Bankrupting Coal

Nuclear is out. Drilling is out.  Now coal is out. 

Update on Obama’s current “tax cut”:  People making $100,000 or  more will see a tax increase.  Thanks to Gov Bill Richardson for speaking up.

Published in: on November 4, 2008 at 1:36 am  Comments (2)  
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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-

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

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:

 (Thank you to all sites listed)


An amazing choice! John McCain has once again proven that he is committed to reform by choosing Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin, as his VP nominee.  Not only is Sarah Palin’s personal story exciting, her time in politics has shown that she is 100% to reform. 

Palin’s personal story is filled with interests ranging from basketball to hunting.  She worked with her husband as a commercial fisherman, ran as a beauty contestant, and was a sports journalist.  She enjoys hockey and has been a lifelong member of the NRA.  Her family is large, 5 children, the last born in April. 

Politically, Palin is the first woman governor of Alaska, the first person to serve as governor that was born after Alaska was granted statehood,  was mayor and served on city council.  She has traveled overseas, probably more than Obama, to visit wounded soldiers and one of her sons is set to be deployed to Iraq in September.  Palin’s accomplishments in Alaska dwarf Obama’s time in the Senate.  She has killed pork barrel projects including the Bridge to Nowhere and passed ethics reform in Alaska that effectively ended the political career of many Republicans.  She believes that abortion issues are not above her pay grade, taking a firm pro-life stance.  She also passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage but signed into law benefits for homosexual couples.  And unlike the current Senate, has passed a budget in the amount of $6.6 billion that included several hundred cuts in wasteful programs totaling over $200 million. 

Sen Obama and Sen Biden say that they will change Washington and argue that only they can make real change.  Sen Obama even attacked John McCain in his speech last night by saying that McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time (Biden says 95%) and that only gives Americans a 10% chance of change under a McCain administration.  Yet Sen Biden and Sen Obama have voted with their party 96% of the time, leaving roughly a 4% chance of real reform.  I’ve been out of school for awhile now but 10% is still higher than 4% as far as I know.  If Sen Obama is elected, all we may have left is change, in our pockets, to borrow a line from Governor Pawlenty. 

With the addition of Sarah Palin to the McCain ticket, the Republicans have effectively shown that they are the party of real reform.  Democrats can talk the game but what have they done to prove it.  McCain and Palin have worked throughout their careers to change the way government runs and have the record to prove it. Now that’s change I believe in.


McCain and Obama have agreed to 3 debates after the conventions.  The first debate will be September 26 at the University of Mississippi.  It will focus on foreign policy issues and national security.  A town hall style debate will follow on October 7 at Belmont University and Hofstra will host a debate on domestic issues on October 15. 

A VP debate is scheduled for Oct 2 in St Louis.

NIMBY is back!

About 10 miles down the road from my house is a nuclear power plant.   The plant is currently under consideration to build a third tower that would provide energy  to NJ and NY and , in times of crisis, PA.  The project would provide several hundred jobs once completed and several thousand jobs while under construction.  The proposed completion date for this project is 2012.

While Sen McCain has proposed this type of growth and supports building as many as 45 new nuclear plants by 2030, Sen Obama , in his energy plan, cites concerns over security,  storage of fuel rods and weapons of mass destruction as reasons not to pursue it aggressively.   Sen Obama’s “not in my backyard” approach to nuclear energy is counter to the history of the American nuclear energy program and the strict oversight rules that the NRC and it’s facilities must comply with on a daily basis. 

Obviously security will always be an issue with nuclear power plants. They are inviting targets to anyone wishing to hurt us.  Prior to 9/11 these plants were more open and available to the public.  Since 9/11, nuclear plants across the country, including the Susquehanna facility in my backyard, have aggressively pursued new security measures.  Early warning systems for events are constantly checked and rechecked and security is constantly tested.  

Storage of spent nuclear material is an extremely controversial issue.  Like Sen Obama, no one wants it in their backyard.  What many people don’t realize is that it is already stored there.  Even if you do not live near a nuclear facility, hospitals in your area may be storing radioactive material from certain procedures.  The waste from radioactive dyes is kept on site for the same reason spent fuel rods are kept on site, there is no other place to put it.  Sen Obama dismisses the Yucca Mountain site as a possibility and offers only more research as the answer to the storage question.  But will research in this area take place under a President who outlines the “not in my backyard” mentality in his energy plan? 

Finally, the ironic part of Sen Obama’s nuclear concerns.  When the US went into Iraq, we did so based on information that said Sadaam had or could have weapons of mass destruction.  Since then President Bush has been called a liar and war monger because WMDs were never found.  In Sen Obama’s energy plan he cites nuclear material as a source of material for WMDs.  The US recently shipped something like 550 metric tons of nuclear material out of..wait for it…IRAQ.  So under Obama’s energy plan nuclear material is considered useful to terrorists but under his “get the hell out of Iraq, we never should have been there” foreign policy nuclear material is not a threat? 

Nuclear power is only one aspect of Sen McCain’s energy plan but it is one that shows a clear difference between him and Sen Obama.  The boost economically of building new plants or towers, as in the case of the Susquehanna facility, would be enormous.   The shift away from foreign oil would be priceless.  But only Sen McCain is willing to pursue this strategy immediately.  Sen Obama wants committees to act on this issue before he does. 

 Do we really want another committee hearing on what America should be doing or do we want more energy and less dependence on foreign oil now? 

You decide.

It’s 3AM again!

The crisis in Georgia has highlighted the 3am issue Sen Clinton first brought up in the primaries.  Both candidates reacted to it differently and their reactions were a glimpse into the foreign policy each candidate would bring to the White House. 

First, Sen McCain.  When he called Pres Saakashvili, Sen McCain expressed support for Georgia in the struggle against Russia and rallied all Americans to get behind Georgia.  He condemned Russia’s aggression and noted that Russia invaded as a sign to other countries that attempt to deal with the West would only earn them the same fate.  Georgia was seeking NATO membership.  He also sought a diplomatic solution to the crisis. 

Next, Sen Obama.  He used his eloquent words to give a speech that condemned Russia and the military action it took.  He urged Russia to sign a cease fire agreement and wants international monitors to verify the terms of a peace treaty.  Sen Obama also wants a diplomatic solution to the crisis. 

Notice the two responses. John McCain was able to pick up the phone and call the President of Georgia to see what the situation was and vocalize his support to Pres Saakashvili.  Sen Obama was able to find a working microphone and denounce Russia and offer the services of international diplomats to resolve the situation. 

  Some people have called Sen McCain’s words saber rattling, others cite them as evidence of his thirst for war and still others ask where Georgia is and why should we care?  Some have even tried to sneak oil into the debate since BP has a pipeline there.  (By the way a Russian reporter even likened his country’s response to that of America after 9/11, saying “the US roared like a stuck pig even though the material and human loss was minimal” .)  Sen Obama has apparently taken all of these positions when he allowed his camp to make a statement on the situation.  Today John McCain was criticized by the Obama camp as being too aggressive and may have even “complicated” the crisis in Georgia.  “Complicated”? By taking a stand on the issue? 

Sen McCain may not be President yet and his words and actions may be just that at this point, but which response would you want from a sitting American President? The response that included a phone call or the one that included a calculated speech?  Let’s put it the Hilary Clinton way:

It’s 3am, John McCain is woken up and immediately gets the President of Georgia on the phone to assess the situation. 


It’s 3am, Barack Obama is woken up and immediately asks “Where is my speech writer and how fast can he get here?” 

You decide!

Obama’s Advice to Children: America Sucks!

Not wanting to be forgotten as he heads off to Hawaii for vacation, Sen Obama wanted to leave a message for voters that would remind them what his candidacy is all about.  In response to a 7 year old girls question on why he was running for President, Sen Obama answered:
“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was.
And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”
Perhaps this was just another slip of the tongue, another gaffe as it is called in politics.  But Obama has a history with this kind of rhetoric.  At a 2004 book signing he said:
“The Basic Outline of the government we possess and our civic religion as a people is such that potentially at least, we could create a society that is a model for the world, it isn’t right now.”
Of course Sen Obama doesn’t have to waste a vacation day responding to what will be a firestorm on talk shows and the fair and balanced media.  He has already given his answer to questions about all of this when he said:
“This is the moment that the world is waiting for,” I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
Barack Obama
Setting aside his wife’s “really proud” comment, Rev Wright’s “God Damn America” and other comments, and Rev Pflager’s racist comments about America,  Sen Obama’s own words are indicative of how he sees the country and it’s future.  I think the real question here is-would you tell your young children the same things? Would you tell impressionable young minds that the country they live in is devoid of possibilities and its leaders lack the moral compass to lead? Or to put it in the language of a 7 year old-America is no good. 
Of course Americans have been trying to form a more perfect union for well over 200 years.  There have been missteps along the way and there will be in the future but through it all America has always been a symbol of what can be if individuals are willing to set aside differences, racial, religious and otherwise, and work for a more perfect union. 
Immigrants used to come to our shores with dreams of streets lined with gold.  Upon arriving they realized that the gold wasn’t a tangible piece of wealth but rather opportunity to pursue their dreams and better themselves in ways no other country could provide.  Irish, German,Chinese,Mexican and any number of other cultures have become part of the American culture because of the dreams of immigrants.  They still come to our shores, in record numbers, seeking those streets and finding more opportunity than ever before. 
In contrast, the people of China are experiencing unheard of growth in their country but they can only pursue as much happiness as the government allows. Protesters are routinely being drug off the streets in Beijing.  Internet access is limited to government approved sites for citizens and visitors alike.  Religious freedom is almost unheard of in China as persecutions and executions take place throughout Tibet just because of a person’s beliefs.   And while the wealth in China grows, only a small percentage of people have access to it because of government controls.  No one is busting through the borders of China to seek opportunity. 
What WAS America to Sen Obama before he started running for President?  He must have an answer if he told a 7 year old girl that it is no longer what it once was.  Since Sen Obama was born he has never known depression on a national scale.  He has never suffered institutionalized racism.  He went to college, taught at Harvard and was elected to state and national government.  He is the first black man to ever be the nominee of a major party and ran against a woman who would have been the first female nominee of a major party.  Unemployment in Obama’s lifetime has dropped steadily,  with occasional spikes, to record low levels.  There have never been the diversity of opportunities in education than exist right now with charter schools and cyber schools growing every year.  Since Sen Obama was born the stock market has grown to unthinkable levels, creating more opportunities for Americans than were ever possible before and more wealth for more people than ever before.  And finally America has won the Cold War and sent its military around the globe to protect and defend the people of countless counties from injustices simply because it was the right thing to do. 
History, both America’s and Sen Obama’s own,  has shown  that America has been the shining city that Ronald Reagan envisioned.  A place of opportunity and freedom unparalleled in the course of human history.  Yet Sen Obama told a 7 year old girl that America is not a place he wants his daughters to grow up in. So much for the audacity of hope!

Drive Naked and Conserve!

 Clothes weigh on average 2-4 lbs. Reducing that weight in our cars would improve gas mileage.  Reducing the weight of our cars by cleaning out our trunks does help as AAA has consistently noted.   If we all drove naked, as Glenn Beck (someone I only recently started watching) has suggested, and inflated our tires, the oil consumption in this country would drop dramatically and eliminate the need for offshore drilling. 

But Obama’s “Inflation Nation” was apparently only the tip of the energy policy iceberg.  In an effort to END the need for oil from ALL of the Middle East and Venezuela, Obama seems to endorse an initiative developed in California to keep our thermostats in check.  The initiative would require a non removable FM receiver to be built into new thermostats that power companies could control in case of an “emergency”.  The Receiver could also control refrigerators, pool pumps, etc.  The thermostats would keep buildings “energy efficient” by keeping the temperature at no less than 79 degrees in summer and no warmer than 70 degrees in winter. In other words, the device could be sent a signal that would adjust the thermostat by 4 degrees for heating or cooling.   In his speech in Lansing, Mich. this week Obama said:  

“Finally, the third step I will take is to call on businesses, government, and the American people to meet the goal of reducing our demand for electricity 15% by the end of the next decade. This is by far the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to reduce our energy consumption – and it will save us $130 billion on our energy bills.

Since DuPont implemented an energy efficiency program in 1990, the company has significantly reduced its pollution and cut its energy bills by $3 billion. The state of California has implemented such a successful efficiency strategy that while electricity consumption grew 60% in this country over the last three decades, it didn’t grow at all in California.

There is no reason America can’t do the same thing. We will set a goal of making our new buildings 50% more efficient over the next four years. And we’ll follow the lead of California and change the way utilities make money so that their profits aren’t tied to how much energy we use, but how much energy we save.

In just ten years, these steps will produce enough renewable energy to replace all the oil we import from the Middle East.”

Of course the initiative allows customers to override the settings, right?  Wrong! Title 24 of the Building Efficiency Standards sates that customer changes will not be allowed.  In addition permits would not be issued if anyone fails to comply with these standards. 

Of course Sen Obama attacked McCain for not supporting such an invasion of privacy and tried to link McCain to the oil companies and, yep, President Bush.  Stating McCain was against retooling the auto industry was nothing more than pandering to his union supporters and a blatant lie since McCain has already proposed a multifaceted approach to energy that included money for the auto industry, alternative energy sources, and oil.

Driving naked is something to consider and conservation is something America needs to get better at, no one doubts that suggestion.  Last winter suggestions about turning our thermostats down were everywhere.  AAA issues ideas on saving gas money every summer.  But under an Obama Presidency, conservation (still waiting on his views about naked driving) would be a function of government, mandated by laws and devices and overseen by a Federal agency.  Is it any wonder that Big Brother has been given the name Barack Obama?

Tire Gauge:$25,Air: $.25,Obama’s Plan:Priceless

Obama's Well Thought Out Energy Plan

Obama's Well Thought Out Energy Plan

Go to to get yours! 

McCain’s Energy Plan:

  • Offshore drilling
  • conservation
  • alternative energy sources
  • expansion/building of new nuclear power plants
  • incentives for individuals and companies

You decide which candidate has the best ideas?

Obamaphiles and the media (one in the same?) have jumped on the tire gauge promotion done by the McCain campaign.  Experts and supporters alike have been defending Obama’s “inflation” message all day.  And yes, inflating your tires just as regular tune ups will improve mileage and durability of your vehicle.  No one is suggesting otherwise.  However, Sen Obama did suggest that by doing so the United States would not need to even consider off shore drilling.  His comment was “Making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save ALL the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much.”

Conservation is something all Americans can do to save money at home.  But the suggestion that inflating your tires will save “ALL the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling” is ridiculous.  Remember, Obama said “ALL”, not will save some or will help conserve.  Supporters are now trying to spin this with the now familiar ” that’s not what he said” or “meant” line and are attacking McCain for being in the pocket of the oil industry, despite the fact that Obama voted for subsidies to the oil companies and not McCain.  They are also trying to say McCain is not for conservation despite the fact that McCain’s energy plan is more diverse than Obama’s and does not rely on taking the profits away from the capitalist, privately owned oil companies that pay more in taxes than the working man’s friend Wal-Mart. 

The point of this debate is “ALL”.  Obama said it. His words. His thoughts.  And with the uttering of that three letter word he showed that he would never support drilling, only conservation, to solve the energy crisis even in compromise legislation.