Fahmida,” Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
Fahmida was 13 when he detonated an explosive device he carried on him, destroying an Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
As one of the architects of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and, because he is an Ahmadinejad appointee, this man is very likely to share the same religious beliefs that they are meant to bring about the end of the world, I take these statements very seriously. These are not people that joke around about things like this. This is a serious threat.
This is a dire and immediate problem because in that same article it is reported that, in addition to the threats of suicide bombing, French intelligence has concluded that Iran has already obtained up to 40% of the enriched uranium it needs for a bomb, the newspaper reports, and will have obtained the rest next summer.
The reaction of an Obama presidency is a worry as well because it is bound to be completely unpredictable. Not only is the direct dialogue an issue because it gives a direct platform for Ahmadenijad to grand stand in the face of the President of the “Great Satan” but the subsequent decision making is suspect.
As Joseph Biden, the Vice Presidential nominee, so eloquently explained that the American people are not going to like the decisions being made and that “there are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.” Apparently, as we find with Sarkozy’s comments, neither are foreign leaders, and we all know the super position the last President put us in when he did things that both the international community and the American people hated.
It turns out that even the Iraqi experts agree that Obama would make the situation with Iran much worse. Professor Ali from the University of Baghdad and an expert on the Sumerian region said that “the Iranians believe that if Obama is elected he will not take action against them despite their nuclear ambitions. That worries me… If the Iranians get the bomb they will become the Tarzan of the region….” And there are many more Iraqi experts saying the same thing.
So who do we want running this country and dealing with the very real threat that Iran is posing as they rattle their sabres?
The young and untested President who, as his running mate conceeds, will invite violent attacks and even the French think is completely inadequate and arrogant when it comes to foreign policy?
A tried and true experience President that knows what war is like, understands strategic and tactical military planning and has worked in foreign policy and diplomatic realm for decades?
Mr. Obama, I regret to inform you of my decision. No Deal. Country First.
During a rally in Hershey, Pa., McCain told supporters the gaffe revealed the Democrats’ true tax-and-spend intentions.
“It’s interesting how their definition of ‘rich’ has a way of creeping down,” McCain said.
“Senator Obama has made a lot of promises. First, he said people making less than $250,000 would benefit from his plan.
“Then, this weekend, he announced in an ad that if you’re a family making less than $200,000 you’ll benefit – but yesterday right here in Pennsylvania, Senator Biden said tax relief should only go to ‘middle-class people’ – people making under $150,000 a year.
“At this rate, it won’t be long before Senator Obama is right back to his vote that Americans making just $42,000 a year should get a tax increase.
Well, will families making less than $250,000 get a tax cut under President Obama, or not? Senator Obama has been saying this for months, but on Monday Joe Biden put the tax-cut income threshold at $150,000 in an interview with a TV station in his beloved Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Biden campaign later clarified — or at least tried to clarify — the matter by saying that anyone making between $150,000 and $250,000 wouldn’t get a tax cut but also wouldn’t pay higher taxes.
We suspect what’s going on here is more than Mr. Biden’s normal gift of gaffe. As with his admission that a President Obama would quickly be tested by our enemies, the Delaware rambler was stumbling into the truth. An Obama Administration couldn’t possibly pay for a tax cut for 95% of Americans by raising taxes on a mere 5%. Those 5% don’t make enough money, or at least they won’t after they find ways to shelter more of their income when their tax rates rise.
Just as Bill Clinton promised a “middle-class tax cut” in 1992 only to raise taxes on the middle class in 1993, Mr. Obama will quickly find that his tax-revenue math doesn’t add up. Add in the demands on Capitol Hill to spend more and to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, and our bet is that even $150,000 would soon prove to be a moving tax target. Remember when the AMT was only supposed to hit 21 millionaires? Next year, without relief, it could hit 26 million taxpayers. Tax increases always hit the middle class because that’s where the money is.
Add this slip up to the reality of the tax plan explained here where the author explains 4 different ways that the Obama tax plan will result in higher taxes for everyone making $50,000 a year… and I am none too thrilled, not only with the tax plan but the continued lies and the pass on the lies the media gives him.
As McCain has said repeatedly… Obama is very eloquent, he will lull you into a sense of security with his beautiful words, but to get the real meaning, you have to listen to what he says very carefully.
Note From Texas Hill Country – CT is a blogger and a dedicated Conservative Republican. This is the story about how (s)he came to know the PUMA movement and subsequent impressions. I found this very interesting, wonderfully written and asked if I could cross-post the article here. CT was kind enough to allow me to do so, and here you go…
A few days ago one of the contributors on Conservative Badlands did a piece called the PUMA Factor, it was a look at how this block of voters might be one of the groups to decide the Presidential election in 08’. It made me realize that I didn’t know much about their movement or philosophies, other than the obvious. PUMA means Party Unity My Ass and they were angry because HRC got lambasted in the primaries and there was a SERIOUS possibility of caucus manipulation. So, I had an out of the ordinary idea, I figured go into their virtual community and ask them if anyone would be interested in answering a few questions for this post. Well I got some takers.
Most of the PUMA’s that answered the call of the wild in my open thread were female but the composite of their whole movement, I imagine, is a little harder to determine. One very pleasant and intelligent woman, who goes by the SN, Angrynana said this, “Also, there is a mistake in thinking all Pumas and Puma types are older, white women. There are men, people of many religions, all races, gays and lesbians, young, middle-aged, and older Pumas. There are groups from the West and the East. There are Native American Pumas and African American Pumas.” I can honestly say I believe this assessment. Since there were about 18 million people who voted for Hillary in the primaries and the Democratic Party is noted for its pluralism, it makes sense they are a very diverse lot.
What I was more curious about was what brought them to this point and what were they going to do after the election. Their responses ranged from moving to the GOP, going Independent, to retaking the Democratic Party. Judging the answers, Ereizindian sums the majority of their thoughts up well, “If the Dem leadership continues to deprecate its members who were slandered and vilified in the primaries and GE, I shall become an Indie, possibly on my way to becoming a Republican.” This is not to say all of sudden they identify with the Republican or Conservative movement. For them, however, it will be a near strategic impossibility to retake the Democratic Party. It has slid too far into an abyss of identity politics and viral cult worship, it is no longer about issues, it is about one man.
Despite their obvious visceral anger towards the Democratic Party establishment a single theme reigned supreme in the great majority of their posts and emails. Helen put it best, “IT IS COUNTRY AND PRINCIPLES BEFORE PARTY.” I was absolutely, jaw droppingly, astounded to hear a Hillary supporting Democrat in Exile say this. These responses gave me the insight to look at them as I have never looked at a political opponent before, I saw Americans who care about their country. This got me thinking, who am I to judge whether they can love their country just because they are Democrats. Neither Republicans nor Conservatives have the copyright or moniker on patriotism. After all aren’t PUMA’s demonstrating this by standing by our sides?
They have become apostates to their party but not their country, that speaks volumes to me. PUMA’s have recognized that this is about America, not a singular person. They also understand this has nothing to do with the sweeping change and one man, little m, cannnot shoulder this all by his lonesome. That goal is far too lofty and enchanting to be anywhere near reality. Truth be told, he is neither Atlas nor Prometheus, even if he thinks he is.
In closing I would like to thank all of the ladies and gentlemen who so graciously accepted my invite to participate in this undertaking, I hope I did you justice. Sometimes we get reminders of things from unexpected sources and that is what the PUMA’s did for me. My suggestion to Republicans and Conservatives, alike, try and understand them. Politically we may need them as much as they need us, we are rapidly becoming a house that is acquiring vacancies and they may need a home. More importantly, they are Americans who love their country enough to look past partisan lines. That, my friends, is the miracle of being an American first.
Pic cred to The Confluence, I violated some internet copyright laws by snagging them. Hopefully in the spirit of the post they won’t mind.
The gap between Barack Obama and John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Saturday through Monday has narrowed slightly, and Obama is now at 49% of the vote to 47% for McCain among likely voters using Gallup’s traditional model….
The two percentage point margin for Obama over McCain in today’s traditional likely voters result, based on Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Oct. 25-27, is not the first time the race has been this close; it matches the two-point Obama margin that held for three straight reporting periods spanning Oct. 13 -17, a week and a half ago. The traditional model assumes that turnout will follow the patterns of past elections, in which both current interest in the election and past voting behavior are predictors of actual voting.
After the November election, Democrats will push for a second economic stimulus package that includes money for the states’ stalled infrastructure projects, along with help paying for healthcare expenses, food stamps and extended unemployment benefits, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said Thursday.
In a meeting with the editorial board of The Standard-Times, Rep. Frank, D-Mass., also called for a 25 percent cut in military spending, saying the Pentagon has to start choosing from its many weapons programs, and that upper-income taxpayers are going to see an increase in what they are asked to pay.
The military cuts also mean getting out of Iraq sooner, he said.
“The people of Iraq want us out, and we want to stay over their objection,” he said. “It’s extraordinary.” The Maliki government in Iraq “can’t sell (the withdrawal deal with the U.S.) because it sounds like we’re going to stay too long.”
“I was teasing (U.S. Rep.) Jack Murtha (a key supporter of military budgets) and I said to him, ‘For the first time, somebody else has got a bill that’s almost as big as yours.’ We don’t need all these fancy new weapons. I think there needs to be additional review.”
Rep. Frank called on President Bush to appoint a senior official to guide the economic stimulus packages through the transition to the Barack Obama or John McCain administration when it takes office in January.
And he said that if the Democrats can’t find an adequate agreement on a stimulus package in the lame-duck Congress, they would rather wait until the new Congress takes over — likely with many more Democrats, if polling results bear fruit in the November voting….
And, ultimately, there will be tax increases on the upper brackets. “We’ll have to raise taxes ultimately. Not now, but eventually,” he said.
Then, for no apparent good reason, in June Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosis decided THEY, not the delegates chosen by the electorate and not the superdelegates appointed via proper party procedure, were going to decide who would represent the top of the ticket for the general election. Now that same leadership wants YOU to legitimize their undemocratic and unprincipled methods by putting their selected candidate into the White House on November 4.
But WE can say no to the subversion of democratic principles within the Democratic Party. We can say no with our votes and by urging our fellow Democrats to pay attention to the particulars of the candidate Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi selected to represent the Democratic Party.
Put this ad on the air and let America know that our voices count.
Over the next 24 hours and across the internet, we as a community will urgently be raising money to run edgy and persuasive ads made by Democrats in key battleground states. Generous contributors have pledged $500 in matching funds. Your voice counts. Please contribute now
CLICK ON ROSIE TO DONATE:
Or go to Democrats For Principle Before Party – The Denver Group’s general election website, where you can view other ads the group is running:
PITTSBURGH — A 20-year-old woman who was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield was also maimed by her attacker, police said.
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard tells Channel 4 Action News that the victim was robbed at knifepoint on Wednesday night outside of a Citizens Bank near Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street just before 9 p.m.
Richard said the robber took $60 from the woman, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim’s car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter “B” into her face, Richard said.
Authorities say the woman is from Texas, but aren’t identifying her.
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richards says the woman was withdrawing money at 9 p.m. Wednesday when a man approached her from behind, put a knife to her neck and demanded money. She says she gave him $60.
The woman told police the robber then noticed the bumper sticker, punched her in the back of the head, knocked her down and carved a “B” on her face.
Wow… the violence of the Obots against the McCain supporters is getting out of hand. There have been death threats, arson attempts, physical attacks and now… McCain’s campaign manager for central Florida has had his house shot at in a drive by shooting.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, but this is getting really really friggin scary. These people are out of hand and Obama needs to say something… now.
A poll by the Military Times newspaper group suggests that there is overwhelming support for John McCain among U.S. troops in every branch of the armed forces by a nearly 3-1 margin.
According to the poll, 68 percent of active-duty and retired servicemen and women support McCain, while 23 percent support Barack Obama. The numbers are nearly identical among officers and enlisted troops.
The Military Times, which publishes the Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times, polled 80,000 subscribers from Sept 22 to Sept. 29. The non-scientific survey gathered 4,300 respondents — all of them registered and eligible to vote….
U.S. troops also said in the poll that they prefer McCain to handle the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — 74 percent said McCain would perform better, while just 19 percent said Obama would.
Four years ago the Iraq War was the single most important issue on which the military voted. But the war now ranks third in importance to these voters. The most important issue among the respondents was character (42 percent), followed by the economy (25 percent) and the Iraq War (16 percent)….
Yet judging by the numbers, it appears that the Democratic party has not made many inroads into the traditionally Republican military.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.
The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain’s “Joe the plumber” analogy struck a chord.
Three weeks ago, an AP-GfK survey found that Obama had surged to a seven-point lead over McCain, lifted by voters who thought the Democrat was better suited to lead the nation through its sudden economic crisis.
The contest is still volatile, and the split among voters is apparent less than two weeks before Election Day.
“I trust McCain more, and I do feel that he has more experience in government than Obama. I don’t think Obama has been around long enough,” said Angela Decker, 44, of La Porte, Ind.
Global interbank lending rates fell sharply Monday, fueling hopes that central banks have succeeded in their massive efforts to unlock credit for cash-strapped banks and borrowers.
Other measures of stress in credit markets ebbed to levels not seen in more than a month….
Money markets plunged into near-chaos a month ago, contributing to U.S. and European governments’ taking over part or all of some banks and financial companies.
However, credit availability appeared to be on the increase recently.
Encouraged by better credit conditions, traders shifted money to stocks and riskier investments from cash and low-risk U.S government bills.
The move sent Treasury bill rates to their highest in about a month and demand for new six-month bills to its weakest since April.
Less jittery banks charged each other less for dollars in the unsecured lending market.
The London interbank offered rate for overnight dollars fell to a 4-year low, drifting closer to the Fed’s target federal funds rate of 1.5 percent.
Traders widely expect the Fed to trim its target rate on overnight loans of surplus reserves between U.S. banks by at least another quarter percentage point after its two-day policy meeting next week.
More telling about a credit thaw was the plunge in longer rates suggesting banks grew more comfortable about lending rather than just hoarding cash….
Overnight rates on unsecured CP dropped below 1 percent on Friday, while 30-year unsecured CP rates averaged as low as 1.43 percent, according to Fed data released Monday.
More help is on the way in the CP market, where many companies had relied on funds for their day-to-day operations.
The Fed will launch its program to buy high-quality CP next Monday.
Ok, so a translation…
Basically, 3 things have happened and 1 more thing is coming…
First, banks began to lend eachother money again and felt a bit better about it. The proof of that is in the interest rates they are charging eachother. The inter-bank rates are dropping, which means they feel the risk of loaning each other money is falling.
Second, traders felt better about the economy in general, stopped hoarding their money away and started investing in the stock market and in the general economy again, pushing the markets up. The fear of risk is going down and money is starting to flow again… thus the 400+ point jump in the DOW. This is fantastic news!
Third, banks are also feeling better about companies and are loaning to businesses once again. Companies often borrow money overnight to meet their payroll and day-to-day operation expenses. This short term business borrowing for operations purposes is called the “CP” market. It was squeezed over the last month or two because no one knew who was solid and who was not. Now the banks are now feeling better about the wider economy and lending in the “CP” market again and feeling less risky about doing it, as is evidenced by the rate drop in this market sector as well.
Fourth is the coming government investment in the CP market which will improve the lending rates, margins and volume. This is great news for businesses as it will make their operating costs cheaper and provide much needed liquidity, and thus making the wider economy much more solid!
All in all, we had a rough couple of months, and while there are still a few things to shake out, the foundations of the economy are all back into place and getting on to solid ground again!
The political implications of this bode well for McCain and not so well for Obama, who has banked (pardon the pun) on a failing economy to put him in the White House.
If the stock market continues to improve steadily, and fears of economic collapse dissipate in the next couple of weeks, there could be a major shift in the polls.
We learned at this morning’s Stop Obama Rally here that the McCain/Palin Straight Talk Express came through town yesterday. It arrived with a window shattered by a .22 caliber weapon. It had also been hit by an unknown number of paint balls from a paint ball gun or guns. There were reportedly no injuries and neither candidate was on board.
One local man who saw the damage and spoke with the McCain/Palin staffers said the attack(s) had occured in southern New Mexico that same day.
Wow… that’s pretty friggin crazy!
If this really happened, I am shocked that this has not made it to the major media outlets… I would like confirmation from a larger and more reputable source, so for now I am filing this in the “developing stories of a questionable nature” box.