Personal Responsibility 1776-2008 R.I.P.

As much as America may need the bailout,  if the bill comes out laden with earmarks and other spending that has nothing to do with the current situation, John McCain should vote against it. 

Personal responsibility is the only loser in this bailout.  Despite warnings from Alan Greenspan, John McCain, and even Presidents Bush, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and others in the Democratic party did nothing to prevent the current situation.  Even Bill Clinton used his power of 20/20 hindsight recently to say that he pushed too far on relaxing housing regulations in the 90’s and encouraged Democratic support of these measures too much.  The American taxpayers will be protected in this bill but only from further inaction by Congress.  The fact will remain that they will not be protected from themselves. 

Even as Washington mutual was failing last week, I was receiving multiple credit offers from them in the mail.  This is a company I have never had any dealings with, nor ever sought any dealings from.  Yet I was faced with the prospect of another credit line in these offers.  Over the past decade Americans have fallen for these offers (I am no exception) hook, line and sinker.  Promises of low rates and long terms are attractive when times are good.  But as the housing market slowed and economic growth slowed (it has never stopped), Americans started to blame everyone but themselves for the credit crisis.  Whereas a year ago they could afford an adjustable rate mortgage and 2 of each brand name credit cards, all with pictures of their favorite teams or animals,  a year later they are faced with bankrupcy and are looking to the government for help all because they made bad decisions. 

America and Americans have made some bad decisions in the past decade.  This is not a crisis that started with Bush and will end with the saving power of Barack Obama.  The only way this crisis will be resolved is for America’s leaders to put together a bill that is clean and Americans themselves to look at their own situation and resolve never to go back.  John McCain is a believer in personal responsibility, just like President Bush,  but his back is against Wall Street on this bill.  But voting against a bill laden with earmarks or extra spending is the right thing to do in this situation, even if it costs him the election.

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Why John McCain?

As John McCain puts his country ahead of his campaign once again, detractors are arguing that this is just the latests stunt by John McCain win attention for himself.  Unfortunately those people are missing the point of what McCain is doing. 

In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post today, Harold Meyerson wrote cynically of McCain’s campaign suspension and request for Friday’s debate to be postponed.  In a piece called McCain’s Ploy, Meyerson argues that McCain is simply making this crisis about himself and the “indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders.  He even goes on to argue that McCain wants the debate to be postponed so that the country can settle down and refocus on the subject of Friday’s debate, foreign policy-an area of absolute advantage for Mccain. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403918.html?nav%3Dhcmodule&sub=new

What Meyerson misses in his piece however is that what McCain is doing by going back to the Senate is his job.  John McCain is a Senator until November 4 and thus his responsibilities include writing, voting and passing legislation for America.  Sen Obama has refused to go back to Washington, to his Senate seat, to hammer out legislation saying that Presidents must handle more than one crisis at a time.  Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he is not President and thus it is not his responsibility as yet to deal with the war and the economy at the same time.  Sen Obama’s primary responsibility as of September 25, 2008 is in the Senate and thus it falls to him to help write, vote and pass (or kill) legislation, especially legislation that affects the current economic situation.

While cynics argue over McCain’s motives,  I can’t help but remind anyone who cares to visit this blog about McCain’s past leadership.  Leadership that if followed may have averted or at least reduced this crisis we now face. Leadership that shows his current actions rise above the politics and polls.   On May 25,2006 Sen McCain stood before the Committe on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and warned them about Fannie and Freddie.  In his statement he said:

“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.”

In the same statement Sen McCain proposed S.190, a bill that would have set up regulatory reforms for agencies like Fannie and Freddie.  He also warned that the economy would be in jeopardy if something was not done. 

“I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”

(By the way, who was on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development?  Senator Chris Dodd (the same who asked Paulson how we got into this mess during yesterday’s testimony) and Sen Evan Bayh (yep VP contender for Obama 08))

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-190 (sponsors and cosponsors of reform legislation)

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=109-s20060525-16&bill=s109-190 (full remarks by Sen McCain)

Once again I am reminded why I am voting for John McCain.  While Sen Obama is holed up in a hotel room studying for the debates,  issuing statements about bipartisanship, and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation, John McCain is at work coming up with solutions in a bipartisan manner.  It is this kind of leadership that drew me to Sen McCain 8 years ago and is the basis for my support now.

As the Bell Tolls

The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others.

  • Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

 

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of the middle-class people.  It’s time to be patriotic..jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

  • Joe Biden (D-Delaware),  2008 VP candidate chosen by Barack Obama

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/18/biden-wealthy-americans-must-pay-more-taxes-to-show-patriotism/

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_091908/content/01125111.guest.htm

If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.

  • Bill Clinton, 42nd President

  • The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.

    • Bill Clinton, 42nd President

     

     Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    • Barack Obama, Presidential Candidate (D-Illinois)

     

    It’s simply not true that Saddam was providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. This incursion into Iraq has resulted in a situation in which terrorist recruits are up. It’s been acknowledged, now, by the Pentagon, that the insurgents active in Iraq are far higher. Terrorist attacks worldwide are the highest in 20 years. The notion that somehow we’re less vulnerable in the US as a consequence of spending 200 billion dollars and sacrificing thousands of lives is simply not borne out by the facts.

    • Barack Obama, 2004, Illinois Senate

    “I say to our enemies, we are coming. God may show you mercy. We will not.”

    • John McCain Presidential Candidate (R-Arizona)

    http://www.usa-patriotism.com/quotes/_list.htm

    Facts and Feelings from Wall Street to Main Street

    The biggest heart string issue any candidate can use to influence votes is the economy.  The last few days have been a testament to this.  While Obama uses “middle class” as a noun, verb and adjective in every speech, McCain has been trying to reassure Americans about the fundamentals of the economy.  In light of the polls today, it would seem Obama is the better string player.  But does he have the leadership and policies to back up what he is saying on the stump? 

    First to leadership.  It was reported today that the Democratically controlled Congress is considering another recess in light of the current economic situation.  The reason being that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to act in a manner that will cause any more harm.  Obama himself has yet to take a position on the bailout of AIG saying he needs more information before he can react to what happened yesterday. 

    While it is true that John McCain is part of the same Congress that is considering another recess, it is also true that he is a member of the party that stayed in the House to push for a vote on energy reform after the last recess was called by Speaker Pelosi.  The Republican representatives stayed in the House for days after the recess was called, lights out, trying to put pressure on the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on energy reform.  

    Unlike Obama,  John McCain has taken a position on the bailout of AIG.  According to ABC he is now a flip-flopper because he supports the bailout after he opposed it previously.  But they miss the point.  John McCain changed his position because he was able to see that if AIG was not given help in some manner-federal,private or the combination of both that has happened-the economy and millions of Americans who are associated with AIG in some way would have been decimated by even a partial failure.  Call it a flip flop if you like but leaders know when and how to act, even if acting goes against what they believe. 

    Now, the policies.  Once again  these are policy statements directly out of Obama’s “Blueprint for America”  and the expanded Issues section of the John McCain website.  They are not the soundbites or anecdotes candidates use on the stump. 

      Obama’s plan starts with, what else, the middle class.  While Obama is fond of talking about his tax cut and it’s perceived ability to help 95% of Americans, his plan does not address who is middle class.  He does specify a tax credit that would be equal to $500 per individual or $1,000 per working family in what he calls the “Making Work Pay” tax credit.  He says it would completely eliminate taxes for 10 million Americans and provide 150 million workers relief. 

    Obama also will simplify tax filings,  allowing taxpayers the option of signing a returning a pre-filled tax form sent by the IRS.  No itemization, no W, I or A forms, just sign a return.  Accountants beware, estimates are you will lose approximately $2 billion in fees when this happens.  Perhaps the accounts will need retraining after they lose their jobs, but not to worry Obama has provided for that in his plan. 

    First of all, if you take a job at McDonalds, your minimum wage will rise indexed to inflation.  Simply put, small businesses are forced to pony up money every year for every worker, NOT based on performance.  In addition Obama will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit so that you can work full-time and still raise a family.  Not only that but Obama will expand FMLA to companies that employ as little as 25 people and allow time off for just about anything.  While I can’t say that allowing time off under FMLA to see your kids soccer games is a bad idea, I can say that his idea to make states and companies to pay for FMLA time is a bad one.  But to this end Obama has promised $1.5 billion to the states to help them pay for the new FMLA rules. 

    If you decide, as an out of work accountant, that you want to enter the manufacturing field, Obama is going to spend untold (literally, he has no number) dollar amounts on new job training programs.  Using his education policy as a backdrop, most of this retraining will happen at community colleges where education will be free under an Obama administration.  If you decide to stay at home and work, Obama will give you high speed Internet as he spends countless (again no number) dollars on companies who provide Internet connection services. 

    Of course Obama has a record to back up his economic policies and tax cuts.  In 2007 he was a cosponsor on a bill (his site says he introduced it) by Dick Durbin called the Patriot Employer Act.  The bill currently sits in committee. Did I mention the Congress that controls these committees is controlled currently by Obama’s own party.  He also cosponsored the STOP FRAUD Act to help homeowners, it also sits in committee

    Sen McCain’s proposals start off with a balanced budget by 2013.  To achieve this McCain will:

    • make reasonable growth a reality
    • control spending
    • use bipartisanship like (hold on ) Bill Clinton did in the 90’s to pass a budget

    In assuring growth Mccain believes that small businesses will benefit the economy the most.  His proposals of low taxes and low rates on capital gains will allow those businesses to reinvest in their own future.  Also small businesses would be able to deduct equipment and technology investments they make to improve their businesses.  In addition to allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves, McCain is proposing reducing the Estate Tax to 15% which would allow more businesses to stay in the family.  In addition the Bush tax cuts would stay in place and may even increase for all Americans. 

    Another way John McCain can assure growth is the implementation of his energy policy.  Under his plans, which include ALL types of energy,  new jobs would be created in America to build and support new energy development.  In nuclear power alone it is estimated that over 700,000 jobs would be created under McCain’s plan.  Retraining is also a priority in a Mccain Presidency and would be fully supported. 

    The second part of McCain’s plan to balance the budget is to control spending.  John McCain’s efforts to control spending are famous and easily found on his congressional website.  But in addition to earmarks, John McCain has proposed a freeze on all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending thus allowing time to plan and prioritize all spending programs.  And as we draw down in Iraq and costs are reduced in the war, much of that money will go to deficit reduction, not universal health care. 

    One other point on spending.  Much has been made about the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.  Sarah Palin has been criticised for supporting the earmark before she was Governor and then voicing her opposition to it as Governor.  John McCain voted “NO” to this earmark (H.r. 3, CQ Vote#220: Adopted 91-4:R 48-4;D42-0, I 1-0,7/29/2005)and was only one of 4 Senators to do so, Obama voted for it.  When the money was allocated anyway, Palin did take the $36 million allocated BUT directed her Transportation Department to use it for infrastructure improvements in the state.  This is in keeping with improvements sought after the government directed states to look at all of their infrastructure after the bridge collapse a few years ago.  Here are two source to verify the bill-

    http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainreport/Read.aspx?guid=ab24d6d6-f796-4851-99ac-451d7567a5cc

    This site shows Obama and McCain’s votes on HR 3

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/109/senate/1/votes/220/

    Finally, John McCain’s record of bipartisanship shows that he can easily work with all members of Congress to make this happen.  Just as Democrats and Republicans are coming together this week to slow the bleed in the financial sector, Sen McCain has worked with Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others to introduce legislation that, many times his own party did not support. 

    There is more to the McCain plan but I have gone on long enough (Printed text for McCain goes on for 14 pages, Obama has 5).   Figuring out what each candidate is saying on the trail is difficult.  Sen Obama clearly uses emotion over reason and Sen McCain tries reason more than he should sometimes.  But after writing my longest post yet, the bottom line is this.  On May 25, 2006 John McCain spoke to the Banking Committee and warned of the failure of Fannie and Freddie as well as others (AIG).  Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, now advisers to Obama, were executives in the banking industry then.  Chris Dodd (D) was the ranking committee member and killed the resolution John McCain and others proposed.  Where was the leadership of Obama and the Democrats then?

    Again look at the comments:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/17/mccains-attempt-to-fix-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-in-2005/

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2084424/posts

     (Thank you to all sites listed)

    Sebelius: The GOP wears white after Labor Day

    Here we go again!  Another member of the Obama campaign is accusing the GOP of wearing white after Labor Day. 

    Kansas Gov Kathleen Sebelius, once thought of as a VP candidate for Obama, is the latest Obama surrogate to inject race into this election.  On Tuesday she told a crowd in Iowa that the GOP is using code words to inject race into this election. 

    When asked if Obama and the Democrats would fight for a victory in November, Sebelius answered ” Have you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?” then added that the “Republicans are not going to go lightly into the darkness”.  She has not clarified her comments yet. 

    Governor Sebelius is not some left wing blogger whose post you read and then discard as idiotic.  She is a vocal supporter of Obama who has been asked by the campaign to travel around the country and speak on behalf of Obama.  She was once considered an alternative to Hilary Clinton for the VP nomination.  Sebelius is also the Governor of a state,  a position she should take responsibly and not use to instill fear in voters. 

    Race is the elephant in the room according to Sen Obama, his surrogates, volunteers and the media( http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/16/obama-race-a-factor/) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia75o5IO3xo) .  They want us to believe that the only way to improve race relations in this country is to vote Obama into the White House.  To those  promoting this idea I would have to ask a simple question.  Is this what Martin Luther King, Jr meant when he said ” I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    Yes, Virginia, There are Specifics!

    Be warned, this is a bit long but it is specific.

    In covering the failing banking industry and the mortgage mess,  the media has been throwing around words like disaster,  crisis, and dire like peanut vendors at a baseball game.  Their irresponsible use of these words has prompted many questions about what McCain and Obama would do as President to correct what is happening on Wall Street and Main Street.  Here are the plans of both candidates.  The information on Barack Obama’s plan is taken directly from his “Blueprint For Change” while information on John McCain’s plan is taken from the expanded issues section of his website. 

    To provide relief for millions of people affected by the mortgage mess and the Wall Street debacle, Sen Obama has proposed a 10% universal mortgage credit that will provide $500 to about $10 million homeowners.  The credit will help those making under $50,000 who do not itemize their taxes. 

    Additionally, Sen Obama will create a new HOME (Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit) score that will allow borrowers to measure their available mortgage options and will help them understand the full cost of the mortgage they enter into with a lender.  This provision would seem to help new borrowers more than those already in a mortgage.  It also keeps the borrower as the primary decision maker and leaves the burden of responsibility firmly with the borrower, which is where irt needs to be.  However, there is nothing to stop the banking and investment industries from manipulating this score just as they manipulated numbers to get people into the sub prime mortgages in the last few years. 

    Finally Senator Obama has proposed, in his “Blueprint for Change”,  a government fund to help “innocent” homeowners.  While “innocent” is not defined by Obama I imagine that it means those homeowners who took out a bigger mortgage than they could afford on an adjustable rate loan.  This fund would be paid for by the money received from increased penalties on lenders who have acted irresponsibly (those lenders currently going under?) or those convicted of fraud.  While this sounds good because it targets the corporate greed Sen Obama and his colleagues hate,  the fund is based on  passage of what Sen Obama calls “his record” on this issue, the Stop Fraud Act. 

    The Stop Fraud Act is a bill sponsored by Obama and Dick Durbin that defines mortgage fraud, increases funding for law enforcement (?), and enacts new penalties for those found guilty of fraud.  It also requires the industry to report suspicios activity, it does not say to who.  The bill has been introduced to committee and referred to another committee, it has not been passed by the Congress, nor is it close to a general debate on the floor.  By the way it was introduced in 2007 so I do have to ask where was his leadership on this issue?  http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1222

    Now onto Senator McCain. 

    Senator McCain has proposed a “Home Plan”,  unfortunately HOME does not stand for anything cute like in Obama’s plan.  Under this plan, Sen McCain would offer borrowers the chance to trade an existing mortgage that they can not pay for a mortgage that is more manageable under a fixed rate and reflects the market value of the home at the time.  Of course there are restrictions but they favor those being hurt by their current situation.  Those restrictions are as follows:

    • an eligible sub prime loan after 2005
    • prove your credit worthiness at the time of the original loan ( something you have to prove any way if you get a mortgage the right way)
    • are delinquent on payments or facing a reset or show that you can not meet your current obligations and
    • can meet the terms of a new fixed rate, 30 year, FHA backed loan

    Under McCain’s plan there is no H.O.M.E. score or federal fund that has to be passed first.  The plan has elements of a bill introduced by two Democrats (there is that record of bi-partisanship again), Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  The plan does require banks to forgive part of the loan principle and write a new loan for borrowers but the other option for the bank would be foreclosure, an option that would probably cost them more. 

    Borrowers under McCain’s plan also can apply by picking up a form at the post office or printing a form from the internet (is that a use of technology by McCain?).  From there once the request is sent in, the loan request is approved by the FHA based on qualifications and then sent to the bank where the homeowner has their existing loan who retires and rewrites the loan to loan backed by the FHA. 

    Of course Sen McCain’s plan also addresses the speculators and financial market practitioners who handed out the sub prime loans in the first place.  If a bailout is needed, Sen McCain believes that it should come at a cost to the financial industry, not taxpayers.  A bailout would happen only to prevent failure and in return that institution would face greater transparency and accountability.  This is the case with AIG, an institution that, if it failed and did not receive a partial bailout, would affect people around the globe.  Perhaps the 9/11 commission Sen McCain has proposed recently would provide the transparency necessary to determine why the current situation happened and how it can be prevented in the future. 

    There are the two plans in detail.  Of course I’m partial but as I see it, Sen Obama’s plan relies heavily on government and passage of bills and recommendations in Congress that have already taken over a year to go to committee.  Unlike Sen Obama’s plan, Sen McCain’s plan could be instituted fairly easily and does not rely on new penalties that have not been discussed in committee yet.  In addition penalties already exist under current banking laws (http://blownmortgage.com/2008/02/03/barack-obamas-mortgage-reform-policy/ for some insight) for lenders who engage in deceptive practices. 

    Sen Obama specifically points out that 10 million homeowners will benefit under his tax credit initiative.  That is a far cry from the 200-400 million people Sen McCain is proposing to help immediately.  Make your own choice on this issue but these are the facts and plans as stated by each candidate on their official websites.  Hopefully, I will also be highlighting other issues in the future. 

     

    Lipstick Jungle

    Senator Obama was unscripted gain yesterday when he said if you put lipstick on a pig it’s still a pig.  On the heels of what Governor Palin said during her acceptance speech, this comment seems directly aimed at the Republican VP candidate. 

    Of course I understand the point that Obama was trying to make.  Pig is a code word for earmarks in Washington and Sen Obama, in his inexperienced way, was hopefully just trying to connect Governor Palin to pork barrel spending.  But Sen Obama was not talking about earmarks when he said it, he was discussing Senator McCain and Governor Palin’s views on changing Washington.  While obviously upset that Sen McCain is now seen more as the candidate of change than himself and his VP candidate that has been in Congress 10 years longer than McCain,  Sen Obama needed to do a better job of explaining what he meant in those if the cuff remarks. 

    I will not say Sen Obama is playing the gender card, yet.  But he is obviously still at a loss on how to go after a McCain/Palin ticket that promotes the record of change each candidate has without exposing his own inexperience and lack of real reform.  Sen McCain and Governor Palin both have records readily available to the public that show how they fought corruption and enacted reform.  In the case of Senator McCain he has tried to enact reform, however controversial,  with leading Democrats on bills like McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy, much to the dismay of his own party.  Governor Palin’s state checkbook is available to anyone in the country to view.  Sen Obama’s record is equally available but shows that he has enacted few if any bills and voted with his party over 95% of the time. 

    The media seems to be struggling with the McCain/Palin ticket as well.  While some outlets have covered Obama’s “lipstick” remarks in passing,  most media outlets are concerning themselves with a game of “GOTCHA” when it comes to Sarah Palin’s record.  Every move or comment has been scrutinized in order to catch Palin and expose her flaws. 

    On ABC’s Good Morning America, Brian Ross did a story about the controversy surrounding the Wasilla library.  It seems as Mayor, Sarah Palin asked the local librarian what she would do if the library was asked to remove books from it’s shelves, books that might be controversial.  The question was posed during a city council meeting and not in private, as some other reports might suggest.  The librarian was obviously against censorship and told the council this.  No books were ever removed nor was there ever a list of books to be removed as ABC did point out.  However, the ABC report left viewers wondering about this controversy and seemed to leave viewers with the impression that Palin wants to ban books. 

    The piece also showed a pastor in the Assembly of God church giving a sermon this past week on homosexuals.  Brian Ross and ABC tied this sermon into the book controversy by highlighting 2 books, Go Ask Alice and Pastor,I’m Gay, as targets of the Palin inquiry.  Again, ABC left the impression that Palin is a member of this church.  The truth is that Sarah Palin is no longer a member of this church and has not been for almost 7 years.  Do they really want voters talking about crazy pastors again?

    Parents Have A Choice

    “Education is the civil rights issue of this century.”–John McCain

    In his acceptance speech on Thursday night, Senator McCain clearly showed that he is committed to reform in Washington.  His proposals spoke to all Americans and gave them a clear idea of what he will do as President.  What was most important to me were the three paragraphs on education. 

    Two of my three kids are in school.  They attend a private school where we pay the tuition monthly.  On top of the tuition we also participate in mandatory fund raising activities.  And like all taxpayers, we pay school taxes to our local public school district, money we never benefit from.  All of this is our choice and, while a struggle at times, is worth every penny.  The education they receive is outstanding and their teachers are some of the best in the area. 

    John McCain has proposed offering this education to all students in all types of schools through the voucher system.  Public schools are failing across the country.  The growth of charter and cyber schools are a testament to that fact.  There are many good public schools as well but these are often separated from students who need them by residency requirements or transportation concerns.  Through the implementation of a voucher system,  parents would be able to choose to send their children to schools that have a proven track record of success,  whether that school is public or private. 

    Under a voucher system, teachers and their unions would have to prove their worth to parents, not school boards.   In PA there is a new teachers strike every week.  These teachers walk out because their free health insurance is being threatened or their compensation is only being increased by a guaranteed 3% a year for the next 3-5 years.  Rarely, if ever,  have they left their schools because the quality of education or the quality of materials available to help students learn, is below expectations.  That is not to say that teachers don’t care about students, many do.  But too often unions and bureaucracies fight for the wrong thing, money. 

    Sen Obama also supports education reform in the form of vouchers.  However his plan limits their use only to public schools.  Why?  Simply put, teachers unions have given him millions of dollars in support throughout his campaign and he does not want to aggravate those members.  Vouchers for use in public education will not solve the problem of failing schools.  His policy is simply throwing more money in a different direction.  And while vouchers are not the only component of his education platform, all of the other policy adjustments he has proposed are based on spending more money for the already failing schools and teachers. 

    Personally, I would love to see education reform through the use of school vouchers.  Parents would finally be able to make a choice that would benefit their children without considering an additional expense ( in most cases).  Schools would have to reform in order to retain students, and like Senator McCain said, schools would have to answer to parents not unions.  But whether or not this reform happens, as a parent I will still make the choice of where to send my children to school, no matter the cost and sacrifice I have to endure because I know that education is the best thing I can ever give my kids.

    Biden’s Gaffe

      In an interview on ABC Thursday morning, Joe Biden asked, as a response to a question,  if Rudy had brought up 9/11, saying that for Rudy that day could be used as a noun, a verb or an adjective.  Of course he did it laughing. 

    Biden should remember that he is associated with a ticket that takes money and support from William Ayers, a terrorist from the 70’s.  Ayers was the one who said that he and his group did not do enough while bombing federal buildings and police stations. 

    Biden’s ignorance and arrogance on display. 

    Organiztion Needs…Call 1-800-BARACK-O

    As Rudy said last night–A community organizer….WHAT? 

    Sen Obama and his supporters praise his time as a community organizer in Chicago.  They say that his experience in this position gave him the necessary skills to handle the duties of President of the United States.  Well, lately they have said that they way he has run his campaign is proof of his ability to be President but I’ll just let that go and let it sink in for anyone reading this.  But what is a community organizer?  What do they do?  I searched Yahoo answers but as usual I found nothing more than people expressing their beliefs.  So I did a job search and here is what a community organizer does. 

    Portland, Oregon is looking for a community organizer after receiving grant money from the city to fund the position.  The position’s function is listed as organizing, part time @ 10-15 hours per week.  Their ideal candidate will have experience in community organizing, coordinating volunteers, a commitment to stability, familiarity with building codes and zoning regulations,  experience being self motivated and a flexible schedule. 

    Still,  how does one get experience in community organizing?  According to the listing, a community organizer can coordinate volunteers into organized campaigns to educate the public , and lets not forget empower the public, and work with local officials to change whatever your campaign is focused on, i.e. zoning laws.  As a community organizer YOU don;t change the laws, YOU just organize the campaign to get people to listen.  Also if you are looking for this job you can look for the keywords as follows:  grassroots organizing,policy change,building codes, zoning laws, or sustainable building.  And just in case you want to be President someday her is the website.  http://www.wiserearth.org/job/view/a21caf72e3e540128d5093d097e0bb7f

    But let’s give Senator Obama the benefit of doubt.  Perhaps he was a full time community organizer, what are his responsibilities then? 

    LA has an opening for a Hospitality Industry Community Organizer, full time.  There is no education requirement, is categorized under Activism and Organizing,  with salary of $40-$46,000.  Your responsibilities in this position require you to develop strategy, reach out to the community and develop leaders in this organization.  It also requires you to be a public speaker and work with others to advocate policy changes.  The full -time requirement does tie up your weekends and isn’t 9-5.  They do prefer previous campaign experience but it is not necessary.  Also you must engage the community to talk about working conditions in this position.  Again just in case you want to apply:  http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Job/306821-281

    Okay one more, this time in Chicago and dealing with the issue I think is one of the most important, education.  Again, to be a lead organizer for the AFT Great Lakes Region, there is no education requirement.  It is full time and the person must be focused on education, human and civil rights,  job training and issues in the workplace.  As the lead organizer in Chicago you would motivate people (they call them activists but in light of the RNC protests we’ll let that go),   build relationships and organize plans that support the overall campaign you are organizing as the head of this organization.  Here are other qualifications direct from the website:

    LEAD ORGANIZER:
    • Experience running an organizing campaign in a tough employer environment
    • Demonstrated commitment to empower workers through the labor movement
    • Proven ability to direct work and lead by example
    • Good written and verbal communication skills
    • Self starter with the ability to work under supervision
    • Knowledge of Chicago labor and politics (preferred)
    • Willingness to work nights and weekends as required
    • Computer literacy
    • Valid driver’s license/ car

    Once again, here is where to go if you ever thought about being President one day:http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Job/306016-138

    I could go on but anyone doing a search  will find a good explanation of what a community organizer does.  Sen Obama fits the description of all of these positions.  He speaks fluently and hopefully can write, although just as he and his supporters have said about Sarah Palin’s speech, I doubt he writes his own speeches.  He has proven he can organize a large group of people to listen to him.  He even works well with interest groups that promote their own agenda.  But, as shown in these descriptions, he has never done anything more than PROMOTE change.  As a community organizer that was “above his pay grade” as he likes to say.  Do we really want a President whose main source of experience required him to speak and write effectively and motivate supporters of special interest groups and know the inside workings of Chicago politics?